Frank’s Favorites of 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I wanted to do a “best of ” list that was personal favorites of this past year. The way I gauge the alt/art/fusion comics calendar is from SPX to SPX. So, a book that comes out post-SPX 2010 is on the 2011 list. Get it? Good. So, for example, The Whale, If ‘n Oof, and Powr Mastrs 3 were not out at SPX 2010 so they are on next year’s list.
I think my favorite of this last year was CF’s City Hunter. To me, it summed up the feeling in art comics over the last few years. Again, I mean this “for me” – what I see is Christopher riffing on the genre comics I know and love: the ’80s black and white explosion comics. Their dead serious sincerity and folk art determination is very real – and Christopher, I believe, has channeled this very eloquently. It’s a mash up of scenes that may possibly look like scribbles to you but to me they speak a clear language. Lots of backgrounds with “Main Dice” the main character swinging down the street. Lots of “straight talk” from the editor of the Fantasy Empire Magazine company. It’s like Christopher made his own black & white action comic and worried more about how the indicia and logo would look than the how the story unfolded – which is exactly what most ’80s black and white explosion action comics are about – so it’s kind of perfect. Christopher summed up this approach so well that it really shut the door on this kind of thing. I think the window has possibly closed on my own nostalgia for these genre comics – CF’s re-bop re-phrasing of the whole scene just makes me want to read his incarnation of it over and over again.
If you can’t track down a City Hunter then track down a Monster anthology for a similar CF riff. “The Original Dominion” is a spectacular example of what CF is capable of these days. It’s great because of it’s economy and use of space. Again, Christopher is taking a melody from a genre comic – let’s call it “The Prowler” – not a riff on a real comic about a prowler but a riff on the hundreds of comics about prowlers – and plays different notes within the chord structure of said prowler walking around on people’s rooftops. He plays the song fast and sparse – and it works like Gilbert Hernandez action scenes work – figures in motion – economically drawn with simple, articulated motion across the page and spread. And beautiful lines. God, look at those lines.
In hopes of setting the comments section on fire – I’d like to also write something about Blaise. Young Lions is/was my other favorite favorite comic of last year’s releases. I think the drawing and the sequencing just stuck with me. I could see certain pages in my head long after I’d put the book down. And that to me, is the sign of good work. There’s an echo inside as a reader that lets me revisit the work and find new things to appreciate. I really enjoyed this one. I think Young Lions is pretty great. (It does get the award for the worst cover blurb of all time though – why would anyone ever want a blurb from that guy?)
So, unleash your inner Jesse McManus in the comments section and add your favorites for this past year. I will not be moderating the comments so do not fear my hammer of judgment upon your choices. But feel free to make fun of mine or me.
1. City Hunter Magazine no. 1 by CF
2. Young Lions by Blaise Larmee
3. Monster anthology
1. King City by Brandon Graham
2. Bulletproof Coffin by Hine and Kane
3. Lose by Michael DeForge
New-Regime-Old-Man-In-The-Mountain (post-Crumb) category:
1. Wilson by Daniel Clowes
2. Acme #20 by Chris Ware
3. Jimbo mini-comic by Gary Panter
Curly Howard Lifetime Achievement Award:
The Book of Genesis by R. Crumb