15. An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories Vol. 2 (Ivan Brunetti et al, Yale University Press)/Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! (Art Spiegelman, Pantheon)/Love & Rockets: New Stories #1 (Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez, Fantagraphics); MOME Vols. 10, 11, and 12 (Gary Groth and Eric Reynolds, editors, Fantagraphics)/Nocturnal Conspiracies (David B., NBM)/Pocket Full of Rain and Other Stories (Jason, Fantagraphics)
I love short comic stories (duh), and this year offered a bumper crop.
14. Tales Designed to Thrizzle #4 (Michael Kupperman, Fantagraphics)
Hilarious, but also amazingly drawn, which I think people miss.
The avant-garde fantasy slot. As with early Roxy Music or Björk, the familiar genre constraints give them the freedom to really run wild with style, tone, and effect.
12. All Star Superman (Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely, DC)/B.P.R.D. and related titles (Mike Mignola, John Arcudi et al, Dark Horse)/The Immortal Iron Fist (Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, David Aja et al, Marvel)
Fine, personal superhero comics.
11. Look Out!! Monsters (Geoff Grogan, self-published)
Powerful, political collage.
10. Water Baby (Ross Campbell, DC/Minx)
Sexy, sleazy, and sad.
9. I Live Here (Mia Kirshner, J.B. MacKinnon, Paul Shoebridge, Michael Simons, et al, Pantheon)
Eye-opening, soul-crushing work.
8. Boy's Club 2 (Matt Furie, Buenaventura Press)
The funniest comic around.
7. Big Questions #11 (Anders Nilsen, Drawn & Quarterly)
Dark, devastating horror.
6. Kramers Ergot 7 (Sammy Harkham et al, Buenaventura Press)
Alt/art comics' summarizing statement.
5. Capacity (Theo Ellsworth, Secret Acres)
An idiosyncratic knockout of a debut, mesmerizing both visually and narratively.
4. Travel (Yuichi Yokoyama, PictureBox Inc.)
Thrillingly abstract, abstractly thrilling, LOL, bravura, beautiful comics-making.
The most gripping, formally daring superhero comics I've read in ages. For raw entertainment value they were tough to beat.
2. Skyscrapers of the Midwest (Joshua W. Cotter, AdHouse)
A landmark debut.
1. ACME Novelty Library #19 (Chris Ware, Acme Novelty Library/Drawn & Quarterly)
Savagely scary science fiction and equally brutal pointilist portraiture. Career-best work from the best cartoonist in the world.