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Best American Comics 2013

The Best American Comics 2013The Best American Comics 2013
Guest Editor: Jeff Smith
Series Editors: Jessica Abel and Matt Madden
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Hardcover, 7 x 9, 352 pages, Partial Color, $25.00
ISBN: 978-0-54799-546-5

"Hello, Reader. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to infiltrate a top-secret-elite group of comic and graphic novel creators. Masterminded by the notorious husband and wife team of Jessica Abel and Matt Madden . . .

 Matt Madden and Jessica Abel

this year's elite team of comic book and graphic novel creators is joined by a suspicious man with wavy-flowing-beautiful hair, an affection for black t-shirts and a similar affection for stylish black blazers, both always worn with jeans. His name is Jeff Smith and his notoriously addictive and deservedly mega-popular graphic novel series is entitled Bone.

 Jeff Smith

Over the last year or two our team of undercover secret agents have observed this trio working on a top-secret project that only they have access too. Luckily, we were able to plant a mole into the group. The mole prepares their coffee and often orders pizza, leaving little doubt in the three culprits minds that she could secretly be working for us: The Elite Team of Comic Super-Secrets (ETCSS). But last week we lost contact with our mole, but not before she was able to smuggle out an advanced copy of the team's top-secret work on a text project anthology they call The Best American Comics 2013. The Best American Comics 2013 is about to be released around the world. That's why we need you!

Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to read through the mole's smuggled advance copy of The Best American Comics 2013, and decide whether or not the book is indeed composed of the best American comics of 2013 (thus avoiding a cataclysmic barrage of comic book reviews that will explode all over the internet on blogs that will eventually turn viral). Our hope is that you find it an enlightening, calming artifact that belongs on everyone's bookshelf (only to serve as a pedestal for next year's collection).  

A helpful detail to inform your mission may be that: During our last communication with the mole she gave us the smuggled copy to review and process as evidence. When she left us the last thing she said was: "When you are done I want it back!"

Mission Guidelines: The following graphic organizer (Table 1) will help you take notes and ultimately determine whether or not this elite and secret team of graphic novel creators has compiled a menace to society or a valuable literary artifact.  

Table 1: A running record of each comic Smith (the Editor who had the final say in all the comics included in the collection), Abel, and Madden (his mentors and series editors) choose to include in the 2013 version of Best American Comics.

Directions: After reading each comic included in the collection, fill in the last three columns on the graphic organizer.

 

Title

 

Author

 

Summary

 

Personal Reflection

 

 

Grade

(A+ to F-)

 

 

 

Mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alison Bechdel

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Speaker

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brandon Graham

 

 

 

 

The Divine Manifestation of a Singular Impulse

 

 

 

 

Jesse Jacobs

 

 

 

 

 

Turn Back

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Alden

 

 

 

 

 

Manananggal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael DeForge

 

 

 

 

 

The Good Wife

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sophie Goldstein

 

 

 

 

 

70 Nights of
Pleasure

 

 

 

 

 

Craig Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

The Story of
Gráine Ní Mháille

 

 

 

Colleen Doran,
Derek McCulloch, &
José Villarrubia

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpts from

American Elf

 

 

 

 

 

James Kochalka

 

 

 

 

 

You Lied to Us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jorge Aguirre
&
Rafael Rosado

 

 

 

 

 

Story Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evan Dorkin
&
Jill Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

Raiders

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith Erin Hicks

 

 

 

 

 

1912

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leela Corman

 

 

 

 

 

A Husband and a

Wife

 

 

 

 

Sammy Harkham

 

 

 

 

 

Four Comics

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grant Snider

 

 

 

 

 

Nita Goes Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eleanor Davis

 

 

 

 

 

Concrete Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony Puryear

 

 

 

 

 

Top Five

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malachi Ward

 

 

 

 

 

The Strange

Boy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Derf Backderf

 

 

 

 

 

A Killer Surprise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terry Moore

 

 

 

 

 

George

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Park

 

 

 

 

 

Velocipede

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate Beaton

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Strips

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evan Dorkin

 

 

 

 

 

Saints in the Store

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Hayden

 

 

 

 

 

Scary Bathtub

Stories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Kupperman

 

 

 

 

 

Cody

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gabrielle Bell

 

 

 

 

 

In the Rough

 

 

 

 

 

Vanessa Davis

 

 

 

 

 

Love Me Forever! Oh! Oh! Oh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Sorese

 

 

 

 

 

Discipline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Lambert

 

 

 

 

 

1969

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Pope

 

 

 

 

After you have read The Best American Comics 2013 review your graphic organizer and identify your own top three comics. List them below:

1.
2.
3.


Finally, after reviewing your graphic organizer and identifying your top three choices, write a one to two paragraph recommendation for your superiors here at our top-secret literary agency. Your recommendation should state why you think the ETCSS should or should not support this collection of American comics as the best of 2013.

Grade Level: High School Readers

Common Core Standard Alignment for Reading (Grades 6 – 12):

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

7. Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
8. Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
9. Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Common Core Standard Alignment for Writing (Grades 6 – 12):

Text Types and Purposes

1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid and relevant and sufficient evidence.


Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida.  Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts ( in press, 2014).  When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.