Friday, 28 December 2012

Looking Back: Faves & Raves of 2012

Yeah yeah yeah I know, "Who needs another flipping Best Of The Year list?", right? Well you do so shuttit, cakeface, and pay attention. This is an entirely personal list (it is I, LeGrice, writing this) and is in no way intended to be a definitive overview of the Greatest Comics Of 2012, merely a record of my own personal favourites. There are no doubt some very notable omissions here (Dotter Of Her Father's Eyes, The Nao Of Brown, Saga and Building Stories, for instance) and there's a very good reason for that - I've not read them yet.

Anyhoo, make notes cos there will be a test at the end...


The Mire - Becky Cloonan
This list is in no particular order, but if I had to be pinned down to choose a single favourite comic of the year it would be this. This is the kind of comic that makes me excited about comics - for the form and the medium and the art. Becky Cloonan is a terrific artist but her skills as a writer are often overlooked I think.

Locke & Key - Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez
Possibly the best ongoing comic on the shelves at the moment - utterly enthralling, utterly unpredictable, a genuinely epic graphic novel that will hook you and chill you and have you fretting for the safety of all the main characters as the series races to its apocalyptic conclusion in 2013.

The Walking Dead - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard
At the end of 2011 it was looking like this zombie survival epic might've passed its peak, things were seeming a tad familiar, predicable, safe... but this year Kirkman & Adlard reminded us just how deeply they have their fingers embedded into our guts and how easily they could tear them out and hold them up before our own blinking, dumbstruck eyes.

2000AD - Matt Smith, John Wagner et al
In years to come people will look back and regard 2012 as a benchmark year for 2000AD - the astounding Judge Dredd epics Day Of Chaos and The Cold Deck led the charge, but just about everyone brought their 'A' game at some point this year.

White Knuckle - Cy Dethan, Valia Kapadai
This time last year I predicted this would probably be my favourite graphic novel of the year and so it is. Is there such a genre as a Character Chiller? If not then I claim it in the name of White Knuckle.

Sgt Mike Battle #17 - Graeme Pearce
Just when you thought you Star Wars parodies were completely, utterly and irretrievably burnt out along comes Pearce with a fresh angle that makes it all seem shiny and new - not to mention hilariously funny.

Princess Of Mars - Burroughs, Edginton, Culbard
Two anecdotes: As I was reading this I decided to mark with a little piece of paper any page that struck me as particularly good so I would remember to mention it in the podcast review - after a few minutes I realised I was marking Every. Single. Page. I gave up on that idea and decided to just read it. About half-way through and I suddenly became aware of an annoying voice muttering "This is SO good this is SO good." Turned out that voice was me. My brother and my best friend both got this for Christmas off me this year.

Bayou Arcana - Jimmy Pearson et al
I have to confess this book is on this list not just because its a great read and beautifully illustrated but because we were kinda helped bring it to life in its initial stages and were able to follow closely its production from start to finish. With so many friends involved in the creative teams I'm fully aware of the love, sweat and tears that went into this book and it was with a certain degree of pride that the final book is so good and was so well received. You did good, swamp kings and Cajun queens, you did really really good.

Robot Shorts - Dave West, Steve Holder
For a collection of short stories involving mechanical beings and soulless machines this is incredibly warm, funny and human. If I ever undersold in my podcast reviews how good a comic was this year it was this one. Seriously, clever, charming, wonderful stuff.

Rainbow Orchid v3 - Garen Ewing
The long awaited and thoroughly satisfying conclusion to Julius Chancer's epic adventure, which somehow we managed to completely not review on the podcast. I had one tiny quibble with one tiny element of the book which I can't say cos its a bit of a spoiler, but I mentioned it to Garen at Bristol Expo and he told me his missus agreed with me so that's all right then.

No More Heroes - Gordon McLean, Caio Oliveira
If you missed this you missed a treat - a rollicking rumba of redemption with more twists than a barbedwire corkscrew with an exploding polar bear thrown in for the kids. 

Mud Man - Paul Grist
The spirit of earthy (no pun intended) brit-superheroes like The Leopard From Lime Street and General Jumbo lives on in this brilliant comic. Grist is probably British comic's most undervalued talent - his art is deceptively simple and his writing surprisingly complex - like Moore or Morrison but more grounded (no pun intended) in the bricks and mortar (no pun intended) of real life.

The Black Scorpion - Rob Curley, Stephen Downey
Sometimes a comic comes along that seems so perfect for you you actually check the inside cover to see if its dedicated to you in some kind of wonderful surprise. So it was with me and The Black Scorpion. It also features what is, for me, one of the covers of the year. 

Welcome Return(s) Of The Year: 
Nexus Omnibus v1, Grendel Omnibus v1.
Two indie classics given the affordable doorstop reprint treatment by Dark Horse this year. Mike Baron & Steve Rude's glorious neo-retro spacecutioner Nexus and Matt Wagner's blood-drenched super-criminal Grendel - if you've never read either of these then I demand, nay implore, nay double-demand you run immediately to your favourite comics emporium and treat yourself to these. You can thank me later.

Cover(s) Of The Year: 
Porcelain / Colder #1 / Into The Woods
No further comment needed surely?

Panel(s) Of The Year: 
Frankenstein: Alive Alive #2 / The Reckoning / Jenspiration /

Oh my god the detail!
Oh my god its a sea monster!

Oh my god its Lee!

Right then. There you go. My faves & raves of 2012. Now, as I said, there's now going to be a test - so if you can just pop behind the curtain there and pee into the cup, thanks...

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