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An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories
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An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  724 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
Comic artist Ivan Brunetti, the creator of Schizo, offers a best-of anthology of contemporary art comics, along with some classic comic strips and other historical materials that have retained a “modern” sensibility. As with Chris Ware’s selections for his best-selling McSweeney’s anthology, Brunetti’s choices make for a highly personal book (“my criteria were simple: thes ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 23rd 2006 by Yale University Press
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David Schaafsma
Dec 04, 2015 David Schaafsma rated it really liked it
I've had this for awhile but never written about it. This is one of the important comics collections. If you are a student of comics you have to know it, and there's a second volume Brunetti did, and The McSweeney's volume edited by Chris Ware.

Faves: Chet Brown, Lynda Barry, Jeffery Brown, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Crumb, Phoebe Gloeckner, Bill Griffith, Los Hernandez Bros, Kevin Huizenga, George Herriman, Ben Katchor, Richard McGuire, Seth, Charles Schulz, Jim Woodring, Chris Ware and about
Patrick Sherriff
Apr 09, 2015 Patrick Sherriff rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I'm a quite a newbie when it comes to comics and graphic novels, so I was excited to discover this doorstopper of a hardback at a second-hand bookshop in Tokyo the other day. I need educating, and the is Yale University Press book seemed as good a place to start as any. I've no idea how representative of the genre it was, but I really appreciated the range of artistic styles and topics presented, although the themes of Catholic guilt and weird-stuff-that-happened-to-me-in-my-20s were a little ov ...more
Mar 14, 2016 Bill rated it liked it
Haven't read anything in a bit but recently just finished going through this. Overall a good collection of comics, nothing particularly unexpected or out of left field. A pretty good overview of the past 80-some years of Western comics. Unfortunately this is a pretty North American-centric collection, like most collections of this type go. Plenty of the hierarchs of the straight/white/male pantheon (Ware, Clowes, Crumb, Burns, etc. etc. etc.) are represented for the 100th time but there is a pre ...more
Sep 06, 2011 Lauren rated it liked it
I think this anthology works best either as an introduction to interesting artists or as sort of a museum exhibit of the state and history of modern graphic novels.

As with most anthologies, it's hard to rate the book as a whole when some works shine and some I skipped over. I appreciated and enjoyed the book, and especially liked looking at the different art styles. There are also some great stories being told here and I have a brief list of books and artists to look into further.

There is a dark
Nov 05, 2009 Alan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Followers of the form
As the introductory essay makes clear, this anthology is basically made up of "some comics I like." But when the person compiling them is Ivan Brunetti, it's time to sit up and take notice. This book is a well-packaged and wide-ranging collection of images and essays that show Brunetti has a comprehensive understanding both of the history and of the current direction(s) of the graphic arts.

There are too many contributors to list individually, but ones I recognized and liked include giants of the
Bob Redmond
Jul 22, 2009 Bob Redmond rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphica
Brunetti's first volume of "Graphic Fiction, cartoons, and true stories" does a great, if sometimes uneven, job of collecting most contemporary "graphic novelists" and their progenitors in the genre.

Any good anthology will inspire arguments of inclusion; I'll skip that here but will quibble with the space given certain folks: only 4 pages for Lynda Barry, but Justin Green and Joe Matt get 8 or 9 pages? And Brunetti, although he includes woodcut artist Franz Masreel and some of the early comic st
Jo Bennie
Dec 01, 2014 Jo Bennie rated it really liked it
Shelves: b
An amazing doorstep of a book featuring excerpts of American comic fiction chronologially from about the fifties onwards. You wont find any superheroes here, this is the history of the comics that appeared in papers, independent graphic fiction and fanzines, of Robert Crumb and Maus and Peanuts.
Jul 26, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: library

This is a pretty comprehensive collection of contemporary "comix" or graphic fiction. This is definitely not what I would call "funny books", instead it is much more adult-oriented. A good part of the book is an homage to Charles Schulz, which I enjoyed and which gave me a deeper appreciation of his work.

There are some great stories here, especially Clowes' "Gynecology" and the long piece by R.Crumb. Some of the pieces didn't work well for me because (I believe) they have been reduced in size fr
Aug 05, 2007 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, anthologies
Like any anthology, the quality of the material is uneven, but the good outweighs the bad, and by a pretty large margin, so this one definitely ends up on the plus side of things. Just about every alternative cartoonist you can think of from the last 30 to 40 years is represented here, with some choice examples of classic comic strips included as a nice palette cleanser... the Frank King Gasoline Alley strips are so beautiful to look at, and any book that slips even a tiny bit of Crockett Johnso ...more
Rocco Versaci
Sep 15, 2012 Rocco Versaci rated it really liked it
Graphic Fiction is an anthology edited by Brunetti that features some of the absolute best work in the medium, including Jaime Hernandez's "Flies on the Ceiling," Richard McGuire's "Here," Harvey Pekar and Robert Crumb's "Hypothetical Quandary," and outstanding selections from Art Spiegelman, Dan Clowes, Debbie Drechsler, Phoebe Gloeckner, Chris Ware, Lynda Barry, and many more. It's such a complete package that I use it as the main textbook in my college-level English class, "Comic Books as Lit ...more
Dec 30, 2015 Bryanzk rated it really liked it
Refer me several "new" artists.
Jul 13, 2007 Debbie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: adults
I really enjoyed this collection of graphic fiction from numerous artists. The only reason that I would give it 3 stars instead of 5 is because it was proclaimed (in the articles I read) as a young adult collection, but it is most certainly an adult collection. Granted, there are much more explicit materials to be found in a young adult collection, but in the graphic novel medium a little nudity goes a long way. As an adult graphic novel enthusiast I loved it!
Jan 07, 2014 Dimity rated it it was amazing
Pretty familiar with most of the artists in this anthology already, but the whole thing read really nicely and it was nice to revisit some of the best bits of larger comics. Like picking up a good book of short stories that you can breeze through.
Oct 05, 2009 Kristenyque rated it it was amazing
Since this has excerpts from various graphic novels/cartoons I slowly worked my way through this a little at a time. A few of the more comic book-like pages bored me. Some of the more graphic novel type material had me riveted though. The creativity mixed with (sometimes raw) humanity made for some intense page-turning action. I am hoping to read some of the actual books now that I've read some of the pages from the best.
Nov 19, 2008 Spencer rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
huge compilation. 79 artists. NSFK (not safe for kids). cute stuff by Kochalka. sublime nonsense by Mark Beyer, funny crap by Mat Brinkman, my favorite strip by Jim Woodring, Prewitt's sof'boy, part of C. Burns Curse of the molemen, the sublime Black Cherry, by Michael Dougan. Stuff by J. Bradley Johnson. Seth, David Heatley, Chris Ware, part of Justin Greens Binkey Brown.
Feb 27, 2011 Aras rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
A pretty good anthology of the 'slice-of-life' style of comic book.

One thing that does get tiring is how many of the stories are extremely down-beat, mopey, negative, depressive. What makes comic book writers hate life? Still, as an overview of the modern landscape, this is quite good, and there's some nice extended sections on Peanuts, Art Spiegelman, and Robert Crumb.
While there were some really great strong stories in here, there were also were many stories that were confusing, pretentious, and reprints that can easily be found elsewhere (Maus, Lynda Barry, etc). There were some interesting historical essays and reprints of classic cartoons, but overall, I found myself skipping large chunks of the book for being boring.
Jul 11, 2011 Mike rated it liked it
'graphic fiction' is a catch-all term for all comics
Brunetti's favorites (he, NYer covers, simple, round heads)
largely North American cartoonists
doodle is the fundament of cartooning
Grosz...riot of the insane, 1915..
compare, ernie bushmillers Nancy, 1958
saul steinberg: doodling is the brooding of the hand
...calcification and decay of old age
Jan 13, 2008 Liz rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone worth knowing
Recommended to Liz by: the backseat of L. dam Sorrow's car
holy cow, what a great anthology! so logically complied and edited; it's the dream textbook for the dreamiest class on comics analysis and, to some extent, history. Brunetti admits that this is nowhere near a complete or comprehensive anthology but it is a great place to start your studies if you are interested in comics as more than funny little pictures.
Nov 02, 2013 Stephen rated it it was ok
I guess this would be good for a newbie to graphic novels. Having read comics since the late 70s, I've seen most of this stuff in one form or another already. This left me wondering, will I enjoy further retrospectives and historical collections? Have I already seen the best of what this medium has had to offer?
Jun 01, 2009 Mike rated it liked it
Shelves: comic
This book is dense. I would have liked it more if I had taken my time. This is like a textbook primer for people who need to be (re)introduced to comics. I would highly recommend it for that purpose. But don't try to read it straight through on a library imposed deadline. It's a pick-up/put-down kind of book.
Sep 18, 2009 angrykitty rated it liked it
another anthology of graphic fiction. editor brunetti even admits it's just a collection of stuff he likes......i'm not we have the same tastes overall.....

eh....this was ok....the biggest problem i had was that the fonts in some of the comics were so small i really couldn't read them....
Feb 11, 2009 Jason rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2007
All these graphic anthologies are starting to look the same to me.

"Umberto Eco snappily said of [Charles:] Schultz' characters, 'They are the monstrous infantile reductions of all the neuroses of a modern citizen of the industrial civilization!'"
Feb 29, 2008 Christopher rated it it was amazing
The depth of the work here is astounding. Sometimes funny, sometimes terrifying, almost always brave. Be prepared to jump out of your chair and cry, "Holy shit, I gotta tell somebody about this!"
Aug 06, 2008 Jason rated it it was amazing
a great collection...
draws from a lot of varying genres and has quite a few landmark pieces that will not fail to blow you away...
edited by ivan brunetti who is one sick puppy...
This is a fantastic, well-designed, and diverse collection of graphic memoirs and fiction. I still wish that indie cartoonists would cheer up a little, though. Geez, what a bleak book.
Feb 03, 2008 nicole rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldnt-finish, 2008
it was like someone took all the things i hated in the 2007 volume of american's best comics and like, worseified it. also i was just feeling cranky and not all that into it.
Andrew Tatge
Jul 10, 2012 Andrew Tatge rated it it was amazing
There are some very sophisticated picks in here, and overall, my favorite anthology compared against Brunetti's second anthology, or the "Best American Comics" series.
Christian Lipski
Aug 18, 2010 Christian Lipski rated it it was amazing
An excellent sampling of what's billed as "art comics," but is just alternative. Chris Ware, R. Crumb, Julie Doucette, etc etc. A really nice selection!
Aug 27, 2011 Rebecca rated it liked it
Not everything in this was great, but overall it was a really good sample of graphic work from the last century. I love Good Ol' Gregor Brown.
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Known for his dark humor and simple, yet effective drawing style. Brunetti's best known work is his autobiographical comic series Schizo. Four issues have appeared between 1994 and 2006. Schizo #4 won the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Comic of the Year in 2006.

He has also done numerous covers of The New Yorker.
More about Ivan Brunetti...

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