1. Disappearance Diary
by Hideo Azuma
In 1989, veteran manga artist Azuma left his family and work behind to live as a hermit in the mountains of Japan. In a year fraught with financial tension, Azuma’s memoir of homelessness and menial laboródrawn in a deceptively light cartoon style, and packed with desperate sadnessóis a timely reminder of how quickly lives can change. You may read it as a cautionary tale but at least you’ll learn how to make a meal out of a radish and tempura oil.
2. Bottomless Belly Button
by Dash Shaw
The rare 720-page doorstop you can actually read in one sitting, 25-year-old
Shaw's dysfunctional-family epic is so funny and engrossing we'd expect Oprah to pick it, but for all the graphic frog sex.
3. Nat Turner, by Kyle Baker
Carefully researched and vividly drawn, Baker’s graphic adaptation of rebel slave Turner's 1831 confession is a bloody but crucial work of history.
4. Slow Storm, by Danica Novgorodoff
A female firefighter and an illegal immigrant have a fateful meeting on one tornado-filled night in Kentucky in this thoughtful, ominous debut.
5. Strange Embrace
by David Hine
Psychological horror that would scare the hell out of Edgar Allan Poe.
6. Wonton Soup
James Stokoe's wacky culinary space-trucker odyssey.
by Yuichi Yokoyama
by Véronique Tanaka
Two elegant, wordless works of art.
8. Fables: The Good Prince
by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
The best book yet in this long-satisfying series.
9. Paul Goes Fishing
by Michel Rabagliatti
(Drawn & Quarterly)
The Country Nurse
by Jeff Lemire
Two gemlike tales of family and memory in the Great White North.
10. Water Baby
by Ross Campbell
An offbeat and frank story of a teenage surfer who loses her leg to a shark.
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Photo: Courtesy of Drawn & Quarterly