2012 is coming to an end soon and the team at ComicBooked.com have spent some time putting together what we think are some of the best comics that have come out this year. There is a lot of discussion and a lot of disagreement in some cases, but in other cases we had almost a unanimous choice. We hope you agree but if you don’t we invite you to chop in below and let us know why!
Best Ongoing Series
Based on what’s been going on within the DC Universe of late, and the fact that for the first time ever a regular comic trade paperback collection made it to the New York Times Best Seller list this year, the obvious choice here is Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. With the relaunch of the New 52, there was a concern over how the characters would be expressed by the new creative teams, and with the final Batman movie coming out in 2012 this was definitely one that would be on everyone’s radar. Suffice to say, Snyder and Capullo did a great job and even managed to throw in some new twists to the whole Gotham city mythos with Court of Owls and made the Joker more creepy than loony in the currently-running Death of the Family storyline. Well done, Team Batman!
Runners Up: Fatale (Image Comics), Fables (DC/Vertigo), Amazing Spider-Man (Marvel)
Best Mini-Series/One Shot
It was difficult to pick just one and we couldn’t, as there were a lot. Instead, we opted to choose a family title which encompassed a number of books, so there was not just one award but multiple awards here. That goes to the Before Watchmen series from DC.
It seemed that, right from its announcement, it was going to be doomed. After all, the original Watchmen is considered sacred in the graphic novel family – so much so that some secondary schools use it as a textbook in visual communication classes! But it was the animosity that appeared between the original creators and DC when this project was announced. Surprisingly, though, the stories were not as bad as originally feared – in fact, they were surprisingly well done! Multiple creative teams but a strong editorial stance to keep it all together worked well. There was a finite universe to work with here, and it got pulled off quite well. So, congratulations to the entire Before Watchmen teams with your awards in this category!
Runners Up: Supercrooks, Secret Service, Supurbia, Action Cats, Fables: Werewolves of the Heartland, Alabaster
Best New Ongoing Series (Issue #1 to appear in 2012)
We’ve seen a lot of new titles out in the last year, what with the third wave of DC’s New 52 and a number of Marvel NOW! titles coming to fruition, as well as several really interesting titles from other publishers. The winner of this category, though, is one that is truly close to me: Hawkeye from Marvel Comics. This is a character who has been around since the 1960s and has gone through so many ringers in the last number of years it’s not even funny. It seems that very few creators can get a take on the character, but in this case Matt Fraction and David Aja got it right. The simplistic (and more artsy) covers of the book, to the simple-yet-detailed interior artwork (and the coloring too – let’s not forget that) have made Hawkeye the best new series from several of our ComicBooked team!
Runners Up: Fatale (Image), Saga (Image), Earth 2 (DC), Team 7 (DC), Evil Ernie (Dynamite)
Best Independent Title
To our team at ComicBooked there were 2 independent titles that stood out as deserving recognition.
The first, Arsenic Lullaby.
[quote]Douglas has been writing,drawing, editing, and publishing it himself for 10 years now.[/quote]
I think that says a lot for a title when the creator has been doing it for 10 years. They recently ran a Kickstarter campaign and got 216% funded in 28 days. That says a lot for an independent title, but after 10 years you definitely get a strong following and it shows.
The second is Cleveland.
[quote]Harvey Pekar does what he does best, even from beyond the grave, while Joseph Remnant draws some hilarious imagery to go with it. Can come across as very dry at first, but it’s a scathing yet heartfelt look at the history of America’s second favorite punching bag: Cleveland, Ohio. It’s essential reading for Pekar fans or anyone that wants to do more than sneer at the Midwest.[/quote]
Congratulations to both of our independent winners of this year!
Publisher of the Year
There have been a lot of titles put out this year, but without a doubt the winner from our team as a whole was Image Comics. They’ve done an enourmous job over a number of genres, from noir-style with Fatale to distributing Top Cow’s rebirthed universe, and let’s not forget that new top seller from Brian K. Vaughn, Saga. Image has delivered in spades this year and they definitely deserve to be awarded publisher of the year.
Runners Up: DC, IDW, We Comics
We had a ton of names submitted for best writer. So many names, in fact, that we had to whittle this down even for the runners up list! But, as the Anne-Droid says, “It’s the votes that count.” And our writer of the year award goes to none other than Scott Snyder for his work at DC comics. For those that are living under a rock nowhere near a comic book store, Scott had writing duties on several DC titles this year. He led the relaunch of Swamp Thing for DC, and was also the lead writer on Batman, bringing back the Joker and introducing the Court of Owls. Snyder continues to assist with the writing on the spinoff series Talon, and at some point next year should be returning to his Vertigo title of American Vampire. What many are interested in, though, is his new Superman series to come out in 2013 with artist Jim Lee! Scott’s had a lot on his plate and by helming both Superman and Batman next year he’s going to have his hands full!
Runners Up: Ed Brubaker, Dan Slott
Like our award for best writer, there was a lot of discussion on the best artist. Some names were known to many of us, and others not so much. The one name that had more votes than anyone, though: Leinel Yu. Leinel has managed to nab 2 great titles that were out in 2012 that propelled him to our number 1 spot, even though we’ve known of his work for some time now. First, was his work on Super Crooks with writer Mark Millar, but this was soon followed by the launch of a new book on the Marvel NOW! line: Indestructible Hulk with writer Mark Waid. His work on this book clinched it for many, I believe, as he can switch between the more passive scenes with Banner and the action scenes with Hulk and it flows exceptionally well. Knowing Waid, he will be pushing Yu’s artistic skills further this upcoming year – and we couldn’t be more excited to see what happens!
Runners Up: Riley Rossmo, Greg Capullo, Jim Lee, Francesco Francavilla
Best Character (Male)
There are plenty of characters out there to choose from for best male character of the year. In fact, with our runners up list, you can see who was leading the pack. However, one name stood out – Spider-Man – for multiple reasons. For example, Dan Slott has made Spider-Man the most interesting character he has been in many years over this last year and just keeps on piling more! It’s also Spidey’s 50th anniversary this year, so he’s gotta get some love, and his flagship title is coming to an end along with 2012. Basically, beginning in 2013, this is no longer the Spider-Man we know and what better way to give him a send-off than to award him this award.
Runners Up: Batman, The Joker, Luther Strode
Best Character (Female)
There were a number of really strong female characters in comics last year. When we polled our team, we had another selection of unique opinions. After some deliberations, we narrowed it down to one character for multiple reasons: Carol Danvers. For those who are unfamiliar with her, she has been in the Marvel mythos for some time now – first as Ms. Marvel, then as Binary, next to Warbird, a return t Ms. Marvel, and now Captain Marvel. The character has evolved as a fighter pilot and military officer to an Avenger and now runs with her new solo series, Captain Marvel. As well, this is one of the few female heroes being written by a female creator (yes, we know DC has a bunch with Gail Simone and Ann Nocenti there) but Kelly Sue Deconnick has done a great job in bringing Carol back to the forefront.
Runners Up: Wonder Woman, Hit Girl, It Girl, Sif
Best Supporting Character
Supporting characters sometimes make a title, as they can demonstrate what happens off-panel but also give an idea of who the main characters pal around with. Spider-Man has always had Aunt May; the Justice League has had Snapper Carr, Max Lord and Oberon through a number of iterations; and Rick Jones has been a sidekick through most of his appearances. But this year’s winner is unique. This year’s winner is Smiley, the Psychotic Button. As told by our own Skott Jimenez:
[quote]I honestly never thought I’d be talking about Evil Ernie and Smiley again but the new series has also given us a horrific new take on Smiley. He’s no longer the tin personification of Evil’s imaginary friend, he’s a demon now and his fleshy style and freaky new abilities will make him a cult monster like he was back in the 90’s.[/quote]
Congratulations, Smiley, for being our supporting character of the year!
Runners Up: Jeremy Metzger (Supurbia), Amanda Waller (Team 7, Suicide Squad)
Some of our categories won’t have a clear winner. When we posed the question as to what the best covers of the year were, we got a number of answers. Here are the 6 that stood out to many of us here at ComicBooked.com, in no particular order.
We had a tie when we tallied up the points here! And not just a one-person-said-this-and-one-said-this tie, but multiple people voted and we had a tie! So… our winners for the best crossover of the year…
First, let’s take a look at the DC Universe. It’s no surprise that Batman would be in here, what with the amount of crossovers going on over there these days. Court of Owls was voted one of the best crossovers by our team. This is a Batman story that brought something new to the table – a new villain, a new conspiracy, and some new twists we have not seen coming from a Batman title in a long time. The crossover was epic – through the entire Batman family of titles, but also tied in to All-Star Western, which had Jonah Hex in the past at Arkham Asylum when a lot of this stuff was getting off the ground! It’s not often you can tie a western story taking place so long ago into a current story arc without some weird time travel component, but they did it – and it worked.
The second arc came not from DC but from Marvel. Marvel has done a lot over the last few years with epic crossovers – some successful, and some not so much. Although many may consider Avengers vs. X-Men the epic crossover of the year, it didn’t make our list. Although it did set the stage for the Marvel Universe into 2013 and beyond, it didn’t have the impact on the readers one might think it should have. No, the winner here is Everything Burns which was a crossover dealing with the Asgardian gods, crossing over multiple issues of both Thor and Journey Into Mystery. Several stories with the Asgardian gods were laid out for the upcoming year in this crossover, so it’s definitely one to look at.
Runner Up: Death of the Family
Webcomics are something different that we cannot compare to our traditional comic book, but more along the lines of what we read in the newspapers… or used to before comics started getting cut from that medium. Instead, we bring you 3 winners based on ComicBooked.com’s team as to some webcomics you should definitely check our and stand out to us.
Girls with Slingshots – This strip has been around since 2004 and is now updated 5 times a week. It’s being run full time by its creator, Danielle Corsetto, who also has a side job of doing the Bat Boy comics within the Weekly World News newspaper. Really. It’s definitely a fun read and worth checking out!
Romantically Apocalyptic - This is a very unique webcomic in that it is not just drawn, but filmed. Through using actual people, green-screen technology, and (so they say) 2.5 Terabytes of stock footage from abandoned locations around the world, this comic has a unique flavor to it. It revolves around 4 individuals surviving in a post-apocalyptic world… and was a visual pleasure to look at.
JL8 – This webcomic is available entirely via its Tumblr feed. Unlike the unique creations of above, this strip takes the DC characters we know, love and hate, and shows what they would be like…. in elementary school. It’s updated twice a week and for those who regularly follow the DCU it’s a great read.
Most Shocking Reveal
There were a lot of shocks this last year in various books. Although I’m going to try to make this spoiler-free for those who haven’t read some of the titles, our winner for most shocking reveal was voted upon by several. The Walking Dead #100 wins the award here. For those who don’t follow the book or the TV show, this title is about the zombie apocalypse. This issue, though, has no zombies. It’s all about the brutality of the humans in the series, how we can be even more evil than a bunch of undead creatures. There is someone who reveals himself a traitor, and another main character who dies very gruesomely. That’s all that can be said. The reveal of the character will shock you, but probably not as much as the brutality shown by the people in this issue.
Most Shocking Issue Cliffhanger (the actual final page of the issue)
There were a few cliffhangers this year that left you upset – mostly because now you had to wait for another issue to come out. Although a few were good, one jumped out as being the most cursing-involved: Amazing Spider-Man #698. Dan Slott has done a lot with the character and, just when you think there may be nothing new in Spider-Man that you could find out, he manages to blindside us with this one. Again, no spoilers, as this is the first of 3 issues leading up to the series finale in #700, but this is one not to miss.
So there you have it – our winners. Do you agree? Disagree? What did we miss? Let us know below, and from our team here at ComicBooked we wish you all a great 2013!