Comic artist Ivan Brunetti, the creator of Schizo, offers a best-of anthology of contemporary art comics, along with some classic comic strips and other historical materials that have retained a modern” sensibility. As with Chris Ware’s selections for his best-selling McSweeney’s anthology, Brunetti’s choices make for a highly personal book (my criteria were simple: these are comics that I savor and often revisit”) that serves as a broad historical overview of the medium and a round-up of some of today’s best and most interesting North American comic artists. Included here are works from such well-known artists as Robert Crumb, Kim Deitch, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Ben Katchor, Charles Burns, Gary Panter, Seth, Phoebe Gloeckner, Daniel Clowes, Lynda Barry, Joe Sacco, and Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, as well as many other pioneers whose names may be less familiar.
Brunetti offers selections from the works of more than seventy-five avant-garde comic artists. His selections are arranged by genre and grouped thematically. Luxuriously produced and printed in four-color throughout, the book is a must-have for collectors, aficionados, readers of comics, and those generally interested in cutting-edge art and literature.
The book is a manifesto of comics' coming of age. Unlike several earlier anthologies of comics, including two dense volumes published by the Smithsonian (one of newspaper comics, one of comic-book stories) and a fine collection of newspaper strips compiled by the comics artist Jerry Robinson ("The Comics"), the Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories is not an overview of the history of comics from their birth in the lurid Sunday supplements of the turn of the last century through the rise of superheroes in the late 1930s to the triumph of Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer for Maus in 1992. Rather, it concentrates almost solely on recent work by contemporary artists and writers doing what Brunetti calls "art comics" - personal, deeply intimate, idiosyncratic and sometimes wild comics published for the most part by independent presses.