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.

Quasi-Auto-Bio-Alt-Comics category:
1. L.A. Diary by Gabrielle Bell
2. Lost – Spirtitual Dad fold out in Believer by Jesse Moynihan and Dash Shaw
3. Make Me a Woman by Vanessa Davis

Purposefully-Raw-Art-Comics category:
1. City Hunter Magazine no. 1 by CF
2. Young Lions by Blaise Larmee
3. Monster anthology

Professionally-Polished-Fusion-Comics category:
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

Labels: ,

49 Responses to “Frank’s Favorites of 2010”
  1. zik says:

    When I saw Young Lions I went straight to Comets Comets to see if he had already posted it to their “News.” YEP! This whole thing equally saddens and embarrasses me.

  2. VOMITS VOMITS says:

    Caroline Bren is the real, really true blue ‘maximalist commenting’ maestro

    McManus is just a filthy instigator, a too-tall gibbon, a slack mouthed clam, sick with ink.

    Larmee wins ‘Best &/or Worst Business-Plan of 2010’

    New-Regime-Old-Man-In-The-Mountain should include Wally Gropius, for heaven’s sake, for corn’s sake, for pete’s sake, etc…

    Total cock tease to blog rhapsodically about a cool CF comic that is totally out of stock!

    But sweet to feel such fire from your lungs, Rick Santorum. It’s getting cold and dark these days.

  3. zak says:

    When I saw Young Lions I went straight to Comets Comets to see if I would be so bored that I threw up in the back of my mouth and I flossed it.
    I flossed it.
    I floss right.
    Floss it.
    Just floss.
    On facebook.
    Floss facebook.
    Clean your eyetooth with Zuckerberg.
    Wolf it. Floss wolf right. Learn code with Mark Facebook. Deal with it gif right. Edit yourself.

    Fuck you.
    Fuck me.
    Kill yourself conceptually.
    It’s easy. You’re doing it wrong though.

    Pretned to dei wiht em thoguh.
    Kill yourself everyday.

    Wake up. Kill yourself.
    Brush your teeth.
    Kill yourself.
    Read a tumblr. Kill yourself.
    Light a candle. Kill yourself.
    Stalk an ex-girlfriend. Kill yourself.
    Remember a traumatic episode from your obviously privileged childhood living in a relatively safe suburb. The response is clear. Kill yourself.
    Chew an ice cube in a soda. Kill yourself.
    Be suspicious about an email whose sender you don’t immediately recognize. Once agaen kill yourself.
    Think of 4chan in a conceptual manner. For the love of god kill yourself.
    Be proud of an internet comment. Kill yourself.
    Write a manifesto in Microsoft Word 2006, ctrl+c/ctrl+v it to Google Docs, move to Trash, permanently delete it. Kill yourself.
    Develop a crafted online identity that alludes to the fact that you will die one day and serves as an ominous message to future generations that once you lived, pathetically and then, most anti-climactically died in a hospital surrounded by a few people that you held dear and a random guy or two that you easily would have murdered if you knew you could have gotten away with it. Go ahead, golf.gif, you only live beyonce, kill yourself.

    DMT, kill yourself.
    Joe Rogan, kill yourself.
    Phil Hartman, reanimate yourself.

    Regret a decision, microwave something, look out the window, take a breath, think about it. Know you want it. Remember you read about it. Nature wants it. The universe wants you to want it. One of the people you had sex with clearly imagined it while faking orgasm and then you relaxed and you’re 32
    or 25
    or 18
    if you’re lucky, kill yourself.

  4. […] Maxim’s Hot 100 pops up in the Montreal Gazette, kind of – Lose pops up on a really nice list – I have a comic in this show/book for Creative Time at Desert Island […]

  5. fart simpson says:

    orc stain duh

  6. oliver east says:

    The comic and his blog are two separate things.

    Thought reminding people of this might nip a lot of unnecessery anger in the bud.

    Or not.

    vent away by all means.

  7. Trebbers says:

    Kindle DL of Young Lions is $1 at Amazon. The scanning/presentation is a bit ramshackle, but, hey, it’s the whole book for a buck. Well, except for the first page which is in the article Frank linked to, or here:

    FWIW, though inclined to steer clear of dude’s blog, I dug it & will probably order a copy.

  8. zack soto says:

    people are stupid. Young Lions is a good comic.

  9. Anthony R. says:

    I wanna see more comments like zak’s, maybe some of a more positive manner… but formally similar… or similar in exploration of the comment’s form….

  10. Barack Obama says:

    Young lions are stupid. People is a good comic.

  11. Elisha says:

    Literally I could not even finish Young Lions it was so contrived and irritating and not even drawn ‘scratchily’ in a way that seemed to facilitate the paper thin narrative. Literally.

  12. Tom Devlin says:

    How many aliases does CF have?

  13. noel says:

    hands down, “Two Broken Branches”
    best web-comic, somehow missed the mass’s radar

    read it!

    • Sam Gas Can says:

      Second this, totally rules.

      Also, glad to see that the poison of endless amounts of non-sequitur comments is bleeding over to ComicsComics. Just to clarify, I hate that fucking shit and it makes me want to die.

  14. Brian Nicholson says:

    Top ten comics of 2010, as I see it: 1. Chippendale’s If N Oof/Puke Force. 2. Lose 1 and 2 read back to back, 3. King City, 4. Love And Rockets New Stories 3 especially the Jaime stuff, 4. Wally Gropius, 5. Brendan McCarthy’s Spider-Man Fever, 6.Noel Freibert’s Mr. Cellar’s Attic/Black Color, 7. 1-800-Mice (I’m kind of assuming Matthew will have a fifth issue at the Brooklyn fest), 8. Steam Walkway. CF, Clowes, Sakabashira, Bodyworld reprint all notable. Will read The Acme Novelty Library when it shows up at the library, next year. Didn’t read any reprints of old stuff. This is the list of the stuff that felt the freshest and most mind-blowing, idea-filled, this year. The most modern feeling comics of 2010 to come out in years prior are 9. Seth Fisher’s, which read real similar to Brandon Graham’s. I keep imagining a comic that reads like a cross between that stuff and Multi-Force as the future. Also, Edie Fake’s Gaylord Phoenix collection from Secret Acres should drop by the end of the year and would probably make this a top-ten list. Also, issue 2 of the Strange Tales II is sold out in Baltimore but looks good, though it probably wouldn’t make such a list.

    • Brian Nicholson says:

      I wanted to make a little distinction- all the books on my list are things that I read, and during the course of reading, felt a heightened sense of “wow, this is really good.” That happened within the first few pages of If N Oof, actually. The CF stuff- City Hunter, Powr Mastrs 3- utilizes distancing effects, which I completely respect and am entertained by, but deliberately avoid that reaction. I don’t think of this as deliberately “raw” so much as I think of it as an art film effect. Somewhere between coldly intellectual and self-indulgent. Not a bad vein to work, especially with so many biters at large.

      The Bulletproof Coffin is good too, (and is digressive in its use of self-contained comics as tangents) but after the first issue (with its Destroyovski image and text, totally in the same vein as City Hunter, being the best parts) started to straighten itself into more of a form of traditional story-telling that is nonetheless free to not quite make sense. I’ll reread it all when it’s complete and maybe my opinion will change, but at the moment it’s not feeling interesting enough.

  15. zak sally says:

    i just want it known that the zak above is NOT me (zak sally/ la mano guy).
    got it? good.

  16. David Gray says:

    not to get too off topic as i realize some people absolutely hate that, but is the experimental practice of conceptual commenting really so awful? it seems to me (a person guilty of the occasional conceptual comment) that ‘creativity and the arts’ can be a broad and inclusive practice for bending a few assigned online roles or stretching the way a meaning works every now and again. and not just a lifestyle that involves ‘making drawings for others to own and going to conventions with my favorite pair of glasses on.’ okay, sure, there are some crappy conceptual comments on comets comets, but for every link to a jpeg of a guy with flabby stomach skin there are some interesting anti-jokes, visual puns, and the like as well. i mean it’s still a conversation, even if some people talk in a more conceptual and crypto-retarded way. and if you want to have a ‘real conversation’ about a particular post, how hard is it to just scroll?
    not trying to be an asshole, just trying to sell conceptual commenting to the masses. it’s my job. and i went to school for it.

  17. T. Hodler says:

    Sorry everyone — Frank announced that he wasn’t moderating comments, so I let a bunch of stuff slide yesterday that I normally wouldn’t. Which was stupid, so I stopped, and am now back to the normal commenting policy. Meaning that a good chunk of the mess (though not all) is gone now.

    Pretty much ninety-five percent of the “conceptual” fake comments were (and are) all written by one person (not C.F.), as you are probably not surprised to learn. Which is no problem, I guess, but I won’t publish any comments purporting to be from other people who already read and comment on the site.

    @Zak Sally — Sorry that I didn’t catch and delete that other comment from our little thread artist. I would take it down now, but since several people have replied to him, I think that might make this thread even harder to understand than it already is.

  18. internet 101 says:

    what is a fake comment

    • T. Hodler says:

      Like, wow, man.

      A fake comment is one purportedly written by someone other than its true author. I don’t care if you write them, as long as they aren’t otherwise broadly offensive or ad hominem attacks, and as long as you aren’t pretending to be someone else who others might reasonably believe to be a reader or commenter of this site.

  19. shitstorm says:

    is this comment a fake? I mean who made at the end of the 60s music like ovuca, autechre, oval and aphex twin? this comment can’t be real. why a woman should get a idea to do something like this and than in the late 60s? woman of today like to buy high heels, make up, dress up sexy and listen to pop and britney spears or lady gaga, but woman do not have interest for things like we see it in this comment.. probably a fake.

  20. Jeremy says:

    This thread has warped my tiny little mind…

    It doesn’t help that I haven’t read any of the books Frank cites, with the exception of King City and Bulletproof Coffin.

  21. Youngest Lion says:

    When I think of Blaise Larmee and Young Lions I think of a wave.
    I let the wave a glittering sheet that someone wears to hide the disaster inside.
    It forms pockets and porticos, niches and tunnels and maybe a rotting core worth saving, redressing, soothing, and calming.

    I light a fire when I think of Blaise Larmee and I don’t let it go out.
    I could not be moar sincere than I am being right now.
    Order another copy, do it for Blaise.


  22. The only thing worse than “fake comments” is fake comics

  23. […] Frank Santoro presents his favorite comics of 2010. He counts 2010 as lasting from SPX 2009 to SPX 2010, which may be the single best year-ender list […]

  24. zak sally says:

    it’s ok…i just don’t know what the hell that person’s babbling about and don’t care (except that it’s not me babbling).
    maybe i should but i can’t, i’m BUSY.

    kids: don’t smoke drugs.

  25. brynocki C says:

    I like Nicholson’s reaction to the head-up-the-ass comments. He lists his top ten. I’ll put forth Berserk 34 as a mindblowing excursion into fantasy comics.

    I also think Young Lions is very pretty but i have not read the words yet. Sorry Blaise. It is soon to be fully absorbed.

    • “Once I had drawn all the pages I went back and added text as an almost secondary feature. Once I had drawn all the pages I went back and added text as an almost secondary feature. Once I had drawn all the pages I went back and added text as an almost secondary feature. Once I had drawn all the pages I went back and added text as an almost secondary feature. Once I had drawn all the pages I went back and added text as an almost secondary feature. Once I had drawn all the pages I went back and added text as an almost secondary feature. Once I had drawn all the pages I went back and added text as an almost secondary feature.”

      -attributed publicly, with due candor, to a septet choir of Blaisean Interviewees

  26. michael L says:

    Young Lions was beautiful, but I found myself not that invested in the story. Also, what’s wrong with [the] David Heatly[quote]? I mean, I could posit a few obvious objections, but I wanna know what u were thinking.

  27. […] Best of the year | Frank Santoro names his favorite comics of 2010, from Gabrielle Bell’s L.A. Diary to Daniel Clowes’ Wilson to Brandon Graham’s King City. [Comics Comics] […]

  28. This is the Remix says:

    The only thing worse than “fake comics” is fake vomits vomits

  29. Will says:

    I’ve been staring at the CF zine a lot as well, I’m happy to see it headlining.

    At the least, the deranged ‘essays’ in it should be scanned and put up here. They’re as creepy as you’d expect, pitched at an uncanny tone between idiot and specialist. “Don’t lose your mind!”

  30. meta-commenting 808 says:

    is commenting dead in the 21st century? [to be read using autotune]

  31. lions at the gate says:

    Lying in wait
    Three spirits are they
    Who keep the gate

    A Lion of Stone
    A Vessel
    A Home

    So young so proud, a beast in three
    Triune godhead, Trinity

    A spark, a muse
    A child their toy

    Twas all in vain
    A failed attempt
    To kill this boy

  32. cb says:

    The travelers roamed through infinite time
    Recording their presence in symbols and rhyme
    A message was left for those following to find
    Enlightenment comes by seeking the signs

    On mystic mountains the sun shines down
    The travelers saw and they smiled
    They built their temples underground
    And scattered their signs for miles

    The legends speak of a sacred cave
    Of pharaohs and lenses and light
    And of six golden signs through which wisdom shines
    When placed in the pharaoh’s sight

  33. Okay, I am not “moderating” these comments – they are pretty funny, BUT, I was hoping for more best of lists – so here are some other favorites “art comics” of last year:

    Diamond Comics #5 – edited by Jason Leivian

    Secret Prison #2 – edited by Ian Harker

    1-800-MICE #4 – Matthew Thurber

    Slime Freak #11 – Carlos Gonzales

    My Bet Pet/Feeble Minded Finnies – Noel Freibert & Lane Milburn

    Forming – Jesse Moynihan

    Death Trap by Lane Milburn

    Taffy Hips #6 & 7 – edited by Zara Messano & Gil Gentile

    I think these all came out between SPX 2009 and SPX 2010 – check them out!

    • but mister, i'm an orphan says:

      please sir, did any of these also sell out one year ago?

      also Forming is my 4Loko.

  34. Dan Nadel says:

    And with that, we close the comments. Thanks to all the performers.