Annual best-of lists are a tried and true alt-weekly formula. But what’s notable and most welcome about this week’s 2016 “Best of NYC” Village Voice issue is that the editors have mercifully kept the total count of honorees to a reasonable minimum. As a result, a great majority of the article texts go deeper than the usual best-of descriptions.
In the “Shops and Services” category, we were delighted to find Brooklyn’s Desert Island Comics voted Best Comics Resource. Owner Gabe Fowler has been in business since 2008 and assets, correctly, that his forte is “extremely elusive stuff.” From Richard Gehr’s item:
Fowler gets a kick out of blurring the distinction between comics and art by selling them under the same roof. The same could be said for the material in Smoke Signal, a semi-quarterly, 10,000-copy newsprint anthology Fowler publishes as a labor of love. “I want to make something good enough that I would buy it—but give it away for free,” he says. The latest Signal contains work from Mad magazine pioneer Will Elder, indie star Dash Shaw and little-known Montana underground comix master Jay Rummel, among a lot of other great art.
Fowler also produces the annual Comic Arts Brooklyn festival, which is set to take place Nov. 5 at Williamsburg’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. There is no admission charge.