Ryan North’s brain is a formidable weapon of astounding intellect and insidious humor. Be thankful; instead of concocting plans to take over the world through paralyzing mass hypnosis brainteasers, the Canadian writer makes us squirt milk from our tear ducts daily with his Dinosaur Comics offerings when he’s not scripting the post-apocalyptic adventures of Finn and Jake in the Adventure Time comic from BOOM. He also translated a Shakespearean tragedy into a kinetic choose-your-own-adventure Kickstarter bonanza — To Be Or Not To Be — alongside fellow indie rockstars Kate Beaton, Chip Zdarsky, Matthew Inman, Faith Erin Hicks, and Noelle Stevenson (and 60 others). So there’s that. And there’s also The Midas Flesh, a sci-fi extrapolation of the gold-digging Greek parable.
As we rounded out the end of the year, the question became how could we not ask a man with such crazy-talented smarts and eclectic talent what he had dug for the past 12 months. North was generous enough to divert himself from his Beards Over Babies organization to tell Paste his favorite books and webcomics of 2013. Thanks Ryan!
I was gonna do 5 but then I thought, it’s 2013 and 6 is 2×3 and both those numbers are in “2013” and ANYWAY here are my favourite six comics from 2013!
6. Magical Game Time
Writer & Artist: Zac Gorman
Magical Game Time is, as you MAYBE expected it to be, a comic based on video games. But it’s way better than, as you MAYBE expected it to be, a comic in which some people on a couch make fun of how Sonic runs wierd or whatever. Zac’s comics are thoughtful, funny, often really sweet in both the “aw, that’s adorable” and “dude that was awesome” senses of the word. This Donkey-Kong comic had me laughing for days, once I figured it out (YES it took me a while). Zac’s doing some really exciting things both with this comic and in general, and I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings.
5. Bird and Moon
Writer & Artist: Rosemary Mosco
Rosemary’s been doing comics for years, but this year she’s been doing a lot more infographics and one-shot comics and they’re adorable and awesome. I particularly liked her Animals With Misleading Names, Preparing For Winter, and Secrete Weapon. She doesn’t update often, so each one is a treat. Her tumblr has the comics too, along with a lot of other really interesting stuff.
Writer & Artist: KC Green
KC’s comics can be stand-alone gags or series that run for weeks, but they’ve always got a life to them that makes me glad I don’t draw, because that way I don’t have to compete. Graveyard Quest is one of those intermittant series that started this year and has continued since then, and it’s really good! More quests in graveyards, that’s what I say!
Artist: David Aja
Matt Fraction is here on the list twice and that’s totally deserved! There’s not much that you can say about this series that hasn’t already been said, but it’s inventive and makes me want to go out and write better comics. Issue 11 is famously told from the point of view of a dog. It kinda makes me think all comics should be told from the point of view of a dog??
Writer & Artist: Noelle Stevenson
Last year I put Noelle Stevenson’s comic on my list too, and I didn’t want to have any duplicates this time around, but Noelle keeps getting better and better, and it’d be a shame not to include this comic about a shape-shifting sidekick to a supervillian who didn’t really want her around! This year it was announced that HarperCollins is publishing Nimona as a graphic novel in 2015, so now that’s AT LEAST two people who really love this comic and want you to read it. It’s a self-contained story so don’t worry about getting so invested in it that it takes over your life: it will end, eventually!
1. Sex Criminals
Artist: Chip Zdarsky
This is a book about two people whose orgasms stop time and who use that power to rob banks, and it is beautiful and hilarious and perfect. Chip Zdarsky is a master of like—humour? In general? He may be unstoppable?—and Fraction is a master of basically everything too, but among his skills are pitch-perfect scripting. This book is incredibly fresh, funny, sweet, and inspiring. Don’t let the fact that Apple banned it for being TOO AMAZING stop you from checking this book out.