Not really a top 10, but a top 12. So far. I simultaneously love and hate these comics, because they’re so fucking good.
These are the comics I enjoyed most this year, in no particular order:
East of West – Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta
For once, I don’t feel too stupid to read a Jonathan Hickman book. This hits all the right buttons, the Hickman design scheme works well, and Dragotta’s art is right on the edge of cartoony but not too cartoony. Easily my favorite comic of the year.
Suicide Risk – Mike Carey and Elena Casagrande
Suicide Risk hits all my favorite buttons as well – superhumans turning against normal people and using their powers for their own benefit. I also dig the idea of the rogue cop doing whatever it takes to get his own powers to fight back. Great story, still not convinced the title makes any sense though…
Lazarus – Greg Rucka and Michael Lark
I love Greg Rucka’s work, his novels more than his comics, but Michael Lark is easily in my top 10 favorite artists of the past ten years. Their work together (with Ed Brubaker) on Gotham Central remains one of my favorite series, and Lazarus is super tight, the story hums along and Lark’s art has never looked better. A worthy successor to Gotham Central.
Revival – Tim Seeley and Mike Norton
Rural noir, how great is that? Great concept, with the dead rising and trying to return to their normal lives. I wasn’t a big fan of Seeley’s Hack/Slash book, but this is a great, gripping read. Too bad the concept got swiped for this upcoming TV show…
Nowhere Men – Eric Stephenson and Nate Bellegarde
I think this lands firmly in second place for me, after East of West. I love this book and can’t explain exactly how much. I love the fact that the first issue drops you right in the middle of the action and never lets up. I love the idea of scientist heroes/rock stars. Bellegarde’s art is top notch as well. Great stuff.
Saga – Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Do I have to explain why Saga is brilliant? Do I have to repeat what everyone in the comics industry has already said? BKV hits every emotional note, ties it in with some genuinely funny moments, and Fiona Staples just draws the utter shit out of it. Saga hits the third spot this year for me.
Five Ghosts – Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham
I really, really dug this series, and I’m psyched it’s going to continue. The idea of someone channeling five literary icons is frigging brilliant. These guys have been getting a lot of hype, and all of it well-deserved.
Jupiter’s Legacy – Mark Millar and Frank Quitely
I’m an unabashed fan of Mark Millar’s work. For me, the man can do no wrong with his creator-owned stuff. And Frank Quitely? Probably at the top of his game. Easily at the top of the industry, right now. This looks and feels like a follow up to Millar and Quitely’s Authority run. I love every single piece of this book, including the artistic experimentation Quitely has going on.
Sacrifice – Sam Humphries and Dalton Rose
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but it really blew me away. Even though I spent forever trying to pronounce the Aztec names in my head, the story moved quickly and felt really well-researched. I loved the way this story flowed.
Mind MGMT – Matt Kindt
I’m late to the party on this, but yeah, Mind MGMT is pretty goddamn smart. The amount of work Kindt puts into these pages, with the rules and regulations running down the side and tops of the page, and the various types of mind powers being operated by the Mind MGMT division, is pretty staggering for a guy doing everything by himself.
Strange Attractors – Charles Soule and Greg Scott
This was a great story, one I was looking forward to and actually read by star/moonlight during a power outage. I don’t know if that amplified the reading experience, but I really enjoyed the mathematical equation side of this story. Scott’s artwork was grounded and real, and Soule’s story was whacked out but believable.
The Legend of Luther Strode – Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore
I love how Jordan and Moore have expanded on the Luther Strode mythos – this takes the setup and bloodshed of the first series and amps it up to eleven. I do like that there are more recipients of the Atlas method appearing, and more on the horizon as well, it seems.
It’s interesting, of the 12, 8 are Image books, one’s from Boom!, one is from Archaia (which I guess could be combined with the Boom book), and two are from Dark Horse. Definitely shows where my interests lie these days. Also interesting – almost all of these creators have at one point done work for the Big Two…but the work displayed on this list is head and shoulders above the work for hire stuff.
I know creator-owned comics can be a hard path to tread, but it can also be the most rewarding path as well.
Do yourself a favor, if you haven’t already, go check out any of these books on this list.