cover image Best American Comics 2008

Best American Comics 2008

. Houghton Mifflin, $22 (324pp) ISBN 978-0-618-98976-8

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.)