The Best American Comics 2014

Edited by Scott McCloud and Bill Kartalopoulos. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25 (400p) ISBN 978-0-544-10600-0
Editor McCloud (Understanding Comics) highlights the diverse number and styles of comics in this occasionally frustrating but ever-essential annual. The “big names”—Los Bros. Hernandez, Charles Burns, R. and Aline Crumb—are well represented in a section dubbed, tongue-in-cheek, as “The Usual Suspects,” but a myriad of alt-comics, minicomics, and webcomics continue to make this series the widest-ranging comics collection of its kind. Transitions from one piece to the next continue to be occasionally jarring: unlike a prose anthology, there’s no visual indication that one excerpt ending until the page is turned. But the selected pieces are varied and absolutely vital: charming teen angst (Raina Telgemeier’s Drama), trippy beat-box history (Hip-Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor), romantic SF fantasy (Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s Saga) and autobiography via funny animals (Sam Sharpe’s “Mom”). McCloud’s entertaining and conversational introductions to each section educate and enlighten. As this series approaches its 10th anniversary in 2016, a single book can no longer fully capture the explosive growth, range, and variety of comics today, but this volume’s smorgasbord nevertheless offers readers the opportunity to discover new styles and a sense of the range of genres in the graphic novel world. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/08/2014
Release date: 10/07/2014
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-544-10426-6
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