10 of the Year’s Most Buzzed About Comic Releases


When we saw Vulture’s post on the top 10 comics of 2010, we were surprised that many of our favorites didn’t make the cut. But obviously, a person’s taste in comic books can be extremely subjective. Forget the battle between DC and Marvel, some people only read graphic novels while others are devoted to manga. That’s why we thought it would be interesting to talk to Gabriel Fowler, owner of Desert Island in Williamsburg, about which new work created the most excitement among his regular customers this year. To be clear, this is not based on sales numbers, just the first 10 releases that came to his mind when we asked. And while you should consider the entire list required reading (or in certain cases, viewing) it’s in no particular order. Enjoy!

1. Acme Novelty Library #20 by Chris Ware

Gabriel Fowler says: “The latest and greatest work by one of the most important cartoonists working today. I’m already a fan of Chris Ware, who has done experimental comics for 25 years, but this most recent book is probably one of the most readable things that he has ever done. It’s innovative on all fronts — from the story and the lettering to the design and layout. In my world, this is a must-have book.”

2. X’ed Out by Charles Burns

Gabriel Fowler says: “Like the Ware, this is another brand new book that was a long time in the making by a contemporary master of storytelling. And it’s deeply weird. An experimental work that is also a best selling book; that’s a unique combination. Visually, it’s similar to the classic Tintin books — think Tintin if it was written by William Burroughs.”

3. Powr Mastrs 3 by CF

Gabriel Fowler says: “This extremely anticipated book has more of a rarefied audience. CF, the artist (the nom de plume of Christopher Forgues), makes extremely experimental comics which are almost abstract enough to be artist books and are inspired by fine art, video games, and the art of drawing. The book was delayed for a million reasons for a year and half. And it delivered. I’m a fan, and it’s really very good.”

4. How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less by Sarah Glidden

Gabriel Fowler says: “Sarah Glidden lives in Brooklyn, and she started making photocopied mini comics about three years ago. She’s a very rare success story — she got a book deal because she had the genius idea to make a comic about her Birthright Israel trip. The result is a beautifully-rendered watercolor comic book about the trip and her attempt to process the current situation in Israel.”

5. Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz

Gabriel Fowler says: “Julia’s comics are about living in Brooklyn — basically hilarious self depreciating humor about a young girl stumbling through life. Her work is really funny and autobiographical, and she’s very popular around here.”

6. I Want You #2 by Lisa Hanawalt

Gabriel Fowler says: “Lisa is a person who has not made that much work, but what she has done is 100 percent awesome. Beautifully-rendered drawings with alarming gross-out humor. She has very unique voice in the comics world, but she’s also a person who is successful in the illustration world. Her comics are more like illustrations that are related to each other, with the occasional mini-narrative thrown in.”

7. Rise and Fall by Micah Lidberg

Gabriel Fowler says: “This one is not a comic at all, but I sell it in my store. It’s a concertina book, otherwise known as an accordion book. It’s a beautiful printed object with lots of cute psychedelic dinosaurs and a 10,000 year narrative. It’s really brightly colored, and uniquely printed by a company out of London called Nobrow Press. One of those that you really need to see.”

8. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman et al

Gabriel Fowler says: “The most popular mainstream comic in my store. It’s a well-written zombie comic, recently made into a TV show, so now it has even more hype. And it’s actually very good. When you think of a zombie story, you just think of creatures drooling, and that’s about it. This guy Robert Kirkman has made a seemingly endless saga out of the idea. It’s more about the people and less about the zombies — a character driven zombie comic.”

9. Love and Rockets New Stories #3 by Jamie Hernandez

Gabriel Fowler says: “Love and Rockets is one of the first alternative comics started in the ’70s by three brothers in California. Now they are in their 50s, and still making some of the best indie comics around. Lots of people were blown away by this — it’s a comic that epitomizes 20 years worth of work in 50 pages. Jamie Hernandez has just been doing it so long that he’s a natural. Comics just seem to flow out of this guy.”

10. Crickets #3 by Sammy Harkham

Gabriel Fowler says: “Like a lot of the new work on this list, this is a comic that was supposed to come out a while ago. People have been anticipating it for a long time. He’s a contemporary master who does not make enough stuff. This book is a game changer for him — a late entry into the best comics of 2010. You have three self-contained stories that can all stand on their own as awesome new pieces of alternative comics.”