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)

Make Me a Woman
Writer/Artist: Vanessa Davis
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Part sketchbook, part diary, part short story collection, Vanessa Davis’s Make Me a Woman is especially noteworthy for not only her fluid, beautiful art style, but how easily she pulls the reader into her orbit. You’ll finish Make Me a Woman feeling like you’ve known Davis for years, and that in doing so had a new close friend to boot. Some people are writers or artists, Davis is a true storyteller.

Review @ Read About Comics

Beasts of Burden/Hellboy
Writers: Evan Dorkin, Mike Mignola
Artist: Jill Thompson
Publisher: Dark Horse

Why can’t all crossover comics be this good? Beasts of Burden and Hellboy are each independently a blast to read, but everyone involved is at the top of their game with this this one-shot. Horrific and exciting, the only bad thing about Beasts of Burden/Hellboy is that we now have to wait for the next Beasts of Burden mini-series.

Review @ CBR
Review @ Read About Comics (the previous mini-series)

American Vampire
Writers: Scott Snyder, Stephen King
Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Publisher: Vertigo

American Vampire may have gotten its initial attention by having Stephen King write back-up stories for the first five issues, but as soon as it hit stands we all realized it was Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque who were going to hook readers. Dark and dangerous, American Vampire takes what was the boring genre of vampire fiction and reminds us that it can still be great. (Plus, no sparkling vampires here. I promise.)

Review @ Read About Comics (#1)
Review @ CBR (#2)
Review @ CBR (#4)
Review @ CBR (#9)

Writer/Artist: Jeff Smith
Publisher: Cartoon Books

If you only know Jeff Smith from his all-ages comic Bone, you might be a little surprised by RASL, his science-fiction saga with a boozing, dimension-hopping art thief whose morals might not quite be in place. Each new issue adds another piece to the overall puzzle, and add in some of Smith’s always gorgeous art and it’s a treat and a half.

Review @ Read About Comics (#1)
Review @ Read About Comics (#8)
Review @ CBR (#9)

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour
Writer/Artist: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Publisher: Oni

How do you end a saga over half a decade in the making? If you’re lucky, just like Bryan Lee O’Malley wrapped up Scott Pilgrim. With sly winks to the readers as he subverts half of their expectations, it’s an energetic blast of video game styled fights, sharp one-liners, and a surprisingly touching examination of Scott Pilgrim’s soul. Scott Pilgrim wasn’t just the little indy book that could, it was the indy book that kicked butt.

Review @ CBR

Saturn Apartments
Writer/Artist: Hisae Iwaoka
Publisher: Viz

A comic about a window washer might not sound interesting – but what if it’s a window washer who works on a massive space station that circles the planet some 35,000 meters above the surface? Saturn Apartments follows Mitsu and his fellow lower-level dwellers in a fascinating series that takes an ignored class of people and makes them heroes in their own right.

Review @ Read About Comics
Review @ CBR

The Unwritten
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Peter Gross
Publisher: Vertigo

Mike Carey and Peter Gross’s The Unwritten continues to delve into the hidden world of books, with enough twists and turns to create a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. Then again, they did just that a few issues ago. Always inventive and surprising, The Unwritten is a must-read month-after-month.

Review @ Read About Comics (#1)
Review @ Read About Comics (#8)
Review @ CBR (#11)
Review @ CBR (#18)

A Drunken Dream and Other Stories
Writer/Artist: Moto Hagio
Publisher: Fantagraphics

I’d never heard of Moto Hagio until Fantagraphics published this best-of collection of her stories, and it’s easy to see why Hagio is one of the queens of shojo manga in Japan. The short story “Iguana Girl” (about a girl who grows up with her mother treating her like she is an iguana) is strong enough to make you feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth, but the remaining nine stories are also all excellent to boot.

Review @ Read About Comics

Joe the Barbarian
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Sean Murphy
Publisher: Vertigo

A struggle to get across a house, aided by toys, dipping in and out of reality? Joe the Barbarian takes its core concept and runs with it thanks to gorgeous illustrations by Sean Murphy, and an increasingly gripping script from Grant Morrison. Between this and Toy Story 3, it’s a good year to be a toy.

Review @ CBR

And for those who have made it this far, the top 100 articles at CBR: #100-76, 75-51, 50-26, 25-11, and 10-1.

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