“Things” is rather vague, I know, but this isn’t a list of my favourite books or creators or moments of the year. It’s all of those things at once!! I could do a Top Five of various categories, but the overlap would be huge, so I’m just going to pile it all together into one big Top Ten list.
It was an odd year for comics, with a lot of big events you’re not going to see on this list, but there were a bunch of cool things too. Let’s get to listing:
10) Gail Simone’s Rehiring on Batgirl
I’m not naïve enough to think that Gail Simone’s rehiring on Batgirl signals some kind of big change at DC Comics where they suddenly care about fan reactions and female creators, but it was still a great moment. Firing Simone was just absolutely ludicrous, and the reaction was strong, to say the least. I can’t think of another creator who has as much of an association with a company owned character as Simone does with Barbara Gordon. Simone doesn’t own Barbara, but Barbara IS Simone’s character, really. And even more so now. Her return to the book after her inauspicious firing was one of my very favourite moments of the year.
9) Marco Checchetto
I honestly couldn’t care less about the Punisher, but I checked out the first collection of new series because Greg Rucka is pretty great. I might have come for Rucka, but I stayed for Marco Checchetto. While his art is gritty, as befits a Punisher book, it doesn’t have that muddled sort of effect that a lot of gritty, noir style artists have. Checchetto is a cool hybrid of grit and crisp detail, and I absolutely love it. I think this dude is going to be big.
8) Noelle Stevenson
Noelle Stevenson, aka. Gingerhaze, is a ridiculously good time. Her webcomic, Nimona, is fantastic, and her “Broship of the Ring” is an internet classic. My absolute favourite thing she does, though, is her mini-strips after she watches a movie or TV show she’s particularly enthused about. Right now, I’m loving her Hobbit-inspired Thranduil as an elk-riding dad embarrassing Legolas strips. Noelle is hilarious and great.
7) Goliath by Tom Gauld
Sometimes you randomly check out a book from the library and it turns into one of your favourite things of the year. I ADORED Tom Gauld’s Goliath. I’m always up for a good riff on a Bible story, and Goliath is both super clever and well drawn. Gauld’s art style fits the tone of the book perfectly. I usually talk about the Big Two on this site, but do yourself a favour and go grab a copy of this book.
6) Scott Pilgrim IN COLOUR!!
The first two volumes of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series came out in bigger, coloured editions this year, and they’re just amazing. The Scott Pilgrim books were already one of the absolute best books of the past decade, and they’re even better oversized and in colour. Nathan Fairbairn, in close consultation with O’Malley, really takes the books to a whole new level of awesome with his colouring, and they’re an absolute pleasure to read even if, like me, you’ve already read the first editions like fifty times.
5) Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers
This book just launched a few weeks ago, and when I read the first issue I thought “Wow, I REALLY dig this… this might even sneak in at tenth in my Top Ten list!” The second issue is out now, and here it is at fifth. Avengers is great storytelling, but even more than that it feels SO epic. You can tell that Hickman is building something massive and cool and I’m ridiculously excited to get in on the ground floor of what will be years of crazy stories. Jerome Opena’s art is great, and Marvel’s got lots of other cool artists lined up to meet the book’s bi-monthly schedule. It’s loads of fun already, and it feels like it’s just going to keep getting better.
4) Diana’s Coat in Wonder Woman #11
I liked this so much that I now own this page!! While I’ve had my share of problems with Wonder Woman in 2012 (the Amazons as rapists and murderers, in particular), Cliff Chiang is still killing it on every level with his art. I spent a full third of my Wonder Woman #11 review going on about this coat and how it represents everything good about this new take on Wonder Woman in terms of modernizing the character with respect for what came before. This may not have always held true for me with the story, but it absolutely does with the art.
3) Captain Marvel, the Book and the Reaction
I’ve been following comics for a long time, and I’ve never seen such an enthusiastic reaction to a redesign of a character. There was tons of fan art and various custom items months before the first issue even hit the newsstands!! And when the first issue did hit, it was fantastic. Kelly Sue DeConnick had a HUGE year, and has done an excellent job relaunching Captain Marvel, while artists Dexter Soy and Emma Rios make the book look great and distinct from the usual superhero stylings. While a year ago I knew barely anything about Carol Danvers, I’m very glad that she’s now one of my favourite characters starring in one of my favourite books.
I was over the moon excited for a new Brian K. Vaughan book, and then even more excited that Fiona Staples would be drawing it. As a huge fan of BKV, I had a rough idea in my head of what the book might be like, and then I got the first issue. Saga was NOTHING like what I expected, in the absolute best way possible. It was bigger and more bizarre and more interesting and enjoyable than I ever imagined. I think it’s the best thing BKV’s ever written, and Staples’ art is a perfect match for the story. Even the letter column is fun. Saga is an absolute blast to read each month.
When Marvel announced that Matt Fraction and David Aja were teaming up to do a Hawkeye book, I was kind of upset. They’re two of my favourite creators so I HAD to pick up the first issue, but I didn’t give a hoot about Hawkeye. At all. There were SO many characters I’d rather have seen them work on. So I begrudgingly bought the first issue, and it was AMAZING. Far and away the most enjoyable, amusing, kick ass superhero story I’d read all year. Then Hawkeye #2 was even better, as was the next issue after that. It just keeps getting more fun every month, and I’m astounded to love a book about Hawkeye as much as I do. It’s unequivocally the best comic out there right now, and I can’t recommend it enough.
So those are my favourite things from this year, but let’s take a peek into the crystal ball and see what I’m looking forward to in 2013:
- Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark. A dystopian response to the Occupy movement? Sign me up.
- Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios. Anytime DeConnick and Rios get together, it’s a good time. I’m very excited they’re doing a Western.
- Man of Steel by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee. Snyder is doing a great job with Batman, and Jim Lee is always a good time. I’m jazzed to see what they come up with for Superman.
- New Avengers by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting. As I mentioned above, I LOVED Avengers, and New Avengers is poised to be a sort of companion book more than a direct tie-in. I’m going to be all over it.
- Movies!! Iron Man 3!! Thor 2!! Man of Steel!! It’s going to be another big year for cinematic superheroes, and all of these movies look great.
- Amazon, Allan Heinberg’s Smallville-esque Wonder Woman show for the CW. It’s still in the early stages, but it would be really fun if this ended up happening, and doubly so if it was good too. Arrow’s been pretty enjoyable, and Heinberg has skills. It could be really great, if it happens.
Tags: Avengers, Batgirl, Best of 2012, Brian K. Vaughan, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Captain Marvel, Cliff Chiang, David Aja, Dexter Soy, Emma Rios, Fiona Staples, Gail Simone, Goliath, Hawkeye, Jerome Opena, Jonathan Hickman, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Marco Checchetto, Matt Fraction, Nathan Fairbairn, Nimona, Noelle Stevenson, Punisher, Saga, Scott Pilgrim, Tom Gauld, Wonder Woman