Hey, folks! Somehow this year with the store’s move and the setup of our new POS and inventory program, I found the time to read some comics. And you know what? Some of them were really great. Do you want to know what I loved? Well, read on, friends: it’s my Top Ten Comics of 2008!
1. MESMO DELIVERY by Rafael Grampa
This was my favorite comic of the year. I love it unconditionally and have read it at least five times. It’s ridiculously violent, ridiculously detailed, and just plain ridiculous. it’s about truckers fighting in a truck stop. There’s a part where a dude TAKES OFF HIS HAND AND REPLACES IT WITH A GIANT HAND! Whew. Please forgive me for shouting. It’s like Geoff Darrow meets C.W. McCall. It is perfect.
2. GUS AND HIS GANG by Chris Blain
This one is about cowboys who rob banks and have romantic misadventures. It’s funny. It reminded me of Joann Sfar’s Vampire Loves, but with Cowboys instead of monsters. What a treat. The art is fluid and whimsical, without losing its consistency. I’m very happy about all the French comics which are showing up here these days, and this is one of my favorite.
3. BLACK JACK by Osamu Tezuka
The first two volumes of this seventeen-volume series are out now, and they’re delightful. They’re short stories about Black Jack, the world’s best mercenary surgeon. Osamu Tezuka was a great cartoonist, and I’ve enjoyed almost all of his books which have been released here over the last several years (MW was my favorite book of the year in last year’s list), and this is no exception. It’s light-hearted, but also really dark at times. I recommend the hardcovers, which each contain a story expunged from the Japanese paperback edition for being too disturbing. The first volume’s bonus story was about conjoined twin’s and the second was about… even worse baby surgery stuff. Don’t let me pressure you, though; we have the cheaper paperbacks too!
4. DISAPPEARANCE DIARY by Hideo Azuma
This is an autobiographical biographical comic by a cartoonist who disappeared from his home and job and became homeless. He’s left out the most horrific parts of the story in order to make it more fun, and weirdly enough, it is. So there you go: it’s a weirdly fun autobiographical comic about an cartoonist who bails on his wife and job, sleeps in the park, and scrounges beer, cigarette butts, and food from the trash. At times he also works for a gas company and seeks treatment for alcoholism. It’s very compelling.
5. HELLBOY: IN THE CHAPEL OF MOLOCH by Mike Mignola
My favorite Hellboy comics are Mike Mignola’s short stories, like The Corpse, the Iron Shoes, and Heads. In the Chapel of Moloch is a return to form. It’s a single issue comic which has all the great Hellboy stuff, namely, monsters and hittin’. Oh, it’s so good.
6. BPRD: THE WARNING by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, Guy Davis, and Dave Stewart
I bet you thought I was going to cheat and list all the Hellboy and BPRD stuff together so I could put more comics on the list, didn’t you? Wrong! The Warning has been great just like every other BPRD story that this team has put together and deserves its own spot on this list. BPRD: 1946 was also exceptional, and while I was dubious about anyone who’s not Guy Davis drawing BPRD the same way I was dubious about anyone other than Mignola drawing them originally, Paul Azaceta was perfect for the story.. Wait, I guess that was cheating. Oh well. Get over it, I love BPRD!
7. MONSTER, by NAOKI URASAWA
It’s a thriller about a surgeon who saves a little boy’s life and then chases him through Europe after he grows up to become a serial killer. It’s a fantastic thriller. I’m about to have a fit waiting for the 18th and final volume. Highly recommended!
8. SAD ANIMALS by Adam Meuse
It’s a collection of drawing of Sad Animals. What else do you want me to say? …no, that’s too short. This is a hilarious little self published comic which features on each page a, well, a sad animal. It’s four bucks, and I think we’ve sold more copies of this mini-comic this year than anything except maybe that Obama comic from IDW. It’s the type of thing that people notice, pick up, flip through, and then bust out laughing.
9. BOY’S CLUB by Matt Furie
Single page comics about these animal dudes who do drugs and turn into things. Sometimes there’s no punchline except for the fact that a dude turns into something hilarious. Occasionally that dude will say something or throw up, though. It’s so dumb, and so funny. The strip with the kiwi in it cracks me up every time I read it.
10. DEMON OMNIBUS by Jack Kirby
I love Jack Kirby’s seventies comics. Kamandi, 2001, and Devil Dinosaur are my favorites, but I like all of it. I read these Demon comics years ago and didn’t really enjoy them, but I decided to reread the series when DC re-released it this year in fancy hardcover form. It’s great, and I don’t know what I was thinking! There are some two-page action spreads in here that just kill me. It’s yet another example of why Kirby was the King.
So there you go: My top ten comic release of 2008. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!
Chapel Hill Comics