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An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories (Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories, Volume 1) Hardcover – October 23, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Brunetti's stated criteria for what made the cut for this hearty and hefty volume comes in his refreshingly honest introduction: "Ultimately... these are comics that I savor and often revisit." Luckily Brunetti's got a fabulous eye for an artist's signature work. The selections are difficult to argue with, hitting not just the expected luminaries (Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes) but lesser-knowns like surrealist Mark Beyer and Richard McGuire, whose "Here" breaks down the time-space continuum with mind-bending ease. Brunetti includes usually just one work from each artist, but makes exceptions for the likes of R. Crumb, and he isn't above putting his own work in, a move that's somehow more charming than obnoxious. Any fallow patches are more than made up for by, say, Jaime Hernandez's cinematic miniepic "Flies on the Ceiling." Unlike other recent anthologies, women cartoonists are represented with some of the best work in the book, like Debbie Drechsler's horrific "Visitors in the Night." While one may question the need for another comics anthology in a year unusually heavy with them, Brunetti has gone beyond the obvious to create an anthology of what is truly the finest in comics. (Oct.)
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From Booklist

Editor Brunetti sets himself a daunting task: an overview of the art-comics movement, complete with a handful of the classic newspaper strips that informed today's creators. He finds room for such established veterans as R. Crumb, Lynda Barry, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Daniel Clowes, Gary Panter, and Chester Brown as well as many less-familiar creators. Given the stellar lineup, high points are hard to isolate, yet a consistently brilliant set of tributes to Peanuts creator Charles Schulz by Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Seth, and Robert Sikoryak is especially impressive. Brunetti admits that his selection criteria are highly personal, but as a cartoonist himself, whose work combines a socially transgressive spirit and impressive formal capability, his idiosyncratic approach is based in professional expertise. If his choices are sometimes arguable, his iconoclasm makes the book livelier and less predictable than such anthologies are wont to be. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (October 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300111703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300111705
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Frank Mallis on October 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I knew this book would be great, but I didn't quite imagine it would be THIS amazing.

Perfect choices of stellar material from the cream of the 'alt' comics creators (or insert buzzword of choice here). Beautifully packaged, enticingly laid out, just an amazing confection of visuals presented in a treasure of a book.

Perfect for the newcomer hoping to investigate this convoluted 'new' graphic novel phenomenon, and a necessary teaser to entice further investigation. Just right for the dabbler or anyone returning to comix after laying them down however many years ago. - - And a 'must-have' for aging life-long comics nerds like me.

Over the years I'd already seen much of the stuff reprinted here, but was very pleased by both the choices of material and the choices of how to sequence them. There's also some amazing pieces by newer, younger creators that I wasn't familiar with at all.

There is a flow of subject matter, styles or 'schools' that make this a difficult book to put down. Also the choices of the more vintage material and where they're placed, the placement of the colored pages, and the pages that require you to turn the book sideways. The occasional thoughtful text pieces & Ivan Brunetti's compelling introduction - - Just enough, not too much in a book that remains visual. The particular choices for material excerpted from longer stories - - where in the story it brings you in, how it sucks you in, and the way it ends leaving you wanting more...

...and the printing! The end papers, the dust jacket!

It doesn't stop. The choices for how much of a page count certain artists receive are also significant, as well as who gets omitted alltogether.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brenna Collins on February 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ivan Brunetti, best known for his simplistic Misery Loves Comedy series from the 1980s, has compiled one of the more compelling tomes of graphic fiction in recent days. But what is it that differentiates this book from the dozens of similarly-themed books available? There are a number of things...

First of all, most of the artists and writers featured in An Anthology of Graphic Fiction are cream-of-the-crop when it comes to independent (read: mainly self-produced) material. A cursory glance through this book will expose the eye to the free-flowing styles of James Kochalka, Mark Beyer, and John Porcellino mingling merrily alongside the relatively more stringent Seth, Chester Brown, and R. Crumb. However, there are a few wild cards, such as the unknown "secret" (almost pornographic) work of reclusive Henry Darver, discovered in his cluttered apartment shortly after the deranged man's death, and a dated magazine cover illustration by the late Gene Deitch. Though much rarer amongst the bigger name talent, these "outsiders" add a definite flavour to the more popularly known artists.

Secondly, the book itself is quite stylishly designed. An elegant tri-colour dust jacket by Canada's own Seth graciously invites the reader to investigate the outside of the book as well as the inside. For a book of its size compiled by one of the big names in the business, one might expect to pay a premium, yet it retails for less than $30 (American).

And thirdly, while Mr. Brunetti makes no bones about this not being a "definitive" collection of independent cartoonists and comics, he (along with the likes of Tom Devlin, Kim Thompson, Chris Ware, Fantagraphics' Gary Groth, and several others) does a fine job of selecting some of the best pieces and excerpts by the artists featured therein.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Shannon E. Dickey on November 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The only reason I give this a 4 out of 5 rating, is that I personally own most of the material collected here. That said, Brunetti, (a HUGE talent in the 'underground' Comix scene) has wisely selected a wonderfully diverse selection of the classic's, but also, some new talent that really deserves to be seen. Thank you Ivan Brunetti for including the zen like genius John Porcellino (King Kat Komix)!!

Very Handsomely bound and designed, this is a real treat! A perfect gift for the budding 'Comix' enthusiast or even the jaded old school 'Comix' lover!!

Thumbs way up!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. David Swan VINE VOICE on June 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is a stark difference between mainstream commercial graphic fiction and the alternative or independent variety featured here. The difference is between Michael Bay and Darren Aronofsky although maybe even Aronofsky is too commercial. In many cases it's the difference between Bay and a college film maker. The point is that mainstream comics are generally intended for safe consumption by a mass audience while independents tend to reflect an artists true vision. Let me just say that this collection is not for everyone and it most certainly is not for children. The stories feature molestation, pedophilia, raw language and graphic nudity both male and female. Don't be fooled by the whimsical cover.

Ironically what got me interested in independent artists was a collection from DC comics called `Bizarro Comics' which featured alternate-comic creators doing their takes on the DC characters. Inspired by the unique stories in Bizarro I purchased `McSweeney's Issue 13' which absolutely blew me away. However, my next purchase, `The Best American Comics - 2006' was a big disappointment and led me to wonder if there just weren't enough quality alternative comics produced in a single year to create an entire 300+ page book. Some of the stories were entirely too long and left me wishing they were over. `An Anthology of Graphic Fiction' is an out of the park home run. The author presents comics going back to the 1940's but leaning decidedly towards current stuff. They run the gamut from Aline Crumbs primitive scratchings to Chris Ware meticulous works that look like they came straight from a graphic design class. The writing is much more profane and a helluva lot more gloomy than what you find in mainstream graphic fiction. Someone should do a study on why alternative artists are so depressed.
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An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories (Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories, Volume 1)
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