A slight change on the usual weekly update, this time we’re taking a good look at what’s happened in the world of comics this year that’s brought a grin to our faces.
My most favorite, favorite thing this year was Batman: Arkham City! Such an awesome game, and it definitely occupied all my free time when it came out.
My favorite thing this year was attending the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Like a family reunion for comics folk, TCAF is the most welcoming, most inclusive, most intimate event I’ve ever been to. The event is free and held in the middle of the Toronto Reference Library, so there are as many people attending who are brand new to comics as there are comics veterans, which makes the mix much more dynamic than I’ve found at any other comics-related event. TCAF is magic.
Hmmm. I think my most favorite thing this year was Faith Erin Hicks putting Friends with Boys online! I love her work and it was fascinating to read not just the comic, but also her artistic progress and how people responded to it. I’m looking forward to the last few installments – and to purchasing the book for my library and personal collection.
My absolutely favourite thing was (is) the tribute to Gilbert Bouchard and his passion for comic books, reading and the local community by his friends, family and the University of Alberta Library.
I am very proud to say that the author of the article, Erin Fraser and Suzette Chan, who is mentioned in the article, were students of my comic book and graphic novels in libraries online course through the University of Alberta. We are planning a reunion of all students who have taken the course over the years in conjunction with the Gilbert Bouchard collection.
Maybe it wasn’t quite the revolution that the comic book industry needed, but DC’s New 52 stunt ended up being one of my favorite things about the year. Knowing that all of these big books were relaunching had me in the comic book store every Wednesday morning for pretty much all of September and October. I tried out dozens of books I hadn’t read before and am currently buying more DC books than I ever have. And while some of the titles ended up being notoriously bad (and they know what they are), books like Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Batman, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Aquaman are building up to what feels like are going to be remembered as classic runs. Having something exciting in the comic book store every week has been such a joy, and even if relaunching an entire line is just a big publicity stunt, if the end result is getting all the publishers really thinking about putting out great comics then i think the whole thing has been a resounding success.
What made me happy this year was the chance to meet Bill Willingham (author of Fables) in person at ALA this year… and then proceeding to bring up projects of his from the 80s that he’d probably rather forget to show how deep my geekery ran!
I am excited for the Hyperbole and a Half book. I can’t wait for it to come out. Also, the Hark! A Vagrant! book really made my year. Kate Beaton is one of my favorite people. History lessons and dirty jokes all in one book!
I’m most happy about the awesomeness of Batwoman, both Elegy and the ongoing comic. Elegy plopped into my lap just after I’d read a bunch of Queen & Country and Gotham Central, so I was more than ready to dive into that. The ongoing series has managed to match Rucka’s writing and the art has been really outstanding. J.H. Williams III is a lot of name for an artist to live up to, but he more than manages. I’m also a big fan of Amy Reeder Hadley, so I’m excited for her to take over in a couple issues. Lots of superheroes are fun provided that you shut parts of your brain off and look at them as popcorn-reading. I’m thrilled to have a mainstream superhero comic that I can look forward to and enjoy unreservedly.
As far as GN-related stuff, I used to collect the floppies of Bone when it was coming out back in the 90s, but had lost track of it since then; this year, I finally read the whole series, and it was wonderful.
Okay, one of my favorite comics-related things this year was the deconstruction of Batman: Odyssey on Comics Alliance. I reread that discussion several times, shared it with friends, and even went to buy the comic to see if it was really as insane as they made it sound. I almost never pick up floppies – I think it was this and The Last Unicorn (what does that say about me as a person, I wonder?), and I don’t regret it. The deconstruction is hilarious and always leaves me a giggling mess. I don’t know if I should really be celebrating Batman at its weirdest/worst, but how can you not enjoy a discussion that results in Batman: Hobo?
And I’m going to sneak in a second thing. I really enjoyed reading about Kyrax2’s challenges to the DC panels and San Diego Comic Con. Dressed as the Stephanie Brown Batgirl, she attended numerous DC panels to ask about the representation of women in DC’s reboot, both as characters and creators. I was saddened, angry, and disappointed by the responses she got from the audience and the panelists, which ranged from dismissiveness to outright hositility. But I loved that she stuck to her guns and created numerous discussions and raised some awareness. Kyrax2 was one of my favorite comics people this year.
I am no good at picking favorites, but one of the gazillion, mazillion wonderful comics-related things that have made me happy this year is the sweet, funny, touching joy that is Karuho Shiina’s Kimi ni Todoke manga series. Every volume leaves me with a warm-fuzzy giggle and an optimistic outlook. I like my angsty melodrama as much as the next shojo reader, but sometimes I want quiet, steady stories that acknowledge the sunshine and bunnies of the world, too.
As a single, stand-alone reading experience, I have to say that reading Craig Thompson’s much-anticipated Habibi really stands out in my comics memories. There’s a lot of hype, and there was so much anticipation, and it exceeded my expectations.
My other happy realization is that this year was finally the year I got myself to consistently read webcomics, and I’ve adored discovering titles like Hinges, Power Nap, and The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal and finally reminding myself to sit down and read (and re-read) Bad Machinery and Sailor Twain. So much talent out there! So little time to read!