SEE recommends NIPPER 1963-1964 and TUBBY this holiday season

“A Holiday Comic-Copia” / SEE Magazine / Kenton Smith / March 4, 2011

Given the last decade’s tremendous increase in comics publishing, an article like this shouldn’t come as a surprise this holiday season.

Even during the rest of the year, you may have noticed the kind of shelf space now dedicated to comics (or graphic novels, if you prefer) at your local major book retailers. And quality-produced and packaged work at that, aimed at mature readers, from both smaller houses like Drawn & Quarterly and Conundrum Press of Canada, to major players like Random House and Henry Holt.


More and more publishers are getting into the game. More and more people are noticing, buying and reading comics. Artists and writers have gone from facing the dilemma of trying to be noticed at all, to trying to be noticed among the competition. The lists of “hot” comics must either grow longer, or more selective. And the demand for such lists is perhaps greater than ever.

Which brings us to this, SEE’s guide to the some of the best in holiday comics shopping. As there’s no way this list could possibly do justice to the cornucopia of quality work produced just this past year alone, we’ve limited ourselves to some of the most notable, buzz-heavy recent titles.

And we’ve made sure there’s something here for everyone: the novice, the seasoned reader, and the kids. If it’s comics you aim to plant under the tree this year, let this be our gift to you, Anonymous Holiday Shopper. And stay sane.

Nipper 1963-1964

In 2009, D&Q released The Collected Doug Wright: Volume One, to a considerable degree of national fanfare: it was the most comprehensive retrospective dedicated to a largely forgotten Canadian cultural figure. “Canada’s Master Cartoonist,” is what the inimitable Doug Wright has been called.

Yet even D&Q has realized the “deluxe” format isn’t always necessarily best; publisher Chris Oliveros says the company reflected that perhaps a more accessible volume was called for — hence, the $18 paperback format of the new Nipper reprint.

Yes, the big fancy collectors’ editions tend to be the thing for Christmas — but this compact volume’s appeal both includes and extends beyond the collector. And it will even fit in a stocking.

Tubby: Volume 1

Are quality children’s comics in short supply these days? That would be ironic, given comics’ classification as children’s entertainment throughout the vast majority of their history.
And yet according to journalist and comics historian Jeet Heer, the present industry isn’t, in fact, very good at producing quality comics for kids. Good thing D&Q has since last year been collecting the work of John Stanley — most famous for Little Lulu, but whose other titles Nancy, Melvin Monster, Thirteen Going on Eighteen and finally Tubby are now accessible to contemporary readers.

“Stanley did some of the best kids’ comics ever,” Heer says. “But they’re so good — so witty, so well-crafted and sophisticated — that they’re not just for kids, either.”

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