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The Best American Comics 2012 (Best American Comics)

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3.39  ·  Rating details ·  294 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
“When I started RAW magazine in the ’80s, there were mostly superheroes, a few children’s comics, and the dirty, intentionally lowbrow, underground comix. And now, comics can tackle any topic.”—Françoise Mouly, from the Introduction

FEATURING Charles Burns, Chester Brown, Joyce Farmer, Chris Ware, Gary Panter, Sergio Aragonés, Christoph Niemann, Adrian Tomine, Sarah Varon,
...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Michael
Sep 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
It would have been better to give the editorship to someone younger who is actually interested in comics. Many of these selections aren't even comics, regardless of the book's title. And while I love Chester Brown, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, and Jim Woodring from way back in the day, there's honestly no one new out there this collection could showcase? Other selections, such as the one by Mad Magazine veteran Sergio Aragones, are simply embarrassing. I may sound like Comic Book Guy ("Worst. Coll ...more
garrett
Nov 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
there are some gems in here, but for the most part the comics chosen were terribly boring
Christopher Roth
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
One thing I have to say about this collection is that it says "Best American Comics," but that doesn't even begin to prepare you for the diversity of voices in this volume. Some of the contributors are from the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, some are from the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, some are from the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, and, some--are you sitting down?--are even from the South Williamsburg neighborhood. In terms of age, some of the contributors are as youn ...more
Tommy
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Here's what I liked: "X'ed Out" by Charles Burns, "Jimbo" by Gary Panter, "Frank and the Gut-Worshippers" by Jim Woodring, "The Pilot Learns To Fly" by Anders Nilsen, "The Love Bunglers" by Jaime Hernandez, "Even the Giants Get the Blues" by Jesse Jacobs, and "Read a Book" by Michael J. Buckley. I had already read the Charles Burns selection because I have the complete "X'ed Out" graphic novel. I was so enchanted with "Even the Giants Get the Blues" by Jesse Jacobs that I immediately ordered the ...more
Tab
Nov 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
2.5
A mixed batch of interesting stories, confusing stories and boring stories.

Interesting: Charles Burns' "X'ed Out," Sammy Harkham's "Blood of the Virgin." Both excerpts made me want to find the comic and read it in its entirety.

Confusing or "Why was this chosen?": "House of Debt" (really?), "A Month Of..."

Boring: "The Irish Table,"Scenes from an Impending Marriage","Rock Scissors, Paper"

Surprised by the Adrian Tomine piece, as it doesn't reflect his work. Anthologies are pretty much used as
...more
Peter
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was ok


Best Brooklyn Comics.
I've read a couple other Best American Comics editions and this was by far the worst.
Leave Luck to Heaven, Charles Burns, and Chris Ware were the best parts.
The children's section, while a noble idea, was just a random selection of children's stories thrown together seemingly without any sorting mechanism involved.
90% of the stories were by dudes who leave in Brooklyn. : /
Brad
Jul 24, 2017 rated it liked it
No collection can please everyone equally, though this seems to not be a favorite generally. I found it a little more interesting if I thought of it as a collection of best American illustrators or cartoonists, because many of the selections were lacking in narrative substance.

This seems typical of a branch of American independent comics that emphasizes documentation or design over story, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Selections from Charles Burns, Nora Krug, Dakota McFadzean, Anders
...more
Veronica
Aug 05, 2017 rated it liked it
I always enjoy reading these collections, but so far I think this is the weakest I've read. I often come away from these books with a whole list of authors I'd like to explore further, and I didn't feel that way with this one at all. I also didn't like how the kids' comics were separated out from the adults.

Alan
Sep 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Seekers for the unfamiliar
Recommended to Alan by: Genre and style
The Best American Comics 2012 is a solid entry in a well-established annual anthology series that dates back to 2006. In this volume, guest editor Françoise Mouly collects an impressive variety of work from dozens of active 21st-Century graphic artists. The book's a solid package physically as well, compact and a little chunky, with nice heavy pages and clear reproductions of the art—I never felt I had to strain to read the text or pick out subtle details, despite the book's relatively small foo ...more
Bryan
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphical
Awesome comp of some awesome comics. I guess "American" comics means comics from U.S & Canada (and one person living in Germany) but not Mexico & South America. Six of the twenty-four featured adult creators identity themselves as living in Brooklyn, New York. Do humanity a favor the skip the Adrian Tomine section. Chris Ware remains the Borg of comics - completely heartless and evil. I've never liked it when pathology becomes confused with art. As the android Ash says of the Alien, "A p ...more
Matthew
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
While not the strongest of the Best American Comics, I did enjoy reading most of these. A number of selections I had actually read the full versions of myself throughout the year, but I was pleased to get some of the few that I missed. The inclusion of comics for kids, though, is way overdue and I'm glad to see it here. Now we just need inclusion of material for teens.

I will say, though, Mouly definitely comes at this from a particular slant. Even the selections of work for kids come from an ind
...more
Ollie
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
My first collection of Best American Comics.

The way these things are set up, we get excerpts from comics (both long graphic novels and short webcomic-styled entries). The comics vary from strongly art-centric, to strongly story-centric, and it's really obvious that there's going to be something for everyone here to enjoy.

The great thing about these comics is that unlike your mainstream superhero comics, these deal with more realistic slice of life topics. Things most of us can relate to. So, it'
...more
Susan Bybee
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Francoise Mouly should be the guest editor every year. This installment in the series is put together sharply and cleanly. Her editorial introduction "Decoupage" was funny and original. I especially like the Best Children's Comics addition and the authors' bios accompanying their pieces.

Standouts include a selection from "Love and Rockets"; Adrian Tomine's comics about getting married that he and his wife used as wedding favors; "Kamikaze" by Nora Krug; "Special Exits" by Joyce Farmer; "The Ir
...more
Becca
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics, 2015
This was the second "Best American Comics" collection I had read (the first one being edited by Neil Gaiman), and I think it has really shown that who the editor is has a lot to do with how much I enjoy the collection. Nothing stood out to me, and there were even a few that I just tried to read as fast as possible because I did not enjoy them at all.

I wish I had more interest in this collection.
Patrick
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it
I've read all the Best American Comics and found this to be the best so far. It seems like the editor this time out did not purposely go out of their way to find the most outrageous, ridiculous comics, but actually judged the comics on the merits of their story.art work. The addition of the kid's comics was also an interesting addition. Had intended to drop this anthology from my list, but after this issue, I will give it one more try!
Sundry
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Elaine
Shelves: graphic
Bravo to the series editors for moving the artist profiles into the body of the book so they function as little introductions to the artwork. I always read the artist profiles and was glad not to have to flip back and forth repeatedly to link the bios with the art.

Have to admit that I wasn't thrilled by as many of the entries this year as I typically a,, but I discovered a few that I will find in their full version, and that's kind of the point for me. A lot more excerpts from longer works.
Charles Dee Mitchell
I am neither an avid nor consistent reader of comics and graphic novels, so this sort of anthology is perfect for me. There is work here that even I am familiar with -- Charles Burns, Gary Panter, Chester Brown, Chris Ware. And I found some artists that sent me searching the library, a second hand bookstore and Amazon -- Anders Nilsen, Jim Woodring, Dakota McFadden.

Perhaps if I knew more about the field, I could complain about the choices the way other reviewers have.
Clark
Mar 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Extremely uneven selection. A few good selections mixed in with a bunch of stuff apparently pulled out of a bottom drawer at random. Ranges from kids' stories to... uh... adult-themed stories. A lot of the pieces do not use the graphic medium well. Art is particularly uneven with some great stuff but a lot of crap. If you changed "The Best..." to "Random..." in the title, that would about sum it up for me.
Raina
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Standouts for me that I wasn't already familiar with this year were...
1. Dakota McFadzean - Leave Luck to Heaven
Philosophical take on console gaming - and I found his drawing style approachable
and
2. David Collier - The Irish Table
Artist joins the military for a second time in his forties

I like to read through the new edition of this collection every year to take my comics temperature. Did pretty well this year. :)
Sarah
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
I am really trying to like graphic novels, but it isn't working so far. I loved Adrian Tomine's excerpt from "Scenes from an Impending Marriage" and Christoph Niemann's "Redeye," but they seem more akin to traditional comics or art. Did I really want to read about, much less see, Chester Brown's chronicle of hiring prostitutes? NO. Yuck.
Dana Franklin
Feb 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-and-before
I love love love the "Best American" series of books: mysteries, short stories, travel writing, non-required reading, etc. The Best American Comics books are good, and there are some individual authors/illustrators whom I would like to follow, but, to be honest, a lot of these went right over my head, and I don't understand why they were chosen as the "best".
Jerry Delaney
Jan 03, 2013 rated it liked it
As with all in this series, this is a mixed bag, depending on the individual artists. I have a bent for more realistic comics than for science fiction themes, which means I will always like some entries more than others. But that comes with the territory when you pick up an anthology. I use this series to introduce me to new people whose work I can hunt down.
Dean
Feb 05, 2013 rated it liked it
One of the weaker and less memorable volumes in this annual anthology series. This edition is curated by Francoise Mouly the art editor for the 'New Yorker,' and for various reasons I found the selections to be a real mixed bag. Still, these books are always well crafted and will certainly expose you to new material/authors that makes reading through it in its entirety worthwhile.
Edmund Davis-Quinn
Pretty good but very disjointed.

Either you don't have the complete context for the excerpts or you are getting interested and it ends.

My favorite was "Leave Luck to Heaven" by Dakota McFadzean. That one was cool.
Kris V. Bernard
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Crowbonehuyana@gmail.com
Shelves: graphic-novels
I really was quite impressed by this edition. There were artists chosen who had wonderful abstract artwork and I definitely closed the book with a list of more books to buy.
Really beautiful collection to commemorate 2012.
Tyler
May 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, own
Overall, not the best anthology I've read. Maybe this was a bad year for comics, but there was nothing that I thought, "I have to read this!" That said, there were a few things that were interesting and that I will look into.
Kate McCartney
There were a few good stories here. I have already read most of the children's selection, all of which are great. Otherwise I didn't really like this. I have read the two of newer ones and 2013 really blew me away.
Jess A
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I always enjoy these anthologies although they leave me wishing for more, which I guess is the point. I appreciated the children's section of this year's book.
Matt
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great collection this year. Interesting to see a kids comic section. Dug the brief interview with some of the artists.
Aaron VanAlstine
Oct 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Some nuggets of genius amidst a lot of fluff. I was glad to see Charles Burns is still working; I loved the "El Borbah" (world's greatest private eye) stories I read in Heavy Metal back in the 80s.
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