Day two of the SKTCHD AWRDS for comics of the decade is here, and so far, so good. No one has yelled at me for missing anything, which is always a good thing! Each day here, I’ll be sharing an additional quintet of my favorite comics of the decade, with one of those words being particularly important: favorite. This effort is all about my favorites, not the “best,” as I don’t believe I’m in a position to determine that. But favorites? I can do that!
Before we get started on the second five, I have some other quick notes in terms of my methodology:
- 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.
Alright then. Let’s get to the list, and come back each day for five more titles to be added to the mix before we close things out on Saturday. 3 One note, though: I’ll be taking Christmas off – shockingly – so come back Thursday for the next round.
The Airship Award: Castle in the Stars
Written and drawn by Alex Alice
I love the Super Nintendo Final Fantasy games. They’re maybe my favorite games ever, and to say they’re a lasting influence is an understatement. There’s an entire fictional genre of music only I am aware of that I love because it reminds me of the music that was played as you flew the airships in Final Fantasy IV. That element is one of the broadest impacts on me personally, as those games made me absolutely adore anything involving airships.
For example, Alex Alice’s Castle in the Stars, a French album series that First Second is releasing in America. That comic is basically a Final Fantasy game in comic form – I describe it as “what if Hayao Miyazaki made a Final Fantasy comic?” – as it’s loaded with youthful but competent leads, theatrical villains, plots involving the moon, and, most of all, airships. That right there guarantees my interest, but Alice’s work as a cartoonist cannot be understated.
This guy is one of the best in the business, straight up, and I’d put his imaginative design (both on pages and within the world), potent character work, and wondrous watercolors at the top of the class for anyone. Each of the three volumes we’ve seen so far deliver highly satisfying, engrossing reads that take us to unbelievable places and unexpected wonders, and whenever a new volume drops, I feast upon it as if my life depends on it. It’s a compulsive read, but one that rewards drinking in the details and seeing the genius Alice comes up with on each and every page.
It’s a concept that’s right up my alley, and the execution matches it completely. While it’s one of the later entries into this effort, it was a lock from day one for obvious reasons.