@@@ 13th ANNUAL @$$IE AWARDS! @@@
Welcome, all, to the 13th Annual AICN COMICS @$$IE AWARDS, where comics best and brightest are recognized for stellar (and sometimes not so stellar) performances in comic bookdom. I’m Mark L. Miller aka Ambush Bug, editor for AICN COMICS / AICN HORROR.
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 and the awards have grown in number through the year, so I decided to spread it out all week to post the @$$Holes’ picks for the best of the best in comics. Most awards are given around the turn of the year, but we think ours is kind of special, so while those outside of the know celebrate the time of the Oscar, we here at AICN COMICS celebrate the time of the coveted @$$ie Award. 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 category)
Best Comic Book TV Show!
Best Comic Book Character Realized on TV/Film!
Best Comic Book Movie!
Best Comic Book TV Show!
Ambush Bug - THE FLASH (DC Comics, CW)
Watching all the horror films for AICN HORROR, sometimes I need to cleanse my palate with something that makes me laugh and cry. THE FLASH is that palate clanser for me. I was late to FLASH, but like the hero himself, I sped through all of the episodes on Netflix and loved every damn episode. The thing about THE FLASH is that Grant Gustin embodies the same kind of pure, likable heroism that Chris Evans does as Captain America. Gustin’s Barry Allen is straight laced and nerdy, but there’s an undeniable likability he brings to the character that revived my love for FLASH stories and actually made me a FLASH comic book fan again. This series isn’t afraid to toss all of the wacky characters from the Flash’s Rogues Gallery at you, yet still manages to leave you with a smile. Most of the other comic book TV series take themselves way too seriously. THE FLASH simply has fun and takes you along for that light speed ride.
Optimous Douche aka Rob Patey - THE FLASH (DC Comics/CW)
While I loved "Luke Cage's" thug thumping, giggled giddily at Gideon and the rest of the "Legends of Tomorrow," and found my hunger for hero life drama firmly satiated with "iZombie," I still have to go with "The Flash" as my panacea for comic book goodness on TV. While boring Barry never did much for me in the comics, the CWing elements of the turn briskly in my wheelhouse. It's not enough to just have Iris in my story, but make her Barry's adopted sister and I'm sold. With the added sidekick drama of the S.T.A.R. labs gang, alternate earths, and this season's drama of trying to outrun destiny and you can see why Flash runs full speed cross mediums with grace and ease.
Justin Burkhardt & @justinburkhardt - PREACHER (DC Vertigo/AMC)
Preacher’s first 10 episodes were the perfect mix of comics, horror, and humor. Dominic Cooper, Ruth Nega, and especially Joseph Gilgun were great as Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy respectively. Preacher skewed from the comics at times, but the changes worked. I can’t wait to see what happens in Season 2 this spring/summer now that the crew has hit the road.
Masked Man - DAREDEVIL Season 2 (Marvel Comics/Netflix)
Unlike most comic book fans, I didn't fond all over the first season of Dare Devil, although it was good. The second though, was much more my speed. Setting up like three storylines and each one interesting in their own right (What's the Punisher up too; how is Karen learning about the Punisher's past; what is Elektra playing at), with Dare Devil stuck in the middle of it all. And in the end, all three storylines come together quite well. Simply put, that was awesome.
Humphrey Lee – THE FLASH (DC Comics/CW)
I feel like I’m doing this a disservice by not expecting this show to remain as enjoyable as it has for going into three seasons now, but here it is. The bulk of that kind of stems out of fears that the show will eventually devolve into a constant barrage of CW’s trademark melodrama for the sake of melodrama, and part of it is a nagging thought this will hit a quality wall of epic proportion ala “Arrow” season four. But as of right now, none of these fears are really founded, (except maybe the starry-eyed, kissy faced content has ramped up a little recently) because this show usually peddles nothing but joy. The cast is still a blast and top down everyone has their own charms. The show runners are twisting and turning classic Flash storylines into enjoyable takes new enough to keep even older fans guessing while giving new eyes a trip down Rogues Gallery lane at super speed and showing why the Scarlet Speedster is such an iconic character. Every time I underestimate the show it reassures me with an obscure character or plot point, or a great character moment, or just some comic book ass time or dimension jumping convolution of a story point and I hope I continue to always be wrong about my worries for this show.
Best Comic Book Character Realized on TV/Film!
Humphrey Lee – The Punisher (Jon Bernthal, DAREDEVIL, Marvel Comics/Netflix)
Daredevil season two may have slightly underwhelmed me overall (in short, needed more Kingpin and a better overarching storyline) but where it really succeeded in grabbing me was pretty much every last shot that contained Jon Bernthal’s take on Frank Castle, aka The Punisher. Bernthal was an absolute animal in the role from a viciousness standpoint, but by no means did he turn one-note rendition of the murderous vigilante. When he wasn’t stone faced smoking away the low life’s of the Marvel Netflix Universe, he was visibly struggling to hold onto whatever humanity he has left in the wake of his family’s death. There was a very conscious decision to make this version of Frank very conflicting to support in his revenge fueled endeavors, towing a delicate line between making the viewer take pity on him while feeling squeamish about rooting for him as he extracts his payback. Bernthal ended up being a hell of a good call to bring to life such a controversial yet somehow sympathetic character and hopefully his own show keeps this balancing act together.
Ambush Bug - Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Image Comics, AMC)
I don’t think any other character on TV or film made as much of an impact as Jeffrey Dean Morgan did as Negan. While the character started out in the comics as a Governor clone of sorts, he has developed into an amazingly well rounded character. But Morgan captured that swagger and smarmy confidence that the character exuded from the beginning, The first episode of this season took me on an emotional rollercoaster…and I even knew it was coming. But Morgan delivers the lines of Kirkman’s characters with precision and venom, taking the character to a next level you rarely seen in comic adaptations. I know many have grown weary of THE WALKING DEAD, but knowing what I know about the comic, and knowing Morgan is going to be delivering it like he has all season, has me excited about the future of this series.
Optimous Douche aka Rob Patey - The Flash (Grant Gustin, THE FLASH, DC Comics/CW)
As much as I love the story structure of Flash, it would all be for naught without the exuberant charm and excitement of Grant Gustin bringing the Scarlet Speedster to life. Is Barry boring? Sure, but he's so damn affable he ends up as a welcome respite in our current world of hero clenched teeth grittiness. He also lets the ancillary characters deliver the snark, so for once a hero can simply be sincere. I know it can be jarring if you're not used to it, or it can come off as fake. But there was a time when most people didn't speak like a Joss Weldon script, or try to make every fucking thing they say a punch line. Down home goodness? Yes. But damn it we need a little more of the Grant goodness these days.
Justin Burkhardt & @justinburkhardt - Spider-Man (Tom Holland, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Marvel Comics)
One of my biggest gripes with the Spider-Man movies was that Peter Parker never felt like Peter Parker. A large part of that had to due with the fact that was due to the ages of Tobey Maguire (27) and Andrew Garfield (29) when they first stared as Spidey. Tom Holland (20) is still believable as a high school-aged Peter Parker and also brings a sense of humor the other two actors lacked. Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther deserves recognition here as well. I’m now really excited for SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING and BLACK PANTHER after seeing CIVIL WAR, and it’s all because of the two leads.
Masked Man - Spider-Man (Tom Holland, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Marvel Comics)
Spider-Man is back! I'm sorry, I had no love for the web-slinger's last two movies, but Tom Holland's portrayal of Spider-Man brought back the nerd and the fun in a big way. Each one of his scenes in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR nearly stole the whole movie. I can't wait to see him fly solo.
Best Comic Book Movie!
Masked Man - CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Marvel Comics)
It's hard to talk about comic book movies, without talking about the lack quality for the Distinguished Competition. And 2016 proved no different. Marvel on the other hand, had another great year. And again they took a storyline I didn't care for in the comics and made it into an awesome movie (in title alone I guess). In true Marvel fashion, they ripped up their heroes in this great revenge flick and introduced some new really great heroes: Spider-Man, Black Panther. Sorry haters, superhero movies are not going away anytime soon.
Humphrey Lee – CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Marvel Comics)
I can’t even think of a way to praise this movie more than emphasizing how much I enjoyed it and how much I absolutely loathe the source material they were playing out. Instead of taking two iconic characters in Iron Man and Captain America to illogical extremes just to create mass tension between the two and their supporters, the Russo Brothers and all involved with this project struck a very well-reasoned balance of view points between these two sides as an unknown enemy played their sensibilities against each other. In two and half hours of the film we saw relationships strengthen and crumble, dark secrets revealed, and a hell of a lot of spectacle all handled with expert precision. Really, the only complaints I can level at this movie is that the camera work in some of the action sequences was a bit erratic and the sequence of events that led to the climatic battle between the Armored and Star-Spangled Avengers was a bit of a stretch to swallow. Altogether, though, this is a package so well thought out and executed that I think it might honestly be the top notch of the Marvel Studios Universe if it weren’t for the existence of its predecessor, THE WINTER SOLDIER.
Ambush Bug -CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Marvel Comics)
There is a lot to love about this film, but the one reason I like this is that, as it was released relatively around the same time of the year, it exemplifies what BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN did wrong by doing it right. It had big heroes fighting heroes, but CIVIL WAR had an actual point to the conflict and a resolution that wasn’t lame as hell. It had guest stars, but instead of square pegging them in, Spider-Man and Black Panther felt like logical extensions of the story instead of being shoehorned in as the Luthor files clips showed. And the big battle was in the daylight so you could actually see what was going on. It sucks that in order to see how amazing one film was I have to compare it to another, but the similarities in ideas and vast difference in the execution is so in your face that one can’t help but mention it. The most important thing CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR did was that it provided an ending that made me actually eager to see the next film in the series. On it’s own, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR was a big, bawdy fun movie that showcased everything that had come before it, making it my favorite of all superhero films this year.
Optimous Douche aka Rob Patey - DEADPOOL (Marvel Comics)
For this guy, the two that worked as a great movie and a great comic Captain America: Civil War and Deadpool. However, I give the top honor to Mr. Pool. The airport scene in Cap was amazing, but I'm hard pressed to think back on more that moved me. From Deadpool's slow mo open (like a panel per panel reading of an actual comic) to the gonzodiculous ending aboard the scrapped Hellicarrier Deadpool not only embraced the comic culture, it fucked the living shit out of it.
Justin Burkhardt & @justinburkhardt - DEADPOOL (Marvel Comics)
I was glad to see DEADPOOL nominated for Golden Globes, but disappointed in its Academy Awards snub. DEADPOOL was one of the top-9 movies of the year and deserved an Academy Award nomination. Ryan Reynolds passion project was better than anyone could have ever imagined. With that said, I am really concerned about the sequel. Pre-production issues aside, I just don’t know how DEADPOOL 2 can live up to it’s now lofty expectations.
Now it’s time to pick your own @$$ies in the Talkbacks. Thirsty for more @$$ie Awards? Here is a link to the rest of the picks from this week!
Favorite Super Team
Best Artist/Art Team
Look for more tomorrow when we pick Best Cover Art/Cover Artist, Favorite Villain, Best Writer!
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G