(Editor’s Note: This column SHOULD have been published on December 25th, but someone got all caught up with the holidays and forgot. That would be, ahem, me. Sorry!)
Oh good…it’s just us.
Chances are if you’re reading this at the time of publication you are most likely trying to avoid family obligations or just looking for a break from the relentless assault of Christmas-ness that is absolutely everywhere right now. And that’s okay. You’re an adult and you deserve to read about some comics if you want to.
I was asked to come up with a list of my top comics from the last decade which made me realize that I don’t really recall much of what happened in comics from the last decade. I’ve only been writing about comics for the last few years or so and prior to then my reading habits were fairly unremarkable. Plus, I looked at some other, more scholarly lists and realized that I’m not an authority on the subject. I just really like comics.
With that in mind, I’m going to list off some comics from the 2010s that I really liked. It’s also a good time to point out that if you’ve got some extra holiday cash burning a hole in your pocket, tomorrow would be a good time to get on down to your local comic shop and pick up some collected editions or back issues.
So, I’m starting my not-list with a comic that debuted at the tail end of 2009 because it’s my list and rules don’t matter.
Like many people of my age, my first exposure to Batman was a mixture of the 60’s Adam West TV series, SuperFirends, and his (and Robin’s) appearances on Scooby-Doo. By the time that’s Tim Burton’s Batman rolled around in 1989 I was ready for it but I always maintained a soft spot for the brightly coloured zany adventures that many Batman purists revile.
Enter Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin book which was the second leg of his legendary (that’s right, legendary) Batman run that began several years prior in the main Bat-title. The book’s primary focus was on Dick Grayson once again taking up the mantle of Batman after Bruce Wayne’s death (don’t worry, he got better) and partnering up with Bruce’s son Damian as Robin. The character roles were switched this time around as Grayson’s Batman was more lighthearted and Damian’s Robin was more grim, bordering on murderous.
The bright yellow cover of the first issue is one of the more iconic covers of the last ten years and is highly indicative of how fun the book is. As with any Morrison title, there’s a healthy dose of psychedelic action that feels like a logical follow up to the Batman of the 1960s
This book earns a spot on my list due to it being the best Transformers comic EVER.
Oh, I guess I should elaborate on that. Simply put, the book takes various characters from the Transformers universe, sets them off on a grand adventure, and manages to create a complex narrative with fully realized characters. It’s a great read because a lot of these characters never got a chance to shine on the original cartoon beyond a line or two of dialogue and some never existed outside of whatever scenarios you dreamed up while playing with the toys.
The series is the perfect blend of adventure, drama, humour and is the Transformers series that I had always dreamed of reading. You WILL believe that a love story between two robots can make you cry.
When it comes to books from Marvel’s X-Men line of titles, I had spent a fairly large chunk of time not reading them after Grant Morrison’s run came to an end. In all honesty, I was pretty turned off by the books that immediately followed his run doing everything they could to un-do what New X-Men had done. The character of Beast had come out as gay at one point only to “Nah, bro” his way back to heterosexuality within two issues of Morrison’s departure.
Anyways, when a friend recommended Uncanny X-Force to me several years ago, I was understandably dubious. It was an X book and not only that it was an X-Force book. The very name conjured images of pouches, impossibly large guns, and character with no feet. I was advised to get over myself and check it out.
So I did…and it was amazing. The book is essentially black-ops X-Men with Wolverine leading a covert team behind Cyclops’ back to take out the biggest threat to mutantkind, Apocalypse. To me, this series’ run rivals some of the Claremont and Byrne stuff from the early 80’s specifically The Dark Phoenix Saga. Remender tells a great serialized story that should be read in its collected form to truly be appreciated. There are some fascinating moral dilemmas the characters face and everything that happens feels like it had a real weight to it that you don’t get from your average superhero comic.
If Marvel comics were to have a “Fixer” that title would most assuredly belong to Warren Ellis.
Ellis has a knack for coming in and reworking characters that Marvel may or may not be doing anything with and making them compelling and accessible to today’s readers. He did it with Iron Man: Extremis and again with Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. I never in my wildest dreams I’d give a crap about a Karnak book but here we are.
The run he had on Moon Knight with Declan Shalvey should be on your radar because the character is going to be getting the MCU/Disney+ treatment in the very near future and it’s a safe bet they’re going to be borrowing heavily from their run. One issue has an action sequence that’s like the movie The Raid but on a comics page and whoever is going to be adapting this comic would be foolish not to attempt to duplicate it.
Honorable Mention: Injection by Ellis and Shalvey. It’s always great to see what two creators can get up to when they work on their own project.
It’s yet another cheat because there are about a dozen titles to choose from for this entry. I decided to go with the WHOLE LINE because there hasn’t been a single title published by the Gerard Way curated Young Animal that I haven’t liked. Sure, I’ve liked some less than others but they’ve all been good and that’s a rare bird in comics today.
Previously, I’ve written about the strong Vertigo-vibe I get from the titles published by Young Animal which I really loved. The titles were all interesting and exciting in ways that I don’t get from traditional superhero comics. There are tons of indie books out there that I can get the same feelings from but it’s really great to see a big publisher taking a chance on something that’s not a crossover event or movie tie-in.
Check out: Doom Patrol, Mother Panic, Shade The Changing Girl, Eternity Girl
That’s it for me! Whatever you’re doing, enjoy your day…things are always a little bit quieter on the 25th so whatever you’re doing I hope it’s okay. Go and be with the ones you love and if you can’t be with them, then…comics.