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The Best American Comics 2011 (Best American Comics)

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  485 ratings  ·  71 reviews
“If you have spent a long time resisting the status quo—whether it’s in art, society, or the political world—what happens when that status quo at last gives way?
A universe of possibility opens up.”

—Alison Bechdel, from the Introduction

Featuring: Gabrielle Bell, Joe Sacco, Dash Shaw, Sabrina Jones, Chris Ware, Jillian Tamaki, Jaime Hernandez, Jeff Smith, Paul Pope, Kevin Hu
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Abstract Comics by Andrei MolotiuThe Best American Comics 2008 by Lynda BarrySyncopated by Brendan BurfordThe Jewish Comix Anthology by Steven M. BergsonFrom the Epic of Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Dangerous Liaisons by Russ Kick
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93rd out of 109 books — 2 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 856)
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Kwesi 章英狮
I read few comics and graphic novels but I appreciate those times I read and feel pleasure and disappointment with them. With its glossy and expensive paper, comic artists had become sensational or some may be inferior because of their short and minimal strips and limited paper to draw in. From that small piece of paper, they shared their experiences, happiness, corniness and everything from them that they want to share from every individual.

The Best of American Comics 2011 is a collection of co
I love taking my comics-knowledge temperature by reading this collection every year. This year, I was thrilled to see not only that it was edited by Alison Bechdel, but the cover was illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, a rising star who hasn't done nearly enough yet.

This year I'd read and reviewed many of the choices (and reviewed them here on GR), but here are some new-to-me pieces and creators I really loved. I'll be seeking out more by each of these creators:

- John Pham's piece about his elementar
Dani Peloquin
I have to be honest that I'm not a great lover of comic anthologies. While I can read excerpts from novels or long essays, I have a hard time getting absorbed into a sample of a comic that is only a few panels long. At the same time, I love graphic novels. Last year I devoured about 15 if not more...I lost track. However, this year I have been lacking in the graphic novel department. It is for this reason that I thought reading this collection would point me towards some of the best comics from ...more
about 15% good. there are four or five stories in there with some heart, and maybe a few more with interesting or innovative artistry ... but for the most part this collection is just pandering to people who still think it's cool that comics can have swearing and boobs.

luckily this isn't my review of that actual state of American independent comics, just of this collection that's more interested in appearing 'out there' and 'cutting edge' than actually seeing what IS out there. this failing is
The worst of the series. Unreadable and disturbing. And I'm gonna lay this one right at the door of guest editor Alison Bechdel -- you ruined it. Alison, YOU chose some mighty disturbing excerpts that validate your alternative world views, but you simply did NOT choose the best comics of 2011.

Damn near every heterosexual act is depicted as a perversity in this tome, heterosexual men are the target of every insult, but there is plenty o' celebration over gay butt slammin' to be found herein. Don
It's pretty much impossible to truly collect the "Best" comics of the year, but series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden do an admirable job of casting a wide net, and the guest editor made a lot of good choices this year (I'm not just saying that because two of my friends made the cut). I read a lot of comics, so at least half of the book was stuff I'd seen before, but there were also a lot of impressive stories that were new to me, especially "Little House in the Big City" by Sabrina Jones, ...more
I thought this collection started out strong. The introduction by Alison Bechdel is great and she really revs you up and gets you excited about reading "the best" comics of the year. Maybe my excitement just wore off as I moved through the collection, but it seems like it ended on a much weaker note than it started. There are quite a few colorful comics in this installment, but most of them are clustered toward the beginning, with things becoming generally monochrome around the middle and end. A ...more
Kogumikega on alati see jama, et nad on veidi eklektilised. Heast asjast saad ainult maitse suhu, igav staff on aga alati liiga pikk. Samas, võrreldes mõne muu kogumikuga, on BAC ikka päris hea sari, sest sinna valitakse üpris suurest hulgast koomiksitest tõesti parimad. Seda tunnistab juba see, et koomiksite puhul, mis mulle seal eriti ei meeldi, saan ma siiski aru miks nad seal on. St nad on millegi poolest, kas siis joonistuslaadi, loojutustamise vms poolest originaalsed, kuigi ma väga huvita ...more
I credit the Best American Comics (BAC) series with expanding my horizons of what comics are doing these days. The more I read them, the more obvious it becomes that conventional superhero comics are boring in comparison. Volume 2011 has some great entries edited by Alison Bechdel and it's nice to see Bechdel include both male and female creators after briefly touching on how women are underrepresented in comics today, and also in this collection. I guess it's not up to Bechdel to disrupt the ba ...more
Andy Shuping
ARC provided by netgalley

This continuing series is a great chance to get a look at some comics that you might not otherwise see. While it does have some big names, such as Jeff Smith, other names such as Robert Sergel, Allison Sayers, and Kate Beaton are lesser known names that have a chance to be introduced to a wider population. The introduction to this volume is written by the effervescent Allison Bechdel and as always provides an enlightening look into the comic book industry from a differen
This is a real good edition, definitely my favorite of the six produced in this series thus far. Alison Bechdel did a fine job of choosing a diversity of comics and creators here, with an eye towards innovative work that pushes the boundaries of the medium. No out-and-out clunkers for me here and several real winners.

One of the best things about these BAC collections is that they can expose even alt-comics junkies like me to creators they’d never heard of. Two fine examples this time around are
I definitely didn't enjoy this as much as I thought I would (hence the 2 stars), which is not to say that it won't be appreciated by the majority of readers. While I generally enjoy comics and graphic novels because they're fun, unreal escapism, the majority of these comics were, well, harsh. There was a tendency for the stories to be very sad or ugly, sometimes in way that was beautiful, but more often in a way that was just depressing.

The Best American Comics 2011 (unsurprisingly) showcases wh
To be honest, I pick these up mostly for the guest editors and for the off chance of discovering something wonderful I haven't read yet. A lot of the work in here just doesn't resonate with me at all. It's like a survey more than anything else, seeing what's out there for 2011. Kate Beaton was the reason I picked it up, and it was worth it to read Alison Bechdel's introduction and for the discovery of Refresh, Refresh: A Graphic Novel, which was what I liked best of what I had not already read. ...more
I did enjoy this anthology, especially Alison Bechdel's introduction which added some interesting context and color commentary to the selections. I thought that the pieces were well chosen and I particularly enjoyed Chris Ware's piece. He does such an incredible job of bringing subtle pathos into graphic novels and he is one of the few current artists who uses the full power of interesting layouts and different drawing styles to make an intense emotional impact that would be impossible to achiev ...more
There are some solid-to-good things in here, but nothing that really makes me want to check out more, except for the usual (Jeff Smith, say.) I like it when these collections turn me on to artists and works I don't already know about, but this one didn't do it. Also, each BAC makes frequent use of excerpts from longer works, but in this volume, they weren't excerpted well. The bits we get don't seem even partly self-contained, and they lack significance on their own. I'm not sure what to make of ...more
Tommy Bat-Blog Brookshire
If you love Graphic Novels then these "Best American Comics" Annuals are fun to read ( Obviously, from the title, this is the one for 2011, ha! But I'm just saying that I have read a few of these in the past and have always liked them ). What I like, besides the great art/stories, is the variety. You really get a lot of different points of view here plus many different styles of art.

OK, "Three Stars" seems kinda bad but overall it was very enjoyable and really worth reading. My only complaint i
Margaret Sankey
From memoirs to literary humor, this is a curated sampler of the most innovative and provocative graphic novel and comic work available in print and online (and it certainly added to my reading list--like the Best American series always does).
Nov 26, 2014 Joy added it
I think I'm becoming addicted to Alison Bechdel's quirky perspective. Her editorial selections introduced me to several new-to-me artists that I want to read further.
All across the board. Read it first in a borders surrounded by local crazies taking advantage of the cafe and the pervasive smell faded in deference to the flashing of worlds across the pages. It's like if all the talented people you know came to perform/display in front of you in rapid succession. All next to each other, all different, I ended up comparing them esoterically. Apples are oranges, right? It's all fruit.

Inspirational and humbling (though I've been using that to describe a lot recen
Hm, seems like other reviews are pretty harsh on these anthologies, and Alison Bechdel's selections. I thought this anthology did step out in the direction of more disturbing/disjointed stories, but I like it when comics push me out of my comfort zone a bit. Except war stuff. Sorry Joe Sacco, your stuff is great but I can't stomach real life stories of horrible trauma. I think of these anthologies more like those old Reader's Digest books that used to the crowd the resale book table at the libra ...more
Sarah Laing
This book is a bit of a tease (as are many Best of collections) but it gave me some pointers on who I want to read next. An excellent introduction from Alison Bechdel, of course. So now I've got to look out for Kevin Mutch (zombies!), Gabby Schulz (herpes!), Angie Wang (psychedelic drawings!), Dash Shaw (botany professor drug fiend poet!), Joey Alison Sayers (cat!), Sabrina Jones (NYC!, Julia Gförer (beautiful demonic illustrations!), Brendan Leach (again beautiful pterodactyl illos!) Also it in ...more
My least favorite collection of The Best American Comics. I was not into 2011.
I feel like Bechdel edited a way better best-of than Neil Gaiman and a lot of the other people who have edited these books. But. It still wasn't all there for me. At least there wasn't any R. Crumb, and at least the obligatory Chris Ware was mercifully short. For maybe the second time ever, I didn't skip any of the comics in this edition, for better or for worse. I didn't love the anti-Israel comic or the omg-I-has-the-herpes comic or... most of them, really, but the ones that were good were REA ...more
Always good. A wonderful mix.
The 2008 BAC, with Lynda Barry as editor, is still my favorite, but this one was a welcome addition to the series. Bechdel's intro was self-deprecatingly funny but also insightful into both the selection process of this anthology and the comics world in general, and her selections were diverse and exciting. In a welcome change from last year's predictable offering from Neil Gaiman, I appreciated that Bechdel included a mix of longer excerpts and shorter standalones, and works from both well-know ...more
Apr 11, 2014 Sue rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: graphic
Well, I really don't "get" most of these, but I found the book worth reading for the couple that I did "get."
The 2011 edition of the 'Best American Comics' anthology is curated this time around by indie, comic scribe Alison Bechdel and as one expect the material leans heavily toward angsty, slice-of-life type morsels. The material seems to be better edited this time around as most of the snippets provide coherent narratives as opposed to confused fragments plopped into the anthology with little regard for context. As always, these hardback tomes are beautifully constructed with high quality paper stock ...more
Cool. I know so little about comics/graphic novels. But this had some really good and interesting stuff in it, and made me want to find more.
I get it. Comics and graphic novels don't have to be funny or witty to be good. Really, I do. But does an entire collection have to be so mind-numbingly depressing? With a few notable exceptions, though not from the contributors I expected going in (not Chris Ware's best work). Highlight for me was Kate Beaton's Great Gatsbys which you can read here:
As for this book, I'm glad I read it but I wouldn't buy a copy or read it again.
I get this book every year, and it's always one of my favorites. What I love most is the wonderful variety of artwork and writing styles.
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Alison Bechdel is an American cartoonist. Originally best known for the long-running comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For, in 2006 she became a best-selling and critically acclaimed author with her graphic memoir Fun Home.
More about Alison Bechdel...
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Are You My Mother? The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For Dykes to Watch Out For (DtWOF, #1) More Dykes to Watch Out For (DtWOF, #2)

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