15 December 2004


-Marc Bell’s ‘Worn Tuff Elbow’ Published by Fantagraphics.

I picked up Marc’s ‘Pual&Shrimpy&Friends last year and absolutely loved it! This year he brought out this compilation of his newspaper strip but with tons of extra added bits. But as I don’t live in Canada it’s all new to me anyway.

-Various Jeffery Brown Strips in ‘Blood Orange’ and ‘McSweenys #13’.

I’ve been following Jeffery Brown ever since I picked up a copy of his little book ‘Be a Man’. He’s a fairly prolific producer of comics and I like his loose and intimate diary like style.

-Daniel Clowes’s ‘Eightball #23’ published by Fantagraphics.

Clowes always has a high standard of production values and you can be sure you’re in for a treat when you pick up one of his Eightballs. Probably better known in the main stream for the writing credits to the movie ‘Ghost World’. This latest instalment of Eightball blew me away-as did the last issue- Just when you think alternative comics should stay as far away from the super hero genre as possible Clowes comes out with this brilliantly drawn and written parody of the very same genre. Set in the seventies, a teenage boy discovers he has hereditary superpowers that have been brought on by smoking cigarettes, hilarity ensues.

David Colliers ‘The Frank Ritza Papers’ published by Drawn&Quarterly.

What can you say about David Collier. He’s a master of the form. You just have to pick up one of his comics and read it, and you're immediately begin to enter his interesting world. It’s his down to earth frankness and human qualities that are expressed that I admire about him.

-Julie Doucet’s ‘My New York Diary’ published by D&Q.

(Originally published in 1999, but I just got it given to my this year. She's meant to be bringing out some new books at the end of the year so I needed to include her)
I got given her New York diary from my sister in law as a gift and I’ve probably read it fifty times since. There's just something so seductive about her line work and deep pockets of black and everthing seems to have texture and form in an almost cubist sense of space. I just hope to god she continues to keep making comics.

-Various David Heatly strips also in McSweenys #13.

This guy was a real find in Mcsweenys #13 (A compliation put together by Chris Ware containing loads of wonderful comics) Most of the strips dealt with his relationship with his father. They explore the complex nature of such relationship. Mixed feelings of love and hate, attration and repulsion, the secret and open aspects of their relationship. Really brave stuff to confront and talk about. I haven’t managaed to order one of his comics yet but it’s on my to do list. Visit him at www.davidheatly.com

-Mandy Ord’s ‘Sensitive creatures’ self published.

I first encountered mandy Ord’s work in Her collaboration with her friends Amber Carvan in ‘Brick Dog’ (Pluto press) Like Doucet her artwork has a distinctive dark look to it which I love. Her everyday slice of life stories are amusing and well thought out.

-Ron Rege Jr and John Porcelino’s mini comic supplements in McSweenys #13.

I kept seeing RonRege Jr’s stuff on Highwaters website, but this was the first time I’d actually read a full comic by him. Now I’m hooked! He’s got a really nice crisp clear line style that does a fantastic balancing act between Static and dynamic. Just another comic artist who I wish I could get more work from.
John Porcelino, where have you been all my comic reading life. His comics read like visual poetry. I'm hopefully going to be recieving more of his stuff in the mail shortly.

-Johnny Ryans ‘Angry Youth Comix #7’ published by Fantagraphics.

Johnny Ryans comix are so wrong their good. Not only does he poke fun at every possible type of living creature on the planet he also has blatantly harsh parody comics of a lot of the comics I’ve mentioned on this list. His drawing style is really simple but you can tell he has a wide range of influences and a genuine love for the medium. I’m not usually one for dick and fart jokes but Angry Youth Comix just does it so damn well.

-Seth’s ‘PalookaVille’ By D&Q.
Seth’s ‘Palookville’ could very easily come across as really boring but it’s one of those things you have to take you time with and slowly digest. Probably not for everyone, but I like his use of blue and grey tones, really beautiful stuff.

So there you have it my top ten list for 2004. And if you’re one of those people who think comics are just for kids and geeks then you obviously have never read any of these fine publications. If you need to find out any more on these comics just go to the publishers websites and or google word an image search different artist names, it’s like treasure hunting or something (Just pretend it’s some sort of playstation game or a television program)
Unfortunately as it is a top 10 list there’s bound to be lots of people I’ve left out and apart from the space limitation it also comes down to A: if they put out something this year and B: I was trying to get a variety of stuff in there so I tried to keep it diverse. Some comic artist like Crumb, Joe Mat, and Chris ware deservedly have such legendary status I wanted to give some other people the limelight.
Fell free to contact me if you have any suggestions or new finds.

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