Jade's Top 5 Books of 2011

1) Anders Nilsen, BIG QUESTIONS

This book simply blew my mind. For days after reading it, I couldn’t help but think of Nilsen’s little pip-squeak birds and their big philosophical ponderings. In fact, the whole universe invented by Nilsen seemed to have a similar effect on me, it remained with me long after the story was done. Compiling over ten years of material, BIG QUESTION is eerily magical, and drawn in a stunning sleek line. Definitely a must read.

2) Anything by NOBROW

Big surprise… one of my favorite publishing houses made it on my list. As far as I’m concerned, NoBrow can do no wrong. Their magazine alone earns them this spot. Then, there’s Jesse Moynihan’s FORMING VOL. 1, one of the weirdest comics I have ever read. Fusing together an assortment of ancient creation myths and alien super gods, Moyniham’s work is definitely one of a kind. Using language that is worthy of a South Park episode, FORMING VOL. 1 is extremely funny and politically incorrect, and will likely make you laugh out loud.

3) The Hernandez Brothers, LOVE AND ROCKETS: NEW STORIES #4

I am a diehard Hernandez Brothers fan. Thirty years after the first LOVE AND ROCKETS issue, the Hernandez Brothers continue to impress with some of their best work to date in LOVE AND ROCKETS: NEW STORIES #4. Both brothers produce storylines that are absolutely amazing, although I must say that in my opinion, Jaime is the one who really steals the show with the emotionally charged conclusion of “The Love Bunglers.” Jaime’s pacing, body language, and dialogues are executed to such perfection, that I quickly reread the work immediate after I was done. I can’t even begin to imagine what these guys will come up with next.


Enfin! Notre cher Guy Delisle est de retour cette année avec son dernier roman graphique où il raconte son expérience à Jérusalem, l’endroit où il a vécu avec sa famille pour un an. À mon avis, ce qui rend cette œuvre si mémorable est la caractérisation de Guy Delisle lui-même. Parfois naïf, son expérience de l’inconnu apporte à ce dernier récit de voyage une sincérité fort charmante. Au lieu de se concentrer sur une leçon d’histoire ou un débat politique, Delisle décide plutôt de se consacrer à la vie quotidienne à Jérusalem. De ce fait, rires et réflexions profondes à propos de cette ville complexe sont assurés.

5) Michael DeForge, LOSE #3

For two consecutive years now, Toronto’s Michael DeForge has walked away from the Doug Wright awards a winner (in 2010 for best emerging artist, and 2011 for best experimental and non-narrative comic). These wins are completely unsurprising to me, considering the sheer talent of this guy, who might I add, is only 24 years old. In LOSE #3, DeForge amazes once more with the story of Stephen, a dog-like creature who attempts to reconnect with his children after a messy divorce. What makes this comic so impressive is DeForge’s abilty to subvert cute animal comics by placing his characters in dark wasteland settings. The result is weird, twisted, and totally out there.

Honorable Mentions:

Chester Brown's PAYING FOR IT. Possibly my favorite work by Chester Brown to date. An autobiographical tale about a man who swears off romantic love and fulfills his needs by frequenting prostitutes.

Johnny Ryan’s TAKE A JOKE. Crass humor at its best; I double dare you to look at the cover and not laugh.

Leslie Stein’s EYE OF THE MAJESTIC CREATURE. In this comic, Leslie’s best friend is a talking guitar who drinks too much and smokes pot. An absolutely hilarious and endearing collection of work.

Jim Woodring’s CONGRESS OF THE ANIMALS. Some more spectacular work from wordless comic extraordinaire Jim Woodring.

Brecht Evens' NIGHT ANIMALS. Incredibly gorgeous artwork. I only wish it was longer.

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