OK, just a quick note on this list:
- “Few” – Like it says, this is just a small list with a few items highlighted among the many great comics-related things I really dug this year. I could only include a small sub-set of the stuff I really enjoyed and I’m sure I’ll remember about a dozen things I should have also included about five minutes after I post this list.
- “Comics” – Admittedly, this post is slightly agenda-driven. It really drives me nuts the way so many “Best Comics of 2012″ lists are actually “Best Printed Comics that are Either Graphic Novels or Serialized Monthlies” –leaving out all sorts of comics and comics-related stuff.
- “Things” – I wanted to include a few things that weren’t comics per se, but were comics-related. So I did.
Here goes (in no particular order):
The Hilda Books by Luke Pearson – Nobrow Press (Graphic Novels, All-Ages)
I saw a few pages posted from Hilda and the Midnight Giant a while back and made a mental note to pick up the book–which I indeed did at SPX last year. I read the book that night in my hotel room–and loved it! More important: it received raves from our home’s toughest critic, my five year-old daughter. She had me read her the second book in the series, Hilda and the Bird Parade and then immediately requested Midnight Giant. This book is so beautifully-drawn it’s downright depressing. Like most Nobrow-published books, the production values are incredible, and I love the big “Tintin-size” format.
Trubble Club #5 by Various Artists (Broadsheet Jam Comic)
Jam comics are a lot of fun to make… but not usually much fun to read. Trubble Club #5, though, is–as TCJ.com put it–”The Sistine Chapel of jam comics.” It’s hard to pick out who’s doing what, but there’s a pretty amazing lineup of folks working on this. Just to cherry-pick a few from the credits page: Nate Beaty, Erin Renier, Laura Park, Lilly Care, Jeffrey Brown, Lucy Knisley, Josh Cotter, Craig Thompson, Erika Moan, and Alex Longstreth.
Like most jam comics, there’s a tendency here for the strips to veer off into non sequitur or go for a gross-out and/or sex gag, but the incredible creativity and level of craft here usually saves it.
Brian Moore’s “30 Days of Comics” Project (Blog/Online Project)
I’m not sure where/how the “30 Days of Comics” project originated, but there were several people I follow on Twitter participating in the event using the #30DaysComics hashtag. While there were several artists who were cranking out some pretty amazing stuff on a daily basis (it starts on November 1st and runs through the month), Brian Moore’s comic was one of my favorites. Here’s the final result, and here’s a post-mortem blog post he did. It’s really beautiful stuff!
Balderdash, by Victoria Grace Elliott (Webcomic)
I love this beautiful webcomic from Victoria Grace Elliott about a young witch who leaves her home (on an elk ranch!) to seek out a famous baker to whom she wants to apprentice herself. The story is charming–so far anyway; we’re only two chapters in–the character designs are amazing, and the art is refreshingly different than the usual “black outline” style that dominates most comics.
Read it here.
Pierre Alary’s Blog (Blog)
This one makes my list via quality rather than quantity. Pierre Alary–the amazing French cartoonist who did the Belladone series–has been intermittently posting some absolutely jaw-dropping sample pages and pages in-progress from Silas Corey. Why Alary remains un-published/translated in North America is beyond me. Also: he seems to be working on a comics adaptation of Moby Dick and is posting occasional pages from that as well.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (Webcomic)
Nimona is a beautifully-drawn webcomic about a girl shape-shifter who becomes the assistant to her favorite supervillain, Lord Ballister Blackheart. It just got picked up for eventual publication by Harper-Collins… with good reason.
Mattias Adolfsson’s Moleskine Drawings – (Google+ Account)
Mattias Adolfsson recently collected a ton of his amazing Moleskine illustrations into a great-looking book which I’m planning on picking up for sure. You can see each of the artist’s new drawings posted as they’re completed by circling him on Google+. His stream is pretty much “all business”–nothing but art.
Girl Apocalypse by Angie Wang (Mini-comic)
Hopefully we’ll see more of this creepy (but gorgeous) post-apocalypse story from Angie Wang in the future. You can read the whole thing online, but I’d rather read it in mini-comic form… plus, the hard copy comes signed and with a sketch!
Buy Girl Apocalypse here.
Panel Patter Covers SPX – (Blog)
There were some pretty high-caliber guests at SPX 2012. But, seriously, though, does anyone considering attending SPX really need to know more information about Chris Ware or Dan Clowes? Rob McMonigal’s blog, Panel Patter, offered great pre-show coverage via its “SPX Spotlight” series, focusing on a ton of interesting–if non-headling–folks. (Full disclosure: I was spotlighted.)
Patrick Dean’s Revamped Website (Blog/Portfolio)
You don’t hear Patrick Dean’s comics discussed nearly enough for my taste. Partly that’s because they’ve been kinda hard to come by unless you bought minis off him in person at a con. In 2012, though, he revamped his website and posted a ton of his great comics there.