Best of the year – Chris’ top ten graphic novels

Published On January 8, 2010 | By Joe Gordon | Best of the Year 2009, Comics

Today’s Best of the Year guest spot comes from my friend Chris Marshall – comics lover, reviewer and gentleman podcaster (when he can keep away from the golf course), who runs the excellent Collected Comics Library podcast and collaborates on various other projects to discuss and promote good comics. Chris is giving us his favourite graphic novels of the last twelve months in the good old fashioned manner of the Top Ten style (okay, since some are double-headers it’s really more than ten, but we don’t mind, they’re all good); you can also hear Chris talking about his fave from 2009 on a special CCL podcast:

Rocketeer deluxe edition collected

1. The Rocketeer: The Complete Deluxe Edition Slipcase HC (IDW)
IDW hits the bullseye late in 2009 with a collection that Dave Stevens
would have been very proud of. Not only is it complete, but the Deluxe
Edition is packed full of DVD like extras. A fitting tribute to master
creator and his creation. Hats off to Chris Ryall and everyone at IDW.

Bloom County Complete Library Volume 1 Berke Breathed

2. Bloom County Complete Library by Berkeley Breathed Volume 1 HC (IDW)
IDW comes through this time with a newspaper collection not too big
and not too small (or thick, or heavy). I’m sure Chris Ryall and his
staff looked at what is right and what is wrong when reprinting
newspaper comics. The result is the first collection (of five) that is
easy to read and belongs on every shelf. Let’s hope that Outland and
Opus are in the works.

Will eisners the spirit archives 26 and new adventures 1

3. Will Eisner’s The Spirit Archives Volume 26 HC and Volume 27 HC (DC
Comics and Dark Horse Comics)
A very nice collaboration of DC and Dark Horse, with lots of help from
Denis Kitchen to complete the entire series. They all line up so nice
on the bookshelf that friends of mine, who have never read comics, are
drawn to it’s size and magnificence. Let’s hope DC makes a Volume 28
starting with the newer Darwyn Cooke run.

Blazing Combat The 'Nam

4. Blazing Combat HC and The ‘Nam Volume 1 TPB (Fantagraphics and Marvel)
There was a time when War Comics told War Fact. They showed us the
blood, death, comradery and horror. These two series did just that and
didn’t hold back. Much like our Veterans, they are too often
overlooked. It’s so good to see these “real war comics” back in print.
I hope DC will get the hint and finally reprint USS Stevens, Fight The
Enemy by Mike Sekowsky (Tower Comics, 1966) would also be nice to see.


5. George Sprott (1894-1975) HC by Seth (Drawn And Quarterly)
Originally released in the New York Times Magazine over a two year
period, Seth has taken is work and expanded the story. It’s now a
complete contemporary classic, oversized, and easy on the wallet. A
fine addition to any strong coffee table.


6. Captain Britain by Alan Moore and Alan Davis Omnibus HC (Marvel)
Captain Britain had everything going for himself in 2009: A fan
favorite series and a giant Omnibus showcasing his early adventures.
Unfortunately, the Omnibus was released 3 months late and his series
only lasted a total of 16 issues included an Annual. Never-the-less,
the two Alan’s go together like, like fine wine and brie, aged better
over time.

Complete Essex County Jeff Lemire Top Shelf

7. The Complete Essex County HC (Top Shelf)
Way back in 2008 we all knew that Jeff Lemire would have a great 2009.
Not only did his magnum opus (for now) get published in a complete
edition, but he also released The Nobody and launched his new series
Sweet Tooth. Now is your chance to get caught up and to tell all of
your friends that you’ve been reading Lemire for years. Shhh. It’ll be
our little secret.

Strangers In Paradise Omnibus Limited Edition

8. Strangers In Paradise Omnibus Limited Edition HC (Abstract Studios)
Terry Moore’s soap opera has been packaged in a way that should be the
mold matched by other publishers of Oversized Collections. Sure it’s a
bit expensive but it’s well worth it. Unlike other giant one-volumes,
the comics are split it up into two volumes and a third volume that
had the cover gallery and extras. It’s also nice to have Moore oversee
his own project instead of handing it off to unnamed editors and

Absolute death Criminal deluxe

9. Absolute Death HC and Criminal Deluxe Edition HC (DC Comics and Marvel)
Death was suppose to have been published as a Deluxe Hardcover and
Criminal was suppose to have been published and an Omnibus. Both
turned out perfect, I wouldn’t have them any other way. Neil Gaiman’s
Death makes a very good “fifth” Absolute Sandman and Ed Brubaker’s
Criminal is a great first foray into a new format for Marvel.

Chew Volume 1 Taster's Choice Guillory Layman

10. Chew Volume 1: Taster’s Choice TPB (Image)
The sold out hit of the summer was collected as a very affordable $10
trade paperback. Among the sea of glorious Oversized slipcase books
that Image (and everyone else) offers, this small trade paperback is
has it all art, story and affordability. No reason not to pick this
book up.

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About The Author

Joe Gordon
Joe Gordon is's chief blogger, which he set up in 2005. Previously, he was professional bookseller for over 12 years as well as a lifelong reader and reviewer, especially of comics and science fiction works.

2 Responses to Best of the year – Chris’ top ten graphic novels

  1. I’ve got six of those: The Rocketeer, both volumes of The Spirit, the Captain Britain, the Absolute Death, and George Sprott. The man obviously has taste!

    I also note that Joe has done 4936 posts here. Will he be doing something special for his 5000th post?

  2. Pádraig,
    That’s high praise coming from you.
    Thank you for the compliment and keep up all the good work that you do.