CBR's Top 100 Comics of 2010, #100 - 76

Each year, CBR wraps its coverage of the comics industry with a virtual nerd cage match to determine the very best comics of the year. Every single CBR staffer -- from our crack news team to our well-researched columnists and from CBR's many daily bloggers to our legion of comic reviewers -- had the chance to chip in their favorite books of the year with only the highest vote-getters ranking up on our massive Top 100 Comics list, and as always, neither the staff nor the comics disappointed.

While 2010 was marked with a number of seismic changes to comics, from industry shakeups and sales swings to the long-awaited introduction of a viable sales platform for digital comics on phones and tablet devices like the iPad. But while the world around comics may be in for some immediate change, the artform itself remains as versatile as ever. This year, we found a wealth of notable entries from all segments of the marketplace including the heights of the superhero and genre mainstream, the vast array of literary and art comics on the stands, the in flux yet still powerful world of manga, the cutting-edge experimentation of the web and more!

And while it's nearly impossible for even the combined staff of CBR to have read every single ongoing series, miniseries, one-shot, graphic novel and webcomic published in and throughout 2010, we are confident that you'll find no better indicator of the breadth and quality of the industry as it stands today than right here. So read on as we kick off Part 1 of our week-long countdown including nods to some friendly neighborhood superhero books, some classic manga found for the first time in the U.S., top notch kids comics, new takes on traditional heroes and old favorites still going strong.

100. Big Questions

Written & Illustrated By: Anders Nilsen

Published By: Drawn & Quarterly

Anders Nilsen's decade-in-the-making flagship series concludes with an ending as explosive and uncompromising as its art is delicate and vulnerable. Elsewhere I've called this the best and most important funny-animal comic since "Maus." I'm sticking to that. If next year's collected edition isn't on top of my Best of 2011 list, then will have been some kind of miracle year.

- Robot 6 Blogger Sean T. Collins

99. A Drunken Dream And Other Stories

Written & Illustrated By: Moto Hagio

Published By: Fantagraphics

I'd never heard of Moto Hagio until Fantagraphics published this best-of collection of her stories, and it's easy to see why Hagio is one of the queens of shojo manga in Japan. The short story "Iguana Girl" (about a girl who grows up with her mother treating her like she is an iguana) is strong enough to make you feel like you've gotten your money's worth, but the remaining nine stories are also all excellent to boot.

- CBR Reviewer Greg McElhatton

98. Lola: A Ghost Story

Written By: J. Torres

Illustrated By: Elbert Or

Published By: Oni Press

J. Torres' intimate tale of legacy and self-discovery caught me by surprise. As I read it, it struck me as a timeless tale that can be revisited at any point and still ring true, still be as haunting and compelling as the first time.

- CBR Reviwer Doug Zawisza

97. Twin Spica

Written & Illustrated By: Kou Yaginuma

Published By: Vertical

A lovely manga about a young girl who wants to be an astronaut, "Twin Spica" stretches outside the usual boundaries of children's stories and has moments of true poetry and grace. Kou Yaginuma's art goes far beyond the usual standards of manga, creating unforgettable characters and settings that really draw the reader in.

- Robot 6 Blogger Brigid Alverson

96. Drinking At The Movies

Written & Illustrated By: Julia Wertz

Published By: Three Rivers Press/Random House

With a sharp eye and plenty of self-deprecating humor, Julia Wertz chronicles her first year in New York, a year of crappy jobs, terrible apartments, and good friends. Wertz is a great raconteur who manages to be entertaining and a bit deep at the same time.

- Robot 6 Blogger Brigid Alverson

95. Last Days of American Crime

Written By: Rick Remender

Illustrated By: Greg Tocchini

Published By: Radical Comics

Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini redefined the heist comic this year in a creatively devious take on the crime of the century. Remender's team of three thieves have a week to steal the biggest payout of their careers before the American government broadcasts a signal that makes it impossible to do anything illegal -- all told in Tocchini's unique and detailed style. A healthy mix of sex, violence and con, Remender reminds readers why crime does indeed pay.

- CBR Staff Writer Steve Sunu

94. Spider-Girl

Written By: Paul Tobin

Illustrated By: Clayton Henry

Published By: Marvel Comics

Not only is the book well written and drawn, it uses social networking! Spider-Girl's got a real Twitter account for some cool interactivity between the book and real life, which is just one of the reasons Paul Tobin should be commended for bringing Arana and Spider-Girl back to life. The series had a strong start with Clayton Henry's art suiting itself perfectly to Tobin's witty dialogue and plot that draws from all aspects of the Marvel U.

- CBR Staff Writer Steve Sunu

93. The Muppet Show Comic Book

Written & Illustrated By: Roger Langridge

Published By: BOOM! Studios

Roger Langridge has been one of the great unsung cartoonists for so long that seeing him finally get his due with these books is a great joy. What many of us feared would be a mediocre comic is a joy to read as Langridge understands the characters, is a master of physical comedy and conveys the joy (and agony) of putting on a show.

- CBR Staff Writer Alex Dueben

92. Saturn Apartments

Written & Illustrated By: Hisae Iwaoka

Published By: Viz

A comic about a window washer might not sound interesting -- but what if it's a window washer who works on a massive space station that circles the planet some 35,000 meters above the surface? "Saturn Apartments" follows Mitsu and his fellow lower-level dwellers in a fascinating series that takes an ignored class of people and makes them heroes in their own right.

- CBR Reviewer Greg McElhatton

91. Billy Batson & The Magic of Shazam

Written by: Art Baltazar, Franco Aureliani

Illustrated by: Mike Norton

Published By: DC Comics

The legend of SHAZAM! is properly celebrated here. Baltazar and Aureliani provide stories that are fun and loud, big-screen, but intimate. It's a wonderful tribute to a legend without shattering any of the tenets established by creative legends and beloved by comic fans."

- CBR Reviewer Doug Zawisza

90. Tom Strong And The Robots Of Doom

Written By: Peter Hogan

Illustrated By: Chris Sprouse

Published By: WildStorm/DC Comics

For my money, Hogan, Sprouse and Story have done a lovely job continuing the adventures of Mr. Strong. Compelling, swashbuckling adventures in time with robots, underground ancients, evil Nazi blond temptresses and two generations of Tom Strong. Sprouse really nails the art, and our hero cuts an even more dashing figure than usual, I found myself disturbingly attracted to this fictional character.

- Comics Should Be Good Writer Sonia Harris

89. The Image Superhero Comics of Robert Kirkman

Written By: Robert Kirkman (with Benito Cereno)

Illustrated By: Ryan Ottley, Ransom Getty & Jason Howard

Published By: Image Comics

The superhero comic that every superhero comic should aspire to! "Invincible" is the Superman/Spider-Man for this generation -- full of good intentions, frustrated, and totally relatable. Kirkman and Ottley continue to knock this book out of the park every issue.

- CBR Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas

The Kirkmanverse heralded a welcome expansion this year with the Guardians of the Globe getting their own series. While the series is still in its infancy, Kirkman and Cereno dangle plot threads in our faces and we're frantically chasing them around like a Viltrumite chases down infidel rebels! Plus, rising star Ransom Getty brings his own fresh take on old favorites like Brit, Cecil Stedman and even Invincible himself. With titles like this, it's a great time to be a Kirkman fan.

- CBR Staff Writer Steve Sunu

88. Warlord of iO

Written & Illustrated By: James Turner

Published By: SLG Publishing

Turner's boisterous imagination spills all over every page to create some of the most fantastic Space Pulp I've ever read. The villains are an eclectic group of crocodile-men, warbots, mud monsters, asteroid ants, jello people and others too nuts to describe. The hero is helped by a miniature robot named Urk and there are also talking ray guns, a philosophizing sapling, a cybernetic death-rat, and of course Tiki Space Pirates. None of that would matter, though, if the story didn't also have heart. Which it does.

- Robot 6 Columnist Michael May

87. Prison Pit Vol. 2

Written & Illustrated By: Johnny Ryan

Published By: Fantagraphics

Absurd, crude, lewd, funny, entertaining, twelve kinds of wrong, one of the most effed-up books I've ever read. It's burned into my brain and I can't get it out. And I love it.

- CBR Reviewer Chad Nevett

86. Achewood

Written & Illustrated by: Chris Onstad

Published By: Dark Horse Comics/http://achewood.com/

Another fine year of laughter and...well...depression.

- Comics Should Be Good Editor Brian Cronin

85. Thor

Written By: Kieron Gillen and Matt Fraction

Illustrated By: Doug Braithwaite, Rich Elson, Pasqual Ferry

Published By: Marvel Comics

As masterfully executed as Marvel's "Siege" event was for the most part, Thor's world and his character only got deeper when Fraction picked up the thunder god's book with issue #615. Together with Pasqual Ferry and Matt Hollingsworth's electric colors, Gillen's writing not only injected the series with a new wind to take it into Thor's movie year in 2011, he realigned the hero's world to up the ante for all Thor tales in any medium.

- CBR Contributor Brian Warmoth

84. Usagi Yojimbo

Written & Illustrated By: Stan Sakai

Published By: Dark Horse Comics

For the past 26 years, creator Stan Sakai has consistently put out some of the most entertaining stories in comics as he chronicles the adventures of Usagi Yojimbo. This year saw the samurai rabbit fight the Red Scorpion gang, save a sacred drum and both fight and team up with the swordsman Kato after a double cross. Sakai's art has never looked better, and the stories offer almost universal appeal and even the occasional history lesson.

- Robot 6 Editor JK Parkin

83. Bug

Written & Illustrated By: Adam Huber

Published By: http://www.bugcomic.com/

Most gag comics are hit or miss, but every single one of Adam Huber's daily strips hits the mark, with an offbeat, slightly twisted sense of humor.

- Robot 6 Blogger Brigid Alverson

82. Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye 1: Hamster and Cheese

Written By: Colleen AF Venable

Illustrated By: Stephanie Yue

Published By: Lerner Publishing Group

A charming children's book about a pet store filled with mislabeled pets, this story is simple enough for young readers but filled with witty writing and quirky characters that grownups can appreciate as well.

- Robot 6 Blogger Brigid Alverson

81. Fantastic Four

Written By: Jonathan Hickman

Illustrated By: Dale Eaglesham & Steve Epting

Published By: Marvel Comics

Along with Dale Eaglesham and Steve Epting, Jonathan Hickman told some of the most interesting and surprising tales in the Marvel Universe this year. Through trips to Nu World with Galactus and undersea adventures with Namor, the big adventures were mixed with touching human elements, like Ben Grimm getting time off from his monstrous form, that really made this one of the best books of the year.

- Robot 6 Editor JK Parkin

80. Superman: Earth One

Written By: J. Michael Straczynski

Illustrated By: Shane Davis

Published By: DC Comics

I'm not going to lie to you. When I first saw Clark Kent in a hoodie, I wanted to scream. And yet JMS and Shane Davis delivered a near perfect Superman story that was so well done, it ranks right up there with John Byrne's "The Man of Steel" and Mark Waid's "Superman: Birthright" as definitive takes on Kal-El's origin tale.

- CBR Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud

79. Avengers: The Children's Crusade

Written By: Allan Heinberg

Illustrated By: Jim Cheung

Published By: Marvel Comics

This series re-unites the original Young Avengers creative team to answer the question X-Men/Avengers fans have been waiting to see resolved since 2004 - where is Wanda Maximoff? With a compelling cast centered on the extended Maximoff family, it's been an utter joy to read, telling an epic story without losing sight of the simple human drama at the centre of it. Classic Marvel in the making.

- CBR Reviewer James Hunt

78. Ultimate Spider-Man

Written By: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrated By: David Lafuente, Takeshi Miyazawa, Sarah Pichelli, Joelle Jones, Jamie McKelvie

Published By: Marvel Comics

Throughout its decade-long history, "Ultimate Spider-Man" has never failed to entertain, but this year was especially good. Bendis used the cataclysmic events of "Ultimatum" to take the series in new and interesting directions, including having Johnny Storm and Bobby Drake come to live with Peter Parker and his Aunt May. The recent milestone issue #150 was the highlight of a great year and illustrates why the series has been so good for so long; it's essentially about a teenager struggling to be good in a complicated and often unfair world.

- CBR Staff Writer Dave Richards

77. Amazing Spider-Man

Written By: Joe Kelly, Dan Slott, Fred Van Lente, Mark Waid, Tom Peyer, Roger Stern, Zeb Wells, J.M DeMatteis, Stan Lee, Joe Quesada, Bob Gale, Marc Guggenheim

Illustrated By: Max Fiumara, Marcos Martin, Michael Lark, Joe Quinones, Paul Azaceta, Michael Gaydos, Lee Weeks, Chris Bachalo, Emma Rios, Paolo Rivera, Joe Quesada, Mike Del Mundo, Karl Kessel, Ken Nimura, Graham Nolan, Adam Archer

Published By: Marvel Comics

As the names above show, 2010 was a great year to be a Spider-Man fan. It was the final year of the thrice monthly "Brand New Day" era and the creative teams went out in style. Stand-out stories include Joe Kelly and Michael Lark's "Grim Hunt" saga and issue #647, where each of the "Brand New Day" writers told one last Peter Parker story. Dan Slott took over as the series sole writer with issue #648, and so far his run is off to a great start.

- CBR Staff Writer Dave Richards

76. The Stuff of Legend

Written by: Mike Raicht, Brian Smith

Illustrated by: Charles Paul Wilson III

Published by Th3rd World Studios

The tale of one boy's toys in their quest to liberate the boy from the clutches of the Boogeyman. Wilson's art would be worth the price of admission alone, but the story is filled with heart and soul.

- CBR Reviewer Doug Zawisza

Check back with CBR tomorrow as our Top 100 Comics of 2010 countdown continues with #75 -- 51!

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