Death, taxes and new comics. Those are just a few things we can expect in the New Year (not YOUR death necessarily, just death in general). Anyway, lots of comics will be published this year. Here are six I'm really looking forward to and that I think you should be excited about as well. Feel free to disagree with me in the comments.
1. Seconds by Bryan Lee O'Malley (Random House). A bit of an obvious choice perhaps. Still, whether you loved Scott Pilgrim or hated it to tiny, tiny pieces, there's little doubt that O'Malley's big follow-up to his uber-successful and much ballyhooed series is going to draw a lot of attention from all corners of comics fandom. There's a lot of people curious about this book, about which little is known other than it takes place in a restaurant. Count me among them.
2. Arsene Schrauwen by Olivier Schrauwen (Fantagraphics). Is Olivier Schrauwen one of the most amazing, inventive and original cartoonists to come along in decades? Well, duh. If you've read The Man Who Grew His Beard, My Boy or perhaps the initial chapter of this (I'm assuming) invented tale of the author's grandfather, you know how creative and fearless he can be. This might well be the book I'm most looking forward to this year.
3. Pascin by Joann Sfar (Uncivilized Books). First Incidents in the Night and now this. Uncivilized Books is quickly becoming the go-to place for solid alt-Euro graphic novels. It's been awhile since we've seen any of Joann Sfar's works translated on these shores too, so I'm anxious to see this biography of Jewish modernist painterJulius Mordecai Pincas, which I unless I'm greatly mistaken (and I always could be) is highly regarded across the Atlantic. In short, more Sfar is always a good thing. Now when are we getting the second volume of Klezmer?
4. Insufficent Direction by Moyoco Anno (Vertical). There's not nearly enough josei manga being published in English these days, so more Anno (Sakuran, Happy Mania), especially considering what a major talent Anno is. She's delving into autobiography here, with a look at her marriage to Neon Genesis Evangelion director Hideaki Anno. Hopefully numerous curtains will be pulled back in Anno's ever-graceful and yet unflinching manner.
5. The Leaning Girl by Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters (Alaxis Press). One of the best discoveries I made last year was the Obscure Cities series by Schuiten and Peeters. Sadly, most of the books in the series (that have been translated in English) can be either expensive or tough to come by. The good news is that the newly formed Alaxis Press, with help from a Kickstarter campaign, will be releasing several books in the series this year, starting with The Leaning Girl.
6. Kill My Mother by Jules Feiffer (Liveright). Feiffer is one of the greats, no arguments allowed. I mean, this is the guy that made Tantrum AND Sick, Sick, Sick AND wrote Little Murders and so many other great comics and stories. So any time you get a new work from him it's worth your time and attention. And it sounds like Feiffer is taking a left turn into some decidedly noir territory, which is doubly intriguing. And hey, Neil Gaiman loves it, so how bad can it be?
Other books to keep an eye out for: Popeye: The Classic Newspaper Comics by Bobby London; The Cabbie Vol. 2 by Marti; The Complete Eightball by Daniel Clowes; The Complete Witzend; Bumperhead and Grip: the Strange World of Men, both by Gilbert Hernandez; Walt Before Skeezix by Frank King; Ant Colony by Michael DeForge; How the World Was by Emmanuel Gilbert; Forming Vol. 2 by Jesse Moynihan; Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast; Sugar Skull by Charles Burns; Renee by Ludovic Debeurme; How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis; The Complete Cul de Sac by Richard Thompson