Best of 2023 - Mélina

December 19, 2023

Best of 2023 - Mélina
I might not be a chef, but I cooked this list with love and every title deserves all the kisses.
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The Man in the McIntosh Suit

Rina Ayuyang

A Filipino-American take on Depression-era noir featuring mistaken identities, speakeasies, and lost love.The year is 1929 and Bobot is just another migrant worker in...

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When I read Ayuyang’s newest graphic novel back in February, I knew right away this would be one of the best things to come out this year. It set the bar so high for all other subsequent releases, never to be dethroned. It has everything—long lost love, night clubs, Filipino immigrants navigating through the Great Depression era while chasing the American dream, communityin a soft dreamy aesthetic. Now, one can only hope for a sequel

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Daniel Clowes

Monica is a series of interconnected narratives that collectively tell the life story — actually, stories — of its title character. Clowes calls upon...

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You know how good a book is when your workplace has a dedicated slack channel to discuss theories, debate whether Monica is bullshitting us (she’s such an unreliable narrator) and share interviews. Monica has been celebrated everywhere people write their opinions, and objectively is worthy of all the praise. Clowes already has perfected the art of graphic novels, and Monica is his newest masterclass.

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Peepee Poopoo #69

Caroline Cash

2022 Ignatz Award Winner for Outstanding MinicomicIndie powerhouse Caroline Cash's take on the classic '60s underground comic Discover the dirty secrets of higher education...

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Days ago, I wrote “My new religion is Caroline Cash and everyday I pray at the PeePee PooPoo church”, and she liked my comment which has been my closest parasocial approval with one of today's hottest cartoonists. Me freaking out? Maybe. Anyways, grab your favorite silly number69, 402, and/or 80085. This is what comics should always be: fun to read.

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Prokaryote Season

Fox, Leo

A QUEER FABLE ABOUT THE DANGERS OF OBSESSION"A single-celled organism doesn't toil. It doesn't stare at the ceiling and cry. It doesn't have ill-fitting...

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For anyone who heard me monologuing nonsense about going back to the primordial soup or escapist dreams by becoming a single-celled organism, it is all Fox’s fault. I had to pause my reading so many times in complete awe by the medieval tapestry like-panels, and superb artwork. This one is for the messy girlies, the gays, and the theys.

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My Picture Diary

Fujiwara Maki

The wife of Japan’s most lauded manga-ka documents a year in their lives with her own artistry.In 1981, Fujiwara Maki began a picture diary...

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These last few months, I’ve been working on Tsuge’s graphic novel Oba Electroplating Factory where we meet characters strangely similar to Fujiwara Maki. So it was only fitting for me to read from her point of view with My Picture Diary. More than a journal, it’s a testament of artistic resilience as Fujiwara has been juggling roles—homebody, wife, mother—and yet has found a way to express herself. Ryan Holmberg’s essay helps to contextualize, and is as always an addition I’ll look forward to in any D+Q manga translated by him.

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Patrick Kyle

Between 2019 and 2021, Toronto-based artist and illustrator Patrick Kyle self-published Baby, a series of unique comics pondering existence, meaning, and continuity with an absurdist...

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I will be infinitely grateful to Breakdown Press for compiling Kyle’s zines into one graphic novel. Baby’s Inferno is a journey to an infinity circle of rebirth, thorough surreal absurdities of life and unprepared parents. Long live Baby, forever Baby, goodbye Baby.

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Shubeik Lubeik

Deena Mohamed

A brilliantly original debut graphic novel that imagines a fantastical alternate Cairo where wishes really do come true. Shubeik Lubeik—a fairy tale rhyme that...

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Between genies and talking donkeys, the real magic is Mohamed’s incredible storytelling. Like any good fantasy, each tale is meant to slowly reconcile the supernatural with its social and political commentary. Don’t be intimidated by the length, I started during the evening and completed my reading late into the night without realizing. An instant classic that everyone should read once in their life.

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Social Fiction

Chantal Montellier

Appearing together in English for the first time, three politically charged sci-fi graphic novellas by a pioneering French comics artist.Dark, smart, and indomitably cool,...

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Métal Hurlant anyone? Forgotten pioneer French science fiction writer is reintroduced with this incredible collection of short stories that should be an automatic addition to your bookshelf. Brock’s introduction and interview are more-than-welcome additions to establish Montellier’s notoriety in comics, and with her thoroughly unsettling vision of dystopian futures it is easy to understand why she ought to be remembered.

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The Great Beyond

Lea Murawiec

How would you live with nothing but your name?Manel Naher wants out. In a world where your name is currency, it’s tough to make...

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If no one knows your name, do you really exist? Take that concept up a notch, add marvelous drawings, and there you have it: one of the best speculative graphic novels of the year. I have read it three times already, and it is still hitting all the marks every single time.

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Golden Record

Rosemary Valero-O'Connell

A bilingual English/Spanish poetry magazine and autofiction chapbook lusciously written and illustrated by award-winning graphic novelist Rosemary Valero-O’Connell.It is an amalgamation of words and...

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In lieu of splurging for an original ink piece or building a new Magic the Gathering deck based around Valero-O'Connell’s special edition of Thalia, I got the next best thing: Golden Record. Although it deviates a bit from their previous publications, this poetry slash artbook is a sublime gem to collect. It is a constant source of inspiration, and it has accompanied me throughout all my creative endeavors this year.

Mélina Lopez-Racine

Bookseller | Libraire