While Rob will use his wildcard post to turn the year into a witty personal creative narrative and Liv will undoubtedly dazzle you with her eclectic tastes, I just want to use this opportunity to bore you all to death with a bunch of comics that have made my year. Half of you probably think comics are a load of old toss, but I’ve got carte blanche to do what I want in this post, and what I want to do is force a hard-line agenda of graphic novels on the lot of you, like a Kim Jong-Un of comic art. Don’t forget to smile and clap in all the appropriate places…
Guy Peellaert: The Adventures of Jedelle (May 17)
This year Fantagraphics translated and reprinted Guy Peelaert’s seminal sexploitation comic The Adventures of Jodelle, a topless romp through a roman-styled Las Vegas, all anachronistic costumes and characters with a classic spy-themed narrative. The hilarious story, Pop Art palette and incredible draughtsmanship made this one of the year’s standout happenings in comics.
Johnny Ryan: Prison Pit Five (December 11)
“Prison Pit is like someone making a comic strip out of Mayhem’s Live in Leipzig, played at half speed and double the volume your speakers can safely process. If you’ve never heard that album, then I’ll spell it out for you: this is a brutal fucking comic.” – Patrick Tobin, Multiversity Comics. Pretty much says it all as far as I’m concerned.
Jack Kirby: Double Page Spreads (July 9)
This year I found a Tumblr of nearly all of Jack Kirby’s double page spreads from his illustrious career and nearly lost my shit. Then I wasted nearly all of the rest of that day looking at them, apart from the half hour I spent writing about them on the site. They are eye-wateringly brilliant and demonstrate why Kirby will always be considered a master of his game.
Ed Piskor: Hip Hop Family Tree (July 22)
If my life was at least ten times more interesting than it actually is and for some bizarre reason somebody decided to illustrate it as a gift for me in my octogenarian years, I’d want Ed Piskor to be the guy that drew the pictures (in this strange fantasy I’m art directing the whole thing and getting Ed to draw me as a ruggedly handsome gent – like Renaissance man James Franco).
This fantasy came out of reading The Hip Hop Family Tree and realising that Ed was capable of turning subjects that many would have little interest in (I really couldn’t have cared less about the history of hip hop before) and making them completely accessible and supremely entertaining for a massive audience. Kudos Mr Piskor.
Simon Hanselmann: Life Zone (October 18)
The best comic I’ve read this year bar none. It had me crying with laughter on so many inappropriate occasions that I had to limit myself to reading it in private. It includes reckless drug abuse with a gang of deranged animals, a wandering butt-plug, the destruction of a camping store and a surprising incident of mild bestiality. If that doesn’t sound like your scene then read it anyway as Life Zone is arguably the funniest thing I’ve ever held in my hands.
- Patrick Savile’s dreamy designs draw from 70s airbrush art, Roger Dean and Turing patterns
- Illustrator Nathan Cowdry depicts an unusual dialogue between two strangers in his new comic, Shiner
- Our round-up of this year’s UK grad show identities and show designs
- Nathalie du Pasquier opens first solo show in UK for almost 25 years
- Photographer Ian Kenneth Bird shares his top photobooks
- Bureau Borsche talks us through its album artwork for Laurel Halo
- Alex Norris’ hilarious three-panelled webcomics are universally appealing
- Pigalle, Ill-Studio and Nike have redesigned the Paris Duperré basketball court
- Leipzig graphic design studio Lamm & Kirch on their shared ethos
- Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger on how to stand out
- From Lemon Twigs to Laura Marling: Hollie Fernando’s painterly photography folio
- Why materials matter: Seetal Solanki on the Grenfell Tower tragedy