web stats

CSBG Archive

Comics Should Be Good Best of 2007!

Here they are, the “Best of 2007,” using categories suggested by you readers, courtesy of myself, Greg Burgas, Greg Hatcher, Bill Reed and Brad Curran!

I’ll go first (so this way you’ll know what the sixteen categories chosen were), and then it’ll go alphabetically.

Spoilers most likely ahead! Otherwise….

Enjoy!

BRIAN CRONIN

BEST SINGLE ISSUE

A lot of strong contenders this year. All Star Superman had two strong one-off issues, with #6 and #9. Andi Watson’s Glister was quite strong in both issues #2 and #3.

I really enjoyed Jeff Parker’s Avengers as MODOKs story in Marvel Adventures: Avengers #9.

Jason Lutes had another stunning issue of Berlin (#13, to be precise).

Matt Fraction really impressed me with his Sensational Spider-Man Annual #1, where he did a marvelous job with the relationship between Peter Parker and Mary Jane.

But the single issue that I think was the best this year was Joshua Cotter’s Skyscrapers of the Midwest #4, which beautifully mixed humor with the mundane tragedies of everyday life for a normal dorky kid in the midwest in the 1980s.

Here is a review I did for the issue in question.

BEST STORY ARC

The Bizarro two-parter in All Star Superman was excellent, but probably a bit short to be a story arc, no?

The Club of Heroes in Batman would have been tops if it did not droop a bit with the third part. Still a great story.

Shortcomings finished in Optic Nerve this year, so does it count as a 2007 story arc?

I really enjoyed Green Arrow: Year One, by Andy Diggle and Jock.

Garth Ennis and Lan Medina did an excellent job with Widowmaker in Punisher.

The Exterminators had been building up for almost two years to the story arc that occurred recently, where the Exterminators finally take on the super bugs, and it was all kinds of awesome (with Darick Robertson GUEST artwork! How cool is it to have a guy like Darick Robertson be your FILL-IN artist?!?).

Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite is a close second for favorite story arc.

My favorite arc this year, though, would go to Fables’ “The Good Prince,” which details the story of how Flycatcher becomes, well, the Good Prince. It is a sad, happy, poignant tale, filled with great character moments and an epic feel to it.

BEST USE OF A MINOR VILLAIN

I really enjoyed how John Ostrander managed to milk all he could out of a minor villain that he, himself, had killed off years ago, when he had Rustam save Rick Flag’s life via his Scimitar. Ostrander gave us a lot more info about Rustam’s background, and really developed the character fully – making his (second, now) demise that much more powerful. So that’d be my pick.

An honorary mention to Fred Van Lente’s take on the Living Laser in the pages of Marvel Adventures: Iron Man. A nice shot at how all people, even villains who are more energy beings than people, can have their heartstrings pulled.

BEST RETCON

The above-mentioned retcon of Rick Flag being alive would probably be my favorite retcon of the year. That DID happen this year, didn’t it (in Checkmate)?

Other notable retcons I enjoyed was the “reveal” in All Star Superman #6 that Lana Lang knew Clark’s identity (going by a Silver Age take on Superman’s history in Smallville, of course, as Post-Crisis, it was ONLY Lana, and not Pete, who knew Clark’s secret) and pretty much the entire new origin Andy Diggle came up with for Green Arrow.

Diggle really outdid himself on Green Arrow: Year One.

BEST SPLASH PAGE

End of All-Star Superman #6…

AllStarSuperman6-2.JPG

SENSATIONAL CHARACTER FIND OF 2007

Bob, Agent of Hydra, all of Umbrella Academy and Maris Wicks’ Anti-Buddies are top challengers, but ultimately, I give the nod to Zibarro, who starred in this sad page that was my runner-up for best splash page (from All Star Superman #8)…

hello,+Zibarro.jpg

BEST RESOLUTION OF A CLIFFHANGER

I liked how the mice dealt with the cave-in at the end of Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 #1, and I like how Bendis dealt with the cliffhanger at the end of Powers #23, where Christian Walker’s secret identity is blown in front of Deena Pilgrim (and how that totally devastates their friendship).

I liked how Ed Brubaker dealt with an ending recently of Captain America where Bucky decides to shoot at Dr. Faustus rather than shoot Sharon Carter (even though the gun turned out to be a fake).

I also really loved how Matt Fraction resolved the cliffhanger in the Order where it appears as though a team member is going to get his revenge on the drunk driver who crippled him.

My two favorite cliffhanger resolutions of the year, though, was the recent Booster Gold issue that had the cliffhanger that Booster was meant to save Barbara Gordon from being crippled, but in reality, it was a demonstration about the irrevocable nature of some historical events, and my favorite cliffhanger resolution was Andy Diggle’s brilliant solution to the seemingly impossible task of ending an issue with John Constantine tied to a post in the River Thames, with the tide rising.

BEST NON-ZOMBIE COVER HOMAGE

I didn’t think Ryan Sook’s Countdown Special counted as an homage.

If it did, then it definitely would be my pick.

If not, then this New X-Men cover by Skottie Young.

BEST FILL-IN JOB BY A WRITER

I think Roger Stern’s guest-spot on the All New Atom may have been one of the best issues of the series yet! And I’m not the only one who thinks that! Gail Simone herself (the book’s regular writer) said:

Roger, I’m not sure if you’re CAPABLE of writing a bad script. But to have one of my all-time favorites, and a big influence on my Atom book, actually take the time to match the tone and characters the way you did…that was not only freaky, but great fun, and I think it’s one of the very best issues of the entire series. You, sir, are an eternal pro, and a brilliant writer, and I can only say thanks for treating the little guy so well, when you had such an amazing Atom pedigree already.

BEST COMIC THAT BASICALLY SHIPS ON SCHEDULE

Does the Punisher ship on schedule? If so, then I pick the Punisher. I think it is Marvel’s best title.

If NOT the Punisher (and I don’t think the Punisher is a timely book), then I would pick Bill Willingham’s Fables series. High quality day in and out.

BEST USE OF COMPRESSION IN STORYTELLING

Matt Fraction owned this category in 2007, with both Casanova and The Order. His comics were PACKED with story.

BEST COMIC THAT SELLS OVER 100,000 COPIES REGULARLY (by ICV2’s rankings)

These are the titles that sold over 100,000 copies on a pretty regular basis (that is, they may have dipped below it occasionally, but the median month for the title was over 100,000 copies sold):

Civil War
World War Hulk
Justice League of America
Astonishing X-Men
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
All Star Batman and Robin
Thor
Amazing Spider-Man
New Avengers
Mighty Avengers
Fallen Son
Dark Tower

My pick for the best of these titles is….hmmmm….I guess it’s gotta be Buffy. Not a GREAT title, but a good book.

ARTIST WHOSE WORK EVOLVED THE MOST

Patrick Zircher will likely own this category, as he decided to spend more time on his art this year (slowing down his output in favor of more detail in the work), and the results were staggering.

However, he’s not the only artist to make a big leap this year. Khoi Pham went from being an iffy fill-in artist on X-Factor to being a legitimate pick to take over Mighty Avengers, one of Marvel’s biggest titles (as you can see from the aforementioned list of high-selling titles).

Skottie Young’s covers have improved dramatically as the year went on. I think Tom Derenick made his big move in quality LAST year, but it may have been this year, so I figured I’d mention him. His work has become quite good.

BEST COMIC SET IN THE PAST OR FUTURE

With all apologies to the western comics of the world, I am going to stick with Skyscrapers of the Midwest, which is not set TOO far in the past (the 1980s), but it is clearly set in the past (which impacts the story as told).

COMIC YOU WERE MOST SURPRISED THAT IT WAS GOOD

With the hype around it, I was not TOO surprised that the Umbrella Academy was good, but I will admit, I was still pretty surprised.

World War Hulk #1 caught a lot of people (myself included) unaware with its high quality (a quality that did not hold up for the whole series).

But my most surprising comic to me this year was Scalped. I did not enjoy the first couple of issues, so I was astonished to find myself enthralled with #3 (or #4). I was all set to write the book off, but Jason Aaron saved my attention with the aforementioned issue, and the book has only become better since.

It’s one thing to judge a comic you haven’t seen, but a comic you HAVE seen and DIDN’T LIKE? The fact that it became good again (and has actually STAYED that way) is quite striking.

BEST ONGOING SUBPLOT

I really enjoy Tania Del Rio’s overarching subplot in Sabrina the Teenage Witch about the Four Blades. The concept has been a great framework for the past year’s worth of stories.

However, I think I will defer to Scott Pilgrim, whose latest installment is quite a trip. The subplot that I am referring to is the pining that Knives has for Scott, even when she sees Scott clearly falling for Ramona Flowers.

Okay, that’s my picks! Thanks for the category choices, folks!

BRAD CURRAN

BEST SINGLE ISSUE

Did All Star Superman #6 come out this year? I can’t remember. [Yes, it did – Brian] If so, I’ll go with that. If not, I’ll go with Buffy: Season 8 #6. What can I say? It really impressed me.

BEST STORY ARC

Aw shit. I don’t want to go with Buffy again, for reasons I can’t entirely put my finger on, but I really liked BKV’s Faith arc. I guess I could go with the Morrison/JH Williams III Batman arc! That’s somehow less nerdy, right? Yeah, I’ll take that, even if Jeff Lester said it was a case of putting lipstick on a pig, and I tend to agree with him on everything out of principle. I still liked it a lot.

BEST USE OF A MINOR VILLAIN

Yeah, see, in Buffy, when Warren came back…

BEST RETCON

Isn’t that an oxymoron?

BEST SPLASH PAGE

I really ought to have something for this, since I’m so fond of the damn things, and yet here we are. Hmmm…The last page of JLA/Hitman #2. [The two-part series told a flashback to when Tommy “Hitman” Monaghan teamed up with the JLA on the Watchtower, which has since been destroyed during Infinite Crisis. The end of JLA/Hitman #2 featured a piece of the Watchtower, where Tommy has graffitied “Tommy was here,” so it serves as a sort of outer space tombstone to Tommy. Very nice scene by John McCrea. – Brian]

SENSATIONAL CHARACTER FIND OF 2007

Sasa Lisi, because this is the only way I can get my shilling in for Casanova; she’s a pretty cool character, too. Honorable mention to Sister Fister, Kung Fu Voodoo Queen, who isn’t actually a character at this time, but, well, that’s a hell of a name.

BEST NON-ZOMBIE COVER HOMAGE

Do those still exist?

BEST FILL-IN JOB BY A WRITER

Kyle Baker on the Spirit, because it cracked me right up.

COMIC YOU WERE MOST SURPRISED THAT IT WAS GOOD

The Umbrella Academy, given the fact that it’s Gerard Way’s first comic and all. I’d certainly say it’s the comic I least expected to enjoy as much as I have.

BEST ONGOING SUBPLOT

Scott Pilgrim vs. Ramona’s Seven Evil Ex-Boyfriends; because I damn well had to mention Scott Pilgrim somewhere here, and this is the best chance you gave me, you lousy jerk.

BILL REED

As usual, I’m starting to lose my memory in my young age, but I’ll do my best to bring you my thoughts, opinions, and blatant lies on what the best comics in 2007 were. You kids out there in CSBGville are far cleverer than I, and came up with some pretty tricky categories to vote on. Watch me fail spectacularly! Onwards!

BEST SINGLE ISSUE

This is one I actually try to keep tabs on, and discovered that most of the best singles this year hit in Q1! Do I go for Spirit #3, which had a great origin-of-the-main-character story whilst providing some excellent and slightly experimental Darwyn Cooke art? How about Punisher War Journal #4, which turned what would be a fun throwaway into a must-read? Or maybe Nextwave #12, which wrapped the series up in a brilliantly demented manner? Skipping to the latter part of the year, we’ve got Atomic Robo #2, which combined ridiculous sci-fi action with deft character work.

In the end, I’m torn between two others. The first is All Star Superman #8, chronicling Superman’s trip into the Underverse. A lot of reviewers were left cold on this, but I thought it was a beautiful, heartbreaking tale of Bizarro and Zibarro weirdness. The second, and champeen in this heated bout, is a comic that made my heart grow three sizes, and that’s Marvel Adventures Avengers #9, the all-MODOK issue. Jeff Parker wins my “most inspired madness” award for the year.

BEST STORY ARC

I have to agree with Selective Selleck on this one: The three-part Club of Heroes arc by G’ranzz M’orrizzonn and JH Williams III on Batman is the best Batman story in a couple dog’s ages, and also the best story arc of the year. Morrison continues his motif of “replacement Batmen” with a story that takes a look at various facets of the Dark Knight embodied by an international crimefighting league and combines it with a great riff on an old Agatha Christie tale. Thanks to Williams, the story becomes visually rich beyond fans’ wildest dreams as he draws in various styles so that each character can truly represent the era of comics which they most reflect. It’s a rich and delicious story.

Besides, what’s a Comics Should Be Good Year-in-Review without at least one of us shamelessly kowtowing to Grant Morrison? I had to do it; it’s in my contract.

BEST USE OF A MINOR VILLAIN

Well, since I don’t consider MODOK to be a minor villain, I’m going to have to give this one to Matt Fraction and Mike Deodato’s Punisher War Journal #4, which took not only one minor villain, but a gaggle (surely not a “murder”) of mediocre super-criminals and let them carry the entire story. All our old favorites like the Armadillo, the Gibbon, and a bunch of folks even I’ve never heard of gather together to mourn one of their own. It’s a story that reflects back on a simpler age of superheroes and super-villains when it was all high spirits; when people usually didn’t die and no one had to get raped. Of course, it’s also a story that completely undercuts that message with the stark horror of today’s goings-on in the superhero world. It simply has to win, if only for the panel in which the Will O’ the Wisp throws the shocker to the Shocker.

SENSATIONAL CHARACTER FIND OF 2007

I’m going to give the nod to Atomic Robo on this one. The sarcastic, pragmatic Tesla-built robot commando has been a great addition to the world of comics. If I ever need to be saved from a giant radioactive ant, I’d want this guy to do it.

BEST NON-ZOMBIE COVER HOMAGE

The only one that comes to mind right now is Ryan Sook’s beautiful cover for Countdown Special: Flash, or whatever it was called.

It wasn’t a direct lift from anything, but it seems heavily reflective of the classic Flash #174 cover with the dispatched Flash and the triumphant Rogues. Anyway, it’s purty, and also the only thing I could think of. If it managed to stick in my mind, though, it must have been damn effective.

BEST COMIC THAT BASICALLY SHIPS ON SCHEDULE

I’m going to promote DC’s Blue Beetle here. It’s a title I’ve just recently “discovered,” but it’s a book with a great personality that hits its ship date every month. The dynamics between the characters are excellent, and different from your average super-title. I recommend it! Pick it up!

Brave and the Bold is another title that’s proved to be excellent. It’s on an other-than-monthly schedule, but it comes out when it’s supposed to (as far as I know, anyway); the sales aren’t spectacular, but if you want to see two great creators telling great stories, then buy it!

BEST USE OF COMPRESSION IN STORYTELLING

I can’t resist giving accolades to Casanova when I get the chance, so here I go. After all, Fraction and Moon do more in 16 pages than most other comics do in 22. You can’t go wrong with sexy superspy action and intrigue.

BEST COMIC THAT SELLS OVER 100,000 COPIES REGULARLY (by ICV2’s rankings)

Well, the only comic I bought this year that managed to crack the much-sought-after 100k mark was Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, a little book you may have heard of that rocketed Dark Horse to the top of the charts and set the nerd world on fire. I suppose it has to win this by default. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good comic, but I think it’s geared a bit too much to Buffy fanatics. Admittedly, I am one, but I wish it was more viewer-friendly like the show. As it settles in to the world of comic book pacing, I presume it’ll get better and better.

The other comic worth mentioning that sold in high numbers is All Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder, which, as we all know, is the funniest comic published by either of the Big Two (since the death of Nextwave, at any rate).

ARTIST WHOSE WORK EVOLVED THE MOST

I don’t know what happened, but Patrick Zircher absolutely blew me away with his fantastic work on Terror, Inc. He’s a great artist who has given us great work in the past, but he surpassed all my expectations with his new work, adding a lot of detail and intricacy into his normal style.

COMIC YOU WERE MOST SURPRISED THAT IT WAS GOOD

I have to admit, knowing absolutely nothing of Gerard Way or his music, I assumed we’d get less quality than we did. As it is, though, Umbrella Academy turned out to be one of the best new comics of 2007! Superb artwork from Gabriel Ba accompanies a cool story of a dysfunctional super-powered family coming back together. It combines strange ideas with good character work, and I’m very much looking forward to following the story into future volumes.

GREG BURGAS (Greg mentioned that he plans on doing an additional, more traditional Best of 2007 list, as well, so look for that in the near future!)

BEST SINGLE ISSUE

I’m going to go with Catwoman #72, where Selina gives up her child. It was heart-breaking but still uplifting, and it resolved the story arc probably as well as it could have been. Runners-up are Fallen Angel #21, the one in which Jude tries to change the world for the better; Moon Knight #13, in which Marc Spector gets his Registration card; Elephantmen #10, the one that focuses on Obadiah Horn and Sahara; and Infinity Inc. #1, which launched the new series with a bizarre story and a focus on superheroes’ neuroses.

BEST STORY ARC

It’s not finished yet, but I absolutely love “When is Casanova Quinn?” in Casanova. It’s odd yet straight-forward, it’s exciting, it’s beautifully drawn. My runners-up are “The Club of Heroes” in Batman and “The Capital Cities of Heaven” in Iron Fist. Two Matt Fraction books – how surprising.

BEST USE OF A MINOR VILLAIN

I think it’s going to have to be Mr. Fear in Daredevil. I was leaning toward Typhoon in Blue Beetle, but Mr. Fear is more of a threat, it seems. Still, that Typhoon story was pretty cool.

BEST RETCON

Rick Flag lives! It didn’t contradict anything that had come before, and it was a decent explanation.

BEST SPLASH PAGE

Beats me. Probably one of the ones that J. H. Williams III drew in “The Club of Heroes.” Damn, those issues looked great. If you remember the best-looking one in those issues, go with that one!

[Here is a great one where the other heroes all react to Batman entering the room. Their reactions are priceless. An amazing page by Williams. – BC]

667pg12oy8.jpg

SENSATIONAL CHARACTER FIND OF 2007

Sharlink “the Shark” in Matt Kindt’s Super Spy. All the characters in this book are great, but the Shark haunts the entire book, appearing as if by magic, killing someone, and disappearing again. (If you want to give away that it’s a woman, that’s your call.) Runners-up: Sasa Lisi from Casanova, because she’s awesome; the Dynamo 5 kids; David Kohl from Phonogram (he didn’t win because the first issue came out in 2006).

BEST RESOLUTION OF A CLIFFHANGER

I guess She-Hulk #22-23, where we learn why Jen can get her neck snapped and survive. It’s kind of weak, but I couldn’t really think of any great cliffhangers and a resolution.

BEST NON-ZOMBIE COVER HOMAGE

The Incredible Hulk #112, homaging Steranko.

BEST FILL-IN JOB BY A WRITER

I was looking for fill-in writers and couldn’t really find one, so Justin Peniston on Blue Beetle #21 gets it kind of by default. It was a solid issue, but nothing spectacular. However, it’s the only one I could think of.

BEST COMIC THAT BASICALLY SHIPS ON SCHEDULE

This is a weird category. A lot of comics ship on schedule, but I guess nobody notices them because of the big-time event comics that DON’T ship on time. Fables ships every month, so that’s my choice. But Catwoman also ships every month, and Lopez has drawn every issue for 2 years or so. Rex Mundi is bi-monthly, and 6 issues came out in 2007, so that’s another one.

BEST USE OF COMPRESSION IN STORYTELLING

I have no idea about this one.

BEST COMIC THAT SELLS OVER 100,000 COPIES REGULARLY (by ICV2’s rankings)

I guess World War Hulk.

ARTIST WHOSE WORK EVOLVED THE MOST

Is this from the beginning of the year to the end? Or someone whose work this year was better than anything they’ve done in the dark, distant past? I’m going with the latter, because artists don’t seem to evolve that much over a year. My choice is Patrick Zircher on Terror, Inc. I haven’t seen tons of Zircher’s stuff, but what I have seen has been solid but unspectacular. His work on Terror, Inc., however, is excellent. Runners-up: Mitch Breitweiser on Captain America: The Chosen, another great-looking book from an artist who was just solid in the past; and Steve Pugh on Shark-Man; Pugh was always a very good artist, but this question is about “evolution,” and his art on this book looks nothing like his old stuff. And it’s still great.

BEST COMIC SET IN THE PAST OR FUTURE

Rex Mundi. That was easy!

COMIC YOU WERE MOST SURPRISED THAT IT WAS GOOD

The various Annihilation series, I suppose. Who knew?

BEST ONGOING SUBPLOT

I really have no idea. I’m trying to think of subplots that have lasted a long while. I really can’t. Most of the ideas I come up with are more plots than anything. If Peter David returns to it soon, the pregnancy thing in X-Factor has potential, but it hasn’t really been developed all that much, has it? Speaking of Peter David, I guess I’m going to go with the various factions that have been jockeying for position in Fallen Angel. It hasn’t exploded yet (apparently that’s coming up next issue), but he’s been throwing all sorts of clues around for quite a while. Sorry, I can’t think of much for this.

GREG HATCHER

BEST SINGLE ISSUE

This is a damnably difficult category, because nobody really constructs good single-issue stories any more outside of the small press; where the major publishers are concerned, it’s all about decompression and year-long mega-epics and writing for the trade paperback collection. Since I didn’t read a lot of small-press single issues in 2007, I’m not sure I’ve got an answer for this one. Probably everyone else is going to name an issue of All-Star Superman, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Telling a good competent Superman story should be DC’s BASELINE, not “Best of the year.” Same goes for Paul Dini and his Batman single issues in Detective, though I was very pleased to see both Dini and Morrison doing good solid one-off stories this last year. But again, this should be the MINIMUM expectation for a DC or Marvel comic book, not some sort of award-winning phenomenon.

Casting my mind back to a single issue last year that was of such a pleasing level of craft that it left me with a happy smile on my face — AND that could stand on its own — that’s tough. Of the books I read, I’m going to say “The Helmet of Fate: Zauriel,” simply because I was so delighted to see Steve Gerber back on superheroes and totally on his game, as well as astonished that he took a character I never really cared for and made him work.

BEST STORY ARC

Again, I didn’t READ a lot of monthly books this last year, it was all about the trade paperback for me in ’07. But of what I read, the one I always lunged for first when it came out was the new Lone Ranger origin and first outing.

BEST USE OF A MINOR VILLAIN

J. Michael Stracynski and Joe Quesada using Mephisto to break the internet in half.

Seriously. Mephisto hasn’t been a major player in the Marvel Universe since the first Silver Surfer series and suddenly the Spider-Man books are through the roof because of a storyline featuring him. I didn’t read the books and had no interest in the story and did my best to avoid the whole stupid thing and I STILL know what it’s all about. That’s serious market penetration, folks.

Artistically and creatively? Yeah, it probably was a load of crap (didn’t read it) but by God you have to admire the business savvy. I’ve lost count of the fans I’ve seen screaming bloody murder about it and then ending with, “If Brand New Day sucks then I’m definitely dropping the book.”

Pfft. Pull the other one.

Listen up, Spider-fans — You have NO credibility when you huff and puff and carry on about what you’re going to stop buying. Clearly you are buying bad books no matter what, if you hung around for all four issues of that thing. WE ALL KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE A BAD STORY, because editorially-mandated continuity-patch stories ALWAYS ARE. Burgas warned you, I warned you, God knows how many other comics columnists warned you — and you still bought it. Do you not understand that no matter how pissed off you all are, Marvel still gets to keep your money? You got played like violins.

Anyway. Figuring out a way to make a C-list villain, that’s in completely the wrong title for him by the way, the talk of the entire fan community and jump that title into the top ten — even though most of the people buying it HATE it — has to be worthy of SOME kind of recognition.

BEST RETCON

I already plugged the Lone Ranger, but seriously, this book is the best “re-imagining of a classic” I’ve seen in some years. You really should check it out if you’re not doing so already.

SENSATIONAL CHARACTER FIND OF 2007

Rachel and Alex in COVER GIRL. More, please! Those two deserve an ongoing series. Even my wife enjoyed that book, and Julie rarely picks up a comic by anyone other than Tom Beland or Charles Schulz. Honorable mentions to the new Dr. Fate in COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY and John Doe in POTTER’s FIELD.

BEST NON-ZOMBIE COVER HOMAGE

Doc Magnus as James Bond on 52 #49 made me smile.

16626_4_049.jpg

BEST FILL-IN JOB BY A WRITER

Kurt Busiek filling in for Kurt Busiek on the Superman books. I don’t know WHAT the hell is going on in the Superman office since “Up, Up and Away” concluded — stories start, they get delayed or shoved over to an Annual or whatever — but, you know, I don’t really mind, because Busiek’s right there with an entertaining Superman story drawn by some OTHER artist. If you MUST go with a fill-in, it’s nice to have a fill-in written or at least co-written by the regular guy. Still, I hope whatever’s been going on is finally straightened out.

BEST COMIC THAT BASICALLY SHIPS ON SCHEDULE

JLA Classified. Truthfully, this strikes me as the way DC really ought to be doing the regular League book: good stories by rotating creative teams that don’t necessarily have to tie in to every other book in the line. Never less than dependably entertaining and often edging up into terrific. Sadly, it appears to be one of DC’s best-kept secrets.

BEST USE OF COMPRESSION IN STORYTELLING

You’re kidding, right? Compression in 2007 comics? Jonah Hex is practically the ONLY title doing that. So Jonah Hex. Which IS awfully good, incidentally.

BEST COMIC THAT SELLS OVER 100,000 COPIES REGULARLY (by ICV2’s rankings)

First of all, that’s a goddamn depressing list considering how mnany of those titles are widely scorned as crap. Meltzer’s Justice League? All-Star Batman? Who’s buying this stuff? Look, if you support shitty books, you get MORE shitty books. Duh. Why do fans have such a hard time getting their heads around that idea?

That said, I think it pretty much has to be Dark Tower. Though I think it reads better in trade.

BEST COMIC SET IN THE PAST OR FUTURE

I love me some Westerns and I am glad to see them making a (tiny) comeback. So my choice is a three-way tie between Lone Ranger, Jonah Hex, and Bat Lash.

COMIC YOU WERE MOST SURPRISED THAT IT WAS GOOD

Crime Bible. I really expected to hate Renee Montoya as the Question, and DC’s current, near-fanatical compulsion for crossovers and tie-ins annoys me no end; but curiosity led me to check this one out and I have been enjoying this book quite a bit. Especially surprising considering it’s got that irksome “52 Aftermath” crap plastered all over the cover, because it really isn’t tying in to much of anything. It’s just a good Question story, very much in the O’Neil/Cowan tradition, only with Renee Montoya. But if they have to put that stuff on the cover to sell it, okay, whatever.

If I skipped a category it’s because I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say. Honestly, I mostly bought trades and reprint collections in ’07. My favorite reprint books that came out this last year have been DC’s themed trade collections: “Super-Sons,” “Kandor,” “Secrets of the Batcave,” etc. And of course I am always right there for the Essentials and Showcases, especially the Bronze-Age stuff.

It was also a really good year for books and magazines ABOUT comics: of those, I really am loving what Michael Eury is doing with BACK ISSUE and its focus on interviews and articles about Bronze Age creators. Never less than entertaining and often I find something that I don’t know. And I know a LOT about Bronze Age books.

There ya go! I may be editing in some answers from either MarkAndrew or Pol, but otherwise, that’s all, folks! Feel free to share your thoughts on the Best of 2007 in these categories!

38 Comments

Is my soul somehow lacking because I’m really not a big fan of All Star Superman. I don’t dislike it (and I generally like Morrison on mainstream coics) but it’s really low on the pile when it comes out and I’m not terribly moved most issues.

I did like the one with the one focused on Jonathan Kent, though.

I think a big part of my problem is that I have no real connection to the pre-crisis Superman mythos. I was 5 when Crisis happened and unless it’s the Starlin stuff from DC Comics Presents, or maybe one or two Elliot S! Maggin stories, I’ve almost never read a Pre-Crisis Superman story I enjoyed, while on the other hand there are entire runs post-crisis that I love greatly (Stern and Rucka come to mind but they’re not the only ones).

It still makes me feel like I’m missing something though.

“…and suddenly the Spider-Man books are through the roof because of a storyline featuring him…”

Um, only if you’re drawing comparisons with the regular sales of FRIENDLY and SENSATIONAL. I’d say that AMAZING is the only valid benchmark for this storyline, and on that basis, sales are actually slightly down.

So much love for All-Star Superman?

Why?

I find it quite boring.

Scott Pilgrim fighting the Evil Exes isn’t a subplot; it’s THE plot of the Scott Pilgrim books.

Brian, I’m pretty sure that Punisher MAX does indeed ship on a monthly schedule, with the only “lapse” being when they released Benson and Campbell’s annual as a fill-in between the end of Widowmaker and the start of The Long Cold Dark. That said, the delay between issues #52 and #53 seemed to take much longer than any of the other ones, but that could have just been the cliffhanger talking.

One single issue I thought was especially noteworthy this year was Jason Aaron’s issue of Wolverine, which is one of the best done-in-one Wolverine stories I’ve read in years. Plus, coming on the heels of that Jeph Loeb atrocity managed to make it look like the second coming and I think it’s one of the few issues this year where Chaykin’s art actually worked for the story.

Huh. Greg Hatcher’s favorite single issue of 2008 is quite possibly my LEAST favorite single issue of 2008. I’ve always kinda liked Zauriel, so to see him get a solo issue, and then for the issue to be about fighting fungus people on an alien planet…not quite what I want to see in a comic about an angel.

Nice art, though.

Best single issue of last year, hands down, was Nextwave #11. Just brilliant execution (by Stuart Immonen) of a hilarious concept.

Failing that, either Local #10 or an issue of Fell.

Splint Chesthair

January 7, 2008 at 8:57 am

“So much love for All-Star Superman?

Why?

I find it quite boring.”

If only everyone who likes it had asked you first, we could have been spared.

I was thinking more about All-Star Superman and I still don’t get it, because I loved Alan Moore’s Supreme quite a bit and that played with the same sort of source material. Maybe it was just that the gap between how loud the acclaim was and how I felt about it wasn’t as big so I didn’t notice at the time.

So much love for All-Star Superman?

Why?

I find it quite boring.

Morrison wrote it, so it’s quality gets exaggerated. Plus, it plays lots of homage to Silver Age DC, which is loved very much on the Internet blogosphere. Not a bad book, but not a terribly exciting read either.

You know that JLA Classified is getting cancelled, right?

One thing I really like about All-Star Superman is the subtlety in the action. There are times where you really have to engage with what Frank draws on the page to understand what is going on. Some call it “confusing,” I say it respects the reader’s intelligence.

I, too, will admit I’m not crazy about ‘All-Star Superman’…then again, the more I read actual Silver Age DC, the more I find that Morrison is less of a wildly imaginative writer and more of a talented homage specialist. In short, he’s like Mark Waid, he just finds even more obscure stuff to crib from. :)

I will, however, give a shout-out to the recognition given to Roger Stern, one of the most under-rated, most professional, most quietly brilliant writers in the industry, full stop. Roger Stern doesn’t write big, splashy stories that “rip the Internet in half”; he writes good stories that make use of the character’s personality, supporting cast, villains, and setting to tell an interesting tale. Roger Stern doesn’t need to shake up the status quo; he finds a good story that comes out of the status quo, then tells it.

Roger Stern in The Man. His run on the Avengers is one of, if not the, best ever.

I’m a sucker for any of these “best of” lists. I agree with a lot of the picks here, and disagree with a decent amount too. But it’s still fun to see what everyone else thinks is good.

My picks for almost every category would be: whatever was written by Parker, Fraction or Van Lente.

Growls! I knew releasing Phonogram over a year end would be a bad idea for end-of-year-poll whoredom! Next time, I’ll be Mr Clevers.

(Thanks Brian)

KG

Maybe the Christos Gage Midnighter issue for best fill in?

My love for All-Star Superman comes from the straight-up intelligence of the book. The art is subtle, but plain. Sometimes you don’t even notice little things that Superman has done or fixed, because Superman’s that fast and that good. Luckily, we have a single panel that freezes it in time, and if we take the time to delve, Quitely rewards us. The coloring is stunning, too. The book also treats its characters with respect and lets them talk like people, instead of walking exposition/plot devices. The Jimmy Olsen spotlight issue finally gave me a clear idea as to just why Superman would be best friends with a kid like Jimmy.

It’s smart, beautiful, and fun. And it stars a man with superpowers who does no wrong. Kinda refreshing, you know?

I, too, will admit I’m not crazy about ‘All-Star Superman’…then again, the more I read actual Silver Age DC, the more I find that Morrison is less of a wildly imaginative writer and more of a talented homage specialist. In short, he’s like Mark Waid, he just finds even more obscure stuff to crib from. :)

Which is true of every artist, ever really.

But Morrison pulls from a REALLY broad range of stuff.

Hence why I’d call him “The most imaginative writer in mainstream comics.” (By a lot.)

(I mean, thanks, Burgas. Misread. MAN!)

KG

Stephane Savoie

January 7, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Re: Character find of the Year
I can’t believe no one pointed to Cosmo, the telepathic Russian cosmonaut canine from Nova. I gave the book a second chance based purely on that character.

Darn it, Stephane! I knew there was someone I was forgetting, because when I read that issue, I totally loved Cosmo. Yeah, he’d be on my list. Confound it!

[…] Over at CBR Robo was voted SENSATIONAL CHARACTER FIND OF 2007, by columnist Bill Reed. […]

You know, there’s just something very unsettling about applying the phrase “sells copies regularly” to Astonishing X-Men, All Star Batman and Robin, and Mighty Avengers.

i am never lost to comic finest commentary. drawn to some loss of vital. kept in concern by those so focused on defining their own victories. that is the call. a fictitious victor because no other possibility was the allowance. but then it became forecast of such lack of great appliance when it was an easy playground. so it came to secondary judgment considered insulting in option but soon seen as an oversight? yes it is that determined. me i’m not enigmatic in this just is representation. no one can represent a person that lets it lie as your position. at first delay then real taunting of your best in resulting fix. you know about fix. it is a given in early release. best by letting your other top gamers solve to your credit. know it as this if i say it, it means nothing unless it is found in process. no process works without positioning for a power grab does it? if it does name one. please. power grab? are you spending time at the ces? i’d say the draw may still be the best of show. certain to disdain but never stated any differently. think and react. it is finer human quality. thanks for your divided support? what is that? a folly of low regard to those so expecting to make it such. process is the key.

[…] [Review] Today’s best-of-genre-2007 lists comes courtesy of K.C. Carlson and the folks at Comics Should Be Good. […]

MarkAndrew said:

“But Morrison pulls from a REALLY broad range of stuff.

Hence why I’d call him “The most imaginative writer in mainstream comics.””

Whereas I’d apply that title to the people he’s “pulling from”. Morrison rarely comes up with ideas of his own. He just takes other people’s ideas, applies a few of his own well-worn tropes to them, and presents them to an audience who either doesn’t acknowledge the source, or assumes he’s being “ironic” in his presentation. I think his presentation is magnificent, don’t get me wrong, but he’s no more an ‘imaginative writer’ than Mark Waid or Geoff Johns or Jeph Loeb is. He just doesn’t get the flack that they do for stealing from the Silver Age, because he’s Grant Morrison, God of All Comics. :)

Shame, shame on you all for not even naming the best series around: Thunderbolts.

I like Thunderbolts a good deal, but what would it exactly work in?

No one issue stood out really, it doesn’t ship on schedule, it is all pre-existing characters (so no “best new characters”). I considered it for minor villain, but I don’t think it really works, because the actual villains of the book are not minor (Venom, Osborn and Bullseye).

The art on the book isn’t great (although it is pretty good).

The only thing I could really see it working as is maybe Best Story Arc, but even there – have they really even HAD a story arc? The whole book seems like one big story.

No love for the “Lawless” arc over in Criminal? While I fully admit that it didn’t do as much for me as the blast of awesome that was “Coward,” Criminal’s probably my favorite book on the shelves.

Great lists all around, though.

Will

Yeah, if I had a category that fit it, I’d definitely give Criminal some love. It is a great comic. I guess “Coward” or “Lawless” could very well have both showed up as at least honorable mentions in the story arc category.

John,

Who would you say is the most imaginative writer in (‘mainstream’) comics then? At this moment, which isn’t really the most imaginative time period.

Also Morrison gets his rep as “God Of All Comics” from his Vertigo series (is he cribbing from Silver Age comics in The Filth also?) as well as his cape-fiction stuff. Where as Mark Waid, Jeph Loeb, and Geoff Johns hardly seem to care to try anything else.

Well there was an arc in thunderbolts, it was the one that ended with the steel spider capture and bullseye paralysis. And it was brilliant.
I agree that Criminal rocks too.

I guess, Andrea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking the book. I think Ellis is doing a very nice job on it. I guess I just don’t see that arc as being one of the best of the year. As a whole, though, Thunderbolts is right up there as one of the best books of 2007 (Criminal would also be on said list, along with some other books I did not manage to mention, such as Iron Fist, Captain America, Daredevil, Vinyl Undergound, American Virgin, Local, DMZ, Alice in Sunderland, a BUNCH of First Second books, and more that I am sure I am forgetting).

i am never lost to comic finest commentary. drawn to some loss of vital. kept in concern by those so focused on defining their own victories. that is the call. a fictitious victor because no other possibility was the allowance. but then it became forecast of such lack of great appliance when it was an easy playground. so it came to secondary judgment considered insulting in option but soon seen as an oversight? yes it is that determined. me i’m not enigmatic in this just is representation. no one can represent a person that lets it lie as your position. at first delay then real taunting of your best in resulting fix. you know about fix. it is a given in early release. best by letting your other top gamers solve to your credit. know it as this if i say it, it means nothing unless it is found in process. no process works without positioning for a power grab does it? if it does name one. please. power grab? are you spending time at the ces? i’d say the draw may still be the best of show. certain to disdain but never stated any differently. think and react. it is finer human quality. thanks for your divided support? what is that? a folly of low regard to those so expecting to make it such. process is the key.

WTF???

Is someone playing with a random sentence generator?

[…] Comics Should Be Good Best of 2007! […]

[…] Comics Should be Good… – SENSATIONAL CHARACTER FIND OF 2007 I’m going to give the nod to Atomic Robo on this one. The sarcastic, pragmatic Tesla-built robot commando has been a great addition to the world of comics. If I ever need to be saved from a giant radioactive ant, I’d want this guy to do it. […]

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives