[Editor's Note: House contributor Ed Howard has just completed a three-part survey of the Best Comics of the Decade. Below is his introduction to the project, which includes links to each of the posts.]
For the next couple of days, I'll be posting a countdown of the 60 best comics of the last decade, from 2000-2009. I've put a lot of work into this list, which is surely incomplete (I haven't read everything) but nevertheless gathers together what I feel is some of the best work to appear in the comics artform. The list will be posted twenty entries at a time. Numbers 60-41 are here, 40-21 are here, and the top 20 is here. I have written a brief blurb about each comic included, not as a definitive analysis or commentary, but only to provide some suggestion of what each entry is like. I encourage others to chime in with their own choices and commentary as well. Though this probably doesn't need saying, this list reflects only my own personal taste, idiosyncratic as it is. I have attempted to include a wide cross-section of modern comics, but my biases and preferences have surely dictated the relatively small sampling of superhero or autobiographical comics included here, to name two popular genres, as well as the marked dominance of more formalist and experimental artists. I have also made an effort to include only works truly produced and released for the first time during this decade, thus excluding the wealth of older reissues that have come out in recent years. For the most part, each entry represents a single work, though in a few cases I thought some artists were better represented by their complete oeuvres or some combination of similar books rather than a single representative piece.
In making this list, I confirmed my impression that the artform of comics has reached a creative apex in recent years. The comics produced from 2000-2009 are varied and encompass a diversity and general high level of quality previously unimagined for an artform once considered pulpy trash for children. This is a great time to be reading comics, and this list is my perspective on this especially fecund era's most satisfying works.