Five great comics I read this year

Here are five comics I read this year which I really enjoyed. They are listed in no particular order. They are all great. I also have no idea whether they all came out this year or not, or if they’re still in print, but I hope that you’ll try and seek them out regardless.

Garrettsville by Jenn Lisa 

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This short comic came out last year (I think) as part of the Dog City anthology series. It’s a humble and touching comic about how small towns shape, accept and reject us. I keep coming back to it. There’s something in the balance the drawing strikes that is reassuring and captivating – gently walking a line between sketch and abstraction and cartooning. It’s really good, and I’m excited to see Jenn do more work.

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Available here

A Homesick Truant’s Cumbrian Yarn by Oliver East 

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I finally picked up the last issues of Oliver’s walking comics series at TCAF. The ten comics document Oliver’s walk from Arnside to Carlisle, a 140 mile walk he made in 10 stages, loosely following the train line. As the issues progress, the work morphs into a visceral, impressionistic, visual account of person and environment. Words, shapes, elements. Floods. Livestock. People. Exertion. Wind. It’s pretty staggering.

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Fütchi Perf by Kevin Czap

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This is an intriguing, almost sensual comic (the shapes! the colours! the print! the paper stock!) about possible futures. Are they good possible futures? Is that the question we need to ask? It’s otherworldly and vivd and relatable and confounding too. Asks more questions as it answers. Amazing.

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Available here

Baseline Boulevard by Emi Gennis

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This is story is a beautifully paced account of grief, told across landscapes and pencil drawings. Built around driving a particular distance, while slipping in and out of memories and flashbacks, it’s a great example of how time in comics ebbs and flows at different rates. It’s moving and deeply personal.

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I’m not sure if you can still buy it in print but you can read it online here

When The Last Story is Told by Allan Haverholm 

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A lovely hardback book of 60 pages of abstract, expressionistic, comics grids. Each one is textured, collaged, painted, and composed in a variety of ways. The eyes struggle not to find form and shape and narrative in the pieces, while also coming to understand them only as what they are. But what are they? It’s a remarkable book, if you let it in. So worth it.

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Available here

Final issue of SMOO available now


SMOO #10, my new 44 page zine of comics and stories, is available now.

It’s the story of a year, but also the story of a lot of other things (or one big thing, perhaps): reflections on moving, birds, waterfalls at Easter and blossom, Toronto, and swimming in creeks and growing things in gardens.

#10 is also the last ever issue of SMOO.

I’ve been making the zine since 2007, and I’ve learned nearly everything I know about making comics and zines and telling stories from doing it. It’s given me lots of opportunities and I’ve met lots of amazing people from making it. It’s how I’ve made sense of my life and of who I am, too.

SMOO came with its own set of rules, however unconsciously written, that have helped shape and guide the comic over the years. But now it’s time to set those aside and try something new.

So there you go. More zines, more comics. Just no more SMOO.