Jason Green | Comics

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shortbest.jpg1. Adrian Tomine | Shortcomings (Drawn &Quarterly)

Race and sex are always hot button issues, but Tomine handles them with rare skill. Flawless pacing, engaging dialogue, and attractive art combine in this masterpiece of a graphic novel, easily the best release of 2007.

 

2. Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips | Criminal (Marvel/Icon)

Crime comics are notoriously tough to nail, but Brubaker’s always intense writing and Phillips’ dark, moody artwork knock it out of the park. As if the main comic wasn’t good enough, the bonus essays exploring the history of crime-based cinema are just as fascinating. The book is getting a relaunch in 2008; be sure to pick up the collected story arcs Coward and Lawless while you wait.

 

3. Nicholas Gurewitch | The Perry Bible Fellowship: The Trial of Colonel Sweeto and Other Stories (Dark Horse)

The candy-colored cover sets readers up for quite a shock when they crack open the covers of this first printed collection of Gurewitch’s brilliantly absurd webcomic strip. Gags about sex and death may seem in poor taste, but anyone with a hankering from deliciously dark comedy will find this infinitely hilarious book a godsend.

 

4. Derek Kirk Kim and Jesse Hamm | Good As Lily (DC/Minx)

An 18 year old girl meets herself at ages 6, 29, and 70 in this breezy, enjoyable done-in-one graphic novel. Minx, DC’s new line aimed at young female readers, had a generally good run of titles in its first year, but this one was the cream of the crop.

 

5. Adam Warren | Empowered (Dark Horse)

Manga-style master Warren pokes fun at the fetishistic nature of mainstream comics with this sexy superhero satire about a superheroine whose powers are based in her costume-a costume that is repeatedly, gleefully ripped to shreds. Add in a villain’s-henchman-turned-boyfriend, a ninja girl rival, and an imprisoned evil alien overlord and the hilarity never lets up. The magnificent art, reproduced directly from Warren’s pencils, is just icing on the cake.

 

6. Mayoco Anno | Sugar Sugar Rune (Del Rey)

Two tween witches compete to win the hearts of the boys of earth, but the dramatic ringer Anno puts her heroines through gives this manga depth enough for readers young and old alike.

 

7. Robert Kirkman, Phil Hester, Cory Walker, and Ande Parks | Irredeemable Ant-Man (Marvel)

The misadventures of the Marvel Universe’s biggest jerk may not sound like a fun time, but Robert Kirkman kicked out all the stops on the hilarious script for this, easily the finest (and fun-est) mainline Marvel book in years. Criminally cancelled before its time, only 2 digest collections of the book are available, but any fan of superhero comics will have a gas watching the genre turned on its ear.

 

8. Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt | The Damned (Oni Press)

Debuting in a miniseries first published last year, the collected version of The Damned hit stores in the summer of ’07 so I say it still counts. A classic noir tale where the gangsters have been replaced by monsters and demons, Bunn’s script packs a hard-boiled wallop while Brian Hurtt’s slickly-inked artwork twists the classic noir look just perfectly. In any year that didn’t feature Criminal, this’d be a shoo-in for best crime comic.

 

9. Faith Erin Hicks | Zombies Calling (SLG Publishing)

A girl who has seen way too many zombie movies puts her knowledge to the test when real zombies invade her college. Hip writing with a metafictional twist and smoothly brushed inks combine for a book that’s not particularly deep but is a heckuva lot of fun.

 

10. Gipi | Garage Band (:01 First Second)

Not a lot happens in Gipi’s first graphic novel to be released stateside (his second, Notes for a War Story was also released this year, but I sadly haven’t read it…yet), but that’s hardly the point. This is a fascinating character study, and with art that pairs sketchy, angular inks with gorgeously subdued watercolors, it’s a feast for the eyes. | Jason Green

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