Friday, January 05, 2007

Bests Comics of 2006, part four

OK, I am so not doing this again next year.

BEST FOREIGN (i.e. translated books that aren't manga) BOOKS of 2006

1. “Get A Life” by Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian.
How much do I love Dupuy and Berbarian? So much that I originally bought the M. Jean volumes in French and then a big-ass French/English dictionary, because my French sucks. I'm really glad these stories are available in English now though, if so I don't have to keep looking up what "avoir" means.

2. “Kampung Boy” by Lat.
Lat's one of those cartoonists you read about constantly. I seem to come across at least one big article a year extolling his virtues and lamenting his lack of presence in the U.S. Well, lament no more.

3. “Vampire Loves” by Joann Sfar.
The whole goth/emo schtick gets parodied and honored in Sfar's lovely tale of a wistful vampire and his lackluster love life. Of course, this being Sfar, it's about a lot more than that, like the fickle nature of early romances, the quest for true love and more.

4. “Everything is Complicated,” “Nothing is Simple,” “Mixed Messages” and “Sunny Spells” by Jean-Jacques Sempe.
I know there's a wide gap between general comics fans and those who follow gag cartoonists, but I was still surprised that this big release of Sempe's work didn't get more play. The man is just a phenomenal artist, full of grace and wit. These four books just confirm that status. Go out and track them down.

5. “Klezmer: Tales of the Wild East” by Joann Sfar.
Notice how there's a lot of Sfar on this list? There's a reason for that.

6. “Rocky Vol. 1: The Big Payback” by Martin Kellerman.
Again, another book that really didn't seem to garner a lot of attention from alt-comics readers (or, at least, bloggers). I thought Kellerman's anthropomorphic slacker was a riot, firmly in the tradition of satirists like Pete Bagge.

7. “Chicken with Plums” by Marjane Satrapi.
Satrapi tells the (fictionalized) tale of her uncle's death and comes up with her most involving story since Persepolis.

8. “Deogratias: A Tale of Rwanda” by J.P. Stassen.
Haunting, brutal, powerful. A really great book that stays with you long after you put it down.

9. “Dungeon, Twilight: The Dragon Cemetery” and “Dungeon, Twilight: Armageddon” by Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim.
There's that Sfar again. The Dungeon series is some of the most thrilling, fun comics I've read in awhile, much more so than most of what passes for "high adventure" from the big two publishers these days. If NBM does nothing but publish this series, they'll have justified their existence for me.

10. “A.I.L.E.E.N.” by Lewis Trondheim.
And there's Trondheim again. A silent, pitch-black comedy that uses an alien society to look at how we treat each other, and the value of good intentions, and doesn't come up with some very warm or fuzzy observations. Not for the kiddies, despite it's cutesy cover, but adults will howl with laughter when not too busy cringing.



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