Best Comics Of 2011: Big J’s List

2011 was a great year for comics. While this year saw many great titles get optioned for television or movies, it was also one of the strongest years in recent memory for strong storytelling and compelling books. Read on for the skinny…

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BIG J’S TOP 10 OF 2011

Lonmonster’s List | THEoDEAD’s List | KtMc’s List | Big J’s List

10. Crossed (Avatar Press)

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I didn’t think Crossed could possibly get any more depraved after Garth Ennis’ initial run, but David Lapham has taken things up a notch. Reading this book make me want to bathe in holy water when I’m done, but this is absuletely essential reading for horror fans.

9. Artifacts (Top Cow)

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I’m not a huge superhero fan, but Ron Marz is crafting a compelling event crossover at Top Cow. The thing I love about this series was I could jump into the book with no knowledge of Top Cow’s continuity and still get hooked. I typically hate crossover events, but this is great blockbuster action.

8. Blue Estate (Image Comics)

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I’m a sucker for a good crime book and Viktor Kalvachev’s is quickly becoming one of the best books on shelves. If Guy Ritchie or Quentin Tarantino were writing a comic, Blue Estate would be it.

7. Sweet Tooth (Vertigo)

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Jeff Lemire can really do no wrong. Sweet Tooth is simply one of the most captivating books month after month. The current arc which tells the origins of the plague gave readers the answers to the questions they’ve been asking since this series began.

6. Severed (Image Comics)

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Scott Snyder and & Scott Tuft Severed are weaving a classic horror tale. Without the use blood and gore, Snyder & Tuft are making readers scared by slow roasting them with fear.

5. Swamp Thing (DC Comics)

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Critical darling Scott Snyder is really that fucking good. I have never cared about Swamp Thing, but this book is making me and is one of the best things DC is putting out.

4. Animal Man (DC Comics)

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Jeff Lemire’s take on this classic Vertigo character is nothing short of brilliant and Travel Foreman’s artwork will leave your jaw on the floor. This is a classic case of a writer and artist being totally in sync and firing on all cylinders.

3. The Walking Dead (Image Comics)

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While fans of the TV show are finally discovering the comic, Kirkman and Adlard continue to give you the goods as we creep up on 100 issues. The series “No Way Out” storyline was phenomenal and the issues that followed were completely character driven. One of the best things about The Walking Dead is that the characters themselves can sometimes be more frightening than the zombies they’re fighting against.

2. Punisher MAX (Marvel)

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It’s no coincidence that Jason Aaron has the top two books on this list. With PunisherMax he’s taken character of Frank Castle and given him a purpose. While countless writers have made the Punisher a mindless killing machine, Aaron has given him true motivation for his actions. This will undoubtedly go down as one of the defining moments in the character’s history and I’m sure all subsequent series will use this run as their benchmark.

1. Scalped (Veritgo)

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Month after month, Scalped is hands down the best book on shelves. Jason Aaron and R. M. Guéra are turning out emotionally gut wrenching material that leaves you begging for more the second you finish reading the last page.

GRAPHIC NOVELS

Echoes (Image Comics/Top Cow)

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This series scares you with reality and emotion. Author Joshua Hale Fialkov crafts this insane story about one man’s battle with schizophrenia and his attempt to keep his sanity after his father admits he was a serial killer while on his deathbed. The dark and moody artwork by Rahsan Ekedal is amazing. This book is a must read for horror fans or anyone looking for strong storytelling.

Rat Catcher (Vertigo Crime)

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Andy Diggle serves up a tasty crime story about a manhunt for an assassin who specializes in silencing any “rats” in the Witness Protection Program. Rat Cather plays out like a blockbuster action flick and a fantastic graphic novel with tons of great twists and turns on every page.

Last Days of American Crime (Radical Comics)

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This technically came out in late 2010, but writer Rick Remender and artist Greg Tocchini turned out an gruesome, violent crime story that executes on all levels. The U.S. government is a week away from making it impossible for anyone to knowingly commit unlawful acts and career criminal Graham Brick is plotting one last heist to set him up for life. Any fans of the crime genre need to take notes and pick this series up.