Ryan - Saga
It's the cliche but this title is just so damn good.
Ken - Manhattan Projects
A book that basically took the shackles off of Hickman's Fantastic Four work, seeing the smartest men in the world deal with things like Buddhist teleportation of killer robots and hostile aliens from another world, and slowly build strong characterization off of these events, it's just a great book. I expected a good book from Hickman like The Red Wing, but this is in a whole other league.
Grant - Saga
Ryan's spot on. If there's only one book you're picking up, it should be this one.
Ryan - Dancer
Just a perfect little genre slice. Nathan Edmondson's words, and sometime lack thereof, coupled with Nic Klein's art made this book a throwback from the glorious late-70s cone,attic revolution. This is one of the tightest spy comics there has ever been. It's gorgeous and smart and immersive and everything we all want in a comics experience. I honestly sit and worry more people have missed this one so ensure you get out and grab a copy, you will not be disappointed.
Ken - Marvel Universe vs. Avengers
Jonathan Maberry is one of the best writers not getting a bigger spotlight, and has written two very good alternate world tales of superheroes turned into cannibals. But unlike the Marvel Zombies concept, this third story continues to enhance the story of a dwindling number of heroes trying to survive and find some kind of cure. Doctor Doom shows up and is always written well by Maberry (go buy Doomwar), and the art is perfect for the tone of the book.
Grant - Punk Rock Jesus
Sean Murphy showed the world how good his art can be with Joe the Barbarian and American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest, but with Punk Rock Jesus, Murphy is showing that he has writing skills to match. Taking the sky high concept of a reality TV show that follows the exploits of the clone of Jesus Christ, combined with the former IRA militant who acts as his bodyguard and the megalomaniacal TV exec who orchestrates the whole thing, Murphy has struck upon one of the most interesting stories of the year. It's sometimes a little heavy handed, but damn if it isn't amazing.
Best New Series
Ryan - The Massive
The smartest comic on the stands. Hands down. This book drops knowledge and yet still manages to actually develop these amazing characters who you care so much about. The issues are structured beautifully, the dialogue and action flow, and the art has been amazing. If you haven't checked this book out - and shame on you - then get in on the $1 rerelease of the #1 issue coming very soon.
Ken - Manhattan Projects
It's double dipping, but it's completely valid. If this book doesn't get any win from the Eisners in the coming year, not even the combined power of the Avengers and Justice League could right the injustice brought to Hickman and Pitarra.
Grant - Planetoid
You've heard me rave about Ken Garing and his work on Planetoid a little bit here and there, and I stand by every word that I've written. I love this book through and through, and while it has suffered some delay issues, I'm more than happy to wait to see what comes next. Garing's visual storytelling is absolutely brilliant, giving us some of the most striking pages of the year. Planetoid is unlike most everything else on comic book stands, and I cannot wait to see how it all ends in Planetoid #5.
Best Single Issue
Ryan - Batman #5
This issue rocked my socks off way back in January and not much has changed. Many came close, I'm sure the other lads have chosen extremely well, but this one took the cake for me. The structural flow of pages from Greg Capullo perfectly, and I mean perfectly, complemented the narrative sequence from Scott Snyder as Batman descended into madness and in front of the weapon of a villain quite nearly his equal. This issue was what made me realise Snyder was really drawing from the Starlin/Wrightson tale of old, The Cult.
Ken - Hawkeye #3
This was a tough one, and Batman #5 was actually one of the frontrunners for the award earlier in the year, along with Fairest #7 or Action Comics #13 or anything by Hickman, but Hawkeye #3 has such great art, such a fun setting, and was just an issue that anyone could enjoy. You got Hawkeye getting characterization with his messed up love life, you have Kate showing up, the Tracksuit Vampires, classic cars, and lots of trick arrows.
Grant - Batwoman #0
I love Batwoman. It is my favourite title that DC is currently publishing. On the other hand, I was not a big fan of DC's issue #0 month. It was a pretty trite initiative that mostly failed to accomplish its stated goal of helping develop the ever more confusing backstories of this New 52. The main exception to that, of course, was Batwoman #0. J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman told one of the most beautiful origins stories that I've ever encountered, taking the excellent groundwork established by Gregu Rucka and Williams from Detective Comics and making it better. I don't think there was a single comic this year that affected me more than this one. I'm not ashamed to say that I shed some tears reading this book.
Ryan - The Underwater Welder
One of the best OGNs for some time. Jeff Lemire has crafted what can only rightfully be called a masterpiece in this book about fatherhood and being a son. And being both. I wrote about it better a while ago - my Top 10 List for The Underwater Welder, and I spoke with Lemire on my Process podcast here. He spoke fantastically about the book, and his process, all while inking a Sweet Tooth page. Legend.
Grant - The Underwater Welder
I must once again agree with Ryan here, because Jeff Lemire's Underwater Welder was easily the best graphic novel of the year. A touching and haunting look at fathers and sons, it's easily one of the best things Lemire has done - and I was already a huge fan of his earlier graphic novel, Essex County. If you haven't had the pleasure of checking this book out, I urge you to do so at your earliest opportunity.
Best Digital Comic
Ryan - Masks & Mobsters
This crime/cape hybrid by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson from ComiXology exclusive MonkeyBrain Comics has been stellar at every turn. It's old school pulp but with powered people inserted into the fabric of the tale. Both sides inform the other and what we get is well thought out tales over gorgeous art. For 99c an installment, this one is also quite possibly the best bargain of the year. Get on your iPad, track it down, and enjoy.
Ken - Li'l Gotham
If you're still a little bummed about what happened to the DC Universe since last year, or just liked Paul Dini's animated and comics work, this webcomic from Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs is like a nice bowl of hot soup on a cold day. Borrowing a bit from Mini Marvels, you have smaller versions of Batman and his Rogues dealing with what happens in Gotham around holidays. The art is fun, the writing is filled with jokes but not overpowering, and it unlike every other Batman book right now there's no violence. For a buck, it's hard to find anything else with as much fun to value quotient.
Grant - Bandette
MonkeyBrain has quietly released a number of wonderful digital books since their launch earlier this year, but for my money, Bandette is the best of the bunch. Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover have combined for a whimsical little tale of a beloved (by most) teenaged thief and her band of merry minions that is equal parts Tintin (in tone) and Curious George (in visuals). It's the perfect all-ages book - enjoyable for readers both young and old.
So that's it for the titles of 2012, check in tomorrow as we give our lists of the best creators of 2012.