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The Best American Comics 2008

(Best American Comics #3)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,203 ratings  ·  106 reviews
This newest edition to the Best American Series--"A genuine salute to comics" (Houston Chronicle)--returns with a set of both established and up-and-coming contributors. Editor Lynda Barry and and brand new series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden--acclaimed cartoonists in their own right-- have sought out the best stories culled from graphic novels, pamphlet comics, ne ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 8th 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,203 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Feb 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Of the three "Best American Comics" which have been released I found this one the least satisfying.

The two earlier collections were page-turners from beginning to end. While reading this I found myself putting it down and forgetting about it.

I love Lynda Barry, especially for her recent book: "What it is." The stories tended towards child like narratives, and that makes sense with Barry's work, and if I was in another mood - a mood to be enchanted by memories of my own childhood, I would have en
Avis Black
Sep 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
It was an ominous sign when Lynda Barry went on in the introduction about her love for The Family Circus, the feeblest comic strip ever. This volume only confirms that Barry, who has done some good work of her own in the past, has dreadful taste when judging other cartoonists. This collection is simply wretched. Lame page after lame page makes you wonder whether any cartoonist working today has any actual talent.
Dec 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
Lynda Barry's introduction is awesome and she discusses her favorite cartoonist Bil Keane of Family Circus. But I've come to realize these anthologies are not for me - rather, they are for people who do not know what kind of comics they like or who are interested in a broad range. Everything I liked in this anthology I had already read elsewhere, and since the style of comics drawing and writing I like is somewhat specific and narrow I'm not open to many new things.
Erika Schoeps
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
So excited when I saw what I thought was Eleanor Davis's work on the cover (it was!).

Filled with funny, relaxed, more traditional comics, and some short graphic stories that are more literary. A fun mix that is really well paced. I raced through it, but paused between each of the more serious stories, and sometimes flipped back for a second read.
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
I wasn't gaga about as many comics in this year's compilation as I usually am, but the ones I liked I really liked. Favorites: "Something About Madeline", "Graveyard", and the one about the art teacher in the Bronx.
Dakota Morgan
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Reading this ten years in the future, it's nice to see that the world wasn't so dramatically different in 2008 that these comics make no sense. Well, I should say, it's nice to see that many of these comics make no sense now just as they made no sense then.

What I'm trying to get at: Lynda Barry picked a wild bunch here. There are a few touching stories and clever allegories, but for the most part, this is a collection of the weird stuff. Personally, I like the non-fiction comics in these collect
I always wantto like comics yet find that I'm not actually all that into them. They're overwhelming to me -- the pictures and the text. And so small. I prefer picture books. Tiny panels are too difficult to read and I always wonder if I'm reading them right.

Anyway, there were several delightful comics in here that made me think maybe I can be into comics! But the majority of them were not for me. Eh.
Jon Hewelt
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I like the guest editor; I don't like the series editors. Solid collection, but was annoyed that the comics were ordered by the authors' last names. I prefer it when the editors arrange a particular order, like a mix tape.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
So good. And the forward by Barry rocks. I love this series.
Dane Bell
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like popcorn!
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hit and miss as anthologies usually go, but the ones that hit are terrific.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think the book it's excellent
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
Good read.
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this book is very father
Jan 03, 2009 added it
Shelves: read-2009
Perhaps I should start by saying how much I love short stories. I love them a lot. I love them because they are snippets of lives, boiled down into the essentials of (generally) a few scenes, sometimes even just one, the dialogue as spare as can be, the narrative description avoiding the painting of sets and instead concentrating on the illumination of the characters inhabiting the scenes.

I was expecting to read a number of short stories, albeit in the graphic form. That didn't happen. This col

This is a nice collection overall. Some of the selections are frustratingly short excerpts, some -- particularly in the first half of the book -- are unimpressive, some are just not for me. The editor's introductory piece is weird, confusing, and yet touching. I left the book feeling a wiser and happier person, yet I can't believe that this selection truly represents the best American comics of 2008, surely half the book could have been better...

Highlight Comics, in this highlight collection of
Todd N
Jul 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Catching up on some books I read earlier and forgot to enter. I managed to read this in one sitting in the library while waiting for the kids to do something.

Anyway, it's yet another wildly uneven collection of comics. The first comic about a man who wraps up his brother's loose ends is really arresting and good. And of course Jaime Hernandez is brilliant. I remember a funny one about Cupid's secretary covering for him while he takes the day off. A lot of them are excerpts so you might end up mo
Jan 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Thumbs up:
-Excellent introduction by Lynda Barry
-"The Thing About Madeline" by Lilli Carre
-"The Monkey and the Crab" by Shawn Cheng and Sara Edward-Corbett
-"Seven Sacks" by Eleanor Davis
-"The Thanksgiving Series" by Chris Ware

I wish Seth and Ware's comics hadn't been back-to-back...I actually thought Seth's piece was by Chris Ware. Ooops.

Thumbs down/meh:
-Matt Groening strips. They were just so tedious to read, and I almost skipped the last few entirely.
-"Dykes to Watch Out For" strips by Alison
Dec 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic-art
After a rather disappointing 2007 edition with remote and myopic selections by Chris Ware, Lynda Barry brings this series back into high quality territory. While not all of her selections are home runs, there are a few so out-of-the-park great that they easily make up for the lesser entries. These selections also highlight the subtle difference between the intensely personal work of both Ware and Barry. Both mine the melancholy of everyday life, but Barry's work is messier, more human and hopefu ...more
Thanks to new editors, the third volume of this series is a bit less obtuse than it has been in past years, and there are some wonderful stories here, like Shawn Cheng and Sara Edward-Corbett's "The Monkey and the Crab" or Jaime Hernandez's "Gold Diggers of 1969" (a "prequel" to his groundbreaking Love and Rockets stories of the '80s and '90s). There's also excerpts of larger works like Gene Yang's American Born Chinese and Rick Geary's [The Saga of the Bloody Benders], and samples from weekly s ...more
Aug 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: not really
Shelves: graphic-novels
There were a few really great comics in here, a lot of lame ones, and whole bunch of talented artists. This book is not for kids--some of the comics have blatently sexual content. If this bothers you, you might just want to skip this book. If it doesn't, just read the good stuff.

I must however, shed light on something. One blatently disrespectful comic infuriated me so much that I nearly left the entire book unfinished. In it, the Bush administration was portrayed as a pack of crude, war-hungry
Jan 04, 2009 rated it liked it
i'm not a huge fan of comics. but somehow i got hooked in college when i was trying to buy a gift for my then boyfriend. i remember standing in the comicswap, reading comics at random because they didn't have the green lantern issue he wanted. and i remember reading this bizarre comic about an office. and there was a man and a woman going in and out of doors. and there was a cigar. and there were secrets. honestly, it did not dawn on me that i had read a comic about the clinton-lewinsky affair u ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it liked it
A mixed bag of comics some worked well and others not so much.
My personal favourites were the first about Charlie which told a bleak but well done story which was easily followed. Then the 2 excerpts one by Rick Geary and from the graphic novel Berlin. The problem there is that I enjoyed Berlin because it is known to me if not I would have been confused. While with the Geary piece I am planning on ordering the complete story to find out what happens.
The issue is that most stories jut left me so
Edwin Arnaudin
May 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I had a fun time with pretty much all of this year's selections, though at the beginning I doubted I would. Several of the opening comics are "blink and you miss them" short and also a bit shallow, entirely the opposite of the '07 picks. With last year's book, I felt like I was given a decent glimpse into larger works (i.e. Fun Home) and thought I'd be cheated out of that experience.

Fortunately, after the slow start, the length and depth of the remaining comics significantly improves. Now I have
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Comic lovers
Awesome. I love the idea that years from now, I will have a whole shelf from this yearly series. Lynda Barry's turn as host is something of a good decision, because she presents the book in exactly the right tone to get things moving. She returns like the friend I've never met. I am still not sure if the Batman reference was included as an in-joke or if she was serious. This was a great collection of stories that ended too quickly. Some of them I did not get, some of them (the Iraq war one) I th ...more
Oct 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: anthologies, comics
Anthologies are usually hit & miss (with emphasis on the latter), but this may be the anthology to break that rule. I was surprised by how many good comics were in this thing & how many of them were actually new to me. Linda Barry deserves lots of credit, & if DC comics hadn't been a "stone cold drag" & actually allowed excerpts from Paul Pope's Batman Year 100 in here, this might have been the greatest comic book anthology of all time.

Highlights for me: Eleanor Davis' cover &
Oct 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully bound edition that includes a diverse collection of comics from various sources around the country. The actual illustrations range from the simple, almost brutally drawn comics, to many that are incredibly detailed. The message comes through no matter the form though. These artists demonstrate again and again the power of an art form that has traditionally been considered for laughs only. There is much more happening here. Politics, death, and many other themes are cleverl ...more
Jan 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic, fiction
I think this may be the best in the series' short life. I enjoyed all but maybe a couple of the entries. So I guess I agree with the edition's editor, Lynda Barry.

These collections are a great way to find graphic artists that you want to read more of. I've put a bunch of books on hold at the library based on what I read here. I think I'm going to read a lot of Rick Geary's true tales of Victorian crime!

I also really love the format of the author notes at the back of the book. Sometimes I am curi
Mar 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
I only had two problems with this compilation: 1) several of the excerpts, while from excellent works, lost their impact when taken out of context; and 2) the transformations necessary to make all the disparate graphics fit into one format caused several of them to have very tiny print, which is not so good for one going slowly blind, such as myself. Otherwise, I completely loved this book and it has inspired me to read more graphics. I particularly enjoyed Burden by Graham Annable, Mammalogy by ...more
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is the first Best American of its kind that featured many selections that I couldn't stomach my way through. No time is wasted after Barry's discussion on how successful comics operate on many levels (like any other medium, really) before the reader is marched into a field of didactic, derivative, and worst of all, heavy-handed offerings that pad out this disappointing anthology. Is this really all the year had to offer? Tired political commentary? Poor choices in reproduction size leading ...more
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Lynda Barry is an American cartoonist and author, perhaps best known for her weekly comic strip Ernie Pook's Comeek.

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