Woe!

Best American Comics 2007 (collected from mid-2005 to mid-2006), edited by Chris Ware and Anne Elizabeth Moore:

Contents:

Jerry Moriarty. Dad Watches (Endpapers) from Kramer’s Ergot

ii : Ivan Brunetti. The Horror of Simply Being Alive from Schizo

* iv : Art Spiegelman. Portrait of the Artist As a Young %@#*! from Virginia Quarterly Review and The New Yorker

xii : Anne Elizabeth Moore. Foreword

xvi : Chris Ware. Introduction

* 1 : R. and Aline Crumb. Winta Wundaland from The New Yorker

4 : Sophie Crumb. “Hey, Soph, Whazzup?” from Mome

* 5 : Alison Bechdel. The Canary-Colored Caravan of Death from Fun Home

33 : C. Tyler. Just A Bad Seed and Once, We Ran from Late Bloomer

* 40 : Lynda Barry. Ernie Pook’s Comeek (Excerpt) from Ernie Pook

44 : Lauren Weinstein. Skate Date, Waiting, and John and I Go to the Movies from Girl Stories ix

49 : Vanessa Davis. Untitled Diary Strips from Kramer’s Ergot

* 53 : Gabrielle Bell. California Journal from Mome

65 : Ivan Brunetti. Six Things I Like About My Girlfriend from Schiz0

66 : Jeffrey Brown. These Things, These Things from Little Things

75 : Ron Regé Jr. fuc 1997: We Share a Happy Secret, But Beware, Because the Modern World Emerges from Kramer’s Ergot

91 : John Porcellino. Country Roads—Brighton from King-Cat Comics and Stories

95 : Jonathan Bennett. Needles and Pins from Mome

* 106 : Kevin Huizenga. Glenn in Bed from Ganges

118 : David Heatley. Sambo from Mome

* 121 : Sammy Harkham. Lubavitch, Ukraine, 1876 from Kramer’s Ergot

* 132 : Miriam Katin. Untitled (The List) from We Are on Our Own

144 : Ben Katchor. Shoehorn Technique from Chicago Reader

* 156 : Adrian Tomine. Shortcomings (Excerpt) from Optic Nerve

175 : David Heatley. Cut Thru and Laundry Room from Mome

* 177 : Gilbert Hernandez. Fritz After Dark from Luba’s Comics and Stories

* 201 : Kim Deitch. No Midgets in Midgetville from The Stuff of Dreams

219 : Anders Nilsen. Dinner and a Walk from Big Questions #7: Dinner and a Nap

* 230 : Charles Burns. Black Hole (Excerpt) from Black Hole

240 : Gary Panter. Untitled (Discrete Operations Vehicle—Burning Gall) from Jimbo’s Inferno

251 : C.F. Blond Atchen and the Bumble Boys from The Ganzfeld

263 : Ivan Brunetti. My Bumbling, Corpulent Mass from Schizo

264 : Tim Hensley. Meet the Dropouts from Mome

267 : Paper Rad. Kramer’s Ergot from Kramer’s Ergot

280 : David Heatley. Walnut Creek from Mome

* 285 : Dan Zettwoch. Won’t Be Licked! The Great ’37 Flood in Louisville from Drawn & Quarterly Showcase

315 Contributors’ Notes

326 100 Distinguished Comics from August 31, 2005 to September 1, 2006

Endpages Seth, Wimbledon Green

Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan, Acme Comics Novelty Library) may need to be kept away from the editing desk. He’s a brilliant writer/artist, but his writerly tendency towards tales of woe pretty much informs this entire collection. So too does an overemphasis on autobiographical comics — and autobiographical comics dominate the Indy comix scene in much the same way that superheroes dominate the mainstream. Fine, non-autobiographical stories by Kim Deitch and Gilbert Hernandez surface towards the middle of this collection like welcome oasises of comedy and sorrow.

There’s other good work here, though I’m not a fan of excerpting longer works to shoehorn them into a collection like this. There’s also some truly godawful experimental comics work included, Kramer’s Ergot being the worst offender — it’s like a Victor Moscoso piece as translated by an unartistic child. I’d forgotten that Gary Panter had disappeared for awhile. The piece here reminds me why this was a good thing. I’ve starred the stuff I liked. For the most part, the best pieces avoid the obsessive and often humourless navel-gazing of a lot of autobiographical comics, through talent or subject matter or both. Lightly recommended.

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