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This newest edition to the Best American Series--"A genuine salute to comics" (Houston Chronicle)--returns with a set of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Lynda Barry and and brand new series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden--acclaimed cartoonists in their own right-- have sought out the best stories culled from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, ne This newest edition to the Best American Series--"A genuine salute to comics" (Houston Chronicle)--returns with a set of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Lynda Barry and and brand new series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden--acclaimed cartoonists in their own right-- have sought out the best stories culled from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and the Web to create this cutting-edge collection "perfect for newbies as well as fans"--The San Diego Union Tribune. This newest volume features luminaries like Chris Ware, Seth, and Alison Bechdel alongside Paul Pope's "Batman" and beloved daily cartoonists like Matt Groening. Lynda Barry is a writer and cartoonist whose comic strip, �Ernie Pook’s Comeek” celebrates its 30th year in print in 2007. She is a recipient of the Washington State Governor's Award for her novel, The Good Times are Killing Me, which she adapted into a long-running off-broadway play. The New York Times called her second novel, Cruddy, �A work of terrible beauty”. She received the 2003 William Eisner award for Best Graphic Album and an American Library Association Alex award for her book, One! Hundred! Demons!. She lives and works in southern Wisconsin. Jessica Abel is the author of the graphic novel La Perdida, as well as two collections of stories and drawings from her comic zine Artbabe. Matt Madden is a cartoonist and author of 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style. Their textbook about making comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, is forthcoming.


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This newest edition to the Best American Series--"A genuine salute to comics" (Houston Chronicle)--returns with a set of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Lynda Barry and and brand new series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden--acclaimed cartoonists in their own right-- have sought out the best stories culled from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, ne This newest edition to the Best American Series--"A genuine salute to comics" (Houston Chronicle)--returns with a set of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Lynda Barry and and brand new series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden--acclaimed cartoonists in their own right-- have sought out the best stories culled from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and the Web to create this cutting-edge collection "perfect for newbies as well as fans"--The San Diego Union Tribune. This newest volume features luminaries like Chris Ware, Seth, and Alison Bechdel alongside Paul Pope's "Batman" and beloved daily cartoonists like Matt Groening. Lynda Barry is a writer and cartoonist whose comic strip, �Ernie Pook’s Comeek” celebrates its 30th year in print in 2007. She is a recipient of the Washington State Governor's Award for her novel, The Good Times are Killing Me, which she adapted into a long-running off-broadway play. The New York Times called her second novel, Cruddy, �A work of terrible beauty”. She received the 2003 William Eisner award for Best Graphic Album and an American Library Association Alex award for her book, One! Hundred! Demons!. She lives and works in southern Wisconsin. Jessica Abel is the author of the graphic novel La Perdida, as well as two collections of stories and drawings from her comic zine Artbabe. Matt Madden is a cartoonist and author of 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style. Their textbook about making comics, Drawing Words & Writing Pictures, is forthcoming.

30 review for The Best American Comics 2008

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fei

    Mixed bag but it got me to read comics i wouldnt have otherwisr read. Some of the text was really small though due to the formatting so that made it a little difficult to read

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Of the three "Best American Comics" which have been released I found this one the least satisfying. The two earlier collections were page-turners from beginning to end. While reading this I found myself putting it down and forgetting about it. I love Lynda Barry, especially for her recent book: "What it is." The stories tended towards child like narratives, and that makes sense with Barry's work, and if I was in another mood - a mood to be enchanted by memories of my own childhood, I would have en Of the three "Best American Comics" which have been released I found this one the least satisfying. The two earlier collections were page-turners from beginning to end. While reading this I found myself putting it down and forgetting about it. I love Lynda Barry, especially for her recent book: "What it is." The stories tended towards child like narratives, and that makes sense with Barry's work, and if I was in another mood - a mood to be enchanted by memories of my own childhood, I would have enjoyed it. But I was looking more for content based around 2008, which I think was a tense, politically complicated, depressing year. I was looking for reflection and redemption, and was not in the mood to remember or fantasize. The two series editors (not Lynda Barry) wrote a really boring introduction. Lynda Barry's contribution was an emotional roller coaster, and she made the most memorable comic in the book. In particular the Matt Groening section was tedious to read, and I felt like he was included for his name and not for the level of the work. They should have David Shrigley (the British "outsider" artist) or Dave Eggers (McSweeneys editor) take the 2009 editor position. Either of them would have more inspired selections. They both have a talent for inspired and innovative ideas...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    Lynda Barry's introduction is awesome and she discusses her favorite cartoonist Bil Keane of Family Circus. But I've come to realize these anthologies are not for me - rather, they are for people who do not know what kind of comics they like or who are interested in a broad range. Everything I liked in this anthology I had already read elsewhere, and since the style of comics drawing and writing I like is somewhat specific and narrow I'm not open to many new things. Lynda Barry's introduction is awesome and she discusses her favorite cartoonist Bil Keane of Family Circus. But I've come to realize these anthologies are not for me - rather, they are for people who do not know what kind of comics they like or who are interested in a broad range. Everything I liked in this anthology I had already read elsewhere, and since the style of comics drawing and writing I like is somewhat specific and narrow I'm not open to many new things.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Avis Black

    It was an ominous sign when Lynda Barry went on in the introduction about her love for The Family Circus, the feeblest comic strip ever. This volume only confirms that Barry, who has done some good work of her own in the past, has dreadful taste when judging other cartoonists. This collection is simply wretched. Lame page after lame page makes you wonder whether any cartoonist working today has any actual talent.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erika Schoeps

    4.5 So excited when I saw what I thought was Eleanor Davis's work on the cover (it was!). Filled with funny, relaxed, more traditional comics, and some short graphic stories that are more literary. A fun mix that is really well paced. I raced through it, but paused between each of the more serious stories, and sometimes flipped back for a second read. 4.5 So excited when I saw what I thought was Eleanor Davis's work on the cover (it was!). Filled with funny, relaxed, more traditional comics, and some short graphic stories that are more literary. A fun mix that is really well paced. I raced through it, but paused between each of the more serious stories, and sometimes flipped back for a second read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Anina

    I wasn't gaga about as many comics in this year's compilation as I usually am, but the ones I liked I really liked. Favorites: "Something About Madeline", "Graveyard", and the one about the art teacher in the Bronx. I wasn't gaga about as many comics in this year's compilation as I usually am, but the ones I liked I really liked. Favorites: "Something About Madeline", "Graveyard", and the one about the art teacher in the Bronx.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dakota Morgan

    Reading this ten years in the future, it's nice to see that the world wasn't so dramatically different in 2008 that these comics make no sense. Well, I should say, it's nice to see that many of these comics make no sense now just as they made no sense then. What I'm trying to get at: Lynda Barry picked a wild bunch here. There are a few touching stories and clever allegories, but for the most part, this is a collection of the weird stuff. Personally, I like the non-fiction comics in these collect Reading this ten years in the future, it's nice to see that the world wasn't so dramatically different in 2008 that these comics make no sense. Well, I should say, it's nice to see that many of these comics make no sense now just as they made no sense then. What I'm trying to get at: Lynda Barry picked a wild bunch here. There are a few touching stories and clever allegories, but for the most part, this is a collection of the weird stuff. Personally, I like the non-fiction comics in these collections, and while there's a good one in here about a Great Plains serial killer family, Barry's choices tend towards humorous fiction. If that's your jam, you'll probably like 2008's batch better than me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tasha Robinson

    Reading this in 2020, it feels more like a flashback session than necessarily a collection of indelible comics that will pass the test of time. Some of the selections seem fairly random — like, it was great to see Alison Bechdel in here, but the selection of "Dykes to Watch Out For" strips feel pretty arbitrary and unrelated. And I'd forgotten all about Kaz — it seems like forever since I've read a Kaz strip — but ditto, I have no idea why this particular strips were chosen. Mostly it was a plea Reading this in 2020, it feels more like a flashback session than necessarily a collection of indelible comics that will pass the test of time. Some of the selections seem fairly random — like, it was great to see Alison Bechdel in here, but the selection of "Dykes to Watch Out For" strips feel pretty arbitrary and unrelated. And I'd forgotten all about Kaz — it seems like forever since I've read a Kaz strip — but ditto, I have no idea why this particular strips were chosen. Mostly it was a pleasant surprise to be reminded of so many artists who used to be in the Chicago Reader back when it could afford to be a clearinghouse for indie cartoonists.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Siskiyou-Suzy

    I always wantto like comics yet find that I'm not actually all that into them. They're overwhelming to me -- the pictures and the text. And so small. I prefer picture books. Tiny panels are too difficult to read and I always wonder if I'm reading them right. Anyway, there were several delightful comics in here that made me think maybe I can be into comics! But the majority of them were not for me. Eh. I always wantto like comics yet find that I'm not actually all that into them. They're overwhelming to me -- the pictures and the text. And so small. I prefer picture books. Tiny panels are too difficult to read and I always wonder if I'm reading them right. Anyway, there were several delightful comics in here that made me think maybe I can be into comics! But the majority of them were not for me. Eh.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jon Hewelt

    I like the guest editor; I don't like the series editors. Solid collection, but was annoyed that the comics were ordered by the authors' last names. I prefer it when the editors arrange a particular order, like a mix tape. I like the guest editor; I don't like the series editors. Solid collection, but was annoyed that the comics were ordered by the authors' last names. I prefer it when the editors arrange a particular order, like a mix tape.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    So good. And the forward by Barry rocks. I love this series.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Loucindy

    Hit and miss as anthologies usually go, but the ones that hit are terrific.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dane Bell

    Like popcorn!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis

    discarded

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kat Hulu

    Solid collection of strange little stories. More coherent than the 2007 volume, thankfully, and I really enjoyed the intro comic.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel Horvath

    3.5. Some very good things, some boring things, a couple artists whose work I hadn't heard of before but enjoyed a lot. 3.5. Some very good things, some boring things, a couple artists whose work I hadn't heard of before but enjoyed a lot.

  17. 4 out of 5

    sosser

    do you read a lot of comics and graphic novels? do you rarely read comics and graphic novels? this book is for you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charles Velasquez

    straight up my artistic and sexual awakening

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lostshark

    this book is very father

  20. 5 out of 5

    J.I.

    Perhaps I should start by saying how much I love short stories. I love them a lot. I love them because they are snippets of lives, boiled down into the essentials of (generally) a few scenes, sometimes even just one, the dialogue as spare as can be, the narrative description avoiding the painting of sets and instead concentrating on the illumination of the characters inhabiting the scenes. I was expecting to read a number of short stories, albeit in the graphic form. That didn't happen. This col Perhaps I should start by saying how much I love short stories. I love them a lot. I love them because they are snippets of lives, boiled down into the essentials of (generally) a few scenes, sometimes even just one, the dialogue as spare as can be, the narrative description avoiding the painting of sets and instead concentrating on the illumination of the characters inhabiting the scenes. I was expecting to read a number of short stories, albeit in the graphic form. That didn't happen. This collection is, instead, a random collection of strips, and excerpts from larger works, as the general rule. This is the problem. My favorite pieces were excerpts from American Born Chinese and George Sprott (1894-1975), and only the latter really stood on its own. Though it must be said that Chris Ware's "The Thanksgiving Series" was a delightful surprise. And the rest? The rest were silly little jokes. Don't get me wrong, Matt Groening's observations by little children were quite amusing, and likewise there was some nice art in the retelling of the Rabbit and the Hare in the form of "Turtle Keep it Steady!" but these were completely without substance. They did not say anything that a cliche has not already covered adequately. They do not have the impact of getting to understand a character in a situation, nor do they have a point of moral understanding, if that's what you enjoy. They just start and stop. Some of them have mature themes such as Jamie Hernandez's "Gold Diggers of 1969," Lutes' "Berlin" and Oleksyk's "Graveyard," (all of which are excerpts), but they lack strength in telling a story, avoiding real character building (the biggest exception to this being "Graveyard") for another round of plot, wrapping up the series of panels with an ending that's pat and tells little about the characters. So here's where I come back to my original statement. If you took this years The Best American Short Stories and compared it to this collection of comics, there is absolutely no real competition. The short stories are fully rendered, the comics are merely finished, the short stories are bound in character and moment and the comics tell a story. Sometimes the comics have artwork worthy of comparison to Art of the capital A variety, but mostly it is functional, bring very little to the story except the identification of who is speaking at that moment. In short, despite how long it has been around, and the praise that some of the more fantastic graphic novels have (rightfully) earned, this is a form mostly populated by those who can write or those that can draw, and rarely by the combination of which that is so vital. The short form of comics is woefully represented, best reserved for those that merely want a few jokes told or for those that are really only picking up the book as a sort of preview for the larger works. For me, I was hoping this would have been more than it was, though it was still an enjoyable read (I did give it 3 stars, not one). Oh well.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    This is a nice collection overall. Some of the selections are frustratingly short excerpts, some -- particularly in the first half of the book -- are unimpressive, some are just not for me. The editor's introductory piece is weird, confusing, and yet touching. I left the book feeling a wiser and happier person, yet I can't believe that this selection truly represents the best American comics of 2008, surely half the book could have been better... Highlight Comics, in this highlight collection of This is a nice collection overall. Some of the selections are frustratingly short excerpts, some -- particularly in the first half of the book -- are unimpressive, some are just not for me. The editor's introductory piece is weird, confusing, and yet touching. I left the book feeling a wiser and happier person, yet I can't believe that this selection truly represents the best American comics of 2008, surely half the book could have been better... Highlight Comics, in this highlight collection of comics: 1. "The Salon" (Excerpt) - Nick Bertozzi - an interesting story involving Pablo Picasso, with nudity 2. "Part II: The Benders Arrive" from "The Saga of the Bloody Benders" - Rick Geary - a non-fiction, or historical fiction account of the 'Bloody Benders', a sadistic, serial-killing German immigrant family in the American 1800s mid-west. 3. "Mammalogy" - Eric Haven - There is an ancient war between mammals and reptiles, and a sexy Volcanologist, and 'The Mongoose' and hokey 50s style, and nature drama. Weird! 4. "Cupid's Day Off" - Evan Larson - a crude and funny tale of what happens when cupid goes on a bender and leaves the love-making to his lovely assistant 5. "Berlin" (Excerpt) - Jason Lutes - inter-war Berlin noiresque poverty drama. I'd like to read the full version. 6. "Percy Gloom" (Excerpt) - Cathy Malkasian - Futuristic fantasy featuring a cult of 'funnelheads' 7. "The Teacher's Edition" (Excerpt) - John Mejias - a look at the rough life of an American public school teacher 8. "Graveyard" - Sarah Oleksyk - A girl falls for a shy, heroin-addicted/prostitute/artist. Very touching, and also reminiscent of something someone I know went through (personal bias, but it's a good story nonetheless). 9. "George Sprott: 1894-1975" (From The New York Times) - Seth - A powerful memoir, or obituary to an obscure, interesting fictional figure from Canadiana culture. At times funny, at times cute, at times light, at times heavy. I understand why Seth is 'kind of a big deal' now -- this is literature. Page 271 features George stumbling over the obituary of a woman he loved as a young man. 10. "The Thanksgiving Series" (From The New York Times) - Chris Ware - Neat and thought-provoking All-in-all, based on the extra weight of the gems and the fact that at least most of the comics are at least a bit interesting, True Rating: 3.6 Stars

  22. 4 out of 5

    Todd N

    Catching up on some books I read earlier and forgot to enter. I managed to read this in one sitting in the library while waiting for the kids to do something. Anyway, it's yet another wildly uneven collection of comics. The first comic about a man who wraps up his brother's loose ends is really arresting and good. And of course Jaime Hernandez is brilliant. I remember a funny one about Cupid's secretary covering for him while he takes the day off. A lot of them are excerpts so you might end up mo Catching up on some books I read earlier and forgot to enter. I managed to read this in one sitting in the library while waiting for the kids to do something. Anyway, it's yet another wildly uneven collection of comics. The first comic about a man who wraps up his brother's loose ends is really arresting and good. And of course Jaime Hernandez is brilliant. I remember a funny one about Cupid's secretary covering for him while he takes the day off. A lot of them are excerpts so you might end up more confused than when you started some of the comics. The most brilliant piece by far in this book is Lynda Barry's introduction where she lays out her theory of comics and stories and pays homage to Family Circus and Bill Keane in a way that shows that any escape no matter how small can be a refuge from a chaotic childhood. [[[Aside: How come everything that was corny when I was a kid is now rehabilitated and cool? The most obvious examples are Norman Rockwell, Family Circle, and The Carpenters. I've even seen Little Lulu and Richie Rich anthologized recently. I think it somehow started with the comic strip Nancy and the aesthetic theory of three rocks. (Do I dare to eat a peach, indeed.)]]]

  23. 4 out of 5

    Penelope

    Thumbs up: -Excellent introduction by Lynda Barry -"The Thing About Madeline" by Lilli Carre -"The Monkey and the Crab" by Shawn Cheng and Sara Edward-Corbett -"Seven Sacks" by Eleanor Davis -"The Thanksgiving Series" by Chris Ware I wish Seth and Ware's comics hadn't been back-to-back...I actually thought Seth's piece was by Chris Ware. Ooops. Thumbs down/meh: -Matt Groening strips. They were just so tedious to read, and I almost skipped the last few entirely. -"Dykes to Watch Out For" strips by Alison Thumbs up: -Excellent introduction by Lynda Barry -"The Thing About Madeline" by Lilli Carre -"The Monkey and the Crab" by Shawn Cheng and Sara Edward-Corbett -"Seven Sacks" by Eleanor Davis -"The Thanksgiving Series" by Chris Ware I wish Seth and Ware's comics hadn't been back-to-back...I actually thought Seth's piece was by Chris Ware. Ooops. Thumbs down/meh: -Matt Groening strips. They were just so tedious to read, and I almost skipped the last few entirely. -"Dykes to Watch Out For" strips by Alison Bechdel. She has a single page comic in the 2006 volume that is so much stronger than the disjointed series of pages in this volume. "The Teachers Edition" (Excerpt) by John Mejias is a really great piece, but difficult to read. It's too small and cluttered. I'm not really into all the excerpts in this volume, although I have to admit that the segment chosen from "Percy Gloom" stands on its own as a strong piece. Overall, a decent collection. I was kind of underwhelmed because most of the pieces I really liked were from comics I already own, or from artists I already know I love. I like to be surprised with work I've never seen before!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Thanks to new editors, the third volume of this series is a bit less obtuse than it has been in past years, and there are some wonderful stories here, like Shawn Cheng and Sara Edward-Corbett's "The Monkey and the Crab" or Jaime Hernandez's "Gold Diggers of 1969" (a "prequel" to his groundbreaking Love and Rockets stories of the '80s and '90s). There's also excerpts of larger works like Gene Yang's American Born Chinese and Rick Geary's [The Saga of the Bloody Benders], and samples from weekly s Thanks to new editors, the third volume of this series is a bit less obtuse than it has been in past years, and there are some wonderful stories here, like Shawn Cheng and Sara Edward-Corbett's "The Monkey and the Crab" or Jaime Hernandez's "Gold Diggers of 1969" (a "prequel" to his groundbreaking Love and Rockets stories of the '80s and '90s). There's also excerpts of larger works like Gene Yang's American Born Chinese and Rick Geary's [The Saga of the Bloody Benders], and samples from weekly strips from Alison Bechdel and Matt Groening. At first, my wife and I were both disappointed that the strip Dan Clowes wrote for the New York Times magazine, "Mister Wonderful," wasn't included, while "George Sprott," the one Seth comic that didn't absolutely delight either of us, made the cut, but then I looked it up and discovered that the Clowes appeared just after the 9/1/2007 cutoff date for this year's comics. So hopefully that gives us something to look forward to for next year.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    After a rather disappointing 2007 edition with remote and myopic selections by Chris Ware, Lynda Barry brings this series back into high quality territory. While not all of her selections are home runs, there are a few so out-of-the-park great that they easily make up for the lesser entries. These selections also highlight the subtle difference between the intensely personal work of both Ware and Barry. Both mine the melancholy of everyday life, but Barry's work is messier, more human and hopefu After a rather disappointing 2007 edition with remote and myopic selections by Chris Ware, Lynda Barry brings this series back into high quality territory. While not all of her selections are home runs, there are a few so out-of-the-park great that they easily make up for the lesser entries. These selections also highlight the subtle difference between the intensely personal work of both Ware and Barry. Both mine the melancholy of everyday life, but Barry's work is messier, more human and hopeful, Ware's, though flush with controlled virtuosity of form, narrative, and emotion, is instead hermetically sealed, completely devoid of hope. Miraculously, Ware makes it work—-possibly due to the friction between such refined beauty and overt loneliness——but very few others can and that was problem with his 2007 selections: too many pale Ware imitations. Barry is cannier in her choices, rather than looking for imitators, she instead unearths a variety of artists joined only by their emotional honesty and inventive use of narrative.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    There were a few really great comics in here, a lot of lame ones, and whole bunch of talented artists. This book is not for kids--some of the comics have blatently sexual content. If this bothers you, you might just want to skip this book. If it doesn't, just read the good stuff. I must however, shed light on something. One blatently disrespectful comic infuriated me so much that I nearly left the entire book unfinished. In it, the Bush administration was portrayed as a pack of crude, war-hungry There were a few really great comics in here, a lot of lame ones, and whole bunch of talented artists. This book is not for kids--some of the comics have blatently sexual content. If this bothers you, you might just want to skip this book. If it doesn't, just read the good stuff. I must however, shed light on something. One blatently disrespectful comic infuriated me so much that I nearly left the entire book unfinished. In it, the Bush administration was portrayed as a pack of crude, war-hungry psychopaths--one panel picturing Condaleeza Rice as a sluttily dressed prostitute. I don't car what you think about the Bush Admin. How does a work like this make it into a "best of" book? If "best" means "most offensive", or "biggest shock value", then it takes the prize. But for thoughtful story and meaningful artwork, it just plain loses. Good art isn't about who can be the most offensive or who can be the most shocking. "Art is whatever makes you proud to be human" ~Leroi Jones.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Milissa

    i'm not a huge fan of comics. but somehow i got hooked in college when i was trying to buy a gift for my then boyfriend. i remember standing in the comicswap, reading comics at random because they didn't have the green lantern issue he wanted. and i remember reading this bizarre comic about an office. and there was a man and a woman going in and out of doors. and there was a cigar. and there were secrets. honestly, it did not dawn on me that i had read a comic about the clinton-lewinsky affair u i'm not a huge fan of comics. but somehow i got hooked in college when i was trying to buy a gift for my then boyfriend. i remember standing in the comicswap, reading comics at random because they didn't have the green lantern issue he wanted. and i remember reading this bizarre comic about an office. and there was a man and a woman going in and out of doors. and there was a cigar. and there were secrets. honestly, it did not dawn on me that i had read a comic about the clinton-lewinsky affair until i was in a bar that night listening to bill apologize to the american people on tv. that's when it clicked. anyways, i bought a comic called sockmonkey and another called lenore. i fell in love with lenore and secretly tried to steal the comic book back from my boyfriend. but back to this book. lynda barry does a great job of compiling a range of comics, from the slightly boring to the slightly disturbing. my favorites? sarah oleksyk and chris ware.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jamil

    Anthologies are usually hit & miss (with emphasis on the latter), but this may be the anthology to break that rule. I was surprised by how many good comics were in this thing & how many of them were actually new to me. Linda Barry deserves lots of credit, & if DC comics hadn't been a "stone cold drag" & actually allowed excerpts from Paul Pope's Batman Year 100 in here, this might have been the greatest comic book anthology of all time. Highlights for me: Eleanor Davis' cover & "Seven Sacks" comi Anthologies are usually hit & miss (with emphasis on the latter), but this may be the anthology to break that rule. I was surprised by how many good comics were in this thing & how many of them were actually new to me. Linda Barry deserves lots of credit, & if DC comics hadn't been a "stone cold drag" & actually allowed excerpts from Paul Pope's Batman Year 100 in here, this might have been the greatest comic book anthology of all time. Highlights for me: Eleanor Davis' cover & "Seven Sacks" comic, Joseph Lambert's endpapers & "Turtle, Keep It Steady!" comic, excerpts from Will & Abe's Guide to the Universe by Matt Groening, Chris Ware's Thanksgiving series from the New Yorker, and Jaime Hernandez's excellent young Maggie/Perla story, "Gold Diggers of 1969".

  29. 5 out of 5

    Randy

    Awesome. I love the idea that years from now, I will have a whole shelf from this yearly series. Lynda Barry's turn as host is something of a good decision, because she presents the book in exactly the right tone to get things moving. She returns like the friend I've never met. I am still not sure if the Batman reference was included as an in-joke or if she was serious. This was a great collection of stories that ended too quickly. Some of them I did not get, some of them (the Iraq war one) I th Awesome. I love the idea that years from now, I will have a whole shelf from this yearly series. Lynda Barry's turn as host is something of a good decision, because she presents the book in exactly the right tone to get things moving. She returns like the friend I've never met. I am still not sure if the Batman reference was included as an in-joke or if she was serious. This was a great collection of stories that ended too quickly. Some of them I did not get, some of them (the Iraq war one) I thought were shamelessly vain but meant well. Most of them were funny, entertaining, and memorable. Mat Groening (!) was included in it. I will probably pick this book up again now and then just to revisit all the madness. Good, inspiring, stuff.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Edwin Arnaudin

    I had a fun time with pretty much all of this year's selections, though at the beginning I doubted I would. Several of the opening comics are "blink and you miss them" short and also a bit shallow, entirely the opposite of the '07 picks. With last year's book, I felt like I was given a decent glimpse into larger works (i.e. Fun Home) and thought I'd be cheated out of that experience. Fortunately, after the slow start, the length and depth of the remaining comics significantly improves. Now I have I had a fun time with pretty much all of this year's selections, though at the beginning I doubted I would. Several of the opening comics are "blink and you miss them" short and also a bit shallow, entirely the opposite of the '07 picks. With last year's book, I felt like I was given a decent glimpse into larger works (i.e. Fun Home) and thought I'd be cheated out of that experience. Fortunately, after the slow start, the length and depth of the remaining comics significantly improves. Now I have a new list of works and authors that I plan to explore and also had nice appearances from old friends (most notably, Chris Ware). Definitely check out this anthology. I'm already looking forward to the '09 edition.

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