The SKTCHD AWRDS: The Comics of the Decade (Part Five)

Our national emergency is over! THE SKTCHD AWRDS ARE COMPLETE! After 15 days of seemingly endless amounts of award-giving – fitting the giving nature of the season – my awards for the creators of 2019, comics of 2019, and comics of the decade are at their conclusion with today’s final chapter. 7 So let’s start this all at the beginning one last time.

These are highlighting my 25 favorite comics from the decade, with emphasis on one specific word there: favorite. This isn’t the greatest or best or most influential. These are just my favorites. So it’s entirely possible this list will be way different than the rest you might read, which…well, good. I want it to be. I want it to reflect myself, not others.

There’s additional methodology that guided me beyond my personal whims. That methodology included:

  • This only features comics that were published between the years of 2010 and 2019
  • If a comic was originally published in another language, I’m using that version’s original release date as my date of determination
  • Reprints do not count in any way – this has to be an original comic, unless it’s the first version that is widely available
  • I considered comics of all varieties – single issues, arcs, graphic novels, webcomics, kids comics, adult comics, etc. etc.
  • I tried to read as many comics as I could, but as a one person show, I could only do my best. This list is criminally empty of manga. It’s a weakness, I know.

That’s it! That’s my explanation for a final time. Let’s get to my final five favorites from the decade, and then we’ll get back on with regular programming going forward.

The Terror Award: Through the Woods

Written and drawn by Emily Carroll

My nephew and his wife are massive horror fans. They love it, particularly when it’s more of the building terror type. You know, the ones where you can feel the dread growing so the tension just grows and grows until it’s a massive knot inside you just waiting to break out. That kind of thing wins over jump scares for me as well, so when I was considering Christmas presents for them a couple years ago, I knew the right move: I was going to buy Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods for them.

Carroll’s one of the best storytellers in comics, regardless of genre, but her gifts with the horror side of the world are genuinely unparalleled in Western comics. Through the Woods is an unbelievable showcase for those talents, as Carroll uses limited color palettes, inks that could tear a heart in your soul, and restrained yet clever pacing to escalate the tension in all five stories within this remarkable graphic collection. 8

This title and the previously mentioned By Chance or Providence by Becky Cloonan share a whole lot of DNA, but Carroll favors fear over romanticism and negative space over lush linework, making it a scary book with a different feel. Through the Woods is a more taut and eerie read, and one that elicits dread out of readers with just its bold color choices against stark backgrounds and fluidly flowing layouts. One of my favorite parts about these comics hasn’t even been mentioned, and that’s the hand lettered feel. 9 It feels like we’re reading notes from someone, with the imperfections in line and elegantly paced placements adding to the urgency and the stress of the read, while connecting us even more with those involved. It’s a book of important, atypical choices. Each of them works, and works well.

This is the scariest comic I’ve ever read. Nothing else is close. But it’s so well-crafted and perfectly made – shouts to Margaret K McElderry Books for the production value! – that I cannot help but revisit it, even if it genuinely haunts me when I do. It’s the type of terror you want to share, which is truly rare. Sorry Tyler and Shelby! Hope you enjoyed my present!

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  1. Tomorrow I’ll be running all 25 of my comics of the decade in one gigantic article, though.

  2. Some – maybe all? – of these stories appeared as webcomics first. I think it was just one but I could be mistaken.

  3. It might even be hand lettered! I’m not actually sure!

  4. Tomorrow I’ll be running all 25 of my comics of the decade in one gigantic article, though.

  5. Some – maybe all? – of these stories appeared as webcomics first. I think it was just one but I could be mistaken.

  6. It might even be hand lettered! I’m not actually sure!

  7. Tomorrow I’ll be running all 25 of my comics of the decade in one gigantic article, though.

  8. Some – maybe all? – of these stories appeared as webcomics first. I think it was just one but I could be mistaken.

  9. It might even be hand lettered! I’m not actually sure!