Top 10 Best Things About Comics in 2010

2010 was a busy year in comics and Josh Flanagan and Conor Kilpatrick are here to break down the best stuff in the world of comic books.

 

10. Superhero Movie Trailers and Teases

I struggle a little bit when it comes to remembering if there were any superhero movies this year. I suppose there was Iron Man 2, which while very successful, proved to be a lot more forgettable than it's predecessor.  No, this year was chock full of teases for upcoming superhero movies which, if we've learned nothing else, can be a lot more fun than even the movies themselves. (See 1999's Star Wars Episode I: the Phantom Menace)  No, 2010 was the year when we got glimpses, trailers, and rumors about what Captain America and Green Lantern would be, and who would be playing The Hulk in this fabled Avengers movie that looks like is actually going to happen.  We got a small glimpse at Asgard, and then a bigger one, and then we were forced to take down photos of the Destroyer.  The hype machine was on full bore, and a good time was had by all.  This was the year when people went back to good old fashioned arguing about hair color on Spider-Man supporting cast members, and dammit, we loved it. – Josh Flanagan

 

9. The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

For almost two decades, many comic book fans have lamented the state of Marvel animation. We have been living in a Brice Timm/Paul Dini/Alan Burnett fueled DC animation paradise that began in 1992 with Batman: The Animated Series and since then a whole lot of Marvel Zombies have have had their noses pressed up against the glass wondering, "Why not us?" Well, Marvel animation fans, your time is now, and you have Disney to thank for it. Ever since Marvel Entertainment's acquisition by The Walt Disney Corporation, converting Marvel Comics properties into animated series has been a high priority. Paul Dini himself is working on Ultimate Spider-Man for later in 2011 and he has already compared it to Batman: The Animated Series. But the future is now, because we're in the midst of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! and it is glorious. Not only is the show top notch from a production stand point (they do a great job making the episodes stand alone while also advancing an over-arching plotline while simultaneously cramming in a dizzying amount of characters and references from the comics) but it's very important for a reason not often talked about in comic book circles: it's a great way to get kids who don't read comics and might be too young for the movies into Marvel's characters. And that's not something to be taken lightly. – Conor Kilpatrick

 

8. Mystery Society

We read a lot of comics here at iFanboy. A lot. And we've been around the block a time or two so it's rare that we are actually completely surprised by a book. Mystery Society was a total and wonderful surprise. Written by Steve Niles and drawn by Fiona Staples and published by IDW, this mini-series would have probably passed us by if not for the tireless efforts of Paul Montgomery who reviewed the first issue and then talked it up in one of his guest-hosting gigs on the Pick of the Week Podcast. In fact, Paul so succinctly summed up why we loved this series that I'll steal a quote from him: "It's like The Thin Man with robots and telekinesis." If you know what that means, you'll love this book as much as we did. But it's not just the gleefully madcap story that made Mystery Society one of the most fun books of the year, it's also the wonderful Fiona Staples art which has a textured quality that is unlike anything else in any other comics I read in 2010. If every comic book was this much fun and had this much high quality craft the industry would be in a much better place. – CK

 

7. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

If I were picking a favorite comic book movie of the year, it would certainly be Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  I watched it again recently, thanks to a spectacularly packaged Blu-Ray edition, and it really is something special.  The choice of director, Edgar Wright was inspired, and he brought his own voice to the show, while retaining so much of what made Bryan Lee O'Malley's graphic novel series unique.  From a casting standpoint, there were too many bright spots to keep track of.  Michael Cera laid to rest fears that he would blow it.  Movie Ramona stole more hearts than comic book Ramona, and once again we're left to wonder why Kieran Culkin isn't among the most respected actors on the planet.  Box office success or no, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was a triumph. – JF

 

(Photograph by Molly McIsaac)

6. Nick Spencer

Boy, it sure seemed like Nick Spencer was everywhere you looked in 2010, didn't it? I was half expecting to open the refrigerator to grab some milk and have Nick Spencer hand it to me. I can't remember the last time a creator burst on the scene and then was seemingly everywhere like Nick Spencer was in 2010. The last similar instance I can think of was Brian Michael Bendis ten years ago. We'd heard his name talked about on a bunch of well-regarded indie books and then all of a sudden it seemed like he was everywhere at Marvel. Sound familiar? Yes, Nick Spencer had the Existence books and Forgetless in 2009, but 2010 was his coming out party with Morning Glories at Image Comics, and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, the Jimmy Olsen back up story in Action Comics, and then having his name attached to just about every open book at DC Comics. In an industry where a small number of creators can dominate for years and even decades, it's always nice to see a new face make a splash in a big way. – CK

 

5. Thor: The Mighty Avenger

Roger Langridge, Chris Samnee, and Matthrew Wilson sure did touch a nerve, didn't they? When the inevitable announcement came along that Thor: The Mighty Avenger was canceled, there was an outpouring of genuine emotion the likes of which I haven't seen caused by a comic book cancellation in years. But this isn't a list about the worst things that happened in 2010, so let's not dwell on the bad. Instead, let's celebrate the good, chiefly, the fact that we got seven incredibly fun and heart-warming issues of Thor: The Mighty Avenger in 2010 and for that we should be grateful. Clearly there was an audience out there — not a big one, mind you, but a passionate one — for a Thor comic that existed free of the shackles of Marvel Universe continuity and that served not to prop up a larger storyline, but to just tell fun, all-ages stories full of charming characters and wonderful art. At the end of the day, having fun with great stories is really what reading comic books is all about, isn't it? – CK

 

4. DC Price Rollback

I had resigned myself to the grim fact that four dollars was just the way of things.  Yes, it sucked, and felt a little like the tipping point, which it was for a great number of people.  It's the single most obvious reason for the sad sales figures we've been seeing all year, and a great deal of reader resentment.  But what can you do, right?  Then DC Comics went and surprised the bejeezus out of everyone, and said "No more."  Who saw that coming? Marvel rushed out their own press release stating they would be cutting prices on some comics back to $2.99, but it turned out that wasn't on any of the main titles; the popular stuff.  There is a cost, of course.  Comics will be scaled back from 22 pages to 20 pages, costing readers a bit more story, and costing creators a significant amount of income, but from a "guy on the street" perspective, I can only take this price rollback as excellent news.  The simple fact is that four bucks is too much to pay for a single comic book issue.  Yes, we do it, but no one likes it, and the effects are and will be felt.  It doesn't win the war, but it's a great step in the right direction.  Well, it's a great step back anyway. – JF

 

3. The Sentry: Fallen Sun

You know how every group of friends has that one guy who no one really likes, but he's always there, and no one's sure how he actually got there, or who liked him in the first place? That group is the Avengers, and that guy is Bob Reynolds, The Sentry.  Since his initial appearance back in 2000, there was always something not quite right about The Sentry. Why was he here?  Who actually likes this character? Is anyone actually buying this?  He didn't look right, he didn't feel right, and he cried. A lot.  This year saw The Sentry's demise (yay!), and The Sentry: Fallen Sun, written by his creator Paul Jenkins, was the story of his funeral, the swan song that could have put just the right spin on The Sentry's reign, and left us with a little bit of the feeling that maybe there was something to this character that was worth holding on to.  But it didn't do that at all.  Instead, we were treated to the most perfect send off of the most ridiculous and unlikable characters ever, and it was just as ham-fisted and odd as every appearance the guy ever made in a comic book.  This issue was absurd, and as a result, was one of the most fun books I read all year.  It certainly lead to some of the best podcasting we've ever put out.  Farewell Sentry. Stay gone. Please. – JF

 

2. The Walking Dead TV Series

I'm so used to writing about gallant, high quality failures (see: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) that I'm almost at a loss as to what to say about AMC's The Walking Dead, which was not only a creative wonder but somehow, someway, became the biggest show on American cable television. Could anyone have predicted that? Something about the characters and the world that Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard have created captured the imagination of millions of people. Suddenly I was seeing and hearing the name Walking Dead in places I never expected, and it has thrown me for a loop, every single  time. It used to be that everyone wanted HBO to make a series about their favorite comics, but now you're going to see a lot of talk now about people wanting their favorite comics adapted on AMC too. – CK

 

1. iPad 

I truly believe that the introduction of the iPad heralds the coming of the most significant shift for the comic book industry we've seen in a long time.  While the iPad is wonderful as a reading device for comics, it's not about the device itself.  What's more important is what it represents.  It's the first step on a journey that's just beginning.  When the iPad hit, that was what spurred all the major publishers in the market to make their first significant moves into digital comics.  While the efforts haven't all been exactly what readers wanted, it shoved them all into the digital space, and now Marvel, DC, and others are all paddling around, trying to find their way.  There will be more devices like the iPad, and they will get better, and cheaper, and more ubiquitous, but without Apple's little expensive piece of glass, publishers would still be holding their cards right up to their faces waiting for someone else to make the first move, and waiting for them to fail.  Also, have you ever traveled with a stack of graphic novels? They're heavy, and they don't take that long to read.  Now imagine getting on a plane with just a single 1 pound device that holds a library worth of comic books.  I have seen the future, and for my money, it can be wonderful. – JF

Comments

  1. I liked the Sentry at first but the whole “woe is me” attitude got old fast. I get it, you’re f*cking insane! Please show us a different aspect of the character! I’m sure he’ll come back one day. I just hope it’s a writer that knows what to do with him. 

  2. Sounds like Mystery Society is a must read.  I’m off to the shop.

  3. Times have changed — I did not buy Darwin Cooke’s “Parker” OGNs in print, but rather, as IDW apps for the iPad. So happy about that.

  4. Kieran Culkin! 

    That’s all.

    Great list.

  5. Iron Man 2 disappointed me in the theatre too, but I hope you guys have realised that it gets considerably better with repeat viewings.

  6. @boosebaster  Well, when I don’t like something, I tend to not watch it again.

  7. Wow, I’ve been bombarded with recommendations of Mystery Society as of late. Maybe I ought to get a trade.

    Damn you Flanagan!!!! Just when I forgot the Sentry ever existed. Actually this gives me an idea. I need to get a commissioned art piece done that features Sentry crying with Superman hovering above calling him a pussy.

  8. Fantastic list! It nice to see Mystery Society get some recognition – it was such a fun book and I don’t think a lot of people new about it.

  9. I like most of the things on the list, but for something called “Top 10 Best Things About Comics”…five of them aren’t about comic books, and one of them is about price not content.

  10. The Image Comics app for the iTouch was my favorite thing in comics last year. So great.

  11. I would like to point out how your #1 choice is wrong, but keeping with the positive atittude; you forgot Paul Cornell. If I were to make a list of 10 best Panels of 2010, 9 of them would come from Knight & Squire. The 10th would be from Action Comics. In fact…

    It was a great year for indie comics too. You had new books from Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware
    and the Hernandez Bros. We had Daytripper, Afrodisiac, Blacksad and Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6. That is a lot of brilliance in a single year.

  12. @froggulper  They’re all about comic books.

  13. mystery society was a really fun time, but i felt that it ended a bit prematurely. Lets hope that they bring it back in some capacity. 

    The iPad is really a game changer for all sorts of media not just comics. I really hope that comic creators figure out a way to take advantage of this new format. I’d love to see a major creator do an exclusive digital comic…now that would be something. 

  14. I wonder what comic sales on the various iApps are?  Do Comixology, Graphic.ly, etc. post numbers at all?

  15. That was a great and important fact that you made about the Avengers cartoon, and how it gets kids interested in these stories. After all, I wouldn’t be where I am today with this fandom if it weren’t for the 90s X-Men cartoon.

  16. @NaveenM  Nope, and they never will until someone has some huge number to brag about.  ComiXology just posted that they’ve had a million comics downloaded.  But there’s not much information in that.

  17. Has everyone forgotten the cinematic masterpiece that was Kick Ass?

  18. I liked Iron Man 2. It wasn’t an origin story (yay)! The biggest problem it had, in my opinion, was Nick Fury was too jokey.

  19. As an iPad owner, I want the comic publishers to offer tiered subscription plans on all their titles on release day. Give me everything digitally for like 35 bucks a month from each publisher, and I promise I won’t make them buy any ink or kill any trees ever again. Stick your ads in to keep it attractive to that whole side of the business, and let’s all step into the future together.

  20. Trees are a renewable resource. There’s a whole industry based around growing trees just for the purpose of producing paper. I’ve read many books on my iphone and Kindle, but the resources used on each can be used to print thousands of books and it is non-renewable. I want a digital comic future, but it is probably more damaging to the environment.

  21. I’m a fan of all those things except Mystery Society (haven’t looked at it yet), but I would defintiely add Daytripper.

  22. @muddi900  –great point…and considering the lifespan of digital products all that plastic, metal and silicon from “old” and out of date iPads has to go somewhere. 

    If everything goes digital, that means more power and electricity…and where does that come from? Its a legitimate problem that our current infrastructure isn’t prepared for. 

    There’s not a whole lot of virgin wood pulp being used in comics anyhow so i doubt trees are that much at risk. 

  23. All good! Yep, iron man 2 was weird like that. A few views at home and still enjoy it. Culkin!

  24. I’ve really been diggin the Avengers: Earth Mightiest Heroes, but kind of got worried when they moved it too Sundays.  Does anyone know hoe the show is doing? Is it in danger? I remember reading that they had green-lit 52 episodes but I’m sure they could drop it if they wanted.

  25. No, the best comic related TV show was Batman: Brave and The Bold. Zany Flash legacy time-travel stories are the best!

  26. I think Josh is trying to send me a message with the sentry paragraph. 😀

    Fun list fellows!

  27. Who is Scott Pilgrim?

  28. Brother, everything about the Green Lantern movie turns me on.