Wednesday, December 21, 2005

COMICS: Top Ten of 2005

Okay, let's see if I've got time enough to complete this post.

I don't post about comics nearly as much as most of the people linked in my sidebar do, and when I do post about them, I don't have that much to say. But I still read a ton of 'em. I've probably forgotten some great comics released over the past year, but I'm doing my best to give credit where it's due. Forgive my faulty memory if I make any glaring omissions. So! Here's a quick rundown of ten great comics released in the past year, in alphabetical order.

All-Star Superman
It only took one issue to put this in my Top Ten. For me, this was the diametric opposite of All-Star Batman and Robin -- Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely did everything right that Frank Miller and Jim Lee did wrong. They've restored the spectacle, the wonder, the weirdness, and the sheer imagination that Superman deserves.

Banana Sunday
Root Nibot & Colleen Coover's mini-series about three talking monkeys and their beleaguered high school-aged caretaker was silly, giddy, cartoony, and unapologetic about it. I loved it. I demand more tales of Knobby, Chuck, and Go-Go!

Colonia: On Into the Great Lands
The second collection of Jeff Nicholson's all-ages adventure series continues the journey of a group of funny, likeable characters and various magical beasts through a richly imagined alternate history of America.

Gorgeous fumetti (again, if that is the right word, and also again, I don't really care if it is) comic from Mark Masterson and Greg Mannino, reimagining the world of Oz as a much darker and more dangerous place. The most recent issue, featuring the Scarecrow's heartbreaking story, is a masterpiece.

I waited a long, long, long time for John Ostrander and Timothy Truman to bring back John Gaunt, and I was not disappointed. The mini-series Killer Instinct revealed new depths to the character's already incredibly rich background, while serving up all the hard-boiled dialogue and bloody action that made the original series so great, and the TPB series of reprints of the old stuff is a welcome addition to my library. I reread the old stuff so often, it's nice to now have it in convenient book form. Although I wish they had included all the Munden's Bar backups.

Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona picked up after this book's hiatus right where they left off, with humor, teen angst, clever plot twists, some nifty guest appearances, and fantastic artwork.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Maybe not quite as wonderful as Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, but the second volume of Brian Lee O'Malley's tales of a slacker musician who has giant video game/kung fu movie-inspired battles with his girlfriend's ex-boyfriends was still funnier, crazier and more original than just about anything else I've read this year. I was a latecomer to the Scott Pilgrim craze, but I'm now hopelessly hooked.

Dan Slott and Juan Bobillo bring back the gamma-irradiated lawyer for a second go-round, and I hope it catches on this time. Very funny, self-referencing take on superheroing.

Spider-Man/Human Torch
Dan Slott and Ty Templeton's journeys through Marvel history were the most enjoyable superhero comics I read all year, bar none. Poking fun at the classic tales of Lee, Kirby, Ditko, etc., while maintaining obvious fondness and respect, and creating wonderful new stories set during various points in the evolution of Spidey, the Torch, and their relationship with one another -- it's sheer comic book joy.

Y: The Last Man
This Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra series spent 2005 gearing up for its grand finale, sending Yorick across the globe, revealing his secret to the world, and establishing dramatic changes to a number of supporting characters.

Those are the top ten, in no particular order, but above and beyond all of them, standing as the absolute best comic work I read in 2005:

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck
I called it in July! And I said all that I need to say about it in my original review. This collected edition of Don Rosa's history of the richest duck in the world is the best comic of 2005 -- even if it collects comics originally published in 1994. Hey, they were new to me, that's all that matters. This is a tremendous achievement, and a true must-read.

Whew! I'm glad I got that up before I left. Maybe I'll have time for the Top Ten movies later tonight!

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by