CBR's Top 100 Comics of 2010, #75 - 51

Tue, December 28th, 2010 at 2:58pm PST | Updated: December 30th, 2010 at 3:11pm

Comic Books
CBR News Team, Editor
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Each year, CBR wraps its coverage of the comics industry with a virtual nerd cage match to determine the very best comics of the year. Every single CBR staffer -- from our crack news team to our well-researched columnists and from CBR's many daily bloggers to our legion of comic reviewers -- had the chance to chip in their favorite books of the year with only the highest vote-getters ranking up on our massive Top 100 Comics list, and this year neither the staff nor the comics disappointed.

While 2010 came marked with some seismic changes to comics from industry shakeups and sales swings to the long-awaited introduction of a viable sales platform for digital comics on phones and tablet devices like the iPad. But while the world around comics may be in for some immediate change, the artform itself remains as versatile as ever. This year, we found a wealth of notable entries from all segments of the marketplace including the heights of the superhero and genre mainstream, the vast array of literary and art comics on the stands, the in flux yet still powerful world of manga, the cutting-edge experimentation of the web and more!

And while it's nearly impossible for even the combined staff of CBR to have read every single ongoing series, miniseries, one-shot, graphic novel and web comic published in and throughout 2010, we are confident that you'll find no better indicator of the breadth and quality of the industry as it stands today than right here. Yesterday we tackled positions 100 through 76 and today we kick off Part 2 of our week-long countdown including a number of serialized web comics, some off the beaten path genre hits, a few meat-and-potatoes superhero series and some of the most acclaimed graphic novels of the year.

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75. Freak Angels

Written By: Warren Ellis
Illustrated By: Paul Duffield
Published By: Avatar Press

This year in "Freak Angels," Ellis & Duffield's characters really started rubbing against each other like gears and I loved seeing the sparks fly. Truly a unique series, it's sadly overlooked by both the webcomics crowd and the traditional American comics contingent. This has become one of Warren Ellis' definitive works just after "Transmetropolitan" and "Authority," while artist Paul Duffield is applying a level of quality unheard of in webcomics, and giving traditional print comics something to be jealous of.

- CBR Contributor Chris Arrant

74. Taskmaster

Written By: Fred Van Lente
Illustrated By: Jefte Palo
Published By: Marvel Comics

In "Taskmaster," Van Lente and Paolo didn't just give readers an exciting and poignant origin for their protagonist, they also introduced wildly creative and hilarious characters and concepts like the Don of the Dead, Red Shirt, the Minion's International Liberation Front and the town where everyone was Hitler.

- CBR Staff Writer Dave Richards

73. Little Nothings

Written & Illustrated By: Lewis Trondheim
Published By: NBM

You always know what to expect from Lewis Trondheim's "Little Nothings" -- just well-crafted, entertaining collections, well, little nothings. But damned if he doesn't deliver every single time with interesting slice-of-life tales.

- Comics Should Be Good Editor Brian Cronin

72. How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less

Written & Illustrated By: Sarah Glidden
Published By: Vertigo/DC Comics

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. 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.

- Comics Should Be Good Columnist Kelly Thompson

71. Werewolves of Montpellier

Written & Illustrated By: Jason
Published By: Fantagraphics

Every time Jason dives into an age-old genre he finds a way to make it seem alien. His cast of animal characters feel like an emotionally suppressed oven full of loaded guns. His expedition into werewolf tales brings all of these elements together throughout its rooftop chases and playful approach to the supernatural.

- CBR Contributor Brian Warmoth

70. Supergod

Written By: Warren Ellis
Illustrated By: Garrie Gastonny
Published By: Avatar Press

An examination of what being a post-human truly means, "Supergod" is Warren Ellis drawing a blueprint for a new type of superhero story. A must-read for any fan of the genre.

- CBR Reviewer Chad Nevett

69. RASL

Written & Illustrated By: Jeff Smith
Published By: Cartoon Books

If you only know Jeff Smith from his all-ages comic "Bone," you might be a little surprised by "RASL," his science-fiction saga with a boozing, dimension-hopping art thief whose morals might not quite be in place. Each new issue adds another piece to the overall puzzle, and combined with some of Smith's always gorgeous art, it's a treat and a half.

- CBR Reviewer Greg McElhatton

68. Strange Tales 2

Written & Illustrated By: Various
Published By: Marvel Comics

I always enjoy a good anthology, but this 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, like any anthology, some work is stronger than others. 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 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.

- Comics Should Be Good Columnist Kelly Thompson

67. It Was A War Of The Trenches

Written & Illustrated By: Jacques Tardi
Published By: Fantagraphics

Reading "Trenches," you realize just how far afield, just how dead wrong most American (and British) had it in their depiction of war. Even Kurtzman's war comics (which I love) seem like kiddie sermonizing, an overly sweet, sanitized warning, next to Tardi's uncompromising depiction of WWI. You want to know how brutal war can be? You want to know how war should be depicted in comics -- how to look the utter savagery, inhumanity and square in the eye using only pen and ink? This is how you do it.

- Robot 6 Columnist Chris Mautner

66. Mercury

Written & Illustrated By: Hope Larson
Published By: Atheneum Books/Simon & Schuster

From the striking cover image on through to the lyrical linework of the interiors, Hope Larson's latest graphic novel shows a genuine sense of clarity in its story and purpose in its telling. The tale of two Canadian girls mysteriously connected over generations and the unreal world they interact with, "Mercury" lands with emotional honesty and haunting imagery. That such an idiosyncratic and enjoyable comic comes out of the young adult stacks of the big publishing houses -- a segment of the market sadly best known for cranking out lukewarm adaptations of past prose hits – is all the more impressive.

- CBR News Editor Kiel Phegley

65. Shadoweyes

Written & Illustrated By: Ross Campbell
Published By: SLG Publishing

Just when I think nobody can do something unique and interesting with superheroes, Ross Campbell comes in with his YA superhero tale of a young girl named Scout Montana that becomes a "monster" and vigilante crime fighter named Shadoweyes. With Campbell's excellent ear for teen voices and exceptional illustration work, "Shadoweyes" stood out as some solid superhero work that asked tough questions about alienation and identity while still being massively entertaining and beautiful.

- Comics Should Be Good Columnist Kelly Thompson

64. The Boys

Written By: Garth Ennis
Illustrated By: Darick Robertson, Russ Braun
Published By: Dynamite Entertainment

This year, "The Boys" broke my heart. Passing the halfway mark, the book got down to business and delivered its strongest year of comics yet.

- CBR Reviewer Chad Nevett

63. Axe Cop

Written By: Malachai Nicolle
Illustrated By: Ethan Nicolle
Published By: http://axecop.com/ & Dark Horse Comics

In a number of ways, 2010 really was The Year of "Axe Cop." 9-year-old Malachi Nicolle put the thoughts in his apparently nuclear-powered imagination together with his Eisner nominated 29-year-old brother's art skills, and they created webcomic so immaculately summed up by its name that it puts most other new titles to shame.

- CBR Contributor Brian Warmoth

62. The Olympians Series

Written & Illustrated By: George O'Connor
Published By: First Second Books

[This series] single-handedly revived my love for Greek mythology. O'Connor's "Zeus" is charming and heroic. I finally see why he was such a successful philanderer. Plus: this book has the Best Cyclops Ever! I was much more prepared to like "Athena" than I was "Zeus." Even so, O'Connor presents a balanced picture of a flawed heroine, which only makes me like her more. He also finally explains the Aegis in a way that's not only understandable, but really, really awesome.

- Robot 6 Columnist Michael May

61. Afrodisiac

Written By: Brian Maruca
Illustrated By: Jim Rugg
Published By: AdHouse Books

I nearly forgot this puppy because it came out early in the year, but it's a doozy -- the adventures of Afrodisiac in all it's sexy, technicolor glory. Kitschy '70s blaxploitation with a modern day kick, this is funny, sarcastic and disarmingly well made. A nicely crafted book with bags of humor, oozing with sass and trashy satire.

- Comics Should Be Good Columnist Sonia Harris

60. DeadpoolMAX

Written By: David Lapham
Illustrated By: Kyle Baker
Published By: Marvel Comics

Offensive and hilarious, just like comics should be.

- CBR Columnist Timothy Callahan

I always thought Deadpool would work best in an "adults only" title and Marvel had to prove me right by getting David Lapham and Kyle Baker to make it happen. Every issue is laugh out loud funny and usually for things that respectable adults shouldn't laugh at. Good thing I'm not one of those.

- CBR Reviewer Chad Nevett

59. Smile

Written & Illustrated By: Raina Telgemeir
Published By: Scholastic Graphix

An extremely well-told memoir, Raina Telgemeir manages to make a seemingly mundane series of events charming and fascinating.

- Comics Should Be Good Editor Brian Cronin

58. Joe The Barbarian

Written By: Grant Morrison
Illustrated By: Sean Murphy
Published By: Vertigo/DC Comics

Grant Morrison's introduction of a diabetic who finds himself in his own fantasy world was engaging enough, but Sean Murphy's all star turn on the book's art propelled it into must-read status.

- CBR Reviewer Benjamin Birdie

57. Troop 142

Written & Illustrated By: Mike Dawson
Published By: http://troop142.mikedawsoncomics.com/

In this overlooked gem of a web comic, "Freddie & Me" creator Mike Dawson manages to both accurately detail what life is like at a week-long Boy Scout summer camp and then open that experience up to a wide audience. Over seven chapters, the lives of both scouts and leaders in the titular troop unfold full of embarrassing swim buddy moments, the formation of cruel and kind social relationships and debates that unite outsiders as much as they divide them.

- CBR News Editor Kiel Phegley

56. DV8: Gods And Monsters

Written By: Brian Wood
Illustrated By: Rebekah Isaacs
Published By: WildStorm/DC Comics

Brian Wood and Rebekah Isaacs re-invented superheroes for me this year with "DV8" and I loved everything about it. "DV8" was modern and smart and different from what I usually expect (and receive) in superhero comics. 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. And it should be noted that every publisher should be banging down Isaacs' door as a skyrocketing new talent in comics.

- Comics Should Be Good Columnist Kelly Thompson

55. Power Girl

Written By: Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, Judd Winick
Illustrated By: Amanda Conner, Sami Basri
Published By: DC Comics

"Power Girl" started the year with the second half of Gray, Palmiotti and Conner's 12-issue run, and was nothing short of masterful - funny, sexy and confident, it was the very embodiment of Power Girl, and deserves a place on every superhero fan's shelves. Judd Winick and Sami Basri had the unenviable task of picking up the baton with issue #13, and soon made the book their own. They kept the title good throughout 2010 - but for those first six months, it was spectacular.

- CBR Reviewer James Hunt

54. Hawkeye and Mockingbird

Written By: Jim McCann
Illustrated By: David Lopez
Published By: Marvel Comics

This series mixed superheroics with super spy adventure and never let off the accelerator.

- CBR Reviewer Doug Zawisza

With "Hawkeye & Mockingbird," McCann and Lopez blended morally ambiguous spy action, superheroics and relationship drama to create a potent and unique story cocktail. The characterization of both leads was fascinating and the series chief supporting character, the roguish Dominic Fortune, usually stole every scene he was in.

- CBR Staff Writer Dave Richards

53. Hellblazer

Written By: Peter Milligan
Illustrated By: Simon Bisley
Published By: Vertigo/DC Comics

After so many years, it is truly astounding that this book can continuously deliver, but it wasn't until Milligan and Bisley took it on that it really came right around. Now I look forward to reading each issue just as much as I did when it first came out. While "India" was an interesting storyline, it wasn't until their punk opus "No Future" that it really started kicking my ass. Truly great comic book work and it's still going strong.

- Comics Should Be Good Columnist Sonia Harris

52. H Day

Written & Illustrated By: Renée French
Published By: Picturebox, Inc.

There is no other artist like French. I respect a publisher that will support an engaging and yet abstract book fueled by the experience of migraines. Any creator that attempts and succeeds at silent storytelling of this nature deserves to be in everyone's top ten.

- Robot 6 Columnist Tim O'Shea

51. Ectopiary

Written & Illustrated By: Hans Rickheit
Published By: Ecotopiary.com

Hans Rickheit followed up his 2009 graphic novel "The Squirrel Machine" by serializing his latest project "Ectopiary" online, and the result has been his most accessible long-form graphic novel to date. This year, he set a platinum standard for the level of sophistication and narrative weight that can be hoisted up by some well-planned visual storytelling in his tale about a young girl separated from her parents.

- CBR Contributor Brian Warmoth

Check back to CBR tomorrow as our Top 100 Comics of 2010 countdown continues with #50 - 26!

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