Wacky Packages by Topps and Art Spiegelman
It’s the attention to detail that makes this one a must-buy for any child of the 70s and 80s. The waxy dust jacket that mimics the stock of the trading cards’ original wrappers is just the icing on the cake. The book showcases the first 7 series of Wacky Packages: 223 stickers in all. With bad puns and grotesque cartoon art galore, rediscover your inner 10-year-old boy.
Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan by Chip Kidd
Book designer and Batman collector Chip Kidd further explores his Batmania in this, his 3rd book devoted to the caped crusader. Here Kidd takes a look at Batman as seen through the eyes of 1960s Japan (particularly the forgotten Batman comics of Jiro Kuwata). It’s as wild as you’d imagine.
Ojingogo by Matt Forsythe
I am particularly delighted to include this title on my year-end list. Our very own Matt Forsythe’s first book is a delightful pantomime comic in the spirit of Alice in Wonderland. I’m proud to have watched Ojingogo sprout from its modest webcomic beginnings into one of the best comic books of the year.
Albert & The Others by Guy Delisle
Guy Delisle may be best known for his book Pyongyang, the autobiographical graphic novel about his time spent in North Korea, but I prefer this book and its predecessor, Aline & The Others. Each one features 26 wordless comics about the battle of the sexes, and each starring a character whose name begins with a different letter of the alphabet. It’s pure cartooning at its best.
St. Trinian’s: The Entire Appalling Business by Ronald Searle
I’m a huge Ronald Searle fan so I was delighted that this year brought me this collection. The book reprints all of Searle’s St. Trinian’s cartoons, a series featuring the darkly wicked antics of an unruly all-girls boarding school. I was also glad to see that the movie adaptation came and promptly died with little to no fanfare.
Secret Weapon: 30 Hand-Painted Spam Postcards by Linzie Hunter
Postcards featuring hand-drawn interpretations of actual spam headlines. I’m so happy to see Linzie’s spam postcards, once just a series of illustrations on Flickr, get printed in such a perfect medium. (Original Review)
As I See by Boris Artzybasheff
The long-awaited reprinting of the Russian surrealist’s book of drawings. From my review earlier this year: “a look at human progress and technology that lies somewhere between where Jim Henson and Salvador Dali meet, or perhaps an unlikely collaboration between Dr. Seuss and H.R. Giger.” (Original Review)
Hall of Best Knowledge by Ray Fenwick
A salute to lettering, calligraphy, and words themselves, there’s no easy way to describe the Hall of Best Knowledge. In it, the lofty ravings of a more-than-immodest narrator are illustrated in gorgeous hand-drawn type. It’s part comic, part illuminated manuscript, and it’s tons of fun. (Original Review)
Art of the Modern Movie Poster: International Postwar Style and Design by Judith Salavetz, Spencer Drate, Sam Sarowitz, and Dave Kehr
There’s not much I can say here that I didn’t already say in my recent review. This book is a goldmine of inspiration and graphic design history. It’s also one of those coffee table books big enough to serve as a coffee table itself.
What It Is by Lynda Barry
Part autobio comic, part writing workshop, Lynda Barry presents an energetic, introspective, and freeing methodology to help unblock even the most inhibited would-be writers or artists. (Original Review)
Sir Reginald’s Logbook by Matt Hammill
A kids book about the perilous (or not?) adventures of Sir Reginald and his quest for the lost Tablet of Illusion. I love this book. It’s a celebration of the imagination of a child through the eyes of an old man — all in the style of a hand-drawn notebook. I would happily read an entire series of Sir Reginald books — fun, clever, full of delightful art, and beautifully packaged to boot.