Best comics of 2009

Posted: January 11, 2010 in Non Fiction, Writing
Tags: ,

Here we are kids at the end of another year. 2009 was a tumultuous year to say the least with an economic crisis and terrorist threats and a new Twilight movie. As we move into the next decade I am hopeful that the world will calm down, people will be nicer and my car will start. Hopeful yet knowing that none of these things are likely to happen. That is what hope is for; to see the world as you wish it to be, to believe that people are generally decent and good. I will hold on to my hope and I implore you all to try to do the same.

That’s all the hippy talk you’ll get from me today as I plan to talk about what I loved in 2009. I think this was a fantastic year for those of us who love comics, sci-fi and fantasy. I won’t lie, there were some huge disappointments this year (Final Crisis) but I think the bad was out shined by the books that either raised the intelligence of the reader or provided a sense of fun that comics have been missing for quite some time. I’m sure there will be some disagreement with my picks but I won’t say that these are the “best” books of 2009 but I will say these are the books I enjoyed the most.

BEST ONGOING SERIES

DETECTIVE COMICS
Since Bruce Wayne died the whole Bat-family of books has been top notch but none of them compare to the magnificence that is Detective Comics. Greg Rucka’s handling of Batwoman is some of his finest character work but what makes this book so great is the artwork of JH Williams III. Never have I seen an artist who is able to not only draw in multiple styles but make them blend seamlessly. If you aren’t reading this book you are missing out on the most visualy stunning comic book I’ve ever read.

BEST MINI SERIES

INCOGNITO
Ed Brubaker has become one of my favorite writers over the last few years. Between his landmark work on Captain America and his older DC series like Catwoman and Gotham Central he has earned a reputation as the go to guy for deep character work with big event level action scenes. Incognito was a smaller story about a former super villain stuck in the hell of witness protection. The series started off as a character study of a bad guy trying to do right for the wrong reasons and then blossomed into a thriller full of action and intense drama. Sean Phillips gritty noir art style was perfect for this story about broken people.

BEST NEW SERIES

UNWRITTEN
Vertigo has long been the premier imprint for edgy and intelligent comics and they have done it again with the literary beauty of Unwritten. The premise sounded kind of silly to me, the son of a prolific teen fantasy writer finds out he’s a Harry Potter like character come to life. The book itself takes you on a tour of some of the most famous literary geography Europe has to offer and gives a peek at some of the most famous writers of the last hundred years. One issue is devoted entirely to Rudyard Kipling and while it has little to do with the plot of the series, its possibly the best written issue so far. This is a brilliant series that I look forward to every month.

MOST AMBITIOUS SERIES

WEDNESDAY COMICS
I’ll be honest and tell you that I thought the idea of Wednesday Comics was a bad one. Who reads comic strips anymore? Apparently the smart people do. I sort of accidentally found myself on the pull list for this series and I have rarely been so happy with being wrong. There were a couple of stories that I didn’t love but overall the size of the book gave the artists some room to really show off what they can do. Mike Allred was born to draw Metamorpho and Adam Strange by Paul Pope was a revelation. If you missed out on this landmark series we have most of the issues in the store but more importantly, there will be an oversize hardcover next year. I implore you all to look into it as the Supergirl story alone was enough fun to buy the whole series.

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL

RICHARD STARKE’S PARKER: THE HUNTER
I decided a while ago that I didn’t care what Darwyn Cooke did, I would buy it. If his next project is to doodle on trash bags with crayons I will pick it up. When I heard that he was adapting a crime noir novel that had already been made into a Mel Gibson movie I wasn’t all that thrilled but as it was Mr Cooke, I knew I would be buying it. As everything else the man has done it was nothing short of magnificent. The bulk of the first twenty pages is nearly textless allowing Cooke’s incredible visual storytelling to set the tone of the book. Having never read any of the Parker novels I came into this with fresh eyes and loved every monochrome panel. I can’t wait for the next volume.

BEST “EVENT”

WAR OF KINGS
While everyone else continues to talk about Blackest Night and Dark Reign they seem to keep missing the best events in comics with the Marvel cosmic line. Going back to Annihilation and leading to the current Realm of Kings the team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have been the best part of the Marvel Universe. War of Kings also uses plot threads started by Ed Brubaker when he was writing Uncanny X-Men. Not only have these two shined a spotlight on the Inhumans, the Kree and Rocket Raccoon but they made Darkhawk cool, a herculean feat no matter how you slice it.

BEST ALL AGES COMIC

TINY TITANS
Every single month my whole family looks forward to reading this book. Its fun and silly and at times it reminds me a bit of the old Loony Tunes cartoons where the adults laugh at different parts of the show than the kids do. The premise is pretty simple, the Titans are in Kindergarten and their teachers and other faculty are all DCU villains. The book is quite possibly the most fun thing I have ever read.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

MUPPETS – BOOM KIDS is a new imprint from BOOM Studios and they are on a roll. They currently have the license for a multitude of Disney characters including the Muppets. The characters voices are all spot on and the stories are just as fun and quirky as the TV show. My favorite bit was the writer getting kidnapped in the middle of the Muppet Robin Hood mini series.

GAIL SIMONE– Why can’t she write every book featuring a female lead? Her run on Wonder Woman is the best that character has ever been and Secret Six is awesome every month. I have rarely read a book so deliciously demented as Secret Six. Ragdoll has quickly become one of the best parts of the DCU.

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