A DRIFTING LIFE on Pop Candy’s top 10 of 2009 list

Year in review: My top 10 comics/graphic novels of 2009

Pop Candy    |    Whitney Matheson    |    December 15, 2009

Was it easy choosing my favorite comics of the year? No way. Did I have fun doing it? Heck, yes.

This week's List-Heavy Partytime '09 continues with my top 10 comics/graphic novels of the year. Enjoy, then go spend some money:

10. The Brinkley Girls by Trina Robbins (Fantagraphics, $29.99) -- I don't often choose reprint collections for a list like this, but this beautiful book introduced me to a new heroine: Nell Brinkley, an early 20th century newspaper cartoonist. Her drawings of flappers and glamour gals are sexy, strong and ahead of their time. I can't believe I hadn't seen her work before, but I'm so thrilled to know it now.

9. Society of Unordinary Young Ladies by Algarmi Sigua, art by Joel Sigua (self-published) -- These indie comics star girls from our favorite '80s series (The Facts of Life, Punky Brewster, etc.) as secret agents. Too good to be true.

8. The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell (Little, Brown, $24.99) -- Sandell's unbelievably true memoir of her con-artist father goes down like a (really good) Lifetime movie. It's one of a handful of books I read in one sitting this year.

7. Refresh, Refresh by Danica Novgorodoff, Benjamin Percy and James Ponsoldt, (First Second, $17.99) -- The story of small-town boys growing up with fathers fighting overseas broke my heart, though Novgorodoff's breathtaking watercolors soothed the pain a little.

6. The Eternal Smile: Three Stories by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim (First Second, $16.95). Each story is fantastic on its own, but whoa! They come together so perfectly and surprisingly that you'll wonder how they did it.

5. I Want You by Lisa Hanawalt (Buenaventura Press, $4.95). The 32-page comic is a little naughty, pretty weird and very hilarious.

4. A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Drawn and Quarterly, $29.95). I spent several weeks getting through this 840-page memoir by the manga artist, but it was worth it to learn more about his life and craft. Now I want to go to Tokyo even more.

3. The Oishinbo series (Viz, $12.99). These wonderful volumes address everything from sushi to sake to vegetables, and they've completely changed the way I think about Japanese cuisine. I love them, and they're a must-read for every foodie.

2. Nine Ways to Disappear by Lilli Carre (Little Otsu, $12.95). This pocket-sized book is certainly for everyone; it contains nine short stories with characters that could easily fit into a Tim Burton film. However, if I had to name my favorite gift to give my ladyfriends in 2009, this would be it.

1. Detroit Metal City, Vol. 1 by Kiminori Wakasugi (Viz, $12.99). It's crass. It's silly. It's just wrong. This manga title may not land on a lot of top 10 lists this year, but it should: It follows the singer of an internationally famous death-metal band who secretly wants to belt out acoustic indie rock. It's one of the most profane comics I've ever read, but the language is so over-the-top, it's absolutely hilarious.

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