Minicomics, short stories, and other non-book/non-web comics from the past year. This is a hard category to select for as I didn’t keep a list of every comic I read this past year, just the pamphlets and books. So I had to go digging around in the closet (where the minis are) and the shelves to try to find selections made or read in 2011 (a little of each). I’ve linked each to the artist’s website (where possible), as well as to other sites where the comic is for sale (if at all and not at the artist’s site).
“Blast Furnace Funnies” by Frank Santoro (2011): This tabloid-sized comic by Frank is probably the best comic he’s ever done. It’s a very personal work about Pittsburgh and his relation to the city. This isn’t so much a story as a monologue. Almost devoid of figures, the comic is visually focused on the geography, landscapes and buildings of Pittsburgh, printed in two-color yellow and purple. A really lovely comic. You can get it from Picturebox.
King-Cat #72 by John Porcellino (2011): I always love the new King-Cat, but two stories in this issue really put it into the realm of favorites. “Christmas Eve” is one of those almost wordless walking comics that Porcellino does (like my favorite of his: “Psalm”). It’s beautiful. “Under the Stars” is a brief meditative two-pager that just really struck me.
“Black Wall” by Aidan Koch (Kaugummi, 2011): This small 20 page booklet from a small French publisher is a series of single page images showing rooms and some cats. It’s hard to call it a narrative, but it is clearly sequential in nature. Pencilled images mix with ink washes. Images, shapes, and marks repeat in different panels/locations… It is a mysterious little book, but striking in its way.
“Cinéma” #1-3 by Julie Delporte (2011): I really love these tiny 8 page color minis that take three films as a… not really theme, but a point of connection. The images are in colored pencils and are spread across the pages without concern for panel divisions. The text is the primary structural element of the comics with the images acting in supplement. (Not sure if you can still get these.)
“Community” and “Calf” by Chris Day (2010): These are both from last year, but I only got them at MoCCA this year after enjoying Day’s work in the Closed Caption Comics #9 anthology. Both of these minis look like some combination of collage and redrawn appropriation, retaining both a certain photographic realism as well as the quality of a hand at work in the drawing. Again, it’s hard to call these narrative, they are more like loose series of images and text that evoke less a story than a mood (and a kind of creepy one at that). (Not sure if you can still get these.)
“This is a Ghost” by Warren Craghead in Ghost Comics (Bare Bones Press, 2009): This anthology is from 2009 but I only read it this year, so it’s on the list. This is a fabulous 14 page comic by Warren, a beautiful example of comics poetry, with a great use of repetition and pacing. See my comments on the anthology and Warren’s piece further down in this post. Looks like you can read the whole anthology for free as a pdf!
“La réduction” by Sébastien Trahan in Lecture à Vue: La Mauvaise Tête Dessine Alto (Colosse, 2010): A lovely and almost abstract, text-heavy story based/adapted/inspired by a novel. The images almost completely avoid character and action in favor of setting, location, mood. I wrote a bit about the story in this post.