Best of the year – Sunnyside Comics crew

Published On January 6, 2010 | By Joe Gordon | Best of the Year 2009, Comics

Today’s Best of the Year is, unusually,  a collective effort from the trio of comics reviewers and creators  at the Sunnyside Comics podcast and blog, Ron, Scott and PJ Holden:

Sunnyside Comics blog podcast

FPI: Can you pick three comics/webcomics/graphic novels which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?

2000 AD Christmas 2009 prog 2010

PJ: Without wanting to sound like a big ol’ tharg bum lick, 2000AD – for two reasons: 1) I don’t really read anything else and 2) it’s hit a real high recently, between John Wagner’s on-form Dredd epic to strips like the bonkers “Zombo” (by Al Ewing and Henry Flint – currently to be seen in Prog 2010 for “Merry Christmas Mr Zombo”) and the sweeping “Kingdom” (Dan Abnett and Richard Elson).

Parker the hunter frame Darwyn Cooke

Scott: OK so my favourite Graphic Novel of the year was a dead heat between Parker: The Hunter and The Nobody and I expect The Hunter will be on a lot of peoples ‘best of the year’ list I decided to write about Jeff Lemire’s take on the classic H.G. Wells character The Invisible Man.


Lemire sets The Nobody in rural North America and, if you have read the Essex County trilogy, small town mentality is something Lemire does very well.  John Griffen arrives in the secluded town and checks into a motel and attempts to find a cure for his mysterious condition. A task made more difficult by the prying and judgemental eyes of the towns-folk, the inquisitive questions of young Vickie and the sudden arrival of his former lab partner.

All three chapters are preceded by title pages that mimic classic comics. Lemire provides his own unique take on Horror, Romance and Suspense comics, each designed to set the tone of whats to come. The twist of a horror comics, the drama of a romance comic and the inevitable tradgedy of our ‘monster’

Asterios Polyp David Mazzucchelli 2

Ron: Asterios Polyp – I suspect David Mazzuchelli’s thoughtful and experimental graphic novel will be on many folks end of year lists, but that won’t stop me declaring it as the finest comic I’ve had the pleasure to read this last 12 months. On the surface it’s the tale of an inflexible, self-centred person learning how to stop being an asshole. However, it’s as an exercise in form, structure and story-telling technique that I believe it deserves to enter the canon of essential graphic novels.

FPI: Can you pick three books which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?

PJ: As part of the research for “Happy Valley” I read and enjoyed a book called “Aircrew” a collection of anecdotes about air crews flying various missions during WWII compiled by Bruce Lewis – horrifying sad and often darkly funny.

Ron: I don’t think I’ve read a book this year. For SHAME!

FPI: Can you pick three TV shows and/or movies which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?

PJ: “UP” – man, you can’t beat pixar, the first 10 minutes of which will tear anyone up (and for TV easily Misfits, what Heroes would be if the British were in charge…)

Mad Men

Ron: Mad Men Season 3 has been a treat from start to finish, as the truth of Don Draper gets further away from the person he presents himself to be. Stand out characters have to be Roger and Peggy though – the former for some of the funniest, dryest wit available on the box at the minute, the latter for simply being one of the most interesting and compelling female characters I’ve ever seen. Give the show a chance if multi-character narratives like The Wire and The Sopranos are your thing. Film: What to pick, what to pick… look, all I say is that if Paranormal Activity didn’t make your skin crawl, then I’d check your pulse if I were you…

FPI: How did 2009 go for you as a creator? Are you happy with the way you got your work out this year?

PJ: 2009 was a peculiar year for me, it was the first year that I leapt without a parachute – the frenzy around iPhone comics and Murderdrome was the catalyst needed for me to leave a really cushy part time job (which was driving me mad) to work in the new and innovating field of iPhone/digital comics. Shortly after that though, I realised that I was exchanging one part time computer job for another full time computer job (albeit in a comics related industry) so I leapt again, this time into drawing comics full time. Happily I’ve survived the year intact, and I think I’ve done some of the best work of my career.

FPI: What can we look forward to from you in 2010?

PJ: “Happy Valley” has started and continues in the first two months of 2010, there’s some work for 2000AD/Megazine (“Judge Dredd: Lost Cases” which I’m really proud of) and … well, soon as I know, you’ll know!

Happy Valley PJ Holden

FPI: Anyone you think is a name we should be watching out for next year?

PJ: Adam Law a fellow Norn Iron bloke, 22 years old and a phenomenal artist who – when he’s spotted by the right people – should be big.

FPI: And one final, special question – since its not only the end of the year approaching but also the end of the decade, is there any comics work you’d especially pick out as one of the best you’ve read this decade?

PJ: Well, clearly, I have to say 2000AD – but I say it in all honesty; she’s been chugging along for a long, long time now, but in recent years she’s been in the best health of her life (and, don’t say it too loud … possibly a new “golden age”..)

Also, I think one of the most important things of this decade has been the internet, and, specifically, twitter – there is NO better way to connect to the people who make comics than through twitter. I’ve become friends with many artists and writers through twitter, gotten work through twitter and been able to show work as I draw it through twitter. (And you can follow me too – here)

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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.

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