I guess it’s not good to go on first impressions in a review, but rarely have I seen such a gloomy and uninviting book as The Best American Comics 2007. The cover, when seen in person, is a ghastly thing, and a casual flip through revealed a grey world that seemed to wallow in self-indulgence, self-loathing and despair. Comics is one hell of a misnomer here. I don’t want this book, I would never read this book. It completely gives me the creeps. This collection looks like it’d make an extra-downbeat episode of BBC Radio 4’s Home Truths – with tales of keeping a stiff-upper-lip in the face of severed limbs, deformed children, and flesh eating diseases arriving after a meteorite had destroyed your cottage – seem like a holiday in the Balearics. And, yes, that is probably completely unfair, as, as I have said, not, nor do I intend to ever, read it. I have read (and even enjoyed) works by nearly all the artists represented (and, in the interests of full disclosure, worked with many of them). All I can say, really, is, where is the fun?
I have to agree with Uncle Heidi, who goes on about this at much more length in The Beat, that the middle (between the self-flagellating auto-bio crowd and the cape crew) is under-represented in a big way, and that really is a shame.
I won’t quibble here about the many artists who I think created some of the best works of 2007 (hello, a year that could not have been even half over when this volume was created) and were not included. Ugghh. Just Ugghh. Ok… Yuck.