January 3rd, 2020
In a previous post about my favorite television series of the 2010’s, I mentioned that I don’t think I’m very qualified to be creating most or any of these best-of lists.
But if there is just one list in the multiverse that I AM qualified for: this is it.
In alphabetical order, with short summaries why, here are my picks for the ten best comics of the 2010’s.
On paper, this was a home run. I love vampires, and what they can represent. I love Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque. But I was not ready to commit to another long-running series. So I checked out the first volume from the library; by the end of that very same weekend, I had consumed all eight books. A masterclass in serial storytelling; it showed me a lot of what I want (and don’t want) to do with my own forthcoming vampiric series, Maple Island.
Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles
Yes, this is the same Snagglepuss from the cartoons. No, this is not the Snagglepuss you remember. Reimagined as a bold playwright during a turbulent time in our country, this book will open and then break your damn heart. The supporting cast shines, even when shadows are cast everywhere.
Hawkeye (by Matt Fraction)
This is the series that marked the beginning of a new era of superhero comic. Fresh, original, hilarious and violent; plus, it features the beautiful realization of the other Hawkeye, Kate Bishop.
The most lauded mini-series of the decade deserves every accolade launched its way. An intimate, brutal, paranoid look at the wars we fight; an enlightening tale of being a parent illuminates the darkness of battle.
Welcome to a land where nobody is going to hold your hand or explain shit to you. You either pay attention, or you get left behind. A lot has been said about the brilliant world-building and exquisite illustrations, but for me, this is a tale about a girl and her demon, and that is what resonates with me.
Brian K. Vaughn + a rad 80’s aesthetic + time travel + astounding lines & colors + the best girls you’ve ever met = absolute joy.
The best series of all time. Period. A tale of star-crossed lovers that promises you no universal answers and delivers on it. This, and Sandman, are what define graphic literature for me; they tell stories and create characters of every shape, kind and form. They celebrate love and loss and everything in-between. They are, quite simply, masterpieces.
Scott McCloud delivers on this emotional examination of art and what we do with our unspecified time on this Earth. If you’re not sobbing as the last pages turn into none, then you’ve never felt alive. He uses the wealth of knowledge he’s shared with his non-fiction work to flawless effect.
Silver Surfer (by Dan Slott)
Mr. Slott was the first writer to turn me on to Norrin Radd, the Surfer, and I am forever in his debt for that. Combining what I love about Doctor Who with the pathos of a man who is filled with well-deserved guilt and regret and just wants to do the next right thing, this series takes you to the highest highs and skims right above the lows.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
The most underrated series of the decade. Ryan North truly made Doreen Green a fabulous force to be reckoned with, introducing such radical ideas as: what if we didn’t believe in “bad guys”? What if instead of trying to beat our opponents, we tried to dig in and find the root of why we were fighting in the first place? North, with impeccable art by Erica Henderson and Derek Charm, crafted a pitch-perfect series that ended its song far too soon.