It was a strong year for comics. That’s evident right off the bat when you start reading THE BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2013, the last in the series to be overseen by series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden (they’re handing over the reins to Bill Kartalopoulous). This year’s guest editor is the indy comics juggernaut (and extremely talented) Jeff Smith, of Bone and Rasl fame. He’s chosen as the opening excerpt in BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2013 an excerpt from Alison Bechdel’s excellent ARE YOU MY MOTHER?, her memoir about trying to understand her maternal roots better...if she can.
Some thirty comics (or excerpts from longer works) are presented here, from some of the top creators working today. It’s wonderful to see Craig Thompson’s HABIBI recognized here, as well as selections from Leela Corman’s UNTERZAKHN, Faith Erin Hicks’ FRIENDS WITH BOYS, Derf Backderf’s MY FRIEND DAHMER, Kate Beaton’s HARK! A VAGRANT, Jennifer Hayden’s UNDERWIRE, plus works from MOME and DARK HORSE PRESENTS, and so much more.
As always, the best thing about this anthology series is the ability to go so quickly and smoothly through so many styles of writing and artwork.
The book ends delightfully with Paul Pope’s 1969, the story of Apollo 12 and the second lunar landing. The true story unfolds historically accurately, but it ends with a question of who will be the next human to go to the moon and when --- an imaginatively sparked question that perfectly suits the wide breadth of daring comics presented here…and the promise they hold of many more to come.
Reviewed by John Hogan on October 22, 2013