D+Q titles top the Daily Cross Hatch Best Comics of 2010 Chosen by the Artists

“The Best Damn Comics of 2010 Chosen by the Artists” / The Daily Cross Hatch / The Daily Cross Hatch Staff / December 20, 2010

This year-end list my be my favorite annual Cross Hatch feature, if only for the fairly consistent complaints I receive from a litany of prominent cartoonists, writers, publishers, journalists, museum curators, and other industry folks. It’s always the same thing: how dare I ask them to boil down a year’s worth of comics into a list of five books? Don’t I know that we’re in the middle of a sequential art renaissance?

Fair enough, but let’s be honest, given the sheer number of folks who respond to this list each year, five seems like a pretty good cap—it took me a few hours to piece this thing together, as it is.

The other reason I love compiling this list is the opportunity to spot trends amongst those surveyed—do any books seem to stand out as clear favorites? Last year that title belonged to David Mazzucchelli’s modern sequential masterpiece, Asterios Polyp. The year prior, it was a four-way tie with Bottomless Belly Button, What it Is, Swallow Me Whole, and Skyscrapers of the Midwest all nabbing high marks.

While I wouldn’t go so far as choosing a clear “winner” for 2010, Chris Ware really did sneak in last second with the latest issue of Acme Novelty, a book that has blown away nearly everyone who has cracked open its cloth cover, your humble blogger included.

As always, I encourage readers and artists alike to contribute their own lists to the comment section below. Let’s keep the conversation going.

Ellen Abramowitz (MoCCA)
1. Body World by Dash Shaw
2. Acme Novelty Library #20 by Chris Ware
3. Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso
4. 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking by Paul Levitz
5. To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher by William Ayers

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Box Brown (Everything Dies)
1. ACME Novelty Library #20 by Chris Ware-I can’t be too hyperbolic when talking about this book. It should be standard reading for everyone alive. It’s perfect.
2. X’ed Out by Charles Burns-Charles Burns in color? My only problem with this book (series?) is that they need to come out at least twice a year and probably won’t.
3. Pterodactyl Hunters by Brendan Leach-Best “mini-comic” I read this year. Printed on newsprint, which fits with the theme of the story.
4. Lemon Styles by David King-I’ve read through this book a number of times each time I’m equally baffled and fascinated and occasionally I laugh!
5. Pictures for Sad Children-My favorite webcomic. John Campbell innovates where others stagnate.

Jeffrey Brown (Funny Misshapen Body)
1. Acme Novelty #20 by Chris Ware-The latest by the best.
2. h day by Renee French-Normally I’m not a big fan of wordless comics, or one panel a page comics, but this book actually warrants multiple readings, and manages to convey more story and emotion than many comics with lots of words and panels in them.
3. The Playwright by Eddie Campbell and Daren White-A funny and well thought out booked that wraps up neatly but not too neatly, brilliantly drawn by Campbell. The only reason I’m not putting the Alec collection in this spot is because… well, I don’t know why. I just didn’t.
4. Market Day by James Sturm-Sturm’s art is minimal and elegant, pacing a thoughtful story that’s sad, occasionally humorous, but all in all meaningful.
5. Inside Moebius Volume 6 by Moebius-The latest volume of Moebius’s stream-of-conscious semi-autobiographical surreal books. Absolutely beautiful, and unfortunately for me, in French. Why there isn’t more Moebius available in English, I don’t know.

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Josh Frankel (Zip Comics)
1.Market Day by James Sturm-I once had a professor who told me that progress has a tendency to destroy people as well as create new opportunities. Market Day is such a beautiful example of that sad truth that affects us to this day. That alone warrants a position on my top five list plus James Sturm’s amazing art does not hurt either.
2.The Search For Smilin Ed by Kim Deitch-Kim Deitch consistently puts out some of the most interesting and well-drawn comics out there. The Search For Smilin Ed is one the weirdest Deitch books, with aliens, demon, and pygmies. It also captures Deitch’s interest in preserving the old culture of television perfectly. Top that off with Deitch’s classic cartoon on acid trip visuals and it is a winner of a book.
3. Acme Novelty Library 20 by Chris Ware-Ware has long shown the suffering of the outcast; while that has been amazing in it’s own way, the new Acme Novelty Library departs a bit. It shows the suffering of the charismatic and somewhat likable Jordan Lint, but that in reality he is as miserable as any of Ware’s usual cast
4.Wilson by Daniel Clowes-Wilson is about a near-sociopathic curmudgeon. While the story is interesting enough, the art is the best reason to pay the price of admission. Clowes changes art styles on every page; while this may seem like a gimmick he does it so masterfully it is actually a selling point.
5. Blindspot by Joseph Remnant-(Disclosure: Joseph is illustrating Harvey
Pekar’s Cleveland, which I am publishing) Blindspot is 30 pages of amazingly witty vignettes. My personal favorite being that of Ace Goddard, a washed-up rock star. Remnant’s art is reminiscent of R. Crumb in the best of ways and is much a reason to buy as the intelligent script.

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Brian Heater (The Daily Cross Hatch)
1. Acme Novelty Library #20 by Chris Ware
2. Afrodisiac by Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg
3. The Search for Smilin’ Ed by Kim Deitch
4. Weathercraft by Jim Woodring
5. Make Me a Woman by Vanessa Davis

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