Every year, FPI blogger-in-chief sends out the call to various comic types to send in their best of the year lists. And every year, you respond, quite brilliantly, with a huge variety of titles you really loved. It speaks volumes for the sheer quality around that from 31 respondents we had 93 comics nominated, comics in 2011 were eclectic and wonderful it seems, and demonstrates just how much great stuff there is out there. (I’ll post the full 93 titles in the comments later)
It’s completely non-scientific, since many of you (and us) cheated and nominated more than the asked for 3 titles, but it’s still nice to collate all those votes and produce this FPI 2011 Master List, an indication of just what was the best of the best of the year.
Here we go then…. the FPI Master List 2011
With 7 votes this year, the out and out winner was….
NELSON, edited by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix (Blank Slate Books)
A major UK comics event – 54 artists telling one brilliant story that holds up incredibly well with so many diverse British voices. A veritable who’s who of Brit comics right now, this was big news ever since its initial announcement, and credit must go to editors Davis and Phoenix for producing something so very good.
And to top it all off, every penny of the profits went to Shelter. Good all round.
Next up with 5 votes….
Love & Rockets – New Stories Volume 4 by the Hernandez Brothers (Fantagraphics Books)
Yes, it’s by the brothers, but it was Jaime’s Love Bunglers finale that had people proclaiming this amongst his best work. People such as Nick Abadzis:
“There are no pyrotechnics or fancy-ass page layouts, just a slow burn of emotion and expression, presented in calmly immaculate style. The moments of his characters’ lives that Hernandez chooses to show in the telling of his tales are picked and deployed with such precision it betrays a wisdom and clarity very few storytellers possess, in comics or any other media. Just beautiful.”
And right behind L&R on 4 votes:
Don Quixote Volume 1 by Cervantes, adapted by Rob Davis (SelfMadeHero)
You’d probably have grounds to call Rob Davis the man of the year in UK comics 2011. Not only did he come up with the idea for Nelson and shepherd it to publication, but the first part of his Don Quixote adaptation came out to much acclaim from SelfMadeHero, yet another company flying the flag for the new wave of Brit Comics publishing.
Here’s Dan Lockwood on the Don:
“With beautiful use of colour, and a loose, fast style, Rob has perfectly captured the absurdity of Cervantes’s dense novel without sacrificing any of the underlying tragedy – this is, after all, a book about a man losing his mind. The relationship between Quixote (a senile old man) and Sancho Panza (a dimwit) is brilliantly established and maintained, and the physical comedy perfectly judged. The funniest (and contender for best) book I read all year.”
Now, a few on 3 votes:
The universal feeling was that Tharg and co. are having a big, big resurgence in quality right now, with good strips across the year. Cover featured is by Henry Flint. And here’s Mark Kardwell from his best of year post:
“….the comic that has defined the artform in these islands for five decades has also had its best year in ages, too”
Bad machinery by John Allison
Much enjoyed webcomic from Allison – here’s what Adam Cadwell thought:
“John Allison has been creating and defining web comics for so long I think everyone takes his work for granted and I’d put him top if I hadn’t been singing his praises for years. With Bad Machinery, Allison has been creating amazing, thoroughly well written mystery stories for kids and adults alike. The most recent story, ‘The Case of the Lonely One’ is the best story about school friendships, aliens, belonging and the true power of onions you will ever read. And that’s a promise.”
Everything We Miss by Luke Pearson (Nobrow Press)
Luke Pearson is definitely a rising star, with Everything We Miss and Hilda And The Midnight Giant both from Nobrow this year both practically universally praised. Here’s Tom Humberstone:
“This year has been Luke Pearson’s – without a doubt. After releasing Hildafolk last year his output has been consistently brilliant and profilic. With this mature, smart and ambitious piece followed by the equally outstanding Hildafolk and the Midnight Giant – Luke’s really stepped up a gear artistically, and that’s no mean feat considering his previous work.”
Hairshirt by Patrick McEown (SelfMadeHero)
Another entry in the master list for SelfMadeHero, a company at the forefront of the rise in Brit publishers over the last few years – here’s Joe’s take on the book:
“This is a superb, dark piece from SMH, a labyrinthean maze of childhood memories and how they shape and influence the character and outlook of the protagonists as adults”
And several comics came out with a couple of votes each:
The Boss by John Aggs and Patrice Aggs (DFC Library)
Corporate Skull by Jamie Smart
Habibi by Craig Thompson (Faber & Faber)
Hector Umbra by Uli Oesterle (Blank Slate Books)
Long John Silver by Xavier Drison and Mathieu Lauffray (Cinebook)
Luchadoras by Peggy Adam (Blank Slate Books)
Metamaus by Art Spiegelman (Penguin)
Pinocchio by Winshluss (Knockabout)
Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters (SelfMadeHero)
War – The Human Cost – edited by Sean Duffield (Paper Tiger Comix)
Another year, another great collection. Thanks for voting, thanks for reading, and here’s to an even better 2012 for comics.