The Best American Comics 2013 Edited by Jeff Smith [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25]
We just knew we were in for a treat this year when we noticed that the 2013 Best American Comics collection was edited by master cartoonist and Bone creator Jeff Smith. The anthology begins on a high note with Alison Bechdel’s autobiographical Mirror and continues to soar the heights with the highly imaginative The Divine Manifestation of a Singular Impulse by Jesse Jacobs. An excerpt from Sam Alden’s watercolor piece Haunter is screaming to be made into an animated short. Some of the best works in the collection—Craig Thompson’s 70 Nights of Pleasure, an excerpt from the acclaimed graphic novel Habibi, or James Kochalka’s American Elf— certainly whet the appetite to seek out the complete books by the creators. Others, like Vanessa Davis’ In the Rough, offer delightful peeks into the mind of the talented artists. As Smith writes in the intro, “In front of you awaits wit, style, danger, curiosity, philosophy, metaphysical visions, love, angst, sex, betrayal and cutting-edge ocular techniques all folded into this thing—this experience— we call comics.” We couldn’t agree with him more.