Thursday, January 14, 2010

The 40 Best Comics 2000-2009

First off this is not even a remotely fair list for two reasons. For one thing, unlike my interest in movies and shows, with comics my tastes run strongly to towards a particular sub-genre, the superheroes. The other reason involves company-owned ongoing series; separating where one run begins and other ends can be hard because one or more of the artists will sometimes leave before the writer and vice versa, and more rarely in some titles writers will alternate between stories (e.g Gotham Central); also sometimes a later writer will affect the enjoyment of the previous work in either direction. So all ongoing series are treated as a whole, without specific runs separated out. I've also lumped titles together unless a spin-off title has a long life of its own. Finally there must be original material during the period covered, and not just recolouring (sorry, Killing Joke). Titles with new #1's will be taken on a case by case basis

A word about the Twelve: In a perfect world I'd have liked to have included this lovely limited series. However, while the long-delayed final issue of Marvels: Eye of the Camera is expected to ship the final week in January, the final issues The Twelve seems to have fallen off the map entirely. I cannot in good conscious include a story, however good looking and well written, if I have no expectations that it will ever be completed. If the first 8 issues felt at all complete on their own it would be a different matter, but despite being well written they read more like chapters of a longer story.

1. Alias (2001-2004)
2. American Splendor (various more recent titles) (2001-2008)
3. Astro City (various titles/minis/specials) (1995-Present)
4. Avengers: The Initiative (and Annual; 2007-2010)
5. Captain America (2005-2009 series, pre-reverting to original numbering to keep this listing simple -- including Reborn)
6.Captain Britain and MI13 (and Annual; 2008-2009)
7. Catwoman (2002-2008 series)
8. Criminal (various titles) (2006-Present)
9. Deadman (2002 series)
10. Fables (and specials/mini) (2002-Present)
11. 52 (2006-2007)
12. Gotham Central (2003-2006)
13. Howard the Duck (2002)
14. Jack of Fables (2006-Present)
15. JLA/Avengers / Avengers/JLA (2003)
16. Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers (2009)
17. Manhunter (2004-2009)
18. Marvel Apes (and specials; 2008-2009)
19. The Marvel Atlas (2008)
20. Marvels: Eye of the Camera (2009-2010)
21. The Marvels Project (2009-2010)
22. New Avengers (and Annuals/Specials; 2005-2010)
23. 9-11: Artists Respond/9-11: The World's Finest Comic Book Artists Tell Stories to Remember (2002)
24. 9-11: Emergency Relief (2002)
25. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (various titles) (2004-Present)
26. The Official Index to the Marvel Universe (2009-2010)
27. Powers (various titles/specials) (2000-Present)
28. Preacher (and special -only one in 2000) (1995-2000)
29. Punisher/Punisher: Frank Castle (and annuals/specials) (2004-2009 series)
30. Reinventing Comics/Making Comics (2000/2006; Understanding Comics in 1994)
31. She-Hulk (2004-2009 series; two volumes)
32. Strangers in Paradise (various titles/specials) (1993-2007)
33. Superman: Secret Identity (2004)
34. 30 Days of Night (2002; haven't read sequels)
35. Top 10 (1999-2001 series)
36. Ultimate Spider-Man (2000-2009 series and annuals/specials; haven't yet read the 2009-on series)
37. The Walking Dead (2003-Present)
38. X-Factor (2006-2009 series and specials, pre-reverting to original numbering to keep this listing simple)
39. Young Avengers (and special) (2005)
40. Y the Last Man (2002-2008)


Jordan said...

Fables is so wonderful (and the cover art... my gosh, the cover art). That one would make my list for sure, as would Preacher, Powers, and Top 10. Gotham Central is also great (there's something about mixing police procedurals & superheroes that just works for me, apparently) but I think I'd put it under the category you mentioned: alternately terrific (especially early on; love the Joker story) and forgettable, depending on the writer and artist.

Some of my other favourites from this past decade would be Planetary, Bone, The Goon, All-Star Superman, and Invincible (so addictive; it's like Ultimate Spider-Man only better). REALLY good decade for comics, actually, even though no one (including Moore) produced anything quite up to the calibre of Watchmen or From Hell.

Andy E. Nystrom said...

I think the first half of the decade in particular was great. The second half mainstream comics lost their way a bit with all the events (though I liked 52 enough to put it in). While I liked Gotham Central enough to put it on my list, I think the Brubaker-written issues tended to be stronger than the Rucka issues.

The thing about Moore nowadays is that he sometimes loses his stories' emotions when he tries to be too intellectual. I loved the first few issues of Promethea, but as the series became more and more a textbook on mysticism the characters became less interesting and I started zoning out. He's extremely smart but I think he sometimes forgets that the stories have to appeal to both halves of the brain. This is also important because readers might not be inherently interested on what he's basically teaching a course on even if they like the characters at first.