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Picture this: Three Top 10 graphic novelists at this year’s book fair

November 8, 2010

Years ago I used to wonder why the Miami Book Fair gave so much attention to comic books. Now, of course, I get it: Graphic novels are a legit art form (duh). So it’s no surprise the 2010 fair features three of the year’s top 10 author/illustrators: Jaime Hernandez, Lynda Barry, Greg Rucka.

That’s the top 10 list as judged by the editors at Omnivoracious, the books blog, which includes The Art of Jaime Hernandez: The Secrets of Life and Death, by Tod Hignite, a coffee-table tribute; Lynda Barry’s Picture This: The Near-Sighted Monkey Book; and Batwoman: Elegy, by Greg Rucka and illustrator J.H. Williams.

Thing is, the book fair features several other comic book and graphic novel writers and artists who shoulda-coulda made any reasonable top-10 list, too. Yeah, yeah, I know Gary Trudeau has to be acknowldged for 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective. And, sure, the other books on the list deserve to be included.

But so do Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza; Denis Kitchen for The Oddly Compelling Art of Denis Kitchen; and Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Grahpic Biography, by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon. Sacco, Kitchen and Jacobson will all be at Comix Galaxy during the book fair’s final weekend, Nov. 19-21.

While I have a deepening appreciation for graphic novels and even comic books (Brad Meltzer, who won me over with Identity Crisis in 2004, will be on hand, too), I’m no expert. So if anyone out there feels motivated to offer his or her own 2010 Top 10 list, please, by all means, share with the rest of the class.

Meanwhile, here’s some info on some of the highlighted artists and writers:

Jaime Hernandez is best known for Love  and Rockets, a ground-breaking black-&-white series created in collaboration with his brother Gilbert. It traces the lives and sometimes fantasies of Latina girls in Los Angeles. He’s also worked with DC Comics, The New York Times and The New Yorker.

Most readers know Lynda Barry for her beloved underground comic strip, Ernie Pook’s Comeek, which features plain girls in conversation that could have come from a Raymond Carver short story: funny-sad and achingly true to life. She’s also the creator of several acclaimed graphic novels, including What It Is, an Eisner winner last year.

Greg Rucka is not only a comics writer, working for DC, Marvel, Dark Horse and others, but he’s also a best-selling author of conventional thrillers. Batwoman: Elegy is a reboot of DC’s lesbian superhero, and it received pretty much rave reviews everywhere it was noticed.

Joe Sacco is sometimes called “a comic-book reporter,” or “cartoon correspondent.” He’s covered the Balkans, Haiti, New Orleans, and the Middle East. Though Sacco has been criticized for pro-Palestinian bias, The New York Times called Footnotes in Gaza a “gripping, important book.”

Sid Jacobson, a veteran of the industry (Richie Rich, Caspar the Friendly Ghost), reached a new audience when he teamed with Ernie Colon to create The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation. Again working with Colon, Jacobson takes Anne Frank’s story “beyond the diary,” according to USA Today.

These are just a few of the authors and illustrators taking part in this year’s Comix Galaxy at Miami Book Fair International. For a full list plus schedules and other info, visit the book fair website.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Candice Simmons permalink
    November 8, 2010 11:51 am

    I love comic books and wish I knew more….

  2. November 8, 2010 2:18 pm

    For an audio interview with Jaime Hernandez, check out

    For an audio interview with Joe Sacco, check out

    Mark Hayes – Passing Notes

    • Chauncey Mabe permalink*
      November 8, 2010 4:21 pm

      Thanks, Mark. Appreciate the links.

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