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100. Madman Atomic Comics
99. Swallow Me Whole
98. Hack/Slash
97. Green Lantern Corps
95. Salt Water Taffy
94. G.I. Joe: America's Elite
93. Locke & Key
92. New Avengers
91. Too Cool To Be Forgotten
90. Berlin: City of Stone
89. Local
88. Real
87. Green Arrow/Black Canary
86. Justice League of America
85. Dynamo 5
84. Dead Space
83. Checkmate
82. Astonishing X-Men
81. Jonah Hex
80. The Immortal Iron Fist
79. 100 Bullets
78. Tiny Titans
77. Elephantmen
76. The Sword
75. glamourpuss
74. The Walking Dead
73. Nova
72. Echo
71. Sublife
70. FreakAngels
69. Tales Designed To Thrizzle
68. Chiggers
67. Comic Book Tattoo
66. Captain America
65. DC Universe: Last Will And Testament
64. Amazing Spider-Girl
63. Aetheric Mechanics
62. Dan Dare
61. Kramers Ergot 7
60. Punisher War Journal
59. Three Shadows
58. Wildstorm: World's End
57. Trinity
56. Hulk
55. Blue Beetle
54. All Star Batman And Robin, The Boy Wonder
53. Family Dynamic
52. Disappearance Diary
51. Ganges
50. Daredevil
49. Final Crisis: Requiem
48. Secret Invasion
47. Wasteland
46. DMZ
45. Final Crisis: Legion Of 3 Worlds
44. Bottomless Belly Button


The Boys
Monster Zoo
Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge
What It Is
Ex Machina
Ordinary Victories
Final Crisis
Avengers: The Initiative
Secret Six
Madame Xanadu
Justice Society Of America Kingdom Come Special: Superman
Justice Society Of America
The Invincible Iron Man
The Amazing Spider-Man
Young Liars
The Punisher
Love And Rockets
The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard
Guardians Of The Galaxy
Booster Gold
Omega: The Unknown
Green Lantern
Acme Novelty Library
Captain Britain And MI:13
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Eight
The Incredible Hercules
The Umbrella Academy
Action Comics
Fables/Jack Of Fables
All Star Superman


Written and illustrated by Michael Allred
Publisher: Image Comics
Spend some time with this. You'll get your $3.50 worth. - Staff Writer Shaun Man
Written and illustrated by Nate Powell
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Nate Powell's career in zines and minicomics has remained largely (if unintentio

nally) overlooked by even the most ardent alternative comics pundits, and they'v
e been missing out. Powell's past short form work went a long way in evoking a w
ide range of emotional responses through a careful balance of assured, scratchy
cartooning and sharp attention to detail when it came to life's little moments.
With "Swallow Me Whole," a semi-spooky feeling and memorable romance set against
the heartbreaking reality of mental illness, the artist has finally started to
get noticed outside of the music and D.I.Y. circles, and the comics crowd will o
nly be the better for championing his talent. - Staff Writer Kiel Phegley
Written by Tim Seely
Illustrated by Emily Stone
Publisher: Devil's Due Publishing
At the surface level, Hack/Slash is as fun and enjoyable as the horror movies it s
poofs and pays homage to. But if you take a deeper look, it's also a story about
one of the most fascinating friendships in comics: Cassie Hack and her partner
Vlad. And on top of that, Vlad is one of the best gentle giant comics characters t
o come along since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the world to Benjamin J. G
rimm. - Staff Writer Dave Richards
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Illustrated by Patrick Gleason, Prentis Rollins, Drew Geraci, Various
Publisher: DC Comics
With Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner leading the way, the Corps has been dealing wit
h the fallout of the Sinestro Corps War, picking up the pieces all over the gala
xy. Tomasi and Gleason have continued to develop the main characters while build
ing toward the upcoming Blackest Night event. - Contributing Writer Brian LeTend
Written and illustrated by C.F.
Publisher: PictureBox
C. F.'s bizarre Dungeons and Dragons-style adventure comic reads like the work o
f brilliantly crazed adolescent world-maker, and with Volume 2's release this ye
ar, that world became twice as large. Give this comic a chance and you might fin
d yourself sucked in for good. - Columnist/Reviewer Timothy Callahan
Written and illustrated by Matthew Loux
Publisher: Oni Press
Loux's Salt Water Taffy is one of those great all-ages books that really has som
ething for all ages; if you don't crack a smile at all of the fantastic adventur
es that Jack and Benny go through the little town of Chowder Bay, you're probabl
y dead on the inside. - Reviewer Greg McElhatton
Written by Mark Powers
Illustrated by Mike Bear
Publisher: Devil's Due Publishing
The "World War III" storyline was the swan song of the Devil s Due era of G.I. Joe
, and it did not disappoint. Cobra Commander set the world afire and Joes were s
cattered all over the globe trying to save it. A great end to a great run, Power

s and Bear should be proud. - Contributing Writer Brian LeTendre

Written by Joe Hill
Illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Who cares that he's Stephen King's son? Joe Hill's brilliant in his own right, m
ixing the horror human beings get up to with the supernatural we all fear exists
. Add in Gabriel Rodriguez' beautiful art and you've got a nightmare of a book - in a good way. - Columnist Jud Meyers
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Various
Publisher: Marvel Comics
It's been a banner year for New Avengers. 2008 began with an exciting new lineup o
f characters and adventures that mixed street level action with daring super her
oics and an intriguing dollop of paranoia due to the looming Skrull invasion. La
ter on, when Secret Invasion began, the compelling stories continued as the titl
e featured back-stories about how the massive Skrull plot came to pass. - Staff
Writer Dave Richards
Written and illustrated by Alex Robinson
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
A 40-something smoker attempts to hypnotize away his habit and improbably lands
back in his high school days where he took his first puff. A setup like that cou
ld take off in any number of clichd directions from goofball "Back to the Future"
style shenanigans to the inane, nostalgic naval gazing that dominates too many
comics projects, but in the hands of cartoonist Alex Robinson, Andy Wick's trip
through time sings. By carefully examining the missed truths of young Andy's per
sonal relationships, Robinson delivers a story that illuminates the effects our
formative years have on us in a way that only a insightful veteran can accomplis
h. - Staff Writer Kiel Phegley
Written and illustrated by Jason Lutes
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Reading Jason Lutes is a time consuming process. There's reading him for the sto
ry, reading him for the character bits and the way he juggles his cast, reading
him to get a sense of the small historical details he imparts and the way he use
s them, reading him to examine his drawings and the seemingly simple but intense
ly meticulously way he illustrates the book, and reading to see the ways he mana
ges to convey the growing dread and march towards such a bleak future. - Contrib
uting Writer Alex Deuben
Written by Brian Wood
Illustrated by Ryan Kelly
Publisher: Oni Press
What began as a series of narrative snapshots of various North American cities e
volved into a character study and became something deeper and more meaningful th
an expected. In a year when Brian Wood produced good work all around, this is hi
s best, and Ryan Kelly's art has never looked as subtle or dynamic. Columnist/Re
viewer Timothy Callahan

88. REAL
Written and illustrated by Takehiko Inoue
Publisher: Viz Media
Wheelchair-bound basketball players may seem like an odd subject, but Inoue's ne
west series is engrossing as it follows its three main characters. Plus, Inoue's
art is some of the most beautiful in comics. Once you see it, you'll want to ru
n out and start buying Inoue's other current series (the samurai epic "Vagabond"
) just to get more Inoue on a regular basis. - Reviewer Greg McElhatton
Written by Judd Winick
Illustrated by Cliff Chiang, Amanda Connor, Mike Norton, Andr Coehlo
Publisher: DC Comics
Ollie and Dinah s wedding night may have gotten off to a rocky start, but the seri
es really took off with the rescue of the real Oliver Queen, which lead to the a
ssignation attempt and kidnapping of Connor Hawke. What followed was some truly
inspired writing by Winick about a father s desperate search for his lost son. Chi
ang s artwork is at its best in this underrated book, which featured guest appeara
nces by Batman, Plastic Man, Shado and The League Of Assassins. - Staff Writer J
ami Philbrick
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Illustrated by Ed Benes
Publisher: DC Comics
Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Flash. If you are a fan of DC
Comics, and you only buy one book a month, Justice League of America has it all. Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud
85. DYNAMO 5
Written by Jay Faerber
Illustrated by Mahmud A. Asrar, Ron Riley
Publisher: Image Comics
Jay Faerber was tired of the standard superhero universe tropes, so he did all r
eaders a favor and created his own comic world. He puts the "fun" in "dysfunctio
nal super-family." Solid storytelling, characters you can believe in, and a univ
erse where anything is possible - what more could you want? - Staff Writer Georg
e A. Tramountanas
Written by Antony Johnston
Illustrated by Ben Templesmith
Publisher: Image Comics
This one might have been overlooked as a simple tie in to a video game. Antony J
ohnston and Ben Templesmith did a great job of crafting a horrific tale that sta
nds on its own, as well as provides a great prequel to the "Dead Space" game. Contributing Writer Brian LeTendre
Written by Greg Rucka & Eric Trautmann, Bruce Jones
Illustrated by Various

Publisher: DC Comics
A diverse cast, political maneuvering and all-out spy action, all topped off wit
h superheroes. Despite a woeful misstep in assigning the remaining issues of thi
s book to Bruce Jones, this was an exciting read each month. - Contributing Writ
er Justin Eger
Written by Joss Whedon, Warren Ellis
Illustrated by John Cassaday, Simone Bianchi
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Sometimes a title can be defined by a single storyline, sometimes a single issue
. In a rare case, however, a single panel, spread over the span of two pages, ca
n make a title one of the best of the year. Joss Whedon and John Cassaday made K
itty Pryde's final act of heroism one of the most stunning and impressive single
moments of the year, and for that they deserve no small amount of praise. - Rev
iewer Benjamin Birdie
Whedon and Cassaday's final issue had a glorious cinematic feel, proving that th
is team (and the X-Men) are truly astonishing. Ellis's sassier scripts provide the
ir own guilty diversion, while Bianchi makes the whole thing look stellar. - Sta
ff Writer Shaun Manning
Written by Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti
Illustrated by Jordi Bernet, Darwyn Cooke, J.H. Williams III, Various
Publisher: DC Comics
"Jonah Hex" has become an essential title this year not just for the satisfying
self-contained stories each issue holds, but also for the artistic contributions
of some of the best illustrators in the industry like Jordi Bernet, J.H. Willia
ms III and Darwyn Cooke. If you're a fan of westerns, if you're a fan of good co
mics, you were probably reading this book n 2008. - Staff Writer Andy Khouri
Written by Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction, Duane Swierczynski
Illustrated by David Aja, Travel Foreman
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Brubaker, Fraction and Aja's run on Immortal Iron Fist established the series as a
wildly inventive title that blends Kung-Fu action with a wide variety of genres
, and current creators Swierczynski and Foreman haven't dropped the ball. Their
run continues to be both fun and fascinating. - Staff Writer Dave Richards
79. 100 BULLETS
Written by Brian Azzarello
Illustrated by Eduardo Risso
Publisher: Vertigo
As their series comes to a close, Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso have raised
the bar consistently, twenty-odd pages at a time. The drama and violence ratchet
s up with every installment as do the two creators' skills at wordsmithery and l
inework, respectively. One wonders what the landscape of comics will be like wit
hout this book propping it up in 2009. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie
Written by Franco Aureliani

Illustrated by Art Baltazar

Publisher: Johnny DC
Good, clean, all ages fun. Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar put a lot of though
t into this series, giving even the most seasoned Titans fans something to at le
ast chuckle about, even if the younger readers don't necessarily get all of the
jokes. - Reviewer Doug Zawisza


Written by Richard Starkins
Illustrated by Moritat
Publisher: Image Comics
The conclusion of this miniseries was the one I d been waiting for since Hip Flask s
tarted. The last two years have been top-notch in the Elephantmen world. - Columni
st George Khoury
Written and illustrated by The Luna Brothers
Publisher: Image Comics
A magical sword that's thousands of years old, unforgiving Gods on Earth and a y
oung girl caught in the middle. Unexpectedly moving and filled with the Luna Bro
thers' brutal imagery. - Columnist Jud Meyers
Written and illustrated by Dave Sim
Publisher: Aardvark-Vanaheim
A fascinating graphic and narrative presentation by comics legend Dave Sim. - Co
lumnist George Khoury
Written by Robert Kirkman
Illustrated by Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
A story about zombies that can't run - so why does it make my pulse quicken when
I read it? This year the series reached its fiftieth issue, and the book saw ma
jor cast changes. When Kirkman says "no one is safe," he means it. Hm, I wonder
if that extends to us readers? - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas
#73. NOVA
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Illustrated by Wellinton Alves & Scott Hanna, Geraldo Borges & Nelson Pereira
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The man called Nova has never been done better. Gripping space adventures should
be done just this way. - Contributing Writer Brian K. Eason
72. ECHO
Written and illustrated by Terry Moore
Publisher: Abstract Studio
This is truly the year of the badass female protagonist. Terry Moore switches se
amlessly from the relationship drama of "Strangers in Paradise" to science ficti
on military intrigue. Moore is the king of black-and-white comics that are burst
ing with color. - Columnist Jud Meyers

Written and illustrated by John Pham
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
John Pham returned to comics this year after a far-too-long hiatus with a new an
d singular style and the fascinating story of a house of rented apartments in Lo
s Angeles. Teachers, students, immigrants, and White Supremacists are all featur
ed at one moment or another in this collected series of linked vignettes. Pham h
as created his own language of storytelling in this book; one that is subtle, su
rreal, and moving. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie
Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Paul Duffield
Publisher: Avatar Press
In a comics marketplace where tentpole titles sometimes wind up shipping months
later than they were originally solicited, Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield manage
to put out six pages of FreakAngels every single week, and make each installment
available online through Avatar at absolutely no cost to their readers (the firs
t collected edition is on sale now). This pioneering distribution method, and th
e fascinating world that Ellis and Duffield put forth week in and week out make F
reakAngels one of my must-reads. - Staff Writer Emmett Furey
Written and illustrated by Michael Kupperman
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Perhaps we should adapt In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes to In
this world nothing is certain but death and taxes and Tales Designed to Thrizzle b
eing hilarious.
Michael Kupperman s awesome humor book saw its fourth issue released this year, an
d it is as insanely funny (and sometimes just plain insane) as usual. - Brian Cr
onin, Blog Manager - Comics Should Be Good
Written and illustrated by Hope Larson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Hope Larson's first long-form graphic novel "Chiggers," a sweet and subtle summe
r camp tale, doubtlessly captures the young adult comic of the year award. Rathe
r than fall back on unbelievable YA plot contrivances, Larson's easy story of Ab
by and her summer of falling for Dungeons and Dragons nerds, losing old friends
to burgeoning adulthood and gaining new friends with complicated problems captur
es the fleeting days of a summer in adolescence without dripping with saccharine
nostalgia. Go and buy this for every 12-year-old niece in your family. - Staff
Writer Kiel Phegley
Based on the songs of Tori Amos
Edited by Rantz Hoseley
Publisher: Image Comics
All of the gorgeous strips in this anthology are a testament to the spirit of To
ri Amos s music. The passion and detail within the book shines very brightly. - Co
lumnist George Khoury
Written by Ed Brubaker

Illustrated by Steve Epting, Luke Ross

Publisher: Marvel Comics
An intricate thriller involving politics, revenge, and friendship as the shadow
of Steve Rogers still covers the characters in this book. Not only is Ed Brubake
r's writing stellar, but the art team has managed a wonderfully consistent look
despite numerous artists, which is something other books should take note of. Reviewer Chad Nevett
Written by Brad Meltzer
Illustrated by Adam Kubert, John Dell, Joe Kubert
Publisher: DC Comics
Meltzer tied up storylines from almost all of his past DC books into a pretty li
ttle bow with this cat-and-mouse tale of revenge and justice between Geo-Force a
nd Deathstroke. Outstanding art by Adam Kubert made this book the best one-shot
of 2008. - Staff Writer Jami Philbrick
Written by Tom DeFalco
Illustrated by Ron Frenz
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cancel it as many times as you want, but this book remains the last link to oldfashioned Marvel comics. And after ten years, it s been as good as if not better t
han ever -- every single month. - Contributing Writer Justin Eger
Written by Warren Ellis
Illustrated by Gianluca Pagliarani
Publisher: Avatar Press
What appears to be a simple Sherlok Holmes homage in a Victorian England with fu
turistic technology becomes much, much more. Warren Ellis's biting wit shines th
rough here along with amazingly detailed at by newcomer Gianluca. The case of th
e man who wasn't there culminates in one of the best endings I've read all year.
- Reviewer Chad Nevett
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Gary Erskine
Publisher: Virgin Comics
Even without guns, sex and profanity, Garth Ennis shows us that he s a force to be
reckon with his eloquent opera to England s greatest hero. - Columnist George Kho
Edited by Sammy Harkham
Publisher: Buenaventura Press
Over its short life as the most darling anthology in the alternative comics worl
d, "Kramers Ergot" grew into the destination for a new generation of cartoonists
to strut their stuff. However, in a world where every up-and-coming cartoonist
has a webpage chock full of comics, scads of minis to hock at conventions and a
graphic novel deal in the works, Sammy Harkham's ubiquitous collection of ground
-breaking comics started running the risk of being a superfluous gem. With its s
eventh installment published in the giant 16-by-21-inch size of golden age newsp
aper comics like "Little Nemo," "Kramers" challenged its contributors to deliver
something unique and beautiful. The A-list talent rose to the occasion in stunn

ing form from Kevin Huizenga's jaw-dropping, meditative strip to Seth's super-de
nse exploration of the comics form. Worth both the price and the wait. - Staff W
riter Kiel Phegley
Written by Matt Fraction & Rick Remender
Illustrated by Howard Chaykin, Scott Wegener
Publisher: Marvel Comics
From start to finish, Fraction and Remender crafted a tight story that left The
Punisher poised to play a major role in Dark Reign. The shift in art from Olivet
ti to Chaykin was a big one, but the strong storytelling kept me reading the boo
k and I ended up enjoying Chaykin s take on the characters. - Contributing Writer
Brian LeTendre
Written and illustrated by Cyril Pedrosa
Publisher: First Second
This years "Blankets." If you're a parent or have ever contemplated becoming one
, this book will grab you and never let go. Poetic, moving and uplifting. There'
s no award this book doesn't deserve to win. Find it, buy it, give it to everyon
e you know. - Columnist Jud Meyers


Written by Various
Illustrated by Various
Publisher: Wildstorm
In a year where lackluster event books dominated the comic racks, this is one ev
ent that actually delivered. From Armageddon to Revelations to Number of the Beast, i
all built up to one thing the end of the world and the tales of the survivors a
s told each month in Wildcats,
The Authority,
Gen 13 and Stormwatch. - Contributing
er Justin Eger
Written by Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieza
Illustrated by Mark Bagley, Scott McDaniel, Tom Derenick and Mike Norton, Art Th
ibert, Andy Owens, Wayne Faucher, Jerry Ordway
Publisher: DC Comics
Two of the best writers in the business plus some of the best (and fastest) arti
sts at DC equals a great read each week. And considering that we re only halfway t
hrough the book, there can only be more exciting things to come. - Contributing
Writer Justin Eger
56. HULK
Written by Jeph Loeb
Illustrated by Ed McGuinness & Dexter Vines
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The first six issues were pure 100% fun. A very guilty pleasure that returns the
Hulk to his roots as Marvel s heavyweight brawler. - Columnist George Khoury
Written by Keith Giffen, John Rogers, Matthew Sturges, Will Pfieffer
Illustrated by Rafael Alburquerque, Carlo Barberi

Publisher: DC Comics
This is a book akin to Spider-Man in his early days under the pen and pencil of
Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Written by Giffen and Rogers, then Rogers alone, follo
wed by Sturges with a fill-in from Pfeiffer in between, this book and character
was inspirational for a number of fans and creators. Rafael Alburquerque is an u
nder-rated talent who provided creative mortar for this title throughout 2008. Reviewer Doug Zawisza
Written by Frank Miller
Illustrated by Jim Lee & Scott Williams
Publisher: DC Comics
Sure, only one or two issues came out this year, but they ve been fun reads each t
ime. It s moody, it s gritty, it s nice to look at and it might just be a little bit i
nsane. All told, it was the definitive Bat-book for me this year. - Contributing
Writer Justin Eger
Written by J. Torres
Illustrated by Tim Levins, Sean Galloway
Publisher: Johnny DC
J. Torres and Tim Levins had a great title here that was under-promoted and unde
r-developed by DC Comics. The story featured the adventures of a super-powered f
amily following the super-powered legacy of their forefathers (and mothers). Thi
s title was launched under the Johnny DC banner, and as such was criminally unde
r-ordered to the point where the original six-issue story was halved. In a world
without "The Incredibles" comics, this one had phenomenal potential, but was ne
ver given a fair chance to grow. - Reviewer Doug Zawisza
Written and illustrated by Hideo Azuma
Publisher: Fanfare/Ponent Mon
Azuma's autobiographical tales of becoming a homeless man (twice!) as well as go
ing through rehab for alcohol is one of the most fascinating stories you'll read
this year; not only for everything Azuma goes through in order to survive, but
what it says about the Japanese comics industry in general. - Reviewer Greg McEl
Written and illustrated by Kevin Huizenga
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
"Ganges" #2 has two stories. The first, a look at the life of video game charact
ers from their perspective, is an audacious and challenging work, but I honestly
enjoyed the second story more, which is a more typical Huizenga work - a slice
of life Glenn Ganges tale. Huizenga s storytelling is excellent in the second stor
y, a tale of co-workers dealing with the dot.com bubble bursting through a share
d video game experience. - Brian Cronin, Blog Manager - Comics Should Be Good
Huizenga's everyman character of Glenn Ganges gets his own titular miniseries fr
om Fantagraphics, in a beautiful, oversized edition to boot. Huizenga's stories
range from reinterpreted folk tales, to deeply personal revelations, and usually
some sort of mix between the two. Absolutely not to be missed. - Reviewer Greg

Written by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka

Illustrated by Michael Lark
Publisher: Marvel Comics
With it's gritty mix of pulp adventure, street crime and super heroics, "Daredev
il" continues to be a unique and highly enjoyable series. The Cruel and Unusual ar
c where regular series writer Brubaker teamed with his Gotham Central collaborator
Greg Rucka was especially compelling. - Staff Writer Dave Richards
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Illustrated by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy, Rodney Ramos
Publisher: DC Comics
Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke just get it. Flat out, this is the best single stor
y to come out from DC in quite some time. A shame it was the requiem of Martian
Manhunter. If "Final Crisis" gives us nothing else (which looks likely to me) it
gave us a shining story from Tomasi and Mahnke. - Reviewer Doug Zawisza
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu & Mark Morales
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Who do you trust? became the mantra for the summer and the book was by far the bes
t event comic of the year. With a shocking ending that really does live up to it
will change the way you look at the Marvel Universe forever, brilliant marketing
and great art by Yu, Bendis really did prove himself this year to be the true ma
stermind behind the House Of Ideas. - Staff Writer Jami Philbrick
Written by Antony Johnston
Illustrated by Christopher Mitten, Ben Templesmith
Publisher: Oni Press
Set 100 years after the Big Wet, Antony Johnston s post apocalyptic world of "Wastel
and" is equal parts "Battlestar Galactica" and "Mad Max," where every day is a s
truggle for the refugees from Providence. Mitten does an amazing job on art duti
es, and the covers from Templesmith capture the feel and scope of Johnston s everunfolding tale. This book is truly unique and deserves to be talked about in the
same conversation with titles like "The Walking Dead" and "Y: The Last Man." Contributing Writer Brian LeTendre
46. DMZ
Written by Brian Wood
Illustrated by Riccardo Burchielli, Brian Wood, Various
Publisher: Vertigo
In the tale of Matty Roth, Brian Wood has written a story that is sometimes a vo
ice for his rage towards the Bush administration, a plaintive sigh towards the I
raqi government, but is at its best, "DMZ" is an unsparing look at how war is co
nducted today, at the depths of human behavior, and is an important voice that s
hould not be ignored. - Contributing Writer Alex Deuben
Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by George Prez & Scott Koblish
Publisher: DC Comics
One of the better series spinning out of Final Crisis, Prez s artwork is better than
ever and Johns depiction of Superboy-Prime as an annoying, self-absorbed super-br

at is pitch-perfect. With the teaming up of three different Legions of Super-Her

oes from throughout continuity and the return of Sodam Yat, the conclusion of th
is miniseries is something no fan will want to miss. - Staff Writer Jami Philbre
I defy anyone to come up with a better pitch than Superboy-Prime going one-thous
and years into the future to murder every member of all three Legions of Super-H
eroes in the most horribly violent ways imaginable, as depicted by the preeminen
t superhero artist of the age, George Prez. Talk about "meta." - Staff Writer And
y Khouri
Written and illustrated by Dash Shaw
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
There is rarely anything more exciting than watching a young cartoonist drop a m
assively ambitious and engaging effort on the masses, and this year we got two s
uch comics from Dash Shaw. But while the 25-year-old's surreal sci-fi webcomic "
Body World" continues to work itself out on a daily basis, Shaw's mammoth 720-pa
ge graphic novel "Bottomless Belly Button" proved he can deliver an emotional fa
mily epic capable of connecting with a broad section of readers while retaining
his cartooning idiosyncrasies, from wildly expressive lettering to detailed, gra
phed layouts. The emotional highs and lows the Loony children experience in the
wake of their parents announcing a divorce after 40 years of marriage strike har
d and leave a mark in the best way possible. - Staff Writer Kiel Phegley
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Darick Robertson
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
The collective of Ennis and Robertson give a giant one-fingered salute to all th
e superhero event books on the shelves with this series. I don't know if they've
managed to out-Preacher "Preacher," but they have managed to outthink most comi
cs out there geared to the spandex set. It's the most fun you can have without a
waterslide! - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas
42. AIR
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Illustrated by M.K. Perker
Publisher: Vertigo
A flight attendant afraid of heights travels to a land that does not exist to re
scue a man whose identity is constantly in flux. And then things get strange. Ut
terly brilliant. - Staff Writer Shaun Manning
Written and illustrated by Doug TenNapel
Publisher: Image Comics
Like the mighty groundhog, creator Doug TenNapel appears but once a year. Fortun
ately for us, he brings a graphic novel creation instead of news about the weath
er. Like his other works, "Monster Zoo" has a playful yet serious tone in both i
ts art and story. In his most accessible work yet, TenNapel makes you think and
feel in this nightmarish trip to the zoo. - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas
40. HELLBOY / B.P.R.D.
Written by Mike Mignola, John Acurdi, Joshua Dysart
Illustrated by Mike Mignola, Guy Davis, Richard Corben, Duncan Fegredo, Jason Ar

mstrong, Paul Azaceta, Jason Shawn Alexander, Ben Stenbeck, John Severin, Herb T
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

In the Hellboy titles, The Chapel of Molloch,

The Crooked Man and The Wild Hunt, Mign
la and his artistic collaborators told past and present days tales of one of the
most fascinating and original characters in comics. And over in the BPRD books
like The Warning,
The Ectoplasmic Man, 1946 and War on Frogs, writers Mignola, Acur
d and Dysart along with a team of highly talented artists again showcased more e
xciting and horrific supernatural tales packed with intriguing characters. - Sta
ff Writer Dave Richards
Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Scott Kollins
Publisher: DC Comics
Never have villains looked so good. Visceral and real, you'll root for the bad g
uys. - Contributing Writer Brian K. Eason
Written and illustrated by Lynda Barry
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Lynda Barry is one of the finest cartoonists to be found in America right now. T
his book is a memoir, the story of an artist, but it is also a book about how to
create art and how to think about art, which sounds a little pretentious, but p
art of what makes it so good is that what she has to say seems simple but is pro
found (or is it the other way around?). An essential book for the creative, the
aspiring, the struggling and the merely interested. - Contributing Writer Alex D
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrated by Tony Harris & Jim Clark
Publisher: Wildstorm
If Y: The Last Man was Brian K. Vaughan's flash of genius, then Ex Machina is the re
sult of what happened when the superstar writer harvested lightning like a moder
n day Nikola Tesla. - Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud
Written and illustrated by Manu Larcenet
Publisher: NBM
A sequel to one of the best comics of the decade and while not quite on par with
its predecessor, it's clear that the first book wasn't a fluke. Larcenet has a
profound understanding of human nature and has avoided many comics tropes and st
ructures to tell his story in a way that is subtle, thoughtful and beautiful to
look at. This shouldn't be read without reading the first, but taken together th
ey offer a glimpse of the world that is not heavy handed or soft pedaled, but in
its greatest moments, like any great work of art, it is possible to hold the pa
ges up and through them, see the world. - Contributing Writer Alex Deuben

Written by Grant Morrison

Illustrated by J.G. Jones, Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino
Pubisher: DC Comics
Fanboy kvetching about the inconsistencies of "Countdown's" plotting and mock in
dignation about J.G. Jones' deadline troubles aside, DC's mega event has deliver
ed more original, creepy, thought-provoking moments of sheer comics insanity in
five issues than any event has the right to accomplish. Morrison's syncopated sc
ript style and Jones and company's surprisingly consistent art work wonders toge
ther with a genuine sense of dread and uncertainty bubbling up through the shini
est of all of comics' heroes. Sure, we've got two (or three depending on how you
look at it) issues next year waiting to show whether or not "Final Crisis" will
triumphantly payoff or collapse into a pile of unfulfilled ambition, but as far
as 2008 is concerned? So far, so great. - Staff Writer Kiel Phegley
Written by Robert Kirkman
Illustrated by Ryan Ottley & Fco Plascencia
Publisher: Image Comics
This year, Robert Kirkman threw down the gauntlet and challenged creators everyw
here to add to the comic book universe by making original, independent creations
. "Invincible" is the model of what creators should strive for and what can be a
chieved. - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas
Invincible continues to be the most aggressive display of superhero storytelling t
oday. - Columnist George Khoury
Written by Jason Aaron, Mark Millar
Illustrated by Ron Garney, Steve McNiven
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Millar s Old Man Logan storyline took fans by storm with this tale of an apocalyptic
future where the bad guys won, featuring a passive Logan and a blind Hawkeye on
the road trip of their lives. The team that brought you last year s event Civil Wa
r hasn t missed a beat and McNiven s art is better than ever in this new futuristic c
lassic. - Staff Writer Jami Philbreck
Marvel, thank you for giving two creators one of your top books and
them do what they do best (kind of like the title character). Mark
teve McNiven are topping what they did with "Civil War" in the tale
Logan." Not having to tie into any major event, the two are free to
aginations roam and provide us with one of the best Wolverine tales
s not hyperbole). - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas

just letting
Millar and S
of "Old Man
let their im
ever (this i


Written by Dan Slott & Christos Gage
Illustrated by Stefano Caselli, Steve Uy
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Slott and Gage write the freshest and most interesting characters to come out th
e Big Two in a looong time. These are characters that readers understand and rel
ate to, because they behave the way we want to see comic book characters act: li
ke heroes. - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas
This was the best Avengers book by far over the past year. From the graduation o

f the first class to the Skrull Kill Crew, Slott and gage did a great job of jug
gling multiple characters and storylines, while Caselli's art held everything to
gether. - Contributing Writer Brian LeTendre
Written by Gail Simone
Illustrated by Nicola Scott & Doug Hazelwood
Publisher: DC Comics
It s about time DC s best grouping of villains got an ongoing monthly book, and the
creative team is doing their level best to make sure each issue is tense, taut a
nd entertaining. - Contributing Writer Justin Eger
Gail Simone can do no wrong. This book will make you laugh and cheer. - Contribu
ting Writer Brian K. Eason
Written by Matt Wagner
Illustrated by Amy Reeder Hadley & Richard Friend
Publisher: Vertigo
Arguably the most impressive debut of the year, Matt Wagner has taken a largely
arcane DC Comics fortuneteller and breathed into her a whole new life. In the be
st Vertigo tradition, Xanadu s magical story spans the ages, and with the help of
breakout illustrator Amy Reeder Headly, readers follow the wide-eyed mystic as s
he rubs elbows with some of the most important figures in human history, from Ku
blai Khan to Marie Antoinette. With guest appearances by Etrigan the Demon, Merl
in, Neil Gaiman s Death and featuring a reinvigorated version of DC mainstay The P
hantom Stranger in a co-starring and bizarrely romantic role, Madame Xanadu is poi
sed to become Vertigo s next classic series. - Staff Writer Andy Khouri
Written and illustrated by Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics
Fans of Alex Ross generally agree the superstar illustrator has been at the top
of his game in this decade, but when such an artist completely one-ups himself w
ith a stellar out-of-nowhere one-shot starring his most famous creation, it s noth
ing less than inspiring. Foregoing his usual painted finishes for a more traditi
onal pencil-and-ink approach, Alex Ross has created a brand new signature style,
one we hope to see much more of in the year ahead. Also his debut as a solo scr
ipter, Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special: Superman is a practically
perfect look at the lost Superman of Kingdom Come as he wrestles with hard questio
ns about his existence, the tragic death of his greatest love, the sorrow of los
ing a whole world, and doubt over whether he can even save ours. - Staff Writer
Andy Khouri
Written by Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Illustrated by Dale Eaglesham & Bob Wiacek, Alex Ross, Various
With amazing covers by Alex Ross, the further continuation of the Thy Kingdome Co
me storyline, which has seen the introduction of many Kingdome Come characters such
as Kingdome Come Superman, Gog and Magog, and this summer's Annual, which featu
red a return to Earth-Two for Power Girl, this book has quickly become important
reading for any DC fan. - Staff Writer Jami Philbreck

For a book described by the creators as Norman Rockwell s version of superheroes,

I don t think we ll see Kingdom Come Superman smoking a pipe from his rocking chair
anytime soon. - Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud
Written by Matt Fraction
Illustrated by Salvador Larroca
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I wasn t particularly a fan of Tony Stark as a character until he spearheaded Supe
rhero Registration in Civil War, but he has gradually become one of Marvel s most co
mplex and compelling characters. And Invincible Iron Man is everything an Iron Man
book should be. Fraction s star continues to rise, and Larocca's s art is the per
fect compliment.- Staff Writer Emmett Furey
Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca jumped all over the "Iron Mania" fueled by th
e blockbuster summer hit with this title. A high-octance Iron Man series with ac
tion and adventure, this series gave readers new to the Marvel Universe (or even
comics in general) a great spot to hop on. - Reviewer Doug Zawisza
26. THOR
Written by J. Michael Straczynski
Illustrated by Olivier Coipel, Marko Djurdjevic
Publisher: Marvel Comics
My favorite kind of re-launch is one that redefines a title specifically to fit
the focus of a singular creator. J. Michael Straczynski took the return of Thor
to the Marvel Universe as an opportunity to tell an incredibly charming and engr
ossing story, not only of the gods of Asgard, but the small town Americans they
now live among. In a lot of ways, I think Straczynski's take on this long approp
riated conceit of mortal and immortal is the best I've seen in comics, which I w
as certainly not expecting in a Thor book. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie
Not since Walt Simonson's run has "Thor" been this thoroughly entertaining. Stra
czynski's brought the Thunder God back into the Marvel Universe in epic style, f
inally giving him the respect he's been lacking for so many years. - Columnist J
ud Meyers
J. Michael Straczynski is telling an epic tale in the pages of Thor each month. An
d "Epic" is Olivier Coipel s middle name. The God of Thunder s monthly adventure del
ivers a major boom on every page. - Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud
Written by Dan Slott, Marc Guggenheim, Bob Gale, Zeb Wells, Joe Kelly, Mark Waid
, Roger Stern
Illustrated by John Romita Jr., Marcos Martin, Chris Bachalo, Steve McNiven, Mik
e McKone, Barry Kitson, Salvador Larroca, Phil Jimenez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The list of talent on this book reads like an Avengers roster, and the stories b
eing told are some of the best I ve read in years. "One More Day," "Brand New Day,
" call it whatever you want, Spidey hasn t been this consistently good in a long t
ime. My standout story of the year is Joe Kelly s Hammerhead arc. Brilliant. - Con
tributing Writer Brian LeTendre
While few might have really been behind what got "The Amazing Spider-Man" to whe

re it is today, I doubt anyone expected Marvel to then take so many chances on t

heir flagship title. The book has featured some great writers, sure, but if anyo
ne told me that an artist as groundbreaking and unconventional as Marcos Martin
would be part of such a high-profile book, I simply would not have believed them
. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie
Written by Mark Millar
Illustrated by John Romita, Jr.
Publisher: Icon
This book really lives up to its name with an unapologetic, original and over-th
e-top story full of carnage and teenage angst. Millar and Romita are both in top
form with incredible art and writing that make this one of the best books of th
e year by far. - Staff Writer Jami Philbreck
Written and illustrated by Chris Onstad
Publisher: Webcomic/Dark Horse
"Achewood" delivers the laughs on a routine basis with Chris Onstad's absurdist
look at the lives of these friends. - Brian Cronin, Blog Manager - Comics Should
Be Good
Written and illustrated by David Lapham
Publisher: Vertigo
Twisted, unpredictable, complex, layered, insane, manic, musical, and totally me
ssed up, "Young Liars" is everything I always wanted in a comic book but never t
hought to ask for. David Lapham is producing career-best work in an already stun
ning career. Each issue brings about new shocking revelations and makes me want
the next even more. - Reviewer Chad Nevett


on all cylinders. Not for the squeamish. - Staff Writer Shaun Manning


Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Goran Parlov, Tim Bradstreet
Publisher: MAX Comics
That Garth Ennis
The Punisher is not #1 on this list is not a reflection of its qua
lity, but rather a betrayal of our collective cowardice. In all seriousness, The
Punisher shows readers terrible, horrible things they could never in a million ye
ars imagine, and it dares them not to come to the ultra-violent conclusions reac
hed by Frank Castle. The Punisher is grim and awful and depraved, and reading this
title makes you feel sick and guilty as hell. Yet never before have I finished
a comic book and run out of the room screaming, showing pages to anyone I can fi
nd. Staff Writer Andy Khouri
Written and illustrated by Los Bros Hernandez
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
On the cusp of hard economic times and industry uncertainty, comics' greatest fa
mily release a book that boldly declares they're absolutely unstoppable. Embraci

ng a new annual graphic novel format without blinking an eye would be astonishin
g enough for longtime pamphlet serializers Los Bros. Hernandez, but not to be ou
tdone, Jaime, Gilbert and Mario back up their commercial smarts with fresh, engr
ossing art. After spending the past two years dishing out new comics like a prie
st hands out Eucharist on Sunday morning, Gilbert fires off more exciting and va
ried stories than most cartoonists could dream up in five years. And what's left
to say about Jaime's gorgeous Penny Century superhero tale aside from the fact
that it puts Marvel and DC's output to shame and has fun doing it? - Staff Write
r Kiel Phegley
Written by Eddie Campbell & Dan Best
Illustrated by Eddie Campbell
Publisher: First Second
For people who only know Campbell as the artist of "From Hell," you're missing o
n Eddie the Campbell the writer (who is brilliant). And if you only know Campbel
l as a black-and-white artist because you haven't read his recent books from Fir
st Second, then you're missing out on the Eddie Campbell who masterfully paints
his books. This is strange, dream-like and beautiful and gleeful and a little ha
rd to describe, but hard to forget. - Contributing Writer Alex Deuben
Since landing at First Second, Eddie Campbell's output includes an intensely exp
erimental and somewhat obtuse memoir in "The Fate of the Artist" and perhaps the
best ever attempt at crassly turning a movie pitch into a graphic novel to whet
Hollywood's appetite in "The Black Diamond Detective Agency." With "Monsieur Le
otard," Campbell and Australian writer Best straddle the line between passion pr
oject and commercial concern to perfection while delivering the funniest book of
the year. The tale of the mustachioed heir to a famed trapeze legacy and his mi
sfit circus troop's misadventures through history somehow coalesces into an affe
cting tale of what happens when high ambition meets low talent. Plus: farting el
ephant jokes. - Staff Writer Kiel Phegley
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Illustrated by Paul Pelletier & Rick Magyar
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Let's add to that heading colorist GURUeFX, letterer Joe Caramagna and editor Bi
ll Rosemann. Every person involved with this book deserves credit for putting to
gether one of the most entertaining rides in comics. A team filled with truly un
ique characters swashbuckling through the reinvigorated Marvel cosmos. It s like "
Starship Troopers" meets "Ice Pirates." - Contributing Writer Brian LeTendre
These creators took a ragtag bunch of Marvel Universe cosmic also-rans and made
me actually care. This title was consistently high-caliber with explosive action
, big screen flavor and unpredictable storytelling. The fact that it maintained
a monthly pace with such amazing creative output is to be commended and put on d
isplay for comic creators everywhere as a high water mark. - Reviewer Doug Zawis
Written by Geoff Johns & Keff Katz, Chuck Dixon, Rick Remender, Dan Jurgens
Illustrated by Dan Jurgens & Norm Rapmund, Pat Oliffe
Publisher: DC Comics
Beginning the year with the sensational

Blue & Gold

arc that saw the temporary ret

urn of Ted Kord s Blue Beetle, Johns and Katz left the book by summer s end, turning
over writing duties to the secure hands of artist and original creator Dan Jurg
ens. The book's humor and loving nod to the good old days of the Justice League In
ternational made this comic more fun to read than most of its competition this y
ear. - Staff Writer Jami Philbreck
One of the most enjoyable books published by DC, and even though the creative te
am shifted over the course of the year, the book remained on-target every single
month. - Contributing Writer Justin Eger
Written by Brian Wood
Illustrated by Davide Gianfelice, Dean Ormston, Ryan Kelly, Massimo Carnevale
Publisher: Vertigo
"Northlanders" is a grim and gritty comic book where the grime and grit fits the
time perfectly, as each story arc examines a different era in Viking history Brian Wood masterfully sets up his characters and puts them into engaging storie
s that, due to the anthology-esque format, allows him to produce comic books wit
h true endings. The freedom that comes with that is marvelous. The artists have be
en quite strong, as well - this year we ve seen Davide Gianfelice, Dean Ormston an
d Ryan Kelly with great covers by Massimo Carnevale. - Brian Cronin, Blog Manage
r - Comics Should Be Good
Written by Jonathan Letham & Karl Rusnak
Illustrated by Farel Dalrymple, Gary Panter
Publisher: Marvel Comics
If Steve Gerber's 'Omega' was an abandoned proto-masterpiece, then this version
is a fugue on the strangeness of superheroes, playing with the Superman/Batman t
ropes through the lens of a Bronze Age New York City. In other words, it's a bri
lliantly odd comic, and it looks like nothing else Marvel has released in recent
memory. - Columnist/Reviewer Timothy Callahan
I'm still amazed Marvel put out such an odd and idiosyncratic book--and still th
ankful they did. "Omega: The Unknown" was a breath of fresh air as it explored i
ssues of identity, conformity, isolation and friendship while maintaining superf
icial elements of the superhero genre. Farel Dalrymple's art is beautiful and di
d such a wonderful job, especially in the final issue. - Reviewer Chad Nevett
I ve already read the series three times and I still don t know what it was all abou
t but there was no other book that I wanted to get my hands on each month more t
han this one. - Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud
Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert, Mike McKone, Various
Publisher: DC Comics
Geoff John's has finally made Green Lantern what he always should have been for
DC: a flagship title. This is superhero comics storytelling of the highest order
. My prediction? The GL Corps will dominate comics in 2009 and plant DC toe-to-t
oe with Marvel in a fight-to-the-death cage match! - Columnist Jud Meyers

Written by Matt Fraction

Illustrated by Fabio Moon, Gabriel B
Publisher: Image Comics
Six pages less than most monthly comics and "Casanova" still had twice the conte
nt in each issue. Matt Fraction and Fabio Moon made the second year of "Casanova
" a true joy to read each month with rich characters and inventive stories (in c
ontent and technique), culminating in a perfect climax. Not just one of the best
books of 2008, but one of the best books of the century so far. - Reviewer Chad
Issue #14 is the single best comic book of the year, shocking and wonderful in a
ll the best ways. This is a series that will be looked at as a milestone of the
decade. - Columnist/Reviewer Timothy Callahan
Written and illustrated by Chris Ware
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Chris Ware, with every installment of his bookshelf series, proves that not only
is he a remarkable visual craftsman, but he has evolved into the best writer of
contemporary fiction making comics today. Parts John Updike, parts Rick Moody,
parts David Foster Wallace; Ware has created an elaborate and truly literary sho
wcase in "ACME Novelty Library." - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie
Chris Ware's tragic take on sci-fi splendor, in the midst of his 'Rusty Brown' m
ock-epic, is harrowing and grim. Like Ware's best work, it is beautiful in its s
adness. - Columnist/Reviewer Timothy Callahan
Through issue #19's half science fiction adventure/half character study, Chris W
are gives us a great comic that appeals not only to Ware fans but also to those
curious to see him go outside his comfort zone. He does so here, and he excels a
t it. - Brian Cronin, Blog Manager - Comics Should Be Good
Written by Grant Morrison
Illustrated by Tony Daniel, Various
Publisher: DC Comics
Even if the climax of "Batman R.I.P." failed to live up to the impossible hype s
urrounding it -- much of it fostered by Morrison's own statements -- this comic
was a must-read, must-analyze, must-discuss superhero serial. Any comic that can
fit Bat-Mite, Zur-En-Arrh, the Club of Villains, and an assault on the Batcave
into a handful of issues is more wonderful than you might realize. - Columnist/R
eviewer Timothy Callahan
With the much-anticipated "Batman R.I.P." story line, Morrison's "Batman" broke
his run with the Dark Knight out into a level of storytelling comparable with hi
s best superhero efforts from "Seven Soldiers of Victory" to "All-Star Superman.
" In spinning the story of Batman's struggle to retain his own sanity and contro
l in the face of the jaw-dropping double crosses perpetrated by mystery foes Dr.
Hurt and The Black Glove, Morrison and rising star Tony Daniel delivered a pitc
h-perfect balance of pot-boiler mystery, horrific suspense thriller and over-the
-top superhero tale all viewed through the prism of Bruce Wayne's greatest psych
ological strengths and weaknesses. Easily the best Batman story in a decade. - S
taff Writer Kiel Phegley


Written by Paul Cornell
Illustrated by Leonard Kirk, Bryan Hitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
When you take the writer of some of the best episodes of the new Doctor Who televi
sion series, partner him with the acclaimed artist of Marvel's Agents of Atlas,"
and give them an eclectic cast of intriguing characters, the result is Captain Br
itain and MI-13 -- one of the best team books currently being published. - Staff
Writer Dave Richards
The best thing to come out of "Secret Invasion" is this book about British super
heroes and their fights against magical beings. With each issue, Paul Cornell an
d Leonard Kirk grow in skill and confidence, making seemingly C-list characters
matter. - Reviewer Chad Nevett
By far the best new superhero title of 2008. - Staff Writer Shaun Manning
Written by Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard, Jeph Loeb
Illustrated by Georges Jeanty, Karl Moline, Cliff Richards, Jo Chen
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
The television series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" always felt like a great comic
book come to life, so it's only appropriate that it continued as a comic book af
ter its TV life concluded. And with talent like Whedon and Goddard (and more!) w
riting the book, the characters' voices ring true. Or, as a Buffy fan might say,
"Once More With Feeling..." - Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas
Buffy fans had big expectations for this series, and it has consistently deliver
ed. The book captures the tone of the show perfectly, and Joss Whedon & Co. are
taking advantage of the comics medium to tell epic stories. - Contributing Write
r Brian LeTendre
It wasn t enough that Whedon invited Drew Goddard and Jeph Loeb to play in the Buf
fyverse in 2008, but he also brought Fray into the fray with Karl Moline too. Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud
#8. RASL
Written and illustrated by Jeff Smith
Publisher: Cartoon Books
How does one of the cartooning geniuses of a generation follow up his life's wor
k? If said cartoonist is Jeff Smith, he does it by flipping the proverbial bird
to the young adult trappings and funny animal homages that made "Bone" an intern
ational comics phenomenon. The opening pages of his new sci-fi serial "RASL" int
roduce readers to the hard living, hard drinking world of its titular interdimen
sional art thief. And from the murder of a prostitute who may be the only person
to understand him, RASL's story only grows deeper both in terms of its emotiona
l character development and engaging plot dynamics. After only three issues of S
mith's signature cartooning mastery, "RASL" is instantly addictive and possibly
the last great indie serial we'll ever see in comics shops. - Staff Writer Kiel
as our
ho only

first self-published work since "Bone" is exciting and crazy all in one,
lead character leaps through dimensions to steal art, but rapidly finds
being chased by someone or something determined to wipe him out. Those w
associate Smith with all-ages comics will be surprised (in a good way) w

ith "RASL's" toughness. - Reviewer Greg McElhatton

Written by Fred Van Lente & Greg Pak
Illustrated by Khoi Pham, Rafa Sandoval, Clayton Henry
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I never would have thought Hercules was one of the most interesting characters i
n the Marvel Universe, but Pak, Van Lente and their team of artists prove that e
very month in "The Incredible Hercules". The buddy book featuring Herc and his t
een sidekick Amadeus Cho is exciting, thought provoking, poignant and best of al
l, very funny. - Staff Writer Dave Richards
Greg Pak and
ily replaced
everyone, in
erhero books

Fred Van Lente took a flagship Marvel book and character and summar
him with a small time Avenger and his teenage sidekick. Surprising
doing so they created one of the most charming and oddly moving sup
of the year. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie

Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente gave the Lion of Olympus new life in a fun series th
at sprang forth from their collective foreheads. The art chores have been provid
ed by a few different fellows, from Khoi Pham to Rafa Sandoval to Clayton Henry,
but the storytelling has been consistent throughout. Hercules had a good year i
n 2008, becoming one f Marvel's surprise hits. With that under their belt, I exp
ect 2009 to be even bigger for Herc and his buddy Amadeus Cho. - Reviewer Doug Z
Written by Gerard Way
Illustrated by Gabriel B
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
It's been said so many times because it truly is that surprising: How on Earth d
id the singer of a wildly popular rock band end up being such a remarkably talen
ted comic book writer? Alongside artist Gabriel B, My Chemical Romance's Gerard W
ay has created a bizarre and inventive universe of maudlin weirdos. Gorgeous and
affecting, "The Umbrella Academy" is a million times better than anyone might h
ave expected. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie
Fans of Grant Morrison's "Doom Patrol" can rejoice, there is finally a spiritual
heir to superhero weirdness that manages to be both fun and over the top at the
same time. Way and B's "Umbrella Academy" manages to remind readers of Morrison'
s works while still keeping its own unique voice. And to think, Way originally g
ave up on comics because he couldn't get noticed. - Reviewer Greg McElhatton
Quite possibly the most original take on the superhero genre since the release o
f Starman #0 in 1994. - Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud
Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Gary Frank & Jon Sibal, Joe Prado, Jesus Merino
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer Geoff Johns synthesizes and updates in this almost dizzyingly kinetic ser
ies everything great and classic about Superman, while illustrator Gary Frank ou
tdoes himself with his incredibly touching to tribute to the late Christopher Re
eve, who we can now see flying far into the future and battling high-tech, super
-powered tyrants in a way that we never could on film. - Staff Writer Andy Khour

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank turned the Superman corner of the DC Universe on its
ear in 2008 with a reintroduction of the Legion of Super-Heroes from the years o
f Clark Kent's youth. Add in an inspired reimagination of Brainiac and the tendr
ils still spinning out of that story and it is almost possible to overlook the f
act that there was not a massive event to celebrate Superman's seventieth birthd
ay this year. - Reviewer Doug Zawisza
Written by Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges
Illustrated by Mark Buckingham, James Jean, Tony Akins, Russ Braun, Brian Bollan
d, Various
Publisher: Vertigo
What amazes me about this series is the way after so many years Willingham manag
es to make the book feel fresh. "Fables" is incredibly different from what it wa
s a few years ago due to the characters' evolution, the passage of time, and now
that the war against the Adversary has concluded, the book will likely change r
adically. I for one can't wait. - Contributing Writer Alex Deuben
Modern day storytelling at its finest using characters created in the 18th Centu
ry. For people who think Battlestar Galactica has come a long way in 30 years, you
haven t seen something re-imagined until you ve read Fables. - Staff Writer Jeffrey R
If you're not reading "Fables" and "Jack of Fables," you're missing out on the c
omplete Fables mythology. These stories will suck you in and not let go. They're
both the rare kind of comics that make you want to spend more time reading. - S
taff Writer George A. Tramountanas
Written by Jason Aaron
Illustrated by R.M. Guera, Jock
Publisher: Vertigo
Jason Aaron pulls no punches and is unafraid to really delve into his characters
as they struggle with the reality of living on an Indian Reservation. - Reviewe
r Chad Nevett
So much more than just a Vertigo crime comic, Jason Aaron & R.M. Guerra's "Scalp
ed" tells a complex story of family, corruption, and destiny. This is the best m
onthly series on the stands, and if you're not reading it, you are missing out o
n something special. - Columnist/Reviewer Timothy Callahan
I worried that Aaron's workload would cause this title to suffer. I worried he d
idn't have the skill to pull together this complex web of characters and to make
them real. I worried he didn't have the balls to make this as dark and tragic a
story as it demanded. Now I just read the book. - Contributing Writer Alex Deub
Aaron and
valent of
cters and
ries I've

Guera's Native American crime saga, Scalped is the pulpy four-color equi
HBO's highly acclaimed series "The Wire." The intriguing cast of chara
powerful and often heart breaking stories make Scalped the best comic se
read all year. - Staff Writer Dave Richards


Written by Ed Brubaker
Illustrated by Sean Phillips
Publisher: Icon
Reaching new heights this year, Brubaker and Phillips's "Criminal" has become a
nearly pitch-perfect crime comic. The crime genre essays in the back of each iss
ue are the gravy on a delicious meal of lust, betrayal, murder, and irony. - Col
umnist/Reviewer Timothy Callahan
"Criminal" is bigger, better and harsher than ever with an opening trio of stori
es revolving around one heist, but told from three very unique perspectives. Tho
se issues along would guarantee this book a spot on the list, but the follow-up,
"Bad Night" proves that Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips can do noir stories with
the best of them--and better than most. - Reviewer Chad Nevett
Comparing the other comics that Brubaker and Phillips make for Marvel to this on
e is like comparing lightning bugs to a lightning strike. This has become a must
for crime fans not because it's an homage to film noir or great novels, but bec
ause it's vying for a place next to them on the shelves, because it understands
people and every great crime story is a story about people. - Contributing Write
r Alex Deuben
This creative team continues to prove that when it comes to crime comics, Brubak
er and Phillips are second to none. A true ensemble book, in which a side charac
ter in one issue can be the lead in the next. Criminal shows us the dark side of h
umanity in its many and varied forms, and keeps us coming back for more. - Staff
Writer Emmett Furey
Written by Grant Morrison
Illustrated by Frank Quitely & Jamie Grant
Publisher: DC Comics
Morrison and Quitely's 12-issue run on "All Star Superman" had everything you'd
ever want in a Superman comic; imaginative stories, beautiful art, and a continu
al sense of wonder that never faded for an instant. Were only all superhero comi
cs this good, I doubt the genre would have many detractors. - Reviewer Greg McEl
Morrison and Quitely present the essential Superman, combining all the best bits
of the old stories into something that is more than the sum of its parts. This
is what Superman can be, should be, and so rarely is. - Columnist/Reviewer Timot
hy Callahan
Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, in their now completed storyline "The Twelve L
abors of Superman," have created arguably the best Superman story ever published
. Towering ideas alongside pitch perfect character work all rendered by pretty m
uch the best artist working in comics today makes "All Star Superman" a phenomen
al achievement in the medium. - Reviewer Benjamin Birdie