With 2009 coming to a close, a lot of people are looking at the best comics of the decade. (There will be other sticklers who post about it next year. No complaining, people.) But the Onion A.V. Club has a list of some of the best of the best — 25 to be exact, with five other archival collections — from publishers all over the place.
Now, to be fair, it’s obviously tilted towards books with indie sensibilities rather than, say, capes-and-tights fare like Green Lantern or Ultimate Spider-Man (although All-Star Superman, DC: The New Frontier and Bendis’ run on Daredevil all get nods). Asterios Polyp, the book that everyone raved about this year obviously made the cut, as did the Acme Novelty Library and Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Yet there’s a huge oversight here — the total lack of manga, which already spans far more genres (romance, school, workplace drama, even cooking) than most American comics ever have.
Of course, that said, there are clearly some books whose absence would make people angry. Scott Pilgrim, whose high energy and cross-genre leanings have landed it a movie deal, was noticeably left out — Scalped, which has gotten rave reviews for Jason Aaron, was overlooked in favor of Criminal, a book with similar tone in terms of subject matter. Astro City is something I’ve heard people talk about — and while I don’t dispute it’s a good comic, I would argue that some of its best issues, such as the introduction of Samaritan, or the arc with the Confessor, came out before the 2000 mark.
In a lot of ways, these lists are pure politics, and the further from 2010 you came out, the greater the handicap against you. The other question is that of tone: does it have to be polished with the art style? Does it have to be either gritty and realistic (Criminal) or hugely subversive (Tales to Thrizzle)? Does mainstream popularity — sales, not necessarily reviews — preclude you from the list? You can check out the AV Club’s list here — I’m curious what you think is missing. Sound off!