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The Best American Comics 2013

The Best American Comics 2013

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Jeff Smith (Editor), Jessica Abel (Editor), Matt Madden (Editor)

400 pages


As Smith (Bone, 2004) notes in his introduction, we’re living in a new golden age of comics, when there is more available “in terms of art, imagination, format, and opportunities” than ever before, and there isn’t a better example of this than the Best American Comics series. The 2013 volume follows the series pattern (perhaps worth reexamining) of eschewing more mainstream comics and plumbing the far reaches of independent comics, where individuality is more apparent. Although bigger names, such as Alison Bechdel and Craig Thompson, appear (mainly in excerpts that are refreshingly more inviting than frustrating), much of the volume’s energy and life comes from lesser-known entries, such as Sam Alden’s silent but thrilling “Turn Back” (from The Haunter); Derf Backderf’s chillingly banal “The Strange Boy” (from My Friend Dahmer, 2012); Eleanor Davis’ emotional, dystopian “Nita Goes Home”; and Michael Kupperman’s hilarious “Scary Bathtub Stories.” Fans of the genre will find a surprise or two, but this is the ideal book to hand to a comics neophyte with mature tastes who is ready to be astounded. --Jesse Karp



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