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Robert Boyd On The Best Of 2008
posted March 16, 2009

There's a lot on your list that I haven't read and therefore can't comment on. I will make a point of seeking them out now that you have blessed them with the word "best". Better late than never. I was very pleased to see Levin's book on the list--it has been criminally overlooked (in part because of a terrible cover!).

However, I have two disagreements.

First, I think it was a mistake to omit the Terry & the Pirates reprints from IDW. I know Terry has been reprinted before (but so has Popeye), but the IDW volumes are so superior to the old NBM volumes in terms of archival quality and additional contextual material. They are a delight. In Terry and Little Orphan Annie, IDW has really gotten comic strips right--after their unfortunate stumble with Dick Tracy (in which the strips are reproduced so small that my old guy eyes require a magnifying glass to read them).

I would not have included Che: A Graphic Biography. I love Spain's work, but this was kind of embarrassing. His perspective on Che seemed completely uninteresting--the book was an out-and-out hagiography. Nor was it formally interesting (Breccia père et fils were equally hagiographic, but much more innovative in structure and form). I was shocked to read Spiegleman's cover quote. "Brilliant and Radical" no, "workmanlike and conventional" yes. I felt a little bad for Spain when I read it...

Tom Spurgeon Responds: I haven't seen the Terry reprints, but I should add to them to the list. I didn't like Che enough that it'd get within sniffing distance of a best of list, but I was surprised more people didn't pay attention to it.