Over the course of a year I read a lot of comic books. I'm talking about a lot of fucking comic books. That's not a boast. If anything, it's an admission of guilt or a cry for help. At the very least, it should be a sign that I should mix in a magazine, a Blu-ray player instruction manual or the side of a Halcion bottle. To my credit, I have just finished William Gibson's Zero History, which I highly recommend.
Although I read the weight of Rush Limbaugh's OxyContin supply in comics, the books aren't always from the current year. Sometimes, I'm catching up on old comics I've never gotten around to reading, like Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy's run on Master of Kung Fu. And sometimes, I get a hankering to re-read Grant Morrison's The Invisibles for the hundredth time. That means many of the current year's comics get backlogged, set aside to be read at another time. By mid-2011, I should be able to tell you the best comics that came out in 2010.
But until it does, check out my list of lists–in no particular order–after the jump.
The Best Comics:
1. Pop Matters
Why it's a good list: Most of these lists simply reflect the compiler's tastes. But Shaun Huston does a nice job of contextualizing his picks in the larger scope of pop culture, which gives the whole list-making exercise some much needed depth.
Why it's a good list: This site does a wonderful job of putting together a diverse array of comic book industry names to give their own best-of lists. What makes it unique is that this isn't a collection of the usual suspects in the industry, and that's a breath of fresh air.
Why it's a good list: 1) It's a list keyed to the Jewish calendar and not the Gregorian calendar; and 2) it's a list filled with quality books that you should check out.
Why it's a good list: I'm a sucker for any list-maker who creates his own categories in order to spotlight very specific books. Also, I'm a sucker for anything Frank Santoro writes.
Why it's a good list: Tim Callahan probably puts together the most comprehensive mix of art and superhero/action comics you'll find out there. And full disclosure: his picks closely reflect my own tastes, with Afrodisiac, Love and Rockets: New Stories #3 and issues of King City next to my bed, waiting to be read.
BONUS: The Worst Comics of 2010
Why it's a bad list: Any list that puts Superman: Earth One in the same company as Darwyn Cooke's fantastic adaptation of The Outfit deserves the all-powerful (if cliched) FAIL label.
Why it's a bad list: Way to let a smug, condescending attitude get in the way of an otherwise well-done list. Why make a list when it's clear you consider it slumming to read a comic book. Oh, excuse me, “illustrated genre.”
Why it's a bad list: Even though I enjoyed some of the books on this list, it's much too myopic. It's like picking the best music of 2010 but only picking songs that played on over-the-air, corporate radio. Plus, why is best collectible in a list of the best comics of the year?
Note #1: Thanks to the I Love Rob Liefeld blog for its meta-list of best-of lists in the comics blogosphere, which helped me in my research.
Note #2: And speaking of lists of lists, this edition of Panel Discussion was conceived and written before I read this fabulous article by Patton Oswalt. I'm not sure this list of lists is part of the problem or part of the solution, but I fully embrace his thinking. And I'd like to think he was referring to my list of boobs.