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“Every last page is worth a look.” —Bustle Ben Katchor, “the most poetic, deeply layered artist ever to draw a comic strip” (New York Times Book Review), selects the best graphic pieces of the year. The Best American Comics 2017 showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors and highlights both fiction and nonfiction from graphic novels, pamphlet com “Every last page is worth a look.” —Bustle Ben Katchor, “the most poetic, deeply layered artist ever to draw a comic strip” (New York Times Book Review), selects the best graphic pieces of the year. The Best American Comics 2017 showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors and highlights both fiction and nonfiction from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, minicomics, and the Web to make sure "the Best American Comics brand is poised to enjoy a killer second decade" (Bookgasm).


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“Every last page is worth a look.” —Bustle Ben Katchor, “the most poetic, deeply layered artist ever to draw a comic strip” (New York Times Book Review), selects the best graphic pieces of the year. The Best American Comics 2017 showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors and highlights both fiction and nonfiction from graphic novels, pamphlet com “Every last page is worth a look.” —Bustle Ben Katchor, “the most poetic, deeply layered artist ever to draw a comic strip” (New York Times Book Review), selects the best graphic pieces of the year. The Best American Comics 2017 showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors and highlights both fiction and nonfiction from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, minicomics, and the Web to make sure "the Best American Comics brand is poised to enjoy a killer second decade" (Bookgasm).

30 review for The Best American Comics 2017

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    This year’s iteration of The Best of American Comics is notable in several important ways; first, it is co-edited (with continuing series editor Bill Kartalopoulos) by MacArthur (“genius”)-award-winning comics guy, Ben Katchor (Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, The Jew of New York, The Cardboard Valise), a completely unique outsider voice in comics, not for everyone; 2) it has a cover with the year/title 1984 featured prominently on it, signaling the political era we are now living in; 3) This year’s iteration of The Best of American Comics is notable in several important ways; first, it is co-edited (with continuing series editor Bill Kartalopoulos) by MacArthur (“genius”)-award-winning comics guy, Ben Katchor (Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer, The Jew of New York, The Cardboard Valise), a completely unique outsider voice in comics, not for everyone; 2) it has a cover with the year/title 1984 featured prominently on it, signaling the political era we are now living in; 3) it is not all that overtly political; 4) it opens and closes with two older (besides him, this year 67) alt comics guys, Gary Panter, (68) with the first piece entitled “The Future of Art Twenty-Five Years Hence,” and Bill Griffiths (74) with an excerpt from his graphic memoir, Invisible Ink. I loved those pieces, by the way, and Katchor’s work. Most of these collections tend to safety, typically, with recognizable names to in part sell the merchandise, I assume. Hey, it’s a business, and yearly collections do not make publishers rich. Katchor here goes the unsafe, alt-comix, art comics direction. While some expected more established and venerable names are here—Joe Sacco, Ed Piskor, Gabrielle Bell—we also have relatively newer names whose work I also love: John Hankiewicz, Michael DeForge. Then there are a lot of people I have never heard of, doing work that is truly alt/art outsider in so many respects, among them I like: Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall's "John Wilcock, New York Years,” "I Am Better Than Picasso" by Dapper Bruce Lafitte, “Schlonged” by Eli Valley. This is stuff they chose from zines, from sifting through self-published comics. This is what comics is about, experimentation, anti-glossy, not Comics Con. I see just as I am about to post my review that almost everyone LOATHES this volume, which makes me feel a little defensive about appreciating what this volume does (though there are things I also wished it had done). This collection is about where comics lives, and the future of comics at the margins, about taking risks, like the work at my local alt-comix CAKE, and less about “the best” that I might have included such as Jeff Lemire, David Carlson (The Hunting Accident), Noah Van Sciver. The most damning thing I can say is that ¾ or more of the comics are by men in a time in which comics by and about women and girls is burgeoning! Where are Keiler Roberts’s Sunburning, Emil Ferris’s Monsters, Mimi Pond, Eleanor Davis, Juliacks, Sarah Ferrick, and on and on??!! That is a big mistake these two boys make, no question. A star off there, and maybe it should be two stars off for that alone. A few pieces did not copy as well as I would have hoped. But what the hell, in part to counter the vicious one-starring of this volume, and to support its edgy alt/art edginess, and to reflect what I actually did like about it, I am going to say 3.5 stars and round up, so there. I may change my mind based on reading into the other reviews, but this is where I am at the moment.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    I think this is the first volume of this series that hasn't had a story by Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Jaime Hernandez, or Robert Crumb in it. Is that even allowed? In general, I recognize very few of this year's artists, not that that's a bad thing. Under Ben Katchor's guest editorship, this volume seems to skew even more heavily in the direction of art comics than normal. Take the endpapers, for instance, done by Oscar Azmitia: photos of US coins painted so as to turn the familia I think this is the first volume of this series that hasn't had a story by Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Jaime Hernandez, or Robert Crumb in it. Is that even allowed? In general, I recognize very few of this year's artists, not that that's a bad thing. Under Ben Katchor's guest editorship, this volume seems to skew even more heavily in the direction of art comics than normal. Take the endpapers, for instance, done by Oscar Azmitia: photos of US coins painted so as to turn the familiar presidential portraits into superheroes. It would seem to be more of a comics-inspired art project than actual comics in the traditional sense. Fascinating stuff, true, but arguably not comics. As to the individual stories, some random thoughts. I am a huge fan of Kim Deitch, and was overjoyed to read, "Shrine of the Monkey God." I'm eagerly looking forward to the book that it's excerpted from. I enjoyed the stories from Dan Zettwoch and Tim Lane. Need to find more of their work. Matthew Thurber's "Kill Thurber" made me smile. The excerpt from Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall's "John Wilcock, New York Years" makes me want to read more. "I Am Better Than Picasso" by Dapper Bruce Lafitte is one of those projects that I probably would never have heard of if it weren't for this book. Another work that blurs the line between comics and fine art. As always, some excellent and thought-provoking work. It may not all be comics in the traditional sense, but most of it is at least interesting.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dov Zeller

    These anthologies are pretty hit or miss, and a lot depends on the aesthetic/curating choices of the guest editor. Ben Katchor is editor for this anthology and after reading it I am even less interested him as an artist and thinker than I had been (I occasionally really appreciate his work, particularly his sense of humor and of the absurd. But he's not an artist I find I connect with much.) I skipped half the comics in this book because I found them to be illegible or found the aesthetic to be o These anthologies are pretty hit or miss, and a lot depends on the aesthetic/curating choices of the guest editor. Ben Katchor is editor for this anthology and after reading it I am even less interested him as an artist and thinker than I had been (I occasionally really appreciate his work, particularly his sense of humor and of the absurd. But he's not an artist I find I connect with much.) I skipped half the comics in this book because I found them to be illegible or found the aesthetic to be off-putting (which is to say, not my cup of tea.) And of the comics I did read, my feeling about most of them was, at best, meh. And I was distressed by the small number of non cis male artists in the book (though perhaps I overlooked a trans or gender-fluid writer or two?...) As Ian Hrabe says in his GR review of the book: "...Even though this is coming from one person's mind and set of opinions, that person should still thoughtfully curate the list, ESPECIALLY for something like this which has the power to grant exposure to underexposed voices." I'm tempted to give it one star, because as I am paging through it now to write the review I realize how little of this book I found in any way appealing. But for now I'll leave it at two and focus on comics by non cis male folks... Non cis male artists whose work is represented in this book (out of 34 artists): Bailey Jean Thomas https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2... Deb Sokolow http://debsokolow.com/artwork/2741270... Lale Westvind http://lalewestvind.com/index.php?/ab... Gabrielle Bell https://gabriellebell.com Sienna Cittadino http://notyrman.tumblr.com/post/16502... (There is an artist called Laura Pallmall, but this is a pseudonym used by Jason Lee) General notes from/by/about some non cis male sequential artists: "Five Trans Centric Webcomics to Know and Love" https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/fi... "Fetch Cartoonist Nicole Georges on the Thriving State of Queer, Female Comics & Teaching" Sequential Arthttps://www.pastemagazine.com/article... "Changing the Face of Comics: 7 Women of Color You Should Be Reading Now" http://www.syfy.com/syfywire/changing... "Anna Heger's list of trans comics artists" http://www.annaheger.de/transcomics-en/ "Anya to Zombies: An Alphabet of 26 Graphic Novels by Women" https://www.bitchmedia.org/article/an... "Fifteen Banned and Challenged Comics by Women" http://cbldf.org/2017/03/fifteen-bann...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ian Hrabe

    One of the worst installments of the (usually) pretty solid Best American Comics series. We all make mistakes, and the big mistake here is entrusting Ben Katchor as editor. I don't THINK I'm some crank that thinks underground comix need to be straightforward and narrative, but this volume is sorely missing cohesion. A vast majority of the comics were produced by middle aged men (Hey! Just like Katchor!) and the majority of the comics by younger artists are the sort of groan-inducing, navel gazin One of the worst installments of the (usually) pretty solid Best American Comics series. We all make mistakes, and the big mistake here is entrusting Ben Katchor as editor. I don't THINK I'm some crank that thinks underground comix need to be straightforward and narrative, but this volume is sorely missing cohesion. A vast majority of the comics were produced by middle aged men (Hey! Just like Katchor!) and the majority of the comics by younger artists are the sort of groan-inducing, navel gazing, messed up for messed up's sake/gross-for-grossness sake fare that makes it all too easy to skip to the next unreadable entry (with the exception of the comics from Gabrielle Bell and Joe Sacco who are always great). The most egregious curating decision here is only including FIVE female creators. I THOUGHT it was six, until I realized one was a man using a pseudonym. There are 34 comics in this volume and 85% of them were produced by men. That is unacceptable, and how series editor Bill Kartalopoulos allowed it to happen is pathetic and sad and just illustrates that the comics industry is still run by dudes. It's not like women didn't create any comics between September 2015 and September 2016. The Notable Comics appendix lists a bunch of them. Cece Bell, Nina Bunjevac, Lilli Carre, Roz Chast, and Jillian Tamaki are all listed, and those are the only ones I know. There are a whole bunch of women I have never heard of, and why aren't their stories in here? Did we really need that 24 page Kim Deitch comic about the monkeys? Here's the thing: These Best American Comics volumes are fun because you get to see the subjective Best Comics of the Year of a highly regarded graphic novelist or author. Even though this is coming from one person's mind and set of opinions, that person should still thoughtfully curate the list, ESPECIALLY for something like this which has the power to grant exposure to underexposed voices. The curation here reinforces a boys club mentality in comics which is sad because, in my subjective opinion, female comic creators are currently making the best comics. It's inexcusable and I can only hope that next year the guest editor understands the concept of putting together a representative collection of work for a given year.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Wow. Really disappointing collection this year. I skimmed many of the entries -- some were illegible (tiny print, blurry colors that may have been registration errors or just... maybe that was the artist's choice, I guess), and some were just violence, farting, and dick jokes that didn't interest me at all. This is probably what happens when almost all (30/34) of the selected artists are men and the editor is someone like Ben Katchor, who seems to have an extremely specific aesthetic that I just Wow. Really disappointing collection this year. I skimmed many of the entries -- some were illegible (tiny print, blurry colors that may have been registration errors or just... maybe that was the artist's choice, I guess), and some were just violence, farting, and dick jokes that didn't interest me at all. This is probably what happens when almost all (30/34) of the selected artists are men and the editor is someone like Ben Katchor, who seems to have an extremely specific aesthetic that I just don't share at all.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    Guest editor Ben Katchor has terrible taste. This is the worst volume I have read in this series. There are maybe three dozen pages in this 400 page brick that are worth reading. Kudos (and exemption from the one-star rating) go to Joe Sacco, Bjorn Miner, Eli Valley, Sam Alden and Bill Griffith. Everything else suffered from illegible lettering, horrible art, gibberish writing and/or pure crappiness. I think this volume makes a good case for having a committee choosing the entries so there is more Guest editor Ben Katchor has terrible taste. This is the worst volume I have read in this series. There are maybe three dozen pages in this 400 page brick that are worth reading. Kudos (and exemption from the one-star rating) go to Joe Sacco, Bjorn Miner, Eli Valley, Sam Alden and Bill Griffith. Everything else suffered from illegible lettering, horrible art, gibberish writing and/or pure crappiness. I think this volume makes a good case for having a committee choosing the entries so there is more of a check on what goes into the book. When the majority of the entries presented are outliers, one has to wonder if the mission statement implied by use of the word "best" has been discarded in order to create a showcase exclusively for the avant garde regardless of the quality of the work. There might be a real truth-in-advertising violation going on here.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    *I am writing a different review here than I did initially because I didn't get it quite right in my initial assessment* I had high expectations for this. I have read many of these compilations, and look forward to their publication. I usually read them in a day or two, and come away from them with a whole laundry list of artists to check out. This one did not do that for me. And it wasn't that the comics were too weird or surreal, because they weren't (and anyway, I like surreal. Michael Deforge *I am writing a different review here than I did initially because I didn't get it quite right in my initial assessment* I had high expectations for this. I have read many of these compilations, and look forward to their publication. I usually read them in a day or two, and come away from them with a whole laundry list of artists to check out. This one did not do that for me. And it wasn't that the comics were too weird or surreal, because they weren't (and anyway, I like surreal. Michael Deforge is one of my favorites.) It was just that while some were legitimately good, many were merely passable (and forgettable,) and a few were painful. Like, poorly drawn (on purpose, it seems?) and poorly lettered to the point of being illegible. Some seemed interesting but I physically couldn't read them because the lettering was either a) too tiny or b) completely illegible chicken scratch. So maybe this bad drawing / bad handwriting stuff is just a style I don't get? I found it unpleasant either way.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    This volume was very hit or miss for me. When I finished it, I read through the "Notable Comics" list at the back of the book and I was surprised by those works that didn't make the main collection of entries. I own and have read the comics on notable list by Chester Brown, Nick Drnaso, Jordan Crane, Al Columbia, Daniel Clowes, Sammy Harkham, Tom Hart, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Kevin Huizenga, Dash Shaw and Jillian Tamaki. All of these deserved to be included in the volume. I did enjoy Tim La This volume was very hit or miss for me. When I finished it, I read through the "Notable Comics" list at the back of the book and I was surprised by those works that didn't make the main collection of entries. I own and have read the comics on notable list by Chester Brown, Nick Drnaso, Jordan Crane, Al Columbia, Daniel Clowes, Sammy Harkham, Tom Hart, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Kevin Huizenga, Dash Shaw and Jillian Tamaki. All of these deserved to be included in the volume. I did enjoy Tim Lane, Gabrielle Bell, joe Sacco, Ed Piskor, Sam Alden, Kim Deitch, and Michael DeForge. The pieces that were frustrating for me as a reader were the poorly rendered, haphazardly written, and artistically uninspired entries. As for my reading experience with the genre,I've been reading underground comix, mini comics, and literary graphic novels since the mid 80s. Specifically I've read every edition of the Best American Comics. In my opinion, this is the weakest edition.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I *hated* this volume and don't understand how ANY of these could possibly be the best comics had to offer in the last year. I had to force myself to read through the whole thing and would not recommend that anyone read this, ever. I *hated* this volume and don't understand how ANY of these could possibly be the best comics had to offer in the last year. I had to force myself to read through the whole thing and would not recommend that anyone read this, ever.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie G.

    Looking over what I thought- and this is not an exhaustive list I just didn’t care enough about the other stories to have a strong enough opinion of them- I guess I am grateful to rediscover some greats and interesting voices. I am also grateful o borrowed this book and didn’t buy it. Wtf is going on in this volume, indeed. Outstanding contributions: Bill Griffith’s Invisible Ink Conor Stechschulte’s Generous Bosom Part 2 Sam Alden’s Test of Loyalty Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall’s John Wilcock, Ne Looking over what I thought- and this is not an exhaustive list I just didn’t care enough about the other stories to have a strong enough opinion of them- I guess I am grateful to rediscover some greats and interesting voices. I am also grateful o borrowed this book and didn’t buy it. Wtf is going on in this volume, indeed. Outstanding contributions: Bill Griffith’s Invisible Ink Conor Stechschulte’s Generous Bosom Part 2 Sam Alden’s Test of Loyalty Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall’s John Wilcock, New York Years Joe Sacco’s Rent Crisis Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree Gabrielle Bell’s Get out your Hankies Kim Switch’s Shrine of the Monkey God WTF Lawrence D. Hubbard’s “Dem Bones Pt. 11” Sami Alwani The Dead Father Matthew Thurber’s Kill Thurber Lale Westvind’s The Kanibul Ball Ben Duncan’s Get in Where U Fit In I get it but doesn’t mean it’s like good Dapper Bruce LaFitte I am Better than Picasso Sienna Cittadino’s Jeremy meets the Forest Cow

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is a really interesting collection, and I didn't like most of it. I think it's fine for those two things to co-exist, and I appreciate how outside my comfort zone a lot of the contributions were, even if I didn't like them. As I was reflecting on how little I liked the collection, it occurred to me to take a cursory look at how many contributors were not male - and it appears to be a very small fraction. I did enjoy a look into "outsider" comics. This is a really interesting collection, and I didn't like most of it. I think it's fine for those two things to co-exist, and I appreciate how outside my comfort zone a lot of the contributions were, even if I didn't like them. As I was reflecting on how little I liked the collection, it occurred to me to take a cursory look at how many contributors were not male - and it appears to be a very small fraction. I did enjoy a look into "outsider" comics.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    The comics were a little hit and miss for me. Last year there were a few I didn't like as much, but this year it seems the rule rather than the exception. Of the 30 odd comics, I really enjoyed 9 of them. Those I thought were really good. There were a few that were just bad. I didn't feel that way about any of the entries for 2016. Overall I was pretty disappointed. The comics were a little hit and miss for me. Last year there were a few I didn't like as much, but this year it seems the rule rather than the exception. Of the 30 odd comics, I really enjoyed 9 of them. Those I thought were really good. There were a few that were just bad. I didn't feel that way about any of the entries for 2016. Overall I was pretty disappointed.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is the first year I've read this collection and not wanted to put myself on hold for at least one artist's work. Is this really the best we could do in 2017? It seems like most of these entries are included because of their original and creative art, which often translates to unreadable stories with a heavy influence of genitalia. Did I just forget how to appreciate comics? This is the first year I've read this collection and not wanted to put myself on hold for at least one artist's work. Is this really the best we could do in 2017? It seems like most of these entries are included because of their original and creative art, which often translates to unreadable stories with a heavy influence of genitalia. Did I just forget how to appreciate comics?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Savannah Tracy

    Tbh only really wanted to read about half of these but so it goes with collections

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jen Jones

    Have been reading Best American Comics for years, and was very disappointed with this issue. Was the theme that 2017 is the new 1984? Or was the theme to expose “undiscovered” artists? I don’t think guest editor Ben Katchor had a unified vision for this s issue. Also, shouldn’t the undiscovered artists be—at minimum—legible? A couple of the artists were basically indecipherable. Inclusion for the sake of inclusion alone is unwise and disrespectful to other artists who have the skill, vision, mes Have been reading Best American Comics for years, and was very disappointed with this issue. Was the theme that 2017 is the new 1984? Or was the theme to expose “undiscovered” artists? I don’t think guest editor Ben Katchor had a unified vision for this s issue. Also, shouldn’t the undiscovered artists be—at minimum—legible? A couple of the artists were basically indecipherable. Inclusion for the sake of inclusion alone is unwise and disrespectful to other artists who have the skill, vision, message AND execution to produce finished work which could truly be called “Best Of 2017”. Reading through the list at the back of other “Notable” comics of the year whose work was not printed in this issue, and was salivating at the whiff of possibility that we might have seen their work instead (Nina Bunjevac’s Fatherland, for example). This issue had a feel of being hastily thrown together at the last minute, and missed it’s vision(s). The 1984 theme could have been so poignant if carried through to its possible fruition, even with the dreadful hack cover, and relevant to our current troubled times. Standouts for me were the painting work by Oscar Azmitia, “Schlonged” by Eli Valley, and Ben Duncan, Lale Westvnd, Kim Deitch, and Michael DeForge’s work. I love Ben Katchor’s comics, but as an editor, he let down Best American Comics this year, of all years.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Oliver Bateman

    The usual mixed bag of comics, with a very indie-INDIE heavy focus this year. Many of the selections linger long after they've been read (particularly Kim Deitch's "Shrine of the Monkey God" and Ben Duncan's eerie "Get in Where U Fit in" and "Molt"). I interviewed the editor of this edition, Ben Katchor (my all-time favorite comic artists), for a profile published by Pacific Standard: https://psmag.com/social-justice/ben-... People never seem to enjoy these "Best of..." collections, but that's par The usual mixed bag of comics, with a very indie-INDIE heavy focus this year. Many of the selections linger long after they've been read (particularly Kim Deitch's "Shrine of the Monkey God" and Ben Duncan's eerie "Get in Where U Fit in" and "Molt"). I interviewed the editor of this edition, Ben Katchor (my all-time favorite comic artists), for a profile published by Pacific Standard: https://psmag.com/social-justice/ben-... People never seem to enjoy these "Best of..." collections, but that's par for the course. People don't really like collections, period, whether they're short stories or short pieces of nonfiction or whatever. I do, though, and this one was solid.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    I only liked 1 or 2 comics in the entire collection. Most of them were just too small and illegible to even try reading.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    Incredibly disappointing. Not just for the fact that the comics aren't to my personal taste, but for the complete and utter lack of diversity in the included contributors. Incredibly disappointing. Not just for the fact that the comics aren't to my personal taste, but for the complete and utter lack of diversity in the included contributors.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wise Cat

    Holy crap, LOL. If this is the "best", I'd hate to see the "worst". Again, I wanted to stretch my comfort zone and read something different, another book in the "Best American" series. I thought it might be fun reading for when I had a bad day... Before checking it out of the library, I flipped through it and thought, "What the ___?" Then, "Okay....keep an open mind." I checked it out days later when ready and I just finished it. I had it 2 weeks but it feels like 2 months. I didn't get dissing Ca Holy crap, LOL. If this is the "best", I'd hate to see the "worst". Again, I wanted to stretch my comfort zone and read something different, another book in the "Best American" series. I thought it might be fun reading for when I had a bad day... Before checking it out of the library, I flipped through it and thought, "What the ___?" Then, "Okay....keep an open mind." I checked it out days later when ready and I just finished it. I had it 2 weeks but it feels like 2 months. I didn't get dissing Canada and Mexico's inclusion in the publication, saying they represent "sluggish backwaters in this otherwise glorious industry." Maybe that was supposed to be funny?! And that scathing newspaper article on Bill Katchor, is that "real"? Or a joke? No date shown. I never heard of Ben Katchor and the introduction, etc. was boring. Anyway, like a lot of kids, I read comic books, such as Wonder Woman, Archie's, Superman, etc. When older, I read comic strips in our major newspaper. A few favorites off the top of my head are/were Cathy (I know the artist retired), Beetle Bailey, Dilbert, Drabble, Peanuts, and Family Circus. I didn't see any of these in this book, and I never even heard of ANY of the cartoonists in this book. None of them were relatable or about everyday life, which is what I like. Also, I have to like the drawing or artwork. If I don't, I am reluctant to read it. Like food, it has to at least look appealing or I'm not interested. Biased, I know. I also thought comics are supposed to be funny or entertaining. A friend of mine told me comics aren't necessarily funny anymore but can be sci-fi, dystopia, etc. And everyone doesn't have the same sense of humor anyway. Still there was 34 comics in this books and I liked only 3 of them!!! The rest of them I either didn't understand or didn't like because it was either disgusting, stupid, or depressing. I'd think "WHAT is THIS??!!" A few of them had print so tiny, I had to use a magnifying glass. A lot of the "artwork" had ugly colors or too much clutter. They were so distorted or whatnot, I couldn't read them well even with my glasses. One had the f-bomb in practically ever sentence, along with other profanity. I'm no prude and do my share of swearing, but this isn't real dialogue. Yawn...in other words. Also, (in this day and age), it had racist words or slurs. If it takes place during the Jim Crow era, I get it. If it's modern times, then....not a great idea. I couldn't wait to finish it and return it. I couldn't stand the sight of it on my table. So glad I didn't buy it, even though I haven't bought books for years but check them out from the library. I wanted to throw it across the room or out the window, but I was taught to treat books with care no matter what I think of it....SO I just imagine doing it, LOL. And most importantly, it's a library book so extra care is needed. Even if it was mine, I wouldn't do that. But I'd give it away to somebody. Sigh....What a disappointment. I see from the ratings here I have plenty of company. I can't believe all these comics were exhibited at galleries, appeared in various publications, won awards, etc. They didn't include even ONE familiar comic or cartoonist to me. NO PEANUTS???!!! C'mon! This isn't for little kids, in spite of the title. It's for adults or older kids in my opinion. It is outside of the mainstream, so I didn't know what to expect. I didn't realize almost all of the artists were men until I read someone's review. That shows how little I paid attention to this book. On that note, more women should have been included. If we could do 1/2 star ratings, I might give it 1 1/2 stars....but just for liking 3 comics in it, maybe 1 star is more accurate.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex Melnick

    36 pieces here (including the introductions). Some I liked a lot, some not so much. Suffice to say that I don't entirely share the editors' taste. Ideally, comics aren't simply art and words put together but an alloy that's stronger than either. I feel that too many of the pieces here were chosen more for their artistry than for the interplay of art and story. It's so completely subjective, though, that I hesitate to say if these are "good" or "bad" comics. Highlights (for me): Ben Katchor, Gary P 36 pieces here (including the introductions). Some I liked a lot, some not so much. Suffice to say that I don't entirely share the editors' taste. Ideally, comics aren't simply art and words put together but an alloy that's stronger than either. I feel that too many of the pieces here were chosen more for their artistry than for the interplay of art and story. It's so completely subjective, though, that I hesitate to say if these are "good" or "bad" comics. Highlights (for me): Ben Katchor, Gary Panter, Sam Alden, Tim Lane, Joe Sacco, Patrick Kyle, Sienna Cittadino. There are also two excerpts from longer works that ended frustratingly abruptly, one by Ethan Persoff and Scott Marshall, and the other by Bill Griffith; I'm going to have to find the books they came from. Problems: The pieces by Deb Sokolow, Dapper Bruce Lafitte, Oscar Azmitia, and William Tyler lost their fights with the page margins, while Gerone Spruill's and Sami Alwani's pieces were shrunk to near-illegibility.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I am really of two minds about this collection. I admire Katchor for picking comics that featured under-represented groups in comics -- persons with cognitive differences and people of color, particularly. But also (and this is not necessarily leveled at the two groups mentioned) so many of the comics were grotesque and the writing almost unreadable. At least one comic I couldn't read at all. So I found the whole book very frustrating. And maybe that was Katchor's point. Would I ever pick this o I am really of two minds about this collection. I admire Katchor for picking comics that featured under-represented groups in comics -- persons with cognitive differences and people of color, particularly. But also (and this is not necessarily leveled at the two groups mentioned) so many of the comics were grotesque and the writing almost unreadable. At least one comic I couldn't read at all. So I found the whole book very frustrating. And maybe that was Katchor's point. Would I ever pick this one up again? No. But I am glad it exists in the world as a record of some under-represented artists.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I always look forward to this anthology every year. I read this year’s collection all in one sitting and set the book down with disappointment. 2017 “best” comics are overwhelming male-driven and seemingly bizarre just for the sake of oddity? Some of the comics seemed more slapped together and sloppy than artful. Some comics I really enjoyed (shout out to Ben Duncan and Michael DeForge) but this edition very much feels like someone picking random comics they didn’t fully understand and confusing I always look forward to this anthology every year. I read this year’s collection all in one sitting and set the book down with disappointment. 2017 “best” comics are overwhelming male-driven and seemingly bizarre just for the sake of oddity? Some of the comics seemed more slapped together and sloppy than artful. Some comics I really enjoyed (shout out to Ben Duncan and Michael DeForge) but this edition very much feels like someone picking random comics they didn’t fully understand and confusing the art’s opaqueness as masterful.

  23. 4 out of 5

    J.T.

    Huh, I finished this anthology a while ago and could've sworn I wrote a review. Now I don't remember specifics, but I can say it was not my favorite in this series. Obviously, this anthology changes year to year according to the guest editor's selection (and what comics were produced throughout that year). I love Ben Katchor's comics, but I guess I don't always agree with his curation. There were a few comics I truly enjoyed, but many of them just didn't do it for me. But hey, it's always intere Huh, I finished this anthology a while ago and could've sworn I wrote a review. Now I don't remember specifics, but I can say it was not my favorite in this series. Obviously, this anthology changes year to year according to the guest editor's selection (and what comics were produced throughout that year). I love Ben Katchor's comics, but I guess I don't always agree with his curation. There were a few comics I truly enjoyed, but many of them just didn't do it for me. But hey, it's always interesting to see what makes it into these annual collections!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I can't say I'm very impressed with anything here- especially the scribbles that make me feel like the harsh critics of my millennial generation have a valid point in saying that we all think we deserve participation ribbons for anything we happen to spit out. Then out of the blue I was jolted- by something weirdly personal. I think the girl who wrote the bit about Southern Illinois is the daughter of my mom's ex-husband. Sup fam! I can't say I'm very impressed with anything here- especially the scribbles that make me feel like the harsh critics of my millennial generation have a valid point in saying that we all think we deserve participation ribbons for anything we happen to spit out. Then out of the blue I was jolted- by something weirdly personal. I think the girl who wrote the bit about Southern Illinois is the daughter of my mom's ex-husband. Sup fam!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    I was joking that perhaps this title should change its name to "The Best (and Worst) American Comics." There were a couple in this book that were so bad that they were near impossible to read ("The Future of Art 25 Years Hence", "Time TO Get Paid", "2010") even the lettering was barely readable("I Am Better Than Picasso", "Love With Family Love"). There were also a couple very good examples of comics I was joking that perhaps this title should change its name to "The Best (and Worst) American Comics." There were a couple in this book that were so bad that they were near impossible to read ("The Future of Art 25 Years Hence", "Time TO Get Paid", "2010") even the lettering was barely readable("I Am Better Than Picasso", "Love With Family Love"). There were also a couple very good examples of comics

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I feel like this series has been headed a little downhill. The 2017 volume was very disappointing. Nothing struck me as wonderful. And the tone was very negative (perhaps due to the political climate of today - which provided a theme for some of the works). I didn't enjoy as much as I should have. I feel like this series has been headed a little downhill. The 2017 volume was very disappointing. Nothing struck me as wonderful. And the tone was very negative (perhaps due to the political climate of today - which provided a theme for some of the works). I didn't enjoy as much as I should have.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Esther

    I've read a couple of these anthologies in the past, the ones selected by Chris Ware and Harvey Pekar were great. For this one, let's just say I was glad I'd picked this hardback copy up at a reduced to clear price. A couple of good pieces, but too much ho hum or just too weird/violent for my tastes. I've read a couple of these anthologies in the past, the ones selected by Chris Ware and Harvey Pekar were great. For this one, let's just say I was glad I'd picked this hardback copy up at a reduced to clear price. A couple of good pieces, but too much ho hum or just too weird/violent for my tastes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    Some of the comics in this collection were great, but many were too dense to read and drawn so badly that I found myself judging and frowning....which is sad because I Fear No Art.But I could not live with agreeing that these were the best comics of 2017.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ian Carpenter

    My first of these and at first I was put off by a lot of a the art as I flicked through but in the read, I really enjoyed so many of these. Heavy on the outsider, small press comic - tons of refreshing approaches that I would never see.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Karrie S

    For some reason this issue had very small print that was hard to read. Most of the stories didn't appeal to me, but it's a great book for people that may like those comics. The illustrations are beautiful. Just wasn't as good as others I have read in this series. For some reason this issue had very small print that was hard to read. Most of the stories didn't appeal to me, but it's a great book for people that may like those comics. The illustrations are beautiful. Just wasn't as good as others I have read in this series.

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