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December 14, 2014


FFF Results Post #404 -- A Year In Comics

On Friday, CR readers were asked to "Name Five Specific Comics Publications You Enjoyed That Came Out In 2014." This is how they responded.

*****

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Ryan Sands

1. Lose #6, Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
2. Sunny #3, Taiyo Matsuomoto (Viz)
3. Through The Woods, Emily Carroll (McElderry Books)
4. Megahex, Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics)
5. Janus, Lala Albert (Breakdown Press)

*****

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Danny Ceballos

1. Diana, Ron Regé, Jr. (self published)
2. The Hospital Suite, John Porcellino (Drawn & Quarterly)
3. Drawings You Want, Josh Bayer (self published)
4. July Diary 2014, Gabrielle Bell (LUCKY website)
5. SuperMutant Magic Academy #3, Jillian Tamaki (self published)

*****

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Tim Hayes

1. witzend, various (Fantagraphics)
2. Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #14, Gilbert Hernandez (DC Comics)
3. Woody Guthrie And the Dust Bowl Ballads, Nick Hayes (Jonathan Cape)
4. Sex Criminals: One Weird Trick, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
5. Barbarella, Jean-Claude Forest and Kelly Sue DeConnick (Humanoids)

*****

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RJ Casey

1. Reich #12, Elijah Brubaker (Sparkplug Comics)
2. She-Hulk, Charles Soule, Javier Pulido, Ron Wimberly (Marvel)
3. The Granville Syndrome, Dawson Walker (Self-published)
4. Facility Integrity, Nick Maandag (Pigeon Press)
5. Stranger Than Life, MK Brown (Fantagraphics)

*****

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Tom Spurgeon

1. How To Be Happy, Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics)
2. Bumperhead, Gilbert Hernandez (Drawn And Quarterly)
3. Frontier #5, Sam Alden (Youth In Decline)
4. Operation Margarine, Katie Skelly (AdHouse Books)
5. Safari Honeymoon, Jesse Jacobs (Koyama Press)

*****

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Jamie S. Rich

1. Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Francesco Francavilla (Archie Comics)
2. The Shadow: Year One, Matt Wagner & Wilfredo Torres (Dynamite)
3. This One Summer, Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
4. The People Inside, Ray Fawkes (Oni Press)
5. Three, Kieron Gillen & Ryan Kelly (Image Comics)

*****

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Gil Roth

* Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Roz Chast (Bloomsbury)
* Kill My Mother, Jules Feiffer (Norton/Liveright)
* The Hospital Suite, John Porcellino (Drawn & Quarterly)
* Vapor, Max (Fantagraphics)
* HERE, Richard McGuire (Pantheon)

*****

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Scott Dunbier

* The Fifth Beatle, Andrew Robinson (Dark Horse)
* Saga, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image)
* Hawkeye, Matt Fraction and David Aja (Marvel)
* Cinder and Ashe, Gerry Conway and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (DC)
* Walter Simonson Manhunter and Other Stories Artist's Edition, Walter Simonson (IDW)

*****

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Philippe Leblanc

1- Copra #14, Michel Fiffe
2- Everywhere Antennas, Julie Delporte, (Drawn & Quarterly)
3- Wicked Chicken Queen, Sam Alden, (Retrofit comics)
4- New Physics, Box Brown, (Yeah Dude Comics)
5- Hellberta #3, Michael Comeau

*****

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Marc Mason

1. The Wicked and the Divine #1, Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie (Image Comics)
2. The Shadow Hero, Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Liew (First Second)
3. Phantoms of the Louvre, Enki Bilal (NBM)
4. Seconds, Bryan Lee O'Malley (Ballantine)
5. Captain Marvel #6, Kelly Sue DeConnick & David Lopez (Marvel)

*****

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Trevor Ashfield

1. Wicked Chicken Queen, Sam Alden (Retrofit Comics)
2. Truth is Fragmentary: Travelogues and Diaries, Gabrielle Bell (Uncivilized)
3. The Love Bunglers, Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
4. Ebb Flow Float, Mimi Chrzanowski (self-published)
5. Steve Rude 2014 Sketchbook, Steve Rude (Steve Rude Art llc)

*****

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Douglas Mullins

1. RAV 10, Mickey Zacchilli (Self-published)
2. SFVPN, Ryan Cecil Smith (Self-published)
3. Band for Life, Anya Davidson (Vice and Self-published)
4. Morgan, Frank Santoro (Self-published)
5. Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe #1, Tom Scioli / John Barber (IDW)

*****

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Roger Langridge

* The Motherless Oven, Rob Davis (Self-Made Hero)
* (In A Sense) Lost and Found, Roman Muradov (NoBrow)
* The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, Stephen Collins (Picador)
* Jim, Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics)
* Basewood, Alec Longstreth (Phase Seven)

*****

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John Platt

1. Through the Woods, Emily Carroll (McElderry Books)
2. C.O.W.L. Vol. 1, Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, Rod Reis (Image Comics)
3. Irene 4, Andy Warner and Dakota McFadzean (editors) (Irene Comics)
4. A is for Antichrist: Obama's Conspiracy Alphabet, Rick Geary (Home Town Press)
5. Ant Colony, Michael DeForge (Drawn and Quarterly)

*****

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Michael Dooley

1. Beauty, Kerascoet and Hubert (NBM)
2. You Who Read Me with Passion Now Must Forever Be My Friends, Dorothy Iannone (Siglio)
3. What Fools These Mortals Be! The Story of Puck, America's First and Most Influential Magazine of Color Political Caroons, Michael Alexandre Kahn and Richard Samuel West (IDW)
4. The Graphic Canon of Children's Literature: The World's Great Kids' Lit as Comics and Visuals, Russ Kick, editor (Seven Stories)
5. The Art of Richard Thompson, David Apatoff, Nick Galifianakis, Mike Rhode, Chris Sparks, and Bill Watterson (Andrews McMeel)

*****

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Matt Emery

1. Awkwood, Jase Harper (Milk Shadow Books)
2. Modesty Blaise -- The Young Mistress, Peter O'Donnell, Enric Badia Romero (Titan Books)
3. I Don't Hate Your Guts, Noah Van Sciver (2D Cloud)
4. Very Quiet, Very Still, Chris Gooch (Optic Pop Press)
5. Study Group Magazine No. 3D, various (Study Group Comic Books)


*****

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Colin Panetta

* Future Shock 7, Josh Burggraf et al (Astro Plus Press)
* The Hideous Dropping Off Of The Veil, Sean T. Collins and Julia Gfrörer (self published)
* Shaolin Cowboy #4, Geoff Darrow (Dark Horse)
* Traducciones, Inés Estrada (Gatosaurio)
* Weird5, Mr. Freibert et al (Cut-Cross)

*****

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Oliver Ristau

1. The futurewarded smile of Mould Map 3 (Landfill Editions) tried to be a competitive exhibition of artistically challenging comics and is already a thing of the past. By creating an ephemeral moment in fanzine idealism with virulent colors and a trippy layout the book design elevated its glossy pornographic ideology into an arthouse of ill repute. Artists like Lando or Blaise Larmee's Ice Cream Kisses remained, the latter was presented in excerpts and still continues to mutate along. Its unofficial advanced edition by 2D Cloud is already history again by now, next year we'll hopefully see a final version of something that appears to be a sexting drama staged through a heatseeking missile's impressions. Until then we read Larmee's ironic artistic statement Comets Comets and smile on undeterred.

2. While basically doing an artist's biography, a subgenre said to be possible of reaching far beyond its usual target group by smart-ass marketing professionals, Souvenirs de l'empire de l'atome by Thierry Smolderen and Alexandre Clérisse (Dargaud/Carlsen) plays with what has become a full-fleged rural plague: the referencing of popular icons and topics. For sure the main intention of the artists wasn't to seduce readers of Cordwainer Smith to purchase comics, because even among science-fiction readers his nom de plum isn't very familiar. And if a work is relating to works which relate to other works themselves that furthermore have been forgotten for decades, then you'll probably get an idea of comics scholar Thierry Smolderen's writing: a good story based on a truly absorbing biography. Not to mention the retro-style this is drawn in, additionally punctuated by a state-of-the-art coloring without much comparison. This way of expression depicts the future almost single-handedly, with its cradle rooting in past times. Or the other way round. And so it doesn't matter very much, if you're able to deduce from A.E. van Vogt to L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and later on to Scientology, or from Edmond Hamilton of Captain Future fame to Anthony Hope's Prisoner Of Zenda...or if you might recognize André Franquin's cameo appearance -- all this works very well without any knowledge about those cross-references mentioned, this comic's just about opening up new ways of approaching one's biography.

3. When reality and romance collide, upright walking from out of the primordial soup gets torturous. Anne Simon's La geste d'Aglaé (éd. Misma/Rotopolpress), is about a young nereid, who learns about the hard side of life after an unexpected pregnancy which brings her father, ruler of the Oceanides, to expel her from his realm. The bitter truth, pointedly embedded in speech balloons and combined with historical citations, define the route out of the patriarchal tyranny, therefore ranging from Aesop to the Beatles and back. You have nothing to lose, except your scruples. A coming of age fable that puts Heinz Edelmann and Mr. Kite in educative action by creating caricatures of chimeras and hybrids, drawn cross hatched and with spare lines. In the end there's not much opposition left against a more and more resolute Aglaé or her son, who adds a further note of tyranny to his mother's autocratic regime -- a pessimistic life's journey with impaled masculine images along the way.

4. Junior Detective Files by Alex Degen (Sonatina Comics) ain't a comic. It's rather 'Paper Jazz', at least in Alex Degen's view, who doesn't have much love for the usual labelings of narration supported by pictures. But maybe it's just posing, with Mister Degen you never know because within his public self-staging as ADactivity, tomfoolery appears to be his daily bread. As in the present case, there are no words to be found at all, with a latin blindtext (Lorem Ipsum etc) being the only exception, and every single page showing a different setting but with recurring protagonists. One can favourably categorize this after Scott McCloud in different manners, but an ongoing tale it's rather not. You can read the single pictures as complete stories instead, and rarely have I spent more time with such a small publication before. It's a proof of great virtuosity to stack as many layers as these while staying consolidated simultaneously. Associations range from tragic/lost to mysterious/abysmal and that's how it should be if you're going to lead the annoying snoop brats genre AD absurdum. Best release of the year.

5. The German translation of Ursula K. LeGuin's The Word For World Is Forest, Das Wort für Welt ist Wald, implies an elegance that can hardly be found in its original title because of its alliterative and phonetically conciseness. It would also make an ideal motif for Safari Honeymoon by Jesse Jacobs (Koyama Press), whose thematic catalogue runs from creation to how best to care for it. If you think this sounds similar to the old testament, I'd recommend a close reading of By This You Shall Know Him. Jacob's protagonists bear certain similarities to the sculptured works of Niki de Saint Phalle and are always reliable in not staying on top of things, which in this case is the dense woodwork of the jungle (its ornamental sophistication reminds one of overzealous construction plans for a maze) and lose one's bearings like no other, with Francis Macomber in Kenya being the only exception from that rule. Man versus nature ain't a brand new topic though, but Jacobs' skills in telling a convincing tale have increased once more, as the abstruse phantoms haunting his mindscape show in some of his experimental visual compositions. In this, the gender hierarchy once established by Ernest Hemingway is faced with a breath of fresh air.

Thanks to Shawn Starr for glancing over this.

This slightly modified list can also be found in German language.

*****

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Charles Brownstein

1) Cyanide Milkshake #6, Liz Suburbia (self)
2) Teen Dog #1, Jake Lawrence (Boom!)
3) Vinland Saga Vol. 4, Makoto Yukimura (Kodansha)
4) Miniature Jesus, Ted McKeever (Image)
5) Gast, Carol Swain (Fantagraphics)

*****

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Douglas Wolk

1. Never Forgets, Yumi Sakugawa (self-published)
2. 100th Anniversary Special: Avengers #1, James Stokoe (Marvel)
3. Star Cat: Book 01, James Turner (David Fickling Books)
4. Through the Woods, Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
5. Shutter Vol. 1, Joe Keatinge & Leila Del Duca (Image)

*****

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Sean Kleefeld

1. Billy Johnson and His Duck Are Explorers #1, Mathew New (self-published)
2. New Gods Artist's Edition, Jack Kirby (IDW)
3. Shackleton, Nick Bertozzi (First Second)
4. Spaceman Jax #1, Kirstie Shepherd and Cesare Asaro (Curio & Co)
5. Bird Witch, Kat Leyh (Yeti Press)

*****

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Terry Eisele

* Museum of Mistakes, Julia Wertz (Atomic Book Company)
* Through the Wood, Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
* The Boxer: The True Story of Holocaust Survivor Harry Haft, Reinhard Kleist (SelfMadeHero)
* Hidden: A Child's Story of the Holocaust, Loic Dauvillier, Marc Lizano, Greg Salsedo (First Second)
* The Bad Doctor: The Troubled Life and Times of Dr. Iwan James, Ian Williams (Myriad Editions)

*****

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Johnny Bacardi

1. Daredevil (Marvel)
2. The Wicked and the Divine, Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie (Image)
3. Princess Ugg, Ted Naifeh (Oni Press)
4. Battling Boy: The Rise of Aurora West, Paul Pope, JT Petty, David Rubin (First Second)
5. The Legend of Bold Riley, Leia Wethington, Zack Giallongo (Northwest)

*****

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Andrew Mansell

1. Puck: What Fools These Mortals Be, Samuel West (IDW)
2. Walt Before Skeezix, Frank King (Drawn And Quarterly)
3. Perfect Nonsense: The Chaotic Comics and Goofy Games of George Carlson (Fantagraphics)
4. Behold the Dinosaur, Dustin Harbin (Nobrow)
5. Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir, Roz Chast (Bloomsbury)

*****

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Bonny

1. Recidivist IV, Zak Sally (La Mano Press)
2. Hip Hop Family Tree Two-In-One, Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics Books)
3. Stray Bullets: The Killers #1, David Lapham (Image Comics)
4. The Eltingville Club #1, Evan Dorkin & Sarah Dyer (Dark Horse Press)
5. Demon #1, Jason Shiga (Shiga Books)

*****

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Michael Buntag

1. Ms. Marvel #1, Adrian Alphona (Marvel)
2. This One Summer, Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
3. Cosplayers 2: Tezukon, Dash Shaw (Fantagraphics)
4. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1, Robert Hack (Archie)
5. Shoplifter, Michael Cho (Pantheon)

*****

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Mike Baehr

1. Diana, Ron Regé Jr. (self-published)
2. Wicked Chicken Queen, Sam Alden (Retrofit/Big Planet)
3. The Wrenchies, Farel Dalrymple (First Second)
4. BPRD Hell on Earth: The Reign of the Black Flame, Mike Mignola, John Arcudi, James Harren, & Dave Stewart (Dark Horse)
5. Kroger Kromix #1-3, M. Moseley Smith and various artists (self-published)

*****

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Sean T. Collins

* Configurations, Aidan Koch (self-published/Comics Workbook)
* 9/11 Police State, Noel Freibert (self-published)
* Sex Fantasy, Sophia Foster-Dimino (self-published)
* Palm Ash, Julia Gfrörer (self-published)
* Baby Bjornstrand, Renee French (Koyama Press)

*****

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Bernard Crowsheet

1. Rav First Collection, mickey zacchilli (youth in decline)
2. Seconds, bryan lee o'malley (ballantine books)
3. Prophet, bunch of dudez & brandon graham (image)
4. Smoke Signal, various (desert island)
5. Wonton Soup collected edition, james stokoe (oni press)

*****

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Dave Knott

* Mould Map 3, Various Creators (Landfill Editions & Famicon Express)
* Twelve Gems, Lane Milburn (Fantagraphics)
* War Of Streets And Houses, Sophie Yanow (Uncivilized Books)
* Shoplifter, Michael Cho (Pantheon)
* The Humans #0, Keenan Marshall Keller & Tom Neely (I Will Destroy You)

*****

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Scott Cederlund

1. This One Summer, Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (First Second)
2. The Sock Monkey Treasury, Tony Millionaire (Fantagraphics)
3. Wicked Chicken Queen, Sam Alden (Retrofit)
4. The Hospital Suite, John Porcellino (Drawn and Quarterly)
5. Satellite Sam Vol. 2, Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin (Image Comics)

*****

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Tom Bondurant

1. Justice League United #0, Jeff Smith & Mike McKone (DC Comics)
2. Ms. Marvel #8, G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona (Marvel Comics)
3. Afterlife With Archie #5, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Francesco Francavilla (Archie Comics)
4. Transformers vs. GI Joe #0, Tom Scioli & John Barber(IDW Publishing)
5. Sex Criminals #5, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)

*****
*****
 
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