Counting down the Top 100 comics of the year
14. Bad Houses
Written by Sara Ryan
Drawn by Carla Speed McNeil
Published by Dark Horse
Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil's original graphic novel 'Bad Houses' is the sort of book that defies categorization, as it follows two young people (her mother's a horder, his mother arranges estate sales for families of the deceased) as their lives interact with one another. Is this a family drama? A romance? An exploration of a slowly doomed town? It's ultimately all and none at the same time. Ryan's shift from comic shorts to a full graphic novel (although she has several prose novels to her credit) is stunning, and McNeil's art is as excellent as ever. This is probably one of the best comics that you never heard of.
-- Comics Should Be Good Writer Greg McElhatton
Ryan and McNeil are both incredibly strong writers -- so to see them collaborate on a story such is this proved to be the equivalent of when George Lucas and Steven Spielberg decided to make a story together -- in other words, you get a damn good story. The narrative reminds me of something that a young Robert Altman might have told -- several people's lives converging around one small town and the intricacies of estate sales. Much of the book's appeal is neatly summarized in one sentence by Ryan in the book's afterword: 'And you can't go to estate sales without thinking about mortality, family, and inheritance.'
-- Robot 6 Columnist Tim O'Shea