Our Best of the Year So Far store launched earlier this week with editors’ picks across many subject categories and an overall Top 20, and the Comics and Graphic Novels selections highlight what’s made 2012 an already fantastic and diverse year for the medium.
- Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown
- Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama by Alison Bechdel
- Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang
- King City by Brandon Graham
- Avengers: The Children's Crusade by Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung
- Jim Henson's Tale of Sand by Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl, and Ramon Perez
- The Graphic Canon, Vol. 1: From the Epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Dangerous Liaisons by Russ Kick
- Harvey Pekar's Cleveland by Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnant
- The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist by Alvin Buenaventura
- Mr. Twee Deedle: Raggedy Ann's Sprightly Cousin: The Forgotten Fantasy Masterpieces of Johnny Gruelle by Johnny Gruelle and Rick Marschall
With the success of Joss Whedon’s film, The Avengers, and the impending releases of The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man, superheroes are still the most public-facing comic characters. If you are looking for actual comics to supplement that blockbuster rush, then the revamped Wonder Woman and the next generation of Avengers (see also our Omni spotlight) should be at the top of your summer reading list.
If your tastes run more literary and autobiographical, Alison Bechdel’s Are you My Mother: A Comic Drama is filled with enough familial anxiety to satisfy readers until the annual holiday get-togethers begin, and Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland offers one last sardonic look at life through the eyes of the departed Pekar. On the academic front, the first volume in editor Russ Kick’s ambitious Graphic Canon series showcases historic literary moments, from The Odyssey to Shakespeare, told through the medium of comics.
Then there are the books that defy easy classification: King City by Brandon Graham is a sci-fi comic about a boy and his pet cat (who is also a weapon), aliens, magic, gangsters, and Xombie Wars (see our interview with Graham for more); Jim Henson’s Take of Sand (Omni spotlight here), is based on a lost film script by Henson, adapted by artist Ramon Perez—and it reads like one long, gorgeous, stream-of-consciousness chase scene; and Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader and Son is a Lucasfilm-approved series of “What If?” moments between toddler Luke Skywalker and his helmeted father, Darth Vader.
What about the artwork? Look no further than The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, a celebratory collection of the best-of and least-seen pieces in his extensive career. It’s a must-own for Clowes’ fans, and it will soon convert those not yet in the know. Publisher Fantagraphics and editor and comics historian Rick Marschall cut no corners in the production of Mr. Twee Deedle, an epic re-presentation of a masterpiece in classic comics storytelling. It’s gigantic in scale, showcasing artist Johnny Gruelle’s never-before-reprinted strips from the early 1900s—at this size, Mr. Twee Deedle is one to behold and hold.
And we’re only halfway through the year! What did we miss on this list, Omni readers, and what are you looking forward to in the remainder of 2012?