Hello Comical Comrades,
It's almost 2014 so I have succumbed to peer pressure and put together a best-of-the-year list. Trying to rank creative works in order of goodness is sort of vulgar and stupid. People like lists more than they like comics though, so here is a list of ten good things that came out this year. I would tell you to buy these books for people for Christmas, but Christmas is over so I guess you'll just have to buy them as gifts to yourself, assuming no one loved you enough to get them for you.
Anya came out of left field with her first widely available graphic novel and it's great. She makes work that is psychedelic, pretty, and unlike anything else happening right now. It's a shame that this is one of PictureBox's final releases, but at least this great publisher went out at the top of its game.
John Pham's been doing a lot of good work for a long while but it's clear that he set out to astound everyone when he made this comic. The cover is beautiful and the whole thing was printed on a risograph. It’s full of ambitious drawings, as well as a whole other comic that is stapled into the main comic. The attention to detail in the new Epoxy makes it one of the best independent comics I have ever seen and one of the best objects I have ever owned.
Space Face Books
Remember Simon? Sure you do. He's still doing great stuff.
The Manara Library Volume 5: The Further Adventures of Giuseppe Bergman
Dark Horse has done such a nice job on the Manara series. This book features Milo Manara, who is a comics super-genius who's at his weirdest with the second Giuseppe Bergman comic.
Michael DeForge is the closest thing we have to a new Dan Clowes in terms of his ability to make each issue of his series special and perfect. In 20 years each installment of Lose will be a coveted art object that'll easily fetch for $60 to $90.
Prison Pit 5
If you don't buy every Johnny Ryan book right now then fuck you. Johnny Ryan consistently delivers the goods. No need to explain further.
My Dirty Dumb Eyes
Drawn and Quarterly
I'm guessing that this book is going to be on more of other people's "top ten comics of 2013" lists than any other. Lisa Hanawalt is great. My Dirty Dumb Eyes collects some of her best previously uncollected stories, articles, and comics into one nice little thing.
Blobby Boys is a comic about a gang of punks made out of green slime who go around doing bad shit. Everything about it feels very carefully designed and considered, on top of being hilarious. Also, I wrote the introduction for this book, so if you're enjoying this list you have that to look forward to.
"'Tain't The Meat… It's the Humanity" and Other Stories
Jack Davis is one of the most beloved EC artists, so making a book of just his EC horror work seemed like a no-brainer. Somehow it took 50 years, but it's finally here.
The Adventures of Jodelle
Guy Peellaert and Pierre Bartier
Everyone should have this book regardless of their level interest in comics. Even if you don't give a shit about drawings that tell stories, you'll learn to love the comics medium through this book. This is a perfect and beautiful poster-art style French comic from the 60s about sex and gender issues and pop culture and stuff by some sophisticated Frenchos. You really can't do better than this book in terms of content or presentation. This is the best comic of 2013.
So that's my top ten list. Feel free to get really mad at what is and isn't on it. I stand by my list. I would like to give an honorable mention to Heather Benjamin who just generally ruled 2013 and made a book that is hard to get in America.