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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Graphic Novels
Booklist’s 10 best-reviewed graphic novels of the past 12 months constitute proof positive that the comics medium can handle virtually any kind of fictional and factual content. As they used to say in the comic books, ’nuff sed!
Alias the Cat! By Kim Deitch. 2007. Pantheon, $23 (9780375424311).
Waldo, the evil blue cat that stalks Deitch’s oeuvre, hovers in the wings in this ludicrous and sinister hard-boiled-sleuther parody involving such Deitchian obsessions as silent movies, carnivals, collecting, and little people.
Alice in Sunderland. By Bryan Talbot. 2007. Dark Horse, $29.95 (9781593076733).
From the stage of a theater in a city Lewis Carroll favored, Talbot launches this mind-boggling, full-color, multimedia literary-historical extravaganza that he calls, a la Humpty Dumpty of Looking-Glass Land, “a portmanteau comic.”
All Star Superman 1. By Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. 2007. DC Comics, paper, $19.99 (9781401209148).
Doing DC’s flagship character their way, writer Morrison substitutes knowing intelligence for earlier comics naïveté, and Quitely plays the perfect comic-book artist: subtle or cartoonish as the moment demands, adroit with the action.
The Fun Never Stops! By Drew Friedman. 2007. Fantagraphics, paper, $16.95 (9781560978404).
This collection of 1990s and later work demonstrates that, though he has abandoned the stippling of his classic 1980s stuff, Friedman remains the finest, most excruciatingly mordant, somehow most humane caricaturist going.
Ghost Stories: Essex County, v.2. By Jeff Lemire. 2007. Top Shelf, paper, $14.95 (9781891830945).
Lemire handles line and space, and transitions between present and past, so lyrically and powerfully that this story of two hockey-playing brothers with differing talents and passions for the game is one of the great graphic novels.
The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam. By Ann Marie Fleming. 2007. Riverhead, paper, $14 (9781594482649).
Born in a Chinese village, Fleming’s great-grandfather was a world-class magician who called places on four continents home during his 70 years. Fleming brilliantly illuminates how dramatically international politics affected his life.
My Life in a Jugular Vein: Three More Years of Snakepit Comics. By Ben Snakepit. 2007. Microcosm, paper, $15 (9780978866556).
In musician-artist-slacker Snakepit’s diary comics, the monotony of daily life ultimately seems to be driven by a transcendental mantra: Enjoy the good times; don’t dwell on the bad; live in the moment.
Super Spy. By Matt Kindt. 2007. Top Shelf, paper, $19.95 (9781891830969).
Foiling the German atomic bomb project is the eventually revealed motor of this grimly atmospheric, elliptical, strategically colored espionage epic that rivals the power of the most complex and serious spy novels and films.
Thunderhead Underground Falls. By Joel Orff. 2007. Alternative Comics, paper, $14.95 (9781891867880).
A young man and woman, who met after he had enlisted, spend the winter holidays together where they live (looks like Duluth) before he goes off to basic training—an elemental story that Orff’s largely wordless, expressionist artistry makes classic.
With the Light: Raising an Autistic Child 1. By Keiko Tobe. Tr. by Satsuki Yamashita. 2007. Yen, paper, $14.99 (9780759523562).
Adopting a first-time mother’s perspective, Tobe visually as well as verbally presents the realities of an autistic child’s earliest years—and demonstrates the graphic novel accommodating the most intimately consequential kind of nonfictional topic.
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