Top 20 Comics of 2010
A Drunken Dream and Other Stories (Moto Hagio)
Ooku: The Inner Chambers (Fumi Yoshinaga)
Set To Sea (Drew Weing)
Stumptown (Greg Rucka & Matthew Southworth)
Weathercraft (Jim Woodring)
19. X'd Out (Charles Burns) - The first volume in the new comic book that Charles Burns is creating sees Burns experimenting with the medium in a David Lynch-like, unsettling story that bounces between three different narratives that seem to follow one character as he's: young and rebellious, a little older and weening himself off of pills, and as he traverses a more cartoony landscape as a Herge-inspired character while he's dreaming/hallucinating. Probably. Either way, it's quite a trip to read, even if it is disorienting and nightmarish. That's what Burns does best anyway. And this time around, we get it in full color.
17. Black Widow (Marjorie Liu, Daniel Acuna, Duane Swierczynski & Manuel Garcia) - Beginning with a mystery that has its roots in the Widow's past, then diving head-first into a world full of espionage, back-stabbing and superheroics is this new Black Widow series. Liu makes Natasha into an interesting, very likable character, something that's often missing when it comes to the character in recent incarnations, and Liu also knows how to spin a good yarn with exciting plot twists. Swierczynski has picked up on what Liu has set up as he continues the series with dynamic secondary characters and riveting action.
14. Artichoke Tales (Megan Kelso) - This multi-generational story follows the women of the Quicksand family, who carry on their apothecary business while a war is raging between the north and south. The war keeps lovers apart, causes tension in the family, and sees sacrifices along the way in what feels like a rather epic story. Kelso's simple lines beautifully capture the emotional turmoil of the characters and move the action along fluidly. This title caught me by surprise with how much I enjoyed it - it looks deceptively simple, but there's a lot going on in this ambitious book.
11. Sand Chronicles (Hinako Ashihara) - No book gets me more emotional than this shojo manga does. Every time I crack open a volume, it's inevitable that tears are going to follow. This smartly-written manga with troubled, fully-realized characters, follows Ann, whose mother committed suicide when she was young, and has had that experience hanging over her her entire life, sometimes subconsciously causing her to do things that hurt her or those around her, and sometimes making decisions that aren't necessarily the healthiest. Her story is full of love, loss, depression and feeling generally directionless. But just as fascinating as the places that Ann goes in this story are the back stories of the characters around her, all of whom have their own issues to contend with. The revelations keep coming as this series winds towards its conclusion, but this is one emotional roller coaster that I'm glad I had the opportunity to experience.