A week ago I asked everyone to join in voting for the best new comics of the year. I wanted to see how what my followers thought was the best, knowing that it could be different from mine. Here are the top ten from my poll.
10. Worlds Finest
9. Daredevil: End of Days (write in)
8. Dial H (write in)
7. Peter Panzerfaust (write in)
6. Sword of Sorcery
4. Manhattan Projects
3. Earth 2
Now that we have your selections out of the way, let me present to you my picks and reasoning for the best comics of the year.
10. Happy!- When Grant Morrison announced he was leaving DC, it was made clear that he would be working on quite a few creator owned comics. Happy! is the first of those comics, and it’s quite an interesting one. Perhaps the darkest comic on the list, Happy! is a blend of crime and My Little Pony. If that sounds weird, then you’ve never really payed attention to Morrison. Docking in three issues this year, the 4 part mini series has proven that it is one of the best comics on the shelf. This comic is certainly one of the most original comics in the market, and one of the most humorous.
9. The Shadow- When Dynamite said they’d be relaunching the Shadow, I was all over it. Unfortunately I wasn’t. A series of unfortunate events led me to miss most of the run. It wasn’t until I received volume one for Christmas and picked up back issues of the other issues. No matter the writer, this series has proven itself to not only reinvigorate one of the oldest franchises in history, but to put it in contention with any hero from the big two. Docking in at 8 issues, with an annual and a special, The success of the Shadow made way for Dynamite’s Masks comic. Which is easily one of the best things out there (but a little to green to be included on this list). The Shadow is one part super hero, one part anti hero, and one part crime story. Perfectly blended into one of the most unique and awesome characters on the shelf.
8. Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom: The latest installment in the Rocketeer franchise blew me away. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee know how to write the high flying hero. One of the more surprising aspects of this mini was its focus on humor. While I’m not a fan of joke or gag comics (as evidence by my deep hatred of Deadpool), the blend of fantasy elements made this comic quite fun and entertaining. Not only that, the interactions between the franchises beloved characters are more dynamic than we’ve seen in a long time. This comic was successful to the point that we will be getting another Rocketeer mini (albeit by a different team) early this year. It takes class and talent to write a good Rocketeer, and Cargo of Doom was better than fans could have expected.
7. Minutemen- Docking in at 5 of its six issues, Minutemen is one of the unsung heroes of this year. Darwyn Cooke’s comic has yet to generate any substantial negative buzz, and everyone is brimming with positive comments when a new issue is released. Minutemen tells a story that every fan of Watchmen wanted to hear, and has done it with such great energy. Minutemen leaves readers begging for more, and in doing so as effectively proven that Watchmen content can be both enticing and thrilling even as a prequel. Minutemen does nothing but enhance the experience of the original work, as Cooke’s characters are barely seen within the work itself. Minutemen is as gorgeous as it is well written. A rare treat, and a treat that deserves to have its day.
6. Sword of Sorcery- Clocking in at 4 issues, Sword of Sorcery is the greenest of the series’ within my top ten list. Despite this it has proven itself to be the best work to come out of DC’s Third Wave, and one of the best things DC has published in general. Sword of Sorcery is a blend of great writing, brilliant art (some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen), and proves that an anthology can have an interesting and enjoyable second story, as the original Beowulf back up is the one of the best stories I’ve read. Whether it’s a back up or not. Sword of Sorcery was a title I scorned at first, not seeing the point of Amethyst, nor seeing why the DCU wanted to go that direction. Now that I’ve seen how great it is, I’m so very glad that it did.
5. Ozymandias- With just over half of its six issues released, Ozymandias is further proof that Before Watchmen had room to explore the characters within it. Ozymandias is brilliantly written and masterfully drawn. While Len Wein’s script is explosive, it is Jae Lee’s art that makes this series what it is. The story is dynamic and diverse. Making an already fleshed out character that much more rounded. Ozymandias has gone from being super intelligent douche. To a masterful craftsman with emotional reasoning behind many of his decisions. While still cold, Ozymandias now has a heart. And that’s something few of us ever imagined possible.
4. Manhattan Projects- Hickman’s brilliant re imagining of history is one of the most fun things on the shelves. It is involving intriguing, and truly well done. Hickman redefines the major scientists of the 20th century, mending them to better serve this epic tale. And while rooted in reality, this comic goes boldly into directions that only this comic can explore. The greatest thing about this series is that it can go literally anywhere. Everything else on the shelf seems to have a set list of what can and can’t happen to it’s characters and story. This comic demolishes this idea.
3. Earth 2- The partner earth to the main DCU earth, Earth 2’s charm lies not within it’s differences but within its similarities with the stories and characters we know. The first issue of this comic is the same as the first arc of Justice League, except the story takes a wonderfully different turn. Being able to watch a universe expand in every direction is a great sight. James Robinson chooses not to focus on one specific group, but on many different characters, heroes and villains. We see the story progress in every direction, and only 8 issues in, we know that the best is yet to come. The feel of the comic has yet to wear off, evidence of brilliant story telling.
2. Hawkeye- I can’t believe this comic is the second on the list. Hawkeye was one of my least favorite characters in the entire Marvel Universe. But Fractions focus on Hawkguy make this series something quite special. With 6 issues under its belt, Hawkeye has established itself as one of the best things Marvel publishes. Knowing that it is unaffected by the major events of the universe makes this comic that much better too. This comic deserves to be able to go in any direction, and an editorially mandated event could kill the charm of this series. Aja’s art too is a big appeal of this story, it’s simple, but gorgeous. Hawkeye is primed to be a big contender in this next years Eisner Awards. Too bad the next series will beat it.
1. Saga- Could there be any other? Both Vaughn and Staples made it onto my other lists, and this comic made it onto just about everyone’s list. This comic is as fun as it is innovative. A weird ass tale of goat people waging wars against fairies, Saga has charmed the world of comics over. This comic is destined to be the hit of the generation. And I have no doubt that this will become Image’s future star. While Walking Dead might eclipse everything that Image does. As soon as Saga lands its movie deal, it’s all over. And we can be glad because we have been reading it since the very beginning.
I hope you enjoy this list, and I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed all of these comics on the list. If you are a new reader, anything on this list is a great place to start, and my picks include comics from not just Marvel and DC, but from Image, Dynamite, and IDW as well.
Happy 2013 everyone.