The third unread great this year is a difficult one to actually admit to. Because it’s been sitting on my reading shelf for at least 6 months, waiting for me to free up the time I reckon I need to fully absorb and enjoy it’s brilliance. It’s Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot.
I’ve dipped in and out enough to realise it’s a wonderful work, but kept saying to myself I’d free up time to really devote myself to it. Alas, it’s nearly 2008 and time has not been kind. But enough of what I haven’t read, here’s the Propaganda 2007 list:
Two of my choices were easy ones and for those that know me, pretty obvious ones. Something by Warren Ellis and a Grant Morrison book would usually be right up there in my faves for any year to be honest; such is my enjoyment over the years of the work of both writers. I’ve written before of my possible inability to realise either writer is really capable of a bad piece of work, but this year Warren tested that idea to breaking with the awful Doktor Sleepless (reviewed here) and I still haven’t been bothered to pick up many of Morrison’s Batman comics or finish reading Seven Soldiers. But the two books here are classic genre works. Ellis’ Fell is just a great police procedural deliberately written to strict formatting rules whilst Morrison and Quitely are redefining my long held belief that Superman is a dull, washed out character with beautifully controlled stories exploring the full potential of the icon that is the big red S.
The other three are from new writers, if not to the medium, at least to me. Fluffy was a sheer joy to read, powerful, emotive and both heartbreakingly sad and wonderfully uplifting. Exit Wounds and Shooting War approach the subject of our troubled modern times in two very different ways. Rutu Modan looks at life in Israel through the eyes of normal, everyday people and gives us an intriguing and unsettling view, exploring the concept of identity and family along the way.
But Shooting War was the absolute revelation of the year. Coming out of nowhere, this book is a jaw-dropping portrayal of American aggression in the Middle East, a mix of political satire, war reportage and near-future science fiction. But it’s no bland treatise on the evils of US imperialism either. It’s a sharp political satire and a fast paced action adventure tale with a message as deeply embedded as the reporters involved. Quite brilliant.
And worst of the year? Well, I thought it was going to be Stephen King’s Dark Tower, beloved by everyone but me it seems. But last weekend I had the misfortune to waste 2 minutes of my life on The Ultimates. A spectacular new low (see here for that review). Expect reviews of all five of my favourite works here on the blog over the next few days.