Edited by Chris Ware, McSweeney's 13 is a beautifully produced hardback with a design your own wraparound cover by Chris Ware and 2 bonus mini-comics.
Inside are comics essays by Ira Glass, Chris Ware, John Updike, Glen David Gold, Malachi B. Cohen, and Chip Kidd. There are also appreciations of the work of Rodolphe Topffer (a 19th century cartoonist and arguably America's first comics artist), George Herriman, and Charles Schulz.
And onto the comics themselves! Most of the samples are of larger works by their authors which, if you're familiar with indie comics then you'll have already heard of/read them already: "Black Hole" by Charles Burns, "Clyde Fans" by Seth, "Spent" by Joe Matt, "Underworld" by Kaz, "In the Shadow of No Towers" by Art Spiegelman, "The Fixer" by Joe Sacco, "Shortcomings" by Adrian Tomine, and "Louis Riel" by Chester Brown.
There are also contributions from R. Crumb, Dan Clowes, Mark Newgarden, Jim Woodring, Archer Prewitt, Lynda Barry, Chris Ware, Mark Beyer, Richard Sala, Kim Deitch, Ben Katchor, Richard McGuire, Jeffrey Brown, Julie Doucet, Debbie Dreschler, David Heatley, Gilbert Hernandez, and Ivan Brunetti.
There's no better place to start if you're new and interested in comics. For those who are more familiar with a few of the names above, you'll find samples by all the artists and might discover some new ones for yourself. I discovered the work of the excellent Richard Sala and Kim Deitch through this issue. The samples of other artists also allowed me to get an idea of what their work was like and I ended up reading/buying most of the artists' books off the back of this issue!
An excellent volume from McSweeney's, one of their best in fact, and a totally engrossing read. Highly recommended.