HARK! A VAGRANT tops PW Comics World Critic's Poll 2011! W/ BIG QUESTIONS, MID LIFE

“Hark! A Vagrant Tops 2011 PW Comics World Critic’s Poll” / Publisher's Weekly / Publisher's Weekly / January 10, 2012

Although it’s often said that comedy has a disadvantage when it comes to winning recognition, that was not the case with this year’s PW Comics World Critic’s Poll: the book with the most votes was Kate Beaton’s webcomic compilation Hark! A Vagrant, a laff riot of frustrated admirals, over-zealous girl detectives and baby-dropping F. Scott Fitzgerald characters that cemented Beaton's ascent of one of North America's top cartoonists. Begun as a webcomic running on Live Journal, Beaton’s witty, learned strips skewering literature and obscure facets of Canadian history soon gained an eager following. This year’s collection, published by Drawn & Quarterly has been a consistent best-seller since it arrived in September, and it gained a spot on Time magazine’s list of the top ten fiction books of the year. Beaton has become an all-media star with cartoons in the New Yorker and an Adventure Time cartoon adapted from one of her characters.

Publishers Weeklys’ own critic’s were equally charmed by Beaton’s book—equally informed by classic New Yorker cartooning and modern superheroes—as Johanna Draper Carlson wrote “Beaton's unique work is one of the best examples of good humor being universal.”

Beyond Beaton’s win—with five votes from the critics panel—the selections showed the usual exhilarating range of styles and topics, from Carla Speed McNeil’s deep-rooted fantasy Finder: Voice to Joe Ollmann’s novel of 40-something crisis, Mid Life, with stops for almost abstract meditations on life from Olivier Schrauwen and Yuichi Yokahama. And everything in-between. With more than 50 picks from our critics, there’s something to explore for everyone who likes comics on the below list.

This year’s voters consisted of Chris Barsanti, Steve Bunche, Johanna Draper Carlson, Danica Davidson, Glen Downey, Bill Kartalopoulos, Dan Kois, Heidi MacDonald, Calvin Reid and Janet Weber.

Big Questions, Anders Nilsen (Drawn & Quarterly)
Lytical, ephemeral and riveting—Nilsen turns the “funny animal” trope of comics into a 600-page exploration of the meaning of life, with stops along the way for dread, horror and laughter.—HM

Mid Life, Joe Ollmann (Drawn & Quarterly)
What makes this graphic novel so exemplary is that everything it says is completely and utterly true. This should be required reading for every dude turning 40.—GD

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