December 22, 2006
I can’t really call it the Year in Not Fun, can I? But these are the books that made a lingering impression, whether moving, provocative, unsetting or some combination of those qualities.
Afterschool Nightmare (Go! Comi): Adolescent identity crises made creepily manifest. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
American Born Chinese (First Second): A moving, funny, and multi-faceted look at cultural assimilation. (Reviewed here.)
Deogratias (First Second): A gripping and restrained look at an appalling tragedy. (Reviewed here.)
Dokebi Bride (Netcomics): Teen angst, culture clashes, and family dysfunction with a healthy dose of the supernatural. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
Emma (CMX): Men do so make passes at girls who wear glasses. Particularly when they’re fetching but secretive housemaids in a wonderfully subdued manga romance. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
ES: Eternal Sabbath (Del Rey): Lots of people love this character-driven science fiction title, but buzz doesn’t seem to have translated to sales. Add it to the hallowed ranks of Planetes and Eden: It’s an Endless World! (Reviewed in Flipped.)
Fun Home (Houghton Mifflin): An absorbing look at difficult, defining interpersonal relationships told with exceptional skill.
Gray Horses (Oni): No one combines beautifully rendered dream logic with a solid, satisfying narrative like Hope Larson. (Reviewed here.)
Japan as Viewed by 17 Creators (Fanfare/Ponent Mon): In a strong year of collected shorts, this is easily the best, packed with diverse talents. (Reviewed in Flipped.)
The Squirrel Mother Stories (Fantagraphics): Megan Kelso lets her mind and style wander in this terrific collection of short stories. She’s like the graphic novelist love child of Sarah Vowell and Augusten Burroughs. (Reviewed here.)
The Ticking (Top Shelf): Lyrical and creepy, beautiful and ugly. It was my introduction to the work of Reneé French, and I can’t imagine a better one. (Reviewed here.)
12 Days (Tokyopop): Unlike anything else being produced in Tokyopop’s global line: a single-volume story with the feel of nouvelle josei. (Reviewed here.)
I’ll stop now. I promise.
Edited: I lied, but in my defense, I pulled one of those “omit one of the books that made you want to write the post in the first place” things, like when you’re standing in front of an open refrigerator and you know you had a reason to be there, but you have no memory of what it is. Or maybe that only happens to me.