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The Best American Comics 2010

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The Best American Comics showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Neil Gaiman—one of the top writers in modern comics and the award-winning author of novels and children’s books—has culled the best stories from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and the Internet to create this cutting-edge collection. With entries frobookshas The Best American Comics showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Neil Gaiman—one of the top writers in modern comics and the award-winning author of novels and children’s books—has culled the best stories from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and the Internet to create this cutting-edge collection. With entries from luminaries such as Tim Hensley, Michael Kupperman, and Dash Shaw, “it’s hard to flip through this book without finding a lot worth reading (and rereading)” (The Onion, A.V. Club).


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The Best American Comics showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Neil Gaiman—one of the top writers in modern comics and the award-winning author of novels and children’s books—has culled the best stories from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and the Internet to create this cutting-edge collection. With entries frobookshas The Best American Comics showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Neil Gaiman—one of the top writers in modern comics and the award-winning author of novels and children’s books—has culled the best stories from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and the Internet to create this cutting-edge collection. With entries from luminaries such as Tim Hensley, Michael Kupperman, and Dash Shaw, “it’s hard to flip through this book without finding a lot worth reading (and rereading)” (The Onion, A.V. Club).

30 review for The Best American Comics 2010

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I really enjoyed this, though from reading it I wouldn't guess that Neil Gaiman had been the editor. There were a few that are for me forgettable, but many that I really enjoyed and would like to look into further. This has just further confirmed how much I enjoy comics/graphic novels and really need to get into more of them.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Giovanni Gelati

    Out of the three posts today on the graphic novels this is the one that I would consider more “grownup”. Looking for diversity in your content? Want to see a variety of writing styles? Looking to see as many different art forms in graphic novels as possible in one place? Then this is your graphic novel for all the right reasons. Here is what we have: “The Best American Comics showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Neil Gaiman—one of the top writers in Out of the three posts today on the graphic novels this is the one that I would consider more “grownup”. Looking for diversity in your content? Want to see a variety of writing styles? Looking to see as many different art forms in graphic novels as possible in one place? Then this is your graphic novel for all the right reasons. Here is what we have: “The Best American Comics showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Neil Gaiman—one of the top writers in modern comics and the award-winning author of novels and children’s books—has culled the best stories from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and the Internet to create this cutting-edge collection. With entries from luminaries such as Tim Hensley, Michael Kupperman, and Dash Shaw.” Where else are you going to get to experience 25 different stories? The emotions of the stories run the gamut: sad, happy, giddy, the whole nine yards. I have to give this compilation props for having as many different themes as it does artists and authors. It is an amazing gathering of talent on all sides of the different projects. Did I really enjoy each and every story? No, but I got to experience something different from what I was used to and learned much in the journey. Neil Gaiman has put together a graphic novel collection that you can not only read through once, but need to go through again and again there is so much there in content and artwork. It is easy to miss something the first time around and still have a fresh look at on another read through. What are you reading today? Check us out and become our friend on Shelfari & Linkedin. Go to Goodreads and become our friend there and suggest books for us to read and post on. You can also follow us on Twitter, Wattpad and the Gelati’s Scoop Facebook Fan Page. Did you know you can shop directly on Amazon by clicking the Amazon Banner on our blog? Thanks for stopping by today; We will see you tomorrow. Have a great day. http://www.gelatisscoop.blogspot.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    Just lost interest in reaing snippets.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Guest-edited by Neil Gaiman, this is one of the strongest of the five Best American Comics issued thus thus far – only the 2008 edition, with Lynda Barry at the helm, is equal to or greater than this one (leaving the Harvey Pekar-edited edition from 2006 and last year’s Charles Burns volume to duke it out for last place). Let’s get the main problems out of the way first, both of which have been weaknesses endemic to all the volumes in the series since it began: (1) excerpts from longer pieces th Guest-edited by Neil Gaiman, this is one of the strongest of the five Best American Comics issued thus thus far – only the 2008 edition, with Lynda Barry at the helm, is equal to or greater than this one (leaving the Harvey Pekar-edited edition from 2006 and last year’s Charles Burns volume to duke it out for last place). Let’s get the main problems out of the way first, both of which have been weaknesses endemic to all the volumes in the series since it began: (1) excerpts from longer pieces that don’t read well as stand-alone stories, and (2) comics reduced in size from their original larger formats, greatly diminishing their visual impact. The first problem is perhaps more subjective. This volume opens with chapter seven from Marvel Comic’s Omega the Unknown by Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple, and featuring Gary Panter. Being completely unfamiliar with the series, this convoluted, already-in-progress sequence with its multiple characters functioning in 3-4 concurrent plotlines left me completely confused. I had to read through the thing three times and still didn’t quite have my bearings in the end. To say my appetite was not whetted to further explore Omega is an understatement, and opening the book with this piece felt to me like a miscalculation, the major misstep of Gaiman’s editorship. The other problematic piece along these lines was the excerpt from Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Again, being unfamiliar with the series (I haven’t even seen the movie!) it was hard to get into this piece, or to care much about what the characters were gabbing about (which all seemed fairly inconsequential anyway). The fact that the Manga-ish characters were all drawn fairly indistinguishable from one another didn’t help, though I did otherwise like the art. Other excerpted comics were far more successful as stand alone works. Both “The Alcoholic” by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel and “The Flood” from A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld, were gripping storytelling that left me wanting to see more from each book; the pages culled from Lilli Carre’s bizarre and haunting short graphic novel The Lagoon highly merited inclusion in this collection, as it was among the best and most original comics of the year. The longish passage from Acme Novelty Library #19 by Chris Ware displays Ware’s graphic brilliance, as well as an excruciating understanding of loneliness, anxiety, and despair. That said, this selection is a good place to segue into the second recurrent problem in BAC series: the too-small reprint sizes. With Ware’s work, there are already-small panels in his dense visual landscapes that do suffer somewhat from reprinting in BAC, but the artist whose work consistently suffers from this problem is Ben Katchor. In volume after volume, his odd, slightly surreal, always intriguing comic strips are presented in full on a single page, with the text practically requiring a magnifying glass in places - I can’t help wondering: isn’t it possible to break his strips up and print each one larger, and over at least 2 pages? That would be helpful (assuming Katchor would be open to this). The other artist most ill-served here is Carol Tyler: her You’ll Never Know, Book One: A Good and Decent Man, one of the best graphic novels released in 2009, was originally published in an over-sized hardcover that showcased her considerable graphic skills; here the smaller presentation weakens the impact of the visuals, and that takes its toll on the story as a whole. Props to Gaiman for choosing Tyler for inclusion, but I recommend reading the original book (and the second volume, newly out this fall) to fully appreciate Tyler’s lovely art and the moving story she has to tell. There are plenty of well-chosen stand-alone comics alongside the excerpts, including “The Bank,” Derf’s 20+ page tale detailing the funny, skuzzy, glory days of the punk rock scene in early 80’s Cleveland; “Ex Communication” by Todd Brower and Steve MacIsaac (the lone gay voices here) which combines innovative formalist technique with an acutely relatable story exploring what really happens down the line after two people decide to “just be friends”; Dave Lapp’s “Flytrap” offers simple art and a compact, emotionally direct story about a teacher and a troubled special ed student; and “Norman Eight's Left Arm” by Theo Ellsworth offers a fine, funny example of the work of this truly original and inventive cartoonist. “Trinity” by Michael Cho is an excellent historical piece about the Manhattan Project, and pages from Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli showcase his tour-de-force cartooning skills – this is perhaps the most visually gorgeous work in the entire book. Some good shorter pieces by Peter Kuper, Gabrielle Bell, and Chris Ware round things out, with some just-okay stuff by folks like Peter Bagge, Lauren Weinstein, and Jesse Reklaw also along for the ride. The introduction by Gaiman was well-written and clever, and the cover art’s bold graphics (by Frank Cho) to my mind make for a far more dynamic, eye-catching package than the artier, more diffuse work of previous volumes (also a wise idea to ditch the unnecessary dust cover). I really like this series, warts and all, and appreciate that Houghton Mifflin is expending so much energy on comics. 4 out of 5 stars and eagerly awaiting the 2011 edition.

  5. 4 out of 5

    christa

    It has been three months since I fell in love with the young slacker Scott Pilgrim, and what a whirlwind these three months have been. In the aftermath of Book 6 of the series I tore through in cackling maniac mode, I've gone loco for pictures with words, captured in panels. I haven't felt this curiosity and newness and excitement toward, well, anything in years. Dude. I've even started drawing. And if that doesn't say something ... "I wish I could direct this much enthusiasm toward, It has been three months since I fell in love with the young slacker Scott Pilgrim, and what a whirlwind these three months have been. In the aftermath of Book 6 of the series I tore through in cackling maniac mode, I've gone loco for pictures with words, captured in panels. I haven't felt this curiosity and newness and excitement toward, well, anything in years. Dude. I've even started drawing. And if that doesn't say something ... "I wish I could direct this much enthusiasm toward, I don't know, learning Spanish," I said to my boyfriend as I tried to scribble an approximation of Jamie Lee Curtis holding a single serving of Activia. The page looked like I planned to start snorting eraser dust. (This manic hobbyism is getting in the way of me a) reading novels comprised 100 percent of words; b) writing sentences, both fiction and nonfiction). Right now I'm in a period of discovery. Figuring out what I like, and what falls into the more meh category. Best To that end, Best American Comics 2010, edited by Neil Gaiman, was a pretty sweet sample pack that helped me build a bigger faves pile. As with any Best Of series, there is going to be a range of material. My rule going into this one was similar to negotiating a holiday meal: You must sample everything; Finish what you like. This means I didn't spend a hell of a lot of time weeding through robots and distant planets. But of the 25 comics in this book, I totally dug a handful and a half of them. I added a few websites to my Google Reader and a few collections to my Amazon Wish List. Here is what I consider the Best Of from the Best Of: Gabrielle Bell, who kicks it autobiographical. The entry in this collection, a quick hitter about escapism through reading, is nice. The material on her website, however, is the coolest. She's very thoughtful in what she makes. I haven't stopped thinking about this since I read it. James Kochalka has like 20 mini slices of life comics. He is 60 percent responsible for me picking up a sketch book. In the biographical info notes, he says that he has been drawing a comic a day since 1998. The ones in this book are sweet little stories about his kids and wife. The excerpt from The Alcoholic by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel is the story of 9/11 and the confusion in the days that followed. Including the character's next door neighbor, a woman with a baby, and a husband who never came home. (Ames, of course, is the writer behind the super awesome show "Bored to Death.") The most surprising like from the bunch was an excerpt from David Mazzucchelli's Asterios Polyp. The title character's life is revisited, including a scene where he charms the shit out of a bunch of people at a party, and then falls for a hard-to-read woman. Derf's entry is a story of the punk scene in a small town. At one point, a bouncer and members of The Clash slash the tires on Journey's tour bus. Hilar. This one led me to his website where there is an excerpt from an autobiographical story of how he was friends with Jeffrey Dahmer when they were growing up. I dig the concept of the stuff by Jesse Reklaw, who draws scenes from submissions of people's dreams. Fred Chao's Lobster Run takes a sort of super hero feel, in a setting of realism. A young man is working as a dishwasher at a restaurant when a critic comes in an orders lobster -- which they don't have. He is sent out to a nearby restaurant to steal a lobster, and there is a fantastic chase scene. The resolution is the cutest. Josh Neufeld takes a journalistic approach to Katrina aftermath for those who stuck around in New Orleans. This is also a hit. Beyond this, there is an introduction from Neil Gaiman that sort of disses the concept of this series, but also advises readers to start drawing right now. Message received.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    The very first comic book I ever bought was Marvel’s What If? #15: “What If Nova Had been Four Other People”. I still have the issue. The cover is ripped in several places, the back page is missing, and the print is smeared from constant re-reading, but it’s safely in a mylar bag. I don’t expect that it’s worth much in its current condition, but I don’t care, as I don’t plan on selling it. I have several hundred comic books stashed away in a box in my parent’s basement, all of them wr The very first comic book I ever bought was Marvel’s What If? #15: “What If Nova Had been Four Other People”. I still have the issue. The cover is ripped in several places, the back page is missing, and the print is smeared from constant re-reading, but it’s safely in a mylar bag. I don’t expect that it’s worth much in its current condition, but I don’t care, as I don’t plan on selling it. I have several hundred comic books stashed away in a box in my parent’s basement, all of them wrapped in mylar bags. Some of them even have cardboard backing for extra protection. At one point in my life I might have considered selling them to make some money. Several comics I own I know are worth close to a thousand dollars. I’m glad that I didn’t sell them. I hope to someday bequeath them to my daughter, who is now almost 3 years old. I hope to someday, when she’s old enough to appreciate it, take her to a comic book store and set her loose. I hope to see the same sense of wonder and excitement and joy on my daughter’s face when she buys her first comic book that I had when I picked up What If? #15 off the newsstand. Not everyone gets the attraction to comic books, and that’s okay. It’s always been a niche item. For decades it was primarily school-age boys who bought and read them. Girls didn’t buy a lot of comic books mainly because girls, as a whole, were underrepresented in comic books. Until All Star Comics #8 in December 1942---the first appearance of Wonder Woman---there had never really been any female superheroes. I don’t know the statistics, but I’m fairly certain that boys and girls probably read comics in equal numbers today. Unlike the comic books of just 20 years ago, comics today aren’t even just for kids anymore. I would hazard a guess that just as many adults read comic books as kids today. The term “comic books” is still in use, but it is no longer de rigueur. The politically correct term is “graphic novel”. In some cases, like Art Speigelman’s classic “Maus”, the term is appropriate: these are extremely well-written novels in graphic art form. They are a brilliant artistic amalgamation of the literary and visual arts. But, comic books have always been about that. Okay, so maybe “Spiderman” or “Batman” wasn’t particularly great literature per se, but they often told age-old stories of heroes and villains, good and evil. They were morality tales featuring men in spandex. The editors of Best American Comics 2010 (Jessica Abel and Matt Madden) could probably tell you the very first comic book they ever bought. The guest editor, Neil Gaiman, needs no introduction, really. His “Sandman” series was, and still is, my favorite comic book series of all times. I don’t envy their job; although, in a sense, I do. Absolutely. They get to read every single comic book published in a given year and pick out the best ones. Okay, so it’s very subjective, and I’m sure many fans of “Deadpool”, “The Walking Dead”, or “Saga” are pissed as hell that a particular issue didn’t make it into the book, but that’s to be expected. The thing that’s amazing is how much is out there. Even more amazing: how much this stuff is finally getting its due recognition as great art. Crumb is actually being exhibited in art museums, for fuck’s sake. That’s awesome. I know this isn’t much of a review. It’s more of a gushing love letter to comic books. It’s a nostalgic lamentation of the loss of my childhood, but it’s also an exuberant praise of an amazing art form that I can’t wait to share with my daughter when she’s old enough.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chibineko

    One thing is absolutely certain. Comics are more than just ink & paper, a source of superheroes & villains, or a way to amuse children. Comics can appeal to all audiences & contain all sorts of plotlines, from funny to sad to the strange. In the 2010 collection of the Best American Comics anthology, we get to see 25 comics (some of which come from larger works) that run almost the full gamut of reader emotions. The comics collected in this volume range from the truly bizar One thing is absolutely certain. Comics are more than just ink & paper, a source of superheroes & villains, or a way to amuse children. Comics can appeal to all audiences & contain all sorts of plotlines, from funny to sad to the strange. In the 2010 collection of the Best American Comics anthology, we get to see 25 comics (some of which come from larger works) that run almost the full gamut of reader emotions. The comics collected in this volume range from the truly bizarre The Night of Your life to the Hurricane Katrina comic A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge. Along with these comics there are also ones that have gained quite a bit of widespread media attention, such as the excerpts from Crumb's The Book of Genesis & O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe. There is truly something here for just about every audience. Rather than list each comic, I'm going to highlight a few of the ones that I personally liked the most. All of the comics were incredibly well done & Gaiman (the celebrity editor for the book) did a fine job of collecting & organizing the set- it is just that listing them all would take up too much space. My two favorites of the book had to be Asterios Polyp & The Night of Your Life, with A.D. coming up as a close third. The Asterios Polyp excerpt had such a wonderfully fun art style that allowed artist Mazzucchelli to shift from humorous to lighthearted to sadder scenes. He isn't nailed down to any one specific style- I was pleased to see that just as each character had their own personality, the art styles also differed. The Night of Your Life was another of my favorites. In it the artist Reklaw illustrates various different dreams, each with their own surreal stories. The artwork was wonderful, but I especially loved how Reklaw was able to bring each dream to life without making the dream dull or too strange to relate to or understand in some format. That's a feat that is no doubt incredibly difficult, yet Reklaw manages to make it look easy. I also enjoyed A.D. as well as the 9-11 based story The Alcoholic, both managing to entertain as well as pull at our emotions. With A.D. I was able to feel worried for the two men trapped in the flood, refusing to leave everything they own behind & it made me wonder what I would have done, if I were in their shoes. I also enjoyed having my heart broken by The Alcoholic, an excerpt set during 9-11, with the main character having to not only figure out how to cope with such a traumatic event but to also help another deal with the loss of her husband. Not all of the stories were my cup of tea, but I could really feel the emotions behind each one. I loved how the artwork & storytelling styles changed with each tale. This is not only a book to collect but something that you lend out to friends so they can learn to appreciate how varied the world of comics really is. (ARC provided by NetGalley)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Seán

    When it comes to latter-day cool kid comics, you might be like this reader. You enjoy the occasional graphic novel but usually encounter only those few titles that, by dint of their genius (artistic or marketing), bubble up to the top of the mainstream heap. A fan, but no fanboy. Although I don't know if TBAC: 2010 has been curated to the exacting taste of the diehard fiend, the book certainly succeeds as an anthology for the casual fan or weekend enthusiast. Mostly favoring independents When it comes to latter-day cool kid comics, you might be like this reader. You enjoy the occasional graphic novel but usually encounter only those few titles that, by dint of their genius (artistic or marketing), bubble up to the top of the mainstream heap. A fan, but no fanboy. Although I don't know if TBAC: 2010 has been curated to the exacting taste of the diehard fiend, the book certainly succeeds as an anthology for the casual fan or weekend enthusiast. Mostly favoring independents over big boy publishers, Neil Gaiman has collated a tremendous range of work, pulling in stuff from fairly obscure writers and artists but also heavy hitters like R. Crumb and the Brothers Hernandez. The selected work has been arrayed like a kaleidoscope of story and aesthetic, from cutesy alt-weekly strips that almost verge on lame to lush figurative art that could only be rendered in this bastard medium, day-glo to ash, one-note jokes to the all but inexpressible. It probably doesn't matter if you've got a Peter Bagge tattoo or haven't geeked out on comics since grammar school, my bet is you'll find things to your liking. The Dope: The snippet from Lilli Carre's The Lagoon is so entrancing even impoverished fellows will be tempted to rush off to cop. Seemingly inexhaustible, Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Company hits everything on my checklist: gorgeous color, intricate, geometric precision, bizarre stories, and generally throwback aesthetic--it's so, so good. And even if you saw bits of R. Crumb's Bible book in the Times, you'll still marvel at the Genesis excerpt here. It's like Larry Gonick's brilliance turned up to incandescent. Also, props always to Ben Katchor. The Chaff: At the risk of being kicked out the hipster clubhouse, the weakest selections were (1) the dozen or so strips from James Kochalka's American Elf; and (2) the few pages from Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe. While I can appreciate the concept of the former, i.e., indie-comic-strip-as-diary, I found the selections boring and visually uninteresting. As to the latter, Scott Pilgrim's inclusion felt obligatory insofar as O'Malley's repurposed manga appears to be heavily character-dependent and thus doesn't translate well in an abridged format. Also, try as I might, I don't even really see the point of the thing.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John

    Collection of comics as selected by 2010 editor Neil Gaiman. Love the concept of this book/series but I had a couple of minor qualms: one being the fact that many of the selections were excerpts from longer works. So no matter how great, let's say, Chapter 7 of a certain graphic novel may be, reading it in isolation (in the context of this collection) is an incomplete experience. Then compound that with the fact that many of the other selections are also excerpts and it begins to color the entir Collection of comics as selected by 2010 editor Neil Gaiman. Love the concept of this book/series but I had a couple of minor qualms: one being the fact that many of the selections were excerpts from longer works. So no matter how great, let's say, Chapter 7 of a certain graphic novel may be, reading it in isolation (in the context of this collection) is an incomplete experience. Then compound that with the fact that many of the other selections are also excerpts and it begins to color the entire reading experience. To be fair, maybe that's a reflection of how comics are being produced these days, but it still definitely impacts the collection. Secondly, some of the more time-sensitive pieces can feel a little dated. This I guess has to do with the production schedule, but just to give an example, one of the pieces relates to the George W. Bush presidency. So reading it in 2011 doesn't exactly feel current. That said, there were definitely some comics I really liked. And they were ... The Alcoholic by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel Deep Space by John Pham Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli Acme Novelty Library by Chris Ware Lobster Run by Fred Chao Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley So, overall a good book -- and one I'm likely to check out from other years.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Malbadeen

    Yummy, yummy, yummy!!! I love the colors of the coverr, I love the feel of the cover, I love the dimensions, I love the contents! I was surprised/pleased that I even enjoyed a comic about robots (a topic I usually file under not-my-thing along with vampires and zombies). I also loooooooved the excerpts from Asterios Polyp (especially the last 2 pages, 106-107). And Chris Ware - wow! always wow. And Jesse Reklaw - yah because he's from Portla Yummy, yummy, yummy!!! I love the colors of the coverr, I love the feel of the cover, I love the dimensions, I love the contents! I was surprised/pleased that I even enjoyed a comic about robots (a topic I usually file under not-my-thing along with vampires and zombies). I also loooooooved the excerpts from Asterios Polyp (especially the last 2 pages, 106-107). And Chris Ware - wow! always wow. And Jesse Reklaw - yah because he's from Portland and yah, because I love The Night of Your Life and was so happy to see pieces of it in this book. All this yum and love would score this book 5 in mind alone but add to it that it's from my best friend, Sarah, that puts up with me and makes me laugh and listens to me bitch and be unreasonable and tolerates my nerdiness (not the fashionable nerdy either, the "pot-makes-me-paranoid" kind of nerdy), and laughs at me as well as with me. So it's really a 5+ because when I pick it up, I'll get all warm and cozy remembering all that.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    High 3 stars! For the most part, I enjoyed the majority of the comics in this compilation. As I haven't read many (any) of them, I can't compare the quality of Neil Gaiman's selections. But it's Neil Gaiman! My only two gripes were that quite a few comics had rather tiny text and that some comics were a bit difficult for me to tell what panel reading order was intended. Having said that, my favorites were: Gabriel Bell's Mixed Up Files James Kochalka's strips John Pham's Deep Space

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gaby

    A compilation of the best comics of 2010. If you are looking your a good graphic novel to read, this is your book. It has recommendations, and lots of images, of the comics that were outstanding. It was a good thing that they included some parts of the comics, at first I thought it was only to be plain text. I recommended it you need advices for new comics to read, and want to see a little about them first.

  13. 4 out of 5

    A

    Take-homes: 1) I need to read Asterious Polyp right away 2) Stuff by Lilli Carre & Lauren Weinstein & Theo Ellsworth, same deal 3) Come on, Chris Ware. The stuff about the dog on page 145? Do you, like, dream up the most tragic, heartrending moments possible and write your stories around them? What am I saying, of course you do. I still can't let myself think about this particular moment for too long if I don't want my day ruined. Anthologies!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nance Cedar

    Any collection edited by Neil Gaiman is bound to be unique. This collection doesn't disappoint. Only a few were by writers/artists I recognized. Many were 'slice of life' stories, but some were truly bizarre.

  15. 5 out of 5

    patty

    Standouts were excerpts from "The Flood" from A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld, "The Bank" from Punk Rock and Trailer Parks by Derf, and "Trinity" from Taddle Creek by Michael Cho. Includes an excerpt from The Book Of Genesis by R. Crumb, which is an excellent book as well.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    I really loved some of the stories and couldn't get into a few of them. The ones that are great are great enough to override the ones that didn't appeal to me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ian Coutts

    I love these anthologies because they expose you to a range artists with different styles and preoccupations. This one had artists I knew -- Crumb and Chris Ware -- as well as people I had never consciously seen before. I'm glad I came across Derf and Fred Chao, to name just two. Why oh why do these stories seem better than most modern novels?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ananya

    A good collection. A few of the snippets didn't seem do justice without the whole comic. Did find some memorable pages here.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    I liked 2010, good job Neil! It's full of the odd/strange/weird/dark/bizarre/fantastic and also the whimsical/cute/highly entertaining. There are some weird, forgettable, background stories, sure, but overall, comma, this is full of great little stories, and, more importantly, comma, great excerpts of even better stories you should read in full. True Rating: 3.9 Stars My favourites, in order as presented (Note: just describing the stories at all is a mild spoiler. If you would rather be s/>My/>True I liked 2010, good job Neil! It's full of the odd/strange/weird/dark/bizarre/fantastic and also the whimsical/cute/highly entertaining. There are some weird, forgettable, background stories, sure, but overall, comma, this is full of great little stories, and, more importantly, comma, great excerpts of even better stories you should read in full. True Rating: 3.9 Stars My favourites, in order as presented (Note: just describing the stories at all is a mild spoiler. If you would rather be surprised, don't read ahead!) 1. "Omega the Unknown" (Excerpt) -- Lethem, Dalyrymple and Panter - This story is Kwazy Kakes. Super weird. 2. "Flytrap" (from "Drop-In") -- Dave Lapp - A short comic featuring a powerful moment between an at-risk youth and his teacher 3. "Mixed up Files (from Book Forum) -- Gabrielle Bell - A short, sweet mother/daughter tale featuring a love of books 4. "The Alcoholic" (Excerpt) -- Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel - Probably one of my favourite Graphic Novels. Full of brilliant observations and a lovely style. Such pathos and Louis C.K.-style inclusions, such as "Take me with you!" on page 82 (of this anthology). 5. "Deep Space" (from Sublife) -- John Pham - Fun, weird N' short. Kind of 50s Sci-Fi / original Star Trek, in contemporary comics witty parody form. 6. "Asterios Polyp" (Excerpt) -- David Mazzucchelli - This is supposed to be one of the greatest graphic novels ever, and I can see why. Captivating story and style. I must read the full version! 7. "Acme Novelty Library" (Excerpt) -- Chris Ware - Great! An aging nerd -- once a late-blooming virgin young man -- picks up an old sci-fi book and remembers his sexual encounters and tumble into love with a very experienced office secretary. His sad and beautiful childhood is also explored, in a memorable artistic style. Some of the panels could be laid out in a less-confusing fashion, and maybe the story is a bit too pathetic, but otherwise, wow! 8. "The Bank" (from "Punk Rock and Trailer Parks") -- Derf (Backderf) - This is a good time. The Clash visit a modest club in Akron, Ohio after releasing "London Calling", where they are entertained by the venerable Otto. Semi-biographical, I think. 9. "The Book of Genesis" (Excerpt, from The New Yorker) -- R Crumb - Neat. Crumb makes me want to read the book of Genesis -- or at least his version! 10. "Lobster Run" (from Johnny Hiro) -- Fred Chao - Fun, cute and well done. 11. "Ex Communication" (from "Book of Boy Trouble, Volume 2") -- Todd Brower and Steve MacIsaac - Two gay exes meet at a café. Realistic and aaawwwkwaaard. 12. "The Flood" (Excerpt, from "A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge") -- Josh Neufeld - Not amazing, but makes me want to read it and read more about the New Orleans flood and Hurricane Katrina

  20. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    I'm a huge comic book fan. Ever since I got my hands on watchmen, v for vendetta and, of course, the sandman series, I was hooked. I devoured comics, got entranced in stories, even began illustrating some on my own. Naturally, I wanted to read this book. "Wow, an anthology of hand picked 'best of' comics ... what could go wrong," I thought - especially since Neil Gaiman selected his list of favorites. "I couldn't wait any longer. Putting other books on hold, I finally caved and starte I'm a huge comic book fan. Ever since I got my hands on watchmen, v for vendetta and, of course, the sandman series, I was hooked. I devoured comics, got entranced in stories, even began illustrating some on my own. Naturally, I wanted to read this book. "Wow, an anthology of hand picked 'best of' comics ... what could go wrong," I thought - especially since Neil Gaiman selected his list of favorites. "I couldn't wait any longer. Putting other books on hold, I finally caved and started this last night - and what a letdown." That was my first response to this collection. I do have to admit, though, that it did grow on me. The comics appearing towards the end far surpass the one's from the beginning. Because I've had such mixed feelings about this book - from 'that was okay' to 'I never NOT finished something but I'm giving up on this one' with the occasional impressed 'wow' - I feel that it's important to review this anthology piece by piece. #1. The Comic with the robots - Unrated, Unfinished - I was about three or four pages in and realized that I will never be able to hold enough attention for this story - let alone actually figure out what the hell it was talking about. I could not finish this comic. #2. The Ultra-Political Gallery - 0 out of 5 stars - "Oh cool, a couple walking through a gallery," I thought. "There's some promise," I though. WRONG. Look - I'm not super political to begin with - I'm fair, I listen to both sides, and I don't lean either left or right. That being said, why was there a need to be SO political in one tiny little comic? Come on, you really don't have to go there. The best of 2010? Nope ... sorry. This just made the worst list in my opinion. #3. The comic titled flytrap was okay. Not negative, not positive ... Okay. Nothing that made it stand out. #4. Mixed Up Files (or as I remembered it as, The Girl Whose Mother Read) - 2 out of 5 stars - It held your attention okay, the story was okay. At first all I remembered about this was that it was the only one so far that was "okay". Looking back, this one sticks out as one of the best in this book. The mother’s response of giving her daughter phone numbers was such a poignant point of this story. #5. The lagoon. This one was okay. It was something that, if I ever end up with a copy, I would read although it was nothing I would have set out intentionally to read. I am intrigued, though, in the woman's story. #6. The Daily Grand Prix -&- Forbidden Rooms. Out of the two, The Daily Grand Prix was the preferred, although neither was favored. #7. Those baby cartoons - 1 out of 5 stars - this was grossly (for lack of a better word) cute. Geeze ... A little too sappy for some one who isn't a parent of a newborn. Norman Eight's Left Arm - 3/5 The Flood - 4/5 Ex-Communication - 4/5 Heard Some Distant Music - 5/5 More updates to come.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karissa

    I received a digital copy of this book through Netgalley. I enjoyed this book and thought it did a great job of capturing a broad range of comics. Some of the comics are politically or historically significant and some of them are just plain fun. There is a nice forward by Gaiman explaining how he choose these comics to be the "best". Most of these comics center around life in general but some of them are sci-fi or super hero comics too. I really enjoyed some of the comics that gave a I received a digital copy of this book through Netgalley. I enjoyed this book and thought it did a great job of capturing a broad range of comics. Some of the comics are politically or historically significant and some of them are just plain fun. There is a nice forward by Gaiman explaining how he choose these comics to be the "best". Most of these comics center around life in general but some of them are sci-fi or super hero comics too. I really enjoyed some of the comics that gave a perspective on American history. There was a rendition of events from Katrina flooding New Orleans in "The Flood" and one that almost has me in tears called "The Alcoholic" in which the day of the Twin Tower bombing is lived, you see some of the lives that were lost and what people had to go through that horrible day, it was seen in a way I never saw it from afar. These were probably my two favorites from a historical perspective Then there were the funny ones like "Norman Eight's Left Arm" in which two robots make a bet and one looses his arm and "Lobster Run" which gives a somewhat serious but kind of funny look into a young foreign couple trying to scape by in New York City. I also enjoyed the short strips from James Kochalken which gave a humorous look into pregnancy and parenthood. Additionally there were the strange ones: like the eerily humorous "The Lagoon" and (the one I most related too) "Mixed Up Files" about a book obsessed mother. Of course there was a great super hero comic called "Omega the Unknown" which was kind of your classic super hero comic but more screwed up and just plain strange but oh so entertaining. There were a couple that I just skimmed through because I didn't find them to be all that interesting, but the majority of comics included were great. All in all an excellent book. Comics from all genres and tons of drawing types represented. If you are a comics fan but have been left in the dust by the tons and tons of new comics being released then you should pick this up. If you are someone who is interested in comics but doesn't know where to start, pick this up. It gives a great overview of the wide range of superb comics out there.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I wish that I had gotten into graphic novels as a kid. I leafed through Archie and Blondie at a very young age with the expectation that I would roll on the floor laughing. It went over my head. I loved books with graphical illustrations, but I had no concept of the graphic novel. So today... I still have no concept of the graphic novel, but I am fascinated by it. What potential for artistic expression! But here's what really happened: the Xbox game Max Paine. Max Paine is a first person game wh I wish that I had gotten into graphic novels as a kid. I leafed through Archie and Blondie at a very young age with the expectation that I would roll on the floor laughing. It went over my head. I loved books with graphical illustrations, but I had no concept of the graphic novel. So today... I still have no concept of the graphic novel, but I am fascinated by it. What potential for artistic expression! But here's what really happened: the Xbox game Max Paine. Max Paine is a first person game where the back-story of a renegade detective, who is a threat to his corrupt department, is splayed out in comic strips during scene transitions. For me, it was surreal as I played the first person in this perfect nior graphical setting. Ever since playing Max Paine 10 years ago, I have had an interest in the graphic novel. Unfortunately, with The Best American Comics 2010 as evidence, I have not been won over. I understand these are Neil Gaiman's choice of novels from 2010. I also understand that he picked his favorite abbreviations of these novels so that he could feature more artists. I think I came in too cold, too inexperienced for Gaiman's level of appreciation. I am going with three stars, because I did enjoy some of the stories and artwork, but mostly because of the precarious curiosity that I indulged by purchasing and reading this nicely packaged collection of graphic novels. Last weekend, Oct 5, 2013, I spent the day at Wordstock: Portland's Festival of Words and leafed through Craig Thompson's Habibi while listening to him speak. With all of the competition at the festival, my bank account was too low to cough up $35 for this beautifully rendered novel. So my time for the graphic novel genre to break through the competition of all of the other genres on my list, is yet to come.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kirstie

    If you're like me, you're utterly exhausted in the harshness of winter. After I survive work, I do about two hours of hardcore reading each day at the gym and then at night, when I'm taking a bath so hot it scalds my skin, I like to read comic books. It usually helps me laugh and gives me a little perspective on things. That said, some of these comics are about very serious matters such as 911 and WWII. They greatly vary in their divulging of politics, dreams, personal and world histo If you're like me, you're utterly exhausted in the harshness of winter. After I survive work, I do about two hours of hardcore reading each day at the gym and then at night, when I'm taking a bath so hot it scalds my skin, I like to read comic books. It usually helps me laugh and gives me a little perspective on things. That said, some of these comics are about very serious matters such as 911 and WWII. They greatly vary in their divulging of politics, dreams, personal and world histories, human relationships, outer space, and even religion. Most of these didn't make me laugh at all but had a much more serious intent. At the same time, Gaiman did a great job compiling excerpts of graphic novels and comics as well as from a wide variety of these writers and illustrators themselves in terms of fame. You will find excerpts from Jonathan Ames' The Alcoholic, Chris Ware's Acme Novelty Library, Peter Kuper's Ceci N'est Pas une Comic, R. Crumb's The Book of Genesis, Lethem's Omega the Unknown and, perhaps the most famous right now, Brian Lee O' Malley's Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe. At the same time, there were quite a few comics I didn't know and perhaps my favorite of the whole collection was Derf's The Bank excerpt from Punk Rock and Trailer Parks about a guy who works at a small club and gets to take The Clash around. This collection is recommended for those who don't know who to look to before making a commitment to buy and read an entire graphic novel and, while not all of these grabbed me, I did enjoy many of them. I'd be really interesting to see collections of best comics from other countries as well. If anyone has any recommendations for me I'd love to hear them.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    The Best American Comics was way out of my comfort zone. I have tried a comic book a long time ago and I did find it fascinating and wonderful to read. I thought this comic book would contain some comic stories, but the main focus was on the pictures. Therefore it felt more like an art book. And some people love art and some people just don’t. But what is art? I will explain this by giving you an example. A teacher at college once asked us, what is art? Is it a painting, a drawin The Best American Comics was way out of my comfort zone. I have tried a comic book a long time ago and I did find it fascinating and wonderful to read. I thought this comic book would contain some comic stories, but the main focus was on the pictures. Therefore it felt more like an art book. And some people love art and some people just don’t. But what is art? I will explain this by giving you an example. A teacher at college once asked us, what is art? Is it a painting, a drawing, a sculpture? Do you have to feel something, an emotion when you look at it or are touching it? People define art differently. Then he said, I once went to a museum of modern art. There was this photo with a bed on it. Around the bed where clothes, a teddy bear, a bunch of books, basically it looked like a messy bedroom. People said it was art. But is it art? On a Sunday morning when I don’t feel like making up my bed and it looks the same as the picture, is it art? I don’t have the answer to that question, but I do think that the pictures that are in the comic book are art. They are lively, beautiful and very colourful. Even with no words to describe what it is and what it means it will make you think about it. So yes I am one of those people who love art and this book was wonderful. Then why give it three hearts? Because I missed the comics. I wanted to read something and delve into it. This is not that kind of comic book that I thought it would be. And even though the pictures where beautiful, I wanted it to be a comic book and not an art book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Akiva

    Obviously, some were better than others. There are a few excerpts I might seek out the full versions of, but it's probably more useful in that it got me to read comics I never would have picked up otherwise. Like the Chris Ware comic(s): I've seen his books at the library and flipped through them, but they're so dense and nothing about them managed to capture my attention. I read the entire Acme Novelty Library short story, and by the end I could see why Art Spiegelman likes his work so much (did I men Obviously, some were better than others. There are a few excerpts I might seek out the full versions of, but it's probably more useful in that it got me to read comics I never would have picked up otherwise. Like the Chris Ware comic(s): I've seen his books at the library and flipped through them, but they're so dense and nothing about them managed to capture my attention. I read the entire Acme Novelty Library short story, and by the end I could see why Art Spiegelman likes his work so much (did I mention I saw Art Spiegelman talk recently? because I did; it was pretty awesome), and while I still have no desire to read the rest at least I have some idea what his work is now. The most memorable one was Norman Eight's Left Arm. It's also the one that held together best as a single story, so much so that when I went back to find the name I was surprised to find that it's also an excerpt. Some others that were successful as stand-alones which I also liked: Lobster Run, The Alcoholic. Ex Communication was self-contained but also hard to follow, somehow---I found myself having to concentrate and read panels multiple times to figure out what was going on. The Flood gave me the strongest "wow, I really want to read the rest of this!" feeling. Scott Pilgrim is obnoxious on many levels, and reading a disjointed scene from it did nothing to change my opinion, but it probably does count as influential. Or something.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sean Pagaduan

    As a rule, I don't usually read comics. I usually do heavy literature. David Foster Wallace, Donald Barthelme, Thomas Bernhard. I ran across a copy of Best American Comics 2011 in a bookstore and fell in love with one of the comics. Unfortunately, Phoenix public libraries don't have the 2011 collection yet. I had to settle for 2010. I may be preaching to the choir here, but these are not comics in the sense that they're funny, or they go for cheap shots, or they have cheap emotions. T As a rule, I don't usually read comics. I usually do heavy literature. David Foster Wallace, Donald Barthelme, Thomas Bernhard. I ran across a copy of Best American Comics 2011 in a bookstore and fell in love with one of the comics. Unfortunately, Phoenix public libraries don't have the 2011 collection yet. I had to settle for 2010. I may be preaching to the choir here, but these are not comics in the sense that they're funny, or they go for cheap shots, or they have cheap emotions. These are fairly sophisticated comics with fairly sophisticated messages. My personal favorites were "The Lagoon (Hiding in the Water)", "Asterios Polyp (Excerpt)", "Acme Novelty Library (Excerpt)", "Ex Communication", and "Norman Eight's Left Arm". I skipped maybe one or two comics here, because I just couldn't get into them (the historical ones). The collection gets four stars for showing a range of artistic styles that have compelling stories behind them. The collection misses out on a fifth star, because a lot of the comics featured played off of the same themes of consumerism and/or mechanization of society. It will be interesting to see how comics develop as an art form. This collection is probably a great guide for those new to the genre, who want to read serious comics.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I recently became interested in graphic novels, and in an effort to discover more about the genre, I picked up this anthology. I had read various cartoon themed comics as a kid, and was looking for more after reading a few graphic novels that I found in a book store. I chose this collection because I had enjoyed other "Best American" anthologies (e.g., The Best American Non-Required Reading and The Best American Short Stories) and really wanted to see what else was available. This is a nice, har I recently became interested in graphic novels, and in an effort to discover more about the genre, I picked up this anthology. I had read various cartoon themed comics as a kid, and was looking for more after reading a few graphic novels that I found in a book store. I chose this collection because I had enjoyed other "Best American" anthologies (e.g., The Best American Non-Required Reading and The Best American Short Stories) and really wanted to see what else was available. This is a nice, hardcover collection with snippets from various authors and different topics. I didn't love every piece in this collection, but I found a lot of new artists and stories to check out. If you are already well-versed in the world of comics and graphic novels, you've probably already seen a lot of what is offered here. If you're a new comer like me, or just want to see what you may have missed over the past year, I suggest picking this up. After reading this anthology, I also ordered the previous years' collections to find even more works that I may not have discovered otherwise. I can't wait for the 2011 collection!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I was pretty disappointed with this collection. I saw Neil Gaiman's name on it and had to check it out, but it just did not live up to the "best" title to me at all. Several of the selections are political, which isn't my thing when it comes to comics, and I was lost a lot of the time because I haven't read the issues that precede most of the series that are represented. Also, I just didn't like some of the comics. I felt like, in general, the book is sort of a downer. I'm okay with having some I was pretty disappointed with this collection. I saw Neil Gaiman's name on it and had to check it out, but it just did not live up to the "best" title to me at all. Several of the selections are political, which isn't my thing when it comes to comics, and I was lost a lot of the time because I haven't read the issues that precede most of the series that are represented. Also, I just didn't like some of the comics. I felt like, in general, the book is sort of a downer. I'm okay with having some darker stuff, but I would have enjoyed it more if there had been more fun and humorous material as well. That's not to say that I hated all of it. There's a Scott Pilgrim excerpt and I love those, but I've already read them all anyway (And isn't Bryan Lee O'Malley Canadian? Maybe "Best American Comics" refers to North America, not the United States). I also enjoyed a few others, particularly one involving robots and gnomes. However, were I given the chance to go back in time, I would probably not read this collection.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    An excellent sampling of comics that truly display the diversity and power of the medium. Gaiman points out in his introduction that for a long time comics and graphic novels have been dismissed as repetitive, simple minded, kids stuff, but recently the industry has begun to notice that there are plenty of real artists creating important works of art/literature and they have been around for a while with relativly little acclaim. This book gives the reader snippets of what Gaiman and t An excellent sampling of comics that truly display the diversity and power of the medium. Gaiman points out in his introduction that for a long time comics and graphic novels have been dismissed as repetitive, simple minded, kids stuff, but recently the industry has begun to notice that there are plenty of real artists creating important works of art/literature and they have been around for a while with relativly little acclaim. This book gives the reader snippets of what Gaiman and the other editors feel are the best (and perhaps most overlooked) writers, and artists of current graphic fiction. There is something for everyone within the pages of this collection. And while you won't find any caped crusaders or tights wearing wonders, this book could introduce you to a new kind of hero, some that aren't quite as far fetched (and some that are even more far fetched). My favorites from the collection include: The Alcoholic - written by Jonathan Ames art by Dean Haspeil, Punk Rock & Trailer Parks - Derf, and R. Crumb's adaptation of The Book of Genesis.

  30. 5 out of 5

    stormhawk

    This is an excellent retrospective of American Comics from this year. I had expected a lot of text and a couple of panels here and there, but rather it's a book chock-full of art, both color and black and white. Rather than a page here or there, you get to immerse yourself in the comics, some presented in excerpts, some in full. It is worth buying even if you're just curious about R. Crumb's Genesis ... but please, stay for the rest. The art is as varied as the subject matter ... full color, lin This is an excellent retrospective of American Comics from this year. I had expected a lot of text and a couple of panels here and there, but rather it's a book chock-full of art, both color and black and white. Rather than a page here or there, you get to immerse yourself in the comics, some presented in excerpts, some in full. It is worth buying even if you're just curious about R. Crumb's Genesis ... but please, stay for the rest. The art is as varied as the subject matter ... full color, line drawings, nearly stick figures, scratchboard, many styles are represented, some polished, some raw. The subjects are as varied as the artists, "Trinity" looks at the Manhattan Project (a personal favorite of mine from the book), an excerpt from "The Flood" gives us a street-level view of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, a pair of robots bargain over a teapot, The Creature from the Black Lagoon sings, and other unimaginable things are imagined in these pages. Good stuff. (read in Galley)

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