I would like to start this article off by “publicly” thanking those friends of mine who purchased a plethora of games via Steam for me this past Christmas. You’re given me an excuse to continue half-assing it via “Best of” articles.
2011 wasn’t a bad year for comics, but 2012 seems to be one for the records. We’ve had comic movies dominate the box-office for awhile, but nothing performed as well as Disney/Marvel’s Avengers film, shattering records globally. Marvel also found great success with Avengers vs X-men sales, which lead into the Marvel NOW! initiative, which has been pretty swell so far. DC saw a ton a creative/editorial problems, but dominated sales for most of the year. Image released a ton of new creator-own series, many to critical acclaim and solid sales, while the Walking Dead solid well, and dominated TV ratings. Overall comics sales have increased, and it seems 2012 is ending on a high note in terms of comics news. It’s good times all around, and now it’s time to celebrate the best of best of 2012.
It’s been awhile since a non-Buffy licensed comic book sold well and made comics news headlines, but 2012 saw at least 2 series based on licensed promises deliver quality and profit. My wife pulls both kaBOOM’s “Adventure Time” and IDW’s “My Little Pony” on-going series, and for good reasons-they’re really good. Both companies have assembled all-star creative teams consisting of web/indy-comics creators who obviously love these properties, and deliver some genuinely good all-age comics. And sales have shown that the shows respected fandoms are embracing these books, given how well their sold. Both series are worth picking up, assuming you can find them on shelves!
DC did an excellent job of trying to get me to not read their books in 2012, as they did a fine job on shitting on a lot of creators and characters I like and respect, but I’m not above admitting they released some fine books -Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Saucer Country, American Vampire, The Unwritten and Hellblazer were all solid comics. But in terms of being the best, the Dark Knight stands above them all, as Snyder/Capullo’s Batman was ridiculously good. A treat on every level, it’s one of the best book available on the market, not to mention one of the most disturbing. Snyder’s future “Wake” partner-in-crime Sean Murphy also debuted “Punk Rock Jesus” in 2012, and it’s a visual trip. The writing’s solid too, don’t get me wrong, Murphy is putting out one of the best-looking books out there. If you’re not pulling the single issues, make sure to buy the eventual trade day 1.
I’m gonna go ahead and give Image my nod as best publisher for 2012 and 2013. It kills me that the book I’m going to name as my pick of year doesn’t come from Image, especially with the year they had. Robert Kirkman had 3 great books on the market, the Rob Liefield’s Extreme “relaunch” produced some amazing books like “Prophet” and “Glory”, and there were great break-out hits like “Mind the Gap” and anything written by Johnathan Hickman. But for me at least, it came down to Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips’ Noir-Lovercraft series “Fatale”, which sales warranted it to go from a mini to an on-going and Brian K Vaughn/Fiona Staples’ “Saga”, which is amazing. No seriously, amazing is the only way to describe this book and do it justice. I will fight anyone who says otherwise.
But in the end, I’m going with Marvel’s Hawkeye, but Matt Fraction and David Aja (and Javier Puidos). Not only is it Marvel’s best book, it’s arguably the best book on the market. Everyone brings their A game to this title, which is super accessible thanks to little to no continuity concerns, and each story only being a issue to 2 long. While Staples’ art is incredible, Aja is also doing some career defining work, and doing some panel work unmatched by anyone else in the business today. You can totally make a valid argument for Saga, being the book of the year, and it would be hard to argue otherwise, but Hawkeye oozes so much charm it isn’t even funny. Right Clint?
Enjoy the rest of 2012 FP Faithful! I’ll be back next week to pimp out some stuff you can’t buy anywhere yet! THANKS PREVIEW POSTS!