BEST GRAPHIC NOVELS 2011:
10. GREEN RIVER KILLER by Jeff Jensen & Jonathan Case (Dark Horse) One of the more thoughtful true crime thrillers I’ve ever read, probably due to the fact it’s also a son’s tribute to his father. Equally understated while still provocative.
9. CONGRESS OF THE ANIMALS by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics) There are few artists’ work I can endlessly stare at with as much feverish perplexitude as Jim Woodring’s. Yes, I just made that word up.
8. I WILL BITE YOU by Joseph Lambert (Secret Acres) This collection of short stories signals the arrival of a major new talent in the indy comic world. Experimental storytelling, great inky lines, and genuine emotion on display.
7. HELLBOY: HOUSE OF THE LIVING DEAD by Mike Mignola & Richard Corben (Dark Horse) The big red dude’s first full length graphic novel doesn’t disappoint. A mournful Hellboy trying to drink away his guilt over the death of a friend has to tussle with Frankenstein’s monster. Wins all around!
6. COMPLETE ECHO by Terry Moore (Abstract) This one completely took me by surprise. Moore’s approach to the super hero genre is top notch in every way: air tight, super consistent science, fully realized characters with quirks and imperfections, and masterful page layouts.
5. HABIBI by Craig Thompson (Pantheon) Maybe the best drawn book of the decade. I can’t even process Thompson’s drive and attention to detail.
4. WHO IS JAKE ELLIS? by Nathan Edmondson & Tonci Zonjic (Image) Sometimes the hallmark of a great comic is in how quickly you want to re-read it. This miniseries finished up very late in the year, and soon as the collection came out I dove right back in. It’s a taut, lean thriller with just enough sci fi to appeal to genre fans.
3. BATMAN: THE BLACK MIRROR by Scott Snyder, Jock & Francisco Francavilla (DC Comics) I never thought I’d live in a world in which Grant Morrison was writing Batman (which is great) but it’s not my favorite Batman coming out. This run from Detective Comics has everything a classic Batman story needs: a layered, building plot where everything counts and is connected, Batman actually using his detective skills, and scary-ass villains that actually present the dude with a challenge.
2. THE FORMING by Jesse Moynihan (Nobrow) Soooo close to squeezing in as #1. Funniest, weirdest book I’ve read all year, that somehow manages to explore the origins of everything and lace it with salacious humor.
1. INFINITE KUNG FU by Kagan McLeod (Top Shelf) I’ve already raved about this here . It’s everything a comic should be, and I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy it.
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