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7th ANNUAL @$$IE AWARDS!
Welcome, all, to Day Three of the 7th Annual AICN COMICS @$$IE AWARDS, where comics best and brightest are recognized for stellar (and sometimes not so stellar) performances in comic bookdom. I’m Ambush Bug. There was a time when we could fit all of the @$$ies into one lengthy column, but the @$$Holes’ ranks have grown too big for that, so for the next week or so, a pair of @$$Holes will be presenting their picks for the best of the best in comics. Most awards are given around the turn of the year, but we think ours is special, so while those outside of the know celebrate the time of the Oscar, we here at AICN COMICS celebrate the time of the coveted @$$ie Award. In between picks, subcategories compiled by all of the @$$Holes will be interspersed. So sit back, crack the knuckles in your browsing hand, and scroll down as the @$$Holes pick the @$$ies!
(Click title to go directly to the reviewers’ picks)
Vroom Socko’s @$$IE AWARDS!
Johnny Destructo’s @$$IE AWARDS!
@@@ Vroom Socko’s @$$IES! @@@
Best Original Graphic Novel
SCOTT PILGRIM'S FINEST HOUR (Oni Press)
My thoughts on this may be colored by all the access I was given by ONI Press this past summer, but SCOTT PILGRIM'S FINEST HOUR was one of the great reading experiences of the year, a beyond satisfying conclusion, and just plain fun as hell.
AXE COP, The Great Duck Chase (Dark Horse)
I've been reading comics for almost 30 years. I've seen a lot of strange stuff. But I've never seen anything like The Great Duck Chase, beginning here, in Volume One of AXE COP (Dark Horse.) It's so bizzare, so insane, and so incredibly fun, that any other moment this year pales in comparison.
HOUSE OF MYSTERY (DC Vertigo)
Last year I said that anyone who didn't give this to HOUSE OF MYSTERY was wrong. That is again the case this year.
Randy Milholland’s SUPER STUPOR
This two page special edition of SUPER STUPOR from Randy Milholland is the funniest superhero deconstruction I've read in my entire life. What can I say, I like it when very clever villains are shown just how stupid they actually are. And I like dick jokes.
Cyndi (PENNIE & AGGIE)
I don't know that she's my "favorite" in the classical sense, but the most interesting character from the past year was definitely Cyndi from PENNY & AGGIE. Sure, we've seen her be malicious and manipulative before now, it is a high school comic after all. But early this year she was shown to enjoy manipulation simply for its own sake. And then there's this chapter, where my fear for Cyndi shifted to fear OF Cyndi and back more times than a tennis ball at the Australian Open. That arc had me captivated more than any other comic reading experience this year, and it was all due to Cyndi.
JOE THE BARBARIAN (DC Vertigo)
I'm not the biggest fan of Grant Morrison. Even on stuff I like, such as ANIMAL MAN or JLA, I feel like I'm somehow two steps behind the plot, even when I've read the damn issue half a dozen times. But with JOE THE BARBARIAN (DC/Vertigo) everything was in synch to perfection. Well, not the release of the final issue. But everything else? Magnificent.
Brian Hurtt, (SIXTH GUN, Oni Press)
I just am constantly flabbergasted by the work done by Brian Hurtt on THE SIXTH GUN (ONI Press.) It's not just that it's vibrant. It's not just that he presents a clear narrative. It's not just that the book is fun, crazy, terrifying and thrilling simultaneously. It's all those things, plus the simple fact that not only has this book never shipped late, it once actually shipped a week early. What brand of energy drink does this man live on, and how can we get everyone else in the industry to start chugging it?
Malachai Nicolle (AXE COP, Dark Horse)
When it comes to comics writers in 2010, there is one name that stands above all others. One name that has a longer future than any other writer currently working. That name is Malachai Nicolle, the five year old imagination behind beginning here, in Volume One of AXE COP. True, he may not continue as a writer past his tenth birthday, but he's responsible for some of the most creative stories in a long time, and a part of me hopes like hell he'll eventually become the youngest writer on SPIDER-MAN in history.
Once again, this category belongs to ONI Press. In addition to the SCOTT PILGRIM finale, this year also saw great mysteries like ALL SAINT'S DAY and STUMPTOWN, horror western THE SIXTH GUN, the ongoing SF masterpiece that is WASTELAND, the fantastic omnibus edition of put-me-in-a-genre-and-I'll-stomp-your-nuts HOPELESS SAVAGES, and, AND my niece and nephew's favorite comics ever, (all right, their first comics ever,) in YO GABBA GABBA!
SCARLET (Marvel Icons)
The best ongoing was also the best new comic, as well as the biggest surprise of the year. SCARLET (MARVEL/Icon) has Brian Michael Bendis simultaneously returning to his roots and blazing an unpredictable path forward. There's a palpable danger in this book, not just in the plot, or in Alex Maleev's stark artwork, but in the very concepts at play behind the story. I'm tempted to call this the best work Bendis has done in years, except I honestly don't think he's ever been this good before. SCARLET is a must read.
Vroom Socko (aka Aaron Button) has written for AICN Comics for seven years; writing reviews and reports about "comics that fell through the crack" in his TALES FROM THE CREVICE articles often found at the bottom of this column.
R.E.B.E.L.S. and Doom Patrol
Best Comic Book Donut
The Bacon-Maple bar in STUMPTOWN #4.
Best Rebound in Quality
SPIDER-GIRL: THE END
Giffen and DeMatteis on BOOSTER GOLD (DC)
Best Buddy Team
Hercules and Amadeus Cho (INCREDIBLE HERCULES, PRICE OF POWER)
Hawkeye and Mockingbird (HAWKEYE & MOCKINGBIRD, WIDOWMAKER)
Best Breaking-Into-Comics Story
Nick Spencer (MORNING GLORIES)
Best Rise-To-The-Top Story
Jonathan Hickman (S.H.I.E.L.D., FANTASTIC FOUR)
Best At Pissing Off The Comic Industry
KO KO BE GOOD (First Second Books)
This book was an impulse buy and boyoboy was it worth it! Jen Wang's characters are interesting, confused and a little off. Exactly what I want in a story. The art is sketchy, water-colored and beyond great. Beautifully exaggerated expressions and body language, with elegant linework. Even when the scene is calm and static, the illustrations still move. A fantastic book through and through.
NEW AVENGERS #7 (Marvel Comics)
This book was probably the most fun I've had in mainstream comics this year. Laugh out loud funny dialogue by Brian Michael Bendis and perfectly illustrated by Stuart Immonen, NEW AVENGERS continues to be on the top of my stack every week it comes out. Fave moment: Victoria Hand is doling out the paychecks to the Avengers when Spider-man sheepishly raises his webbed mitt, as if in school, to complain that he didn't get one. Perfect Spidey moment.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #641 (Paolo Rivera, Marvel Comics)
There were a ton of beautiful covers put out this year, but none caught my eye as much as this cover to one of the OMIT issues. Say what you want about the story itself, but the painted covers by Rivera were breath-taking. This cover is STILL the background on my iPhone. The color palette, the way the negative space leads your eye directly where it needs to go, the emotional power behind the image--everything comes together to make this the most eye-pleasing cover on the shelves.
UNTOLD TALES OF BLACKEST NIGHT SPECIAL (DC Comics)
I'll be honest, I don't really remember too many other One-Shots from this year, but of the ones I do remember, I recall being kinda surprised at how much fun this was. Not really for the extra stories, but for the parts of the original Blackest Night story that were cut out. Specifically, the scene where the Rainbow Raiders all drink poisoned Kool-Aid in the hopes of coming back as Black Lanterns, never to realize that only people with emotional tethers to heroes were coming back. Hilarious and awesome! In fact, THIS might be my Fave moment of the year! Is it too late to switch??
Ivy Raven – ECHO (SIP/Terry Moore.com)
I was always a huge fan of STRANGERS IN PARADISE and am surprised that I'm enjoying ECHO almost as much, and a lot of that has to do with Ivy Raven. The NSB agent sent to track down Julie Martin (the protagonist of the book), she is smart and formidable. I'm a sucker for interesting villains with dimension and real-world motivations. And thank you Terry Moore for drawing women to look like...WOMEN! She's a pleasure to read. The only complaint if have is I would liked it better had Ivy been on the other side slightly longer, maybe dragged out her switch a little. I can't wait to see what she'll do next though!
X-FORCE: SEX & VIOLENCE (Marvel Comics)
This was by far the most entertaining mini-series of the year. I can't recommend it enough! It is sexy and it is violent. It's also funny and charming. This is what the film MR & MRS SMITH should have been!
Jerome Opena, X-FORCE (Marvel Comics)
He's currently tearing it up in UNCANNY X-FORCE. I didn't notice him until he hit this book, but holy cats is he good! A dark and moody style without being overbearing, anatomy, composition, facial expressions...it's all there and it's all fantastic. This is an artist I'm gonna keep an eye on and will follow to whichever book he moves to.
Geoff Johns (BRIGHTEST DAY, FLASH, GREEN LANTERN, DC Comics)
Yeah he's writing some of the best books out there pretty consistently. BRIGHTEST DAY, GREEN LANTERN, FLASH.
If only because they're putting out slightly more books that I'm enjoying than Marvel. I can't claim allegiance to either company, really..I tend to like both publishers equally.
SCALPED (DC Vertigo)
There was never a moment in my mind that this was going to be the best series of the year. No other series is so consistently engaging, shocking, and emotional as this book is on a month-to-month basis. Even the art, which at first I found to be mildly off-putting, is so important to the story that it's almost a character in itself. A gritty, no-nonsense experience from top to bottom, this book is the new PREACHER (if you don't know, PREACHER is perhaps the best book ever). If you're missing SCALPED, you deserve to be…
...scalped, that is.
JD can be found hosting the PopTards Podcast, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam over at www.poptardsgo.com, graphically designing/illustrating for a living, and Booking his Face off over here.
Thanks JD & Vroom! Hungry for more @$$ies?
Check out Prof. Challenger & Matt Adler’s @$$ies here!
Check out Humphrey Lee & KletusCasaday’s @$$ies here!
Look for more Monday from BottleImp & Lyzard! See you then!
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G