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The Best American Comics 2006 (Best American Comics)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  1,053 ratings  ·  112 reviews
The popularity of the graphic genre continues to rage, and The Best American Comics is a diverse, exciting annual selection for fans and newcomers alike. The inaugural volume includes stories culled from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and the Web.

Contributors include Robert Crumb, Chris Ware, Kim Deitch, Jaime Hernandez, Alison Bechdel
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 11th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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As a collection, I give this an even lower rating. Because of its heavy emphasis on the dreary, the depressing, and the angry hippies, I think it's a pretty terrible sampling of all of the wonderful things we call "comics." Then again editor Pekar as much as admits that he's really into dreary, depressing, and angry hippie comics.

As a collection, I must protest the placement of the artist bios and comments at the back of the book. While the comics themselves are presented in random (?) order in
Scott Longo
Picked up all the books in the "Best American Comics" series over the weekend. $4 on the ultra-clearance rack for all of them! Well, also, an ex co-worker hooked it up pretty hard. So, that was cool.

But yeah, this series... I've always felt a little underwhelmed with these books when I run across 'em. There's usually some really good stuff, some decent stuff, but all totally jumbled. When I look at the list of 100 comics that they narrowed down to arrive at the final...25(?) I can't help but fe
Josephus FromPlacitas
Houghton Mifflin don't know comics almost like Bo don't know diddley. There are a ton of great artists and neat little vignettes in here, but there are also some really token-ized appearances by The Great Ones that don't make a whole lot of sense outside of their broader storylines.

For example, there's an excerpt from Jessica Abel's La Perdida, from maybe one-half or two-thirds of the way through the story. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't imagine that a collection of great fiction writing w
There is a lot that can be said about "the best American comics". Some words that come to mind are humorous, ironic, weird, sad, angry, painfully truthful, informational and above all, creative. Let me repeat myself, these comics were exceptionally creative from their stories to their artwork. For a long time I have wanted to experience some of Robert Crumb's work and this book gave me a small taste and I do want to read more. This is the perfect venue for someone who hasn't read many comics or ...more
Morgan Yew
The only review of this that you *need* to read is by Harvey Pekar, and it happens to be the Introduction. He is clearly a lifelong fan and champion of the medium. His enthusiasm can colour any hesitation you have about the value of his selections. But if you don't have a copy on hand to read, or you're not looking at a digital copy, this is what I thought of this first edition.

Strong first effort with some dated strips that read out of place in the narrative structure of the edit ("Nakedness an
This is a varied collection of comics by different artists.

I was intrigued by the quality of "la Rubica Loca" but it took a lazy breederiffic turn that was to me a disappointment.

"13 Cats of my Childhood" was beautifully illustrated but incredibly sad. The comic details the short, cruel life of many domestic cats both in the era in which the comic takes place (70s-80s) and, to a lesser extent, today. Every time the troubled family moves, they get a new cat. Cats are obtained and cast aside with
Maurice Carlos Ruffin
All the Pleasures of the Comic Form are in this Anthology

The sheer variety of this collection is what makes it so enthralling. There are representatives from every corner of the independent comics world: non-fiction, avant-garde, cheeky pop-art, flower-power-era stuff from old schoolers like R. Crumb and Gilbert Shelton, one-pagers, and many super-affecting, but not-at-all sentimental pieces.

There are too many excellent comics in this 270+ page anthology to mention them all, but my favorite ten
America's Best Comics 2006 was an impulse bargain purchase. The compilation contains comics that utilize a variety of styles, subjects, and themes. Some have definite messages, while others seem less poignant.

There were several which I endeared myself to: "Complacency Kills," with its documentation of the high level of anxiety amongst forces in Iraq; "La Rubia Loca," a tale where a dejected woman finds her purpose in helping others; and in "Thirteen Cats" the artist tells of the fleeting natur
Krystl Louwagie
As I mentioned earlier, I don't appreciate the disdain for superhero comics evident in the introduction and forward to this book. Moving on past that, this is a wonderful idea to collect different comics together in one spot for people that aren't exposed to many different comics in their daily lives but still want to be! Mostly, this book is getting a high star rating just because of that for me. It wasn't that I was completely in love with hardly any of the comics-it's just that I support the ...more
As are all of the Best American series, this book is a mixed bag. There are some comics that are amazing and others that I can't help thinking, "This? This is the BEST?" Thus my three star rating. However, there are individual selections that I easily would give five stars to, starting with David Heatley's "Portrait of my Father." There was a excerpt from this in Issue #13 of McSweeney's and I loved it then (if you're interested in contemporary comics, picking up this Best American collection an ...more
Tamara Evans
The Best American Comics 2006 is a great combination of 30 well drawn comics, sharp writing, and political awareness.The book manages to have a good balance of color an d black and white comics and well as traditional versus more modern styles.

My favorite comic in the collection was "Nakedness and Power" which is a political comic discussing the oppression of Africans as well as the current oppression of Americans in reference to oil prices.The pictures in this comic are compelling as well as t
Lord Beardsley
As I'm recently rekindling my desire to make graphic/sequential narratives again (or 'bd' = bande desinee, as they're referred to in the Francophone sphere of the world that I live in), I thought the first thing I needed to do was to get caught up to speed with what's going on right now in the world of sequential narrative graphics. I don't like using the term "comics" because to me comic = funny, which is a limiting description of what bd's are, it's condescending, and doesn't accurately stand- ...more
Glen Engel-Cox
It's true that the graphic story medium remains a ghetto, even though successes in the last couple of decades such as Alan Moore's Watchmen and Art Spiegelman's Maus I did a lot to renovate it. The majority of American comics, and the graphic novels collected from them, are filled with what Cory Doctorow calls underwear perverts, otherwise known as superheroes. Japanese comics, while exhibiting a wider variety, have a similar issue in that much manga simply repeats what has been successful in th ...more
Sep 24, 2013 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people new to non-superhero comics
This was a neat collection. I picked it up in a bargain bin ages ago and finally got around to reading it. I'd say I REALLY LIKED about 25% of the comics here (enough to seek out fuller works by the authors) and liked another 25-35% (enough to read them a few times over). The rest were not my taste but I was happy to be exposed to lots of different writing and drawing styles. There was a lot of diversity in style and theme so chances are you'll have a similar hit ratio in terms of what resonates ...more
Guest editor Harvey Pekar does a good job of culling a consistent group of comics from the 100 that Moore presented him, but fails to show the full spectrum of what comics can tackle, which according to his introduction was a goal of this anthology. Not surprisingly Pekar's picks deal predominantly with either the mundane, the ultra-real, or the political. Now there are certainly a few exceptions to this - most notably Rebecca Dart's magical "Rabbithead", but for the most part the best of these ...more
Although the whole "Best" designation comes across as quite arbitrary (perhaps inevitably so), I enjoyed most of the stories collected here by guest editor, Harvey Pekar. Some artists are ill-served with presentations of excerpts from longer works - the Jessica Abel and Alex Robinson pieces aren't particularly so compelling that I wanted to read the rest of each respective story; and though both had excellent visuals, neither one seemed to be a strong enough chapter to stand well enough on its o ...more
With at least two other comics anthologies out this past year, this one is good but certainly not the 'best' as its title claims. Pekar's choices seem very unstructured. Some of his selections have already appeared in (the legendary) "McSweeney's 13" two years ago which was edited by Chris Ware. Ware's selections though seemed to weave a narrative of their own with a bit of comics history thrown in. A direct follow-up to McSweeney's is "An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories ...more
Three bucks at Borders, hell yes. I love comics, especially new-wave indie "graphic novel" comics. Actually this is the only kind I like (besides Calvin and Hobbes)but the term "graphic novel" just seems really snobby. My favorite comic author/drawers are Adrian Tomine, Daniel Clowes, and Chris Ware, though only the last has work featured in the 2006 edition. The comics I liked in the book really deserve five stars-- some were just fantastic. The rating is brought down by mediocre and downright ...more
Graphic Novel. I saw this at the library and picked it up because it's got some people I've heard of and never read, some people I've never heard of or read, and Lynda Barry.

If you don't know much about modern indie comics, this book is a good sampler. It's a mix of satire, political commentary, humor, memoir, and surrealism, and the art runs the gamut from realistic to cartoony. Some of the contributions are only a page, while others are several pages -- those are often excerpts from larger wor
Diane Ramirez
This is the first time the Best American series has featured comics, and I'm so glad they've started. There's a great selection here of satire, political commentary, self-examination, irony, humor, and oddity. If you've read McSweeney's #13, there is a good amount of overlap with this book, which is a nice way for a non-hardcore comics fan to get a taste of what's going on in the scene. (Or at least I think it's a good taste of what's going on!) I have discovered that this type of literature has ...more
Considering that this is the 'best' of what American underground comix have to offer these day, it's an exceptionally mediocre collection that gets three stars only because many of the luminaries of the field are included and I gave their pieces 5 stars. I will admit that many artists in here are those I've never liked much, such as Chris Ware, Joe Sacco, Ivan Brunetti, and Lynda Barry. So, here is my story by story break down:

Over all, a good read. There are some truly terrific comics in this collection, and most of them are well chosen. R. Crumb's and Jesse Reklaw's autobiographical works stand out, but there's also plenty of room for humor with comics like "The Amazing Life of Onion Jack."

There are several that don't deserve the title of "best" in this collection. While I respect Harvey Pekar a lot, I'm pretty sure I felt his guiding hand on some of the low-quality, heavy-handedly "indy" selections. His introductio
I had read something about graphic novels and was poking around Barnes & Noble looking for something other than most of what they had, when I stumbled across this.

The very thing I’m looking for! The first in the new Best American series. I’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in the graphic novel. You get a nice sampling of various kinds of serious comic work, with some interesting graphics and some very interesting tales.

My favorites were “Passing Before Life’s Very Eyes” by Kurt Wolf
Is a lot of things by a lot of different people. So, some I say Is very good! (I say this about David Heatley, Portrait of my Dad, and Jesse Reklaw, Thirteen Cats of my Childhood, and I will say good about anything of the Chris Ware and the Ivan Brunetti). A lot of else is Boring or I don't get (The thing, Rabbithead, by Rebecca Dart, is a I don't get. The thing from Crumb is a thing that is not bad, but is so much like what he do in So long ago. Why is best of 2006? 2006 is so Not so much happe ...more
Christy S
An ode to the art of writing *and* drawing and the creators who are able to make these two mediums flow into a story. It made me long for a good full length graphic novel– a story I can stick with that will last longer than a page or two. Except for the one about the 13 cats the author had as a child, a page for each describing how they were obtained and what happened to them. Graphics are somehow the perfect way to portray highly disfunctional families. Is it because you can see facial expressi ...more
Shayna Ross
Perhaps I made the mistake of reading a few of the more recent ones (2008, 2010, 2013), but to jump back in time to try this one out, a lot of the references were certainly outdated (naturally) and it just didn't click with me. While it made sense on why the selections seemed politically-heavy, I found it difficult to think back and determine my own knowledge to pair off.
Sep 01, 2007 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: graphic novel geeks like myself
Ok, first I have to admit that I am totally biased in recommending this one as a former student of mine, Lilli Carre' has one of the better comics included in this anthology, plus she did the fabulous cover (None of which I can honestly take credit for teaching her, I might add.)

Compiled in part by guest editor Harvey Pekar, there is a quite a hodge-podge collection here, some brilliant, and a few mediocre ones, but if he was striving for real variety, he achieves it.

In every group show there
Oct 12, 2013 Liz rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
Like any anthology, this collection is a mixed bag. The comics are all from the alternative scene and book encompassing everything annoying about alternative comics: bad art pretending to be experimental, tasteless groanfests pretending to be edgy, suburban whinge memoirs with endless naval-gazing, Chris Ware. Some of the comics were really good, but none were mindblowing. Since quite a few of them are excepts from longer works, some of them were hard to get into, as well.

The comics are all fro
All these anthologies are just fantastic to me. Probably largely due to the fact that comics are the only kind of reading I have the attention span for anymore. Alas prose. Also, each and every one of these anthologies are just gorgeous books. Gorgeous. They are, to me, a reason why books should remain in print. The introductory essay in this one was written by Harvey Pekar and he makes a great argument for comics as a medium that really sings when it bursts past the bounds of its superhero genr ...more
Rebecca Dart's RabbitHead had a very interesting layout and story, and the very first comic made me laugh (Joel Priddy's Superior Showcase/Onion Jack). However, most were mediocre, sad to say.
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Harvey Lawrence Pekar was an American underground comic book writer best known for his autobiographical American Splendor series.

In 2003, the series inspired a critically acclaimed film adaptation of the same name.

More about Harvey Pekar...

Other Books in the Series

Best American Comics (10 books)
  • The Best American Comics 2007
  • The Best American Comics 2008
  • The Best American Comics 2009
  • The Best American Comics 2010
  • The Best American Comics 2011
  • The Best American Comics 2012
  • The Best American Comics 2013
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