A Round-Up of Comics, 2010

We all know the criticisms of year-end “Top Ten” or “Best of” lists: they force critics to compare apples and oranges, critical praise and actual quality aren’t necessarily the same thing, and who really knows what makes one thing “better” than another anyway? I know all this. And yet, I read them. All the time. Because despite being flawed, “Top Ten” lists are really useful.

I personally prefer Top 9 3/4 Lists.

Like most of my fellow grad students (and almost everybody these days, it seems) I am busy. I don’t have the time to even keep track of all the titles coming out, let alone the wherewithal to read everything. And yet, as a comics scholar, it’s my job to know what’s out there. So I keep an eye on lists, if for nothing else than to get an idea of what’s making buzz, what titles will be popping up in paper abstracts, and, of course, titles I will add to my Amazon wishlist/ever-expanding reading list.

2010 was a great year for comics of all genres. The lists I read testify to this: the lists I encountered were amazingly varied, including superhero books, indie comics, small names, big names, veterans, and rookies. Out of the nine lists I closely examined (which is ostensibly 90 titles), only 13 books were mentioned more than once. Of those thirteen, only a handful, particularly Batwoman and Acme Novelty Library #20, and Parker: The Outfit, were named more than three times. Based on these lists, I provide for you my own list of most talked-about (I haven’t read many of them myself yet, so I can’t personally attest to their quality) comics of 2010:

X’ed Out, Charles Burns
Market Day, James Sturm
Weathercraft, Jim Woodring
Acme Novelty Library #20: Lint, Chris Ware
Duncan the Wonder Dog: Show One, Adam Hines
Action Comics, Paul Cornell, writer, and Pete Woods, artist
Strange Tales II, various
Daytripper, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá
Batman and Robin, Grant Morrison, writer, and various artists
Parker: The Outfit, Darwyn Cooke
Batwoman: Elegy, Greg Rucka, artist, and J. H. Williams III, artist
Scalped, Jason Aaron, writer, and R. M. Guérra, artist
The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, writer, and Charlie Adlard, artist

Thoughts, opinions, feelings?

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