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She Has No Head! – Bests (And A Few Worsts) Of 2010

Closing up our month of lists and year in review on She Has No Head! is a list of my “Bests” from 2010 (and a few worsts).  Please keep in mind that I didn’t get to read ALL THE BOOKS.  For example, The Return of The Dapper Men is sitting here and wooing me with its gorgeous swan song and telling me that it could have been a contender…but I just didn’t get to it…and that’s the way it is sometimes, but of the stuff that I read (which was A LOT), here’s what I really loved the most…

A Page from Eduardo Medeiros’ Spider-Man/Juggernaut tale from Marvel's Strange Tales II #3

Best Single Issue: DEMO VOLUME 2 ISSUE #3 “VOLUME ONE LOVE STORY”

Writer: Brian Wood

Artist: Becky Cloonan

Publisher: Vertigo

This tightly plotted, quiet, beautifully sublime issue of Demo follows Marlo, a girl who only gets through the day via post-it note instructions, finding her system hacked by an outsider – which derails her life completely – but in surprising ways.  The issue made me think about all the things I personally miss by keeping my life on such a short leash, and that sometimes good things do happen that aren’t already on the post-it note, and that there’s no way to be open to them if you’re not willing to risk, willing to lose, and willing to look up from the post-it.  Any time a book can make me think twice about life I know it’s doing something right.  Carefully crafted by Brian Wood and stunningly illustrated by Becky Cloonan (my all-time favorite of her work to date) this story was easily my favorite comic of the year.

Best New Series: STUMPTOWN*

Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: Matthew Southworth

Publisher: Oni Press

Anytime Greg Rucka wants to write a new series, especially an independent one with an interesting female lead I’m definitely on board, but I had no idea how much I’d fall for Dex and Stumptown.  It’s not everyday in comics that wonderfully layered female characters are created, but Greg Rucka is the best at doing it as far as I’m concerned, and his lovable screw-up Portland P.I. Dex, is no exception.  This first arc follows Dex as she tries to find a missing girl and in the process encounters two different sets of thugs (one set a little more polished than the other), a pair of scheming siblings, the seventh wealthiest man in Oregon, and a whole lot of other trouble. It’s excellent smart fun from cover to cover, and Matthew Southworth’s art is gritty and fitting for the story and particularly exceptional on the 4th issue, where he really pulls out all the stops.

*Technically Stumptown debuted in November of 2009, but since only one issue occurred in 2009, and it wouldn’t have been enough work to consider for 2009, I’m placing it firmly in 2010.

Best Ongoing Series: BATMAN & ROBIN

Writer: Grant Morrison

Artist: Various (Frank Quitely, Frazer Irving, Andy Clarke, Cameron Stewart, and more)

There were highs and lows to Batman & Robin this year, but I realized that it was consistently the comic I reached for first when it showed up in my pile, and it was consistently a book that pleased and impressed me and only occasionally disappointed me.  The chemistry and character development for Dick Grayson as Batman and Damian Wayne as Robin was sublime overall in B&R and I came to love those characters and their relationship together so much that I actually worried a little about what would happen when Bruce returned – and THAT is a major accomplishment.  Additionally, while I was displeased overall with the arc(s) detailing the return of (my beloved) Bruce Wayne and thought most of the stories were pretty badly mangled – spread over too many books and as such their power far too diluted – it was in Morrison and Irving’s Batman & Robin #15 that I felt Bruce’s return most powerfully…and if I was picking a runner up to “single best comic” of the year, that would probably be it.  It was the only time I got that shiver of “OMG! BRUCE IS BACK!” that I’d been waiting for and wanting so desperately.

Best Mini-Series: DV8: GODS & MONSTERS

Writer: Brian Wood

Artist: Rebekah Isaacs (covers by Fiona Staples)

Publisher: DC/Wildstorm

This was a tough category for me as I’d say three of my favorite things I read this year were mini-series in the form of Brian Wood’s DV8 and Demo Volume 2, and Dorkin and Thompson’s Beasts of Burden.  In the end I went with DV8, probably because it really re-invented superheroes for me this year.  DV8 reminded me of how many ways there are to tell great superhero stories and that often more subtle stories can be incredibly powerful and Wood nailed that here with a subtle story told on an unsubtle landscape and with characters that would NEVER be described as subtle. A tale of 8 anti-heroes dropped on a foreign planet for unknown reasons, Wood gives us an insightful and harrowing glimpse into their unraveling as both people and “heroes”.  Isaacs’ commanding cinematic style took Wood’s subtle personal story up to epic levels – a deadly effective combination which was magic for me.  It didn’t hurt that it introduced me to Rebekah Issacs AND Fiona Staples incredible art, for which I will always be grateful.

Best Anthology Series: MARVEL’S STRANGE TALES II

Writers & Artists: Various

Publisher: Marvel

I always enjoy a good anthology, but his was one of the best I’ve read, not just in 2010, but period.  With a massive glut of indie talent from Kate Beaton and Jaime Hernandez to Jeffrey Brown and Eduardo Medeiros so many of these stories were exceptional fun.  Like any anthology some work is stronger than others, and often enough one person’s best is another person’s “eh” which is part of what makes anthologies so great – that there is something for everyone – but I found this collection to be particularly strong.  Even for stories that weren’t so much my cup of tea, they were still interesting and better that most stories I read this year.  A little bit heartfelt, a little bit strange; a lot of beautiful and a whole lot of funny made this series a home run.  I hope Marvel keeps it up.

Best Anthology Series, Collected:  WEDNESDAY COMICS
Writer & Artists: Various

Editor: Mark Chiarello

Publisher: DC

I’ve talked briefly a few times about Wednesday Comics in this column before, but if you haven’t read it yet I cannot recommend it enough. The content, originally published in 12 massive oversized newsprint issues, is absolutely top of the line – the best creators (Neil Gaiman, Amanda Conner, Dave Bullock, Jimmy Palmiotti, Ben Caldwell, Brian Azzarello, Mike Allred, Walter Simonson, Joe Kubert, Karl Kerschl and many many more) working on some of their favorite characters, telling stories without limit, and collected together in this (also oversized )hardback edition is just not to be missed.  If you for any reason struggled with following along with the weekly newsprint originals, I will say that collected here by story, rather than by issue, the stories ARE easier to read, so if you were put off by the original format (for what it’s worth I LOVED that format) this might also be a good reason to try again.  I hope Chiarello will do this again sometime in the future, I’m sure it was exhausting and I don’t know if his well-deserved promotion means we’re more likely or less likely to get a Wednesday Comics Volume II, but I’ll never give up hope!

Best Original Graphic Novel: ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY #20 (LINT)

Writer & Artist: Chris Ware

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

This 20th volume of Acme Novelty Library explores the life (and I mean the ENTIRE life) of Jordan “Jason” Lint, a one-time bully of Rusty Brown who is now explored in the traditional Chris Ware exceptional and microscopic detail.  As Ware shows us Lint’s story from birth to death you cannot help but be moved and transfixed seeing a man’s life laid out as only Ware can.  In “Lint” Ware continues his experimental and highly effective examination of just what the comics medium is capable of.  It’s a must read, and as a bonus, for those potentially new to his work, it stands on its own just as nicely as it does a part of the larger whole of Acme Novelty Library.

Best Young Adult Original Graphic Novel: SHADOWEYES

Writer & Artist: Ross Campbell

Publisher:  SLG

This was also a tough category as I read a lot of great YA graphic novels this year (Mercury and Smile especially stand out) but in the end I picked Campbell’s Shadoweyes for much the same reason I picked Brian Wood’s DV8 – because it re-invented superheroes in a refreshing way that I hadn’t seen yet – and in a way that I really loved. With Campbell’s excellent ear for teen voices and exceptional illustration work paired with great coming of age themes, and darker more adult aspects of alienation, identity and a deep question of where right and wrong intersect, Campbell’s Shadoweyes managed to both entertain and provoke, as my favorite comics usually do.  Bonus points for the fact that we’re getting more Shadoweyes – in the form of Shadoweyes In Love – in early 2011 from SLG.

Best Non-Fiction/Memoir Graphic Novel:  HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL IN 60 DAYS OR LESS

Writer & Artist: Sarah Glidden

Publisher:  Vertigo

Easily one of the most insightful and thought provoking comics I read this year, I devoured Glidden’s beautiful watercolor travelogue detailing her birthright trip to Israel as a progressive American atheist Jew in one sitting.  And then I went back and read it again.  Israel approaches a touchy and loaded subject with logic and rational critical thinking, but ultimately is not afraid to also get caught up in emotion when necessary…and it is necessary, and moved me very powerfully and personally.  I found myself believing what Glidden experienced, what she resisted, what she embraced, and ultimately what she took away from her experience.  Her conflict, both internal and external, felt real and believable to me in a tangible way.  I doubt I actually understand Israel – and probably won’t even if given 60 years – but it certainly opened my mind and made me think in a way that only the best of comics can

Best Webcomic:  HARK A VAGRANT

Writer & Artist: Kate Beaton

Publisher: Web – http://harkavagrant.com

I’ve raved about Kate Beaton quite a bit this year (here and here if you want to read more) but in comics this year I’d be hard pressed to say I got more enjoyment pound for pound out of any single creator than Kate Beaton.  Her webcomics, whether more finished and polished, or quick and dirty sketches, never fail to amuse me.  There’s something very specific about both her sense of humor and her sketchy but extremely effective drawing style that just hits right in my sweet spot.  And judging by her twitter followers (22k+ and counting) I’m not alone…which is nice…because usually something that hits MY sweetspot that dead on, is not so popular, which feels kinda lonely.  But Kate Beaton is amazing and I’m just glad so many others “get it” too.  If you haven’t been reading Beaton, go over to Hark A Vagrant for her hilarious superhero comics, but stay for the historical and literay comics, and the occasional “younger self” comics, which are somehow always my favorite.

Best Collected Webcomic In Print:  THE ABOMINABLE CHARLES CHRISTOPHER

Writer & Artist: Karl Kerschl

Publisher: Self-published/Karl Kerschl

Karl Kerschl’s lovely printed collection of his weekly webcomic set in a woodland and populated by a variety of woodland creatures, including the titular (and mute) Charles Christopher, a gentle abominable snowman is gorgeous, and moving.  The story varies wildly from hilarious to heartbreaking (yes, this book has made me cry and more than once) and is one of the best-drawn comics you will find anywhere.  Kerschl’s characters (whether bird, bee, or abominable snowman) are undeniably relatable and it’s nearly impossible not to fall in love once you start reading – but prepare yourself to shed at least as many tears as laughs.

Best Trade: BATWOMAN: ELEGY

Writer: Greg Rucka

Artist: J.H. Williams III

Publisher: DC

The stunning Beasts of Burden hardcover collection really gave Elegy a run for its money, but at the end of the day I had to go with the book that I know I will re-read the most, loan out the most, the one that collects what I called “the superhero comic I’ve been waiting for” and of course the one with the Rachael Maddow introduction!  Collecting Rucka and Williams III’s brilliant Batwoman run in Detective Comics #854 – #859, Batwoman: Elegy is the comic book in my house that I love the most…and that’s saying a lot coming from a girl that skews independent pretty hard and has a significant collection (and the credit card bills to show for it).  If you haven’t read this yet…what are you waiting for?  If you’ve already read it, read it again…you’ll discover so many amazing new things each time.

Best One Shot: HELLBOY/BEASTS OF BURDEN

Writer: Evan Dorkin (with Mike Mignola)

Artist: Jill Thompson

Publisher:  Dark Horse

There’s no way I had more fun reading any one standalone story this year than Dorkin and Thompson’s Hellboy/Beast of Burden one-shot – which was wall to wall adorable fun.  With gorgeous painted artwork and amazing chemistry I never thought possible between a bunch of talking supernatural crime solving animals and the “beast of the apocalypse”, the story of Hellboy hooking up with the Beasts of Burden “team” to solve a crime is totally rewarding. I guess when you look at Hellboy and the Beasts Of Burden characters it almost makes sense for a great team-up…and certainly the results are brilliant…but I never would have thought of it until someone put it in front of me.

Best Short Story: TOO CLOSE TO CALL

Honestly, of all the categories, and of all the horror of trying to break this stuff down to “one winner” this was the most impossible of all the categories.  How do you choose between Kate Beaton’s hilarious Rogue story from Strange Tales II #3 (OR her Kraven/Spider-Man story from Strange Tales II #2!);  Lucy Knisley’s fantastic Doc Ock story from Girl Comics #1 (right); Jeffrey Brown’s hilariously emo X-Men tale from Marvel Strange Tales II #2; Eduardo Medeiros’ adorable Spider-Man vs Juggernaut from Strange Tales II #3; Faith Erin Hicks totally fun Nextwave (and a sandwich!) story from Girl Comics; Jill Thompson’s beautiful Inhumans story from Girl Comics, Amanda Conner’s Power Girl/Wonder Woman team-up from Wonder Woman #600 (more on that below); Terry Moore’s Thor tale from Marvel’s Strange Tales II #3…the list just goes on and on and on for great short work this year…and that’s just the mainstream stuff!  MOME continued to put out fantastic collections of short stories (which I am embarrassingly behind on reading).  It was all just too much.  So go out and read these stories – collected in Girl Comics, Marvel’s Strange Tales II, and the ever fabulous MOME.

Best New Character Debut: SPARKLE PARK

Creator: Ross Campbell

Publisher:  SLG

Ross Campbell’s Sparkle Park from Shadoweyes crawled into my cold dead heart and made me happy again.  Seriously, she’s one of the most energetic and lovable characters I’ve seen created for comics in well…just about ever.  In a comics world of badass chicks right and left (which I also love) it’s also refreshing to have an unabashedly girly, super open and loving character like Sparkle come along.  I fell in love with her instantly – of course it doesn’t hurt that Campbell draws her to be the most adorable thing on two legs. Sparkle is one of the most effulgent, energetic, and unique characters I’ve ever read on the page.  I can’t wait to see more of her in 2011.

Best Cover:  BATWOMAN #0

Artist: J.H. Williams III

Publisher: DC Comics

There were a hell of a lot of good covers this year.  Just take a look here for a taste of some of my favorites from August 2009 through July of 2010 – but at the end of the day, the cover I would most like to have hanging up on my wall, that best captures both the thrilling mystique of superheroes that I love but that is also stunningly impressive from simply a visual and graphic design standpoint – down to the logo placement, title block, and creator credtis…is J.H. Williams III’s Batwoman #0.

Runner up: It was almost painful for me to decide between these two as Fiona Staples cover to DV8: Gods & Monsters #2 is somehow both horrifying and beautiful.  Can’t wait to see more of what Staples is going to do in 2011.  If Magus #1 is any indication, we’re in for a lot of beautiful stuff.

Fiona Staples Cover To DV8:Gods & Monsters #2

Best new series that crashed and burned: S.W.O.R.D.

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist: Steven Sanders

Publisher: Marvel

I don’t know why a badass green-haired alien and brilliant blue beast can’t find a place for themselves in this big bad world of ours, but I was desperately sad to find S.W.O.R.D. canceled practically before it had begun.  Expanding the Marvel universe in a fascinating wall to wall fun kind of way, I got a real kick out of a book that managed to somehow both follow the “superhero format” and also blow it to bits (although apparently it didn’t follow the “superhero format” enough for the readers/publishers) but I for one found it totally refreshing while still hitting all the superhero-esque notes I know and love.  Regardless I suppose I’m grateful for the five issues I got, and the great introduction to both Gillen and Sanders.

Biggest Surprise: AMANDA CONNER’S STORY IN WONDER WOMAN #600

Writer & Artist: Amanda Conner

Publisher: DC Comics

I’ve known for a long time (as we all have) that Amanda Conner is an absolute badass when it comes to drawing comics.  She’s an exceptional storyteller, and one of the best of the best when it comes to the essentials of cartooning.  However, I didn’t know she was also a solid writer, as she proved with her deft handling of the short story “Fuzzy Logic” in the Wonder Woman #600 issue.

She blew me away with her warm funny story of Wonder Woman and Power Girl (and Power Girl’s cat) and did in 5 pages what many can’t do in 22.  What a wonderful surprise. I’d so like to see more of her writing and drawing her own work in the future – let’s make it happen!

Best Film Adaptation: SCOTT PILGRIM vs THE WORLD

Writer:  Bryan Lee O’Malley (books), Edgar Wright & Michael Bacall (screenplay)

Director:  Edgar Wright

Publisher/Studio: Oni Press/Universal Pictures

Though I loved Tamara Drewe and thought it would easily take this category for me, in the end the unbridled enthusiasm of the Scott Pilgrim adaptation – and the fact that it so wonderfully embraced the same feeling and energy of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s books -  totally won me over. I watched this via pay per view (long story) over the Thanksgiving holiday and in the first few minutes felt so perfectly drawn into Pilgrim’s world and players I sometimes felt more like I was reading a new volume, rather than watching an adaptation, which felt just right.  I know there are Michael Cera lover and haters out there (I happen to be the former) but I thought he perfectly nailed Pilgrim’s slacker charm in every frame, and the thing that was the least interesting to me in the books (the whole fighting ex-boyfriends bits – I was much more entranced with just the relationship-y slice o’ life stuff) was extremely well executed in the film.

Worst Industry Development: DC’S SHUTTERING OF CMX, WILDSTORM, ZUDA AND SIGNIFICANT LAYOFFS AT VERTIGO

All of this depressed me to no end and put another small arrow in my cold heart and all my hopes that DC and Marvel will begin to diversify and expand their characters and stories and the creators they bring in to do great projects…instead this signals (to me at least) more insulation, more continuity porn, and more giant events that I don’t give a crap about.  Some days, like the days of these closures and layoffs I feel like comics is actively trying to send me away. Good work comics. Bah humbug.

Best Mainstream Book News: BATWOMAN GETTING HER OWN SERIES

I wouldn’t have thought DC could outdo their initial Batwoman run with Rucka and Williams on Detective Comics, but when they announced that Kate Kane would not only get her own title, but get it with her “original” creative team of Rucka and Williams III…it was the smartest move I’d seen them make in…well, just about ever.  Of course that did not last, but at least their intentions were in the right place…and for a few brief months I was blissfully happy (of course I’m still happy and optimistic, just not quite SO happy).

Worst Mainstream Book News:  GREG RUCKA LEAVES DC

I mourned the departure of Rucka from Batwoman because in that moment I knew that Batwoman would never be “perfect” for me, but the bigger loss was the realization that the big two (Marvel and DC) are not able to hang on to exceptional creators like Rucka – and that that – while great for independent comics – is a bad sign for the big two – which runs the bulk of this industry for most people.  All that said, the big two’s loss is the independents’ gain…so yay for more Stumptown and dare I dream to hope…more Queen & Country?!

Biggest DC Missed Opportunity: Hmm. Where do I begin? Would it be passing on Ben Caldwell’s exceptional and so fresh and exciting looking Wonder Woman? Or passing on a delightful Zatanna webcomic by Cameron Stewart…or passing on the totally awesome Big Barda/Scott Free webcomic by Ramon Perez?  Too many to choose.

An image from Ben Caldwell's awesome Manga Wonder Woman pitch

Biggest Marvel Missed Opportunity: FAITH ERIN HICKS WOLVERINE STORY

I’m sure there are bigger and more heinous mistakes (and the title Girl Comics still sticks in my craw painfully) but I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again (though I promise this is the last time) Marvel not immediately finding a vehicle in which to publish Faith Erin Hicks hilarious Wolverine Short is a crime against all of us.  Especially considering that they had two perfect vehicles in which to give it to us – Girl Comics AND Marvel’s Strange Tales II.  LAME.  Now, the reality is that I still got the story, and I got it for free (and so can you!) but Marvel not seeing its hilarious simple brilliance and capitalizing on it…worries me.

Best Pinup:  ADAM HUGHES WONDER WOMAN #600 PIN UP

I’m not really a lover of pin-ups at this point in my life…I guess I’d rather see great covers (which frequently operate not unlike pin-ups) or really great penciling/storytelling…but I can still recognize a great one when I see it, like Adam Hughes excellent offering of Wonder Woman for the Wonder Woman #600 issue.

I especially appreciate that Diana looks strong and beautiful here and much less sex-kitteny, which I’m a fan of as I’m sure you all can imagine.

Bonus points for the kids in the drawing being based on the characters from Friends.  It’s little touches like that that help catapult this above other pin-ups I saw this year.

Thing I’d Most Like To See Tried Again In 2011:  HERALDS

You know what would curb a significant amount of my bitching about the role of women in comics at the big two?  Letting Kathryn Immonen and Tonci Zonjic turn Heralds onto an ongoing series. Though by the end of the series Heralds had a few rough spots (too many artists on deck and a story that became a bit unwieldy for a mini-series) it was still a massive amount of fun and the kind of book I’d like to see Marvel try again.  Light and fun, and bringing together a dream cast of female leads it had an enthusiasm that I found completely intoxicating.  It wasn’t a perfect series, but it was a step in the right direction – and slightly outside the usual Marvel box – and an experiment I hope they’re willing to try again.  With a more tightly woven story and one artist working on the book instead of three this series easily could have topped my “best of list”, instead of just rating a mention.

So that’s it…my year in review so to speak, what I loved so much about comics in 2010, and a few things that really bothered the crap out of me. What about you?

As it’s “that time of year” – I’d also like to just take a moment and thank all of you for such a great year on She Has No Head! – you have no idea how much I’ve appreciated the feedback and comments – especially when insightful and encouraging. You guys have made this, which is very rewarding but can also be really challenging and time consuming, all worth it, so thank you, and I hope you’ll keep tuning in.  There’s a lot to come for She Has No Head in 2011 – including some advance reviews and previews, and the return of The Ladies Comics Project, publishing in four parts, for the entire month of February.  So many thanks and a Happy New Year to you all!

*FYI – She Has No Head! is actively accepting review copies of “female friendly comics and graphic novels” for future columns on CSBG.  Please get in touch via email (using the CSBG “contact us” button above) to discuss.*

33 Comments

You forgot a couple:

Best Column of the Year: She Has No Head!

Best Podcast: 3 Chicks Review Comics

[I am NOT kissing ass! I've read more about comics and actual comics this year because of Kelly.]

There’s no law that says you have to do a top ten list in December, you know! I too still have a stack of comics to read, so I’m not doing a top ten list until I get to them, damn it!

I’m not surprised by your choices, as they’ve been one you’ve been writing about all year. I’m definitely getting the DV8 trade thanks to you, and as you know, I got Shadoweyes because of you. It’s always cool to read about the things you love.

Aww! Thanks Man. I really do appreciate the reads and support!

@Greg: Yeah, I know a lot of people prefer to do their lists in January (and beyond) and I get it…it makes sense but for me, once 2011 hits (or at least after the first few days of it) I want to look back less and plunge forward. Tomato, Tomahto I suppose! Anything I loved and missed for my “bests” lists is likely to get picked up for a full column anyway (The Return Of The Dapper Men, I’m looking at you) so I don’t feel too terrible about not getting it under the 2010 wire. :)

I hope you like DV8 definitely let me know one way or the other.

[...] Our last list of December (and of the year) to close out 2010 – check out the new She Has No Head! for a list of 2010′s ‘Bests’, and a few ‘worsts’. [...]

Okay … okay … you’ve worn me down. First 3 Chicks gets me me to buy Batwoman #0, which makes me fall in love with Amy Reeder’s art. Now, you’ve got me headed out to buy Stumptown, Demo and DV8!

As always, the list is spot on. There is not enough love that can be heaped on Kate Beaton, whose “Never Learn Anything from History,” is a book that should be on the shelf of anyone who love the art of graphic storytelling. Just absolutely brilliant.

Another great discovery for me in 2010 was “The Adventures of Walker Bean,” which I picked up just before Thanksgiving. Together with “Set to Sea,” a terrific year for nautical graphic novels. (Yeah, never thought I’d say that.)

Thanks for helping to make 2010 a really fun year of reading comics, KT. Keep it up.

Now, go read “Return of the Dapper Men” already … ;)

Great work as always.

Looking down your list, it seems as though ’10 was a seminal year for comics. It was only a couple years ago that Marvel and DC encouraged indie creators to play in their sandbox with the Bizarro Comics and Strange Tales titles. Then, the Big 2 (and DC in particular) has chopped various independently spirited initiatives off at the knees. Zuda is gone along with the prospect of DC superhero web comics. Vertigo is largely hobbled. Marvel has tied innovative creators like Brubaker (Criminal, Ingognito), Fraction (Casanova) and Aaron (Scalped) down to being their “architects”.

In other words, monthly pamphlets are getting even more boring.

Meanwhile, Faith Erin Hicks and Kate Beaton are treating Big 2 superheroes as though they were in the Public Domain while telling some of the stories in involving those characters in a long time. More importantly, Marvel is not even bothering to defend its copyright against those bootlegs. The book store market is strong enough to support a variety of literary graphic novels. Stuff like Scott Pilgrim and Tamara Drewe can cross over. Greg Rucka leaves DC and Mark Waid is heading to web-comics.

It is not hard to spot the trend.

[...] Comic Book Resources: She Has No Head! – Best (And A Few Worsts) Of 2010 [...]

thanks so much as always, Kelly. :)

Good list, Kelly, I know more than a couple of the books you mentioned will be on my Top 10 in 2010 list (I think I’ll put it up on Thursday, just because Greg likes Top 10 lists that consider ALL the books that have come out in a particular year ;)).

Hey, um, I didn’t bootleg Wolverine. I was asked by Marvel to submit a pitch for an 11 page “Wolverine or Iron Man” story, so everything went through official channels. I chose Wolverine (I’m Canadian), and the 11 page comic I posted online was the pitch I sent them. I don’t know what they wanted the story for, but doing that piece basically got me the Girl Comics job.

Anyway, I’m extremely flattered everyone liked the comic so much and that it’s still getting passed around online. I hope Marvel’s okay with that, because I don’t want to offend them. I was very grateful for the Girl Comics job; as an ex-X-Men reader (as a teenager) it definitely fulfilled a childhood dream of mine.

How come is the following three items NOT on your list ???!???

1) John Layman’s CHEW – every issue’s unforgettable;

2) Jason Aaron’s SCALPED – a truly unforgettable series;

3) Alan Moore’s NEONOMICON – a series you’d probabaly want to forget, but can’t.

Isn’t your bf concerned (or worried) about your B. WOOD-crush?

could not agree with your list more Kelly. espically the missed oppurtunities by Marvel and Dc.

@ Faith:

I am sorry if there was an implication that you had done done something wrong. You created one of my personal Top 3 Wolverine stories. I am extremely grateful that I got a chance to read it.

It is just noteworthy that original comics featuring Big 2 superheroes are appearing on the web and no one seems to be getting “cease and desist” letters. Considering Marvel is owned by a company that is legendary for its defense of Mickey Mouse, it is doubly noteworthy.

My reading of those tea leaves is that they do not appear to view comics as an strategically important channel for these properties. However, I do not have any special knowledge.

@Faith: Hey Faith – didn’t mean to imply that you co-opted Wolverine…just that I think it should have been published via Marvel and the fact that they chose not to, concerns me slightly. But I’m loving all the work you’ve been doing for them and hope they keep coming back to you for more. And thanks for the Wolverine, I’ve enjoyed it IMMENSELY as you know. :)

@Tom: I’m behind on Scalped, been reading in trade. I tried Chew a couple times, and though I liked the concept I wasn’t hooked. But so many people like it I’ve been thinking of trying it again in trade from the beginning.

@Brian: Thanks! If I thought I could read ALL the books, I probably would have waited until January…but since I can’t…might as well do it now! ;)

@Kelly: Sorry, I was responding to Dean up there. I’m unfamiliar with this commenting format. ^_^ But anyway, thank you so much for all the linkage you’ve given my work, I really appreciate it.

@Dean: No worries, glad you liked the comic. :)

Kelly, I got How to Understand Israel for Christmas. Like you I read it in one sitting, and like you I loved it, but I do think you are overpraising it to a fault. Despite how great it is, it’s also pretty problematic (something that Glidden did not shy away from bringing to the reader’s attention but still). I thought TCJ made a good point that it was pretty naive to think a Birthright tour was going to give her a full understanding of the conflict or even Israel as a state. Her cousin has to point out to her that she’s not going to be allowed to see how Israeli Arabs are treated worse than even second class citizens and yet she still is willing to believe that all the restriction on her travel are only for security, this is so ingrained in her (along with her preconceptions about the place) that she can’t bring herself to even enter Ramallah by taxi to meat up with her friend, something her tour guide admits would be safe. As a fellow Bostonian, I couldn’t help but be reminded of how suburban liberal Bostonians will talk about how racist the South is but go white as a ghost the minute you even entertain the thought of them going into Roxbury. Despite how well she read up on the subject, she was often taken over by half hearted appeals to emotion (“how can a progressive be anti anything?”, a patently absurd thought can only get a “that’s a good point” from Glidden and despite the obvious mistreatment of the Bedouins an “it’s complicated” is enough to keep her awake all night with self doubt) not that it is easy to argue with people about this stuff especially when you feel like the outsider looking in, but still. Despite how much she comes to understand that her preconceptions about Israelis were wrong, she only has a real conversation with all of one Palestinian (or perhaps he was an Arab Israeli) in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem where they talk about the New York/Boston sports rivalry. Earlier in the book she has a moment where she talks about how her conceptions of Palestinians are second hand at best (while she’s looking at a digital camera’s reproduction of a picture she took of what she thinks might be an Arab but who she never actually asks) and despite how much she acknowledges this fact she does almost nothing to rectify it. Even at the Bedouin tourist trap they bring her to, instead of talking to the Bedouins, she talks to Nadan about the Bedouins. Nadan himself is a racist, and Glidden’s refusal to acknowledge this and the way she seeks his approval over all others (Gil at least doesn’t talk about Arabs the way that people in Arizona talk about Mexicans) is confusing and distressing. As I said, I loved the book. I think Glidden is an incredible cartoonist and journalist, but I think its important to acknowledge where the book falls short.

@Julian: I’m glad you liked the book and your points are well taken but I don’t know that I agree with them. To each his/her own but I thought that strength of Glidden’s book was in part the personal perspective and her acknowledgment of her failings as a person/journalist in that she found herself often motivated by fear, emotion, etc., which I found human and relatable. Sounds like this aspect didn’t work for you, which is fine and I can understand, but I LIKED those faults of the book, as I found it made it more human and realistic to me, and a less a clinical study by someone unconcerned, unconnected, and above a lot of the fear and propaganda. Glad you checked it out though and enjoyed it and thanks for commenting.

@Kelly- thanks for all the love you’ve thrown my way! I’m humbled and honored to be on these lists! <3

It’s not so much that it didn’t work for me, but I was disappointed by it (I think Glidden was pretty disappointed with herself too) and while I can’t fault her, being a fellow American Jew who hasn’t even gone on Birthright or tried to see the place firsthand for myself, I can’t let her off the hook entirely either. It’s just that she is so good at humanizing the places and people that she does go to that you can’t help but notice what’s missing, and especially since she is sympathetic to the Palestinians it’s hard to shrug off the fact that she never really let any of them tell their story for themselves. That’s not a call for a more clinical point of view; on the contrary, it’s asking for more of the humanism that was on display throughout the book.

Also, as good as that Batwoman cover was, I’ve gotta go with Grampa’s Strange Tales II cover. That should seriously be Marvel’s house style!

Matthew Southworth

December 27, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Thanks for all the attention and love you’ve given STUMPTOWN, Kelly. It’s greatly appreciated, and I hope you’ll like the next batch just as much. So far, I like the next one more!

And good lord, everyone and I mean EVERYONE should be reading Chris Ware’s books. That Lint book is really amazing, showing me things I’ve never seen in comics or any sort of literature.

Thanks very much for the kind words. One small nit-pick, though — where you wrote “Evan Dorkin’s Beasts of Burden”, it should have read “Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s Beasts of Burden”. I know it was in passing and you credited the series properly elsewhere in the article, but not seeing Jill’s name there made me cringe a little. Anyway, thanks again.

@Matthew: Thanks for stopping by, and for bringing me excellent Stumptown – can’t wait for more. Any idea when we’re getting an issue #5?

@Evan: Thanks for stopping by and for BoB, I’ve been just savoring your beautiful hardcover. I corrected the error!

Pfft. This is such a woman’s list. :p

That said, Stumptown was incredible. I can’t wait for the next arc.

Batman the brave and the bold Cartoon network series was truly excellent this year, Still great for kids but with some suprisingly emotional episodes. You should at least check out the Batwoman and birds of prey episodes.

Matthew Southworth

December 27, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Kelly–

You’re welcome. I read this column all the time, even when I don’t get mentioned–but I read it REPEATEDLY when I’m in there. . .

No real idea on when issue 5 will come your way. We’re finishing three of the four issues before we solicit so that we’re sure to get it out on time, so I don’t know when that’s going to be. I’ll be starting issue 6 soon, and I suspect it will happen pretty fast–the first issue of an arc always takes me longer because there are lots of new characters to design, new locations, etc. Issue 5 had ten new characters (probably six or so of which will be recurring) and a bunch of important new locations, so it took a little longer than I’d hoped.

And hey, Zolton, thanks!

I would have loved to have seen an article by comics should be good concerning the best of the year from all the regular writers (just for variety) but this was an awesome read anyway. I will have to check out a lot of this eventually. (I dont really keep up with the new stuff. Just read tpbs of older stuff mostly…)

Whoops just noticed a top 100 list on the CBR homepage with some picks by CSBG writers… haha

Brian usually does a best of list at some point.

Yeah, and I actually mentioned when my piece will be up earlier in the comments section here, right?

Great list Kelly. The only book on the list I’ve read is Batwoman, which was fantastic. I read it because of your recommendation as well as others around this site and other blogs. The Demo trade is on the way from Amazon as I type this, and DV8: Gods and Monsters will be ordered as soon as the trade is published. Yeah, I’m one of those Trade Guys. That Amanda Conner WW #600 though, I might have to buy the issue because it’s unlikely that I’d get the trade. I love Conner though, she’s the reason I bought the first volume of Power Girl, and why the second volume is near the top of my wish list. I also realized how great a team Palmiotti and Gray are, which combined with Khari Evans’ fantastic artwork lead me to buy Daughters of the Dragon: Samurai Bullets. Easily one of the most fun trades I’ve read all year.

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