Saturday, 31 December 2011

Looking Back: Faves & Raves of 2011

Heya kids, yeah, I know I know the last thing the world needs right now is another bloody Best Of The Year list right, but these comics are bloody good and a lot of them probably get overlooked so shurrup you. I should point out that this is an entirely personal list (it is I, Lovely Lee, typing this) of the comics that have personally buttered my muffin this year. If there's a really big famous graphic novel that's appearing on everyone else's Best Of lists and is conspicuous by its absence here, its probably because I haven't read it yet cos I'm rubbish. Anyhoo, lets crack on, in no particular order...


Yeah, I said when I reviewed this on the 'cast that this would likely be my book of the year and so it is. If its possible to double-take while reading a comic I did it. At the end of every chapter! If Dethan & Downey don't hit the big time in 2012 then there's no justice and I will burn this planet to the core! *rant foam gibber*. Expect to see Cancertown 2, White Knuckle and Jennifer Wilde on this list next year.

I'd never heard of Emily Carroll until she seemed to explode onto the scene with His Face All Red last year and she has already become one of the most exciting comics creators out there. A beautiful artist and an amazing storyteller who may just become the Eisner of webcomics. Every new comic she produces is an event to me and Margot's Room was the... er... eventiest? Bah! Superlative failure!

Something I learned in 2011 is that just because a comic is 'home produced' doesn't mean it can't be equal or superior in quality to a mainstream book - see Sugar Glider, Twisted Dark, Tw1sted Vision, Skal and many more. Ironically, given the title, N has produced a comic of utter class - a lush, beautiful SF fantasy that is destined, I predict, to become A Big Thing not unlike A Distant Soil or Mouse Guard. N Gingerboom is a talent to watch.

Wolves, a simple twisty fable about a lycanthrope hunt is a thing of beauty and probably the most inspirational comic I've read this year. Its one of those comics that makes you want to make comics of your own, to find the stories and the art inside yourself. Also the sketches and works-in-progress that she regularly posts on twitter are bloody amazing.

My love of The Walking Dead is legendary I await each book with baited breath and switch off my phone top read them. Locke & Key is the comic that toppled Walking Dead off my top spot. Locke & Key is a true serialised graphic novel essentially a suspense/horror/fantasy about a haunted house and the family that move in there...what's that you say? Heard it all before? WRONG! Locke & Key is stunningly original, wildly imaginative, gripping and unpredictable, the art is exquisite and the characters are real. If you aren't reading this its tantamount to self abuse (and not the good kind).

I love anthologies and in a year of really great anthologies (The Lovecraft Anthology, Predators, Sugar Glider Stories #2) this probably nudges out as my favourite thanks to the pure variety of the stories - too many gems to mention, just buy the bloody thing. And I so feel like I'm cheating on the others by saying that - honestly, its not you, its me! You're all awesome in your own ways, I just had to pick one...!

I'd been looking forward to this and following Jennie's progress for a long time and it didn't disappoint. I think Jennie's achievement of going back and redrawing from scratch her partly completed web graphic novel without losing any of the passion and energy is remarkable. She also produced a really really beautiful comic to hold and read and own. 

The funniest comic I read this year - yeah and this is the year that gave us Corporate Skull (see below) so that's really saying something. If you haven't bought yourself a copy yet then I'm afraid I hate you. Sorry.

I love Jamie Smart - Whubble, Kochi Wanaba, Hairy Steve, Bear, Desperate Dan... - the sonovabitch can do no wrong. Corporate Skull is, so far, 3 issues of pure unadulterated genius. Fucked up bonkers in the nut genius, yes, but genius. 

Yes, its incredibly crass of me to pick a comic I co-wrote, but hear me out. Its not really the comic I'm nominating but the creator Valia Kapadai. Really, 100% Squishy or Tw1sted Vision should be here instead - they are certainly bigger better comics than Gloomy Monday which is just a short story - but I chose this because collaborating with Valia on it was an absolute joy and a personal highlight of the year for me.

Special mention: Cover of the year: PREDATORS - Kev Mullins. Amazing. 'Nuff said. (Predators also wins the 'short story I most want to see expanded into a full-length graphic novel' award - you hear me Andy Bloor & Mo Ali?)


Next: Looking forward!

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