Best 100 Comics of 2008, Part III

Wed, December 31st, 2008 at 12:17pm PST | Updated: January 4th, 2009 at 8:18pm

Comic Books
CBR News Team, Editor

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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 #100-61, check them out: Part 1, Part II.

UPDATE: Due to the fact that some contributors incorrectly voted for some inelligible items such as collected editions, the rankings have changed slightly to compensate for the new math. No published items have been removed. Two new items have been added to the bottom, in places #99 and #100. Simply put, everything has just been moved up a spot.

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60. PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL
Written by Matt Fraction & Rick Remender
Illustrated by Howard Chaykin, Scott Wegener
Publisher: Marvel Comics

From start to finish, Fraction and Remender crafted a tight story that left The Punisher poised to play a major role in Dark Reign. The shift in art from Olivetti to Chaykin was a big one, but the strong storytelling kept me reading the book and I ended up enjoying Chaykin’s take on the characters. - Contributing Writer Brian LeTendre


59. THREE SHADOWS
Written and illustrated by Cyril Pedrosa
Publisher: First Second

This years "Blankets." If you're a parent or have ever contemplated becoming one, this book will grab you and never let go. Poetic, moving and uplifting. There's no award this book doesn't deserve to win. Find it, buy it, give it to everyone you know. - Columnist Jud Meyers


58. WILDSTORM: WORLD'S END
Written by Various
Illustrated by Various
Publisher: Wildstorm

In a year where lackluster event books dominated the comic racks, this is one event that actually delivered. From “Armageddon” to “Revelations” to “Number of the Beast,” it all built up to one thing – the end of the world and the tales of the survivors as told each month in “Wildcats,” “The Authority,” “Gen 13” and “Stormwatch.” - Contributing Writer Justin Eger


57. TRINITY
Written by Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieza
Illustrated by Mark Bagley, Scott McDaniel, Tom Derenick and Mike Norton, Art Thibert, Andy Owens, Wayne Faucher, Jerry Ordway
Publisher: DC Comics

Two of the best writers in the business plus some of the best (and fastest) artists at DC equals a great read each week. And considering that we’re only halfway through the book, there can only be more exciting things to come. - Contributing Writer Justin Eger


56. HULK
Written by Jeph Loeb
Illustrated by Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The first six issues were pure 100% fun. A very guilty pleasure that returns the Hulk to his roots as Marvel’s heavyweight brawler. - Columnist George Khoury


55. BLUE BEETLE
Written by Keith Giffen, John Rogers, Matthew Sturges, Will Pfieffer
Illustrated by Rafael Alburquerque, Carlo Barberi
Publisher: DC Comics

This is a book akin to Spider-Man in his early days under the pen and pencil of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Written by Giffen and Rogers, then Rogers alone, followed by Sturges with a fill-in from Pfeiffer in between, this book and character was inspirational for a number of fans and creators. Rafael Alburquerque is an under-rated talent who provided creative mortar for this title throughout 2008. - Reviewer Doug Zawisza


54. ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER
Written by Frank Miller
Illustrated by Jim Lee & Scott Williams
Publisher: DC Comics

Sure, only one or two issues came out this year, but they’ve been fun reads each time. It’s moody, it’s gritty, it’s nice to look at and it might just be a little bit insane. All told, it was the definitive Bat-book for me this year. - Contributing Writer Justin Eger


53. FAMILY DYNAMIC
Written by J. Torres
Illustrated by Tim Levins, Sean Galloway
Publisher: Johnny DC

J. Torres and Tim Levins had a great title here that was under-promoted and under-developed by DC Comics. The story featured the adventures of a super-powered family following the super-powered legacy of their forefathers (and mothers). This title was launched under the Johnny DC banner, and as such was criminally under-ordered to the point where the original six-issue story was halved. In a world without "The Incredibles" comics, this one had phenomenal potential, but was never given a fair chance to grow. - Reviewer Doug Zawisza


52. DISAPPEARANCE DIARY
Written and illustrated by Hideo Azuma
Publisher: Fanfare/Ponent Mon

Azuma's autobiographical tales of becoming a homeless man (twice!) as well as going through rehab for alcohol is one of the most fascinating stories you'll read this year; not only for everything Azuma goes through in order to survive, but what it says about the Japanese comics industry in general. - Reviewer Greg McElhatton


51. GANGES
Written and illustrated by Kevin Huizenga
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

"Ganges" #2 has two stories. The first, a look at the life of video game characters from their perspective, is an audacious and challenging work, but I honestly enjoyed the second story more, which is a more typical Huizenga work - a slice of life Glenn Ganges tale. Huizenga’s storytelling is excellent in the second story, a tale of co-workers dealing with the dot.com bubble bursting through a shared video game experience. - Brian Cronin, Blog Manager - Comics Should Be Good

Huizenga's everyman character of Glenn Ganges gets his own titular miniseries from Fantagraphics, in a beautiful, oversized edition to boot. Huizenga's stories range from reinterpreted folk tales, to deeply personal revelations, and usually some sort of mix between the two. Absolutely not to be missed. - Reviewer Greg McElhatton


50. DAREDEVIL
Written by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka
Illustrated by Michael Lark
Publisher: Marvel Comics

With it's gritty mix of pulp adventure, street crime and super heroics, "Daredevil" continues to be a unique and highly enjoyable series. The “Cruel and Unusual” arc where regular series writer Brubaker teamed with his “Gotham Central” collaborator Greg Rucka was especially compelling. - Staff Writer Dave Richards


49. FINAL CRISIS: REQUIEM
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Illustrated by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy, Rodney Ramos
Publisher: DC Comics

Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke just get it. Flat out, this is the best single story to come out from DC in quite some time. A shame it was the requiem of Martian Manhunter. If "Final Crisis" gives us nothing else (which looks likely to me) it gave us a shining story from Tomasi and Mahnke. - Reviewer Doug Zawisza


48. SECRET INVASION
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu & Mark Morales
Publisher: Marvel Comics

“Who do you trust?” became the mantra for the summer and the book was by far the best event comic of the year. With a shocking ending that really does live up to “it will change the way you look at the Marvel Universe forever,” brilliant marketing and great art by Yu, Bendis really did prove himself this year to be the true mastermind behind the “House Of Ideas.” - Staff Writer Jami Philbrick


47. WASTELAND
Written by Antony Johnston
Illustrated by Christopher Mitten, Ben Templesmith
Publisher: Oni Press

Set 100 years after the “Big Wet,” Antony Johnston’s post apocalyptic world of "Wasteland" is equal parts "Battlestar Galactica" and "Mad Max," where every day is a struggle for the refugees from Providence. Mitten does an amazing job on art duties, and the covers from Templesmith capture the feel and scope of Johnston’s ever-unfolding tale. This book is truly unique and deserves to be talked about in the same conversation with titles like "The Walking Dead" and "Y: The Last Man." - Contributing Writer Brian LeTendre


46. DMZ
Written by Brian Wood
Illustrated by Riccardo Burchielli, Brian Wood, Various
Publisher: Vertigo

In the tale of Matty Roth, Brian Wood has written a story that is sometimes a voice for his rage towards the Bush administration, a plaintive sigh towards the Iraqi government, but is at its best, "DMZ" is an unsparing look at how war is conducted today, at the depths of human behavior, and is an important voice that should not be ignored. - Contributing Writer Alex Deuben


45. FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF 3 WORLDS
Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by George Pérez & Scott Koblish
Publisher: DC Comics

One of the better series spinning out of “Final Crisis,” Pérez’s artwork is better than ever and Johns’ depiction of Superboy-Prime as an annoying, self-absorbed super-brat is pitch-perfect. With the teaming up of three different Legions of Super-Heroes from throughout continuity and the return of Sodam Yat, the conclusion of this miniseries is something no fan will want to miss. - Staff Writer Jami Philbreck

I defy anyone to come up with a better pitch than Superboy-Prime going one-thousand years into the future to murder every member of all three Legions of Super-Heroes in the most horribly violent ways imaginable, as depicted by the preeminent superhero artist of the age, George Pérez. Talk about "meta." - Staff Writer Andy Khouri


44. BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON
Written and illustrated by Dash Shaw
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

There is rarely anything more exciting than watching a young cartoonist drop a massively ambitious and engaging effort on the masses, and this year we got two such comics from Dash Shaw. But while the 25-year-old's surreal sci-fi webcomic "Body World" continues to work itself out on a daily basis, Shaw's mammoth 720-page graphic novel "Bottomless Belly Button" proved he can deliver an emotional family epic capable of connecting with a broad section of readers while retaining his cartooning idiosyncrasies, from wildly expressive lettering to detailed, graphed layouts. The emotional highs and lows the Loony children experience in the wake of their parents announcing a divorce after 40 years of marriage strike hard and leave a mark in the best way possible. - Staff Writer Kiel Phegley


43. THE BOYS
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Darick Robertson
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

The collective of Ennis and Robertson give a giant one-fingered salute to all the superhero event books on the shelves with this series. I don't know if they've managed to out-Preacher "Preacher," but they have managed to outthink most comics out there geared to the spandex set. It's the most fun you can have without a waterslide! - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas


42. AIR
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Illustrated by M.K. Perker
Publisher: Vertigo

A flight attendant afraid of heights travels to a land that does not exist to rescue a man whose identity is constantly in flux. And then things get strange. Utterly brilliant. - Staff Writer Shaun Manning


41. MONSTER ZOO
Written and illustrated by Doug TenNapel
Publisher: Image Comics

Like the mighty groundhog, creator Doug TenNapel appears but once a year. Fortunately for us, he brings a graphic novel creation instead of news about the weather. Like his other works, "Monster Zoo" has a playful yet serious tone in both its art and story. In his most accessible work yet, TenNapel makes you think and feel in this nightmarish trip to the zoo. - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas

TAGS:  year in review, best 100 comics

 
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