I figured I’d throw my hat into the ring and whip this up, a list of my favorite books comic-wise for 2008. Now I know this list will look weird and yes, I know that lots of great independent comics came out this year and that superhero comic books are so cliche-ridden…here’s my response to that.
Shut the hell up, pansy.
Local hardcover (Oni Press)- This is probably my favorite release of any sort this year. It really is awesome. A giant cloth-spine hardcover compiling the whole of Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s series detailing the story of Megan, city to city, place to place, you’d be a sucker to not fall in love with Megan, her fuck-ups, her struggles, and Kelly’s incredibly intricate art. I really can’t say just how great this whole series and compilation is, so if you have any sense in your feeble mortal minds, you’d get this. It’s better than almost any independent work I’ve seen. I’m gonna stop babbling now and say I love Local a lot.
Invincible Iron Man (Marvel)- Fraction and Larocca rule. People who talk shit about Iron Man because of the Marvel “Civil War” need to shut the fuck up. My favorite sci-fi book of the year and definitely solidified Matt Fraction as one of my favorite writers.
DMZ (Vertigo)- Yes, I know I’m obsessed with Brian Wood’s work. What can I say, this is probably one of the best ongoing comic book going on right now and this was their fucking year. Probably the best “political” title out there even though it’s got less politics in it than a Calvin and Hobbes strip. Against a backdrop so surreal and sad it still shows us that in the end any story is about people, even a story as big as a war. And with volume 6 of the collected series coming soon in February of 2009, I’m stoked for more.
The Immortal Iron Fist v.2, “The Seven Capital Cities Of Heaven” (Marvel)- Who the hell doesn’t like kung-fu? Terrorists, that’s who. Because kung-fu like this would fucking destroy them and end the War On Terror in a wave of furious fists, phenomenal writing that brought a somewhat hokey character into the spotlight, spin kicks, and a very cool mythology. It’s like all my favorite old martial arts movies that I grew up watching and then some put down on paper, bad dubbed-over dialogue and all. Well, OK, the writing here is better than the movies I used to watch, but the spirit is the same, which is what matters. I’m really glad I got back into comics to find this book, a title that I don’t think still gets enough attention despite the critical acclaim.
Green Lantern/Green Lantern Corps (DC)- I couldn’t chose. So I’m just gonna lump the Green Lanterns into a single category here. Fantastic art, writing, mythology, and steps towards my most anticipated event in comics ever, the “Blackest Night”, it’s got it all. Plain and simple.
Deadpool (Marvel)- YES! Deadpool came back in the only “Secret Invasion” spinoff that mattered. Seriously, the character is one of my favorites ever. First off, he’s clinically ill. Which already tips the scales towards awesome. Second, he has both swords AND guns. Third, he has a chair made entirely out of plastic explosives that he molded because he was bored and broke. Fourth, a Rob Liefeld reference in-book. Do I really need to make it any more clear for you? Yes? Well too bad. Since the end of Cable & Deadpool and Cable loosing his sense of humor post-X-Men’s “Messiah Complex” I’ve been craving some Wade Wilson, the merc with a mouth. And now I can finally have it.
Guardians Of The Galaxy (Marvel)- A spinoff coming out of the end of Annihilation, this is not only one of the best names for an action-oriented space action drama, but it has a fantastic lineup that includes a talking raccoon with giant guns, and a space cop named “Star Lord”. It’s like “Kelly’s Heroes” came to life in outer space comic book form, and seeing as how that movie is a religion in my family, I approve. To be honest, besides 2006’s Nextwave: Agents Of H.A.T.E. and Agents Of Atlas, there really hasn’t been a “team” book that I’ve liked in comics in a while. There’s too much emphasis on interpersonal dramatics than what I like about team books, which is big action and great witty storytelling. Stuff that this book so far has plenty of.
Justice Society Of America (DC)- I’m putting this down because this was probably the biggest surprise to me, getting into this title this past year. I know some people have had issues with the storyline for some reason but I’ve loved it. I love the huge cast of both classic and newer characters, the writing, and the fact that there’s another team in the DC universe besides the Justice League that has the “firepower”, so to speak, and thus don’t have to necessarily depend on constant crossovers/guest-spots/”intervention” (the way that fucking Wolverine seems to constantly show up in every Marvel book ever). I just all-around like this title in general.
So there you have it. It’s less than 10 but more than none, and granted it’s not specific like my favorite writers of 2008 or favorite graphic novels of 2008, but I have weird buying and reading habits when it comes to buying and reading comics. I read a lot more this year but this is the stuff that was releasing/released this year that I liked best, so whatever. If you have issues, then too bad, write your own goddamn list.