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December 2, 2011

Miami Book Fair: Best Graphic Novels of the Year (and Past Few Years)


This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Miami Book Fair, one of the best-run book fairs in the country (and one of the biggest—seriously, if you are a book fan, you owe it to yourself to save up for a vacation to this yearly event; it’s well worth it). One of the great things about it is how friendly they are to graphic novels. In fact, they have a pretty large and significant comics presence at the fair, with panels running all weekend long.

I was lucky enough to moderate two panels: one focusing on favorite graphic novels from 2011 (and the past few years), and the other dealing with nonfiction comics. Both were incredible. I’m at the airport now as I write this, so I’ll be brief, but I’m looking forward to telling you more about both of these panels and what I learned from the creators on them. In the meantime, though, I want to share our long list of favorite graphic novels, since I promised I’d post it for all the attendees.
We had five panelists selecting their favorite graphic novels of the past year (or two or three), plus my own picks. The panelists were Shannon Wheeler, Jennifer Hayden, Vera Brosgol, Matt Phelan, and Jeff Newelt—all of whom produced work that made it onto my favorites list. So without further ado, here’s a simply incredible list of comics. If you are looking for some great graphic novels to read…look no further. You’ve got a full list of things to tide you over for a good long while. (Update: The panelists' books are listed first, then the rest are in alphabetical order.)

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Around the World by Matt Phelan
Harvey Pekar's Cleveland by Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnant
Oil and Water by Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler
Too Much Coffee Man Omnibus by Shannon Wheeler
Underwire by Jennifer Hayden

The Amazing Screw-on Head by Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Any Empire by Nate Powell
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzuchelli 
The Cardboard Valise by Ben Katchor
Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice by Ivan Brunetti
Cat Rackham Loses It by Steve Wolfhard
Ethel & Ernest by Raymond Briggs
Everything Is Its Own Reward by Paul Madonna
Eye of the Majestic by Leslie Stein
Echo by Terry Moore
Feynman by Jim Ottaviani
Forming by Jesse Moynihan
Goodbye Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson
Habibi by Craig Thompson
Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton
The Influencing Machine by Brooke Gladstone and Josh Neufeld
Mangaman by Barry Lyga and Colleen Doran
Masterpiece Comics by R. Sikoryak
Meta Maus by Art Spiegelman
1-800-MICE by Matthew Thurber
Reunion by Pascal Girard
Sidekicks by Dan Santat
The Sky Over the Louvre by Bernard Yslaire and Jean-Claude Carriere
20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard, and Cliff Rathburn
The Wrong Place by Brecht Evens
Zita the Space Girl by Ben Hatke
A Zoo in Winter by Taniguchi Jiro