Ten Great Comic Books in 2010

Every year, Comic Book Resources runs a “Top 100” of the year, where all the writers and editors of the site send in their top ten lists (with a two or three sentence blurb about them) and then one of the editors (this year, the tireless Kiel Phegley) tallies the votes and organizes a huge, multi-part feature on what made the list.

Now, like all lists, my votes are subjective. There are a few books I plain forgot about. And there are others that I haven’t read, or only read part of, so I couldn’t include them in my line-up. (For instance, of the top ten books, even though I only voted for two, seven of the others are either on my “to be read/finished” list, or barely missed getting onto my own list of votes.)

But anyway, to make a long story… well, less long… for those interested, here are ten great comics from 2010 that you might find also worth reading (plus various longer reviews from me about these books over the past year, so you can get a better idea). Check em out.

The Sixth Gun
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Brian Hurtt
Publisher: Oni Press

What happens when you mix horror, dark fantasy, and the wild west? If you’re especially lucky, The Sixth Gun where every month Cullen Bunn comes up with new and fantastical creations for Brian Hurtt to beautifully draw. It’s almost criminal the first issue was given away for free at Free Comic Book Day, because there’s no way to keep from getting hooked after just one issue.

Review @ CBR (#1)
Review @ CBR (#2)
Review @ Read About Comics (#6)
Review @ CBR (#7)

Continue reading Ten Great Comic Books in 2010

Look Behind You

Behind You [365portraits: 148]Have you ever gotten the feeling that someone is out to get you?

Last night, while driving down Route 123 on my way home, I was stopped in traffic, and the line of cars behind me was starting to grow. There was a piece on NPR I was listening too, nothing too exciting. And then I heard a boom, boom, boom, boom. And with each boom, it got louder. And suddenly I realized that the boom noises were a chain of cars each rear-ending the next like a row of dominos. Last car to get hit? The one behind me. Eek. I almost wanted to get out and thank that driver for not being up on my bumper and thus smashing into me.

(Everyone pulled over and started exchanging information, thankfully.)

And then, this morning, on the GW Parkway (heading back into work) I saw one car ahead of me slam on its breaks and even do a little side-to-side skid action to barely stop. I had plenty of room between that car and me, so I slowed down gradually.

Only to see, about 15 seconds later (as I’m at a complete stop) an SUV getting awfully big in my rear-view mirror, awfully fast. There was some screeching of tires but it managed to stop, barely. (And of course, there was nowhere for me to go; more cars on the left, a bridge railing on the right.)

Is the world trying to tell me something? Perhaps to watch my back? Hmmmm.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: John Kerschbaum

Whenever I think of John Kerschbaum, it’s his comic The Wiggly Reader that immediately leaps to mind. It’s wonderfully warped and funny, and it was my first introduction to his work. Since then he’s done a variety of projects, from Timberdoodle (a mini-comic about the life of a boy who has an actual log in place of his genitalia), to Petey and Pussy (the two most deranged pets you’ve ever met).

He’s actually someone whose work appears all over the place, though, not just in comics. Every now and then without warning I seem to find myself coming across his illustrations in a variety of publications, from The New Yorker to National Lampoon. It’s always a nice surprise.

His illustration is short and sweet, and it amuses me to no end… just like Kerschbaum’s comics.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Bryan Talbot

Ah, Bryan Talbot. There are times when it seems like less a question of, “What’s he worked on?” but rather, “What hasn’t he worked on?” To me he’s forever associated with The Adventures of Luther Arkwright and its sequel Heart of Empire, as well as his gripping story of an abusive parent in The Tale of One Bad Rat.

But he’s also worked on other people’s books, including Sandman, and he’s continued to put out a lot of great books since the ones mentioned. (Which reminds me that I still need to sit down and read his Grandville graphic novels that came out last year and this year. Oops!)

When I got this sketch from Bryan at SPX, I’d also bought a Heart of Empire print and he explained for about five minutes the usage of the golden rectangle within the layout of the print, and the theories behind how everything was mapped out. He’s a brilliant man, a great artist, and also super-friendly. A nice combination.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Jay Hosler

Jay Hosler is one of those rare comic creators who blends science and comics together. (Another creator who you should search out, if this idea interests you, is Jim Ottaviani, whose stuff is also great. But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

I first encountered his work through Clan Apis, the story of the lifecycle of a bee. You might be thinking, “Really?” but honest, it’s utterly riveting as he brings us through the life story of Nyuki the bee. Since then he’s had several other great books including The Sandwalk Adventures, Optical Allusions, and (coming any day now) Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth. If that’s not enough, though, Jay’s one of those uber-awesome guys who is just a real pleasure to be around. He teaches at Juniata College and I must admit I’m a little envious of his students for having someone like him as a professor.

This drawing is from what was then his new book, The Sandwalk Adventure, telling the story of Darwin and his conversations he would have with a mite that lived in his eyebrow. I know, it sounds odd, but it was charming and funny and touching. And of course, poor Darwin’s general bewilderment over this talking mite was half the fun… as you’ll see below.

Wine-Book Wednesdays: Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker is truly a scholar and a gentleman. One of those people that’s always a real joy to talk to and hang out with; ever since he moved to Portland, Oregon, the West Coast’s gain has been the East Coast’s loss. This was my first sketch from the 2002 Small Press Expo, which was the first one for which I was Executive Director. (Well, first one that happened. Greg Bennett and I had taken over for the 2001 show that was regretfully cancelled.) I miss seeing him at SPX, and it was no small coincidence that I sought him out early in the show to get a sketch.

Anyway, these days with him writing books for Marvel like Agents of Atlas and Thunderbolts (as well as with artist Steve Lieber for Image Comics, the caving drama Underground), his newer fans might not know that he’s just just an accomplished writer, but also an artist. I loved his graphic novel The Interman and I keep hoping that one of these days we’ll see a new big fat graphic novel that he’s written and drawn.

Until then, though, this shall serve as a visual reminder that he knows that one way to make a sketch involving wine look even better is to involve a monkey.

(Those who read my blog via LiveJournal may very well recognize this image, since it’s the icon I tag all the Wine-Book Wednesdays posts with. Et voila!)