Monday, September 29, 2008

Best Ongoing Title--My Pick and Nine More

In the comments to my post from last week about the best ongoing title now that Casanova and All-Star Superman aren't around, David Uzumeri said, "Scalped is probably the *best* monthly on the market in my opinion, but I look forward to Batman more (perhaps it's just the artificial withdrawal symptoms brought about by the delays)."

I feel exactly the same way.

It's probably no surprise to most of my regular readers that Scalped is at the top of my list. I love it, and I think Jason Aaron is creating a vicious and beautiful crime saga that has a real sense of pain and sadness beneath it. It's quite a feat for any serialized comic, and like The Wire, it's not like any single installment blows you away with its brilliance, but every single installment is very, very good and its brilliance comes from every tiny part working in harmony with the whole.

Yet, Morrison's Batman is the comic I most eagerly anticipate each month (or thereabouts), because I have no idea what's going to happen next, and I love Morrison's packed allusions and dense subtext. Every issue is a feast, even when the art is less than it should be.

But I have no doubt that Scalped is the best comic, month in and month out.

So, here's what would make my Top 10 Best Ongoing Series list, right here, right now:

#1 Scalped
#2 Batman
#3 Criminal
#4 Ghost Rider
#5 Captain America
#6 Northlanders
#7 Green Lantern
#8 Action Comics
#9 Fables
#10 Amazing Spider-Man

Others that just missed the Top 10: Invincible Iron Man, Tiny Titans, Wolverine, Uncanny X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man, Captain Britain and MI:13, and Incredible Hercules. (The work of Jack Chick doesn't quite make the cut, sorry. Satan wins again.)

All of these comics make for great regular reading, and if you're not reading all of them, you're surely missing some good stuff.

23 comments:

Kris Krause said...

Interesting to see that Fables made your top 10. I don't think I've ever seen you mention it.

Timothy Callahan said...

Well, I can't deny its quality, but it's actually the only ongoing that I read in trades instead of in floppies so I don't discuss it because I'm always late to the party.

Ultimate Matt said...

If you explain what's so great about Northlanders to me, I'll explain why Jim Lee is the absolute perfect artist for All-Star Batman.

chrishaley said...

No Invincible?
Or was this a DC and Marvel only thing?
I mean, I know it's your personal list, but that books like Invincible, The Walking Dead, The Goon don't even get a mention but Tiny Titans (which I love) does makes me feel funny.

Anonymous said...

I'll take Thor and Avengers The Initiative over any of those Marvels (sans Cap)

Great list besides that though, I agree with pretty much all of it.

Timothy Callahan said...

Invicible is really good, but I only get the hardcovers, so I'm way behind on that. I haven't read much of Walking Dead at all, although I plan to, and the Goon is absolutely terrible. I love Powell's art, but it's not a good series by any critical standard. He writes like a hammy middle-school kid.

That's harsh, but true.

So, no, my list isn't Marvel and DC-specific on purpose, but it kind of ended up that way.

Although, in retrospect, Madman should probably be in the Top 10. I really love that series as well.

Chad Nevett said...

You must have changed your list, because when I guessed which six of the books other people suggested would make your list, you said I got five when this list only shows four. What's up with that? (Yeah, I've decided to no longer care about continuity in works of fiction, but rather continuity in writing about works of fiction... it's like meta-continuity or something. And meta = better.) (And, I like messing with you--and most people--in small, annoying ways.)

Timothy Callahan said...

I was wondering if you were going to catch that. I did it just to mess with you!

Actually, I changed my mind, which in America, we call "flip-flopping," when it should actually be called, "thinking."

Since my 5 for 6 proclamation "Captain Britain" slid out of the Top 10 and "Action Comics" slid in, due to a combination of actually reading the latest issue of "Captain Britain" and going to Baltimore where Dean Trippe infected me with a Superman love so immense, that I cannot but embrace it.

Chad Nevett said...

Heh. I'm all for thinking and revising lists. If you asked me to pick my top ten each day this week, I'm sure the list each day would be slightly different. Just reread that comic or thought of something new regarding this one...

Timothy Callahan said...

[And note: I am not easily swayed. James Robinson bought me the first beer of the evening on Saturday but do you see his "Superman" on the list? Hell, no. He would have had to buy at least three or four AND start telling good stories for that to happen.]

It's called integrity.

Timothy Callahan said...

Also, you should list your Top 10 each day this week. It would be like a portal into your exotic brain.

Chad Nevett said...

I think we've discovered what I'll be doing for the month of October... I will need to ponder this idea and come up with rules (what books qualify and such). Could be interesting to see how things change...

alex said...

What the--? Tiny Titans is way better than ASM.

Greg said...

Finally! Someone has the guts to stand with me and despise The Goon! Thank you, sir! That's why you're the smartest man on the Internets!

Timothy Callahan said...

Until "New Ways to Die," I would have agreed with you, Alex. But ASM has been really good over the past month and a half. "Tiny Titans" is still awesome, though.

Greg: Yeah, I can't fathom the Goon love at all. People seem to find that stuff funny, I guess. Jim Carrey does have a career for a reason.

Anonymous said...

No Detective Comics?

Dini's one-and-dones have been amazing, and the Heart of Hush is far better than expected, with that unbelievable twist at the end. Much better than the original series.

alex said...

I just caught up on ASM. While I agree that it's pretty solid (JRJr is worth the price alone) I still think Tiny Titans is the better book, if only that it explores 'kiddy comix' in a way that's intriguing. While ASM is probably the best Spider-Man has been post-Brand New Day, I think USM is still the better Spidey Book.

As for Dini's Detective--I'll pass on reading Dini's masturbatory fantasties about his wife and having a villian that rips people's hearts out. It's too much.

Ultimate Matt said...

This is unrelated to most of this, but whether you wanted it or not, I posted on my blog (for the first time in nearly a year) about why Jim Lee is the perfect artist for All-Star Batman. I dare you to tell me I'm wrong. Dare you, I say.

http://bigmattyj.blogspot.com/

jgoldscher said...

Difficult exercise - there's a lot of mediocrity out there, I think. Action is great, as is most of Johns work - but I'm worried he's stretched too thin and DC better develop a few more consistent writers. I hear good things about Trinity, but after the last weekly fiasco I'll wait for the trades (and hate myself for doing so).

Timothy Callahan said...

Detective is better recently, but still wouldn't make my Top 20. And, yeah, besides Johns and Morrison, there is a lot of mediocrity at DC right now. Trinity has actually become something interesting over the past two months. I'm as shocked as anyone. It's still not great, but I keep buying it because its far more complex than I originally gave it credit for.

marcwrz said...

Its a solid list, I like it.

number 10, eh, I can see why people are liking spidey again but it just feels so overcooked these days that I don't care. I'd pop Ultimate Spider-Man over it.

David Uzumeri said...

Regarding DC outside Johns and Morrison, it's amazing how quickly quality writers seem to disappear from right under their noses. They've got Greg Rucka too, but non-exclusive and currently only on a Final Crisis tie-in and the most poorly concealed secret project in the history of comics, Batwoman.

Other than that? We've got James Robinson on Superman and Justice League, but JL is still in the future (I think they'll end up having announced it a year ahead of time or so) and Superman has really not been his finest work at all. The Titans franchise is a disaster, and I liked McKeever's Marvel stuff *and* Winick's earlier Outsiders/Green Arrow/Batman stuff. I'm not a huge fan of Gail Simone's style, but she's definitely on DC's A-list. Dwayne McDuffie is being stymied by poor art and what seems to be editorial indifference on Justice League.

This became especially apparent when talking with some of the FBB guys about the Legion, and how apparently Didio wants to give it a rest after Final Crisis. This seemed like a repetition of the mistake that led to the poor sales of books like Crime Bible, not properly launching them when interest is at its high. But really - who the hell would write it if Geoff Johns is too busy and Grant Morrison doesn't want to? There's really actually no point in doing a new Legion ongoing without Johns, and that's just not a problem at Marvel, at all, where they keep rising up young writers and bringing them fully into the fold like Fraction and Aaron and now Swierczynski.

DC's got G. Willow Wilson on a Vixen miniseries. Which I'm looking forward to, don't get me wrong, but it just seems to be a shit sandwich of an assignment in comparison to the stuff Aaron and Swierczynski and Fraction got right out the gate over at the House of Ideas.

jamielovett said...

First time poster on your site, but I figure now is as good a time as any...

I'm in the process of rebuilding my pull list while being constrained by a tight budget, and I really enjoy your reviews and columns, so I'll be sure you keep your list in my mind while considering what to buy (although...Astonishing X-Men? Dropped that right after reading #25. More of a Whedon/Cassaday man myself. Perhaps your just more patient than I am, ha ha.)

Besides that, I read your Splash Page column about books being canceled and took your advice to try out Captain Britain and MI:13. Fell in love after just one issue. Great book, so thanks for that.