So what were the best comics of last year? Depending on which Beguiling employee you ask (and what time of the day it is) you’ll get a different answer. Luckily we’ve put together a little list of our favourite 25(ish) comics of 2006. We’ve even set up a little display of said books on the main floor of The Beguiling, to make it that much easier for you to match our tastes with your own. All books should also be up on the website for purchase over the net, if that’s your thing.
To see the staff members’ individual choices, please come by the store and see us!
THE BEGUILING STAFF’S PICKS FOR BEST COMICS OF 2006
Abandon The Old In Tokyo, by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Drawn & Quarterly
– The second collection of Tatsumi’s masterful slice-of-life strips provides not only insight into post-war, middle-class Japan, but also the human condition.
Absolute DC: The New Frontier, by Darwyn Cooke. DC Comics
– Our favourite superhero comic in years, finally receiving the treatment and collection it deserves.
Acme Novelty Library 17, by Chris Ware. Drawn & Quarterly
– More quiet emotional devastation in the concluding chapter of the INTRODUCTION to RUSTY BROWN. Christ only knows what we have in store for us with the remaining chapters.
All Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. DC Comics
– Remember when you read Superhero comics, and they were fun, and you just wholly enjoyed every issue you read? This is just like that.
Art Out Of Time , by Dan Nadel. Abrams
– This collection of little-known and overlooked comics is an important step in preserving comics culture and heritage. It’s a great read too.
Big Questions 8-9 & Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow, by Anders Nilsen. Drawn & Quarterly
– 2006 saw two issues of Anders’ long-running ‘mini-comic’, now published by D&Q. It also saw a heartbreaking and inspirational memoir that will stay with you forever. Both feature the delicate, intricate cartooning that has made him a store favourite for years.
Curses & Ganges & Or Else 3-4. Drawn & Quarterly and Fantagraphics.
– Another two-book entry, this time featuring the work of Kevin Huizenga. A phenomenal cartoonist, Huizenga’s work is formalist, humanist, and resonant. Don’t miss these books.
Dragonhead Volumes 1-5, by Minetaro Mochizuki. Tokyopop.
– Genuinely terrifying, Dragon Head should be required reading for anyone in high school. Truly gripping storytelling and appropriately ‘ugly’ art combine into the most compelling manga on the racks.
Drawn & Quarterly Showcase Volume 4, by various. Drawn & Quarterly
– This year’s showcase volume is the all-around strongest yet, featuring a breakthrough story by Gabrielle Bell, an eerie little short by Martin Cendreda, and a surprising and poigniant tale by Dan Zettwoch.
Drifiting ClassroomVolumes 1-3, by Kazuo Umezu. Viz LLC.
– We’ll admit this one is an acquired taste, so let’s file it under “guilty pleasure”. A group of school-children are transported to the apocalypse, where society breaks down and their teachers have shotguns, broken glass, and murderous intent.
Fate of the Artist, by Eddie Campbell. First Second Books
– If you’ve read Campbell’s previous outtings FROM HELL or AFTER THE SNOOTER, then this book will be immensely satisfying and interesting to you. If not… well, it’s 50/50, but most of us really enjoyed this final chapter in Eddie Campbell’s veiled autobiography.
Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel. Houghton-Mifflin
– A controversial (though widely acclaimed) graphic novel, it was actually just a really entertaining and touching read. Any of the staff who read it, really enjoyed it.
Get A Life & Maybe Later, by Dupuy and Berberian. Drawn & Quarterly
– Perhaps the most under-rated release of the year, the new Mr. Jean book GET A LIFE and the behind-the-scenes autobiography MAYBE LATER are just absolutely sterling collections, warm and human and beautiful.
Girl Stories, by Lauren Weinstein. Henry Holt
– If you are between the ages of 25 and 35, then this series of vignettes from a girl in grade 8 is sure to make you react with both horror and laughter.
Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators, by various. Fanfare/Ponent Mon
– Coming as it did early in 2006, it’s easy to forget that this collection of work by Joann Sfar, Taiyo Matsumoto, Nicolas DeCrecy and Jiro Taniguchi, and 13 more creators, was one of the best comics of the year. It is though, so don’t forget.
Kramers Ergot Volume 6, by Various.
– Editor Sammy Harkham has a compelling and challenging idea of what’s great about comics and art, and Kramers Ergot is the best argument in support of that idea that one could make.
Left Bank Gang & Meow Baby, by Jason. Fantagraphics
– Two new graphic albums from Jason in 2006! Whether your tastes run to heist comics staring F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hemmingway, or hilarious short gags, Jason has got you covered.
Love Roma Volumes 3-4, by Minoru Toyoda. Del Rey
– Probably the weirdest winner on our list, this is a simply-drawn series about a boy and girl in high-school who love each other. That’s about it. It’s just so charming though…
Monster Volumes 1-6, by Naoki Urasawa. Viz LLC
– A Japanese doctor must take a life, when a boy he saved grows up into the greatest serial killer the world has ever known! From “the Stephen King of Japan”, and that should tell you whether this is your thing or not. We love it, though.
Ode to Kirihito, by Osamu Tezuka. Vertical
– 2006 saw Buddha finish its serialization, and far from marking the end of Vertical’s plans to reprint the work of “God of Manga” Osamu Tezuka, it turned out to be just the beginning. For which we should all be greatful.
Pride of Baghdad, by Brian K. Vaughan and Nico Henrickson. DC Comics/Vertigo
– This graphic novel really surprised us, by being a well-drawn and intelligent allegory for the Iraq war. Defintiely worth reading.
Schizo #4, by Ivan Brunetti. Fantagraphics
– A beautiful, over-sized art-object of a ‘regular issue’, what really makes this book sing is knowing the torture that it took to produce…
Scott Pilgrim Volume 3, by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Oni Press
– We just love this book so very much.
Tales Designed To Thrizzle #2-3, by Michael Kupperman. Fantagraphics
– Remember when Saturday Night Live sketches and TV Funhouse segments were really good? Like, t-shirt inspiring good? This book is just like that, except with no built-in shelf date or censors. Plus? Fun to say out loud: “Thrizzle!”
Vampire Loves, by Joann Sfar. First Second Books
– Our final pick is a quiet, reflective tale of love and loss, starring an immortal. A quiet little gem of a comic, in the vein of The Rabbi’s Cat.