by Chris Ware, Anne Elizabeth Moore

The Best American Comics 2007

Today is Ray Fenwick’s last guest blogging day and I just want to say a huge thanks to him for a wonderful week of posts. And I think everyone should be as excited as I am that very soon I’ll be posting about his Hall of Best Knowledge book!
(Sketchbook Series will be back next Friday with Julie Morstad.)

You should buy it!

Best American Comics 2007 collects comics published from late 2005 to late 2006, and packages them up with a beautiful cover and dust jacket drawn by David Heatley, one of the contributors.

The list of artists is impressive, and the book pulls stories from creators whose approaches to the form differ wildly in both content and execution. There are autobiographical “slice-o-life” comics, psychedelic mind-benders, fiction, creative non-fiction and more, and the way they’re sequenced makes a nice continuously varied read. It is, in essence, a sampler, and while you won’t like everything—I certainly didn’t—there is a good chance you’ll find something that moves you, maybe even blows your mind.

Which is what happened to me. I was making my way through the book, and when I came to “Kramers Ergot”, a comic by collective Paper Rad, something happened. I was reading in bed, all slumped down and tucked in, but halfway through the story I realized I was sitting up straight as though I was in a chair, book in my lap and legs crossed. I took it as a sign, and I’ve since drained my paypal account and funneled what little I have into getting more stuff from these guys. And while not everything had me popping up off my back, there are certainly lots of people who I now know I need to investigate further, like David Heatley, Kim Deitch, Lauren Weinstein and Tim Hensley.

This sampler style book is perfect as a jumping off point for finding more of the stuff you love. If I was a true comics devotee, I’d have read most of these when they were originally published in anthologies like Mome, Kramers Ergot or The Ganzfeld, but then I would have missed out on some of the other work that I might not have seen otherwise. I may be a comics world poseur, but I’m a poseur who has some amazing Paper Rad stuff coming to him in the mail, so I’ll get over it.

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