Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Best of 2013 - COMICS!

And without any more delay, finally rounding up our best of 2013 list is the hodgepodge of the bunch. It's the best COMICS! of 2013. Hit the jump to see our favorite moments, publisher, and fight!

Best Publisher

Grant - Image

While it seemed like Image couldn't possibly have outdone themselves after the amazing books they put out last year, apparently no one mentioned it to them, because that's exactly what they went out and did.  The sheer number of new series the company launched this year verges on the ridiculous, particularly when you consider how many of them are absolutely top notch.  Behold the partialest of lists:

  • Sex Criminals
  • Lazarus
  • Manifest Destiny
  • The End Times of Bram and Ben
  • Zero
  • Five Weapons
  • Umbral
  • Velvet
And that's but the tip of the iceberg.  There is a true wealth of amazing books coming out from Image, covering every type of genre you could imagine.  Image continued to show that it is the comic book publisher where creative people want to go and there seems to be no sign of slowing down.  When it comes to new books from Image, the question is rarely whether what's next will be worth reading but is instead whether your wallet can bear to purchase it all.

Gord - Boom

While I agree that Image has been impressive this year, a lot of what happens, I find, is as a result of the hype machine. Readers of the Big 2 are familiar with this where THIS writer is on THIS title and you should BUY THIS comic because it's the next big thing (I'm looking at you Marvel). I think a lot of people are buying Image waiting for that next big thing. Fortunately  most of what Image has to offer is very good and deserves taking the "HBO" crown from Vertigo. Well, if Image is the new HBO then BOOM is AMC.

And why not? The PR around Boom's talent has been refreshing. It's a new take on the "Architects" concept that keeps its manners and respect for all the creators. When they purchased Archaia, it was done so seamlessly and in interests of making new and interesting comics. They announced a new imprint in BOOM Box which will be something to watch in the new year as more talent will be discovered and nourished.

Not to mention the high quality of comics coming out. The list is missing weak titles.
  • Deathmatch
  • Next Testament
  • Day Men
  • Hit
  • Polarity
  • 6 Gun Gorilla
  • Superbia
And this isn't even mentioning the staggeringly good franchise comics. I think it's very difficult to find a good franchise comic among all the slag, but it's a safe bet with BOOM as they consistently put consideration for the characters being played with, often adding to the mythos of those characters in surprising ways. I'm taking about Planet of the Apes (handled with utmost care and respect), Adventure Time, Garfield, Hellraiser, and Robocop. If you aren't reading any BOOM right now, do yourself a favour and dive in.  

Ken - Valiant

Where DC has faltered in the past year, Valiant has been picking up the slack in my pull list. Quantum & Woody and Archer & Armstrong fill the sorely lacking comedy section in the comics industry, X-O Manowar has been consistently good (and overlooked), Bloodshot is your grittier book, and you have Shadowman and Eternal Warrior continuing to round out the Valiant universe. For a publisher with a rather small selection of books their hit percentage has been the strongest out of any publisher in the industry. Don't DC it, Valiant.

Best Fight

Grant - Zero #1

I really enjoyed Ales Kot and Michael Walsh's inaugural issue of Zero.  The story and world they introduced was fascinating, but the most impressive part was that the whole thing was legitimately dedicated to an issue-long fight between two superhuman soldiers, with the throwdown being every bit as brutal and beautiful as you might hope.  Walsh really outdid himself here, rendering pulse pounding action that delivered from the first through the last page.  There were lots of highlights, but my favourite part was probably where the one dude bites off the other guy's lips.  Or when he's thrown through the glass window.  Or when Zero gets one of them blown up by a tank.  What I'm trying to say is that Walsh killed this one (both literally and figuratively).
Gord - Ronan Accuses Black Dwarf 

We finally get some major craziness in the often dry Infinity event. Excellent and this should be what the character does.

Ken - Bloodshot vs. Harada

Seen in both Harbinger Wars #2 and Bloodshot #11, Bloodshot's nanites take over when the two main characters face off, sending the one-man army into a super psycho mode that even includes vomit blood. Any other normal fight would be one side getting the upper hand only for the two to fight again at the end of the mini-series, but this was actually a good fight on its own.

Best Moment

Grant - Any Moment From Buddy Cops

While the individual Buddy Cops chapters actually came out in Dark Horse Presents back in 2012, the one-shot collecting it all dropped in 2013.  Therefore, I'm calling this choice totally legitimate.  Plus, there's also the fact that Nate Cosby and Doc Shaner's Buddy Cops was laugh out loud hilarious pretty much from beginning to end.  Uranus and T.A.Z.E.R. are pretty much the ultimate team, whether it comes to beating the hell out of giant monsters, marrying giant monsters, or verbally beating the hell out of each other (while ignoring giant monsters), they're the man / robot for the job.  Unless you're hoping to avoid major property damage.  If that's the case, you should probably look elsewhere.

Gord - When Leah shows up in Young Avengers

Out loud I said AWWWW SHIIIIIT. My wife looked at me confused. She was even more confused when I tried to explain it her, but you and I knew what this was all about. Poor Loki. 

Ken - New Avengers Blow Up A Planet

Remember that Simpsons episode where the mafia is fighting the yakuza, and there's that little guy in the corner who's not doing anything but you know he's going to do something big? I was expecting that with New Avengers, as the group always seems to get bailed out when it comes to having to make that big decision. But in New Avengers #6, we see that the group finally takes that burden upon themselves (T'Challa specifically). Sure the planet they blew up was uninhabited save for some Mapmakers, but the fact that they actually went through with it starts the group down a path that will make them enemies in their community by the end of Hickman's run, despite doing everything they can to not go down that path. Some of the best setup and real drama in a comic in a long time.


Grant - After-Life with Archie

There really hasn't been enough written about this.  There is an Archie book coming out right now where Archie and the rest of the Riverdale gang are literally under siege from an honest to goodness zombie apocalypse.  And it's playing the whole thing straight.  That's amazing.  Five years ago, such a decision from Archie Comics would have been inconceivable.  Frankly, earlier this year the decision would have seemed inconceivable.  But it's happening.  And it's brilliant.  To borrow from Community, it looks like we've found ourselves in the darkest timeline, and I for one could not be happier about it.

Ken - Astro City 

It's back. It's great. I might be double-dipping with this series but I don't care, it's everything a comic should be. It's fun, it takes a look at the genre with a love and care you don't find in other books, never having contempt for the reader or the city where wonders never cease, it simply revels in a less jaded world. And man is that something nice to read these days.

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