AV Club: Are These Really the ‘Best Comics’ of the Past Decade?

The AV Club recently published their Best Comics of the 2010’s this week and some of their picks are a bit, shall we say, suspect. While they mention it was their “Eisner Award-winning team” that assembled this of the 25 best comics of the last decade, presumably Oliver Sava, Caitlin Rosberg (who oddly uses blockchains on Twitter), Shea Hennum, and Tegan O’Neil, it’s hard to imagine how they came up with these as the best 25 comics of the past decade if they weren’t just picking them for social themes.


And while not necessarily to my taste, how are Raina Telgemeier and Dav Pilkey no where to be found on this list? They’re both mentioned in the opening paragraph of the article. Seems like a serious oversight, especially with four of Raina’s titles currently in the Top Ten Graphic Novels on the New York Times best-sellers list. And where are books like Saga, Lazarus, Sex Criminals, Wicked + the Divine, Black Hammer, Parker, Mind MGMT, Andre the Giant, Hip Hop Family Tree, Vision, Omega Men, Moon Knight: From the Dead, Afterlife with Archie, Prophet, Supreme: Blue Rose, Multiversity, One Punch Man, East of West, Monstress, Godzilla: Half Century War, Sheriff of Babylon, Black Magick, The Boys, Chew, Vader, The Fade Out, Southern Bastards, Trees, Jason Aaron’s Thor Series, Locke & Key, Immortal Hulk, Fables…?


Obviously I could go on and on.


It feels like they picked a smattering of their favorite web comics and “weeb” projects and merely disregarded anything that might be considered mainstream. There wasn’t even an honorable mentions list. It’s definitive. Certainly everyone is entitled to their own opinions about comics, but I would have thought that with 25 choices there might at least been some better representation than this list of so many similar books. Was the intention to defy popularity? Did they purposely disregard well known publishers like DC and Dark Horse? Is that an indicator that none of these Eisner Award winning team members concluded that not a single worthy book of the last decade came from Dark Horse or DC Comics? Wow.



Much of the list seems more based on identity politics than merit when you see that the number one comic is actually web comic that presents LGBTQ+ romance to “a broader audience”. In fact, Check, Please! is a story about gay boys playing sports, but it’s written by a woman. Is that still allowed? And while manga is booming in the comics industry right now, rightfully so, obviously gay manga (that is, comics for gay men by gay men) such as The Passion Of Gengoroh Tagame by Bruno Gmuender is far more worthy a comic than say One Punch Man, Saga, Lazarus, Sex Criminals, Wicked + the Divine, Black Hammer, Parker, Mind MGMT, Andre the Giant, Hip Hop Family Tree, and so on.



Give me a break. 


Nearly a third of the selections, a full seven out of the twenty-five, is a webcomic. Marvel Comics gets one mention for their overrated Hawkeye, and DC Comics gets a tangential bow for a couple of Vertigo titles, making more room to include comics about white woman privilege (You & A Bike & A Road), political activism (March, Yellow Negroes And Other Imaginary Creatures, The Nib), and they couldn’t forget some essential YA representation (On A Sunbeam). Not to be outdone in the crowdfunded indie comics craze, they thoughtfully made room for a book “made for and by women, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ folks, and people of color” (Smut Peddler).



Can they virtue signal any harder? 


Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some noteworthy books on their list, but can they honestly say they’re better than any of the ones they left off the list? Decide for yourself.


Here’s the AV Club’s list of the Best Comics of the 2010’s.


1. Check, Please! (Webcomic/First Second)

2. Daytripper (Vertigo)

3. Giant Days (Boom! Studios)

4. Goodnight Punpun (Viz Media)

5. Hark! A Vagrant (Webcomic/Drawn & Quarterly)

6. Helter Skelter (Vertical Comics)

7. Here (Pantheon)

8. Hawkeye (Marvel)

9. The Love Bunglers (Fantagraphics)

10. Margot’s Room (Webcomic)

11. March (Top Shelf)

12. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters (Fantagraphics)

13. The Nib (Webcomic/self-published)

14. O Human Star (Webcomic/self-published)

15. Octopus Pie (Webcomic/Image Comics)

16. On A Sunbeam (Webcomic/First Second)

17. The Passion Of Gengoroh Tagame (Bruno Gmuender)

18. Peplum (NYRC)

19. Prince Of Cats (Vertigo/Image Comics)

20. Smut Peddler 2012 Edition (Iron Circus)

21. Sunny (Viz Media)

22. This One Summer (First Second)

23. Yellow Negroes And Other Imaginary Creatures (NYRC)

24. You & A Bike & A Road (Koyama)

25. Zero (Image Comics)


Which books of the last decade do you think they may have overlooked? Do you agree with these picks or disagree with their inclusion? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Former captain of this ship o' fools secretly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'