From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The focus of this collection is not on any particular genre or style, but on stylistic and storytelling variety. There are slice-of-life stories, historical drama, humor, political satire, absurdist fables, serious autobiography and lighthearted ramblings. The art styles range from the tight, realistic precision of Jason Lute's Berlin
to the raw style of John Mejia's vignettes of life as a public school art teacher. With each story the reader is drawn into a different world or presented with another perspective of the same world. Yet despite the variety of the stories, they join as a display of the power of comics as a means of storytelling that can concisely present some aspect of human nature so the reader can digest it, contemplate it and, perhaps, understand it, as Barry, this edition's editor, suggests in her introduction. The variety conveys the continued growth of comics as a means of storytelling, growth brought about by a plethora of promising new creators and continued great work by established creators such as Jaime Hernandez, Matt Groening and Chris Ware. The book offers a strong sampling of the diversity available today and hints at more innovation and progression to come. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
For the third Best American Comics, series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden made the initial selection, which alt-comics diva Lynda Barry, who contributes a sharp comics-format introduction, pared down to the final 26 choices. As might be expected from the editors’ backgrounds, mainstream comics are snubbed in favor of graphic-novel excerpts, self-published mini-comics, Web comics, and, befitting Barry’s start there, weekly strips from alternative newspapers, such as Alison Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For, Derf’s The City, and Kaz’s Underworld. Contributors include a number of inescapable usual suspects, who invariably turn up in such anthologies—in this case, Chris Ware, Jaime Hernandez, and Seth—but also a gratifying number of newcomers, most notably Gene Yang and Cathy Malkasian, represented by passages from American Born Chinese (2006) and Percy Gloom (2007), respectively, as well as underappreciated veterans like Rick Geary and Jason Lutes. The overall quality—not a single entry is without merit—testifies to the incontestable strength of the comics medium, and the impressive work of the talented tyros included bodes well for its continued health. --Gordon Flagg