Aloha Folks and welcome to the first ever And Now For Something Completely Different! Not sure where I’m going to take this article in the weeks to come, but the plan is for it to be exactly what the title says, it’ll be something completely different every week. Failing that, it’ll just go back to the expletive ridden rants that were IHIH.
Anyhoo, this week, what with it being nearly the end of the year I thought I’d give you an insight into my Top 5 Comicbooks of the Year. This has been a weird for year for me, for more reasons than I can count, but to rhyme off a few: it was the year that we started the new page, got to read a metric shit ton of free comics for publishers, got to meet a few of my favorite creators in the industry, and finally came to the realization that I was pretty much done with the big two. To give you a brief idea of what i mean by that, I got fed up with Marvel and DC always putting out the same storylines over and over again, death means nothing to them, and for the most part I was bored of never being surprised anymore, because any massive change in the story of a character wouldn’t stick because it wouldn’t sell as much merchandise. So here goes, i’ve got a beer (Ska Bewing Co.’s Ten Pin Porter http://skabrewing.com/) and in no particularorder we’ll kick off with…….
I came to the book quite late on, there had already been 5 issues out and one of the other admins on the page kept going on about how awesome this book was. My God was he right. After absorbing all five issues in the one sitting i was sucked in, between the incredible art of Jamie McKelvie that manages to emote more from every panel than almost any other book on the market, to Kieron Gillen’s writing that manages to get you in all of the feels all at once, whether it’s laughing at Loki, Feeling loved up with Billy and Teddy, or wanting to dance like a drunk at 3am with Nor-Varr. The book was a blast of fresh air that managed to surprise me because it was managing to tell a story I didn’t realize I wanted to read but now that I was, I didn’t want it to end (*shakes fist). This is all not even touching on the fact that Loki seems to be the Anti-Hero we love to hate (but secretly just love) and under the pen of Gillen has became such a heartfelt character with such depth that he didn’t have before, or the Love Story between Billy and Teddy, which put’s into words what so many young people go through and (to my knowledge) has never been in the public eye before. This is the new book I give to people to read that haven’t read a comic and if you haven’t, I couldn’t recommend it enough.
EAST OF WEST
I actually just reread the first trade this morning before starting to piece this list together and really can’t praise it enough. The story follows the four horsemen of the apocalypse in a futuristic world and The Chosen who appear to be the leaders of this world. Hickman seems to be on fire this year and it was difficult not to just make a top 5 of what he’s done, but I managed to narrow it down to between this and Manhattan Projects. The only reason this won though, is the art by Nick Dragotta, it is simply put, gorgeous. From the expressiveness of his faces, to the stunning backdrops, the art in the book is incredible! I think the thing that really sold me on the book as a whole though is how many different types of story are within it. There’s the politics aspect with The Chosen, the spaghetti western feel of Deaths path and the Journey of the other Three Hoursemen trying to find their lost Brother. The surprise to me though was the love story and heartbreak the Journey that Death is making, it came out of nowhere to me, and as someone that has been in a (mostly) happy relation for all of my adult life, it tells a valuable lesson: Don’t ever fuck with a woman, and it was really refreshing to see more than one strong female character in an industry full of male stereotypes.
PUNK ROCK JESUS
As someone who hates reality T.V. almost as much as i hate organised religion, this seemed like a book I had to pick up. On the Vertigo imprint of DC, the story follows the “rebirth” of Jesus Christ, through the medium of reality television in the near future where it takes the “Big Brother” attitude to the next level. This was the first I had seen of Sean Murphy’s art and saying that the book looks amazing would be doing it a disservice, Murphy both wrote and drew the book with a style that is unique with characters having massive bodybuilder shoulders, but then highly expressive faces it’s not dissimilar to Humberto Ramos mixed with Chris Bachalo. I can’t talk too much about the story without giving too much of it away, but safe to safe to say if you were a fan of Transmetropolitan, a Hater of what mainstream media has become or someone that wants to peek around the curtain of modern day Christianity, then you need to read this book. It might be short, but like alot of things, is perfectly formed and well worth a read, nevermind a reread once you’ve finished it.
I think we’ve said more than enough on our feelings about Matt Fractions portrayal of Clint Barton. As someone that couldn’t care less about the character before, to now having it as one of my favorite books of the last few years is a testament to what Fraction and Aja have Created. There is a strange Jazz sense to the entire series, in that it doesn’t always make sense at the time, but when looked at as a whole, you feel stupid for not trusting the book to deliver with every issue. From the Pizzadog issue, to boomerang arrows, to Clints mini guy, the book is nearly perfect in every way. Even with the Kate Bishop issues, it’s a hero I knew very little of before hand, and now i find myself looking forward to them almost as much as the Hawkguy ones. Do yourself a favour and read this book. If you don’t like it, not only are you wrong, but we’re not friends anymore……
And last, but certainly not least……..
Where to even start with this book?! Multi Award Winning, Critically Acclaimed, Gorgeous, Well Written, Funny, Sad, Multi-Layered, the list goes on. Saga has been the only book that has consistently amazed me with every issue, whether it’s the scenes with Marko and his parents, to the relationship between The Will and The Stalk. I’m not going to go on about it, this is about that has made me shed a manly tear and laugh out loud in a single issue, between that and the fact that I’m ok it takes hiatuses, should be enough to show how much I love this book. Go read it. Go on, i’m nearly done won’t hold it against you.
I should also give honorary mentions to books by local publishers that have been incredible this year, so massive round of applause for the team of John Lees/Iain Laurie/Colin Bell for “And Then Emily Was Gone”, John Farman and John Howard for “Royal Descent” (congrats on the Daily Mail, Gents) and Colin Bell/Neil Slorance for the fantastically fun Dungeon Fun!
And that wraps us up! My beers all finished, my fingers hurt and I need to pee. Let us know in the comments what you’re top 5 of the year was, and let us know what you thought of the new article!