Best 100 Comics of 2008, Part II

Tue, December 30th, 2008 at 3:28pm PST | Updated: January 4th, 2009 at 8:16pm

Comic Books
CBR News Team, Editor

This year was another in a decade brimming with awesome talent and fiercely entertaining work from all areas of the comic book industry. A small number of staffers attempting to identify one or two titles as the best of a stellar year like 2008 would be a disservice to CBR readers, so this year we polled every single CBR contributor to create our list of the 100 Best Comics of 2008, which we will unveil twenty items at-a-time over the next five days.

CBR’s list was compiled after the entire staff submitted their individual picks for the best books of the year – ongoing series, miniseries, one-shots and graphic novels published in and throughout 2008. No limitations on genres or publishers were imposed, and the ranking was determined by democratic vote. All editorial remarks represent only the views of those to whom they are attributed.

NOTE: Some items -- such as “Y: The Last Man,” which was recognized in this feature last year -- released only one or two installments in the very early days of 2008, and thus do not appear on this list. Such items were not deemed ineligible; their absence here reflects reader consciousness of these comics as being, for all intents and purposes, highlights of 2007.

If you missed items #100-81, check them out right here.

Written by Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction, Duane Swierczynski
Illustrated by David Aja, Travel Foreman
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Brubaker, Fraction and Aja's run on “Immortal Iron Fist” established the series as a wildly inventive title that blends Kung-Fu action with a wide variety of genres, and current creators Swierczynski and Foreman haven't dropped the ball. Their run continues to be both fun and fascinating. - Staff Writer Dave Richards

79. 100 BULLETS
Written by Brian Azzarello
Illustrated by Eduardo Risso
Publisher: Vertigo

As their series comes to a close, Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso have raised the bar consistently, twenty-odd pages at a time. The drama and violence ratchets up with every installment as do the two creators' skills at wordsmithery and linework, respectively. One wonders what the landscape of comics will be like without this book propping it up in 2009. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie

Written by Franco Aureliani
Illustrated by Art Baltazar
Publisher: Johnny DC

Good, clean, all ages fun. Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar put a lot of thought into this series, giving even the most seasoned Titans fans something to at least chuckle about, even if the younger readers don't necessarily get all of the jokes. - Reviewer Doug Zawisza


Written by Richard Starkins
Illustrated by Moritat
Publisher: Image Comics

The conclusion of this miniseries was the one I’d been waiting for since “Hip Flask” started. The last two years have been top-notch in the “Elephantmen” world. - Columnist George Khoury

Written and illustrated by The Luna Brothers
Publisher: Image Comics

A magical sword that's thousands of years old, unforgiving Gods on Earth and a young girl caught in the middle. Unexpectedly moving and filled with the Luna Brothers' brutal imagery. - Columnist Jud Meyers

Written and illustrated by Dave Sim
Publisher: Aardvark-Vanaheim

A fascinating graphic and narrative presentation by comics legend Dave Sim. - Columnist George Khoury

Written by Robert Kirkman
Illustrated by Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn

A story about zombies that can't run - so why does it make my pulse quicken when I read it? This year the series reached its fiftieth issue, and the book saw major cast changes. When Kirkman says "no one is safe," he means it. Hm, I wonder if that extends to us readers? - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas

#73. NOVA
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Illustrated by Wellinton Alves & Scott Hanna, Geraldo Borges & Nelson Pereira
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The man called Nova has never been done better. Gripping space adventures should be done just this way. - Contributing Writer Brian K. Eason

72. ECHO
Written and illustrated by Terry Moore
Publisher: Abstract Studio

This is truly the year of the badass female protagonist. Terry Moore switches seamlessly from the relationship drama of "Strangers in Paradise" to science fiction military intrigue. Moore is the king of black-and-white comics that are bursting with color. - Columnist Jud Meyers

Written and illustrated by John Pham
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

John Pham returned to comics this year after a far-too-long hiatus with a new and singular style and the fascinating story of a house of rented apartments in Los Angeles. Teachers, students, immigrants, and White Supremacists are all featured at one moment or another in this collected series of linked vignettes. Pham has created his own language of storytelling in this book; one that is subtle, surreal, and moving. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie

Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Paul Duffield
Publisher: Avatar Press

In a comics marketplace where tentpole titles sometimes wind up shipping months later than they were originally solicited, Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield manage to put out six pages of “FreakAngels” every single week, and make each installment available online through Avatar at absolutely no cost to their readers (the first collected edition is on sale now). This pioneering distribution method, and the fascinating world that Ellis and Duffield put forth week in and week out make “FreakAngels” one of my must-reads. - Staff Writer Emmett Furey

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Written and illustrated by Michael Kupperman
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Perhaps we should adapt “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes” to “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes…and Tales Designed to Thrizzle being hilarious.”

Michael Kupperman’s awesome humor book saw its fourth issue released this year, and it is as insanely funny (and sometimes just plain insane) as usual. - Brian Cronin, Blog Manager - Comics Should Be Good

Written and illustrated by Hope Larson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Hope Larson's first long-form graphic novel "Chiggers," a sweet and subtle summer camp tale, doubtlessly captures the young adult comic of the year award. Rather than fall back on unbelievable YA plot contrivances, Larson's easy story of Abby and her summer of falling for Dungeons and Dragons nerds, losing old friends to burgeoning adulthood and gaining new friends with complicated problems captures the fleeting days of a summer in adolescence without dripping with saccharine nostalgia. Go and buy this for every 12-year-old niece in your family. - Staff Writer Kiel Phegley

Based on the songs of Tori Amos
Edited by Rantz Hoseley
Publisher: Image Comics

All of the gorgeous strips in this anthology are a testament to the spirit of Tori Amos’s music. The passion and detail within the book shines very brightly. - Columnist George Khoury

Written by Ed Brubaker
Illustrated by Steve Epting, Luke Ross
Publisher: Marvel Comics

An intricate thriller involving politics, revenge, and friendship as the shadow of Steve Rogers still covers the characters in this book. Not only is Ed Brubaker's writing stellar, but the art team has managed a wonderfully consistent look despite numerous artists, which is something other books should take note of. - Reviewer Chad Nevett

Written by Brad Meltzer
Illustrated by Adam Kubert, John Dell, Joe Kubert
Publisher: DC Comics

Meltzer tied up storylines from almost all of his past DC books into a pretty little bow with this cat-and-mouse tale of revenge and justice between Geo-Force and Deathstroke. Outstanding art by Adam Kubert made this book the best one-shot of 2008. - Staff Writer Jami Philbrick

Written by Tom DeFalco
Illustrated by Ron Frenz
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Cancel it as many times as you want, but this book remains the last link to old-fashioned Marvel comics. And after ten years, it’s been as good as if not better than ever -- every single month. - Contributing Writer Justin Eger

Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Gianluca Pagliarani
Publisher: Avatar Press

What appears to be a simple Sherlok Holmes homage in a Victorian England with futuristic technology becomes much, much more. Warren Ellis's biting wit shines through here along with amazingly detailed at by newcomer Gianluca. The case of the man who wasn't there culminates in one of the best endings I've read all year. - Reviewer Chad Nevett

Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Gary Erskine
Publisher: Virgin Comics

Even without guns, sex and profanity, Garth Ennis shows us that he’s a force to be reckon with his eloquent opera to England’s greatest hero. - Columnist George Khoury

Edited by Sammy Harkham
Publisher: Buenaventura Press

Over its short life as the most darling anthology in the alternative comics world, "Kramers Ergot" grew into the destination for a new generation of cartoonists to strut their stuff. However, in a world where every up-and-coming cartoonist has a webpage chock full of comics, scads of minis to hock at conventions and a graphic novel deal in the works, Sammy Harkham's ubiquitous collection of ground-breaking comics started running the risk of being a superfluous gem. With its seventh installment published in the giant 16-by-21-inch size of golden age newspaper comics like "Little Nemo," "Kramers" challenged its contributors to deliver something unique and beautiful. The A-list talent rose to the occasion in stunning form from Kevin Huizenga's jaw-dropping, meditative strip to Seth's super-dense exploration of the comics form. Worth both the price and the wait. - Staff Writer Kiel Phegley

Check back with CBR tomorrow for items #60-41 of the Best 100 Comics of 2008!

TAGS:  best 100 comics of 2008, year in review

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