As I sit here and welcome 2013 by watching what is shaping up to be an awesomely exciting football contest between Georgia and Nebraska, I find myself thinking about the good comics I read this past year. Well, I think about the bad ones too, but not as much. I’ve been thinking about what to talk about here since I promised Bitter Girl I would find time to do this over my break, and this being the last real day of that break, procrastination seems to have paid off. So, without further ado, my favorite series this year. . .
Honorable Mention :: Avengers vs. X-Men
I had to at least mention this book, cause it was everything my Marvel fanboy heart could have wanted in a mega Avengers vs. X-Men kinda crossover. I remember that Marvel tackled this same subject matter years back, though in a much less world-shaking manner. And lets face it, you put Bendis in charge, things are gonna get shaken up. This was the groundwork for the Marvel NOW initiative, which has been pretty enjoyable thus far, and given us lots of cool books (and some not so cool, but you’ll have that), and also served to wrap up loose ends that had been dangling around since House of M, which seems like it was 10 years ago. So, it did everything that something like Avengers vs. X-Men should do: lots of fun to read, shakes things up, and plus Scott killed Xavier. Tell me you saw that coming.
If I hadn’t picked up Revival just a few days ago, then AvX would be in this spot. This new book from Image has been very fresh and unlike anything I’ve read this year, and that’s important to me. I like to read stuff that makes me sit up and say “Holy Shit!”, and the first issue of Revival had a few of those moments (such as an old lady pulling her teeth out with a pair of pliers). The idea here is that this is a zombie book, but it has a crazy twist in that they aren’t zombies, they’re just like they used to be, like you remember them, except that they’re probably inherently evil, and you just don’t know it until it’s too late. The book reminds me of a TV show in the way it is written, lots of different stories and characters to keep track of, and they all find ways to interact cuz it’s told in a small town. I’ve enjoyed it because it surprises me, and that’s what I read comics for.
Speaking of surprises, here’s Happy, brought to you by Grant Morrison. A washed up ex-cop who sees a cartoon unicorn hallucination and sets out to save the daughter he never knew he had from sadistic kiddie porn mobsters. What else do I need to say?
Now admittedly, I’ve always been a Batman fanboy at heart. He’s the only character that DC has that I really give two shits about. Year One, Dark Knight Returns, No Man’s Land, there’s all these great stories that you can tell with Batman cuz he’s such a fucked-up character to begin with. I could never really get into what Morrison did with Batman during his run, but the New 52 brought a new creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (it’s so cool to see this guy drawing a monthly book again!). I read issue one, it was cool, but then I laid off for a while. But along comes the Death of the Family story, and here comes the Joker, and it’s great. It’s a Joker heavily influenced by Heath Ledger’s version, but taken to a whole other level, mostly cuz his face is gone and he wears what used to be his face as a mask. So, yeah, he’s that crazy. Plus, he’s out to kill the family, and he’s crazy smart, and the feeling of dread and tension in this book month after month just makes it so much fun to read. Every month, you’re asking yourself “What’s this crazy villain gonna do next?”, and then you read about it, and it blows your mind, cause your mind doesn’t work that way.
Dude. This book is just fantastic. Brian K. Vaughn’s space opera with a dash of Romeo and Juliet and some breathtaking art that Fiona Staples does on her computer consistently blows me away. You could spend days looking at these pages, and weeks trying to decide what might happen next (you should just stop that and just enjoy it. . . ). It’s really unlike nothing you’ve ever seen/read/experienced before, and Staples is a big part of creating this awesome experience every month. I can’t say enough about her art. It’s ridiculous. It’s gonna be a helluva ride, and it’s something I plan to be a part of for the duration.
Damnit, I’m in love with this book. I look forward to it every single month, and in the end, that’s what comics is about. It used to be the trip to the comic shop, on a weekly basis, but there was that one book that you looked forward to more than the others, that made that trip worth it, and this is that book. Except I download it now. Matt Fraction and David Aja tell street level comics stories, with humor and intrigue and suspense. Billed as ”what Hawkeye does when he’s not being an Avenger”, it usually involves getting into some sort of trouble with gangsters that want the apartment building he lives in, or with helping some damsel in distress, but also trying to set up his home theater system, and above all making things right. And Kate Bishop is always along for the ride, usually bailing his ass out of some sort of peril, helping out whether Hawkeye wants her to or not (so far, it’s a good thing she does). But most of all, here’s a hero that is relatable, that is just a normal dude who happens to be an excellent marksman and has an Avengers membership card. He’s got problems like you and I have. It’s the superhero book for people who hate superhero books, and that’s what makes it good my favorite book of 2012.
So, there you have it. My best of 2012. 2013 looks like it’s shaping up to be a pretty exciting year for comics. The two big comic book films of the last year have turned more people onto comics than ever, and the creators have stepped up their game in turn. Here are some things I’m keeping in mind as the calendar rolls over to 2013. . .
- Superior Spider-Man, which is going to be interesting to say the least . . .
- I keep finding more and more Image Comics in my queue month after month . . .
- I need to give Mark Waid’s Daredevil run a solid chance to impress me . . .
- I also need to check out the new Captain Marvel book. Heard lots of good things . . .
- Neil Gaiman is doing Sandman again . . .
- I really want Uncanny Avengers to be good . . .
- Bendis and Chris Bachalo are doing Uncanny X-Men . . .
- Scott Snyder and Jim Lee are doing a Superman book? Go ahead and sign me up . . .
It looks like 2013 is going to be a good year!
To contact Kristian and view his art :: www.kristiandonaldson.com