Monday, December 23, 2013

The Best of 2013 - Creators



It's that time again for another reflection on all the work that came out during the year, and 2013 was one of the strongest years for comics in a long, long time. So hit the jump to see who we here at The Weekly Crisis consider our top creators for 2013, and be sure to check back during the week for more categories.


Best Writer

Grant - Matt Fraction

This year's many excellent comics had many excellent writers, and while it's hard to single out one as being better than all of the others, Matt Fraction does make a rather compelling case.  He continued to write the critically acclaimed Hawkeye, with such stellar issues as "Pizza is My Business", which I've already declared to be my top issue of the year.  But while that is already pretty impressive, Fraction also continued to helm both Fantastic Four and FF, directing the ongoing adventures of Marvel's first family in two other much lauded series.  And as if that wasn't enough, he somehow found time to launch two other titles from Image Comics, Satellite Sam and Sex Criminals, with artists Howard Chaykin and Chip Zdarsky respectively.  With such prolific and consistently excellent, Matt Fraction stands out from the (admittedly also incredibly talented) pack.

Gord- Joe Harris

Great Pacific was bar none the book I looked forward to every month. Joe Harris has deployed a large and highly believable world for us to soak in. It is easily comparable to Scalped or Y The Last Man in that regard. Harris works hard at ensuring that what you're reading, although highly unlikely, is hugely plausible. He's got real world locations and real world archetypes which serve us plot twists and suspicions. We take comfort in the supporting cast, but it's certain that at any point these individuals could turn on not just the protagonist but also the reader. And the protagonist in this story is someone who really is not that great of a guy, but we're left cheering for him in spite of his questionable actions, utopian views, and immaturity. This is the mark of a very talented writer.


Ken - Jonathan Hickman

Yeah, he's a back-to-back winner in my books. New Avengers would be enough to warrant getting our prestigious written award. But along with East of West, Manhattan Projects, Avengers, and finishing one of the better events in recent memory, Infinity? The guy's the best comics writer in the industry at the moment. The fact that he didn't win an Eisner for any of his works the past year is complete BS. It's like The Tourist winning a Golden Globe all over again.









Best Artist

Grant - Michael Walsh

As you may recall, I've been rather enamoured with Michael Walsh's superb art since first discovering it late last year when he, Ed Brisson, and Jordie Bellaire dropped the first few issues of Comeback.  And it's worth remembering that while it may seem like a long time ago, issues 3 through 5 of that series actually came out this year.  And Walsh got better every time, using each successive issue to try something new, whether it comes to scenes quiet or loud.  I dug his art so much that I actually bought the original page of the cigarette scene that we talked about in interview earlier this year.  It shows some extremely deft and subtle storytelling, and is an excellent demonstration of Walsh's talents.  Despite my not having any background knowledge of the X-Files, I greatly enjoyed his work on X-Files Season 10 with Joe Harris and Joride Bellaire.  And Zero #1 was one of my top issues of the year, as Walsh (and Bellaire once again) made Ales Kot's script absolutely sing.  He really turned things up a notch and hit some huge moments within those pages.  At this point, Walsh's name alone is enough to get me to pick up and follow a book, which speaks to his impressive skills and talent.

Gord - Carlos Magno

Why are people not talking more about this guy? His Planet of The Apes stuff was excellent and he brings the same level of clean grit and detail to Deathmatch. Each character comes off as painstakingly unique which is not that easy in a comic with such a huge cast. Magno pulls it off gracefully. There's realism in his work with each intricate texture line, but it certainly is cartoony. And that's just simply cool because although these are comic characters it feels like I'm watching an Imax quality documentry. It feels like we are there, in the arena with Grasshopper and Meridian, watching their worlds corrupt.

Ken - Stuart Immonen


The guy never stops getting better, and a big part of why All-New X-Men has been a success comes from Immonen capturing every detail in facial expressions, and just making anything he touches evoke that fun that a comic should provide the reader. The only fault the guy has is he's too reliable and thus taken for granted.

Best Colourist

Grant - Jordie Bellaire

Speaking of Jordie Bellaire, while she was definitely starting to make waves towards the end of 2012, 2013 was the year that she swept through the comic book industry like a force of nature.  It feels like her days must have more than 24 hours in them, because her colouring was virtually everywhere this year.  It is actually dizzying to look at the sheer number of books she coloured these past twelve months, and those comics are always infinitely better due to her presence.  Her prodigious talent is evident, as she infuses every book she's on with a mixture of her own personal style and the needs of the project itself.  While 2013 was a great year, Bellaire shows no signs of slowing down, and I cannot wait to see what she gets up to come 2014.

Ken - Tomeu Morey

The subtle washed look that is used for books from Detective Comics to Batman & Robin to the book that really made me take notice, Superman/Wonder Woman, with how the color temperature changes on the location. Inside a volcano the red saturation takes over, while in the Fortress of Solitude the blue calms the page. A colorist should never overpower the art and Morey has a good handle on that as he frequently pairs up with Tony Daniel on his works. In a current environment from DC that tries to be overpowering and in your face, the coloring Morey provides reminds me of a simpler time, the before time, the long long ago.

Best Letterer

Grant - Britt Wilson

There's a lot of great letterers in the industry right now, but no letterer distinguished themselves more in my eyes than Britt Wilson on Boom!'s Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake miniseries.  I adored this book, as Natasha Allegri told some beautiful and heartwarming stories with those endearing gender-swapped characters, and an enormous part of the whole thing was Wilson's wonderful letters.  While it was only six issues, Wilson demonstrated an incredibly level of talent and versatility throughout, providing different lettering styles for each and every character and then going so far as to vary their individual letters as the plot dictated.  She conveyed mood and atmosphere in a way that I have not experienced before.  Wilson's work added a whole other level of character to the story, and I earnestly hope that this will not be the last we see of her letters.

Best Cover Artist


Grant - Nathan Fox

We're told not to judge books by their covers, but that doesn't mean that they're not important.  And Nathan Fox's work on FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics has been absolutely phenomenal.  While the series' title remains a poor replacement for the lost Collider, Fox's art has been out of this world.  Fox is an accomplished artist with an eye for layout and placement, but where he really shines on these covers is through his use of colour.  His selection of bright and bold colours ensure that every issue stands out from whatever else may be on stands that week, daring potential readers to try to ignore these works of art.

Ken - Mark Brooks

Fearless Defenders will be cancelled by the end of the year but we still have the covers. These original and innovative takes on pop culture mixed with the heroines of the book were always something to look forward to seeing, and hopefully will see on some other, bigger name books.


Breakout Writer

Grant - Ales Kot

After a number of excellent books in 2012, Ales Kot kicked of this year with the conclusion to Change, his limited series from Image.  He was then quiet for a few months, but roared back onto the scene in mid-summer, as the writer on DC's Suicide Squad.  While his stint was short-lived, it appears to have only been the beginning.  Before long, his new ongoing Zero was lighting up readers' imaginations, teaming him with some of the best rising artists, a different one in each issue.  Add to that gigs with Valiant, Dark Horse, and the announcement at New York Comic Con of him as the lead writer on Marvel's Secret Avengers with Michael Walsh, and it's hard to see how this year could have gone much better for Kot.  His star certainly appears on the rise, with plenty of big things on the way in 2014.

Ken - Charles Soule

Known for his Image series 27, Soule in the past year became known for stepping in on Marvel and DC's books, replacing writers in their myriad of musical chairs when it came to creators. But despite that constant shuffle he's made a nice name for himself in understanding the characters and having a distinct voice than just being a fill-in. Before long he was adding Superman/Wonder Woman to his list of titles and now he's just moved onto Inhumanity, the new Marvel series with Joe Madueria now scheduled for April of next year.


Breakout Artist

Grant - Ibrahim Moustafa

While there may have been more prolific artists this past year, few managed to grab my attention like Ibrahim Moustafa did.  As I mentioned yesterday, he and Chris Sebela were all over things with High Crimes, and while I've definitely been digging Sebela's writing, I'd be lying if I didn't say that Moustafa's art is a huge part of what keeps me so interested in the title.  His art style is clearly influenced and shares similarities with a number of talented artists, while remaining wholly his own.  His lines are strong and evocative, demonstrating efficient and grounded work at every turn.  He's also the whole deal, providing the pencils, inks, colours, and covers for every issue of High Crimes.  But what really sets his work apart for me is his comic book instincts.  He paces his pages brilliantly.  Whether it's a life or death struggle or two friends meeting up at a bar, Moustafa picks the most salient moments and seemingly always finds the best way to render them.  I'm always excited to see what he'll do next, so here's hoping 2014 brings even more Ibrahim Moustafa into our lives.

Ken - Matteo Scalera

His first real prominence was on Secret Avengers, then he worked up to Indestructible Hulk and now has two creator owned works at Image with Dead Body Road and Black Science. The angular linework and sheer expression of action makes things stand out, from simple dialogue pages to those all important fights and shootouts. Black Science also showed his grasp on fluidity, as the opening issue is one big run across an alien land. His name alone is now enough for me to check out a book.

Gord - Chris Peterson 

Grindhouse has come to comics, and with it it's brought the talent of Chris Peterson to everyone's attention. He is one of the best hidden talents in the industry and it's fortunate that Dark Horse has provided you and I with the opportunity to take note. Chris Peterson has come into his own modern style that's matured past his underground stuff where he played with all sorts of weird. Remember this name because I'm sure we'll see more of this guy in the next few years doing some very important work.  






So there you have our choices for best creators, who would be your selections for 2013? Let us know below. Tomorrow we'll take a look at the best titles of 2013


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