2010: Look Left

How was 2010 for you, then?

It’s one thing to finally get rid of a Prime Minister who was the epitome of anticlimax after craving the position for so long, who squandered his reputation for prudence with a predisposition for dithering and displeasing all, and who traded his sterling accomplishments like the minimum wage for lingering overlong in a limelight he so evidently loathed… or which startled him… or which he was so ill-equipped for…

But to have seen what looked overwhelmingly in the polls like the prospect of a sane Liberal leadership (“I really think that tuition fees are wrong”) turn into another lapdog to pudding-faced Cameron like Blair was to Bush…. it is to weep. Especially if you’re a student.

Please don’t get me wrong, Los Bros Miliband are a refreshing pair far more into love than rockets as Ed’s unequivocal statements condemning the illegal invasion of Iraq makes almost astonishingly clear. But neither of them is in power. One’s walked away, and the other won’t be with us in time to save thousands of jobs, most of them in the public sector here after Nottingham City Council squandered its time and money on a vanity project that is the moderately modified new Market Square.

“This money isn’t local money screwed out of local people,” became their worried mantra.

A) Don’t believe you, and B) Regardless it could still have been spent in Africa, you unbelievable tossers. It was actual money that must have actually existed so it could have been spent on something a little less superficial than bulldozing an award-winning Market Square to minimal effect. Oh wait, it got rid of the skateboarders. And now Citizen Advice Bureaus are set to close (pity poor Birmingham where they’re all for the chop), and they claim they can’t afford to pay those looking after our most vulnerable citizens who have forked their horrendously high Council Tax the whole of their adult lives.

£13,669 per annum, by the way. That’s the size of our business rates and we don’t even get our refuse collected for that. We have to pay extra. What exactly do we get for our thirteen and a half k? Oh yes, letters threatening to take us to court for someone else’s graffiti under the Health And Safety Act. Fucking toxic, that.

Anyway

Anyway, 2010 was at least another stonking year here for comics.

Lizz Lunney’s sales went into orbit, Scott Pilgrim climaxed, Nick Spencer triumphed, PHONOGRAM’s Kieron Gillen made it large, and arch-conservative Paul Levitz finally fucked off from DC head office. Also, Page 45 got its act together and launched its new website. Hello again!

So I called out to all our friends on Twitter the other week, asking what their favourite comics and graphic novels were during the year 2010. I kinda meant favourite comics and graphic novels published in 2010 rather than read, but some of our correspondents have a will of their own. Which is an outrage, I know.

Each one is reprinted here in their original form, the book reviews linked to wherever possible.

Greythorne:

I loved Elmer by Gerry Alangulian. A graphic novel about sentient chickens. Made me cry. Thank you @PageFortyFive for the recommendation.

Marcus Nyahoe

@PageFortyFive a good year, but Eddie Campbell‘s Alec: The Years Have Pants has the edge for me. #bestcomic2020

Lizz Lunney (I said she’d win!)

@PageFortyFive aw shucks I wish! I vote for all @thatlukeperson comics this year- Hildafolk, Dull Ache and Some People, can’t choose one!

Ian Craig

@PageFortyFive – My vote goes to Transmetropolitan, because it’s the best comic of EVERY YEAR.

Katie Green

@PageFortyFive Ooooh tough call….I think I’d go for @DarrylToon‘s masterpiece Psychiatric Tales.

Timothy Winchester

@PageFortyFive I know I won’t be the first but Scott Pilgrim 6 wins 2010.

Aaron Lee

@PageFortyFive Resident Evil (by @rickzilla) gets my vote for best comic series.

Craig Dawson

@PageFortyFive Best of 2010 – Phonogram – the Singles Club by those two reprobates, @McKelvie and @kierongillen. Atomic!

They are reprobates, aren’t they?

Any idea what our Twitter name is yet? Follow us! I’ve been stuck on 444 followers for a fortnight which Lizz Lunney tells me is a veritable curse in China. Still, she was stuck on 666 for a couple of months.

I also asked for email responses, but most of you have stopped emailing now that you have our Twitter and Forums. Makes my life easier in some ways but a bugger when it comes to filling letter columns. Do you not love me no more?

Ivan Towlson

Pablo Holmberg’s “Eden” joins “Hicksville” and “Bone” in the exclusive club of “comics I inflict on people as presents.”  Beautiful lines, natural imagery, scripts that fuse melancholy with joy: graphic haiku. Thank you for all the recommendations in 2010, and all the best for 2011.

Chris Craven

In case you couldn’t tell by my post on the forums in my opinion the best read of last year was Ex-Machina 50, reason … that last page. Never have I read a comic and felt like i’ve been punched in the gut like that book did. 

Jonathan’s favourite book of 2010 was THE SUMMIT OF THE GODS VOL 2, whilst Tom’s was THE UNSINKABLE WALKER BEAN.

My own favourites published or at least reviewed during 2010 include (in chronological order only and excluding a good one hundred other books that I absolutely adored and whose exclusion will only get me into trouble, I know):

ALEC: THE YEARS HAVEPANTS
THE KILLER
PHONOGRAM: THE SINGLES CLUB
BODYWORLD
KING OF THE FLIES
PLANETARY VOL 4
WILSON
THE HIPLESS BOY
THE PLAYWRIGHT
SAN FRANCISCO PANORAMA COMIC SECTION 
Psychiatric Tales
THE WILD KINGDOM
EX MACHINA VOL 10
PALOOKAVILLE #20
ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY #20
Timularo
Forgetless

DAYTRIPPER was my favourite series of 2011, finally reprinted as a book and I cannot commend it to you all highly enough because, already in February, I have to declare with customarily premature passion that the collection will take some beating when it comes to my favourite book of 2011.

Best moments for me included a woman in a burqa reading LOVE AND ROCKETS on the opposite side of the counter, Bryan Lee O’Malley sacrificing so much of his UK time to sign and sketch for as many of you as humanly possible during the Scott Pilgrim film frenzy, my friends David and Rich getting married outside a windmill, seeing all my Bristol mates at one point or another, some of whom had helped out with the Page 45 Cerebus TV soundtrack… the relief of hearing that soundtrack in place of what otherwise-ace director Robin Barnard had popped there as a place holder … A boy aged 7 throwing himself into the shop asking if we sold condoms (“…’Cause… ‘Cause… I’m gonna have under-safe sex!”) then rushing back out again, chortling with glee, into the arms of a man I am sure was his father…

… and the launch of that Page 45 website. Thank goodness! I still haven’t published our original blog written in case we had launched on target rather than three days late. Maybe I’ll save that for our first anniversary.

We’d have launched some months earlier if I hadn’t been interviewed 386 times about comics on websites and Kindle. I rather think most of those interviews were paid advertisements: I’ve yet to see anyone on our bus using a Kindle. But then I’ve yet to see anyone on our bus read a graphic novel, so…

FAQ: What do you think of comics on the internet? Answer: It’s great advertising for the printed page, cheers. Also, it circumnavigates those comic shops who fail to stock the best books on offer, which serves them bloody well right.

I can’t imagine trying to order in graphic novels now without being able to look at some of their contents online. Many thanks to all those publishers (Drawn & Quarterly, Top Shelf and most self-publishers) who manage to pop previews online in time for me to write my own then order accordingly. Can Fantagraphics get its act together, please? Lovely books, so I’d like to show them off in time. (I’d say also Image, but I really don’t care. Their few decent creators know what to do, so if I find nothing on line I ignore the titles completely.)

Speaking of Drawn & Quarterly, 2010 saw them pull the plug on periodical pamphlets, a move met with gentle dignity by Seth in the preface to PALOOKAVILLE #20 whose form and contents adjusted themselves beautifully to the industry’s new climate. I hear that 2011 sees the last of Drawn & Quarterly publishing hardcovers but I doubt that it’s true: Lord knows what they’d be publishing in 2012.

Was it last year that saw IDW jump to the front of PREVIEWS, slotted between DC and Image? That was a relief: another 20 pages I can just skim-read early on then virtually ignore on the order form. They’re the modern Calibre whose sole attractions were BAKER STREET and EXIT volume 2 by Nabiel Kanan. With IDW I can just tick the box marked Ashley Wood then move confidently on.

On the superhero front, can I just thank Geoff Johns, Brian Michael Bendis, Garth Ennis and Mark Millar for so much bloody money? Thank you. We made far more from Bryan Lee O’Malley, and have been doing so for over five years, whilst Warren Ellis is like an industry unto himself. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t recommend something or other that Warren’s inflicted on us. The irascible bastard.

Now, although it’s not like me to back up my opinionated claptrap with facts, since Page 45 finally has a fully functioning Electronic Point Of Sale system, I thought it’d be fun to ask Jonathan which books sold the most copies here in 2010. I thought it might also be useful for other retailers curious about expanding their range. I haven’t time to link them all so please pop any you’re curious about in our search engine.

Please bear in mind that, to a certain extent, this list is virtually meaningless. So much depends on when any given title is published. A book arriving in January has a much greater chance of hitting the top spots than one published mid-year (SCOTT PILGRIM volume 6 – ha!) and especially in December (GRANDVILLE: MON AMOUR). In fact it’s a double whammy for Sir Bryan of Talbotshire’s GRANDVILLE, because the first book’s first 100 copies had already gone by Christmas 2009.

Ideally we’d be able to provide you with a chart for each graphic novel’s first 12 months’ sales instead. That would make sense but would be impossible to organise. So this is a load of rubbish.

Take this as you will, then, the top 75 graphic novels at Page 45 during 2010 out of our total of 7,500 different titles: 1%, smaller than the tip of the average iceberg. Or bigger, depending on how you look at it!

Scott Pilgrim vol 6
Scott Pilgrim vol 1
Scott Pilgrim Poster 2009
Scott Pilgrim vol 2
Scott Pilgrim vol 3
Scott Pilgrim vol 5
Scott Pilgrim vol 4
Kick Ass s/c
Wilson h/c
Walking Dead vol 1
Meanwhile
Cats Are Weird And More Observations
Crossed vol 1
The Boys vol 6
Walking Dead vol 11
Blacksad h/c
Psychiatric Tales h/c
Scott Pilgrim Exclusive Page 45 Signing 2006 Poster
Grandville
The Walking Dead vol 12
Naruto vol 47
The Unwritten vol 1
The Killer vol 2 h/c
Cat Getting Out Of A Bag And Other Observations
Lost At Sea
The Playwright h/c
Walking Dead vol 2
X’ed Out h/c
The Boys vol 5
The Boys vol 7
The Unsinkable Walker Bean
Weathercraft h/c
Fables vol 13
Asterios Polyp
Naruto vol 48
Phonogram vol 2: The Singles Club
Biomega vol 1
Pluto vol 7
Tsubasa: Resevoir Chronicle
Tamara Drewe s/c
No Hero – How Much Do You Want To Be A Hero
Alice In Sunderland
Grandville vol 2: Mon Amour
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152
Pluto vol 8
Bodyworld
The Boys vol 1
Naruto vol 49
Walking Dead vol 13
Mouse Guard: Winter 1152
Superman: Earth One h/c
Hellboy vol 9: The Wild Hunt
Planetary vol 4: Spacetime Archaeology
The Unclothed Man In The 35th Century
Bakuman vol 1
Freakangels vol 4
Hotwire: Requiem For The Dead
Beasts Of Burden h/c
The Amazing Screw-On Head…
Batman: The Killing Joke
Death Note vol 1
Final Crisis s/c
One Piece vol 1
Ex Machina vol 9
Batman & Robin: Batman Reborn
Walking Dead vol 4
Logicomix – An Epic Search For Truth
A Is For Armageddon
Blackest Night h/c
The Arrival
Walking Dead vol 3
Alec: The Years Have Pants
Amulet vol 1: The Stonekeeper
The Boys vol 4
Bleach vol 31

If you’re wondering about ONE PIECE VOL 1, that’s down to school libraries. We sell a lot of books to libraries.

How old is ALICE IN SUNDERLAND now?! Yet still it comes in at 42.

The two cat books: Jeffrey Brown done us proud, as always!

In spite of how it looks on the website, PHONOGRAM 2 was not a CBOTM. The first issue was. So that puppy got itself way up there all by itself! (Okay, I pushed it. Hard!)

Many thanks to Bryan Lee O’Malley for both SCOTT PILGRIM posters. The 2009 edition’s were his own personal copies so exclusive to us in Europe; the 2006 he jammed on with the magnificent Hope Larson for his signing here way back then and so exclusive to us everywhere in the world. First prints too! Yes, we invest. That volume 6 beat volume 1…? We’d put the groundwork into that title years ago, and SCOTT PILGRIM was already our biggest seller in 2006 long before any idea of a film.

So, what you do you think of them apples, eh? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Email page45@page45.com. You will be heard!
– Stephen

Clearly this was a column that should have been completed over a month ago, but you know how it is: stuff gets in the way. Stuff that comes in tall green bottles marked ‘Produce of Chile’ or France, Italy and New Zealand. Some evenings I type with two fingers, slowly, with one eye squinting.

This column’s twin,’ 2011 Look Right’, will follow almost as soon as everything I’m looking forward to has already arrived. <sigh>

One Response to “2010: Look Left”

  1. Tweets that mention 2010: Look Left | World of Page 45 -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darryl Cunningham, Page 45. Page 45 said: A little more coherently then, my thoughts on comics 2010! http://bit.ly/fM02Pu […]

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