2. "Planetary" by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday (DC Comics, $14.95). "Planetary" tells the tale of a corporation devoted to unearthing the secret, inexplicable history of the world all the stuff that happens in the shadows, just out of your peripheral vision. It's a laser-sharp deconstruction of genre fiction from the last 100 years or so, ranging from '50s monster movies to pulp novels of the '30s to Hong Kong cinema.
3. "Hicksville" by Dylan Horrocks (Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95). A journalist's discovery of a strange New Zealand town where comics are an influential element of everyday life.
4. "Hellboy" by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse Comics, $17.95). A botched attempt by Nazis at summoning a demon towards the end of WWII produces Hellboy, the world's greatest paranormal investigator. Mike Mignola has redefined the look of modern comics with his sense of design and uses the series as a springboard to explore myths and legends from all over the world.
5. "Enigma" by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fregredo (Vertigo/DC Comics, $19.95). Mystery unveils as characters from a forgotten comic series come to life.
6. "Heavy Liquid" by Paul Pope (DC Comics, $29.95). Considered by many the "Blade Runner" of the comics world, this is smart, stylish science fiction that doesn't rely on typical conventions of the genre.
7. "The Mystery Play" by Grant Morrison and John J. Muth (Warner Books, $9.95). What happens when God is killed, and the devil is the primary suspect? What happens when the detective becomes the suspect?
8. "100 Bullets" by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso (DC Comics, $9.95). A mysterious gentleman delivers suitcases containing 100 untraceable bullets to seemingly unrelated down-on-their-luck individuals. What would you do?
9. "Whiteout" by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber (Oni Press, $9.95). A solid murder mystery set in the Antarctic. Rucka and Lieber show a mastery of pacing and craft in this terse, tense potboiler.
10. "The Ultimates" by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch (Marvel Comics, $2.25). Marvel Comics' most creatively successful reinvention of its characters. You won't find a more three-dimensional look at superheroes.
List compiled by Russell Paulette and Patrick Godfrey
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