The Best American Comics 2008

The Best American Comics 2008

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780618989768
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 10/08/2008
Series: Best American Comics Series
Edition description: None
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

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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The Best American Comics 2008 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
delzey on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I have this problem with Summer Reading lists that are doled out by schools. Basically, they suck. They suck the joy of reading right down to the marrow and attempt to equate vacation time with extended education. Either schools should go year-round and quit the pretense or Summer Reading lists need to lighten up. Spend the Summer returning fun the the reading quotient, there'll be plenty of time starting in September for reading the Serious, the Dry, the Meaningful to be analyzed within inches of their pulpy lives.I've got plenty of suggestions for alternate Summer Reading but today I want to talk about comics, and specifically The Best American Comics of 2008. I've actually wanted to talk about this for months but teetered on the edge of deciding whether or not the collection is appropriate. It's that whole chicken v. egg thing of whether or not some graphic imagery and story elements are appropriate for teens or if they're already seeing them in other places (like movies and TV) and there's little harm involved in comics that do the same thing.Murder, sex, and drugs are involved, but these are topics often touched on in Young Adult literature. The difference is that when they appear in comics there's this feeling that somehow minors are being corrupted, that "comics" equals "funny" or "humorous" and that anything more is some grand betrayal of morals.Editor Lynda Berry mentions in her introduction that "If this book had been in my house when I was a kid, I would have found a way to read it in secret." This is exactly what I would have done as a kid, and it got me wondering if that still isn't the best way to discover a world of comics beyond superheroes and other ridiculous over-muscled, tights-wearing vigilantes. On the other hand, shouldn't we have evolved in our thinking that kids shouldn't have to discover these things in secret? Sure, the thrill of doing something forbidden is lost, as is the wonderment that comes with discovery, but comics already have a hard enough time (though it's getting better) with acceptance that maybe that secret reading should be secret no longer.For anyone who grew up, as I did, looking forward to the comics in the alternative weekly papers, and those who have kept tabs with small press and alternative comics, there are few surprises here. Matt Groening, Nick Bertozzi, Kaz, Jaime Hernandez, Seth, Alison Bechdel, Rick Geary, Chris Ware, Derf... the line-up reads like a brief history of 80s and 90s comics history, and the fact that these folks are still around (and perhaps to some extent largely unknown) may make a larger point about comics history in America. The fact that one "mainstream" comic was chosen - a Batman: Year 100 excerpt was chosen and pulled at the last minute by its publisher makes another point about this collection: there's still a Wild West frontier in comics.With a wide range of styles and subject matter, the comics Barry has chosen are incredibly strong. Usually with collections like this the pieces I like are outweighed by the number I don't, but here I found only two duds and a couple of marginal pieces and the rest were solid. Subjects cover everything from the opening comic where fratricide is played as a casual punchline to the horrors of the war in Iraq from a journalist to kids playing war and discovering girlie magazines while "invading" a homeless encampment. The four panel strip format flips it's wig with surreality, the Tortoise and the Hare becomes a battle between a rock-steady drummer on the one hand and a party-hearty type on the other, a pair of nocturnal ragamuffins spending the night building a tower of boxes to play hopscotch on, young woman tries to help a drug addict, a man is sanguine about losing his love to a suicidal cult, Cupid's assistant takes over for a day and has cats mating with dogs (literally) in no time... there's something for (and possibly to offend) every sensibility, though that isn't it's purpose.To those who have felt the short sto
ironicqueery on LibraryThing 5 months ago
The Best American Comics 2008 is a great primer to what's currently being written and drawn in the graphic novel realm. 25 or so artists are featured with short, but fulfilling, excerpts of their work collected in this anthology. The work is long enough to give the reader an idea of what they are about and how good their work is, yet still easy to sample and leave yearning for more. The only real problem with the collection is the sometimes small size of the lettering, which can be difficult to read. Overall, this is an excellent volume of comics that highlight the creativity and explorations done in the realm of graphic novels. My favorite of the book was Alison Bechdel, of course, although her work is not easily excerpted. Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese excerpt was also excellent, leaving me looking forward to reading the longer work. No one was really disappointing, however, and everyone is worthy of further investigation.
kayejuniper on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Decent selection of comics; decent size of said selections. Enough included for each to get a feel for the plot, art, writing, etc., and decide whether to hunt down the comic in question. Lynda Barry's intro was quite entertaining and thought provoking. I'd say, borrow from the library and use to beef up your collection or choose your next read.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Good read.