My last post was about all the comic book anthologies that I was eagerly awaiting from the library. They arrived, although I'm not sure how I feel about the anthology title, The Best American Comics. They may have been better named "The Best Independent American Comics."
Or "A Collection of Independent Comics", because I think that "best" might be pushing it.
Perhaps "So Fringe that they Mostly Seem Dumb."
Or how about "What Have R. Crumb, Daniel Clowes, and Chris Ware Been Up to this Year?" Because seriously, every single book, each year, features each of these artists.
I became convinced to go check these out because Neil Gaiman edited the 2010 edition, which the library does not have. I went to look at the edition that he edited at a bookstore, and found it much more interesting than the previous 4 editions.
When checking all of these books out, I also checked out one anthology that was not a part of this series: The Year's Best Graphic Novels, Comics, & Manga. This anthology came out one year only, in 2005, and featured some truly entertaining stuff, including Scott Pilgrim. The 2010 edition of the Best American series of anthologies was the first to feature Scott Pilgrim - and thanks guest editor Neil Gaiman for that, but what a pity that this series only paid attention to that excellent book after the movie was released. The Year's Best anthology featured a few more comics I really like (specifically Fables, and an honorable mention to Courtney Crumrin although it was not excerpted in the book) and gave me a few ideas for some new stuff to check out. It's too bad that this anthology only came out that one year.
Seeking out the edition that Neil Gaiman edited did pay off in one major way - while looking for it at the local Barnes and Noble, I found a graphic novel that outshone all the rest - Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann, illustrated by Janet Lee. I was drawn to it originally because of the steampunk imagery, and figured it might be fun to page through while wasting a little time in the bookstore. My first surprise was that Tim Gunn wrote the introduction to this book - yes, that Tim Gunn. I felt as if the book couldn't surprise me more after the revelation that Tim Gunn likes comics.
I was wrong. It's a gorgeous book.
So to cut to the chase, I got a Barnes and Noble gift card for Christmas and went back and bought that book. No regrets.
The book actually has a trailer - watch the video to get a taste of it.