The Best American Comics 2011

The Best American Comics 2011

by Alison Bechdel
     
 

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“If you have spent a long time resisting the status quo—whether it’s in art, society, or the political world—what happens when that status quo at last gives way?
A universe of possibility opens up.”

—Alison Bechdel, from the Introduction

Featuring: Gabrielle Bell, Joe Sacco, Dash Shaw, Sabrina Jones, Chris

Overview


“If you have spent a long time resisting the status quo—whether it’s in art, society, or the political world—what happens when that status quo at last gives way?
A universe of possibility opens up.”

—Alison Bechdel, from the Introduction

Featuring: Gabrielle Bell, Joe Sacco, Dash Shaw, Sabrina Jones, Chris Ware, Jillian Tamaki, Jaime Hernandez, Jeff Smith, Paul Pope, Kevin Huizenga, and others

Editorial Reviews

Each year, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden's Best American Comics series grapples with the ever-expanding world of comics art and comes out a winner. The 2011 installment, edited by Alison Bechdel is no exception. The author of the much-acclaimed graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic has assembled a raucous, robust group of heterogeneous writers and illustrators to surprise and sustain us. A perfect answer to "What should I buy them?"

From the Publisher

"A rich selection of excellent graphic literature in this collection of 26 stories that span the heartbreaking to the hilarious to the just plain oddball."
--USA Today

"This year’s guest selector, Bechdel, opens with a terrific introduction that digs into the sense of awe felt by many underground vets on comicdom’s recent hyperdevelopment... The picks are a typical mix of heavy hitters in top form (Chris Ware, Joe Sacco, Jaime Hernandez, Jeff Smith), younger art-comics darlings (Dash Shaw, Kevin Huizenga), and a nice smattering of talented newcomers."
--Booklist

"Fun Home creator Bechdel selects 27 pieces for this year's Best American anthology, and though a reader can trace her sensibility in some of the entries . . . it's a pleasure to see many odd, gritty selections . . . This year's Best American is a handsome anthology with more than a few welcome surprises."
—Publishers Weekly

"Another annual cornucopia of graphic narrative (and comic strips). Whether comics were ever striving for cultural legitimacy, they are now struggling with it—even resisting it—though this year’s collection suggests that the range of subject, tone and technique continues to expand. Perhaps no other graphic memoirist has achieved greater acclaim than this year’s guest editor Bechdel . . . While much of this work is at the cutting edge of contemporary culture, there is a historical perspective to some of the more ambitious pieces . . .The extended, wordless visual epiphany in 'Winter' is stunning . . . David Lasky shows the greatest range . . . Chris Ware’s inevitable selection is brilliant. The state of an art that has yet to reach stasis."
Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Another annual cornucopia of graphic narrative (and comic strips).

Whether comics were ever striving for cultural legitimacy, they are now struggling with it—even resisting it—though this year's collection suggests that the range of subject, tone and technique continues to expand. Perhaps no other graphic memoirist has achieved greater acclaim than this year's guest editor Bechdel(Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, 2006, etc.), who not only contributes an illustrated introduction (which comments on the imbalance of men over women among the artists, in this as well as previous years, and the absence of African-Americans), and shows a feminist perspective in both the sequencing and selection. Among the developments highlighted by the anthology are "webcomics" (a natural extension of the indie and self-publishing of comics, and the punk-rock, DIY spirit the form shares) and "metacomics" (which use comics to comment on the making and essence of comics).Highlights include Gabrielle Bell's opening "Manifestation," where she imagines critical acclaim and world renown for her adaptation ofThe S.C.U.M. Manifesto,by Valerie Solanas (who attempted to kill Andy Warhol), and "Pet Cat" by Joey Alison Sayers, who follows a strip through the publishing industry's various permutations. While much of this work is at the cutting edge of contemporary culture, there is a historical perspective to some of the more ambitious pieces,as Joe Sacco's excerpts fromFootnotes in Gaza,the longest selection, explores the unreliability of human memory in recalling a mid-'50s Mideast massacre by Israeli soldiers, while "Little House in the Big City," by Sabrina Jones, frames a love letter to New York with the battle over urban renewal between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs.The extended, wordless visual epiphany in "Winter" is stunning (adapted by artist Danica Novgorodoff from a Benjamin Percy short story and its screenplay).David Lasky shows the greatest range, with both the most formally complex selection ("Soixante Neuf") and the most elemental (the single-page closer, "The Ultimate Graphic Novel"). As always, Chris Ware's inevitable selection is brilliant.

The state of an art that has yet to reach stasis.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547333625
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/04/2011
Series:
Best American Comics Series
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
7.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Alison Bechdel is the author of the bestselling memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which was named a Best Book of the Year by Time, Entertainment Weekly, New York Times, People, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Village Voice, and San Francisco Chronicle, among others. For twenty-five years, she wrote and drew the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, a visual chronicle of modern life—queer and otherwise—considered "one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period." (Ms.)  Bechdel is guest editor of Best American Comics, 2011, and has drawn comics for Slate, McSweeney's, Entertainment Weekly,  Granta, and The New York Times Book Review. 

JESSICA ABEL is the author of the graphic novel La Perdida. MATT MADDEN is a cartoonist best known for his book 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style. Together, Abel and Madden are the authors of Mastering Comics and Drawing Words and Writing Pictures.

MATT MADDEN is a cartoonist and the author of 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style. Together, they are the authors of Drawing Words & Writing Pictures.

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