Enough about what we think are the best comics of 2010...what do the comic creators think? MTV Geek asked some of the hottest comic book writers and artists out there for their top three picks of 2010!
Dean Haspiel, creator of "Billy Dogma" and artist of Vertigo's "Cuba: My Revolution", and HBO's "Bored To Death."
1) The Playwright by Daren White and Eddie Campbell (Top Shelf)
Absurdly funny and morbidly honest, this tome explores loneliness, decline, and the perverse side of the human condition with appalling dignity and witty panache.
2) Make Me A Woman by Vanessa Davis (Drawn and Quarterly)
Vanessa Davis picks up the gauntlet Harvey Pekar left behind and shows us that, not only can "comic books be about anything" but that they should be, too. Innocent, embarrassing, intelligent, sexy and sweet, Vanessa Davis makes me a woman.
3) Motel Art Improvement Service by Jason Little (Dark Horse)
Jason Little is the unheralded promise of my generation of cartoonists. I've been waiting seven years for his bubblegum pop-noir to finally come into fruition, majestically capping off an exciting decade of comix aughts.
Sanford Greene, creator of MTV Comics' "1000" and artist of Marvel' "Deadpool Team-Up," and "Marvel Adventures."
1) Turf by Jonathan Ross and Tommy Lee Edwards (Image Comics)
I love this series and I am also huge fan of co-creator Tommy Lee Edwards art! This book has two of my favorite genres, vampires and aliens! Those two genres lately has seem to be a bit overblown, but the concept of "Turf" really puts a cool spin on both. I can't wait to get the collected addition as well!
2) Last Days of American Crime by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini (Radical Publishing)
I was really taken back by this awesome mini series! Rick Remender is quickly becoming a superstar writer and he is making sure he keeps his indie roots. Greg Tocchini's caught my eye with this title and I have been stalking his art ever sense!
3) Wednesday Comics Collected Edition by Various (DC Comics)
This by far was my favorite book/series this year! It was a very daring project that replicated the Sunday funnies by including over a dozen DC heroes and stories, coming out once a week for 12 weeks. It started in 2009, but was collected this year and could not wait to get my hands on it! Needless to say I was blown away. If you are a fan of just a good story without all the crossover/ overlapping plots that seems to dominate this industry these days, then I highly recommend this one!
Camilla d'Errico, creator of "Tanpopo" and "Helmetgirls"
1) Unknown Soldier by Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli (Vertigo Comics)
One of my favourite writers, Joshua Dysart does an amazing job of layering real world events and situations with psychological intrigue and all-out action. The experience of this book was incredible, it makes you think, it makes you feel, it's everything a comic book should be.
2) The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Image Comics)
A comic that takes the grayscale approach, huge pat on the back for taking that artistic risk. It's like reading a film noir and really throws you back into the classic black and white zombie movies. The characters are the feature here, the violence second, its as realistic an approach to a sci-fi as a story can get.
3) Kobato by CLAMP (Yen Press)
The newest title from CLAMP. Adorable innocence mixed with violent comic relief and the ever-looming plot twist. I love the characters and find them charming, you find yourself intrigued and beguiled by the main character and the mysteries that surround her.
Tom Beland, creator of Image Comics' "True Story Swear To God"
1) The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Image Comics)
I'd have to say that one of the best stories I've followed was the incredible popularity of "Walking Dead" on AMC. There have been shows based on comic books, but this is the first show I know of where non-comic book fans talked about how they HAD to see it. I have family members who can't get enough of the series and I'd lend them my WD compilations and now they buy the floppies. It's really cool when the studio follows the book loyally and as it's seen on the page and they don't have to put their spin on it.
2) Invincible Iron Man by Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca (Marvel Comics)
I gotta admit, I've never been much into shell-head in my youth. It takes a huge push to get me into even trying his title, but when I finally did... wow. Some of the best characterization in comics. Ugh...Fraction is just too cool for school. The fact that I can blab on about how great the writing is before even going into the art by Salvador Larroca speaks volumes about how great this book has been.
3) Ultimate Spider-Man by Brian Bendis and David Lafuente (Marvel Comics)
Yeah, yeah, it's written by Bendis and blah blah blah...I want to talk about those insanely cool pages by Lafuente. Every page and every panel David puts out there is interesting. I can look at those expressions and those angles and totally have a great time breaking them down. Best artist of Ultimate Spider-Man, hands down. He did a two-page spread of the Daily Bugle newsroom that still has my head boggling. It may be cool for everyone that Mark Bagley is returning to this book... but I'm ultimately bummed that David won't be drawing it. What a great ride!
Michel Fiffe, creator of "Zegas," "Fut Miso" and "Panorama"
2) The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd by Benjamin Marra (Traditional Comics)
I think Maureen lied when she said she hadn't read this comic. C'mon, Maureen, you can't ignore something like this!
3) Love & Rockets: New Stories #3 by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
I'll never get tired of saying that if you don't like this comic, then you hate comics and thus, you hate life.
1) Death-Day Part One by Sam Hiti (La Luz Comics)
I love Sam Hiti. Death-Day is untethered imagination.
2) From the Ashes by Bob Fingerman (IDW)
I can't stop looking at Bob's amazing cartooning. He does some fantastic stuff with color in the book.
3) Parker: the Outfit by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
Nobody tells a visual story like Darwyn.
Benjamin Hatke, creator of First Second's "Zita the Spacegirl"
1) Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol (First Second, forthcoming)
Vera’s one of those cartoonists who makes even the most everyday situations shine with her skills in drawing body language and gesture. Throw in a ghost and a mystery and a dash of YA humor and you have yourself a fine graphic novel indeed.
2) Koko Be Good by Jen Wang (First Second)
By turns funny, touching and introspective -- it’s the story of three young people trying to discover just what it means to be good. But what really shines in this book is the impeccable watercolor artwork. Each page is a pleasure to behold.
3) Solomon’s Thieves by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham with colors by Alex Puvilland (First Second)
A good old-fashioned swashbuckling adventure and the first part of a trilogy that follows the last of the Knights Templar as they ambark on a great treasure hunt across Medieval France.
Joshua Hale Fialkov, Creator/writer of MTV Comics' "Helltown", Archaia's "Tumor" and Top Cow's "Echoes"
1) Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire (Vertigo Comics)
Jeff manages to take a far out sci-fi concept and execute it with the same humanity and care as his earlier creator owned work. Far and away the most emotionally involving story about a mutant hybrid you'll read this year.
2) Unknown Soldier by Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli (Vertigo Comics)
Bleak but amazing. Dysart has been quietly making some of the most thought provoking comics in the industry for a few years now, and the thorough, haunting work he's done on the cancelled too soon Unknown Soldier is just jaw dropping.
3) Thor the Mighty Avenger by Roger Landridge and Chris Samnee (Marvel Comics)
Everything that there is to love about superheroes is in this book, done better than it's been done since Stan and Jack and Steve did it fifty years ago. Filled with heart, passion, and amazing action, it's proof that the big two can make breath taking comics (even if they cancel them after a short eight issues.)
Andy Kuhn, co-creator/artist of Image Comics'/Cartoon Network's "Firebreather"
1) Parker: the Outfit by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
A great story by Richard Stark, and an incredible adaptation of that story by Cooke. Darwyn's masterstroke is using a different art style for each heist. Brilliant!
2) Scalped by Jason Aaron & R. M. Guera (Vertigo Comics)
This is simply the best monthly comic currently being produced in America. The gold standard.
3) American Vampire by Scott Snyder, Stephen King and Rafael Albuquerque (Vertigo Comics)
This is an excellent American reinvention of the vampire myth. Rafael Albuquerque is crushing it on the art every issue.
Marjorie Liu, New York Times Best-Seller and writer of Marvel Comics' "X-23" and "Daken: Dark Wolverine"
1) Scalped #35 by Jason Aaron, Danijel Zezelj and Jock (Vertigo/DC Comics)
A beautiful, haunting, story about an elderly couple and the great love they have for one another -- a love that gives them the strength to endure the hardship -- and heartbreak -- of their lives.
2) Return of the Dapper Men by Jim McCann and Janet Lee (Archaia)
Whimsical and profound, with breathtaking art by Janet Lee, this story about friendship and compassion will get you, sweetly, between the ribs. It's pure magic.
3) Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson (Dark Horse Comics)
Where do I begin? It has all my favorite things -- magic, horror, talking animals! Could my cats and poodle stop the zombie apocalypse? You bet, man! Which is why I totally love this book.
Kody Chamberlain, creator/artist of MTV Comics' "Punks" and Image Comics' "Sweets"
1) Lint: Acme Novelty Library Volume 20 by Chris Ware (Drawn and Quarterly)
"Lint" is probably my absolute favorite book of 2010. The story follows a man named Jordan Wellington Lint from conception to death and everything in between. With a complex mix of graphic design, typography, panel layout, color theory, and every sequential art technique under the sun, Ware shows us the journey of a man through life in a very honest and caring way. It's a little hard to describe Ware's work without actually seeing it, but the best term I can use to describe it is meticulous. If you skim a Chris Ware book, you might think the design, lettering, and comics are clean vectors produced with the help of Adobe Illustrator or Freehand, but it's actually all hand drawn including the lettering and typography. Ware isn't just a cartoonist, he's a craftsman and a perfectionist and he's great at using color to control mood and visual ideas. The sequential art is highly experimental but always focuses on story and character. Many people I've talked to dismiss Ware's work because of the cartoony art style, but there's a layer of emotional depth to his stories that most comics can't come close to. I've read "Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth" several times and it's easily one of the deepest and most satisfying emotional journeys I've ever read in a comic. For those looking for a great entry point, pick up "Acme Novelty Library: Annual Report to Shareholders" hardcover from 2005. It's mostly one or two page stories and shows an incredible range of work and introduces many of the characters found in other editions of the Acme Novelty Library including "Lint" and "Jimmy Corrigan." You wouldn't know it from his cartoon work, but Ware is also an amazing life artist. Grab both editions of the Chris Ware Date Book for a look behind the scenes at his figure and architecture sketches, and a peek at his process through sketches, unfinished cartoons, and various thumbnails. Ware consistently produces some of the most inspiring work in comics and "Lint" is right up there with "Jimmy Corrigan."
2) Parker: the Outfit by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
It was a close call, but "The Outfit" was my second favorite title of 2010. "The Outfit" is an adaptation of the Richard Stark (aka Donald Westlake) novel by the same name and it's part two in the series of graphic novel adaptations from Cooke, the first being "The Hunter." Cooke skipped the second novel in the series, and instead, pulled a chunk from "Man with the Getaway Face" as a sort of transition between "The Hunter" and "The Outfit." It actually works quite well considering there's a lot of material in the second novel that could have been used. But the economy of storytelling works amazingly well and if you haven't read the novels, you'd never miss it. I've been a fan of the novels for years and I think both of Cooke's adaptations are fantastic additions to the Parker character. In my opinion, the Cooke adaptations capture the feel of the novels far better than "Point Blank" or "Payback," although I loved both films. Like Ware, Cooke uses a lot of experimental techniques with "The Outfit" although "The Hunter" was fairly straightforward and "The Outfit" was far more experimental. I'd suggest reading both books in one sitting since they tie together so well.
3) Hellboy: The Storm by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo (Dark Horse Comics)
Finally, "Hellboy: The Storm" by Mike Mignola and Duncan Fegredo. I've loved Hellboy since the early issues and it's one of only a handful of comics that I've purchased every story three times (single issues, paperback, and hardcover). I recall hearing rumors years ago that Mignola was planning to bring in a different artist to draw the core Hellboy title and I was more than a little skeptical. Plenty of artists have drawn parts of the Hellboy universe, but no one had drawn the core title except Mignola, so I had big doubts. But the second I heard Fegredo's name I was on the bandwagon. Fegredo is easily one of my favorite artists working in comics and although I hadn't seen any of his Hellboy pages yet, I was sure he'd be a perfect match for the book. Turns out I was right. They're a few years into the collaboration so things have obviously clicked into place and each creator is playing to the strengths of the other. "Hellboy: The Storm" is the latest in the run and it's been a fantastic read. I'd highly recommend it, especially if you're stuck in the superhero world and looking for something a little different. Hellboy is probably the perfect transition book between the superhero mainstream and independent creator owned comics and "Hellboy: The Storm" is only 3 issues, so give it a try!
Paul Grist, creator of Image Comics' "Jack Staff" and artist of IDW's "Doctor Who"
1) The Dandy (D.C. Thomson)
A weekly British childrens comic, that responded to falling sales by basically going completly bonkers and turned into one of the most vibrant energetic comics I've seen in a long time! Lots of new artists and new attitudes - definitly my highlight of the year!
2) Torpedo Vol 1 by Sanchez Abuli and Jordi Bernet (IDW)
Lovely hardcover collection of black-and-white crime stories by Sanchez Abuli and Jordi Bernet (with the first two drawn by Alex Toth!). Stunning black and white art with a lively translation by Jimmy Palmotti. Classic comics!
3) A Study in Scarlet by Ian Edgington and INJ Culbards (Self Made Hero)
Ian Edgington and INJ Culbards adaptation of the very first Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle. Great story, great cartooning, and great production values. And it's Sherlock Holmes! Highly recommended!
Matthew Clark, artist on DC Comics' "The Outsiders" and "Doom Patrol"
1) The New Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen (Marvel Comics)
Stuart Immonen is possibly the best artist working in comics today. From his storytelling to figure drawing no one seems to do it better. Stuart is contently evolving his style and approach to the craft. Good stories also help.
2) Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 by Various (Dark Horse Comics)
Joss and company are telling well written stories and really does have the feeling of the show. It's always nice to see a more "girl"positive book on the shelves for readers to pick-up and enjoy.
3) Stumptown by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth (Oni)
Rucka is telling the stories that he is great at, a strong female lead with crime fiction and a touch of humor. It's a well crafted book from beginning to end featuring a down but NOT out P.I. whom despite her flaws get's the job done.
Rob Guillory, co-creator/artist of Image Comics' "Chew"
1) Mesmo Delivery by Rafael Grampa (AdHouse Books/Dark Horse Comics)
This was only my second encounter with Grampa's work (after the Eisner-winning 5), and this knocked me on my ass. Grampa's art is textured, rich and elegant, and he writes a helluva ominous script, too. This is just good comics, period.
2) Afrodisiac by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca (AdHouse Books)
This book just makes me smile without end. Great art, fun scripts, and perfect package design. And there are afros in it. SOLD.
3) The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Image Comics)
The best monthly comic being published today. Also the most addictive.
Nathan Fox, co-creator/artist of Heavy Metal's "Flourescent Black" and artist of Marvel Comic's "Dark Reign: Zodiac"
1) Afrodisiac by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca (AdHouse Books)
I am a huge fan of Jim's work and storytelling super powers and this book is hands down one of the most fun and ambitious self contained collages of faked comic genre's I've ever seen. And the narrative is stronger for it. Out of the books I picked up this year, I keep going back to Afrodisiac. I have no clue how he pulled it off and even fewer words and prowess to describe it - it just is. And it is awesome and with all respects, to the core, BAD ASS, SUCKA!
2) Night Business 3 by Ben Marra (Traditional Comics)
I have been fortunate enough to know of Ben's work since issue #1, Gangsta Rap Posse #1 and before. He remains one of my favorite illustrators to date and ANYTHING that comes out of this man's mellon is worth the investment and praise. The best way to describe it is as such - If you ever needed a naughty and unapologetic pleasure, search no further than the world of Benjamin Marra & traditionalcomics.com.
3) The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd by Benjamin Marra (Traditional Comics)
I mean, come on! This is gold. Gotta have it.
4) Pluto by Naoki Urasawa (Viz)
I know the whole series didn't come out this year but I read it all this year and each volume was by far mind-blowing volume after volume. I couldn't put them down or read them fast enough. The development of pace, characters and narrative structure was inspiring to say the least. I go back to Ottomo's work yearly to get my fix and study - I would have to say that URASAWA & Pluto now demand the same weight, study & return. It is truly EPIC!
Jen Wang, creator of First Second's "Koko Be Good"
1) Make Me A Woman by Vanessa Davis (Drawn and Quarterly)
A delightful collection of slice-of-life comics by a thoughtful cartoonist. I dare any girl to read this and not wish Vanessa was her best friend afterwards.
2) Drinking At the Movies by Julia Wertz (Three Rivers Press)
If you've ever considered yourself a screw up (which should be most of you), you'll enjoy the hell out of this book. Hitting rock bottom is no fun for anyone, but rather than hide her shame, Julia laughs at herself the whole way through. You will too.
3) Smile by Raina Telgemeier (GRAPHIX)
There are lots of moody, angst filled books about adolescence, but few really capture the innocence and inherent sweetness of being young as well. Raina uses the humiliating experience of losing her two front teeth as backdrop for the series of events that shaped her teenage life. Warm, funny, and honest.
Andre Szymanowicz, creator of "Sushi Nachos" and artist of Image Comics' "Elephantmen"
1) Arzach: L'Arpenteur by Moebius (Glénat Moebius productions)
I don't read the French language, but I think I looked at this so much, that the story became pretty clear after a while. Moebius is 72, drawing digitally and is at the top of his game (and everyone else's). It is brilliant to look at, and simultaneously inspiring to think it is possible to achieve this level of quality in such later years.
2) King City/Orc Stain (tie) (Image Comics) by Brandon Graham/James Stokoe
Ties do indeed suck, but there was no way I could leave either of these guys out. They are comic makers to the core, both of them, and anything they make shows their love and talent for the medium. "King City" finished this year to an immensely satisfying ending, and "Orc Stain" continues to show the talent and insanity of James Stokoe's work.
3) Lose #1 and 2 by Michael Deforge (Koyama Press)
I don't know where this Deforge guy came from, but he knows something about how to make a good damn comic. You know sometimes, when you read a good comic, and you just get this undeniable feeling inside of you. Its too rare these days. His stories and style are just very refreshing and like nothing else out there.
Vasilis Lolos, creator of MTV Comics' "Hats" and Oni's "Last Call"
1) Takemitsu Zamurai by Taiyo Matsumoto (Tekkon Kinkreet, No5)
It looks amazing and kinda reads like a haiku. Great stuff, if you'd like to see how those 70's European trippy publications would look set in a medieval Japan setting, this is it.
2) DMC! Detroit Metal City by Kiminori Wakasugi (VIZ)
I love that book, it's about a kid that moves to Tokyo from a village and wants to get involved in to the "hip" "indie" scene of Tokyo where he wants to make it as a "Swedish pop" musician. Instead he ends up as a "demon-king" frontman in the biggest most intense death metal band of Japan. Kinda like Clark Kent and Superman, but instead of Superman think Gaahl from Gorgoroth.
3) These are too good I think, a third one would throw off the balance.
Jim Mahfood, creator of Image Comics' "Grrl Scouts"
1) Afrodisiac by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca (AdHouse Books)
Blaxploitation comics at their very best. This entire collection is amazing, it's beautifully put together, and visually Jim Rugg is a genius. He made all the art look like it was made in the 70's....there is so much pain-staking detail and design going on here, it's a blast! You could hand this to anyone and tell them it was made in 1973 and they would believe you.
2) Peepo Choo by Felipe Smith
Felipe is a friend of mine, he is an American living in Japan, making these comics. This is some of the most insane manga you will see. It has everything I want in my pop entertainment...sex, drugs, rock 'n roll, incredible action, bloody violence, and unforgettable characters. The whole thing is completely over the top and twisted.
3) Mutafukaz #3 by Run (Ankama Editions)
You have to see this to believe it. I discovered this when I was in France and the new book (#3) just came out this year. The presentation and packaging is fantastic, there are different paper stocks in the book, the artists draws in slightly different styles, the whole thing has it's own unique look and feel to it. It has gangsters, aliens, hot chicks and mexican wrestlers all mixed together and thrown into a blender with West Coast vato/gangbanger culture all filtered through a French lense. Yea.
Karl Altstaetter, creator of MTV Comics' "Me2" and artist of Hyperwerks' "Samurai: The Graphic Novel"
1) A God Somewhere by John Arcudi and Peter Snejberg (Wildstorm)
A very "human" take on the idea of a "Superman" type character. Fantastic dialogue and subtle relationships makes this book more on an "experience" than just a read.
2) Biomega by Tsutomu Nihei (Kodansha)
The American edition of this Post Apocalyptic Manga is filled with Zombies, motorcycles, Tinkerbell-like A.I.s and a talking bear. What more could you ask for?
3) Nemesis by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven (Marvel Comics)
Mark Millar has mastered the Comic Book Movie within a Comic vibe to his work. Part Batman part Hannibal Lector, Nemesis is smart and funny and gives me my fix of Superhero Torture Porn when Kick Ass is not coming out.
Hal Hefner, creator of Heavy Metal's "Gates"
1) Batman Beyond by Adam Beechen and Ryan Benjamin (DC Comics)
It was great to see Terry McGinnis finally get his due in comic form. Batman Beyond to me is one of the greatest cartoons ever, so I was really stoked to see it get a series this year. It was refreshing to escape the death of Batman garbage and it helped me forget how awful the rebirth of Bruce Wayne was.
2) Lady Mechanika by Joe Benitez (Aspen)
This was a fresh new steampunk series I really got into. As a painter, color theory geek and a guy with a graphic design background, I love Peter Steigerwald's work--because to me he is the best in the business. In creating my comic Gates, Peter's coloring work has been a huge inspiration to me and in this series he was amazing--as usual.
3) Nemesis by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven (Icon)
I haven't been too thrilled with Marvel recently but Mark Millar's nemesis was pretty cool. I liked the design of the character and though the series was kind of predictable and a little stale at times it was fun to see this kind of take on the anti-hero, in a time when all Marvel does is kill off and bring back heroes from the dead. I have to admit the whole, "What if Batman was the Joker?", tag line coming from Marvel kind of had me hooked just because I was waiting to see when DC was going to drop the legal bomb on them.
Ben Templesmith, co-creator/artist of Image Comics' "Choker" and IDW's "30 Days of Night"
1) Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image Comics)
Has to be Chew. For the concept alone. Yet, on top of that, the writing is witty and GOOD, because Layman does a lot of meth or something... and the art perfectly suits the nature of the work. A great example of a completely in sync book. Deserving of all the success it's had. And the hardcover version is a thing of beauty.
2) Cowboy Ninja Viking by AJ Lieberman and Riley Rossmo (Image Comics)
I picked up "Proof" semi-regularly but I'm much more a fan of this one. Really starting to grow to dig Rossmo's art, especially because it's nice there's a great artist out there sketchier than I am. ( in his artwork I mean, in personality, I'm still probably far sketchier but that's another story. ) It's just a great random kind of book after my own heart. Plus I really like the way the lettering is handled. If you look at the thing, you'll know what I mean. Clever buggers.
3) Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy (Vertigo Comics)
Brilliant, beautiful book. I'll be honest and say it's most definitely one I pick up for the art first. Every time I look at a page of Sean Murphy art I just want to stab my eyes out in a fit of depression. If you read this Sean, I've had to buy several pairs of new retinas off the Chinese black market now because of your brilliance.
Charles Soule, creator/writer of Image Comics' "Twenty-Seven"
1) Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
This is the monthly I look forward to more than any other - at the moment, anyway. Joe Hill is building a story that's as detailed and magical as any doorstopper fantasy series you can name, with character work that's second to none. It's brutal and scary at times, but that's part of what makes it so great. Gabriel Rodriguez's art just hits my sweet spot, too - perfect, really.
2) A God Somewhere by John Arcudi and Peter Snejberg (Wildstorm)
Stories based on the premise "what if a superpowered person actually showed up in the real world?" are about everywhere - just ask Millar or Ellis. However, this one takes it to an extraordinary level. It pulls no punches, and tells a story of amazing depth and power. Super power, even.
3) Guerillas Vol. 1 by Brahm Revel (Oni Press) This first volume (of a planned trilogy) contains a relatively simple story about a troop of chimpanzees trained to fight as US soldiers in the Vietnam War. Of course, like any good book, it's so much more than the surface story - the chimps are more human than almost every other "person" we see. The art is spectacular black and white, very moody and detailed. Can't wait for the next one.
Steve Mannion, creator of "Fearless Dawn" and "The Bomb"
2) Genesis by Robert Crumb (W. W. Norton & Company)
Perhaps the greatest satirist of the 20th century illustrates the first book of the Holy Bible. Two great flavors. Perfect together!
3) So SUPER-Duper by Brian Anderson (cbg comics)
Brian's got the simple art, he's got the cute. He's got the gay. I like it.
Joe Eisma, co-creator/artist of "Morning Glories"
1) The Unwritten by Mike Carey & Peter Gross (Vertigo Comics)
This is the most mind-blowing comic I've read in quite some time. Mike Carey & Peter Gross have woven a highly immersive and dense narrative that keeps me wanting more, month in and month out. It's really a master work--with the way the stories of Tommy's father are blended into the storylines, and the with skill put into the characterizations of the cast.
2) Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image Comics)
Probably my favorite Image book on the stands right now. At first, I was really attracted to the concept and story, but as I've kept reading, I've just come to adore Rob Guillory's art. He's a big inspiration for me--you can really see his skills develop and grow over the run of the series so far. More people should take notice of this man's storytelling skills!
3) Batman & Robin by Grant Morrison and Various (DC Comics)
As someone who grew up on X-Men and didn't read much DC, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this series. Grant Morrison is one of my favorite writers, and he's had an impressive stable of artists on this book. It's been accessible, action-packed and full of eye candy.
Glen Brunswick, creator/writer of Image Comics' "Jersey Gods"
1) Superior by Mark Millar and Leinil Francis Yu (Icon)
I don't like everything that Mark Millar does, but he does have a knack for taking old American ideas, re-imagining them, and fully realizing exacty what's great about them. On the surface, this might have been a cheap Captain Marvel rip off. Millar infuses this series with a strong emotional depth that has layers of pathos and humor in equal measure--excited to see where this one goes.
2) Parker: the Outfit by Darwyn Cooke (IDW)
Cooke is one of the true modern masters of the comic field. I've no doubt he could make an illustrated cookbook exciting. Reading Cooke is like watching a master class in sequential storytelling. His latest outing is no exception as he continues stellar crime work adapting the splendid "Parker" series by Richard Stark.
3) American Vampire by Scott Snyder, Stephen King and Rafael Albuquerque (Vertigo Comics)
Scott Snyder has a real knack for setting up characters and investing you in them. The back up stories were by none other than horror master, Stephen King. For my money, Scott wipes the floor with him. Snyder is a writer to keep your eye on. And the art by Albuquerque is the perfect complement to the razor crisp storytelling.
Rick Spears, co-creator/writer of "Teenagers From Mars."
1) Hellcity: The Whole Damn Thing by Macon Blair and Joe Flood (Image)
My buddies Macon Blair and Joe Flood finished there monster of a book Hellcity this year. It's a mean-fisted crime noir set in hell that's totally worth your time. The full collection was published by Image this year and it's a must read.
2) "Frankencastle" and Uncanny X-Force, written by Rick Remender (Marvel Comics)
Yeah, yeah, I know that's two books but both from one amazing writer, Rick Remender. Remender killed it this year. I love everything that guy writes.
3. The Bulletproof Coffin by David Hine and Shaky Kane (Image Comics)
This book is beautiful and weird and that's exactly how I like my comics.
Joe Casey, creator/writer of Image Comics' "Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker"
1) Afrodisiac by Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca (AdHouse Books)
Badass from top to bottom. A great concept flawlessly executed. The packaging alone makes it a favorite of mine. A killer example of the type of storytelling that only comicbooks can do.
2) The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Objects by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse Comics)
Improvisational comics at their best. Loved the original one-shot and the added material included in this hardcover lives up to its high standard. Mignola is a master of comicbook storytelling and, like Afrodisiac, the graphic design of this book is as classy as they come.
3) X'ed Out by Charles Burns (Pantheon Books)
Burns' tribute to punk rock and Tintin. I've always loved that kind of genre mash-up and the ambitious nature of this book being the first volume in a proposed multi-book saga just hits my sweet spot.
Tim Seeley, creator of Image Comics' "HACK/slash"
1) Avengers Academy by Christos Gage and Mike McKone (Marvel)
I've been a fan of the Avengers since I was a kid, but haven't gotten excited about 'em for a few years. But Avengers Academy changes that--a great mix of old school superheroics and new-school dark intrigue.
2) Orc Stain by James Stokoe (Image)
This is what we need! Crazy visuals! Imaginative fantasy! Orcs who cut off each other's man-baggies! So glad this kind of comic can exist!
3) Savage Dragon by Erik Larsen (Image Comics)
I've been reading this series from the beginning, but the 'EMPEROR DRAGON' storyline reminded me just how great it can be. Big brawls, big continuity payoffs, and a supervillainess named "Double Paige." Brilliant.