The 2010s decade has been a pivitol time for comic publishers, as a direction for changes were needed in this time of digital transference and increased competition with other mediums.
In a nutshell, lots of reboots, retcons, crossovers influence from successful movies have noth helped and hurt the mainstream stuff, depending on fan tolerance. The average price of comics climbed from around $2.99 to $4.99, which has influenced my buying decisions and willingness to delve into new titles for sure. Digital comics sales have now risen to over half a billion dollars in comics, much thanks to the Comixology online service.
Still, the right series with great writing and matching excellent sequential art can transcend prices, format, and popularity towards its marketability and sustainability as a longtime treasure. The 2010s, I felt presented an opportunity for a creative team to truly stand our and shine, be noticed for their great work in this new age, where the advancements in streaming technology and interactive games are capturing far more attention per human. Image Comics, Dark Horse, IDW, Boom!, Aftershock publishers have stepped up there game for creative powered fresh universes, with much appreciation returned from dedicated comic readers.
So below, are 10 best comic book series that I felt not only stood to my eyes, but helped define the best of the 2010s, as an era of creative thinking, original art direction, and reinvention of what I enjoy about comics, in an age where the industry is still fighting to redefine itself for the years ahead…
by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Hands down, the best series that feeds the epic space opera feel, with an interesting, very unique supporting cast revolving around the life of a growing child and her loving parents. There is a feeling of less restraint by the creative team to present a unique and fresh science fantasy vibe that turns pretty far out at times, and can push the envelope of violence and sex when the narrative fits. There are amazing twists, and emotional moments, furthering an ongoing epic worth enjoying and seeing through the next decade.
Batman vol 2 (new 52)
by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (DC Comics)
Batman is still my favorite mainstream superhero, in terms of the costumed person focused on ideals of justice and the greater good through unconventional means and extraordinary talents. Scott Snyder took the reins of the world of Batman, and turned him upside down, shaking a new expanded mythos that reaches far the Gotham City into the very darkest depths of the DCU. The Court of the Owls, a very different Joker, a more complex Riddler, Bloom, all add to more complex and compelling picture that remains interesting and challenging to our ages old, generational spanning hero. Greg Capullo’s art gives a unique, fresh feel to the world of our Caped Crusader, adding expression and cinematic quality to each issue. I loved the hell out it all.
Locke and Key
by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
A surprise hit, that grew from praise and a Free Comic Day preview that captured my attention. This series builds its own story around the troubles of a small family moving to a big fancy mansion, slowly expanding to a strange supernatural world of strange keys connected to otherworldly terrors. The building and pacing is awesome, adding mystery and tension to continuous developments affecting an expanding cast and revealing a deep history. As a reader, I felt more attached, connected to various characters, and excited for each new issue. All this, with some great art and original designs. I enjoyed it all to the very end, which I felt wrapped up nicely.
by Marguerite Bennett, Mike Marts, Rafael de Lator (Aftershock)
This is a very underrated series, that I feel will only get noticed if it gets adapted into a TV show or movie…which I think is sad for this era of comics. Animosity is a strange, twisted concept where the sudden intelligence of animals changes the world, opens a post apocalypse and twists the relationships of how humans treat animals into an interesting story and that can go pretty much anywhere. But with Animosity, I feel there is a logical believable path, that The Walking Dead did well (as a comic, more than the TV). It’s wonderfully written, with a mix of emotions and tensity resulting from an otherwise silly situation. I love the mix of dark humor, drama, tension, and sudden violence, with a surprise amount of great world building and great writing for an otherwise ludicrous concept.
by Matt Fraction and David Aja (Marvel)
Hawkeye is one of my least favorite Marvel Comics superheroes over my many years of reading Marvel Comics. He’s just boring to me, with an ineffective talent to me in a world of iron machines and concrete breaking super powers. Yet here with this series, changed all of that to use that for a compelling and deep narrative, of an every-man using his archery talent to find his place in the complex Marvel universe. The awesome covers, great sequential art use, and stellar writing with a mix of humor kept me aboard, identifying more with the imperfect character and all his flaws as a true hero and worth knowing.
by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image Comics)
Chew is a strange, most over-the-top, brilliantly throughout comic serial that captivate me from the start to very end. It’s story involves humans with food-related powers, strange animals, aliens, cults, conspiracies, and original concepts. It’s comedic writing enhances the art of the twist, character development, unpredictable twists, and ridiculous world-building. The art is immense, detailed, and uniquely expressionistic with a cartoon flavor that brings smile, yet conveys emotion. Chew is awesome, and memorable.
by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Marvel)
This series is a work of brilliance, that put writer Tom King to the forefront of the most prolific writers of the decade. Like Hawkeye, Vision is another underappreciated, underwritten Marvel character, with great potential. Here, he puts forth his pursuit of humanity, and creates a robot family. What follows are awesome twists and turns, combined with social topics and parallels to our real world, building drama and tension towards an emotional and thought-provoking climax. The art and coloring do well to enhance the writing, making this maxi-series a worthwhile addition to anyone’s reading list for their comic shelf.
by Aleš Kot and various artists (Image Comics)
Here’s a very underappreciated hit of the 2010’s, revolving around the personal struggles of a big-time international spy. Consequences, developments, and heavy does of reality follow in what becomes brilliant storytelling mixed with some often inventive (and changing) sequential art. There’s action, violence, heavy emotions, in-depth details all wrapped inside 18 issues.
by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh (DC)
If you told me in 2009 that The Flintstones, would be a top pic for the decade, I would say get the hell out of Bedrock….really. Yet, here we are and holy wow, Mark Russell’s take on America’s first cartoon family took me for a whirl for its 12-issue run. It’s a huge mix of dark comedy, very in-depth character building on Fred and those around them as they struggle in a changing stone-age world where its strange workings make sense, but practical and present familiar challenges. Topics of war, faith, social status, economy, education, servitude are brilliantly explored. Overall, a brilliant must read for any Age.
Alex + Ada
by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vauhgn (Image)
Another under-appreciated comics story of this decade, a sci-fi romance drama focused on a relationships between man and machine. Alex bonds with a new model of a female android, whose complexity can mimic emotions, therefore eventually feel. There are conflicts within and around in troubled less-tolerant society. It’s very conversational, and presents prospects on where real life-AI could go, with far more intellectual depth than my other favorite android tale on this list, Vision. The writing and art for all 15 issues are wonderfully different, atmospheric, and very expressive.