Honourable mentions: I wanted to point out a few books that are amazing, fantastic books that everyone should buy. The only thing is that these books didn’t ship enough issues to make me feel right about bumping some of the awesome books below off my top 10 list. Here are my honourable mentions…
Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine – This bimonthly miniseries has been a blast from the moment it started. This is going to be a must-buy hardcover for those that didn’t read it in issues.
The Jimmy Olsen backups from Action Comics – With only about 40 pages or so it’s hard for me to put it above some of the stuff on my list, but man do I love this stuff. If I get an ongoing (and I really want one) I would bet that this will make the top 10 next year.
Proof & Proof: Endangered – This is my new “recommend to everyone I talk to” title. If this series had released more issues this year it easily would’ve made my top 10. Probably my top 5.
Rasl – Sure, this book comes out at a snail’s pace, but it’s worth it. Jeff Smith’s storytelling is as good as it gets and with this level of quality I wouldn’t want to rush him.
Starman – You knew I had to get this in here somewhere. As MONDOcomics’ resident Starman obsessive it’s my duty to point out that there was a new issue this year. And it was great.
10. Fantastic Four
Jonathan Hickman (w), Various (a), Marvel Comics.
Jonathan Hickman has been a name to watch for a while now. Sure, his Fantastic Four run doesn’t get the attention of some of the other work on the market right now, but I have no doubt that it’s going to be remembered as one of the seminal runs on the title. The way everything is slowly coming together, the attention to detail and the intricate character work are what make this a comic more people should be reading.
9. Thor: The Mighty Avenger
Roger Langridge (w), Chris Samnee (a), Marvel Comics.
It was brief but it was great. I love the idea of turning Thor into a romance title, somehow it fits so perfectly. It was funny, it was charming and the action was great. “Sweet” isn’t an adjective used to describe comics all that often and I think that’s too bad. The market needs more books like this. I’m glad to see they’re making at least one more issue for Free Comic Book Day. I love this version of Thor and Jane Foster and I hope I get to see more of them.
8. Darkwing Duck
Ian Brill (w), James Silvani (a), Boom Studios.
I never would have predicted that this would make my top 10 of the year. Honestly, though? It really deserves it. Every time I read an issue of Darkwing Duck I’m grinning from ear to ear. It’s great as a superhero book and it’s great as a Disney duck book. It has all of the same over-the-top humour that we know and love from the cartoon, but adapted perfectly for the page. I also love seeing characters from Ducktales showing up, that’s just a huge blast. Keep up the great work, guys!
7. Morning Glories
Nick Spencer (w), Joe Eisma (a), Image Comics.
I was prepared to like this series but I was blown away by how much I completely loved it. The characters are way compelling than I ever would have guessed they would be after only a few issues, but Spencer is so economic with his storytelling that he’s given us a great idea of who these people are in a very short amount of time. We’ve gotten hints that the world of the book is grander and richer than was suspected and I can’t wait to find out more. The first volume is coming out in February and it’s a great deal at ten bucks. I recommend picking this up.
6. Grant Morrison’s Batman
Grant Morrison (w), Various (w), DC Comics.
Whether it’s in Batman, Batman & Robin, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne or the newly-launched Batman, Incorporated this has been a Batman run for the ages. The ideas are off-the-wall (in an awesome way) and the stories are so unpredictable that I can’t wait to find out what’s happening next. Most importantly, Batman is fun again for the first time in a long time. Two issues in and I’m totally into Batman, Incorporated, so I say bring on the next chapter of the Morrison age of Batman!
5. Power Girl
Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti (w), Amanda Conner (a), DC Comics.
For those that like fun, sexy and hilarious superhero stories you should pick of the two volumes of Power Girl. This is a book with a strong female lead that my fiancée loved. Amanda Conner is undoubtedly one of my favourite artists working right now and this is a great showcase of her talent. It’s expressive, the character work is top-notch and the stories are a blast to read. Fans of fun superhero books should pick these up. (Side note: I’m aware that the book continued after the above team left, but I haven’t checked out the book under the new team. Should I try the new issues? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.)
4. The Unwritten
Mike Carey (w), Peter Gross (a), Vertigo Comics.
This should be no surprise. The Unwritten remains one of the smartest reads on the shelves. Watching the way that Carey weaves his story into both the history of storytelling and also into the stories themselves is nothing short of astounding. While it can be easy to forget this consistently amazing book amidst all of the new up-and-comers I would say that everyone should keep giving this book the attention it deserves.
3. Ex Machina
Brian K. Vaughan (w), Tony Harris (a), Wildstorm Publishing.
That’s it. We’re done. No more Brian K. Vaughan comics showing up on a regular basis. Come back, Vaughan, we miss you! I’m sure this ending will frustrate some. It isn’t a cherry one, but it’s satisfying and appropriate for this book. I loved it, every page. Harris’ art is as great as ever and that last issue knocked my socks off. Can we get Vaughan on another comic, though? Please? (Side-note: True, only a few issues came out this year like some of my honourable mentions, but who knows when I’m going to get to honour another BKV comic.)
Jason Aaron (w), R.M. Guéra (a), Vertigo Comics.
Sometimes I forget how much I love Scalped, since I read it in trades. I got on this bandwagon late, but I’m glad I got on because this comic is terrific. No, terrific understates it. This comic is a must-read. It’s vicious, it’s mean, it’s dark and it is spectacular from page one to… whatever page we’re on now. Aaron has an amazing talent for character and story, weaving many tales together and constantly making you doubt who the good and bad guys are. It’s a book that messes with your head in the best possible way. This is the book that launched my “if Aaron is writing it I’m reading it” rule.
John Layman (w), Rob Guillory (a), Image Comics.
There is no book that offers everything to its readers the way this one does. I mean that in the sense that this book is everything to everyone. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s horrifying, it’s intriguing… this book has it all. I wrote about it at great length in the weekly reviews a few weeks ago, but I want to once again state that it’s hard to go wrong with this book. On a month-to-month basis I find myself enjoying the individual stories offered up, but as a grand tapestry being weaved together things get even more interesting. I’m thrilled that this book is a big success, not just because I get to read it but also because this book completely deserves it.