The Best Graphic Novels of 2011

It is unfortunate that The Times sits mostly unread and totally un-shareable behind a paywall, because it continues to champion graphic novels wherever and whenever it can. Last weekend, they published their annual ‘best of’ piece and flagged up how ‘graphic novel’ is no longer a byword for omnibus editions of Spider-Man or X-Men, but is instead defined by a varied and thought-provoking selection of fiction and non-fiction titles from British and international creators. Good on ’em!

So, what did The Times pick as their graphic novels of 2011? Well… here are our highlights:

Chico & Rita (Javier Mariscal and Fernando Trueba)

“Spanish duo Javier Marsical and Fernando Trueba transfer the vibrant beauty of the animated film, set in the jazz clubs of 1940s Havana, to the page”
Tom Gatti, The Times

“a work of art in its own right: exuberant, passionate, and melancholy… For all that this book will have you tapping your toes, I defy anyone to reach the end of it without a tear in their eye.”
Rachel Cooke, the Observer

“Mariscal is a multifaceted, uninhibited force of natural creativity. This Spanish phenomenon is… not so much in his second childhood as still enjoying his first.”
Paul Gravett, Art Review

Don Quixote: vol 1 (Miguel de Cervantes and Rob Davis)

Nice to read that Rob Davis has finally achieved the accolade of “UK comics stalwart” for his “appropriately anarchic compression of Don Quixote” Tom Gatti, The Times

“a thoroughly loyal adaptation, full of enthusiasm for stories and storytelling, and for that precious ‘place between reader and book’ … where Don Quixote tilts his lance”
James Smart, The Guardian

I can’t think of better quote from the article than this one:

“From Cervantes to Castro, comics now go where the superheroes fear to tread”
Tom Gatti, The Times

to segueway into The Times‘ final choice…

Castro (Reinhard Kleist)

“Reinhard Kleist’s compelling biography of Castro, drawn in dynamic black and white”
Tom Gatti, The Times

“Kleist has a dramatic story to tell and rarely disappoints, his black-and-white artwork capturing bloody skirmishes, expressive faces and crowd scenes that throb with life… Kleist does a fine job of rendering the self-belief that both fuelled [Castro] and led this avowed lover of freedom into brutal crackdowns.”
James Smart, The Guardian

Alongside the The Times’ favourite SelfMadeHero titles were some truly excellent titles from Faber, Fanta, BS, Cape and D&Q and a tip off the cap to Solipsistic Pop’s excellent fourth issue. It’s a good time for comics in the UK!

All our comics are available to buy online but we urge you to support your local comic stores and booksellers. Leading comic stores across England and Scotland are carrying signed editions of the SelfMadeHero titles recommended by The Times and The Guardian above – but they sometimes keep them under the counter, so it is always worth asking for “the good stuff” ; )

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