The SKTCHD AWRDS: The Comics of 2019 (Part Four)

On the fourth day of the comic-centric side of 2019’s SKTCHD AWRDS, I’ll be sharing awards for five very deserving and very different titles. It’s days like this that make me extremely excited about the future of comics, as it showcases how comics can from anywhere – quarterly comic boxes! Instagram! – or be about anything – beguiling trips through not Ikea! metal powered attack birds! – as they should be.

That makes it a fun day for the SKTCHD AWRDS, but as a reminder, my methodology is simple: I read comics, if I liked them they went on a list, and from there, I reduced the list until I came up with my crew. This wasn’t about the “best” comics necessarily. It’s about the ones I liked the most. Like I said, it was a simple process.

Let’s get to the penultimate day of 2019’s SKTCHD AWRDS, and as per usual, if you have any thoughts or titles I missed, let me know on the site’s forums!

The Map to My Heart Award: Minotaar

Written and drawn by Lissa Treiman

Every time I talk about this comic, I talk about the foldout map within its pages.

That’s not to diminish anything else within it, but it’s rare that I read a comic where I genuinely haven’t seen something in it before, especially when it’s a map in a mini-comic, not a graphic novel. The production questions related to that astonish me, but shouts to Lissa Treiman and Zainab Akhtar or whoever else came up with that solution, because I love a good map in any story, let alone a comic.

But to only talk about the map is to betray its true strength, and that’s Treiman’s ability to deliver a heartfelt story of the complicated nature of friendship in a Theseus in the Labyrinth-like tale set in what is effectively Ikea. It’s an absurd idea, but her exploration of what binds us and the things that actively work to drive us away is revelatory, even as she’s blowing our minds with unique page layouts in which pals Dena and Mel engage with their increasingly maddening environments.

The pages and world shudders and struggles as they fall apart, but like a good Malm or Ektorp from the Swedish furniture giant, Treiman showcases that a good friendship is sturdy if you build it right. A good map in a read is worth a whole lot in my book, but if you deliver a relatable tale of friendship in a delightfully drawn and inventively laid out comic, I’ll love your work even more. Lissa Treiman gave us both in Minotaar, and it made for a singularly unexpected and tremendously well-done read.

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