It’s time for our next 2014 “best of” list, and it’s Martin’s turn to follow Ceej, Hazel and Ross in the hot seat as he breaks down his favourite Artist, Publisher, Writer and Top Three series’ of the last twelve months. Let us know what you guys think of his picks in the comments section.
Best Artist – Greg Capullo
Art in comic books is becoming ridiculous, with so many crazily-talented artists around at the moment, and it was difficult to narrow this down to one. Khary Randolph, Dan Schoening, Eric Powell, Jock, Juan Ferreyra, the list goes on, but being a huge fan of the Bat, I couldn’t see past Greg Capullo. This year he’s produced some truly jaw-dropping work, in the concluding arc of Zero Year and the current Endgame run. The level of detail he pours into each issue is incredible, cramming each and every panel with enough visual info to keep your eyes feasted for hours.
Best Publisher – Dynamite
Probably a controversial choice among my fellow contributors, given the multitude glowing reviews attributed to Image Comic’s output, but I can only go on what I’ve actually read to date, so I’m choosing Dynamite in this category. The company have continued to breathe new life into some of the most iconic and important titles in comics history this past year, drawing my eye, and my coin, on numerous occasions. While occasionally missing the mark, in general the books have been exciting and great fun to read, and each character is approached with utmost respect for the source that oozes from every panel.
Best Writer – Eric Powell
For his work on ‘The Goon’ alone, he’s worthy of this accolade, especially after the stunning conclusion to the ‘Occasion of Revenge’ arc, but his work on ‘Big Trouble in Little China’ highlights his ability to effortlessly switch from one end of the spectrum to the other, from pitch-black noir, to a more comedic, action-oriented style. Although far from prolific, his work comes will an almost cast iron guarantee of quality, thanks to a combination of solid characterisation and superb short and long form storytelling.
Top 3 Series (in no particular order)
The Goon – Occasion of Revenge (Dark Horse) – This is Eric Powell’s best work to date, and given the quality of his previous work, that’s high praise indeed. An emotional rollercoaster from start to finish, and with a conclusion that hits hard, Occasion of Revenge is a shocking tale of betrayal that will transform The Goon forever.
Tech Jacket (Image Comics) – For me, this book encapsulates the essence of what a great comic book should be; accessible, colourful, big, bold, fun, and exciting, but with enough beneath the surface to challenge and emotionally engage its readers. And if you add Khary Randolph’s wonderfully dynamic artwork to the equation, you’re on to a winner.
Big Trouble in Little China (BOOM! Studios) – It’s been great fun to follow the on-going adventures of Jack Burton within the pages of this book. The character has transitioned smoothly from the screen to comic, thanks to a perfectly-struck tone and on-point characterisation by Eric Powell. This book has everything you’d expect; action, adventure, comedy, and a healthy dose of movie call-backs, and with Brian Churilla killing it on the art front, the Pork Chop Express is in very good hands.