It is time for my list of Best Comics I Read in 2007 (not necessarily published in 2007). Something like this is always hard as I tend to forget a lot of stuff. What did I read this year, what did I read last year? It’s easiest to go by what I reviewed or what I’m planning to review and haven’t gotten to yet.
In no particular order, mostly linking to my original reviews (webcomics are linked to the strip itself). If I hadn’t previously reviewed the work then my comments are brief. Maybe someday I’ll write something longer on all of these. Despite a sense of the great time it is for comics publishing, I feel like my list is much less satisfying than last year’s:
Curses by Kevin Huizenga: This is a book from last year, which I didn’t get to read until January. I never did write about it. Not only does it showcase Huizenga’s formal skills, but the narrative blends the banal and the fantastic, non-fiction and fiction, in a way that makes for an engaging read.
The End #1 by Anders Nilsen: My favorite work I’ve seen by Nilsen (I still haven’t read “Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow” though). He mixes a sincere pathos with a certain abstraction of narrative and image that is more effective than one might think.
Trains Are Mint #4 by Oliver East: Can be read in full online. I posted briefly about it here and reviewed some other issues of Trains are Mint here.
Cold Heat 3 and 4 by Frank Santoro and Ben Jones: I reviewed issue one and issue two last year.
Storeyville by Frank Santoro: I haven’t read the new edition of it yet, but I looked through it. Not only the great comic by Santoro in an edition that I’m not afraid to page through (for fear of ripping the old newsprint edition), but the design is wonderful, including a convincing reproduction of the colors of the old edition on sturdier paper.
The Hero’s Life and Death Triumphant by Frederic Coche: I reviewed it back in February. What a strange and disturbingly beautiful work.
Gray Horses by Hope Larson: This one surprised me. I wasn’t expecting much from it, as it has a deceptive simplistic look, yet upon closer examination Larson shows great skill and invention with the comics form and tells a layered narrative that pays with rereading. My review from June.
“Cherchez La Femme” by Becca Taylor in Papercutter 2: A great short comic of appropriated text and image. It came out in 2006, I read it in June. The Papercutter anthology in general has had some good comics appearing in it.
“Wordlessness (on steinberg?)” by Richard Hahn in Windy Corner Magazine 1: Never got around to reviewing this, but Hahn’s comic at the end is a lovely abstract narrative. Austin English’s child-like crayon comics (which are the major portion of the magazine) are unlike anything else. One hopes this magazine starts appearing more often.
xkcd by Randall Munroe: This strip is consistently funny and intriguing using the barest of imagery.
Sin Titulo by Cameron Stewart: A noirish narrative that has me engaged. Stewart’s duotone art is some of the best you’ll find on a webcomic.
Finder by Carla Speed McNeil: Even her pencilled pages are worth reading. I eagerly await the next volume. My review of the last paper volume.
The latter volumes of Tezuka’s Phoenix. I can’t wait to read this whole series again in order.
Perennial Favorites: Jaime Hernandez’s Love and Rockets, John Porcellino’s King-Cat, Jason Lutes’ Berlin (2 issues made it out this year, surely a record!).
Reprints galore: Peanuts and On Stage in particular.
About Comics: Schulz and Peanuts (Despite the controversy I found this biography an engaging read and I loved the way Michaelis integrated the strips into the text), Comic Art 9, Comics Comics, and The System of Comics by Thierry Groensteen.