Happy Holidays! Best of 2006

The more I’m able to knock off the to-do list, the more I look forward to the winter holidays.

These wonderful comic-themed advent calendar countdowns help, too.

Here’s my list of the ten best graphic novels of 2006.

  1. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
    As excellent as everyone says it is, this graphic memoir is all the more powerful for what it doesn’t show about Alison Bechdel’s father’s hidden life.
  2. Dramacon Book 2
    Easily the most entertaining graphic novel I read this year. Highly anticipated, Svetlana Chmakova achieves the rare feat of creating a sequel that’s more enjoyable than the previous volume. It’s marred only by the need to wait another year to find out what finally happens between the two leads of this romantic comedy.
  3. Mom’s Cancer
    Incredibly powerful due to being so personal and honest.
  4. 12 Reasons Why I Love Her
    Jamie S. Rich makes romance look easy with detailed, three-dimensional characters brought to complex life by artist Joëlle Jones. An immediate re-read.
  5. Finder: Five Crazy Women
    Few graphic novels take a mature approach to the subject of sex, but Carla Speed McNeil’s latest gem tackles various permutations of attraction honestly, passionately, and disturbingly.
  6. Absolute DC: The New Frontier
    A loving revisitation of the classic superheroes that fired Darwyn Cooke’s young imagination in a super-deluxe package.
  7. Castle Waiting
    Linda Medley’s fairy tales are gorgeous and funny, populated with characters you want to visit a tavern with.
  8. Sorcerers & Secretaries Book 1
    Charming young romance with the kind of fantasy-lost heroine any book-lover can identify with.
  9. The Voices of a Distant Star
    Heartbreaking science fiction that ponders the human connection.
  10. 110 Percent
    Undeservingly overlooked, this portrayal of middle-aged boy band fans explores the satisfactions of fandom through the types of adult women society too often ignores.

11 Responses to “Happy Holidays! Best of 2006”

  1. ~chris Says:

    I bought Twelve Reasons Why I Love Her as a gift for someone who doesn’t read comics. :)

  2. Johanna Says:

    That’s a great idea, too!

  3. Sebastian Says:

    Interesting. I already have (and like) 4 of those books (Dramacon, 12 Reasons, Castle Waiting, S&S) and was about to buy a fifth (Fun Home). The others I’ve either heard of and seen favourable reviews of (though they’re not for me), except for one: Hoshi no Koe. I’ve seen the animated short (which the manga is obviously based on, since it came out two years later) and wasn’t too impressed by the story. Maybe I should give the manga version a try. It’s only a one-shot, after all.

  4. Johanna Says:

    I’ve been trying to get around to reviewing Voices of a Distant Star because I do want to compare it to the anime, which I’ve also seen (rare for me). The short answer is, I thought the story worked better, at least for me, in print than on screen. It allows for more time to pass at the reader’s pace.

  5. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] Eisner judge James Sime wants your help determining nominations. He’s asking for suggestions of what you thought were the “fantastic” books of the year. I’ve already sent him my list. […]

  6. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] I was honored to participate in the PW Comics Week first annual critics’ poll. You already know my choices; now find out how all the critics’ votes added up. It’s a widely diverse list demonstrating the great variety of terrific graphic novels available today. […]

  7. Journalista » Blog Archive » Dec. 21, 2006: Tohru beats Naruto Says:

    […] I previously noted that two of the critics who contributed to Publishers Weekly’s 2006 best-books list had posted their own lists online. I neglected to mention a third: Johanna Draper Carlson’s list is also available online. […]

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    […] then there’s my favorite manga of 2007 or my best of 2006 list for comparison. […]

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    […] it came out in 2006. It’s still a terrific read, but it would have definitely been one of my Best of 2006 if I’d read it in a more timely fashion. […]

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    […] Brian Fies wrote and drew Mom’s Cancer, one of my Best Graphic Novels of 2006. […]

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    […] Fies wrote and drew Mom’s Cancer, one of my Best Graphic Novels of 2006, so I was greatly anticipating his followup, especially once I heard that he was tackling the […]




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