Every other blog and website in the US has done a top ten list and lacking in creativity I thought, "Hey Donist, wouldn't it be swell if you put out a Top Ten for 2010 list like everyone else did weeks ago?" You know what, self, you're right. I should do a few top tens for all the world to see, or at the very least for the viewing pleasure of my mom and my friend's dog. I could be unique and do a Top 2010 for 2010 list, but that would take a while and I don't think there are 2010 things that enjoy that much. Although, come to think of it...
Top Ten Graphic Novels Released in 2010 - (That I have read)
I should mention a few things. If a graphic novel is part of a series that saw multiple volume releases in 2010, I will only list the first TPB issued that year. It is safe to assume that subsequent volumes are equally great and worthy of owning, as are earlier volumes. The titles are in alphabetical order, and not in any order of preference. *note - I own but have not yet read Return of the Dapper Men and I suspect this book would bump something from the list or at least take it to 11.
1. All Star Superman, Vol. 2 - Written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely, published by DC Comics. I would have never thought a superhero book, let alone a Superman book, would be on my must read list, but this out-of-continuity tale from Grant Morrison is filled with heart and soul and just plain beautiful.
2. Batwoman: Elegy - Written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by J.H. Williams III, published by DC Comics. Yeah, here I go again on the superheroes, but then again, this book has Greg Rucka, J.H. Williams III, an incredibly strong female lead and one of the most compelling stories around. Buy it for the immense beauty of the artwork, stay for the wonderfully told tale.
3. Ex Machina, Vol. 9: Ring Out the Old - Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Tony Harris, published by Wildstorm Comics (R.I.P.) a DC Comics imprint. Ex Machina 9 and 10 finish off Vaughan's take on a hero in the world of politics and what the journey does to a person. Striking and possessing an ending that I would not have expected, yet now that I have read the book, I cannot see it ending any other way.
4. Planetary Vol. 4: Spacetime Archaeology - Written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by John Cassaday, published by Wildstorm Comics (R.I.P.) a DC Comics imprint. Planetary is a strong contender in the books to bring when stranded on a desert island. Characters who I adore, conflicts that push the limits of my fragile nerves, and an ending that had me cheering while shedding a tear. A must own series. Thank you, Warren Ellis.
5. Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 2: The Outfit - Written and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, published by IDW. Crime noir at its best as written by a master and retold by another master. A beautiful book that makes me smile every time I see it on my bookshelf. Cooke has created a masterpiece that has a broad appeal.
6. Scott Pilgrim Volume 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour - Written by Bryan Lee O'Malley, published by Oni Press. The end of a series that I never would have bought had I not heard the guys on iFanboy raving about the first three volumes. My life would be missing something had I not listened to them and faithfully bought each installment the day they were released. A great movie, too.
7. Secret Six, Vol. 3: Danse Macabre - Written by Gail Simone and John Ostrander and illustrated by Daniel LuVisi, published by DC Comics. Wow, three mainstream books on my top ten list? Who would of thunk it? All joking aside, Gail Simone has taken some seriously fucked-up and perverse characters and made me truly care about them. Deadshot is terrible, yet I really, really, really want him to score with the tramp he met at the bar. Ragdoll is so delightfully perverse that I don't even get the chills at the thought of his missing genitalia. Bane is Bane and he rules. So well done.
8. The Stuff of Legend, Book 1: The Dark - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith and illustrated by Charles Wilson III, published by Th3rd World Studios. This book holds a special place in my heart and I would not be surprised if it shows up in my top ten music albums or restaurants of all time, too. Expertly told and beautifully illustrated, this piece of art strikes at the root of your childhood wishes while pulling away your security blanket to unleash the nightmares. Not enough people are reading this incredible book.
9. Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Woods - Written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint. I bought the first two trades and went to floppies on this one. A unique look at the post-apocalyptic tale with animal hybrid children. Sweet Tooth leaves you hoping for the best for Gus, the deer boy, but you always know that things are going to get worse. God I hope Jepperd can get to him in time. This is the real deal.
10. The Walking Dead Volume 11: Fear the Hunters - Written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Charlie Adlard, published by Image Comics. *sigh* What else can I say about this amazing hit comic and equally amazing hit television show that has not already been said. If you watched the show--which was great by the way--and liked it, then you MUST buy the series. It is different from what you watched on AMC and you will be shocked by what happens. I read the first issue and then bought the first four TPB's. One of the best things on the shelves. Period.
Top Ten Graphic Novels of All Time
As above, these are in no particular order other than alphabetical. Unlike the previous list, this Top Ten goes to eleven, as a last minute book popped up that I could not leave off and desperately need to reread.
1. The Authority - Written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Bryan Hitch, published by Wildstorm Comics (R.I.P.) a DC Comic Imprint. Probably my favorite comic book about superheroes. God, I want to be ANY of the characters in this book. Even non-superhero readers can find something to admire and cheer for in this book that I read twice a year...at least!
2. Chew - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics. Nothing like this exists, plain and simple. When I first heard about this series my first reaction was, "C'mon. You have got to be kidding." Then I read more and more about it, and took the plunge. I am so glad that I did. One of my most anticipated comics month to month. Expertly told and expertly illustrated. Layman and Guillory deserve all of the praise they receive for this one.
3. Essex County - Written and Illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Top Shelf Productions. Dammit. It takes a lot to make me cry and Lemire's magnum opus is one of the best paced and emotionally told graphic novels of all time. Essex County actually tricked me into giving a damn about hockey, and I pretty much dislike all sports. Not an easy thing to do. Just buy it and you will understand.
4. Planetary - Written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by John Cassaday, published by Wildstorm Comics (R.I.P.) a DC Comics imprint. What do you know, here it is again. I reread the first three volumes for the tenth time--at least--in preparation for the fourth and final installment and the book is as engrossing as ever. Nearly each chapter is an homage to some literary hero or myth, whether comic or not, and all but one issue blew me away. Another one that made my cold, cold heart melt. Who IS the fourth man?
5. The Preacher - Written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Steve Dillon, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint. This one holds a special place in my heart and it is safe to say that The Preacher is my favorite comic book of all time. An epic story, with humor, tragedy, horror, and the most suspense that I have ever felt from a comic in my entire life. I felt joy with each victory and the deepest pain with each terrible mistake made by the characters. I didn't name my dog Tulip after a fucking flower, so take one guess were she got the name. Damn I need to reread this one again. Powerfully addictive.
6. The Saga of the Swamp Thing - Written by Alan Moore, and illustrated by John Totleben and Stephen Bissette, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics imprint. This one rocked my childhood. Alan Moore took a character who was honestly one of my all-time favorites and turned him into something god-like...literally. Not only did Moore accentuate the horror, he also found the love and peace through the form of an elemental force of nature. Bissette and Totleban turn the grotesque into something beautiful to the point that even I want to live in the swamp.
7. Strangers in Paradise - Written and illustrated by Terry Moore, published by Abstract Studio. Okay, yes I was sniffling and snuffling on a train ride from San Diego after reading the final chapter in this wonderful story of true love and the relationships that weave in and out of our lives. Some of the best characterization in the comic form ever.
8. The Stuff of Legend - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith and illustrated by Charles Wilson III, published by Th3rd World Studios. No surprise here. I should probably change the blog from DonistWorld to Donist Likes The Stuff of Legend, but it's too late for that. I already mentioned it above and in many prior posts, but in case I was not clear, this book is something special. I believe the second volume "The Jungle" is to be collected mid-way through the year. Buy this and keep an eye out for the second TPB. Simply delightful.
9. Sweet Tooth - Written and Illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint. Another repeat, what do you know. I guess I'm a Jeff Lemire fan. I like Sweet Tooth a lot, love Essex County, really enjoy Superboy, dug the Strange Tales II story and need to buy The Nobody ASAP. The TPBs of this are ridiculously inexpensive, so there is no reason to wait.
10. The Walking Dead - Written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, published by Image Comics. Yeah. This zombie book rules. Incredible characterization and situations, and NO ONE is ever safe in this amazing series. Be warned, it will stress you out in the most sinister of ways.
11. Bone - Written and illustrated by Jeff Smith, published by Cartoon Books. I need to reread this tome. There is a reason why this book is such a hit in school libraries and with comics lovers alike, but to put it plainly, this all-ages tale is accessible. Smith has created a rich and wonderful world of cartoony characters and horrific monsters that is so mesmerizing and important for the comic medium as a whole that words cannot do the book justice. "The Great Cow Race" rules!
*Note - Okay, now I know there are those who will bitch and moan about the following being excluded from this list: The Sandman, The Watchmen, V For Vendetta, The Dark Knight Returns, Cherry Poptart (just kidding) and such. Don't get me wrong, I love those books, too. Let's just count those as #12. Miracleman would be on there if it was fucking available to the general public. I would also be remiss to not mention Eric Powell's The Goon, which I bought every single trade available in the span of two months; one of the most fun series out.
Top Ten Comics of 2010
1. Chew - Written by John Layman and illustrated by Rob Guillory, published by Image Comics. One of the best new books to hit the world of comics.
2. Daytripper - Written and illustrated by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint. Dang. What is this, the fourth book that made me cry? Seriously, it's not an easy thing to do, but Day Tripper is one of the BEST comics to ever be written and drawn. A beautifully paced bit of tragic heaven with each issue. I cannot say anything about this title without giving away the premise. Just buy the unbelievably inexpensive TPB--out soon--and be prepared to live the magic of the life of one Brás de Oliva Domingos. Remarkably lovely.
3. iZombie - Written by Chris Roberson and illustrated by Michael Allred, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint. A fresh new take on the supernatural genre with a lead zombie female character who I...kind of...find hot. Always a fun book.
4. Morning Glories - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Joe Eisma, published by Image Comics. This is the one that I am biting my nails to get in my hands every month. A incredibly odd boarding school where terrible travails and events are part of the curriculum. I do not completely know what the hell is going on, but who cares, I am sold on this. I need to pick up #6 tomorrow!
5. Planetary - Written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by John Cassaday, published by Wildstorm Comics (R.I.P.) a DC Comics imprint. Issue #27 came out in 2010 and the funny thing was that I did not even realize that there was an issue #27 coming out, but I am glad that it did. This book wrapped up an incredible series and I was sad to see it go.
6. S.H.I.E.L.D. - Written by Jonathan Hickman, illustrated by Dustin Weaver, published by Marvel Comics. Warring factions between the greatest minds of all time with a dash of the Marvel universe as well. Deep, difficult and deliberately paced. This is a book to watch.
7. Stuff of Legend - Written by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith and illustrated by Charles Wilson III, published by Th3rd World Studios. Third times the charm. Not much more to say other than I cannot wait for the conclusion to volume two, "The Jungle."
8. Sweet Tooth - Written and Illustrated by Jeff Lemire, published by Vertigo Comics a DC Comics Imprint. Yup, went from trades to floppies and I am dying to read the next issue.
9. T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents - Written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by Cafu and guests, published by DC Comics. A dusted off old superhero series that is turning out to be great thus far and is written by Morning Glories superstar Nick Spencer. Heroes with an expiration date...classic
10. The Walking Dead - Written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Charlie Adlard, published by Image Comics. You know what it is and how much I love it, buy it!
I will also say that I also like Heroes for Hire quite a bit as well.
That's it for now, I will add if I missed anything.