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The Best American Comics 2013 (The Best American Series ®) Hardcover – October 8, 2013
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As Smith (Bone, 2004) notes in his introduction, we’re living in a new golden age of comics, when there is more available “in terms of art, imagination, format, and opportunities” than ever before, and there isn’t a better example of this than the Best American Comics series. The 2013 volume follows the series pattern (perhaps worth reexamining) of eschewing more mainstream comics and plumbing the far reaches of independent comics, where individuality is more apparent. Although bigger names, such as Alison Bechdel and Craig Thompson, appear (mainly in excerpts that are refreshingly more inviting than frustrating), much of the volume’s energy and life comes from lesser-known entries, such as Sam Alden’s silent but thrilling “Turn Back” (from The Haunter); Derf Backderf’s chillingly banal “The Strange Boy” (from My Friend Dahmer, 2012); Eleanor Davis’ emotional, dystopian “Nita Goes Home”; and Michael Kupperman’s hilarious “Scary Bathtub Stories.” Fans of the genre will find a surprise or two, but this is the ideal book to hand to a comics neophyte with mature tastes who is ready to be astounded. --Jesse Karp
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BAC (Best American Comics) has consistently been the go-to publication, to discover the world of underground, art-comix. The chief editor is BONE creator Jeff Smith, tho equally well known are guest editors, for example Lynda Barry, Jessica Abel (La Perdida), and Matt Madden. The excerpts and selections are pulled from graphic novels, underground newspapers and magazines, as well as On-Line comic journals, such as WHATTHINGSDO.com, INCIDENTALS.com, and STUDYGROUPCOMICS.com. SO if you need to keep abreast of what North America's comic artists have been up to, from September 2011 to September 2012, this is THE ANTHOLOGY to purchase.