Best of Year 2007 – Mel Gibson and Marc Baines
Today’s Best of the Year comes courtesy of Doctor Mel Gibson of Northumbria University, lecturer, writer and strong supporter not only of comics but of using the Ninth Art to encourage adults and children to read more. Regular readers may recall Mel was one of the principal speakers at the Go Graphic event covered here back in November and she also has a new website which offers up links, resources, notes and advice to teachers and librarians wishing to use comics and graphic novels as study guides. As she is currently working her way through possible nominees for awards in children’s books Mel has picked out three children’s/crossover novels as recommended picks from 2006:
Here Lies Arthur, Philip Reeve
A clever reinvention of Arthur that ties in with both legend and contemporary notions of the ‘spin doctor’ and political image management. There is a real beauty in the writing here, especially in the descriptions of landscape and season, which is powerful and evocative.
Blood Red, Snow White, Marcus Sedgwick
Offering a challenging mixture of fact and fiction, this novel gives an insight into a fascinating period and place, whilst also exploring Arthur Ransome’s personality and politics. It interweaves a number of narratives and genres, drawing them together into a coherent and intriguing whole.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick
This is a clever, atmospheric, lyrical, thoughtful and interesting narrative, which uses a distinctive combination of word and image where some of the images are stills from films, whilst others operate as storyboards, offering a sequence of images that move the action on for key moments in the narrative. A novel for which the images are not illustrations of moments in the text, but counterpoint and complement what the words offer.
And a second helping of Best of Year today comes from another comics supporter I first met at an event (in this case he was chairing the excellent panel on European comics at Glasgow’s Goethe Institut) illustrator and publisher Marc Baines of Kingly Books (and if you are visiting their site you should check out their gallery section while you are there), who also kindly took some time to share his favourite comics, books and movies of the year with us:
New Tales of Old Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez
Swamp Preacher by David Sandlin
Krazy Kat: A Brick Stuffed With Moombims by George Herriman
Ben Katchor’s The Dairy Restaurant might well have shoved one of those off the list if it had turned up a little earlier.
David Lynch’s Inland Empire
Deadwood Season 3
Curb Your Enthusiasm series 6
Voices From The Street, Philip K Dick
Re-make Re-model, Michael Bracewell
Eiji Tsuburaya, August Ragone