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The Best American Comics 2013 (Best American Comics #8)

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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  423 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
The Best American Comics showcases the work of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Jeff Smith—creater of the classic comic Bone, a comedy/adventure about three lost cousins from Boneville—has culled the best stories from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, newspapers, magazines, mini-comics, and web comics to create this cutting-edge collection.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Stewart Tame
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm always happy to see a new volume in this series. Whether one agrees that these are literally the "best" comics of the year or not, it's certainly at least an anthology of excellent work. Styles tend to skew more towards the arty, but if you don't like a particular piece, just skip to the next one. Some of these are excerpts from longer works, some of which I'll have to track down and read. Sad to see that Jessica Abel and Matt Madden are stepping down as series editors as these anthologies h ...more
Stephen
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
About the best one could hope for, given the editorial direction this shitty anthology has taken in recent years. This year, not every single excerpt is about womens' violent relationship with sex. I, for one, applaud the decisions to admit some excerpts which do not primarily deal with womens' violent relationships with sex. Of course there are images of knives being pressed against penises, depictions of men as rapists, men beheaded by women, kidnapping of women by men for sexual purposes, men ...more
Annie
Each year, I look forward to this anthology with anticipation. The featured guest editor for the year, can greatly influence one's experience of the books' selections as a whole. The last several years have featured such luminaries in the field from Lynda Barry to Neil Gaiman.
This year featured Jeff Smith of "Bone" fame, though a few of the selections were excerpted from books I had already become familiar with during the year, the biggest let down were the scant number of artists I was not fa
...more
Raina
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Yep, another great collection. Most of the pieces I liked the most I already knew, although a few surprised me. I really liked Smith's criteria for picking inclusions. And it's nice to have small chunks of less comfortable works to try out.

Overall standout: Sam Alden - I've asked the library to buy one of his books.
Oh, and it's nice to be reminded of how much I like Terry Moore.
Rachel
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, 2018
My comics knowledge is appx 5 years out of date! By which I mean WHOA, I knew a lot of these artists already! Good for me!

Loved the historical pieces in this (1969, Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller) and the ultra-futuristic mind-bogglers (Nita Goes Home, The Divine Manifestation of a Singular Impulse). Special mention to Scary Bathtub Stories for its hilarity, and special anti-mention to Michael DeForge's Manananggal which made me physically nauseous!

TLDR READ! MORE! COMICS!
Brad Hodges
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Here is my history with comics: as a young child, I read a lot of Harvey Comics, such as Richie Rich and Baby Huey. Then I graduated to Archie, and finally to superheroes (I was a Marvel guy), and I collected those until I was in my '30s. But the world of comics is much larger than the mass commercialism of those lines.

Therefore it was nice to check The Best American Comics 2013, where there is no Archie nor anyone in spandex or a cape. Edited by Jeff Smith, the book is a cornucopia of different
...more
Joey Alison Sayers
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
BAC is always a mixed bag, and there were some pieces I really didn't like this time around (still trying to wrap my head around the inclusion of James Kochalka strips from 2008...). But there were some amazing pieces by Vanessa Davis, Eleanore Davis, Gabrielle Bell, and Jesse Jacobs to name a few.
Matthew
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
FAVS THIS YEAR
Jesse Jacobs THE DEVINE MANIFESTATION OF A SINGULAR IMPULSE
James Kochalka AMERICAN ELF
Eleanor Davis NITA GOES HOME
Malachi Ward TOP FIVE
Derf Backderf MY FRIEND DAHMER
Laura Park GEORGE
Kate Beaton HARK! A VAGRANT
Evan Dorkin FUN STRIPS
Michael Kupperman SCARY BATHTUB STORIES
Jeremy Sorese LITTLE HEART
Erik Swedlund
Nov 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: comic, kindle
Did not enjoy the selection as much this year.
Nick
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it

3.6 Stars

This is a good anthology by Jeff Smith, creator of Bone (which was pretty cool, loved by many, but could have been better) and RASL, which wasn't that great.

A bit more than half of the selections were, in my humble opinion, Ok to Amazing, while the remaining 4o% or so ranged from Crap to OK.

The overall theme seems to be: weird.



Here are my favourites:

'Mirror' (Excerpt) from Are you my mother? by Alison Bechdel
- Sophisticated, heavy, lesbian mother/daughter relations. Fascinating and ma
...more
Jennifer
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I picked this book up because of Kate Beaton’s illustration on the cover and ended up finding some new authors/illustrators
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
Good volume.
Anna Marie
Some of them were interesting but most of them did nothing for me. I had hoped to find someone work that I really liked but hadn't seen before. But no such luck, what a shame.
Caitlin
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
With few exceptions, I didn't connect to these comics. They were violent, depressing, or dull.
Monique
Oct 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
I find anthologies can often be a mixed bag. The Best American Comics 2013 is one of the better anthologies I've read. The majority of the work compiled is high quality and highly interesting. Even the work I wasn't a huge fan of, I could still appreciate as being pretty good.

My reason for grabbing the book at all must be attributed to three factors:
1) Kate Beaton's cover design (I love her work)
2) Laura Park's endpaper art, which was a delightful, visual surprise when flipping through the boo
...more
Fiona
Mar 14, 2014 rated it liked it
(review in progress)

tldr: the first half of this anthology generally sucked; the second part was enjoyable overall.

First of all, the cover and inside cover art is SPLENDERIFOUS. I mean, that's why I checked out this anthology and was even looking forward to reading it. (Seriously, I can't get over the cool inside cover illustrations.)

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel (excerpt)
"No" describes my reaction to this excerpt and the title. I think I must be too stupid to read these kinds of comics b
...more
Ollie
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fantastic!

I partly blame Best American Comics for making me quit conventional superhero comics. And this is a good thing. Have you read the standard DC/Marvel fare as of late? It's the same boring old thing over and over again. Some person with a psychological problem gets bestowed with silly unexplainable powers , wears tights and goes about overcoming their problems by fighting unrealistic criminals. The plots are all the same, the endings all the same, the characters all laughably the same an
...more
Dav
Dec 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: amar
A random grab at the library from the display shelf. Some of them are great. Some should come with a tab of acid. Some I want more of. I would subscribe to Evan Dorkin's Fun Strips if I could. Maybe I can but his website is down right now. Cartoonists don't get e-tailing I guess. Actually it looks like all of Live Journal is down right now. That's what you get for dealing with the Russians!. Kate Beacon's Velocipede is delightful. Elanor Davis's Nita Goes Home is an pleasing mix of styles/genres ...more
Isaac
Dec 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This years mammoth Best American Comics, 2013 anthology (edited by by Jeff Smith, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden this year) contains some wonderful complete works and some excerpts that peaked an interest as well. It's a perfect book for me due to my lack of time available to seek a lot of these artists and books out. I enjoyed the fact there were more female artists included this year, (like the except from Alison Bechdel's excellent, autobiographical "Are You My Mother? and Eleanor Davis' "Nita ...more
Josh Knowles
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blogged
Yeah, these books are always a lot of fun. This one had a few misses, but also a few great comics which I really enjoyed: "The Strange Boy" (about Jeffrey Dahmer), the goofball "Scary Bathtub Stories," the sort of warmly morbid "Cody," a meditation on marriage called "Love Me Forever! Oh! Oh! Oh!," and the depiction of the second lunar landing in "1969."

But a special mention to Joseph Lambert's "Discipline" about Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller. His depiction of the sensory world as experienced
...more
Gayle Francis Moffet
This was more of a graze than a deep read. I picked up this particular edition because Jeff Smith was the guest editor, and I love his work on Bone. There were a few pieces in this collection that I felt were absolutely hand-picked by Jeff, and I enjoyed them a lot. There were other pieces that caught my interest enough to put the books on my to-read list (A book about Jeffery Dahmer and one about Annie Sullivan and Hellen Keller), but about half the book just wasn't to my tastes. I can apprecia ...more
Matthew Brady
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the better installments of this yearly anthology, I think, with the only entry that I didn't think belonged being Concrete Park, which I was baffled by when it ran in Dark Horse Presents. Other than that, there's plenty of stuff that I had read already (Are You My Mother?, Friends With Boys, Habibi, My Friend Dahmer), plenty of good short stories from people like Malachi Ward, Eleanor Davis, Gabrielle Bell, Jesse Jacobs, Laura Park, Sam Alden, and Paul Pope, and excerpts from other books ...more
Sarah
Nov 01, 2013 rated it liked it
I have only a passing familiarity with today’s comics. This was a nice book to have around to break up the prose, but I wouldn’t call it a palette cleanser as the subject matter was often complex and heavy.

When I first picked it up, I randomly read those comics that most popped out. Later, I went back to read the ones I’d skipped and found them less to my taste.

I particularly enjoyed finally reading an actual comic by Alison Bechdel. Other stand-outs: Jesse Jacobs, Brandon Graham, Sophie Goldste
...more
Erik
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Like others have stated, excerpts don't always work well in anthologies. They tend to either end on an unsatisfactory note or they complete a thought but don't spark enough interest to read the full-length story. This volume of the BAC series is about half excerpts, and other than Craig Thompson's Habibi (which has been on my bookshelf for a couple of years but I have not read yet) I can't think of any full-length books that have been added to my must-read list. All BAC books have been decent an ...more
Derek Royal
Sep 18, 2013 rated it liked it
As with other Best American Comics volumes, I feel mixed about this one. The various comics that compose the anthology are fine, and many that I am already familiar with (and enjoy greatly). So in that sense, the collection comes off well. My issue with the BAC series as a whole, however, is the apparent process of selection, possible biases involved, the inclusiveness and exclusiveness of the selections, and obviously the expectations and limitations of a text that has the word "Best" as part o ...more
Shark
Jun 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Enjoyed a lot of this, but felt there weren't as many entries that I really felt compelled to follow up on as in previous editions. Lambert's Helen Keller story stands out as the most interesting to me, not only because the story itself is compelling but because his way of communicating Keller's perspective as a blind/deaf child is fascinating.

I am sure others would enjoy this year's volume a lot more than I. I think I may have just allowed my expectations to be too influenced by my admiration o
...more
James
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: cartoons
As with any curated collection, there were some thought provoking, beautiful, or humorous gems. Some social commentary and some experiments with form and style. Naturally there were some that I just did not connect with as the form or style was perhaps beyond my personal experience. I don't shy easily from difficult or challenging concepts, but a couple I just had trouble guessing intent. Perhaps an editorial note would have helped.

Otherwise, these are not for the too young. Strong sexual theme
...more
Tommy
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I always like getting this "best of" volume for Christmas. This was a good selection. Favorites: Jesse Jacobs' THE DIVINE MANIFESTATION OF A SINGULAR IMPULSE; Sam Alden's TURN BACK; Michael DeForge's MANANANGGAL; Craig Thompson's 70 NIGHTS OF PLEASURE; Malachi Ward's TOP FIVE; Derf Backderf's THE STRANGE BOY; Terry Moore's A KILLER'S SURPRISE; Evan Dorkin's FUN STRIPS; Paul Pope's 1969; Faith Erin Hicks' RAIDERS.
Alex
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Kinda hit and miss, but with more hits than misses. I'd read Alison Bechdel's book as well as the story about the teenage years of Jeffrey Dahmer prior to picking up this anthology. Evan Dorkin's "Fun strips" had me laughing out loud; I'll look for more of his work. I also especially liked Gabrielle Bell's piece.
Pearse Anderson
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some of the excerpts felt so disconnected, I would've preferred if they'd been switched with contained shorts that maybe were a bit less unique. On a whole, this was a warming and quick read. It showed me that comics are still beautiful and as booming/complex/varied as the current short story market. That's always a good thing to learn. Great colors too!
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Born and raised in the American mid-west, Jeff Smith learned about cartooning from comic strips, comic books, and watching animation on TV. In 1991, he launched a company called Cartoon Books to publish his comic book BONE, a comedy/adventure about three lost cousins from B
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More about Jeff Smith

Other books in the series

Best American Comics (1 - 10 of 13 books)
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