Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best Comics of 2012: By This You Shall Know Him

"By This You Shall Know Him" by Jesse Jacobs debuted at TCAF this past Spring by the great Koyama Press. I've been a fan of Jesse's for a few years now, ever since I read one of his minis for the Doug Wright Awards. 

I think he is one of the great new talents in comics. His work is inventive, fresh, vibrant and full of life. His use of colour is to die for and makes me green with envy.

This 2-tone 88-page oversized tome is very hard book to describe, but Squidface and the Meddler does a good job of summing it up: "The story follows the birth of life, humanity, and good and evil, as the unintended side effects of a game of show and tell between squabbling, god-like celestial beings".

Pick it up today and you'll able to say you knew about him way back when. He's also just a really good guy. While you're at it, pick up his first book by AdHouse Books "Even the Giants" which is equally great.

Best Comics of 2012 - Kid Mafia

It bugs me when I read about cartoonists who don't read comics. Why devote yourself to an art that you aren't immersed in/enthralled with? Honestly I think there are more good comics being produced today than ever before, so there's no excuse not to be reading somehting great, whether it's a mainstream comic, indie graphic novel, kids comic or mini-comic.

The secret has been out about Michael DeForge (multiple Doug Wright Award winner) for some time now. The guy is a comics-making machine. When he's not doing Lose for Koyama Press, his webcomic Ant Comic, or various one-shots, he's busy making mini-comics the old-fashioned way => stapling and folding a comic himself in very limited quantities. Some of these minis really represent his best work, his mini-comic "Kid Mafia" is one of my picks for Best Comics of 2012.

Kid Mafia by Michael DeForge

This past year I picked up "Kid Mafia" #1 and #2 at the Beguiling in Toronto. These are two little square-shaped minis about Franco, a high-school dropout and skater kid does all the regular teen things like hanging out by the variety store and playing video games with his friends. He also happens to be a crime boss and he's having an affair with his best friend's Mom.

This is a very fun, very well thought-out and polished book. Granted DeForge's minis are hard to find, but I think that's half the fun. With ebay and Amazon, there are very few comics that are hard to find and you need to seek out these days. It used to take me years to find certain back-issues for my collection and the hunt was half the fun. I am currently on the lookout for "Kid Mafia" #3 which recently came out. I neeeed it!

Luckily DeForge has posted the complete Kid Mafia #1 online at his website. You can read it here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Best Comics of 2012 - Saga

Over the next week or so I'll be highlighting some of my favourite comics and graphic novels for 2012 (presented in no particular order). I've jotted down titles through the year from mainstream comics, to indie graphic novels, to mini-comics, to kids comics that I've really enjoyed. My first pick is Saga.

I can just about count on one hand the comics that I still buy monthly, and it's rare that a new comic enters the list. This past year, a new title did make it in though - Saga, by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, published by Image Comics.

It's kind of a Romeo and Juliet story that takes place in a futuristic world. Marko has ram-like horns with magical powers, Alana has wings and comes from a technologically advanced society. Both were soldiers fighting on opposing sides of a war. They are now war deserters with a small baby. They're trying to make a quiet life together while dealing with the disapproval of their parents, and being hunted down by a variety of people.

This is a science fiction story in the truest sense, in that it does what the best science fiction stories do - they show you a vision of the future that makes you think differently about the present. It's really finely crafted and lavishly illustrated. I take great joy in the fact that Fiona Staples, a Canadian, does such a wonderful job in what's typically a very male realm - a futuristic space opera-like story. She can do everything from great battle scenes, to tender family moments.

When the first issue came out it caused a big commotion because it starts with a childbirth scene and then shows Alana breastfeeding her newborn baby Hazel. Some fanboys were offended by that. So crazy huh? The scene is no gimmick though, it fits the story and the characters and I loved it. Great comic.

The first trade paperback is now available.