The 10 Best Graphic Novels of 2011

read/RANT's Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2011

When I began compiling my list of the year’s best graphic novels, I found myself including dozens of books with little rhyme or reason. To help me narrow my list down a little bit, this is the rule I created: the first English-language collected edition or original graphic novel had to be released in 2011. And while this excluded some of my favorite books from the year (Waid’s Daredevil, Rozum’s Xombi, and Lemire’s Animal Man, to name three), it was a good guideline when I was constructing the list.

Obviously, we missed some things – sometimes great things. We don’t read every graphic novel that comes out (as much fun as that would be!). I even know for sure some major releases that I missed, like The Death Ray. So feel free to tell me just how wrong I am! What were your favorite releases this year? Because these were some of ours…

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One Shot Update


Hello again, read/RANT fans! Cal here. I know updates have been few and far between around here, but now that I FINALLY have a) an internet connection (well… kind of) and b) the ability to purchase comics, I hope to start posting a little more regularly.

I’m still working on a way to revamp The Unread Canon, to move the focus away from ongoing story-arcs and towards a more coherent look at some ‘classic’ books, but for now, I hope you folks enjoyed my One Shot colums (from the number of readers I got on the Astro City and Animal Man issues, I’d imagine you did). I’m going to ease back in, and the first part of that will involve starting up my looks at standalone issues of comics, some great, some merely okay, once again.

This, hopefully, is what my schedule will look like for One Shot this year…

6/12/11 – The Unwritten #5, “How the Whale Became”
7/10/11 – All-Star Superman #10, “Neverending”
8/14/11 – X-Factor #13, “Re-X-Aminations”
9/11/11 – Ex Machina #40, “Ruthless”
10/09/11 – Tales of the Slayers, “Righteous”
11/13/11 – Daytripper #8, “47”

As ever, any suggestions for future issues are more than welcome, and hopefully I’ll get more writing coming up soon!

I apologize that life has pulled so many of us away from the site, particularly given how exciting things have gotten with DC’s recent announcement – more on that later.

Glad to be back!

– Cal Cleary

Review: Daytripper #1

Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, twin brothers probably best known as the art team behind Casanova, team up here on Vertigo’s 10-issue limited series Daytripper as both sides of the creative team.  Daytripper follows Bras de Olivia Domingos, an obituary writer who aspires to follow in the footsteps of his novelist father.  The first issue follows him through a single day, largely acting to set up the story and introduce the supporting cast.  Despite that, Daytripper #1 remains a relatively engaging opening issue, despite a few minor slip-ups.

The art is seems a bit shaper than their work on Casanova, though stylistically, of course, it remains largely the same.  Ba and Moon’s crisp, exaggerated style (nonetheless toned down from Casanova) works exceedingly well with the script, giving all the characters distinct physical personalities.  Moon and Ba’s frantic style is surprisingly well-suited to the slow-paced drama they’ve built here, and they do an respectable job distinguishing the lush Brazilian setting from a million other cities we see in comics.

It’s hard to say where the series will go from here thanks to a strange late-issue twist, but up until then, Daytripper suggests a fairly sharp drama about the influence of family and writing.  While the issue doesn’t offer enough to give a firm view of where it’s going or what it wants to do, the issue’s natural dialogue and excellent, stylistic art offer a solid reason to stick around.  Daytripper, which does not yet have any intimations of horror, the supernatural, or any other extraordinary element (and no sex, language, and little gore), may not seem like a standard choice for a Vertigo mini, but Ba and Moon make a pretty good case for giving their 10-issue series a chance.

Grade: B+

– Cal Cleary