Among comics fans, this year's version of The Best American Comics has occasioned some wholehearted debate about the direction literary comics are taking. The Beat's Heidi MacDonald took the book's editor, Chris Ware, gently to task for picking a compendium of his friends and aesthetic fellow-thinkers to continue "the hegemony of the shoe-gazer" in American literary comics. "Can anyone here tell a story?" MacDonald asked, wondering why fantasy, adventure, suspense, manga, and superheroes make no appearances in The Best American Comics 2007. More recently, New York's Hugo Lindgren complained along similar lines in the Times Book Review.
But thank God there's one reviewer who's not afraid to name names and talk shit about The Best American Comics in the grand tradition of flamethrowing book criticism: Laura Hudson's mom.
Laura Hudson, a freelance comics journalist, gave her mom The Best American Comics 2007 and asked for her response. The results are an amazingly funny takedown of current trends in literary comics and a detailed look at how the average intelligent reader reads the kinds of comics that tastemakers so frequently present as "the best." One highlight, delivered while reading Ivan Brunetti's work:
Mom: This woman he’s dating likes comics and her name is Laura. [looks at me suspiciously] Do you know him?
Laura: No, Mom. I’m not Ivan Brunetti’s girlfriend.
Mom: Oh thank goodness. He’s an asshole.
My Mom Reviews Chris Ware's Best American Comics 2007 [Myriad Issues]
Can anyone here tell a story? [The Beat]
Unhappy Together [NYT]