December 29, 2011

, , , , , ,   |  

Panel Patter's Best of 2011: Mini-Comics

Hello and welcome to the final of my 2011 Best of lists for the year, where I look at the seven best mini-comics that I read in 2011.  Why seven?  Why not?

This list should be read with the caveat that I am friends with three of the creators, so there may be a bit of bias involved in the creation of this list.  I tried to be as objective as I could.

7. The Gay Kid Series
Katie Omberg continued her series of introspective comics dealing with learning to accept that she was gay in 2011, producing two issues of the ongoing mini-comic.  While Omberg's illustrations are not as good as some of the other mini-comics I read in 2011, she does a great job handling the subject with care and honesty.  I look forward to reading more in the series in 2012.

6. Wall Street Cat:  Money Takes Naps
You guys should count yourselves lucky this isn't a list of seven cat-themed mini-comics, because I could definitely see myself doing that!  I love stories about cats from cat owners, because they're always so devoted to their animals.  In this case, Sara Lindo pretends her orange tabby has a job as a therapy animal on Wall Street, offering quiet advice to those in need.  It's a sweet comic, drawn very well by Lindo, a long-time Panel Patter favorite.  I hope she does another sometime, after finishing work on a new Lobotomy-themed book.

5. Tragic Relief 12 Drag Bandits
The second in new line of mini-comics published by Box Brown, Drag Bandits features the delightful story of a cross-dressing couple who thrill in the danger of being thieves who reverse gender expectations.  It's a great comic that treats the protagonists with respect and thumbs its nose as society.

4. This Isn't Working: Comics About Ex-Boyfriends
I love anthologies, but good mini-comic anthologies are hard to find.  They tend to go for as many contributors as possible, and don't give creators room to breathe.  That's what's nice about this mini--it has several contributors, but each gets enough pages to tell the story they want to tell, not the one that will fit.  I also like that each creator has her own style, so that there is a wide visual variety despite the tight theme.  This was a great pickup in 2011.

3. Stickybeak
I love getting odd comics like this one at conventions, where you can find things you'd never see elsewhere.  Stickybeak was like reading a storyboard for an old pre-movie cartoon, with two birds who have hoarding issues dueling for the affection of a less-than-impressed female.  Sadly, I don't think very many people can enjoy this, as it was a college art project for the creator.  But man, does he have a future if he keeps working in comics!

2. Dharbin! 1-2 Collected Edition
Dustin Harbin has some of the finest linework in the business, which makes sense considering he's also a letterer of some note.  This book gives you two mini-comics in one and pages upon pages of Harbin's various musings, whether they are on trips to comics conventions, Presidents, philosophy, or other bits of history, here and there.  Similar in theme (though not in approach or content) to Kate Beaton, Harbin is one of my favorites.  He's also a great conversationalist, if you ever have the pleasure.  I really liked this set of stories and I'm always eager to see more from him.

1. Indestructible Universe Quarterly 
My choice for the number one spot is another anthology mini-comic, though this one is written entirely by one person, Morgan Pielli.  I had the pleasure of starting to read this series after having it recommended to me by Sara Lindo, and I am very glad she did.  Indestructible Universe features a set of stories each issue, some of which link to each other, and some of which are stand alone.  There are a few links between issues, but it is easy to start at any point in the line.  Drawn in a nice variety of styles and voices, Pielli has quite a bit of talent that I hope continues for many years to come.  Indestructible Universe Quarterly is my Best Mini-Comic in 2011.

I know there are tons of mini-comics out there, and this is my limited sample.  Are there any that you think I missed and should seek out?  Any that I've overrated?  Let me know in the comments!