Come December, the “Best Of” lists begin rolling out and I realize how few of this year’s massive amount of great books I read in the past 365 days. Keeping up with every exciting indie and explosive mainstream title is hard work in this economy, even for a guy who ended up getting most of his comics via comped copies in 2009. Still, though I may not have read much that’s made people’s top ten lists this year, but I have read a ton of great comics in 2009.
Let me just clarify, I have no beef with any of the “Best Of” lists I saw this year. However, when I see these lists, they always feel like “what you should have read” or “recommended reading” lists that require me to catch up in 2010. When I wasn’t reading weekly comics this year, I spent most of my time catching up on series I should have read years ago instead of new graphic novels. In 2009, the older stuff I read that I’d previously never delved into before included the likes of “Watchmen,” “Concrete,” Paul Levitz’ “Legion of Super-Heroes” and “Starman.” It was a catch-up year, so to speak, and thus left a lot of good titles from 2009 that I now need to catch-up on.
That all said, I did read some really great books in the last 12 months. Some of them even came out this year!
Thankfully, Brian Heater of The Daily Cross Hatch put out the call for comic book professionals (Of which I am just barely one… in that I work, professionally, in the field of comics…) to voice their opinions about the best books of the year. Luckily, I ended up on his e-mail list and used it as a reason to pick a few of my favorite books of from 2009. Here’s what I sent to The Daily Cross Hatch…
As a new member of the Dark Horse stable, it’s hard not to focus on the books from DH that got me really excited over this past year. Here were the best, in my humble opinion…
Conan Volume 7: Cimmeria by Tim Truman, Tomás Giorello and Richard Corben—Rejuvenating the classic Robert E. Howard character’s adventures with frosty tales of Conan’s homeland and epic exploits of his grandfather (drawn by Richard Corben!), this volume reinforced Conan’s claim as champion of the sword and sorcery comic!
The Dylan Dog Case Files by Tizlano Sclavi, Mike Mignola, Angelo Stano, Andrea Venturi—Filled with nearly 700 pages of quirky, clever and compelling horror mysteries, there are few collections as engrossing as this compendium of tales about nightmare investigator Dylan Dog.
Kull: The Shadow Kingdom and Solomon Kane: The Castle of The Devil—As a Conan enthusiast, it was great to see such well-done revamps/relaunches of two other signature REH characters. Both are really great reads, and Villarubia’s colors on Kull are outstanding.
Pixu by Gabriel Bá, Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos and Fábio Moon—Gabriel Bá, Becky Cloonan, Vasilis Lolos and Fábio Moon together and collaborating on one exceptionally eerie horror comic. Need I even say “‘Nuff said?!”
Umbrella Academy: Dallas by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá—Add an extra helping of kooky and compulsive craziness to one of 2008’s best new titles, and you’ve got another must read from Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá.
That all said, Incredible Hercules: Love and War, House of Mystery Vol. 2: Love Stories For Dead People, Tales Designed to Thrizzle: Volume 1 and Goats: Infinite Typewriters were all wonderful as well!
So, while I read some great comics all year, these were the ones that really stood out to me a few weeks ago when I wrote this up. Of course, if I were to get caught up talking about the past year in comics, I am sure many more recommendations would come up. So, feel free to ask and/or discuss in the comments field below!
Fun side note: I was tweeting at Jon Rosenberg who does “Goats” around the time this list came out. He had seen it and was glad I enjoyed it so he sent me a copy of the volume that follows “Infinite Typewriters.” What an awesome dude! Go read his webcomic!