A hard-core, eye candy-filled anthology you’ll peruse again and again.
These days, comics aren’t geek, they’re chic—and they’re definitely not just for the boys. For proof, look no further than this colorful melting pot of an anthology. The latest in the annual series edited by comics writers Jessica Abel and Matt Madden, this 26-story collection is both eye candy and a solid read for hard-core enthusiasts and newbies alike. Iraq, queers, dysfunctional families, and drum-playing turtles are only the beginning of the subjects that appear here, as the storylines range from the innocent and childlike (“The Monkey and the Crab” by Shawn Cheng and Sara Edward-Corbett) to the sexually taboo (“Who’s Your Daddy” by Alison Bechdel) to the downright dark (“Burden” by Graham Annable). From graphic royalty such as Sarah Oleksyk and Matt Groening to supertalented unknowns from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., this collection is like a long, leisurely drive through the Sunday comics section of the newspaper—if said paper represented the intelligent, artsy, politically aware slice of society—and you’ll find yourself perusing the goods again and again. As Lynda Barry, who edited this edition, writes in her ultra-cool comic-strip intro, “For best results it is best to read something twice so that you can misunderstand it at least once.” With such a diverse and engrossing collection, you’ll want to peel it like an onion, digest it in small parts, and literally read between the lines. Whether you’re just trying comics on for size or you’re Comic Con–bound, you’re sure to learn a thing or two about this underground world—and maybe even about yourself.