It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2010. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2010, though some are from earlier times and we got around to reading them. Keep in mind, this is what I read. We’ve added some new categories this year, but without further delay, here are the winners!
Best Super Hero Comic – The Invincible Iron Man
Yes, this series won last year too, but writer Matt Fraction has kept up the excellence with an amazing plot mixing superhero heroics, politics, corporate rivalry and with the latest issue, we learn this is all the tip of the iceberg.
In single issues there’s usually some bigger worldly issue we’re presented with, great banter, often fantastic action and beautiful art.
This is a superhero comic for adults and one series I look forward to each month.
The upcoming Invincible Iron Man #500.1 is the perfect jumping on point to see what you’re missing.
Runner Ups – Secret Warriors, Uncanny X-Force
Best Non-Super Hero Comic –DMZ
Is there a more politically relevant comic book series out there? Every month we’re given something to think about as we follow Matty Roth through Manhattan which is now a DMZ in the middle of the second American Civil War.
Writer Brian Wood is able to pivot and comment on what’s currently happening in politics and the world challenging our perceptions and not seem preachy at the same time.
With some single issues that stand as some of the best of the year and numerous holy shit moments, this isn’t just one of the most relevant comics out there, but some of the best political commentary of any entertainment medium.
Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead
Best Limited Series or One Shot – Daytripper
I’ve handed this comic off to so many people and not only sucked them into this series, but also got them to ask what else is out there? This showed that comics aren’t about just spandex anymore.
There’s no other series out there that created such an emotional reaction each month. I’m not embarrassed to admit there were numerous moments I broke down crying or teared up. No other series has done that before to me.
It’s a shame it ended and hopefully we see more soon from the phenoms Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá.
Runner Ups – Killer: Modus Vivendi, Taskmaster, Velocity
Best Single Issue – Unknown Soldier #21 (New Category)
This series saw it’s conclusion this year but it also brought the best issue of any comic book during it’s end run.
This issue focused on the history of one Avtomat Kalashnikova rifle as it’s passed from one owner to another. It’s a powerful issue looking at the mass distribution of a weapon that’s been a driver and common tool in today’s conflicts .
Powerful, heart wrenching, and an amazing political and historical statement, this issue is a must read for comic book fans and non-comic book readers.
Worst Single Issue of the Year – Fantastic Four Annual #32 (New Category)
Three words as to why – Time. Travel. Abortion.
Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Return of the Dapper Men
There’s no other graphic novel that was more magical this year than Jim McCann‘s and Janet Lee‘s Return of the Dapper Men.
This is a magical world of wonder where time has stopped and adults have disappeared. Neverland in a modern setting.
A modern classic is the only way I can describe this graphic novel that seems to evoke the best of those magical tales we read, watched and were told as kids. This is a graphic novel parents will be sharing with their children for years to come.
Runner Ups –How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, Cuba: My Revolution, Revolver
Best Event of the Year – Artifacts
The first issue had me gasp “holy shit” out loud and the subsequent ones have just been setting up what will be a hell of a ride.
The public seems to have reacted well with issues going back for numerous printings.
All hell is about the break loose in the Top Cow universe and with Ron Marz‘s talented writing to drive it and some fantastic artists to back him up, there’s a chance this might be next year’s top event as well.
Best Genre of the Year – Zombie
One thing makes zombies get the win here, The Walking Dead. The comic book series continues it’s excellence and the television show had us wanting more after it’s first season’s six episode run. There’s a reason it was one of the top rated cable series ever, it’s that damn good. Evidence of it’s spread beyond the normal comic book reading public are the numerous people reading it on my daily commute and my non-comic book reading friends asking me about the series and comic. I don’t see this type of legs with the big movie blockbusters. Congrats to Robert Kirkman and AMC.
Runner Up – Noir
Best Comic Tie-In of the Year –Heroclix
I’m a sucker for Heroclix and picked up the Blackest Night set at Gen Con this year. I don’t play, but love looking at the detailed figures. There’s something so much fun about it and I wish I had some local gamer friends that I can break out my figures once in a while and give me an excuse to get more.
With sets based off of Watchmen, Blackest Night, Brightest Day, Jonah Hex, Iron Man, Spider-Man and the DC 75th Anniversary it’s impressive this was a game and company on the brink of collapse not too long ago.
Runner Up – Marvel Universe toys.
Best Comic Book Related Movie – Scott Pigrim vs. the World (New Category)
It’s been an up and down year for movies based off of comic books. Next years crop of movies looks strong, but this year had one stand out and that was the kinetic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
This was a movie for the Nintendo generation with so much in there even our ADD generation missed some of the winks and nods littered throughout the film.
It holds up after multiple viewings and I know I left with a smile on my face. Overall it was a year of weak competition but even in a strong year this would be a contender.
On an aside my favorite movies of 2010 were The Social Network, Black Swan, The Town and The Fighter.
Runner Up – The Losers
Best Series Finale of the Year – Ex Machina (New Category)
I can’t think of a series which ended so perfectly. To say more would give it all away, but I was beyond satisfied when I finished reading it and hoped for a second volume.
The finale of this superhero as Mayor series answered our questions, gave us some jaw dropping moments at the end and presented a Presidential ticket I might even vote for.
A lot of series left unanswered questions or gave us disappointing ones, but this one never seemed like a cop out and never treated us like children.
The ending was damn near perfect and the series one of the best of modern times.
Runner Up – Daytripper
Best Surprise of the Year – Killer: Modus Vivendi (New Category)
This is a new category that I thought was appropriate to throw out there. I look at this as comics you probably skipped in 2010, but you really should go back and check out.
Killer: Modus Vivendi is the third volume for this character and saw him being manipulated by the CIA and Cubans in a tale about oil and spheres of influence. Bond and Bourne, eat your heart out.
Not only do we have great action, some intense moments, but there’s also politics and a worldly view you don’t find out in too many other comics. It’s the complete package in comics for adults.
Runner Up – Velocity, Kill Shakespeare
Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Brightest Day and Heroic Age
I “Entered the Heroic Age” and looked forward to tomorrow’s “Brightest Day” and can say “no thanks.” Does no longer being dark and gritty also mean convoluted and boring?
Marvel and DC comics took a dip this year as they moved away from dark stories and attempted to hark back to the golden age of black and white heroes and villains. We also got the return of the 90’s with the return of characters we thought and hoped were dead and stayed that way.
This all clearly isn’t lasting long as the Marvel event Fear Itself looms over 2011. As a hole things just aren’t quite as exciting as they’ve been in years past.
Runner Up – Iron Man 2
Best Character – Killer
I’m so happy Archaia put Killer: Modus Vivendi in my hands. With it I got one of the best politically charged noir comics on the market and a badass anti-hero in the man we only know as Killer.
He beds the hot chicks, assassinates people with a shot, causes revolutions and destabilizes regions. Bond and Bourne are wimps compared to writer Matz‘s creation.
We get to see politics and the world from outside of an “American” perspective and a cold unrepentant killer and assassin who it’s all a job to.
This was the third volume with more to come. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Publisher of the Year – Archaia
So where’d this company come from? I don’t think there was one comic I read I was disappointed in or didn’t enjoy in some way. The hardcovers are just high quality products and stories in between the covers reflect that. The Killer, Mouse Guard, Cyclops, Critical Millennium and so many more are series you should be reading and if you’re not then you need to check them out.
Many of these series continue into 2011 and there’s many new ones to come. When I think Archaia, I think high quality and expect the best. So far they haven’t let me down.
Runner Ups – Top Cow, Marvel