I’m not a lists guy, especially Year End lists. I don’t see much reason to rank artistic ventures, since it’s all subjective depending on one’s tastes. However, as a columnist for Comic Book Resources, I was asked to contribute a Top 10 list to be collated with those of about 50 other people who write or edit for the site. I thought I’d present my full list here, including the comments that CBR requested for each entry.
A few things to mention. This is not a “Best of…” list, per se. This is a list of comics I read and liked. There are a lot of comics I haven’t read yet that likely would’ve landed on this list; “Southern Bastards” and “Wytches” come to mind immediately. I also didn’t include any superhero titles, because I wanted to concentrate on work that was creator-owned, or at least more personal in nature. I adore books like currents runs of “Thor,” “Daredevil,” “Batman” and “Superman” right now.
Anyway, here’s my list:
1) Ragnarok: Walter Simonson returns to Norse mythology and puts his stamp on what happens after the Twilight of the Gods. Powerful graphic storytelling in service of an inspired story, starring a Thor like you’ve never seen before. This is pure comics from a master.
2) Hellboy in Hell: Mike Mignola writing and drawing Hellboy journeying through a shadow-drenched Hell. Any questions? No? Didn’t think so.
3) Starlight: The clever love child of classic pulp and Moebius-inspired sci-fi, with insanely beautiful art by Goran Parlov. Great concept, beautiful marriage of story and art, but what I liked most about “Starlight” was its heart.
4) The Fade Out: I’m a sucker for Hollywood’s golden age, which Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips capture in all its glitz and grime. Brubaker and Phillips make magic every time they work together.
5) Nemo: The Roses of Berlin: Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” saga is back with another tale of Nemo’s daughter, this time in a German expressionist nachtmahr. This is the kind of alternate history mashup that make the original LOEG minis some of my favorite stuff ever.
6) Winter World: Pretty tough to follow in the footsteps of Dixon and Zaffino’s original, but Chuck and Butch Guice found a way to do it. Stark and beautiful. So glad this “World” has finally returned.
7) Flash Gordon: Jeff Parker’s story perfectly captured the adventure of Flash’s world, but the real star here is Doc Shaner’s lovely art. Shaner and colorist Jordie Bellaire made this one of the two or three best-looking series of the year.
8) Velvet: I spy with my little eye one of the best spy stories to ever grace comics, made all the more interesting because of its female lead. Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting are doing everything they together on did on “Captain America” … and doing it better.
9) The Shadow Hero: Another great graphic novel from Gene Luen Yang, with art by Sonny Liew, telling the story of the Green Turtle, the first Chinese-American superhero. It’s part superhero origin, part pulp homage, and part Chinese-American history lesson, and succeeds at all of those.
10) Day Men: Brian Stelfreeze drew it. That’s all you need to know.