In true collective fashion, we over at Cloudscape headquarters put our heads together this week to come up with a master list of what we consider to be the top ten comics produced in the 2000s. Five of us each came up with our own independent lists (which can be found on the forum) and then those lists were compiled together through a top secret mathematical formula. The results are here!
1.) Blankets by Craig Thompson
Jeff Ellis says: People seem to either love it or hate it, and I definitely love it! People who don’t like this book seem to have trouble relating to the character, they think he’s whiny, or that the story is boring. Man, I lived some of that story, this is why people tell these kinds of stories, so we know other people went through these things! We are not alone!
2.) Louis Riel by Chester Brown
Jeff says: …Densely layered with a wonderful atmosphere, it makes Canadian history interesting! I really enjoyed reading this, and hope Mr. Brown does more historical fiction, rather than libertarian diatribes as I’ve heard rumoured.
3.) The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Jonathon Dalton says: …(I picked) Shaun Tan’s entirely wordless graphic novel about an immigrant to a strange land of monsters and unusual people. Just because it’s beautiful. In every conceivable way. I wish I could comick like this.
4.) Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Angela Melick says: As an autobio comicker, Persepolis is very humbling. The most serious of topics are expressed with the simplest lines and shapes. We’re drawn into her world, completely, and only shaken out by the periodic realization that it is REAL. These things HAPPENED.
5.) Making Comics by Scott McCloud
This was Colin Upton’s pick out of the two contributions to non-fiction meta-comics made by Scott McCloud during this decade.
6.) Naruto by Masashi Kitimoto
Angela says: Naruto boasts a richly-built world with an expansive cast of three-dimensional characters that grow and change over time. Even the villains have stories that are explored over the series. Most importantly for the genre, both the heroes and villains always have limitations, the battles and powers are always creative and new.
7.) Flight by Kazu Kibuishi et. al.
Jonathon says: What can I say about Flight that hasn’t already been said? That it was another example of the zeitgeist of the decade? That every indie anthology I have ever been in used Flight as its model, its inspiration, or its bar to reach for?
8.) Acme Novelty Library by Chris Ware
Jeff says: Chris Ware is a genius! I often hear his work criticized as depressing, but consider the craft required to get that kind of a reaction, especially with such simple art. There are nuggets of hope in there too.
9.) Berlin by Jason Lutes
Jeff says: Such a well crafted portrait of Pre-Nazi Germany. I find it especially interesting that he avoids using swastikas to let the reader judge the characters by their actions and not their clothes. I can’t wait for the next volume!
10.) Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Jonathon Says: It was a book ahead of its time and the rest of pop culture is only now catching up. But there is another reason Scott Pilgrim is on this list…. [Bryan’s comics] prove the potential for new comics that is out there, how successful home-grown manga can be with audiences, and hopefully signals more exploration down this road in the future.
With arguably the best decade for comics the English-speaking world has ever seen, there is no way ten titles could adequately sum up the decade. So I had to at least sneak in a few honourable mentions that were high on some of our lists:
The Golem’s Mighty Swing by James Sturm, Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma, Finder by Carla Speed McNiel, Dork by Evan Dorkin, Mail Order Bride by Mark Kalesniko, Skydoll by Alessandro Barbucci and Barbara Canepa, Epileptic by David B., Ordinary Victories by Larcenet, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, and Family Man by Dylan Meconis.
EDIT: The list has been edited, as Colin made it clear it was a different book by Scott McCloud he was talking about. Which changes my Very Scientific (pretend) algorithm. Apologies to James Sturm, who gets bumped down to number 11.