Rachelle Goguen’s High Five
Geoff Johns, Gary Frank and Jonathan Sibal, Action Comics (DC)
Dan Slott, Mark Guggenheim, Steve McNiven and others, Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day (Marvel)
Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, The Umbrella Academy:The Apocalypse Suite (Dark Horse) My Chemical Romance front man Gerard Way shuts up all the haters by throwing down one of the most well-crafted original stories comic readers have seen in a long time. Gabriel Bá’s gorgeous art doesn’t hurt, either.
Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani,Tiny Titans (DC)
Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta, Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus, Volumes 1-4 (DC) 2008 was a huge year for re-prints, new editions and omnibuses in the comic industry. Of all that were released, perhaps the most exciting is the four-volume collection of Jack Kirby’s groundbreaking and supremely trippy Fourth World comics. Never before had these comics been collected in order, or in colour, but these dark times are behind us forever now.
Rachelle Goguen writes the comics blog Living Between Wednesdays and wants a Legion Flight Ring for Christmas.
Laura Kenins’s High Five
Carl Wilson, Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste (33 1/3) Music critic Wilson gets to the bottom of Celine Dion’s success, against his better judgment, sharply and wittily. “I had never even met anyone who liked Celine Dion,” he writes. Touching on the music industry, globalization and philosophy, it’s an investigation into music journalism and who determines our tastes.
Margaret Atwood, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth (Anansi)
Claudia Dey, Stunt (Coach House) A florid scavenger hunt of a novel that turns downtown Toronto into a surreal playscape as nine-year-old Eugenia, abandoned by her parents, searches for answers.
Tove Jansson, Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, Book Three (Drawn & Quarterly)
Chandra Mayor, All the Pretty Girls (Conundrum) Mayor’s short stories read like punk rock Canlit, if Alice Munro was a single mom drinking at crappy bars and making minimum wage in Winnipeg.
Laura Kenins plans to write the great Canadian graphic novel, but for now she draws strange comics and reads other great Canadians’ novels.
Carsten Knox’s High Five
Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, Astonishing X-Men (Marvel)
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, All-Star Superman (DC)
Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, Local (Oni Press)Twelve issues of painstakingly researched slice-of-life drama (recently collected in one beautiful hardcover edition), the story follows one American woman as she crisscrosses the continent, including a stay here in Halifax in a chapter called “Last Lonely Days at the Oxford Theatre.”
Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, Y: The Last Man (DC/Vertigo)
Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen (DC)Twenty-two years after the original 12 issues, Moore and Gibbons’s masterpiece experienced a huge resurgence this year with the announcement of the movie adaptation, due in March 2009. A collection now in its 20th printing, Watchmen is simply essential reading.
Carsten Knox is the special issues editor at The Coast. He purchased the individual issues of Watchmen every month they came out through ’86 and ’87.
Sue Carter Flinn’s High Five
Russell Wangersky, Burning Down the House (Thomas Allen)
An astounding artistic collaboration by cousins, this graphic novel about a young wannabe Wiccan goth and her first love captures the excruciating pain and elation of being 16 and an outsider.
Miriam Toews, The Flying Troutmans (Random House)
Pasha Malla, The Withdrawal Method (Anansi)Look for cancer patients who are never victims, kids with adult wisdom, fickle lovers and men who fall short of acting like the heroes they believe they are, in this promising debut short-story collection.
Ami McKay, Jerome (Gaspereau); Fraser Mooney Jr.,Jerome (Nimbus)The fascinating true story of a mysterious legless and mute man found washed up on the shore of Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, captured the attention of local writers and playwrights, but McKay brings vivid imagination and poetry with her carnivalesque theatre production.
Sue Carter Flinn is arts editor for The Coast. She read stacks and stacks of books this year.