The Best American Comics 2007

Chris Ware, Editor , editor. Houghton Mifflin $22 (341p) ISBN 978-0-618-71876-4

Comics make a second outing in the venerable Best American series, with nary a fluttering cape in sight. This collection isn't about such heroes or villains, it's about humor, fear, the finely observed details of life, and things of a generally more personal and less world-threatening nature. That (as well as a predilection toward Midwestern artists) is what you get when Ware (Acme Novelty Library ) is guest editor. The book includes work from 39 different artists, but it's hard to find a weak entry, even if the editors are cheating a bit by including sections from already thunderously (and rightly) acclaimed book-length works like Charles Burns's Black Hole , Miriam Katin's We Are on Our Own and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home . Gilbert Hernandez contributes a particularly funny bit of his patented soap opera-comedy, while Adrian Tomine's selection from Optic Nerve , an epic of self-loathing and confusion, shows why he's one of the comics artists best worth watching. There are plenty of familiar names, and though the roster of usual suspects is starting to make comics anthologies look like annual class reunions, Ware has done a particularly good job here of celebrating the greatest, saddest and bravest in American comics. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/20/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
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