Wednesday, January 01, 2014

My top 10 comic books of 2013

The last time I wrote about comics on here was a year ago, with my list of favorites from 2012, but even though I haven't been posting about comics on a regular basis, I've still been reading (and keeping more current than I did last year). So once again, here's my list of my top 10 comics of the year, compiled for Comic Book Resources' massive top 100 feature, which used a few of my comments.

1. The Wake (Scott Snyder/Sean Murphy; DC/Vertigo) It's not easy to do effective horror in comics, but Snyder and Murphy make this story of ancient underwater creatures attacking a science outpost into something genuinely unsettling and creepy. And the first volume concludes with a mind-blowing cliffhanger setting up the next chapter.

2. Trillium (Jeff Lemire; DC/Vertigo) Lemire's sci-fi romance is a great example of both genres, with a time- and universe-spanning story that makes sure not to spare the small, personal details.
3. Saga (Brian K. Vaughan/Fiona Staples; Image) Continuing to build an intricate sci-fi world surrounding a fully realized domestic drama, Saga is great space opera, but even greater character study.

4. Astro City (Kurt Busiek/Brent Anderson; DC/Vertigo) I didn't realize how much I missed Astro City until it came back. Busiek is still the master at telling relatable human stories in a superhero world, and he's pretty great at telling straight-up superhero stories, too.

5. Fatale (Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips; Image) As Brubaker and Phillips have revealed more about the history of femme fatale Josephine, she's evolved into one of the most tragic characters in comics, and the series' stories this year were equal parts disturbing and heartbreaking.

6. The Superior Foes of Spider-Man (Nick Spencer/Steve Lieber; Marvel) Who knew that Spidey's foes would be ideally suited to a comedy caper book? Proof that there is always room for unique, creative standalone storytelling within a company-owned superhero universe.

7. Next Testament (Clive Barker & Mark Miller/Haemi Jang; Boom!) Leave it to Clive Barker to make God into a homicidal tyrant who also happens to be this year's most compelling new comic-book villain.

8. Lazarus (Greg Rucka/Michael Lark; Image) The corporate-controlled future of this sci-fi series is impeccably researched and detailed, and the lead character is a hyper-competent badass who's poised to challenge everything about that world.

9. Young Avengers (Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie; Marvel) Gillen knows how to write awkward and exuberant young people, and McKelvie's art is a master class in storytelling and creative panel design.

10. Chew (John Layman/Rob Guillory; Image) Is it still exciting and fun to read about people with weird food-based powers in a world dominated by the iron fist of the FDA? Of course it is.

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