CBR's Top 100 Comics of 2010: #25 - 11

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 this year neither the staff nor the comics disappointed.

While 2010 came marked with some 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 web comic 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. After our initial trio of roundups for #100 - 75, #75 - 51 and #50 - 26, our week-long countdown enters its final phase with #25 - 11 as some of the biggest breakout hits of the year from dapper graphic novels to mind-bending ensemble dramas work their way towards the top ten!

25. S.W.O.R.D.

Written By: Kieron Gillen

Illustrated By: Steven Sanders

Published By: Marvel Comics

Fun, hilarious, dense, amazing, smart, awesome. I can just write a paragraph of superlatives, can't I? No? Alright, this comic was easily the best thing to come out of Marvel this year but it just didn't get the support, it only made it into March. Gillen and Sanders worked to make this comic unlike anything else on the stands. It rattled off dialogue and body language like a sitcom and yet gave us the expanse of space and the immense intellect of Death's Head. This comic was incredible fun with every single issue, all five of them, and it will be sorely missed.

- CBR Reviewer Ryan Lindsay

24. Scarlet

Written By: Brian Michael Bendis

Illustrated By: Alex Maleev

Published By: ICON/Marvel Comics

Only three issues of "Scarlet" came out in 2010, but each one was a hell of a read. "Scarlet" is a political thriller that anyone can relate to and enjoy regardless of their political affiliation. The book's title character is incredibly charismatic, but the complex nature of her situation and the narrative means that there are times you'll root for her and other times you'll be terrified of her.

- CBR Staff Writer Dave Richards

23. X'ed Out

Written & Illustrated By: Charles Burns

Published By: Pantheon

Tintin by way of William Burroughs, the first volume in Burns' planned four-part saga teases, taunts, unnerves and pokes at the reader in a way that only Burns can. What struck me the most about reading this book is how well it draws you into the main character's reality and dream world without ever really telling you much about what's actually been going on. More might be revealed in the second volume, but if it's as well told as this one is, I won't mind much if it isn't.

- Robot 6 Columnist Chris Mautner

22. Hark! A Vagrant

Written & Illustrated By: Kate Beaton

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

One of the funniest writers in comics, and one of the most observant and subtle ones, as well, Beaton would've earned her place on this list based on her writing alone, even if she didn't have a line that looks like Quentin Blake and Posy Simmons got together and did some Wonder Twin thing together. Insanely prolific and never less than hilarious, she singlehandedly makes the internet worthwhile. There is no reason why she should not take over the world, as far as I'm concerned.

- Spinoff Online & Robot 6 Blogger Graeme McMillan

21. Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour

Written & Illustrated By: Bryan Lee O'Malley

Published By: Oni Press

There was so much potential for Scott Pilgrim to fall at the last hurdle with so many loose ends to tie up, so many directions for the characters to take (and so many fans pulling in each of them; I'll admit, I wanted Kim to get Scott in the end, and I love that she didn't want him, when it came down to it) - but "Finest Hour" was a victory in every single way, and managed to bring an emotional resonance and maturity not only to the finale, but to the entire series, in retrospect. It didn't hurt that it looked ridiculously sharp, with O'Malley bringing new edge to his style, making this easily the best-looking of an already incredibly illustrated series. The rare occasion when something didn't just live up to the hype but made the hype look lazy and unambitious by comparison, "Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour" was easily the best book of the year for me.

- Spinoff Online & Robot 6 Blogger Graeme McMillan

20. Stumptown

Written By: Greg Rucka

Illustrated By: Matthew Southworth

Published By: Oni Press

Rucka gave the comic industry what it can always use more of -- a strong female lead character in the form of Private Detective Dex Parios. The series is a pop culture descendant of the 1970s TV series "The Rockford Files" with a gritty vibe thanks to artist Matthew Southworth. Oni promises we'll get more stories down the road, and I can hardly wait.

- Robot 6 Columnist Tim O'Shea

19. The Unwritten

Written By: Mike Carey

Illustrated By: Peter Gross

Published By: Vertigo/DC Comics

In 2010, "Unwritten" went from a series I merely "really enjoyed" to one of the books I was most excited to read each month. Cever twists involving Wilson Taylor, plus a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style issue, demonstrate that Mike Carey has really thought about what a story is, what a story means and how that all maps to this set of characters with one foot in fiction and the other in reality.

- CBR Staff Writer Shaun Manning

18. The Walking Dead

Written By: Robert Kirkman

Illustrated By: Charlie Adlard

Published By: Image Comics

Fans of this book knew of its greatness long before the television show aired. Kirkman handles this book's enormous cast with such precision and heart, it has to be read to be believed. Between Adlard's art and Kirkman's writing, there's no better team in comics,

- CBR Staff Writer George A. Tramountanas

17. Beasts of Burden/Hellboy: Sacrifice

Written By: Evan Dorkin and Mike Mignola

Illustrated By: Jill Thompson

Published By: Dark Horse Comics

Why can't all crossover comics be this good? "Beasts of Burden" and "Hellboy" are each independently a blast to read, but everyone involved is at the top of their game with this one-shot. Horrific and exciting, the only bad thing about "Beasts of Burden/Hellboy" is that we now have to wait for the next "Beasts of Burden" miniseries.

- CBR Reviewer Greg McElhatton

16. Duncan The Wonder Dog

Written & Illustrated By: Adam Hines

Published By: AdHouse Books

Upon seeing this for the first time at the Alternative Press Expo, all I could say was, "Wow." Adam Hines' debut graphic novel is an ambitious and ultimately very satisfying introduction to a world where animals talk -- and they're kinda pissed. Hines shows off not only his storytelling abilities but his artistic flair in this mammoth first volume, using acrylics and collage to compliment his smooth line work. I can't wait to see what he does next.

- Robot 6 Editor JK Parkin

15. Brightest Day

Written By: Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi

Illustrated By: Ivan Reis, Pat Gleason, Ardian Syaf, Scott Clark, Jow Prado

Published By: DC Comics

In the first semi-weekly series to capture the essence of "52," "Brightest Day" tells the story of the heroes resurrected as a result of the events of "Blackest Night," and there are plenty of interesting threads to follow. Johns brings new depth to heroes like Deadman (now alive), Aquaman and Firestorm and places established cornerstone heroes Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter into unfamiliar territory, proving that the reach of the White Lantern's light knows no bounds.

- CBR Staff Writer Steve Sunu

14. DEMO 2

Written By: Brian Wood

Illustrated By: Becky Cloonan

Published By: Vertigo/DC Comics

Wood and Cloonan's return to the "Demo" concept could have been a disaster or a bad sequel, but they each demonstrated how much they've improved their craft and matured since the original. Six short stories from two of the best in the business? Hells yes.

- CBR Reviewer Chad Nevett

13. Chew

Written By: John Layman

Illustrated By: Rob Guillory

Published By: Image Comics

Bar none, the most fun you'll have reading a comic each and every month. Wickedly brilliant and brilliantly wicked, John Layman and Rob Guillory make me crave "Chew" more than the characters inhabiting the title's universe crave chicken. And that's a lot considering it's illegal for them to finger lick.

- CBR Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud

12. Return of The Dapper Men

Written By: Jim McCann

Illustrated By: Janet Lee

Published By: Archaia

"Return of the Dapper Men" was far and away my favorite book of the year. A fairy-tale allegory in the style of "The Little Prince," Jim McCann's lighthearted (and fashionable) story would be enough to warrant a smile on its own, but when brought to life by Janet Lee's beautiful, distinctive paintings, "Dapper Men" becomes this incredibly stunning piece of work and something that I would think will only get more popular and well-renowned as time goes on.

- CBR Staff Writer Shaun Manning

11. Morning Glories

Written By: Nick Spencer

Illustrated By: Joe Eisma

Published By: Image Comics

"The Walking Dead" on AMC may have shined some new light on Image Comics this year, but the publisher welcomed an exceptionally strong stable of new talent and books in 2010 with "Morning Glories" setting the standard for fresh, approachable, creator-owned monthlies. One part Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and one part "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" with a twist of "Runaways," Spencer and Eisma have made a book that knows and resonates with its readership while not shying away from surprises.

- CBR Contributor Brian Warmoth

Check back with CBR later today as our Top 100 Comics of 2010 countdown wraps with #10- 1!

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