I’ve already written, over on Comics Daily, about what I’d call my absolute number one comic of the decade (although it was something of a tight choice), but I wanted to go into a bit more detail with a list of the 20 comics that have, for me, defined these ten years – my first full decade of properly reading/buying comics on a regular basis – more than any other. It’s perhaps not as “worthy” a list as a lot that you’ll find online around this time – I do read a fair amount of indie books and webcomics, but it’s fair to say that the bulk of my reading remains in the mainstream, superhero genre. Which I don’t think there’s anything wrong with, frankly, since – as is evident from my list – I reckon the best examples of those books easily hold their own against anything else from the decade you’d care to mention. With that in mind, then, here’s my list:
1. All Star Superman (Morrison/Quitely)
Quite simply a masterpiece, the most wonderful superhero comic since Moore stopped doing them.
2. Scott Pilgrim (O’Malley)
As perfect a fusion of the aesthetics of videogames and comics as you’ll find; plus, a funny, smart, apt and moving character piece.
3. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Moore/O’Neill)
The greatest writer in the industry at almost the best he’s ever been. And still an utterly unbeatable high concept.
4. Formerly Known as the Justice League (Giffen/deMatteis/Maguire)
The funniest comic of the decade, a nostalgia-fest that manages to be even better than the series it calls back to.
5. Alias (Bendis/Gaydos)
Sorely underrated failed-superhero-turned-detective series, home to Jessica Jones, the best original character comics came up with this decade.
6. Casanova (Fraction/Ba/Moon)
I’m joining the chorus of people saying that this dazzling, freewheeling, bonkers spy saga will have more influence on 2010s comics than any other.
7. Powers (Bendis/Oeming)
Lost its way after a hiatus and relaunch, but at its peak, no series this decade was a more gripping piece of superhero deconstruction.
8. We3 (Morrison/Quitely)
Beautiful, tragic, unique, groundbreaking, brilliant.
9. Phonogram (Gillen/McKelvie)
Hip (and not-so-hip) music references are merely the tool with which Gillen expertly peels away at human emotions and interactions.
10. Ultimate Spider-Man (Bendis/Bagley/Immonen/Lafuente)
Everything a modern-day Spidey book should be – inventive, fun, exciting, fresh. Puts the “proper” version to shame on a monthly basis.
11. Superman: Secret Identity (Busiek/Immonen)
Charming little series with a terrific hook, and as good an examination of the myth of Superman as just about any featuring the “real” character.
12. The Ultimates (Millar/Hitch)
Took the template laid out by The Authority and turned it into the best superhero movie never seen – before becoming a huge influence on the real thing.
13. Ex Machina (Vaughan/Harris)
Far superior to the much-lauded Y: The Last Man, the closing page of issue #1 is still the most gut-punchingly brilliant comics trick in years.
14. Blue Beetle (Giffen/Rogers/Hamner/various)
Surprisingly excellent, unpretentious, funny, character-driven superheroics.
15. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth (Ware)
A little heavy-going, but somewhat touching, and the sheer level craft on display is indisputable.
16. The Umbrella Academy (Way/Ba)
Owes a lot to the likes of Morrison and Fraction, but still a superbly fun and inventive series.
17. New X-Men (Morrison/Various)
Probably the best sustained creator run on an existing title (in a decade that was light on good examples of such things), and almost as influential on the decade as The Authority.
18. Captain Britain and MI:13 (Cornell/Kirk)
The Brits take on the world (well, the Marvel Universe) and almost win, getting in 15 issues of marvellous, witty superhero team book action before the sadly inevitable cancellation.
19. 52 (Morrison/Rucka/Waid/Johns/Giffen/various)
A huge gamble, but the experiment paid off handsomely, resulting in a truly gripping weekly-serialised experience. A shame every attempt to replicate it has so far failed.
20. Batman (Morrison run)
A run that hasn’t been without its flaws, but still a compelling and intriguing jaunt into the Dark Knight’s psyche, with some truly brilliant moments.
Oh, and #21, obviously, would have been The Amazing Spider-Boy.
Let’s have a work update, then, as I’ve got a few things to link to/post about since getting back from That America…
– First off, a new piece for Channel 4 Film / Film4 (er, whichever it’s called, now) to tie in to the upcoming release of Avatar – a rundown of the previous films of James Cameron.
– Secondly, turn to page 56 of the current issue of UK Wired and you’ll see a daft little sidebar thing on the mortality rate of Bond girls, collated by yours truly. Strangely, it seems to be drawing a bit of attention, including people saying that the Daniel Craig entry was WRONG. Well, it isn’t, so there. There’s a specific criterion for which characters are included (otherwise you could debate various characters’ eligibility until the cows come home), which should be fairly obvious from looking at it. Nice that something so throwaway should inspire debate, though (also nice to see a couple of letters in the last WSC making reference to my squad numbers article, too).
– And, I rarely link to Comics Daily articles on here (since the site updates every day anyway), but we’ve just kicked off our end-of-decade musings, and here’s what I had to say about what I reckon is the best comic of the 2000s. Of course, for anyone who knows me (or reads the site), it’s hardly a massive surprise.
For those not around last time, this is something that started a couple of years back when I put the call out to my LiveJournal friends to suggest decent Christmas songs – I wanted to put together a festive compilation of my own since (I suspect like many) I like Christmas songs in theory, but in practice find myself getting sick of the same old five or six being constantly repeated (although even then, I don’t outright hate most of them like some do). The rough theme was that the majority of tracks would be on the indie/obscure side, but I threw in a few more obvious ones as well – really just based on personal preference more than anything (this explains why, yes, there are two versions of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – DEAL WITH IT).
Anyway, it seemed to go down quite well, and again when I reposted it last year. So this year, I’m getting it posted nice and early – and I’ve also made some alterations, removing one track and adding in a couple. I’m posting it on my webspace for now, so please help yourselves (yes, I know it’s technically illegal filesharing, but I don’t think it’s particularly harmful, and hopefully there won’t be so many people that my paid-for bandwidth would get caned) between now and Christmas (it’s perhaps a little early – but what the heck, it’s advent now, and I’ve been waiting to post this for a while), and hope you enjoy!