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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Top 5 Best Comics of March 2010

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I read 17 comics in March, and these were the best.

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Review: Joe the Barbarian #3

Morrison and Murphy continue to follow Joe’s slow descent into death in another exciting, creative, and at least mildly chilling issue of Joe the Barbarian.  Murphy and colorist Dave Stewart have fleshed out Joe’s fantasy world, creating a vivid, almost surreal fantasy land-scape that is, quite honestly, breathtaking.  The really powerful moments continue to come in the increasingly brief moments we spend with Joe as he wanders down from the attic, in what is absolutely the most epic quest ever undertaken to reach a refrigerator.  Morrison peppers the issue with some absurdly dark humor, but solid action beats and excellent world-building help keep the book from devolving into depression.  Joe the Barbarian #3 continues to provide some top-notch fantasy colored by a tragic, unforgettable undercurrent.

Grade: A-

– Cal Cleary

Read/RANT

Joe the Barbarian #2

Joe the Barbarian #1

Top 5 Best Comics of February 2010

With March half over, I think now’s a good time for this list, yes? I read 17 comics in February, and these were the best.

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Review: Joe the Barbarian #2

If Joe the Barbarian‘s first issue started a bit slow, its second makes up for it and then some.  As Joe ventures even deeper into the bizarre fantasy-land in his head, he teams up with Jack, his pet rat/master swordsman to defy an evil empire hellbent on destruction.  The issue has a couple killer action segments, gorgeous scenery and bizarre, epic world-building like only Grant Morrison can do.  There is an undeniably tragic undercurrent, though – after all, the book appears to be about a young man mythologizing his own rapid, needless death.  I do not know whether Joe will survive or not, but panels like the one where he falls from the attic are almost viscerally painful, and it’s these brief, infrequent reminders from Morrison that give the book it’s quickly-breaking heart.

Murphy continues to turn in extraordinarily impressive work, as does colorist Dave Stewart – an under-appreciated talent, especially notable in gorgeous panels like the first firing of the ray gun – and the pair together make the issue extremely memorable.  The two of them have crafted an extraordinarily lived-in fantasy world.  With Morrison’s script and Murphy and Stewart on art, Joe the Barbarian has already grown into a first-rate adventure, one that perfectly captures the bizarre melancholy and boundless creativity of childhood.

Grade: A

– Cal Cleary

Read/RANT

Joe the Barbarian #1

Top 5 Best Comics of January 2010

I read 17 comics in January, and these were the best.

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