Best of the Year 2009: Wim’s faves
Today’s Best of the Year for 2009 comes from one of our own regular contributors, our very own Continental Correspondent, Wim Lockefeer; over to Our Man in Belgium:
Ah, it’s that time again. You know the drill, so no frills. In no particular order :
Tales From Outer Suburbia (Shaun Tan, Arthur A. Levine Books) – The much expected Second Book by the creator of The Arrival, filled with longer and shorter stories of increasing weirdness. The art is about the best I’ve seen in a decade. I especially liked the contents page, which was designed as an envelope with a stamp for each story. Simply stunning.
Le Groom En Vert-de-Gris (Schwartz & Yann, Dupuis) – In the year that celebrated the fiftieth Spirou album with a half-baked return of Zorglub story, the creator-driven series “A Story By” came to the rescue with this quintessentially Belgian story set during the occupation of Brussels. Drawn in a bad-ass atom style (even though it’s set fifteen years before the atomium), this book is full to the brim with references to Franco-Belgian comic tradition. A must.
Monsters (Ken Dahl, Secret Acres) – After Welcome To The Dahl House, this book confirmed Ken Dahl as one of the most original voices in contemporary comics. Just try to create a story about something as unsavoury as herpes and make it insightful, informative, moving and funny all at the same time ! And nobody draws a virus like Ken.
A Drifting Life (Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Drawn & Quarterly) – This autobiography by the master of the underground manga is a brick of a book. In more than 800 pages, Tatsumi screams out a passion for the medium, and a profound frustration with being misunderstood by the general public. I always need to overcome some reservations when it comes to manga, but this book had me hooked from start to finish.
Ergens Waar je Niet Wil Zijn (Brecht Evens, Oogachtend) – The newest young god at the Flemish comics pantheon, Evers delivers a beautiful book about meaningless conversations at parties, and the complications people allow to creep into their lives. Evens’ new totally free drawing style is a sight to behold. Look out for the English edition at Drawn & Quarterly soon (Wrong Place, March 2010).
Pinocchio (Winshluss, Les Requins Marteaux) – Another piece of quality eye candy, this retelling of the classic Collodi story by graphical God Winshluss was chosen as the best book of the year at this year’s Angouleme festival. it’s from 2008, but it still deserves your attention, though. It’s impossible to sum it up, but “Chris Ware on speed” gets close.
L’Integrale Gil Jourdan 1 & 2 (Maurice Tillieux, Dupuis) – 2009 was the year when I started to really listen to the Beatles again, and also the year that I rediscovered Gil Jourdan, the quintessential Detective comic by Maurice Tillieux that ran in Spirou Magazine from 1956 until 1979. Collected in four gorgeous volumes, with loads of extras, these stories finally get the treatment they deserve.
Ten Thousand Things To Do 1-6 (Jesse Reklaw, slowwave.com) – Jesse Reklaw’s dream comics have never really done it for me, but this autobiographical comic, which originally was published as a Flickr-set, is simply fantastic. Reklaw’s life is totally different from mine, and still he manages to get you to totally relate to his problems, hang-ups, and obsessions. Now available in a box set!
Coup De Foudre 1 : La complainte du taureau-vache (De Thuin & Cauvin, Dupuis) – When Farmer Charles’ new breeding bull gets hit by a bolt of lighting, he suddenly can talk. He explains to the perplexed farmer that he is in fact a transsexual bull, and that he’d rather be a cow. Splendid funnybook art by David De Thuin in a story by master storyteller Raoul Cauvin, who gets kinda racy in his old days.
Asterios Polyp (David Mazzucchelli, Pantheon) – The jury is still out on the story, but this is without a doubt the most gorgeous book I’ve seen this year. The art is simply splendid, and reminded me a bit of Dutch cartoonist Hanco Kolk’s Meccano. An architect who gets famous without having a building actually built, imagine that…