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The Best American Comics 2014 by Scott…
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I have Scott McCloud's brilliant 1990s books "Understanding Comics" and "Reinventing Comics," and thought he'd be a great editor for the 2014 best-of collection, but boy, was I wrong. What disappointed me about this book? Let me count. First, the absolute lack of surprise in the selections. He starts with the established greats: Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Ben Katchor, Charles Burns, Adrian Tomine, and R. Crumb. But I, like everybody else, have been reading these authors for decades, and these selections in no way show anything new or different in their current work, with the possible exception of R. and Aline Crumb's X-rated "senior sex" piece, which I desperately wish I could un-see. (I'm 52. I don't have that long to wait. I'll wait.) Second, of all the new artists I was exposed to in this book, I can count only one that struck me as interesting enough, different enough, and well-executed enough to make me seek out more. It's no exaggeration to say that I was over halfway through the book, which I read from cover to cover, before I found a piece I enjoyed. And I wouldn't have picked up a book of current comics if I didn't enjoy comics. Everything I *dislike* about comics was here in abundance: the pathetic chronicles of depression, the sad childhood memoir, the pointless angst, the wild, ungrounded experimentation, the clichéd situations, and the weirdness for the sake of weirdness. What I like about comics was mostly missing: the shock of recognition, the unexpected perspectives, the fresh expressions of life-affirming humanity, and the just plain gorgeous art. (As I mentioned, with at least one exception.) Jaime Hernandez's wonderful cover art just doesn't match what's inside, in tone or in quality. And McCloud's frequent, annoying begging of the reader to bear with him, read straight through, and not skip over things didn't pay off. Your mileage, as they say, may vary. But be warned. ( )
  john.cooper | Mar 28, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0544106008, Hardcover)

“It’s the perfect book to pick up to restore your faith in comics or help show infinite diversity in infinite combinations on display on paper using the world’s greatest artform.” — Comics Bulletin

The Best American Comics showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors and highlights both fiction and nonfiction — from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, minicomics, and the Web — to make a unique, stunning collection. Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) called guest editor Scott McCloud “just about the smartest guy in comics.”

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:32 -0400)

"The Best American Comics showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors and highlights both fiction and nonfiction--from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, minicomics, and the Web--to make a unique, stunning collection. Frank Miller (Sin City, 300) called guest editor Scott McCloud 'just about the smartest guy in comics.'"--from publisher's description.… (more)

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