Farewell, 2013. In place of our monthly Top 40 Countdown, we decided to spotlight the 40 best comics we read this past year.
Here are our favorites, in no particular order:
EAST OF WEST
Josh: Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta are perfectly matched on this genre-defying retro-futurist opus. Equal parts western, sci-fi, romance, alternate history, religious deconstruction and social parable, it feels nothing like a mashed-up melange — it feels like a pure, high howl, equal parts fear and longing, that echoes off the motherboarded cities and across the wide, lonesome plain.
IT WILL ALL HURT
Chris: Begun as a means of unwinding from the grind & pressures of producing what would become the 304-page THE WRENCHIES, this magical, surreally lyrical adventure packs as much feeling and pure cartooning chops into one issue as most cartoonists are lucky enough to get out of a whole career.
Andrew: Few comics this year had me jumping out of my chair to cheer the main character on. Equally few inspired an immediate re-read — not to understand it better or anything, but to simply relive and extend the joy of reading it for as long as possible. Sam Bosma’s Zelda-meets-NBA Jam dungeon romp did both those things. It is simply a perfect comic, the kind I never knew I needed till I had it.
Josh: 2013 has been a hell of a year for Charles Forsman. During his breaks from almost single-handedly resurrecting the subscription model with OILY COMICS, his mini-comics publishing dynamo, he’s managed to release two of the best graphic novels of the year. CELEBRATED SUMMER stars Wolf, a lonesome, chubby teenager who goes with his buddy Mike on a very boring and dissolute acid trip. Forsman is a master of silences — few cartoonists are as articulate with words left unsaid — and this utterly recognizable and deceptively simple story speaks volumes without saying much at all.
HIP HOP FAMILY TREE
Chris: Ed Piskor throws down an encyclopedic account of the early days of an American art form. The telling of the tale is as fresh as the old-school treasury format, which Ed recreates in loving, meticulous detail. Bring on volume #2!