Monday, 31 December 2012

Best Comics of 2012: part 1: independent comics

That time of year where folks are all doing their end of year lists. I've split mine into two: the 10 best comics published independently and then part 2 tomorrow with the 10 best comic books published by established houses. If you can't wait, however, the full list is up in all its glory over at FPI. The list is not in any particular order. As usual, clicking on the links should lead to places to but and/ or read.


The Monkey in the Basement/ It Doesn’t Exist by Corinne Mucha: I wrote about Mucha being the queen of mini-comics here, do yourself a favour and go buy some. Monkey won her an Ignatz, but I particularly enjoyed It Doesn’t Exist which was more thoughtful in tone.

New Sludge City by Brendan Leach, Retrofit Comics: Box Brown had a stonker of a year with Retrofit Comics, and in an ideal world he would receive recognition of some kind. I’m a fan of Leach’s art: its sharp and scrapy looking and he handily writes rather well too. Sludge City reminded me of Inception, but perhaps only in the swapping mind/bodies sense.

Flocks by L. Nichols, Retrofit Comics: A perfect example of what mini-comics can achieve:
‘Despite the topical nature of her subjects, Nichols retains an even handed, non-judgmental tone, perhaps because the focus is largely on her individual struggle here. Discussions and stories about religion and homosexuality are still rare, so it makes me proud to see it being done in comics and done in such a beautiful, resonant and evocative manner.’
Gold Star by John Martz, Retrofit Comics: And just to hammer home how awesome Retrofit was this year: this is the fourth entry from them on this list, and no, they’re not paying me. Martz’s Gold Star = situational comedy with a sharp little twist.

Farmer’s Dilemma by Sam Alden: A comic about a fox cub raised by two chickens, which is essentially about growing up, expectations and fulfillment. Alden’s art is a thing of quiet majesty here. I’m really proud of the fact that I managed to grab a copy of the print edition of this- it’s one of my most treasured possessions.

Ablatio Penis by Will Dinski, 2D Cloud: Review upcoming, hopefully. On the surface Dinski’s comic appears to be a pithy and timely commentary on politics in the USA and the maneuvering of morals and campaigns, but ostensibly it’s about what defines a person and the difference in the way in which we perceive ourselves and the way others perceive us.

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Murder She Writes by John Allison: Is there anyone left who hasn’t heard of John Allison’s comics mastery? It seems perfunctory at this point, but Allison’s output and quality shouldn’t be taken for granted. As consistently good as Bad Machinery is (and it is very good), I do enjoy the spin-off tales featuring one of the kids outside their normal environment. Mystery is my favourite genre and Lottie my most-loved character, so this was a real treat.

The End of the Fucking World by Charles Forsman, Oily Comics: I’ve only read the first seven issues of Forsman’s slice of Americana out of fourteen and it’s pretty breathtaking what he achieves over 12 pages per issue. The reader never feels theyr’e being skimped on in any way: I don’t know how he does it, but it’s a lesson in storytelling.

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Comiques vol 2 by Anne Emond: Anne Emond is very funny and makes comics that are snarky and familiar and warmly-drawn. This is a collection of them. You know someone is good when you wish they produced more work. I wish Emond produced more comics, but I was happy to settle for this this year.

The Whale House by Andrew Cheverton, Chris Doherty, Angry Candy: I really liked this, though it’s perhaps technically a first issue rather than a mini-comic. However, I don’t know when, or if, we’re getting another and it certainly impressed me enough to merit a spot on here. An intriguingly set up mystery complete with rambling country house and oddball characters. I’d love to see more.

That's it! Part 2 tomorrow.

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