As I said over at MangaBlog, I’m reluctant to put together a “Best of” list for a variety of reasons, but I did want to throw together a list of books that provided… well… fun. I think some of the books below would also make the “gravitas” cut, but the common thread for me is imaginative, escapist reading pleasure. So, without further babble, I give you The Year in Fun:
Anne Freaks (ADV): Sometimes fun involves murderous, anarchist teens. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
Beauty Pop (Viz – Shojo Beat): Oh, sweet, formulaic shôjo. I still love you. (I don’t think I’ve actually reviewed this yet, but Lyle has, and I agree with him completely.)
Castle Waiting (Fantagraphics): Great characters, imaginative and rambling storytelling, and very appealing art. (Reviewed here.)
The Drifting Classroom (Viz – Signature): Insanely ramped up horror that manages to be both hilariously over the top and still effectively frightening. (Reviewed here.)
Dragon Head (Tokyopop): The perfect contemporary companion for Drifting Classroom. Tense survival drama that keeps trying to top itself and often succeeds. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
DVD (DramaQueen): The quirky characters in this book have great chemistry, making for funky, funny reading. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
Get a Life (Drawn & Quarterly): In a genre piled with disagreeable losers, Mr. Jean is the most agreeable single straight man on the comics shelves. That sounds more like faint praise than I intended. (Reviewed here.)
Klezmer (First Second): No one finds the warmth and character-driven comedy in dark material like Joann Sfar. (Reviewed here.)
The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service (Dark Horse): Imagine the cast of Scooby Doo attending a Buddhist college and making extra cash by helping restless spirits. Then go buy this book. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
Moomin (Drawn & Quarterly): D&Q was clearly determined to make me love them this year, and the promise of a steady diet of this loopy classic was a big factor. (Kind of reviewed here.)
Mouse Guard (Archaia): Adorable mice with swords, beautifully rendered in an exciting story. What more do you need? (Reviewed here.)
Northwest Passage (Oni Press): Technically this debuted in 2005, but two of its three volumes came out in 2006, so I’m counting it. Like Mouse Guard, it combines wonderful art and a thrilling story, this time steeped in history instead of fantasy. (Reviewed here and here.)
Ode to Kirihito (Vertical): You may be thinking, what is this high-end classic doing here? I can answer that in two words: “Human Tempura.” Yes, the book is serious and humane, but it’s also joyful in Tezuka’s aesthetic and just in watching the wildly sprawling story unfold. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
Past Lies (Oni): A rookie private investigator delves into the sleazy-stylish world of the Hollywood elite. This had better be the first of a series. (Reviewed here.)
Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness (Oni): Three volumes in, Bryan Lee O’Malley keeps this incredibly novel and hilarious series grounded and warm at the same time.
Paris (Slave Labor Graphics): The story by Andi Watson is serviceable, but the art by Simon Gane is eye-poppingly gorgeous. When’s the collection coming out? (Reviewed here, here and here.)
Polly and the Pirates (Oni): Shôjo manga isn’t the exclusive domain of schoolgirls with secret identities. Ted Naifeh creates a wonderful protagonist in Polly Pringle, and watching an adventurous spirit emerge from a proper exterior is great fun. (Reviewed here, here, and here.)
Shout Out Loud (Tokyopop – Blu): Boys’ love mixed with workplace comedy makes for a witty, heartwarming mix. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
Train Man: Densha Otoko (Viz): My favorite of the adaptations because it’s an entertaining manga in its own right. Sweet stuff, but not cloying. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
Yakitate!! Japan (Viz): Boy-with-a-dream wackiness en croûte. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
This entry was posted on Thursday, December 21st, 2006 at 5:03 am and is filed under Awards and lists. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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