Books·Books of the Year

The best Canadian comics and graphica of 2017

What were the best books published this year? Here are the top 10 Canadian comics and graphica.

What were the best books published this year? Here are CBC Books' picks for the top 10 Canadian comics and graphica that came out in 2017.

Hostage by Guy Delisle, translated by Helge Dascher

Graphic novelist Guy Delisle is the author and illustrator of Hostage. (Cecile Gabriel/Drawn & Quarterly)

Guy Delisle tells the true story of the kidnapping of Christophe André, a Doctors Without Borders administrator who was taken by armed men and held in solitary confinement for three months in 1997. Delisle interviewed André extensively for this book and ultimately delivers a gripping graphic novel on one man's harrowing experience in captivity.

Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero by Michael DeForge

The all-Canadian heroine in Michael DeForge's Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero flees to the woods after a public scandal. (Courtesy of the Doug Wright Awards)

A collection of webcomics by award-winning artist Michael DeForge, Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero follows a multi-talented Canadian — "Former: Olympian, poet, scholar, sculptor, minister, activist, Governor General, entrepreneur, line cook, headmistress, Mountie, columnist, libertarian, cellist" — who departs society after her family's public scandal. Seeking a restful life in the woods, Sticks only finds a small community of neurotic creatures. Beautifully rendered in black, white and magenta, DeForge's characters are prone to monologues that are both self-conscious and un-self-aware.

I'm Not Here by GG

GG, who hails from the Canadian Prairies, is the author and artist behind the graphic novel I'm Not Here. (Koyama Press)

I'm Not Here strings together a series of intimate memories as a young, second generation woman moves through the neighbourhood of her childhood. GG's beautiful illustrations underscore the quiet narrator's deep sadness and hope, as she contemplates elder care, Other-ness and art.

Crawl Space by Jesse Jacobs

Born in Moncton, NB., Jesse Jacobs now writes and draws comics in Hamilton, ON. (Courtesy of Koyama Press)

In Crawl Space, a teenage girl discovers that the washer and dryer in her parents' new suburban home are a portal to another world, a geometrically shifting, aggressively rainbow higher reality. Pressured into letting fellow high schoolers party in the higher plane, the place is quickly trashed and its peaceful inhabitants disturbed. Jacobs' slim book is the perfect length to read (at least) twice — once to take in the witty clash of innocence and fantasy, and again to gape over his intricate, hypnotic artwork.

Everywhere Disappeared by Patrick Kyle

Everywhere Disappeared is a collection of short comics by Patrick Kyle. (Matthew James Wilson/Koyama Press)

In Everywhere Disappeared, Patrick Kyle's award-winning avant-garde style shines alongside his storytelling. Featuring an array of delightful and disturbing characters, this collection of short comics takes the absurdist logic of science fiction to new heights and highlights Kyle's droll, self-deprecating humour.

Roughneck by Jeff Lemire

Jeff Lemire is the author and illustrator of Roughneck. (Jamie Hogge/Simon & Schuster)

Stalked by her abusive ex-boyfriend, Beth escapes to an isolated hunting camp with her estranged brother Derek, a hard-drinking former hockey player. As the dangerous man closes in on their hidden home in the woods, painful secrets about the siblings' past bubble to the surface and threaten their survival. Jeff Lemire's Roughneck is an ambitious, suspenseful and heartbreaking story about a family struggling to break free from the grip of violence.

Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos and Me by Lorina Mapa

Lorina Mapa is the author and illustrator of the graphic memoir Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos and Me. (Conundrum Press/Courtesy of Lorina Mapa)

In this graphic memoir, Lorina Mapa reflects on her childhood in the Philippines when she returns for the funeral of her beloved father. While Mapa writes movingly of her father's memory, her story is also charming and engaging, weaving in her nerd-like devotion for Duran Duran and her experiences during the 1986 People Power Revolution. A long-time illustrator based in Quebec, Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos And Me is Mapa's first book.

The Abominable Mr. Seabrook by Joe Ollmann

Joe Ollmann is the author of the graphic biography The Abominable Mr. Seabrook. (Drawn & Quarterly/Taien Ng-Chan)

"Seabrook's one of those guys who'd try anything once," says acclaimed cartoonist Joe Ollmann. And he does mean anything. As Ollmann recounts in The Abominable Mr. Seabrook, the early 20th-century travel writer was an alcoholic and BDSM enthusiast who road-tested cannibalism and coined the term "zombie." With skillful touches (and a decade of research), Ollmann delivers a comprehensive and compelling portrait of an extraordinarily eccentric life.

Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jonny Sun

Jonny Sun is the author of Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too and is very popular on Twitter. (Alexander Tang/Harper Perennial)

An aliebn named Jomny, an outcast amongst his peers, discovers friendship from the Earthling inhabitants he is sent to research. These memorable creatures, including an egg furiously debating what it should hatch into, a dying ghost and Shel Silverstein's Giving Tree stump, offer kind and funny meditations on lonliness and companionship. The book was borne from jokes posted on Jonny Sun's Twitter feed, which has over half a million followers.

Boundless by Jillian Tamaki

Jillian Tamaki is the author of the comics collection Boundless. (Reynard Li/Drawn & Quarterly)

In this collection of comics, Jillian Tamaki disrupts the drowsiness of contemporary life with touches of the fantastic. Tamaki explores what happens to the individual when society incorporates technology's weird new trends — like the rise of a mirror Facebook that shows us our better alternate selves. Humour and emotion tie the shifting aesthetics of this beautifully drawn collection together.


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