VILLAIN/ANTAGONIST OF THE YEAR
Let’s face it, no other villain or villainous force had the impact in 2009 that the Black Lanterns did. These undead friends, loved ones, heroes, and villains ran rampant over the DCU making life hell for nearly every character whose path they ran across in the Blackest Night mega-event. What really made these villains so great wasn’t just the fact that they were ripping out still-beating hearts left-and-right, but rather the reactions that they elicited from the living ranging from pure horror to heartbreaking loss. The Black Lanterns were a pure mindf*** and no one was safe in 2009 as they ripped their way through nearly every title currently being published by DC and forced their way up the sales charts.
What made the year for DC and brought it closer to being #1 than it has been in years, though, was the Green Lantern storyline Blackest Night that spilled into the entire line. Fueled by the return of dead heroes, villains, supporting cast members as well as a genius promotional scheme featuring plastic power rings, DC took back a chunk of the market share towards the end of the year and found themselves riding a creative and financial wave that had long since been absent.
Despite the departure of longtime president Paul Levitz earlier this year, things are looking very strong for DC heading into 2010 and with big storylines like The Superman War as well as The Return of Bruce Wayne, don’t be surprised if you see the company repeat its successes next year.
Awarded to the inker or finisher that has shown the best quality of art this year. The inker’s entire body of work for the year is considered, both positively and negatively. Special consideration is given to how the inker enhances the work of the penciler.
Awarded to the colorist or coloring team that has shown the best quality of art this year. The colorist’s entire body of work for the year is considered, both positively and negatively.
What impressed me most about Norton this year was his tremendous storytelling and the ability for his art to adapt to his inkers. His flexibility, consistency, and storytelling pushed him into the upper echelon of artists this year. Given how much he has grown as an artist over the last few years, do not be surprised if you see him in the running for this award next year as well.
On top of their already stellar runs on Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, DnA dropped the amazing War of Kings mini-event—one of the few “can’t miss” storylines in 2009. They consistently find the perfect balance between fast-paced action and brilliant character work which has made their quirky cosmic adventures incredibly addictive.
Secret Six may follow the most unlikely band of characters you’ll see headlining a mainstream comic, but it is the most likely place to find sheer enjoyment on the stands. Ever since she introduced the team years ago, fans have been begging for a Secret Six ongoing, but I don’t think even the most rabid of us could have predicted the year this title would have. It was, hands down, the best comics had to offer in 2009.