Top 10 Graphic Novels: 2006.
Olson, Ray (author).
FEATURE. First published March 15, 2006 (Booklist).
Chosen from the most enthusiastically reviewed in Booklist, March 15, 2005-March 1, 2006.
Black Hole. 2005. Pantheon, $24.95 (0-375-42380-X).
Middle-class suburban teenagers, eventually including the four protagonists of Burns' long, sexy, disturbing puzzler, are disappearing after "the bug" gets them. But what is "the bug," and why isn't anything being done about it?
Max Hamm, Fairy Tale Detective, v.1. 2005. Nite Owl, paper, $14.95 (0-9720061-4-1).
Cammuso deliciously parodies Warner Brothers cartoons, Golden Books, film noir, and Raymond Chandler in these homicide investigations by a pig PI tailing such dangerous dames as Bo Peep, Mother Goose, and Snow White.
The Fate of the Artist. 2006. First Second, paper, $15.95 (1-59643-133-4).
Continuing his ongoing, quasi-autobiographical depiction of the travails of the creative artist, Campbell playfully investigates his own disappearance in a multimedia mélange of visual and verbal styles. The corpus delicti is found in the State Reference Library, classed 741.5.
Ice Haven. 2005. Pantheon, $18.95 (0-375-42332-X).
In this montage of 29 stories in styles varying from mock documentary to pseudo-Peanuts, the town of Ice Haven is gripped by anxiety over a missing child. Even the most misbegotten characters receive Clowes' genuine, if submerged, sympathy.
v.2. Ed. by Kazu Kibuishi. 2005. Image Comics, paper, $24.95 (1-58240-477-1).
More than 30 accomplished young artists take off on the theme, sometimes loosely construed, of flight, resulting in nary a dud in the entire book, as well as something for everyone, including habitual comics snubbers.
Johnson, R. Kikuo.
Night Fisher. 2005. Fantagraphics, paper, $12.95 (1-56097-719-1).
Johnson's accomplished and rewarding debut tells the coming-of-age story of a straight-A student at an elite prep school on Maui, who, estranged from his former best friend, falls in with a circle of druggie friends.
Ordinary Victories. Tr. by Joe Johnson. 2005. NBM, paper, $15.95 (1-56163-423-9).
Photojournalist Marc moves to the countryside. Befriending an elderly neighbor, falling in love again, learning his father has Alzheimer's, launching a pet project-all these developments proceed eventfully in Larcenet's superb marriage of literary realism and comics.
The Rabbi's Cat. 2005. Pantheon, $21.95 (0-375-42281-1).
After the narrator of this story set in 1930s Algiers-the rabbi's cat-eats a parrot, it speaks human language for a while. Other major events in Sfar's charming and beautiful book are the rabbi's daughter's marriage and his trip to Paris to meet the groom's parents.
The Push Man and Other Stories. Tr. by Yuji Oniki. 2005. Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 (1-896597-85-8 ).
The first in a proposed series bringing Tatsumi's work to America showcases his gekiga stylein stories of powerless, often sexually impotent men living in quiet frustration, constricted by social propriety-the harbingers of today's most somber graphic novels.
and Cloonan, Becky. Demo. 2005. AiT/Planet Lar, paper, $19.95 (1-932051-42-2).
Cloonan's artwork looks like a billion bucks as it progresses from Americanized grunge manga to manipulated photo imagery in a succession of Wood's decreasingly weird tales of late-teens-to-early-thirties crises of separation from home, lover, or way of life.