So the year's winding down, and that can only mean one thing: a list of the best comics of 2010! But here on the Dork Forty, a simple list of the year's best comics isn't enough. Around here, we say anything worth doing is worth over-doing! And to that end, we present to you...
Rather than doing one gigantic post outlining all the Dorkies at once, though, I'll be awarding one Dorky at a time over the rest of the year, spread out between insufferable Christmas posts and the occasional Funnybooksinreview piece. Partially, this is because I hate bloated award shows, and partially because I haven't quite figured out all my categories just yet, and want more time to shape them into entertaining reading. That said, it’s time to get started with a category I do have figured out:
Introduced in the very early 1980s, the comic book mini-series was an immediate hit with readers. It opened doors in the mainstream comics industry to tell more novelistic stories with a beginning, middle, and end, giving us both high and low classics in the form of Watchmen, Camelot 3000, and so many others. It was also a stroke of genius for corporate spandex publishers. Got a popular character that you’re not sure can support his own series? Give him a mini-series instead! And if that sells well, then you can commit to an on-going. Such now-venerable characters as Wolverine and the Punisher got their own books based on this model. The mini-series also gave us the line-wide crossover event series, in the form of Crisis on Infinite Earths and its inferior, rushed-to-production-to-make-it-look-like-they-had-the-idea-first retarded cousin, Secret Wars.
(Actually, I’m not being fair to Secret Wars. It was bad, but its predecessor warm-up series, Contest of Champions, was far, far worse.)
As with everything in funnybooks, of course, the mini-series got abused. Eventually, it seemed like every third-string hero got his own mini (Iceman, anyone?), and the high production values of the early mini-series often fell by the wayside. They became just another crappy wrinkle in the comics-as-usual hairshirt. Even the big crossover minis fell into this trap, with horrid stuff like Secret Wars II (even worse than the first one!) or the innumerable DC crossovers that followed in the wake of Crisis’ success.
That hasn’t stopped classics from being made as well, though, and in this age when trade paperback sales are as important as those of the periodicals that spawn them… The mini-series is a natural format. 2010 brought us tons of minis, and today we recognize the best of them. So, without further ado…
The nominees are…
by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
Brilliant slice-of-life drama from the Brazilian twins. Even without the series’ spicy hook (its protagonist dies every issue), this would be great comics.
by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows
Alan Moore’s black and bitter farewell to the comics industry, a modern vision of Lovecraftian evil that brings all that author’s implied nastiness to the surface.
Strange Science Fantasy
by Scott Morse
A flawed, but conceptually and artistically magnificent, homage to the Marvel monster comics of the 1950s. Might have earned its nomination on the strength of the Shogunaut alone.
And the winner is…
This book faced some stiff competition from Fever and Neonomicon. The first is an artistic triumph that appeals to my sense of the bizarre, and the second is Alan Moore applying his usual brilliance to the works of HP freaking Lovecraft! But Neonomicon is only half-done, and the writing in Fever (though pretty great in places) just isn’t up to snuff. And I will, in the end, always come back to the writing.