It’s incredibly difficult to assemble a “Best Of” list in comics given the massive variety of publications that arrive in a single calendar year. That’s especially true in 2017 when many of the largest direct market publishers offered some incredible shake ups to ongoing lines as well as some explosive debuts. In order to make sure as many great titles got an opportunity to shine as possible, this list is here to highlight the best indie comics of 2017.
Poppies of Iraq makes a tumultuous and complex modern history and culture vastly more approachable through the use of perspective. Findakly’s life is combined with Trondheim’s cartoooning in order to provide glimpses of life in Iraq prior to the United States’ invasion. The comic moves between an autobiographical narrative and small memories of customs, life outside of the country today, and family photos. The result is an immersive experience that makes distant experiences seem both present and personal.
Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero is yet another illustration that there is no modern cartoonist as prolific, innovative, or surprising as Michael DeForge. The tale of Sticks is an intricately woven set of stories that include DeForge himself as an attempted biographer and many bizarre animals, some of which happen to share names with DeForge’s own colleagues. Through this lens the comic examines how we build narratives, both for ourselves and others, in a world that is unlike anything else on the comics page, but comes to resemble our own in the most curious of ways.
Boundless presents Jillian Tamaki as one of the greatest living comics creators of our era in a collection of short stories that often attain the level of transcendence. They range in style from the mundane to the fantastical, but are bound by a similar sincere and explorative tone that becomes transfixing when read together. Tamaki provides a spellbinding set of comics that encourages us to consider our relationships with society, one another, and ourselves through a diverse set of perspectives and settings.