Comics

IT'S THE BIG, BIG AICN COMICS 5th ANNUAL @$$IE AWARDS SHOW!!!!

Published at: Feb. 23, 2009, 8:24 a.m. CST


CATEGORIES (Click category to go directly to the @$$ie Award) BEST COMIC BOOK CHARACTER BEST SINGLE MOMENT/SINGLE ISSUE BEST COVER ARTIST/COVER ART In memoriam 2008 BEST ANNUAL/SPECIAL/ONE-SHOT BEST MINISERIES BEST ARTIST/ART TEAM BEST WRITER BEST PUBLISHER BEST ONGOING SERIES

@@@@ BEST COMIC BOOK CHARACTER @@@@

Humphrey Lee - Chief Red Crow from SCALPED. A big reason towards why I went the way I did with my Best Ongoing entry (which is also a big reason, if not the only reason I went forward with my Best Writer one as well), Chief Red Crow is about as interesting and complex a character as they come. Continuing in the great tradition of your Tony Soprano's, or more in my head, your Al Swearengen-like characters, where you have a character who's downright evil, but isn't without his merits and sense of honor. In fact, you could argue that he's not necessarily an "evil" person, but his high sense of immorality in his means to justify his ends. And the kicker is, he knows this of himself, and continues to damn himself anyway for whatever reason: his past and how it lead him to his current lifestyle, or the obligation he feels towards the Reservation because of current events that he's come to face, especially in the past couple issues. Either way, it's astounding to watch this character work the way he does and make the kinds of decisions a man does in his position of power in such a downtrodden place. Easily the most riveting character to watch in all of the books I'm currently reading.
Prof. Challenger - Sinestro, GREEN LANTERN (DC).
Stones Throw - Barack Obama. This guy crossed over more multiverses than Nazi Supergirl, appearing in SAVAGE DRAGON, THUNDERBOLTS, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and YOUNGBLOOD, got his own comic book biography from IDW, a cool-@$$ T-shirt painted by Alex Ross and an endorsement from THE GOON (AKA Eric Powell and the Comics Industry for Obama).
Ambush Bug - Poor, poor Crusader (Marvel). An obscure character, possessor of the Freedom Ring, Skrull with a heart of gold. Dan Slott and Christos Gage made his the most compelling story of all of the threads weaving through the vastly entertaining tapestry known as AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE this year. We saw Crusader come up through the ranks at Fort Hammond, prove himself in the field of battle against the Hulk during WORLD WAR HULK and angst his conscience to hell debating whether or not to side with the Skrulls or with the human world he had grown to love during SECRET INVASION. The Crusader’s final fate was less than satisfying and I was pissed off when I read it. But his story that ran through the entire year gave weight to a vapid crossover and, although brief, his story did have a definite beginning, middle, and end. Sure this is comics and someone may bring Crusader back, but looking back on his whole angst-ridden journey, his made him one of the coolest characters of the year.
superhero - Rick Grimes of THE WALKING DEAD (Image). This poor bastard's been through hell this past year and he's been the most interesting character to read by far. I don't think I could handle being put through half of what he's been through but he just keeps going because of his love for his son. It's his story that keeps me reading this book and I just hope that at some point he can find happiness.
Vroom Socko - I’m not exactly a fan of this character, and the person she’s been impersonating is someone I downright loathe. But if there’s anyone who had a bigger story impact this past year than Queen Veranke, aka Spider-Woman, from SECRET INVASION (Marvel), than I can’t think of them. Not that I liked the story that much, or the resolution, but the last person to mess with the Avengers on this level was Kang, and even he wasn’t as nasty as this psycho Skrull bitch.
Jinxo - Well I could say Kitty Pryde, number one with/in a bullet. But that would really just be for the joke. OR I could pick Gog from the Justice Society but then we would have to wait foreeeeever as he slowly walked to pick up his award. In the end I have to go with FABLES’ Boy Blue (DC Vertigo). I mean… this is the Boy Blue, from the lame nursery rhyme. The guy with the sheep and the horn who tends to fall asleep. The idea that you could take BOY BLUE and make him a character to root for? That’s crazy. Yet Fables turned him into the regular guy putting his ass on the line in a massive war, making the critical difference. And in the end he also pays a high price. He misses his chance with the girl he loves, he gets injured and now is slowly rotting away. He’s heroic and pays the price, gaining no great reward… except saving his friends.
BottleImp - Jamie Madrox, X-FACTOR (Marvel). You can keep your Batmen and Wolverines—for my money the multi-faceted, multi-talented Multiple Man is a more interesting character than any of the big name, appearing-in-five-titles-every-month heroes that glut the comic pages. An emotionally fragmented mutant group leader who can (and often does) literally argue with himself—you can’t beat that.
Optimous Douche - My originality award goes to Yellow Lantern Kryb. A species that evolves a baby cage on their back and inter-species lactation abilities is the true stuff of nightmares. My complex character in a fucked-up world goes to Wee Hughie of THE BOYS (Dynamite). I’ve always loved the characters that seem to be separated from the world they live in, looking at everything from the reader’s point of view, pointing out the lunacy of the characters and events that unfold around them (think Jim on THE OFFICE).

COMIC MOST IN NEED OF A NAME CHANGE

Marvel and JMS’ THE TWELVE…no wait, maybe we should call it THE SEVEN OR EIGHT WITH A COUPLE OF SPECIALS TO TIDE YOU OVER…no wait…ahh, just forget it.

SECOND-BEST COMIC BOOK MOVIE

HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY

BIGGEST DROP IN QUALITY AWARD

Terry Moore’s RUNAWAYS (Marvel)

MOST HAUNTING COMIC

Lilli Carre’s THE LAGOON (Fantagraphics)

MOST SHAMELESS BANDWAGON-JUMPING ON A SEMINAL EVENT IN A NATION’S HISTORY

Marvel’s Obama variant cover of SPIDER-MAN, charging an extra dollar for a rush-produced five-page back-up.

BEST COMIC WE WISH WAS ON A MORE REGULAR SCHEDULE

Warren Ellis’ FELL (Image)

THE SELF-FELLATIO AWARD

KICK-ASS (Marvel)

BIGGEST COMIC BOOK HYPE

The many “deaths” of Batman, for realzy realz this time. (Dan Didio, DC)

@@@@ BEST SINGLE MOMENT/SINGLE ISSUE @@@@

Optimous Douche - Y: THE LAST MAN #60 (DC Vertigo). Brian K. Vaughan let us know right from the outset that Y was a finite series with everlasting consequences. We all want more time with characters we love, and while I felt closure at the “50ish year” flash forward in the finale, I also felt cheated. There will be no reunion books or a VERY SPECIAL Y CHRISTMAS One Shot on the horizon. Chapter closed on a great series. I only hope LOST gets cancelled soon, so we can see more tightly packaged series like this one.
Humphrey Lee - Y: THE LAST MAN #60. (DC Vertigo) Dwelling on our @$$ies and what I was looking to nominate as my contribution to each category, Best Single Issue was pretty much the only no-brainer I had out of the bunch (besides Best Cover Artist--I mean, come on, that's a lock). Getting right to the chase, Y has easily been one of the best comics I've read this decade, and this series finale issue hit every last emotional note and did exactly what it needed to do to drive home what these characters have done and been through and to make you realize that you'll never see them again in new material. There were just so many heart-wrenching moments, especially the final fate of the ever lovable Ampersand, and the last page was absolutely haunting and liberating considering the kind of journey we've seen these characters, especially Yorrick, endure for years now. A fantastic and point perfect end to an absolutely fantastic series.
Prof. Challenger - FINAL CRISIS: RAGE OF THE RED LANTERNS #1 (DC).
Stones Throw - I think it’s indicative of the almost spooky magic of ALL STAR SUPERMAN that at the precise moment I turned the penultimate page of ALL STAR SUPERMAN # 10 (DC), and Joe Shuster utters the words “…this is going to change everything”, the story of the Superman rights reverting to the Siegel and Shuster estates was burning up the internets. It’s remarkable to me that a story that explores the fictional affecting the real world and vice versa, written months if not years ahead of its eventual release, could be timed so serendipitously. The fact that it also happened to be 22 of the best pages of Superman ever published is similarly impressive.
Ambush Bug - The return of Warlock in NOVA #11 (Marvel) was my single most favorite arc this year. We’re not talking Adam Warlock. I’m talking about the techno-organic goofball/Jar Jar Binks-ish character. Everything wrong and annoying about Jar Jar comes across as fun and nostalgic here. Having cut my teeth in comic booking with Claremont’s NEW MUTANTS, it was like a breath of fresh air seeing Warlock back in action, morphing and causing trouble. Writers Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning told a tale of Warlock and his son Tycho. With Nova infected with the techno virus, it was up to this father and son team to save the day, and that they do. Seeing Warlock morphing around (drawn masterfully by Paul Pelletier) in a story where Warlock shows how much a hero he is was one of the finest reads of the year.
superhero - THE WALKING DEAD #48 (Image). Wow. Talk about heartbreaking and intense. In just one issue Robert Krikman changes the status quo of this title forever. I don't think there have been many times in comic book history where a title has delivered such a gut punch in one issue. The most disturbing and powerful comic I've read in years…which made me take the book more seriously than I have in a while. This book made me cry.
Vroom Socko - It could be that I loved this moment so much because so many of my friends went through the same thing this past year, or it could be because of what a significant game changer it was for this comic. But my pick this year, easily, is the marriage of Jade Fontaine and Brent Sienna in PVP (online comic). It was the culmination of years of character work, and it was followed by a whole mess of interesting plotlines, growth, and all around coolness.
Jinxo - I almost want to say Norman Osborn just because it was a big moment that actually paid off a lot of past events in a big crap sandwich for Tony Stark. But for my winner I’m going with a smaller moment from ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN’s “Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends” story (Marvel). Peter and his high school friends are at the beach. Liz Allen suddenly discovers she has mutant powers when she bursts into flames and flies off in a panic. Peter needs to become Spider-Man and go help her but can’t because there is one person there – Kenny “Kong” McFarlane – who doesn’t know he’s Spider-Man. He can’t expose himself. Only Kenny does know. He’s known for awhile and hasn’t said anything out of respect for Peter, hoping Peter would eventually tell him himself. But with Liz in trouble Kenny tells Peter Liz has been their friend since they were in grade school, that he knows Peter is Spider-Man and that he needs to get in gear and help her. It’s a great heroic and emotional moment for a character that could be written as just a big dumb jock. The cherry on the top is the fact that no one told Kenny. The big “dumb” jock figured it out on his own when no one else could.
BottleImp - ACTION COMICS #865: “The Terrible Toyman” (DC) I’m not a fan of everything Geoff Johns does, but I’ve got to admit, he is a master at cleaning up DC’s continuity. He’s worked his magic on Hawkman, Green Lantern, and in this issue Johns ties together every incarnation of the Toyman in a story that’s elegant in its simplicity. Wonderfully written by Johns and beautifully drawn by Jesus Merino, this spotlight on Superman’s second-tier rogue is a must-read for any fan of the big S.

THE “DUDE, HIGH-FIVE!” AWARD

Daredevil nails Dakota North. Why’s he so gloomy all the time again? (Marvel)

PUBLISHING COMPANY IN DESPERATE NEED OF A NEW ZERO HOUR

DC Comics. Just hit restart already and have Geoff Johns write it all.

BEST ELECTION TIE-IN

Not DC’s DECISIONS miniseries or Marvel’s gimmicky Colbert presidential run, but I think AMAZING SPIDER-MAN’s real-time mayoral election, which featured a charismatic young black man going up against a creepy white-haired guy funded by the Green Goblin…

2nd BEST VILLAIN

Junior (SECRET SIX, DC)

BEST AMAZING SPIDER-MAN WRITER

Mark Waid

MOST DISGUSTING MOMENT

#3 of Rick Remender and Kieron Dwyer’s CRAWLSPACE: XXXOMBIES (Image). In short: room full of babies, zombie nurse, jittery gangster. Yuck. In a revoltingly hilarious kind of way.

MOST GAY-FRIENDLY MAINSTREAM COMIC BOOK

DC's MANHUNTER, which by its end featured no less than four gay characters in its supporting cast.

@@@@ BEST COVER ARTIST/COVER ART @@@@

BottleImp - THE HELM #1, Bart Sears & Randy Elliot (Dark Horse). This was the year of pretty painted covers… that usually had nothing to do with the story within. Seriously, how many times did we see an Alex Ross painting of Superman or Batman just sort of standing there, or similar poster-style shots gracing the covers of IRON MAN or X-FACTOR? A cover should sell the story to the comic browser, and the one cover that hooked me and reeled me was THE HELM. The premise of the series in one perfectly paired marriage of image and text—take a hint, Marvel and DC; this cover was a more effective salesman than any painted image of superheroes simply milling about.
Optimous Douche - James Jean for his work on FABLES (DC Vertigo). This is hardly an earth shattering revelation since he’s been kicking ass on this title for a few years now. J.G. Jones comes in as an admirable second for his work on FINAL CRISIS, but in the end, Jones is just good. Jean’s renderings are good and bat shit fucking crazy to boot.
Humphrey Lee - James Jean for FABLES. (DC Vertigo) The only way this will ever change, as far as I'm concerned after having picked James Jean’s absolutely sublime work as the best I've seen these past three years I've been doing these awards, is if in some completely unexpected turn of events, James Jean just stopped doing covers, and that's just such a completely silly line of thought, that I'm not even going to waste my time consid...excuse me? What's that? What do you mean "gone to do his own thing"?!!? The fuck kind of bullshit lie is that?!? James would never leave us! NEVER!!!...Oh god...oh god...why, James? Why?! Didn't we love you enough?! DIDN'T WE LOVE YOU ENOUGH!?!?!...*sobs*
Prof. Challenger - Duncan Rouleau from METAL MEN (DC).
Stones Throw - Let down by a tardy Jim Steranko, Jack Kirby once drew an entire issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA over one weekend. J. G. Jones got out just over three issues of FINAL CRISIS (DC) with a year’s advance. But still, those covers were something to marvel at, with # 4’s Darkseid shot being especially cool.
Ambush Bug - This year’s best cover artist is my pick for best artist of 2007, Clint Langley (Marvel). The most whacked out of all the whacked out covers of Abnett and Lanning’s NOVA and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY issues were done by Mr. Langley. Langley’s work has a brutal beauty to it. There’s something barbaric yet delicate to his work. I don’t know if it’s painting or computer manipulation or both or neither. All I know is that I love it and I can’t wait for Marvel to smarten up and give this guy an actual issue to draw. Until then, I’ll be slobbering over those amazing covers he puts out.
superhero - I have to give this award to two people: Jo Chen and Jon Foster for their work on the covers for BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON EIGHT (Dark Horse). Some of the most beautiful cover art out there. Really gorgeous work that makes the book stand out from the crowd at the comic shop. Be-au-ti-ful!
Vroom Socko - James Jean, FABLES (DC Vertigo). There is no other answer.
Jinxo - Wanting to spread the love but I think I have to go with my winner from last year: James Jean (DC Vertigo) for his work on the FABLES covers. As good as other artists’ covers might be, the ones Jean does are the only ones I look at and can picture hanging on my wall as art. And they nicely tease the story inside, too. Top example from the past year to me would be the cover of FABLES #74. The Fables are going to war to win back their Homelands. They use Sleeping Beauty’s curse as a weapon. They drop her into an enemy city and let her prick her finger so that she and the entire town is put to sleep and taken out of the war. The cover is an almost monochromatic shot of a young girl in a toga-like gown falling asleep down a flight of stairs, the yellow-green fruit falling from her satchel the only bright color in the shot. And then at the top of the frame in contrast to the soft, flowing, relaxed shape of the sleeping girl you have the more contorted tensely sleeping shape of a soldier, spear dropped from his hands, shield slung uselessly on his back. Great image for the story. Innocence in a magical sleep without worry of harm while the solider lies unmanned and positioned like his sleep might be more than a small slice of death.

In memoriam compiled by Prof. Challenger Imaged by Ambush Bug

@@@@ BEST ANNUAL/SPECIAL/ONE-SHOT @@@@

Jinxo - I am at a loss. To me a good one shot is a self-contained story told in a single issue. Most every one-off I can think of from the past year was actually some extra part of a larger event story. Most of those were okay but I can’t think of one that I’d say, for me, stood on its own as a self contained tale. Well…maybe FINAL CRISIS: SUBMIT (DC). Hardly a ringing endorsement but I guess while tied to FINAL CRISIS that one stood on its own fairly well. That the one with Black Lightning fighting to save a single family from the unfolding doom? More than FINAL CRISIS itself the story was straight forward and understandable with a feeling of real jeopardy and apocalyptic creepiness, not to mention Black Lightning’s unsettling fate.
BottleImp - FINAL CRISIS: REQUIEM (DC) I was totally bummed when the Martian Manhunter was killed off in FINAL CRISIS—especially since it occurred in one quick panel. Thankfully, Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke took that ignoble death and fleshed it out into one of the Best Deaths Ever. Even knowing the outcome, seeing J’onn J’onnz’ final struggle realized so dramatically sent chills down my spine. Hats off to Tomasi and Mahnke for giving this elder statesman of the DC Universe the send-off he deserved.
Optimous Douche - The Justice League was a wacky place in the 80s. Martian Manhunter was the stalwart voice of reason and normality amidst the shenanigans of Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and Guy Gardner’s pre-pubescent lusting. No matter how zany things became, though, MM was always first and foremost a super hero. FINAL CRISIS REQUIEM (DC) might not have been the best comic of last year, but from murder to burial it engaged me more than any other single issue. Tomasi did a wonderful job laying the last Martian to rest.
Humphrey Lee - JOKER HC (DC) Probably the easiest recommendation - and quite a universally agreeable one methinks - that I can make this year for best Graphic Novel (One-Shot, what have you), JOKER was also simply one of the most engaging comic book reads I had all these past three hundred sixty-five days. Capitalizing on the phenomena that is the Joker, and more apt a depiction of him much more in line with the late Heath Ledger's version of the character, this Original Graphic Novel was a fantastic character study of a being that lives to defy convention. Brian Azzarello did a great job of presenting the character at his most raw, as well as in a story with the appropriate amount of dirtiness and criminality, and Lee Bermejo's pencils and paints were exceptional at bringing the whole ordeal to life as we glimpse the psyche of one of the most darkened and yet shockingly charismatic characters in all of comics history. This was absolutely haunting character stuff, and is a complete no-brainer as far as accolades for a single volume go.
Prof. Challenger - STRANGE AND STRANGER: THE WORLD OF STEVE DITKO by Blake Bell. I know I'm cheating, but it IS technically a "One-Shot," it just happens to be a book and I could not put it down once I started.
Stones Throw - NAT TURNER, Kyle Baker’s self-published miniseries about the slave rebellion of 1831, was collected as a graphic novel last year, and it’s an astounding portrayal of a vital, bloody part of American history. Baker’s art is a lesson in comic book storytelling, communicating with only one line of spoken dialogue the story of a slave who broke from both mental and physical bonds by learning how to read.
Ambush Bug - Coming up with a new spin on zombies is tough to do, but Ryan Mecum of HOW Books wrote and imaged ZOMBIE HAIKU, an often hilarious, often beautifully poetic (in a morbid sort of way) collection of poems and imagery told from the perspective of a person at first trying to survive through a zombie plague, then turning into one, searching for other survivors. The poems get more gruesome as the story goes on, but the guy keeps on writing poems, despite the fact that his foot has come off and his jaw has dislodged itself. Now that’s dedication. This comic has sparked others to come up with their own undead poetry. It definitely left its mark on me. Follow the link above and seek this original and fun read out.
superhero - KINGDOM COME SPECIAL: SUPERMAN (DC): Alex Ross really pulled out his "A" game with this special. While I've thought that the whole Gog/Magog thing has been dragging on for way too long this issue stood out among the rest of the saga. I know some people have issues with Alex Ross but I'm continually impressed with his work.
Vroom Socko - Nowadays, we’re told that most superhero comics have strong character development, are adult and complex in their worldview, have meaningful and personal stories to tell. And then Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson give us something like ASTRO CITY: BEAUTIE (DC Wildstorm). And we realize, for an instant, how silly and uninspiring most superhero comics really are.

MOST IDIOTIC ACTION PERFORMED BY AN INTELLIGENT CHARACTER

Batman choosing to have a nice little chat with Darkseid before shooting him in FINAL CRISIS #6 (DC), thus giving Darkseid ample opportunity to fry Bats with his eye-beams, instead of taking the shot without stupidly announcing his presence.

THE DISAPPEARED WITHOUT A TRACE AWARD

Burlyman Comics. Hello? Where are you guys? Countin’ all those SPEED RACER residuals or somethin’?

CART BEFORE THE HORSE AWARD

Marvel’s KICK-ASS had talks of a movie deal before the first issue hit the shelves. Sadly, a movie about a kid getting the shit beat out of him has already been made 100 times over.

WORST COMIC BOOK SERIES THAT KEPT INEXPLICABLY GETTING ITS ASSED KISSED BY WIZARD MAGAZINE

Dynamite's PROJECT SUPERPOWERS

BEST VILLAIN

Darkseid (DC)

BEST AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ARTIST

Marcos Martin wowed the fans, but this award is Chris Bachalo’s, for his truly innovative and dynamic stuff with the wall-crawler.

BEST ONLINE COMIC STRIP COMPILATION

HELP IS ON THE WAY (Dark Horse)

@@@@ BEST MINISERIES @@@@

Vroom Socko - It’s unusual for comic tie-in books to be good, let alone great. This is especially true when the story isn’t a direct part of the story being told in the original media. For a comic hampered by the continuity of, say, a 45 year old TV show to be not only great but fantastic is a near miracle. DOCTOR WHO: THE FORGOTTEN (IDW) is that comic. Sure, I’m an obsessive Doctor Who fan, but that’s beside the point.
Jinxo - BPRD: 1946 (Dark Horse). Screw the giant event dramas. This was the winner for me. A story from the Hellboy/BPRD universe before Hellboy was fighting the good fight and when his dad Professor Bruttenholm was the man of action at the BPRD. Nazis, vampires, all other manner of undead and a creepy little girl who has some little curls who, I think, when she is bad is satanically horrid. World War II grunts versus evil on top of evil. Good times.
BottleImp - TANGENT: SUPERMAN’S REIGN (DC). I really, really wanted to give my vote to THE TWELVE, but the increasingly long delays between issues have soured my enthusiasm for that series. And FINAL CRISIS got shoved down our throats by DC’s publicity department, but upon reading it’s clear that FC is all flash and very little substance. So if, like me, you’re looking for a nice self-contained miniseries that is first and foremost about entertainment, look no further than SUPERMAN’S REIGN. The DC characters you know and love behaving as they should—saving the world from extra-dimensional invaders without excess baggage of tie-in issues or crossover stories to weigh the narrative down. Classic comic book storytelling at its best from Dan Jurgens, Ron Marz and a bunch of talented artists.
Optimous Douche - We were treated to two titles that resurrected B-List golden age superheroes this year with THE TWELVE and PROJECT SUPERPOWERS. The latter had a strong first issue start, but too much time with individual characters slowed down the pacing. However, JMS was able to keep THE TWELVE (Marvel) extremely fast-paced never lingering too long on one character, but giving us snippets in each issue of all twelve heroes. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take years for the final chapters to unfold like what happened with RISING STARS.
Humphrey Lee - I KILL GIANTS. (Image) I honestly didn't know Joe Kelly had this in him. After years and years of seeing him do nothing but pretty much Big Two work (including some excellent Superman/JLA tales and still possibly the best Deadpool we've seen) here comes this little ditty put together from equal parts pure quirk and raw emotion. Every part of this series hit home perfectly as we watch our heroine struggle through her life, from dealing with bullies at school to counselors she wants nothing to do with and then to the threat of the Giants which she so proudly proclaims to fight all the way down to her real fear that she refuses to confront until the very end. It's very much a roller coaster ride comic, filled with lots of energy, poignancy and some very beautiful line art that perfectly matches the theme and tone of the book. This is highly recommended reading.
Prof. Challenger - METAL MEN (DC Comics).
Stones Throw - Mike Mignola and Dark Horse knocked it out of the park last year in coordinating some top-notch Hellboy releases around an equally excellent movie. HELLBOY: THE CROOKED MAN (Dark Horse), with art from Richard Corben, was one of the best, a magnificently creepy three-parter set in rural Appalachia.
Ambush Bug - The best miniseries Marvel has put out in years came to its conclusion in 2008. OMEGA THE UNKNOWN (Marvel) was one of the most surprising, most surreal, and most ballsy releases to come from Marvel in ages. Drawn imperfectly by Farel Dalrymple and written with twists and turns that would make David Lynch proud by David Lethem, this tale of a kid who is raised by robots, stumbles across an alien, helps thwart the crimes of a would be hero, and battles severed hands and evil machinations is not your typical fare from the House of Ideas, and I loved it because of that fact.
superhero - Technically it began two years ago, but when it finished this year ALL STAR SUPERMAN (DC) showed us all that Superman stories could be done well with innovation yet still hearken back to the character's somewhat goofy past. I'll miss having this book to look forward to. Some of the best Superman stories ever told, but you didn't need me to tell you that.

MOST EXTENSIVE DISPLAY OF SUCK

Marvel’s price hike. Most specifically ASTONISHING X-MEN: GHOST BOXES #1-2. Sure the art was good, but $3.99 for a couple of short stories then sketches and scripts? For shame.

BEST INDIE SURPRISE

Daniel J. Olson’s SUPER MAXI-PAD GIRL #1 ( bewildered kid comics)

BIGGEST DROP-OFF

DC’s THE SPIRIT, which under Sergio Aragones and Paul Smith can still produce the odd lovely issue (like # 16’s murder mystery set in an old-school film studio), but ain’t a whole lot compared to Darwyn Cooke’s work on the title.

COMIC BOOK WRITER TO WATCH

Jeff Parker (AGENTS OF ATLAS, Marvel)

MOST ARROGANT WRITER

Grant Morrison re: FINAL CRISIS (DC) “Of course I’m aware of a perpetual and chronic discontent from a particular jaded minority on the internet but I try to overlook their constant expressions of dissatisfaction on the grounds that it’s depressing and often personally abusive. Every time I read about the agonizing pains of ‘event fatigue’ or how ‘3-D hurts my head...’ or how something’s ‘incomprehensible’ when most people are ‘comprehending’ it just fine, it’s like visiting a nursing home.”

BEST MUSICAL COMIC

BLUESMAN HC OGN

BEST NEW SERIES

SECRET SIX (Simone & Scott, DC)

@@@@ BEST ARTIST/ART TEAM @@@@

superhero - Pia Guerra for her work on DOCTOR WHO: THE FORGOTTEN (IDW Publishing). She made the good Doctor look the best he's ever looked in the pages of a comic book. Her work was so good that it made the fill-in issues look just awful by comparison. If Guerra had illustrated this whole series it would have been my pick for best mini but, alas, the fill-in work was so terrible that I couldn't bring myself to give it that award.
Vroom Socko - Odds are good I’ll be misspelling this, but of the artists whose work I saw over the past year, the one who held my interest the most was Gisèle Lagacé. She convincingly handled SF/Fantasy/Complete madness in COOL CAT STUDIO, is drawing one hell of a 21 Century bedroom farce in MENAGE à 3, and then there’s PENNY AND AGGIE. What? A grown man can’t enjoy a girls-in-high-school-rivalry story?
Jinxo - Well, let me just say that Humberto Ramos’s work on RUNAWAYS this past year…it brought tears to my eyes. Anguished frustrated tears of pain that…wait…wrong kind of tears. Well then there is, uh, also Alex Maleev’s work on books like SECRET INVASION: DARK REIGN. It takes some real creativity to take the badass, swaggering lady’s man Submariner and reimagine him as the creepy old weirdo sitting next to me on the bus. Used to be a widow’s peak, now it’s male pattern balding. Get a shave and take a shower--you smell like fish. In point of fact I’m going with the one guy who took a chance with a style left of center from the normal hero book look in a way that actually worked for me: Craig Rousseau for his work on SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE (Marvel). A smaller book but the haters can piss off. This book and ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN were the only way I was able to enjoy my Spidey characters, and the art in this book really made me smile.
BottleImp - Chris Weston, THE TWELVE (Marvel) Incredible attention to detail. Remarkable facial expressions. Characters that are so well-rendered that you know that if they existed in real life, they’d look exactly as Chris Weston has drawn them. Though casting a vote in this category is an apple-or-orange situation (what works art-wise for a title such as INVINCIBLE—Ryan Ottley’s stylized, almost cartooney designs—would never be as effective as Weston’s work on THE TWELVE, and vice-versa), I’ve got to go with Weston’s amazing work on this miniseries. Unfortunately, this vote is marred by the * due to the chronic delays in publishing. But even taking this into account, Weston’s work is some of the finest to grace the stands in 2008.
Optimous Douche - Frank Quitely on ALL STAR SUPERMAN (DC). As we saw with FINAL CRISIS, it is the rare artist that can truly capture Morrison’s utter insanity in picture form. The story for ALL STAR SUPERMAN was phenomenal, but Quitely made it all the more real with his unique style and attention to subtle details.
Humphrey Lee -Sean Phillips for CRIMINAL. (Marvel Icon) Mr. Phillips is here this year for one big reason: he's easily one of the best storytellers (if not THE best) we have gracing our comics. Up there with the likes of Eduardo Risso or J.H. Williams III and so one and so forth, no one knows quite how to work a comic book page for all it's worth like he does. Whether it's squeezing as many panels as humanly possibly onto a page to capture every last moment, or just having the uncanny knack of being able to pick just the right angle to make every shot count for all it's worth, this man knows exactly what needs to be done to make the story flow. Combine all this with a fantastic level of detail, great shadow work, and a sort of gritty feeling to his work that sort of exemplifies it, almost making him the immediate go to guy if you want anything noir-like (which is why CRIMINAL benefits from his pencils so much to be as top a tier comic as it is). This is a man who not only understands the adage of substance over style, but goes one further by actually bothering to combine the two for one hell of a visual package.
Prof. Challenger - Ivan Reis (DC) continually knocks the breath out of me with his work on GREEN LANTERN.
Stones Throw - Jordi Bernet from JONAH HEX (DC). Justin Grey and Jimmy Palmiotti have the perfect partner for their li’l posse here. Even with A-list talents like J. H. Williams III and Darwyn Cooke illustrating issues this year, Bernet’s harsh lines stand out, evoking European westerns from Moebius to Leone, John Ford and Howard Hawks, and, most crucially, the American west.
Ambush Bug - Sometimes you’ve gotta respect the classics. Classics like Joe Kubert on TOR (miniseries). (DC) a miniseries that read as if it were unearthed from an old garage sale. Kubert’s pencils were as good as they ever were in this miniseries. He’s one of the masters and to think that he still has what it takes to give a thrilling adventure to a caveman with a mullet makes me feel all warm inside. One of the greats, Joe Kubert is. One of the best comic book artists of all time and he’s my favorite of 2008.


@@@@ BEST WRITER @@@@

Ambush Bug - Dan Slott and Christos Gage (Marvel) nab this award for Best Writing for AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE simply because they single-handedly (or double handedly since there are two of them) salvaged the SECRET INVASION storyline (and the CIVIL WAR & WORLD WAR HULK storylines) and mined them for maximum entertainment potential. Taking z-list characters like 3-D Man, the Skrull Kill Krew, Crusader, Ant Man, and the like and tossing them into these mega-crossover events ups the ante as far as investment because you don’t know who will survive. These aren’t household names or icons, which makes you doubly shocked: first that Slott & Gage actually made you care for these characters and secondly when they pull the rug right out from under your expectations. While Millar, Bendis, and the rest of the Marvel Illuminati make the big decisions about characters you know will be back to status quo soon, Slott and Gage are utilizing the Marvel Universe to its fullest in this, the best written book of 2008.
superhero - Naoki Urasawa for MONSTER (Viz). Possibly one of the best manga if not the best comics out there period, MONSTER finished its 18 volume run last year. What a run it was. Urasawa pulled out all the stops and provided some of the best storytelling and characterization I've ever seen in a comic book. There's a reason that this book is considered a classic and after finishing up this series I now know why. Bra-fucking-vo. I will now read anything that Urasawa writes and illustrates without hesitation.
Vroom Socko - The sign of a great comics writer is that before reading their work you’re impatient, while reading you’re enthralled, and after reading you can’t wait for the next installment. The writer that managed that feat with the most consistency this past year was a gentleman by the name of Rich Morris. His accurately titled YET ANOTHER FANTASY GAMER COMIC manages to handle the epic storyline and the quiet character moment with equal deftness. It’s an interesting story, in that the bulk of the cast is “evil” by the standard definition. The drama comes from seeing how and when some characters are more evil than others. He’s also responsible for a bit of brilliant fanfic called THE 10 DOCTORS that’s as good as anything the show’s ever done. Sure, I’m an obsessive DOCTOR WHO fan, but that’s beside the point.
Jinxo - Bill Willingham (DC Vertigo). Marvel disrupted all their comics with a giant invasion story that was pretty hit and miss. DC counted down and down and down…to a FINAL CRISIS that was too cerebral, overblown and overstuffed for its own good, like a CLIFFS NOTES GUIDE TO THE APOCALYPSE with every other page torn out. Both were so massive they needed tons of extra side-books to tell their full tale…and still they didn’t manage to make them quite work. Meanwhile there’s Bill Willingham’s FABLES. For the entire run of the book they have been building to and teasing an enormous mythic battle between good and evil on par with those listed above. Characters of myth and folklore have been hiding out in the real world USA waiting for a chance to take back their Homelands of legend from the forces of evil. Willingham could easily have left the final war between good and evil “just over the horizon” for forever. The need to take back the Homelands has been central to the book from the start. Resolving that plot was a risk that could hamstring the book. The war is over. What now? But Willingham…he just went for it. This year he gave us the war. A massive war involving tons of characters, multiple battlefronts, and loaded with long term repercussions for the characters. With one book using no side tie-in titles he managed to do what the big hero events failed to do. He told an exciting, complex epic that was easy and fun to follow and that gave the readers an ending that left them happily satisfied. So for g

Readers Talkback

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  • Feb. 23, 2009, 8:28 a.m. CST

    First

    by JBouganim1

    Being first on this page is like being first in a special ed dodgeball game

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Bale Was Here

    by redfist

    Fucking Ass.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Yes JB

    by redfist

    *********WHOMP*********** <P> You Are Out

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 8:45 a.m. CST

    5 years running and y'all still can't get it right

    by MrSensitive

    This is was more masturbatory than the usual self-important reviews posted here. Sometimes less is more...

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 8:55 a.m. CST

    Bringing the goods yet again.

    by StrideX13

    Diverse review staff that "gets" it. I love reading this column, I only wish that it was better formatted.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9 a.m. CST

    "The Smell of Ass and Turnips"

    by Hell Pop

    Well, that opening line was a good way to keep me from bothering to read the rest of the post. Thanks for saving my time! ;)

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Don't agree with a lot of the picks...

    by God's Brother

    But consistently the best column on this site ever. Great work guys!

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:21 a.m. CST

    MONSTER

    by Prof_Ender

    Fucking awesome manga. Swanky work there, superhero. ^_^

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Best Doctor Who Artist?

    by Gislef_crow

    Pia Guerra may be good (if a bit cartoonish), but Pia will never surpass the work of Dave Gibbons on Doctor Who Magazine.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:28 a.m. CST

    How is Nova the best Cosmic Comic???? Above Green Lantern??

    by most excellent ninja

    Green Lantern is a fucking masterpiece, if it keeps going this way it will be in the top 5 all time. Nova is great, sure but Green Lantern is on another level or galaxy.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:29 a.m. CST

    I pick most of my comics up in trade format

    by DDMAN26

    The best ones I read this year were Green Lantern Fables Atomic Robo

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Final Crisis: Submit is a horrible comic

    by most excellent ninja

    This is the first time I have heard something positive about it, much less best one shot. What the fuck. Terrible art. Waste of a story. More interesting stories to tell during the Final Crisis.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Best covers: Final Crisis #4 and Superman Beyond #1 3D cover

    by most excellent ninja

    man that cover by JH Williams is something. One of the most poetic Supes' I've seen.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:32 a.m. CST

    guess what?

    by bilbo78

    deez nutz!

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Great column, folks

    by Mr Incredible

    A perfect mix of humor and disdain. Well done.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Great as always, gang

    by chrth

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 10:46 a.m. CST

    Most Excellent Ninja: GL

    by gooseud

    Maybe they should have Kyle Rayner make a giant green shoe and have him squash Nova with it, saying "Well, that's...ONE SMALL STEP for man!!!" (high fives John Stewart).......some people who read a certain column every week on here just had to know that joke was coming.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 10:52 a.m. CST

    A$$ies:

    by gooseud

    Best Ongoing Series: probably Walking Dead, despite its flaws, or Bru's Cap...... Best Single Issue: normally I would have said the Thor issue where he talks to Cap, which was a masterpiece, but the Ex Machina issue starring Vaughn And Harris was one of the best issues of any comic I've ever read, and really should have been the last issue of the series, utterly perfect and fantastic, "Aren't you Brian Bendis?" was hilarious......Most utterly irredeemable crapfest that for some reason I still read: Ennis's Crossed, which makes Millar look like Ellis on his best day.......Best writer: Brubaker. He brought back Bucky. And hes cooler then Steve Rogers. Nuff said.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 11:10 a.m. CST

    No love for Manga?

    by StrokerX

    Seriously, there's some great stuff out there right now.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 11:15 a.m. CST

    ah well Monster...

    by StrokerX

    well i havent read that! :)

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 11:16 a.m. CST

    Wow.

    by Snookeroo

    What an incredible amount of work -- thanks @$$holes, one and all.<br><br>For a back-slidden comic buff like myself, this column is gold. Where have you guys been keeping "Fables" all this time?? Holy shirts, what incredible artwork -- and what promises to be intriguing stories. I will definitely be checking out James Jean's work. <br><br>BotleImp -- spot on about the comics covers -- I've been saying the same thing for some time now; glad to know it's not just because I'm out of touch with reality.<br><br>I agree wholeheartedly with sueprhero's assessment of Action comics -- although I just don't dig Gary Frank's artwork -- he draws the Man of Steel to look like a cabaret poof with a cocaine habit.<br><br>Best All Ages Comic -- take another look at Supergirl Cosmic Adventures -- it's really well done and enjoyable for all ages.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 11:19 a.m. CST

    What about Luna Brothers?

    by StrokerX

    No love for Luna?

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 11:20 a.m. CST

    And let me just say...

    by Snookeroo

    I think I can speak collectively here that we all drew a sigh of relief that Wolverine did not spank the monkey.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Ennis

    by Joenathan

    Nothing by ennis should be nominated anymore. I don't remember who nominated Wee Hughie for whatever it was, but we may now be enemies forever. Ennis is four color ass on a stick. The Boys is shit and Crossed is the shit of rancid shit.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Aussie Awards Show? Isn't that the Oscars?

    by TheMarineBiologist

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Man, not to be a prick, but people have to get off of Green Lant

    by Humphrey Lee

    The book is good, I'm never going to deny that, but it's just a really good mainline superhero comic, no more, no less. Yes, we all love Sinestro Corps, but it's not "teh most Epic comic evars!!!" nor is this run in any way shape or form a Top 10 anything except being a Top 10 Green Lantern run. I like seeing shit blow up in space as much as the next guy, but for fuck's sakes this is getting blown out of proportion. Sometimes a rose is just a rose, just enjoy it for what it is and don't make it anything bigger than it really is. ... and now I kind of feel bad for that. Dunno why really...

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Coudn't be happier considering...

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

    Scalped, Walking Dead, Criminal, Action Comics, Green Lantern and a few other top notch books are the only ones I still read considering my budget.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Good call on Gisèle Lagacé, Vroom...

    by superhero

    I love her work. Just a beautiful artist. And her subect matter works for me too! Love Menage a 3...

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 12:21 p.m. CST

    @$$holes!!!

    by The Heathen

    Great write up guys. I'm glad to see Schleppy in the mix. I thought he was in Alan Moore's beard still. He's sneaky aint he? <br> <br> I read a lot of these books, but am behind on most, but I do tend to stay up on all of Geoff Johns stuff and Walking Dead. Amazing Spider-Man is, well, kinda amazing too. Marcos Martin owns Bachalo though, but to be fair, this is the best work Bachalo has done in years or maybe ever, so way to go Chris. <br> <br Cogs? <br> <br> ... <br> <br> LAST!!! Too soon? Crap.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 12:23 p.m. CST

    IGN

    by BERSERKR

    I liked there best of better:P it seems i tend to agree with them more when it comes to comics. THOR - easily best ongoing last year. Olivier Copiel - Easily best artist

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Humphrey Lee is right!

    by Joenathan

    Green Lantern is good, but not mind blowingly so. Maybe its just that DC has been so sub standard lately, for th most part, so anything even half decent seems like a gift from God.<br><br>Also, Vroom and Superhero are right, as well. Menage a 3 is great and so is Gisèle Lagacé... but, I don't know though, I wish she drew more boobies...

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Teh most Epic comic evars!!!

    by The Heathen

    Well, as a whole DC has been off track, but you do have the Superman books getting better and better as well as cohesive. Then you have some Batman books that are great and then some that are 'whatdafugwasthatabout?' but thanks to Tomasi and Dini, usually not the case (I'm looking at you Morrison - who has a bit of All Star Supes genius thrown into the occasional Batman, but far and few in between). Green Lantern since Rebirth has been an ass kicker. Sinestro War was the best mainstream mini in years I'd say personally (the splash page with Anti-Monitor, Superboy Prime and Sinestro? Fucking awesome.)and I'm also pretty sure that this run on Green Lantern is good enough to be in a Top 10 of something out of the series itself. C'mon guys. Sometimes credit is due where the praise is.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Wee Hughie was me Joen

    by optimous_douche

    I hope we're not enemies forever, we seem to jive on a lot of stuff.<p> The Boys has absolutely been hit and miss, and I'll admit more towards the miss side. But there is something about Wee Hughie that sets him apart from all of the blatant debauchery<p> If you look at the book from his perspective it rises above the mass dildo insertion and violence for the sake of violence. There's more there, I can just feel it especially with the last few issues.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Best One Shot

    by jloughry1976

    I will admit that Final Crisis Requim was one of the best in '08...the panel at the end were Bats leaves the Oreo cookie choked me up a bit.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 1:13 p.m. CST

    character series that i'll miss the most...

    by blackthought

    blue beetle. i now get my blue beetle fix via the brave and the bold...as well as my bronze tiger fix. go geoff johns go.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Turner

    by landocolt45

    Michael Turner dying was the biggest punch to the gut I had all last year. He will be missed. And why no love for Robert Kirkman for best writer??? Walking Dead was in a lot of catagories but not writer...

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 2 p.m. CST

    Best mini?

    by Gislef_crow

    As a runner-up, I would note the Flash Rogues' Gallery three-issue mini. Not since Johns was there someone who had put the Rogues on the map, so to speak. Arguably the best thing to come out of the FC crossovers.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Does 100 Bullets not exist in this universe?

    by Pops Freshemeyer

    Because I could have sworn I've read like 99 issues of it or something and it's pretty damn spiffy...

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 2:28 p.m. CST

    As good a writer as Johns is...

    by stones_throw

    I have to say the Rainbow Lanterns concept is a lot more like fannish gratification than any well-thought out development for the character or series. I guess I just preferred the simple concept of an intergalactic police force. A multiverese can get pretty crowded with eight different alien corps running around, all dressed like M&M's...

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 2:33 p.m. CST

    I still need to jump into Scalped

    by kungfuhustler84

    I asked the guy at my shop to order the first trade for me but he still hasn't done it.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Stones, Blackthought, and Optimus

    by gooseud

    Where have you guys been in the other weekly talkback? Sorely missed!

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 3 p.m. CST

    John Phillip Law

    by dogrobber

    also starred in the Italian 'Diabolik' adaptation, one of the better comic-book movies ever made (just my two cents worth which, honestly, doesn't count for too much).

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 3:28 p.m. CST

    I thought you guys already did this?

    by rev_skarekroe

    Or something very similar.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 3:46 p.m. CST

    What, No Wolverine Musical Number??

    by thelordofhell

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Biding my time, gooseud...

    by stones_throw

    <p>

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 3:53 p.m. CST

    What?!! Not even a mention of Atomic Robo?

    by morGoth

    Guess it's too much of an independent comic for AICN.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 4 p.m. CST

    "A multiverese can get pretty crowded..."

    by Pops Freshemeyer

    "...with eight different alien corps running around, all dressed like M&M's..." <p> <p> Wouldn't a Skittles reference be more appropriate? Seriously, a lot of those Lantern types are pretty damn fruity...

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Go Image

    by hallmitchell

    Stick it to the big two. They are lazy and ripe for the taking. All they can do is milk their icons dry of creativity. Keep coming up with the Kick ass new titles.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 4:26 p.m. CST

    I'll say this....

    by Fuzzyjefe

    as a long-time comic reader (30 years or so), it's really great that a best-of list has so many flavors. Back when I started, supes were just about it. It's wonderful that comics have grown up with me, and there's pretty much something of quality for fans of just about any genre these days. My mind loves it, while my wallet whines like a bitch.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Alright Optimus,

    by Joenathan

    we aren't enemies, but know that you've hurt me deeply...

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 6:08 p.m. CST

    No mention of ULTIMATES V3 ???

    by scumbag

    Fastest conversion of a great comic into a lame juvenile shitfest. Ever.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 6:17 p.m. CST

    Slow News Day at AICN...

    by Hell Pop

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 6:19 p.m. CST

    the in memoriam here was better than the oscars

    by bacci40

    not only wasnt there stupid ass camera tricks and a cheesy song...but you didnt forget lafontaine or majel...but nobody has done a memoriam for mcgoohan...fucking sacrilige

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Stone throw

    by Continentalop

    Your assessment of the Rainbow Green Lantern corps is right on. It is the law of diminishing returns - when you over do something it looses it's impact (just look at the second death of Jean Grey). I didn't mind the Sinestro Corps because it seemed like a natural progression for the the arch foe of GL and the Corp, but Violet, Blue, Red, Orange, etc. just seems redundant. Maybe John should have only added the Yellow and possibly the the Black Lanterns (since they have a connection to Black Hand) and the Star Sapphire Corps instead of flooding the universe with a bunch of aliens with power rings.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Man, the anti-GL backlash......

    by gooseud

    has really turned here on AICN. For a long time I felt like I was the only one that it wasnt really clicking for. I wonder if this is why Prof. Challenger never posts in the talkbacks anymmore......?

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Damn

    by Series7

    I've read pretty much NONE of those comics. Just The Twelve, Marvel Zombies 3, Welcome to Hoxford, Wormwood and the best miniseries Marvel Apes. Then again I don't really read DC. I did read the Helm though.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 7:32 p.m. CST

    Gygax

    by Gelatinousman

    How come Heston gets mentionned in the obits and not Gygax ?

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 8:05 p.m. CST

    Sort of in defense of FINAL CRISIS: SUBMIT

    by Jinxo

    First off, I can only defend this as my best of the year choice to a point. I mean, my starting point on that one was that I didn't think there were any true one-shots that were very good to start with and then throw it to "Submit" rather half-heartedly. So I didn't roll out the red carpet for it to start with. But here's why I did like it...<br><br> Maybe there were better stories to tell in crisis. For me though this was an important sort of story for setting the stage for the whole of Crisis that the main book couldn't seem bothered to deal with, just dealing with the horror and weirdness of the situation in general without having to throw in other stuff on top of it. The world turning into Night Of The Living Dead/The Bodysnatchers/The Exorcist where someone could be your friend one minute and the damned out to get you the next? That's messed up weird crap all by itself. All the other books made that element background. To make a crappy movie comparison all the other books are like Titanic where the boat sinking and everyone dying apparently isn't enough so we add in a villain chasing people with a gun.<br><br> Submit to me was the book that said, hey, just telling a story about the boat going down is plenty! Again, the main book skipped over ALL of that entirely. It did a time jumped from "bad things are happening" right to "the world is damned" without getting into how it happened or what it would be like for just regular people. And while this book dealt with a "super villain" he really was cast in the role of the dad of just an average family. I liked the idea that things are so bad that you do see a hero working to help a villain and his family because the whole crisis is so much bigger than any regular hero/villain crap. I liked Green Lantern even having to fight to get the guy to even LET him save his family. And I liked that it was heroic but sad and seemingly futile. But heroic nonetheless. And so many of the other Crisis books to me seemed to have to find some sort of positive to end on. This one the positive is, okay, he does save the family. But overall it felt like such a small victory in the face of all consuming doom that it still ended downbeat which I also liked.<br><br> All that said, to me a good one shot is a single issue self-contained story you can pick up and read all on its own. Almost every one shot I read this year did not work that way instead actually being an extra "chapter" in some bigger epic you were expected to buy. I'd take a real, true, good one-shot over that bs any day.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 8:21 p.m. CST

    INVINCIBLE!

    by White Goodman

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Damn you talkback

    by White Goodman

    Anyway, Invincible is the best ongoing series right now. Pick up the trades if you haven't read it.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 8:35 p.m. CST

    Agree White

    by optimous_douche

    I'm hitting 59 in my review this week.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 8:44 p.m. CST

    BPRD 1946

    by Coma Baby

    was awesome - a bizarre, creepy, and fun Hellboy universe backstory set in occupied Berlin. How can you go wrong with, GIs, Russians, Nazi scientists, vampires, and cyborg apes? You can't - and even if you could, this certainly didn't. Bring on 1947.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 8:58 p.m. CST

    Worst Awards Co-Host

    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    Schleppy. Painful, fellas.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:53 p.m. CST

    nice work @$$holes...

    by KCViking

    although the lack of love for Proof bothers me.<p>Robert Asprin passed away???I can't believe I missed that when it occured.RIP<p>Gonna miss those Fables covers...

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 9:59 p.m. CST

    What's with the short article?

    by XoanonTORN

    You guys are getting lazy!

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 10:05 p.m. CST

    Looks like

    by Series7

    After all the hate toward Final Crisis, it still comes off being the best comic since Howard the Duck had an ongoing series.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 10:21 p.m. CST

    Most arrogant writer

    by jcrow

    Alan Moore. What a prick. Hoping for the failure of the movies made from his works. Watchmen is good but overrated.

  • Feb. 23, 2009, 11:23 p.m. CST

    The 100 Bullets issue...

    by Humphrey Lee

    The thing about 100 Bullets, a series that I love dear and think is easily one of the ten best series I've read this decade, is that it's such a crap shoot from issue to issue to remember what's going on and to catch all the little details and connections that make it what it is. It really is something that just makes it home in collected editions and that just makes it really hard for it to stand out when it comes to looking back on a year as a whole. Last year I gave Risso my nod as best artist, because he's consistently one of the top storytellers in the industry and nothing else stood out so it was easy to fall back on someone like him who's always awesome. I also have no doubt that the final issue coming out here in the next couple weeks will be a forerunner for my "Best Single Issue" when we do this whole shebang again next year. Oh, and PROOF is awesome too, it just didn't trump anything in the categories we have going here for me. I did say in my praise for Image as Best Publisher that if we did a "Best New Series" that would have been it by an Obama-slide (and yes, it kind of hurt me to type that). It really is excellent. I have a pretty glowing review of the second TPB floating around in the archives a couple months back somewhere.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 4:08 a.m. CST

    Good call Optimus Douche

    by White Goodman

    Issue 59 was great. Invincible is the only title that interests me enough to get me into the comic book shop anymore. Although, X-Factor is pretty good.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 4:14 a.m. CST

    Schelppy!!!!!!!!!

    by speed

    Gawd I love that little mongrel. He's so cute and funny.<P> Great read and A pity to hear that The Fables cover guy or girl is leaving the comic. Truly incredible covers. <P> I have a few questions re comics I'm thinking about. Anybody want to comment....? <P> Monster. I'm not a manga fan. will I enjoy this?<P> The Twelve. I'm not a Marvel Superhero fan. Will I enjoy this? <P>Button Man. Anybody read it? <P>Cairo. Any good or a bit too wanky for it's own good?<P>Army @ Love. I love transmet and preacher and Y and Fables and Walking Dead. Will I like this? <P>Ta very much!

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 6:33 a.m. CST

    Speed

    by optimous_douche

    Ic an answer one of those questions.<p> You don't need any prior knowledge of the Marvel U to enjoy The Twelve!

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 6:33 a.m. CST

    Speed: The Twelve

    by gooseud

    Normally I would give it a cautious thumbs up as long as you keep your expectations in check, its pretty good but not as much as some people say (the heroes out of time theme has been covered a million times before). HOWEVER, since issue 8 came out like 8 months ago, with nothing in sight for issue 9, I would say dont bother, that series will never be fnished.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Invincible?

    by DiverseNerd

    No one likes it around here? Oliver is going to be the most BAD-ASS challenge to Mark down the road. I CAN'T WAIT!

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 8:19 a.m. CST

    Best Comic that Does What Bendis Would Like to Do but Better

    by Laserhead

    Astounding Wolf-man. Eat shit, Bendis.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Thats because

    by gooseud

    Kirkman generally is fantastic. He has a certain style that wouldnt work on some characters, but when he gets something in his wheelhouse, he's stone money.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Question for the a$$holes:

    by Fuzzyjefe

    Do you folks have plans for a special a$$hole roundtable review of Watchmen? I know we'll see PLENTY of reviews from the movie side on this site, but I, for one, would appreciate the insight of fellow comic geeks on what is arguably the most anticipated comic adaptation to date. Do it for Schleppy, if not for me. Thanks.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Best Comic Character

    by PortnoysRevenge

    Obama? Seriously? Put the crack pipe down and step away from the computer.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 11:46 a.m. CST

    Mmmm.. zombies

    by David Lazarus Long

    Walking Dead... only comic I read. Just don't have time for multiverses.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 11:57 a.m. CST

    It's good to see such a meaty column

    by Shigeru

    As well as a healthy talkback debating the merits of different comics. Good job guys. <br><br>Also good to see shoutouts to Craig Rousseau on SMLMJ, Omega the Unkown (what a head trip that was), and Hellboy: The Crooked Man (a personal fave - I want a holy shovel of smiting)

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Here's how Blackest Night will end.

    by Joenathan

    Multi-colored corps will have to band together in the face of such an unstoppable evil and as the "best" of each corp floats in space, Hal Jordan will step forward and say: <br><Br>"Your night of terror ends here, Black Hand! Taste the Rainbow!"<br><br>All the corps fire a brilliant Roy G. Biv!<br><br>"Good morning, Starshine! The Corps say hello!"

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Schleppy!

    by Psynapse

    God how I missed that poo-flinging, cigarette (and weed!) smoking, alcoholic, Carla Gugino's pooper-obsessed lil' psychopath!

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Ennis defense

    by Laserhead

    The Boys is shit. BUT-- Punisher Max is one of the greatest runs ever. Fantastic storytelling all the way.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 2:21 p.m. CST

    "Blackest Night" theme song

    by gooseud

    The odd thing is, the leader of the Black Lanterns actually sings this song, how ironic! http://tinyurl.com/23yvzl

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Ennis

    by Joenathan

    Yes, plus Preacher was great, even though the end of series meandered a bit. <br><br>I'd say that the fact that Punisher and Preacher were both so good is the root of Ennis's problem. He's just been re-hashing greatest hits over and over and over again ever since and even worse, these worn out jokes are so telegraphed, its tedious. <br><br>Plus, the Boys and Crossed are really true shit. Awful, awful, awful, sophmoric, worthless crap.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Carla Gugino's pooper…

    by The Heathen

    A classic. <br> <br> Joenathan, your ending to Blackest Night had me cracking up… then I got worried it might come true.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 3 p.m. CST

    Cogs

    by The Heathen

    Thanks for the shout out @$$holes. We love you guys. <br> <br> Also, being behind in my reading I just finished Final Crisis last night and, uh, it's shit right?

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 3 p.m. CST

    In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night...

    by Fuzzyjefe

    none shall escape Rainbow Bright! You know she's the orchestrator of the skittle-ring conspiracy. She'll come riding up on her little pony and DECIMATE the corps. With love and understanding.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 3:38 p.m. CST

    What they need is a real Rainbow Pride Lantern

    by gooseud

    to come and save the day at the end of the series, he can come in dressed like Swayze in "To Wong Foo" yelling "All right boys, its time to get fAAAAAAAAbulousssss!"

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 3:40 p.m. CST

    I'm convinced when it comes to the Cogs and A$$holes

    by gooseud

    that most of them dont post in the talkbacks anymore specifically because of the constant GL bashing that has gone on lately. No one can convince me otherwise.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 4:02 p.m. CST

    Well, speaking as a Cog…

    by The Heathen

    I didn't even know there was constant GL bashing as of late,so there's that. The Cogs talk daily though, just not on these sacred grounds were we formed. Oh, and we've moved from our orbiting space mansion of mystery to a time shifting Cog island of mystery. Also, one has a baby, one is divorced, one is handsome, one is bearded, one is Colombian, one has a new car and the other is about to do some top secret stuff. This has been a Cog update.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 4:12 p.m. CST

    After the last few posts

    by Joenathan

    I had a sudden random image of all the various Skittle Corps dancing around in space and spewing rainbows to the song "Age of Aquarius"

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 4:21 p.m. CST

    I wouldn't categorize it as 'bashing'

    by Fuzzyjefe

    as much as having a bit of a rainbow-flavored lark at their expense. I recognize GL has become one of the more highly regarded & consistently good books out there. However, I do enjoy discussing the inherent 'silliness' of some comic tropes from time to time. It's just the coalition**I mean Corps'**turn.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Here's a hypothetical for youse:

    by Fuzzyjefe

    Why hasn't Batman, under the umbrella of Waynecorp, funded a high-tech maximum security Arkham Asylum Phase II, instead of returning some of the most dangerous criminals in the world to an outdated, ineffective place of incarceration? (See, I didn't trot out the ol' why don't he kill joker argument.)

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 4:31 p.m. CST

    good question

    by Joenathan

    a wayne-tech prison would be very profitable, not to the security level.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the update, Heathen

    by gooseud

    Now get your ass back to the weekly talkback!! It has been kicking ass recently.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 4:36 p.m. CST

    Fuzzy is dead right

    by gooseud

    Its because GL is actually pretty good, oddly enough, that makes it fun to point out the idiosyncracies. Anyone can bash a lame book that sucks week in and week out, fish in a barrel style.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Take, for example:

    by Fuzzyjefe

    Ultimates 3. Q: How do you follow up a massively popular run from one of the better writer/artist teams out there? A: Populate YOUR run with complete retards that only share names with those other characters. You know, the good ones.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 6:54 p.m. CST

    Thanks, gooseud.

    by The Heathen

    Place was always home, even with the likes of an occasional moviemack or JarJar4Prez. You gents seem to be holding it down pretty well and the @$$holes are always hard at work. Does Buzz still post anything? <br> <br> Like the idea, Fuzzyjefe. It makes sense and would be practical AND cool. Maybe once we get past all this cape and cowl stuff. <br> <br> Dave_F? Farabee? Ha, that's going back.

  • Feb. 24, 2009, 11:43 p.m. CST

    Zombie Haiku!

    by blacklightning

    like peanut butter and chocolate, zombies and haiku.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Buzz

    by gooseud

    still jumps in late in the proceedings occasionally, not as much as in the past but still occasionally. Bug is the main one holdin it down, although he seems a bit filled with Rorshach-style rage these days.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Schleppy & the Watchmen

    by Buzz Maverik

    As many of you know, I'm the sheriff of Maverik County, CA. Law enforcement is my life, my passion, my chance to shoot... never mind. Any way, I was cruising around scaring people the other morning when I noticed one of my deputies with a perp (which is short for perpetrator and not perpvert as I used to believe)under a billboard advertising the Watchmen. It looked like the image had been in the process of being carefully removed when the deputy (whom I did not shoot) had come upon the scene.<p>"Trouble, Joe?" I said.<p>"I'm Steve, Sheriff. Yeah, I caught this monkey trying to steal the picture off the billboard. He says he's your monkey."<p>"Monkey's can't talk, Jim. Tell you what, make sure there's no cameras around, rough him up a little and mail him general delivery to Tiajuana."

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Holy shit it's Buzz Maverik

    by Shigeru

    Awesome. <br><br>As a founding Cog, it pleases my beard that a new(ish) generation of talkbacker's has sprouted.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Buzz!!!

    by The Heathen

    Indeed awesome. <br> <br> Bug has always been a complete gentleman, so if he's been raged these days it must be because of Dark Horse publishing his secret identity or because people keep confusing him with Mark Millar. <br> <br> Shig, I haven't called you Shig in quite some time.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 1:58 p.m. CST

    I hereby claim…

    by The Heathen

    LAST!

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Well, besides for Final Crisis…

    by The Heathen

    Because that was shit and hard to understand and not for kids because it was not fun and really really bad. All Star Superman I can get down with (it was smart and complex, but kids could still enjoy it), but Final Crisis made the complexities of the first two Crisis' seem like a walk in the park and when something asks that much out of a reader it instantly becomes not fun and yes, self indulgent for a writer to 'expect' that people will get what the fuck he's talking about. Not only that, but the way the narrative and action jumps from subject to subject makes it even more incomprehensible (I totally used that word). <br> <br> I CLAIM THEE LAST!!!!!!

  • March 2, 2009, 1:08 p.m. CST

    We disagree.

    by The Heathen

    First off, comics in general and Final Crisis and other Morrison comics are not specifically written for children. That's ignorant and it's a device you're using to sneakily imply that people who don't understand everything as you or Morrison or whomever intended are dumb. I prefer it to the normal internet thrashing, but it's just a more clever way of being a dick. Also, I don't need you to explain anything to me, because I don't like this story and don't want to waste much more of my time or yours with it. I will ask you, if Final Crisis is simple comic, then what is a complex comic? <br> <br> As brilliant as Morrison is, he's proven that he's arrogant by throwing intelligent hissy fits whenever anything of his has an adverse reaction like Final Crisis. Suddenly it's how dumb all the readers are because they couldn't follow what he cooked up. And in his head, the way he saw it, maybe it was the best thing ever, but the proof is in the final product and as a narrative story, Final Crisis did not work as well as the Crisis' before it. In fact, I think it was the worst cross-over event I've had read in the past decade or it's at least on Par with Civil War. <br> <br> My specific problems with this straightforward superhero story that's meant for children is that it thinks it is more important than it is. I'll jump around a lot here, so please bare with me. I"m also obviously not a fan of Final Crisis, so I purged what I could of it from my mind because at the end of it, I don't think it much mattered: Batman will return, there already was a multiverse, and… I think that's about it. Did anything else happen? Anyways, I read an article where Morrison was talking about how Batman using a gun to kill Darkseid was in ways, <i>"the root of the Batman mythos is the gun and the bullet that created Batman. So, Batman himself is finally standing there to complete that big mythical circle and to have the image of Batman up against the actual personification of evil and now he's got the gun and he's got the bullet. It seemed to me to work."</i> Or, it could be out of character for Batman or it could be the easiest way to stir up controversy or it could be a retread of Batman picking up a gun like he did at the end of Infinite Crisis. What's funny about that is I think it was more shocking to fans that Batman did that in IC because they were still involved and I heard nothing much about Batman picking up a gun and killing Darkseid in FC until I read it. My hypothesis is that people didn't give a crap at that point. Another thing about Morrison is that I think he's smart and he's a great debater, but that's his trap too because he can convince himself that having Batman using a gun is this 'mythical circle' when it's really just lazy storytelling. Also of note for that particular event is Batman just walks in and it happens in one or two pages. The last time we saw Batman in FC he was locked up, so unless you weren't scoping Morrison's blog or something you'd probably miss the fact that you're supposed to read two issues of Batman and two $5 issues of Superman Beyond in 3-D (which the last few pages of the second issue were probably the best thing in FC), but hey, these are simple comics for simple children (I mean, one was even in child-like 3-D!!!) and I'm sure they knew exactly what reading order and what happened in this series to end all series. <br> <br> I think Final Crisis wanted to be more, but it was only seven issues. Maybe Morrison wanted to write one or two novels for it.I bet he could have filled them up with fancy words too. The problem with that though is the one thing I've read of his that wasn't in word balloons was that one issue of Batman and it bored me to sleep. FC felt like it was one of those shows from the 70's or 80's that networks have taken and condensed down into 2 or 3 minute internet videos. They did that with shows like Charlie's Angels and Knight Rider I think. You know, shows made for children. Imagine an epic like Lord of the Rings condensed into cliff notes and also not as good. That's what Final Crisis felt like. I'm tired of talking about it though. Sorry bud. <br> <br> I think that Alan Moore is as arrogant as Morrison in some ways, but he's also more naive which never fails to dumbfound me. Bendis is arrogant too, but he's not as good of a writer as Morrison. Same for Millar. I guess Morrison is just the most pompous out of them all. <br> <br> Sorry if you're, Morrison.