1. Skyscrapers of the Midwest, by Josh Cotter
I think it holds up like crazy. Months after reading this, I still can't get it out of my head, which probably means it's really, really good.
2. Little Nothings 1: The Curse of the Umbrella, by Lewis Trondheim
It seems so unfair to demote this to second place because Josh Cotter is more dramatic and Trondheim is more fun-loving, and it's not the kind of thing I often do. Basically, you could consider this list as having two #1s. Trondheim translates amazingly well. Volume 2 should be out soon. Hooray!
3. Achewood: The Great Outdoor Fight, by Chris Onstad
Yes, previously published, but nicely packaged and collected, and I suppose it's somewhat accessible if you don't read the strip. It's not flawless, but it is unlike anything else around.
4. The Umbrella Academy, vol. 1, Apocalypse Suite, by Gerard Way
Because I have to get something superheroey in somewhere here, right? I can't think of any really great collections or GNs of superhero work that came out this year. I mean, I liked Aztek: The Ultimate Man, but I didn't love it, so this is about the closest thing. A nice surprise and a welcome new voice.
5. Criminal, vol. 3, The Dead and the Dying, by Ed Brubaker
I'd actually almost forgotten about this, and that would have been a shame, as it's got a beautifully crafted narrative and showed me why Brubaker is important (really compelling plots and characters despite [or because of?] a straightforward approach).
6. Speak of the Devil, by Gilbert Hernandez
Perhaps too high on my list right now, due to its freshness in my mind, but I think it's kind of an amazing little book, with a short, contained story that still manages to have a lot of impact.
7. Chiggers, by Hope Larson
Larson continues to grow, and her work is deceptively simple. If you look at it closely, she has a better grasp of female-to-female relationships than anyone I can think of except maybe the Hernandezes, and she's young yet. It's a quiet book but a beautifully crafted one.
8. The Education of Hopey Glass, by Jaime Hernandez
I know. Two Hernandezes on one list. But I can't resist this stuff.
9. Herbie Archives, vol. 1
It's pretty good only to include one vintage repackaging of comics here, but this was my favorite of any of them, mostly due to its sheer originality and weirdness. It gets a bit repetitive, but it's still great stuff.
10. Stinky, by Eleanor Davis
Last but not least, a contribution by a local (to me) and a very talented lady. It's a kid's book, yes, but it's the kind that has a lot of care put into every page, and while the story isn't the most original thing ever, the way it's done is really wonderful.