2013 is here! Whee! With that said, let us not forget the magic that was 2012. In the coming days or weeks, or someday, I’m going to post recaps of all the memorable events that I guess I was just too busy or dizzy to write about right after they happened, like my time at the CAKE show in Chicago, or being invited to talk comics with Gene Yang and Derek Kirk Kim at Stanford University. I will, however, spare you my recap about going to a live taping of “Dancing with the Stars” because I know you’d rather see that documented in a comic COMING OUT THIS SPRING (Yes, that was free advertising there). Oh, but my! Did the year go really fast! Seriously, each month seemed to start on the 15th day. Anyway, I’ve always tried to list my favorite comics for each year on this blog, and I’m now prompted especially to do so for 2012 because I got to attend more comics shows than I ever did before in my life. So the experience has made my heart grow 3 sizes bigger for all things comics. Really guys, New Years resolution– go to some comics shows in 2013!
Okay, here is a list of some of my faves from 2012, Yam Books titles not included because we all know how I feel about those!
- Daddy Lightning – A brilliant screwball comedy and absolutely accurate, heart-felt portrait of being a parent. It’s the one comic that reminds me of why comics NEED to exist. Tom Hart is a superhero.
- Barrel of Monkeys – Thank you, Bill K and your Rebus Books for translating two of my favorite French cartoonists’ work into English. I can finally figure out all the twisted humor that Ruppert e Molot are writing about to go along with the lush linework that I’ve been oogling over for years now.
- The Sky in Stereo #1 by Sacha Mardou. A smart, perfectly-paced story of a girl seemingly stuck in a rut, her struggles with her peers and a fateful encounter with a troubled, soulful boy. It’s one of those comics that rekindles the excitement you get from the pamphlet/floppy/issue format — eagerly counting down the days the next issue is released, and then making a mad dash to the comics store on a Wednesday just HOPING it has arrived! Basically what I’m saying is I hope issue #2 comes out SOON.
- Barack Hussein Obama – I first enjoyed these strips on Steven Weissman’s Flickr page and always wondered how the devil it would be printed into a book. Well, magnificently, apparently.
- Birdseye Bristoe – Oh Dan Zettwoch! So glad we finally got a big wonderful hardbound book from this dude. His comics are so endearing and personable, and every page in this book is like sneaking a peak into Zettwoch’s personal schematic journals.
- The Voyeurs, July Diaries – Gabrielle Bell! 2 books in one year and yet that is still not enough! We always want more! July Diaries is not only a great lead-in to the beautifully colored and designed Voyeurs book that showcases Gabrielle’s work as it should be, but also a strong work in its own right.
- Vanessa Davis’ online strips – These vibrant strips on the Tablet magazine website always made me feel good inside, like listening to an oldies tune on the radio while driving down Highway 1 under the hot summer sun. Yes, that sounded corny, but it’s SO GOOD.
- The Living Things Series from Little Otsu – I first discovered these when I visited Mission Arts and Comics (which is an awesome store that everyone in the Bay Area should go to). Every single issue is a feast for the eyes. Yes, I say that a lot about things, but I mean it everytime I say it. You cannot go wrong with any of them: Hannah Waldron, Lilli Carre, Jo Dery, and APAK?!? And the ones published in 2012 are Jessica Seamans, Liam Stevens, Becca Stadtlander.
- A Portrait Without a Face – by Esther Pearl Watson. A quiet, thoughtful mini-comic exploration on the Gaze through an artist’s perspective and in context to relationships between people. A nice departure from her zany, hysterical Unlovable comics.
- Studygroup Comics – Zack Soto never ceases to amaze with editing/curating good comics, and his online comics site offer a wide array of strong storytellers. Some great discoveries this year were Tyler Landry’s Society, Julia Gfrorer’s Black is the Color, and Renee French’s smart and hysterical Bjornstrand.