Tag Archives: marvel universe

Toronto Comic Con 2015: Celebrity Q&A with J. August Richards

J. August Richards has been working in film for over twenty years and has over forty acting credits to his name between television and cinema.  He is perhaps best known for two characters in particular, Charles Gunn from Angel and Deathlok from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the latter of which inducted him into the select group of actors that are part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As a celebrity guest at Toronto Comic 2015, he took part in a moderated Q&A period, and got to talk about his experiences on film.

The Moderator:  You used to be a comic collector, but did you have Deathlok comics?

deathlokmarvelJ. August Richards:  What I did have was The Guide to the Marvel Universe [The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe].  So what happened was that all of my old comic books were in my sister’s house back in D.C.  It just so happened that there was a Christmas break so I went home, I got all my comics, and I was like “I’m going to find Deathlok in this comic book collection” because I was not familiar with the character.  So I was looking around and I saw The Guide to the Marvel Universe and I was like “I’m a virgo, if I know me, I completed this set.”  I checked and I had A through Z Guide to the Marvel Universe.  I went to D and found Deathlok and that is where I started doing my research into the character.  Then Marvel was nice enough to make the old comics accessible to me and I read those to a certain point and then I had to stop, because as you may or may not know, there are three incarnations of Deathlok over the history of Marvel.  Maybe even four, it depends on how you are counting … could be five depending on how you are counting.  They had three very different back stories, the three ones that I looked at, and the circumstances were very different and I still wanted to stay true to the character that we created in the first episode, the father with his son, being a single parent.  That meant the world to me and I thought that whatever happens from here on out, that I had to play a father to a son, and that is who that character was going to be.

skyeQuestion From the Floor:  Will Deathlok show up again in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or in a movie?

JAR:  I like the way that you are thinking.  Unfortunately when I started the show, way back when we did the pilot, I had to sign a contract that prohibited me from talking any future things which would happen from the show, so unfortunately I can’t answer that question.  I need to leave that alone but I like that idea [of showing up in a movie.]

QFF:  How did they come up with the name Deathlok?

JAR:  The character was introduced in 1974, which was the year after I was born.  So I don’t know where they came up with the name, but this would be my guess.  One of the interesting things about playing a character that exists in the comic books is that you can do research in the comic books about that character, and one thing that I learned was that although there were three different Deathloks, they had something in common which was that they were trapped, somewhere between life and death.  So I believe that is where they came up with the name.  It is kind of like that he is locked in death.  And it is a little more relevant in the comic books because in one version, the consciousness is in the machine of Deathlok, so he is like a human being but he’s not quite human.

deathlokQFF:  How long before did you find out that you were playing Deathlok?

JAR:  The day before he turned into Deathlok. When I signed up to do the pilot it was just for the one episode, and then they brought me back for episode eight, and then as I was doing eight then asked me to do nine and ten.  And then I did ten and they asked me to do a bunch towards the end of the season.  That’s kind of how Marvel worked, they want to keep everything top secret, and they want to make sure that nothing gets out and want to make sure that nothing spoils it.  Personally I hate being spoiled, sometimes I will go see movies that I know nothing about except the title, because I just like that experience.

TM:  But that brings up a good point.  As an actor do you prefer some notice?

JAR:  I prefer not knowing, because then you just have to play what’s in front of you.

TM:  One part that we haven’t talked about is Angel, and during that series …

JAR:  At least you didn’t say Heroes.  I meet a lot of people that say “you were in Heroes.”  “No, I was not.”  But the actor that was in Heroes, we look a lot alike.  Leonard Roberts doesn’t think we look alike, he used to say that until his girlfriend invited me to his surprise birthday party, and I showed up late, and when I walked in everyone yelled “Surprise!”  And so when he showed up finally I was like “Now do you think that we look alike?”

gunnTM:  Angel was a spin-off but I have heard people say that they started looking forward to Angel more than Buffy.  Have you heard fans say this?

JAR:   Umm … no.  Angel is so synonymous with Buffy and it came out of Buffy.  I don’t hear that very much myself.  They’re together right?

QFF:  How awesome was it to work with David Boreanz?

JAR:  Like this awesome [holds arms wide].  I love David, he’s so much fun.  He’s just a whole character, you know what I mean?  He’s just a super cool guy, he likes to try to make you break character when the camera is on you, which is so unfair.  I feel like now that I could act with this whole building falling down, because having to do very intensive scenes with him laughing at me and pointing at me, you know I feel like I can act through anything.

QFF:  Have you read the Angel comics that came out after the Fall?

jarjarJAR:  I can’t read that for some reason.  I can’t bring myself to.  When we were in that alleyway which was the last shot of Angel, I said goodbye to the character.  Anything else would feel like someone writing an unauthorized biography about you.  Not that it is unauthorized, just that I don’t get to play it, so I don’t want to know about it.  I want to leave him right there, because I found him to be so heroic and he found what he was looking for.

QFF:  As an actor and as a Star Wars fan, if J.J. Abrams was here, which character would you pitch to him to play?

JAR:  Nice!  First of all if you want to see someone fanboy out, or more accurately fangirl out, I would lose it.  Because I love Star Trek too and what he did with it.  What part would I want to play?  Any part.  I would be an extra.  I would do anything.  Put me in a mask, put me in whatever, I don’t care.  I mean maybe like Jar Jar Binks’ nephew?  Ha ha, never!  That’s the the only one I wouldn’t want to play, but really anything.  Stormtrooper number 12!  But if I had my druthers, I would be a dope Jedi, with like, four lightsabers.

Review: Ms. Marvel #13

msm013Among the more interesting developments in superhero comics in the past few years is the re-introduction of the Inhumans to such a prominent role within the Marvel Universe.  There are of course some explanations for doing so.  Without the movie rights to the X-Men, it becomes necessary to have an easy explanation for the proliferation of superheroes, and the back story of the Inhumans provides that.  With both the movies and the television show focusing on the Inhumans, it is a logical step to make the comics do the same, thus increasing the popularity of the concept across the mediums.  While the Inhumans have a new focus, with the supposed effect of explaining Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, it is with the Ms. Marvel that the concept truly finds what makes the mutants so popular.

The popularity of the X-Men as character rests not only in the superheroic exploits, but rather those exploits often serve as an analogy for the characters as they might be without the powers.  Brian Singer said that the second X-Men movie was a pretty blatant analogy of what it is like to grow up being gay, but the appeal of the characters is in every form of exclusion, not only sexual preference.  The Inhumans have some of the same appeal, except that to be Inhuman takes them from being flawed to being perfect instantly, whereas to be a mutant leaves them with a complexity below the surface that is due to them being the “other.”  Ms. Marvel is the Inhuman which captures this other the best, not only feeling the awkwardness of being a teenage girl, but also of being a Muslim, and a Pakistani influenced by the culture of India.

While the plot in this first issue of a three part story arc is transparent at times with the introduction of a male counterpart to Kamala, it is still engaging on a different level.  It manages to find a good balance between the superhero moments, either the training at the beginning of the issue or the battle halfway through, and the human moments.  Some things are routine here but the strength of the character allows it to rise above and to be engaging for all the reasons that Spider-Man captured interest five decades ago.  This is not a perfect series, but it does not aim to be, rather it accepts its flaws as the character does, and the result is more than the sum of its parts.

Story: G. Willow Wilson  Art: Takeshi Miyazawa 
Story: 8.9 Art: 8.9  Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

 

New Marvel Universe Lego Sets for 2014

Not to be outdone by DC, Marvel is also getting lots of new sets in 2014 for their Marvel Universe line of Lego sets. A photo has surfaced online from a catalog showing off the new sets.

2014 Marvel Lego SetsYou can see there’s a long list of sets that include many new figures we’ve never seen (Taskmaster and MODOK!).

Marvel is also getting a “junior” set with 10665 Spider-Man Spider-Car Pursuit which you can see below.

10665 Spider-Man Spider-Car Pursuit 1 10665 Spider-Man Spider-Car Pursuit 2

 

(via BrickHeroes)

Best Comics of 2012

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2012. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2012, though some are from earlier times and I got around to reading them, or limited series that continued. Keep in mind, this is what I have read. If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

Best Super Hero Comic – Hawkeye

Hawkeye_2_CoverHawkeye, Marvel Comics’ least likely hit is as cool as the minimalist covers by David Aja. Written by Matt Fraction with art by Aja, Hawkeye follows the Avenger and shows him not as his cockiest (as portrayed elsewhere), but instead as a character who isn’t totally sure of himself. The series is a deconstruction of this hero, putting him at the street level, as likely to take on Hydra as his is some petty street thugs who say “Bro” a lot.

The series shares a lot with last year’s winner Daredevil. Both have a pulp sense about them, but there’s something with Hawkeye’s simple story telling that makes it stand above the rest. The art, the story, the covers, it’s all there blending perfectly.

There’s a fantastic mix of action, humor and simple human interaction that pulls together to make it the best super hero comic I’m reading, but also one of the best debuts of the year. Hopefully the comic finds the audience it deserves as accolades are poured upon it, but if nothing else, this is a series that’ll be looked upon as at the top of it’s game, no matter the year.

Runners Up:

  • Daredevil – Last year’s winner is still one of the best comics on the market. Mark Waid’s writing is fantastic as he took Matt Murdock down holes (literally and metaphorically). We again questioned Murdock’s sanity and Waid was able to mix in pulp fun with super heroes and not make it all seem silly when we got our reveal at the end.
  • Idolized – Aspen Comics’ first entry into true super heroes was a comic I looked forward to reading each month. Centered around a reality tv super hero contest, we’re given a character we can relate to, cheer on as well as scold all at the same time. The art is top notch and here’s hoping it lasts for quite some time.
  • Batman – Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have put together a Batman run that’s up there with the best. This year they’ve given us the Court of Owls and Talons which are villains that feel appropriate for Batman but also his equal in every way.
  • Wolverine & The X-Men – Wolverine is now the headmaster at a school that’s as chaotic as him in beserker mode. Each issue I walk away smiling after a few laughs. In a year of uneven “X” books, this one has been consistent fun.

Best Non-Super Hero Comic –The Massive

massivepromoNYCC_2_swimWriter Brian Wood‘s DMZ won last year, so is it any surprise his new series by Dark Horse is this year’s winner? This to me is not just the best non-super hero comic, but also the best “new series” and “best series” of the year. It’s that damn good. It’s the future after a massive environmental disaster and aboard a ship the Kapital is a crew of environmental activists on a mission to survive as well as find their sister ship The Massive.

The comic is as good as they come, with an amazing cast of characters that we slowly get to learn more about as layers pealed apart issue by issue. The world is destroyed and while familiar, the environmental devastation has left it so that we’re kept on our toes.

The cast of characters are some of the most realistic and interesting in any comic out there right now. It’s diverse and varied in backgrounds, motivations, attitudes, everything. There’s someone for everyone to cheer for and hiss at. We have heroes and villains and motivations that still remain murky and elusive.

The Massive is the one series I immediately read upon release no matter what I have going on. The downside is, I have to wait a month to do so between each issue.

Runners Ups:

  • Saga – Brian K. Vaughn has written some modern classics and Saga looks like it’ll be right up there with his past works. An epic in the making that’s a mix of science fiction and fantasy following two enemy soldiers who fall in love, have a kid, and go on the run. Each issue keeps you on your toes as to what expect next.
  • Revival- Did you hear zombies are still big in entertainment? This new series follows a town locked down by the CDC after the dead come back to life. What’s the cause? What exactly is going on? Little by little we’re finding out, but the focus is really the realistic characters dealing with this strange world.
  • Mind MGMT- Matt Kindt is an amazing writer and this series involving mind controlling secret agents is trippy and exciting as they come. The art is his usual water color like style, unique and recognizable in today’s comics. The comic feels like Ah-Ha’s Take On Me music video, with psychics and world traveling, aka, it’s awesome.
  • Rachel Rising – Another horror comic that’s fantastic each and every issue. Another people coming back from the dead comic that again keeps you on your toes as what’s going on plays out slowly over each issue. This is a slow build, page turner.

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Princeless

PRINCELESS_TPB_CVRFairy tales are rather played out. Girl needs a prince to rescue her from the tower and to do so, the prince must defeat the dragon. Then, comes in Princeless, which takes all of that and skewers it with some of the best female empowering political/societal skewering this year. The lead is a female black princess out to save her sisters. It’s girl power and it’s awesome.

The sly commentary about society and gender roles makes this first volume and it’s two one-shots stick out. The fact it’s done in a package that’s as fun for kids as it is for adults, makes it one of the best of the year.

The comic has gotten praise, landing on a few other lists and even receiving Eisner nods, all the accolades are deserved. We get a second volume in February, and you better pre-order it to make sure you get a copy.

If you’re looking for a comic to hand to your kids, female or male, this is a great one to start, but lets be honest, it’s so entertaining, you’ll be the one reading it.

Runners Up:

  • Point of Impact–  Image Comics released this series which is only in it’s third issue, but it’s basically Law & Order, the comic book. The story is as solid as you’d see on that show and should be a great crossover to draw fans of that television series over to comic books. If you’re a fan of that tv show, even a casual one, go grab this series if you can find it.
  • Stumptown Vol. 2Greg Rucka brings back his detective series for a second volume. This one focusing on musicians and the drug trade. The series is still playing out and man it’s good. The series also decided to try some things new visually, like having you turn the pages during a car chase. Solid story and innovative art to boot!
  • The New Deadwardians – Vertigo’s limited series is the British upper crust meets vampires and zombies. Did I also mention that it’s a detective thriller?
  • Archaia Free Comic Book Day – You have to give Archaia props for this free comic, not just due to the excellent content within, which included Rust, The Return of the Dapper Men and more, but it also was a hardcover comic. The absolute best presentation and giveaway for Free Comic Book Day ever.

Best Single Issue – Batman #5

Batman #5 CoverScott Snyder‘s Batman epic event Court of Owls was an amazing read, giving us a villain that seemed the equal or better of Batman. Something that hasn’t been felt in a long time. But, the story was helped by Greg Capullo‘s art. If you need evidence of how important that was, then go back to this issue. Though it came out in the beginning of the year, it’s stuck with me since.

Batman is captured and dumped in the Owls’ maze. As he’s drugged and descends in to madness, we’re taken with him. Before we know it, we’ve turned the issue on it’s side, then completely upside down as we go down the spiral with our hero. We’ve scene that sort of visual before, in movies, on television, but the tactile holding of the book, instead of the passive watching ads an element that drags us into the experience.

It’s a perfect example of the marriage of story and art and why comics are an entertainment medium unlike any other.

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Thunderbolts (Marvel Now) #1

Thunderbolts_01_CoverI’ve loved Marvel’s Thunderbolts in ever version we’ve gotten over the years. Even their latest time travel spin, while silly at times, ended well enough to justify the trip. Marvel NOW! was supposed to be the best creative teams creating some of the best comics, but this first issue is such a stinker, it’s sad and I wonder how it got approved.

The issue is the very non-creative gathering of the members of the team. In a movie, it’d maybe be 10 or 15 minutes, and possibly covered in the opening credits. Add on top of it we wonder how General Ross is getting from place to place, the entire issue is poorly plotted, thought out and just beyond boring. Add in a waste of art talent and I can only hope things get better going forward, cause this was really bad.

It’s a shame to see such cool character be used so poorly with a set-up that is predictable and at the same time, make no sense. The fact this is supposed to get people excited and draw them in since it’s Marvel NOW! just makes it even more of a travesty.

Runners Up:

  • Deadpool (Marvel Now) #1- Deadpool versus zombie versions of past Presidents. The story arc is silly and just pointless. This is not Deadpool at his best.
  • Happy! (any issue) – If there was an award for the most use of “fuck” in comics, this would win. If that’s supposed to be edgy and entertaining, I’ll pass.

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Economix: How Our Economy Works & Doesn’t Work

Economix_Cover-300x426Take a complicated subject of economics and most people’s eyes glaze over just before they fall asleep. What this graphic novel does, is take a complicated and dense subject and makes it easy to understand, and somehow does it in an entertaining fashion.

The graphic novel begins in the early stages of economics and follows through to modern times, including the fiscal meltdown over the last decade. Not only are the philosophies that impacted the thought of the time discussed, but the major events of the time are added in to give us a perspective as to how it all fits together.

The graphic novel isn’t preachy at all, instead it allows us to make up our own mind as to how it all works together. We’re presented with the history without the personal opinion or perspective (for the most part).

This is a graphic novel that should be a required reading in all high schools and colleges. Not only does it educated, but it also entertains. In one read, I learned more on the subject than all of my education put together. For that the graphic novel deserves accolades.

This is a prime example of how graphic novels and comics have transcended their origins and are more than silly heroes in tights.

Runners Up:

  • My Friend Dahmer – Want to know the “origin” of Jeffrey Dahmer? Well here you go, directly from a person who knew him in high school. This graphic novel will leave you scratching your head and disturbed at the killer and monster he was, but also wonder how anyone could of stopped it.
  • Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City – Guy Delisle’s latest about his time spent in Israel. The commentary and perspective of his experiences is amazing and really gets you to think. A travel guide like no other, Delisle’s work is beyond entertaining perfect for comic and non-comic fans alike.
  • Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland and Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me – These are some of Harvey Pekar’s last works before his passing this year. Both are as personal as they come discussing his faith and growing up in Cleveland. Masterpieces both.
  • Building Stories – The most praised release of the year is a collection of stories in a box the size of a board game. The interconnected stories make you rethink what comic books are and could be.

Best Writer of the Year – Brian Wood

Brian WoodThe Massive would put Wood in the running this year, but add in his run on Conan the Barbarian and his release of Mara and Brian Wood is the best writer this year. Each series is varied in topics and characters, but what they all have in common is strong characters.

Wood, throughout everything he’s written has focused on that. They voices he writes through run through the spectrum, and through it all he tackles some great socio and political commentary. His writing is a commentary in the world we live in or a world we could live in.

All three series are some of the top of the year, and with Star Wars on the horizon in 2013, there’s a good chance he’ll be towards the top of the list then too.

Runners Up:

  • Mark Waid – Waid is a master writer turning anything he touches into gold. He’s got Daredevil, last years best series, and take the reigns on the Indestructible Hulk, plus there’s his work at Thrillbent. I can’t wait to see what he releases in 2013!
  • Scott Snyder – The man has injected excitement and new ideas into Batman, giving us new bad guys that seem like a threat and the return of the Joker. On top of that there’s his work on American Vampire and Swamp Thing. 2013 sees Man of Steel from DC comics, we’ll see if he can give us the Superman we deserve.
  • Matt Kindt – Mind MGMT has gotten Kindt on to the list. The story and how it’s laid out, with fake ads and small details in the margins makes it a series that sucks you in, in every way.
  • Brian Michael Bendis – The man wrapped up his epic run on the Avengers and gave us the All-New X-Men after juggling the epic battle of Avengers Vs. X-Men. Probably the most controversial person on the list, he’s taken concepts that shouldn’t work and some how have made them so.

Best Event of the Year – Court of Owls

Court of OwlsScott Snyder’s Batman event has given us a threat that really makes us think Batman has met his match. Talons, undead assassins are unleashed on Gotham to cleanse it and bring in the reign of the Court of Owls a secret society that’s been around since the cities’ earliest of days.

We got some retconning and wedging in of the concept, but it all works. Snyder pulled it off giving us a hell of an exciting story and one I wish went on longer. It’s only downside was it was too short, but I’m sure it’s ramifications will be felt in the long run, setting up a plot line for Batman that’ll be around for years.

Runners Up:

  • Rotworld – Swamp Thing and Animal take on the Rot, which might consumer us all. The least talked about event and story-arc of the year is one of DC’s best.
  • Avengers Vs. X-Men – It should of been horrible, but every battle, every fight was entertaining and filled up that small part of us that want to see comic characters beat the crap out of each other. Oh yeah, and the Phoenix returned. It gave us the new Marvel status-quo, so it was also one of the most important story arcs.
  • Uncanny X-Force: Final Execution – Will Kid Apocalypse turn evil? This is what the series has been leading to, and in the end it’s all a comment on nature vs. nurture.
  • Return of Valiant – Valiant is back! And while the comics are all over the map in quality, they’re all good to great. 2013 sees the publisher’s first big events, so we’ll see where they land next year. Welcome back Valiant, you’ve been missed!

Best Genre of the Year – Indie Comics

Is it a “genre”? We can argue about that, but lets face it, 2012 was a year we saw major creators shrug off the big two, instead launching creator owned series at other publishers, digitally or through Kickstarter. We saw more comics, in more varieties, on more subjects and more ways to consume them, than any time before. It really wasn’t the year of the Big Two, this was a year that we as consumers could find something that’d fit our tastes.

With more channels for distribution and more ways to produce comics, we’re in a golden age where the old ways of publishing no longer hold back the creativity that abounds.

Runners Up:

  • Zombies – Zombies have become a cultural phenomenon, lead marching shuffling along by The Walking Dead. Revival changed the genre a bit, with so many releases giving us so many other spins and perspectives. The genre has crossed over in to movies, television, books, toys and more. We’ll see how soon before it all comes grinding to a halt.
  • Digital Comics – Digital first. Digital exclusive. Web comics. This was the year digital comics began to break through. Lead by the platform comiXology, we also saw some creativity in how to sell digitally by Viz. This distribution method will only grow in 2013 as more ways to gain revenue from it are explored.

Best Comic Tie-In of the Year – The Walking Dead Episodes 1 to 5

wd gameThe game has gained numerous accolades in the video game industry. It released as episodes, mimicking comic books and the television series it built off of. You make choices and try to survive in a world filled with zombies, with your decisions impacting the story. It also was a break through for episodic video game content, something toyed with, but not really ever gaining the acceptance it deserved.

This is the video game based on a comic book that didn’t suck. Something rare when it comes to video games. A second volume is out in 2013, so expect this to make numerous lists then too.

Runners Up:

  • Marvel and DC Lego Sets – How awesome are these? I have all the sets released, plus the key chains and some of the limited edition figs. All are awesome, and there’s more out in 2013!
  • The Walking Dead (Facebook game) – Take The Walking Dead and make it a fun social game you can play on Facebook. A fun time sink that plays off it’s source material perfectly.
  • Minimates – Kind of like Lego figures, but more points of articulation and so many choices to make. There’s over 50 sets out and the characters and properties they cover is massive. A great niche form of toys and one I got in to in 2012.
  • Marvel Universe – The out put this year seems to have dropped of these G.I. Joe like toys. But, the quality was up there. Topping the list for me was my Guardians of the Galaxy toy set with Rocket Raccoon and Groot!

Best Comic Book Related Movie/TV Show – The Walking Dead

WalkingDeadSeason3Poster-610x903This was a juggernaut. The television series based on the Skybound/Image Comics comic dominated television, putting up ratings that haven’t been scene before in a cable television series. It crushes the competition in key demographic categories and only seems to be getting bigger and bigger.

It become a focal point between AMC and television cable companies in their battles this year. It also has driven people to pick up the source material. The Walking Dead television series has done what no other movie or television series based on comics has done, it’s driven people to buy comics. The Walking Dead trade paperbacks have been in the top ten of lists for much of the year and stores can’t keep them in stock.

Issue 100 of the series was one of the biggest selling comics of the last decade driven by the popularity of the television show. It’s back in February and I’m expecting only bigger ratings and fandom to come.

Runners Up:

  • Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope – A celebration of fandom, the movie took us to San Diego Comic-Con and helped us understand the buzz and comic fans, never talking down about or making fun of them. A documentary that truly celebrates it’s subject.
  • Avengers- The movie was flawed, but Marvel and Joss Whedon pulled off what many thought was impossible, pulling together Marvel’s characters and creating a cohesive comic movie universe. That gets it to make the list.
  • The Dark Knight Rises- The end of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy fails to stand on it’s own, but it’s a great end cap to the three movies wrapping up it’s themes nicely. The whole is stronger than any individual part.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 – The source material is fantastic, so not a shock the animated feature is any less. Now I want part 2!

Best Surprise of the Year – Image’s come back

image comicsImage celebrated it’s 20th anniversary this year, and it came back and kicked ass. Each released seemed to create bigger and bigger buzz with constant sell-outs. And should it be any shock this was the case? Image drew some of the biggest talent in the comic industry as creators threw off the shackles of the big two and instead released quality indie comic after indie comic.

There was something for everyone this year from Image, and they moved passed their reputation of big guns and pecks comics, instead bringing us varied titles that at times pushed the medium.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Marvel NOW!

Marvel ComicsI’ll start off by saying there’s some great comics in Marvel NOW!. But, there’s also some real stinkers. We were promised the best creative teams tackling the best characters, but so far, this big shake up has seemed like business as usual. Sure, there’s solid comics, All-New X-Men, Thor, Avengers, but for each good one, there seems to be some turds too.

Add on top of that, a promise of promotion that hasn’t been scene. There was Jimmy Kimmel, but that seemed to make fun of comic books. There was Jeopardy that every contestant avoided like the plague.

What should of been a huge multi-media event instead turned into another launch point aimed at people already reading comics, offering nothing new or different. Just the same old comics, with different creative teams.

Sure there’s the Marvel augmented reality, but do I want to pull out my phone to read a comic? It’s a toy added to what should be the real draw, the comic story and art. This just feels like an accessory to the action figure that’s not needed.

We also have a release schedule that makes me slap my head. Some issues see their fifth issue out in less than two months. Some are a weekly release, some are monthly. This is overload of the worst kind when it comes to releases.

Instead of innovating and challenging what comics are and who reads them, we get what’s come before with some new polish.

Best Character – Callum Israel

callum israelCallum Israel is the main character of Brian Wood‘s The Massive. A former mercenary who worked for a Blackwater like operation, is now the leader of an environmental group trying to find their sister ship in a world destroyed by ecological disaster.

We’re still learning more and more about this character, much like everyone in Wood’s amazing read. We know were he’s from, that’s brought up a lot. We know a bit about his past and partially why he stopped his former life. There’s a gap however between then and when he became an environmental crusader and so much else we don’t know about.

A leader whose mysterious and tough. Israel is a character I want to learn more about.

Runner Up:

  • Batman – A successful comic series and event(s) plus a successful movie that end caps a fantastic movie trilogy. That was followed up about rumors as to how he’ll be handled in the upcoming Justice League movie. This was Batman’s year when it comes to super heroes.

Publisher of the Year – Kickstarter

KickstarterI thought long and hard about who should have this mantle. I decided there should be a couple of factors when choosing the “Publisher of the Year.” I wanted a “publisher” that not only put out solid comic books, but in this digital age, pushed the envelope some how. While not technically a publisher Kickstarter did both.

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform where individuals put up projects and people submit pledges to help those projects meet their goals. Pledges may contain various gifts back, like digital comics, printed comics, posters, prints, t-shirts or more.

Kickstarter is now roughly the third largest publisher in it’s output each month, but what’s more amazing is that it’s democratized the creation process. In the past the publisher was the one that decided what was printed and what the masses could read. Sure there was indie comics, but for the most part the the decision process was top down.

Instead, Kickstarter is a publishing platform, allowing creators to pitch their ideas and creations and allow the masses to decide what gets funded, and by being funded, what gets printed. It destroys the creation process and throws out the out-dated beliefs.

Comics you’d never see otherwise are now getting created and in to the hands of fans. Some of the most buzzed about projects are starting there first and then going to publishers. Some of the industry’s biggest creators are going there to get their projects out there.

Kickstarter has really gotten the ball rolling in a change that will fundamentally change the entertainment we enjoy and will eventually lead to a publishing process years from now we don’t even recognize today. What’s more amazing is, it’s just getting started.

Runners Up:

  • Image Comics – Image has had a banner year, getting past stereotypes of the type of comics you’d expect from them and drawing in some of the industry’s biggest creators. It gave us some of the most talked about comics of the years, creating some of the biggest buzz. All of which during it’s 20th anniversary.
  • Dark Horse – Conan, The Massive, The Strain, the Goon, Dark Horse Presents, Mind MGMT, Ghost and I could go on and on. Dark Horse gave us some amazing monthly series, but also collections of modern comics as well as classic comic archives.
  • Viz Media – I don’t read Manga. I’m not the biggest fan, but I’m checking it out more and more. Why Viz Media makes the list is because they’re changing up revenue models. Not only did they launch Neon Alley, but they have given a digital Manga platform which you can pay for or read digital comics by watching ads. Add in a deal with CafePress and this is a company willing to try new things and see what works.
  • Archaia – Archaia has put out some of the most beautiful comics this year. They went digital first, which I think hurt a bit, but the comics themselves are fantastic. They really have something for everyone and if you want to get someone in to comics, this is a company to start with. The presentation alone will get people to change their minds. When I think of Archaia, I think quality.

Around the Tubes

It’s a new week!  What news will be hitting the public?  We’ll find out…

Toy Fair 2012

MTV Geek – Toy Fair 2012: The Lizard Revealed with Hasbro’s ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Toys

MTV Geek – Toy Fair 2012: Hasbro Assembles a Massive Assortment of ‘The Avengers’ Toys

Comics Alliance – New Images of Marvel Universe 3.75″ Action Figures Are Here [Toy Fair 2012]

Comics Alliance – ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Movie Toy Images Arrive [Toy Fair 2012]

Comics Alliance – Hasbro Reveals ‘The Avengers’ Movie Toy Lineup [Toy Fair 2012]

 

Around the Blogs:

Kotaku – DLC? Title Update? Whatever, Gotham City Impostors Promises a Big, Free Update in March – Some free DLC for those video games fans

Kotaku – Sunday Comics: Me TimeEach week Kotaku posts up some great web comics.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Penguin: Pain & Prejudice #5

Best Comics of 2011

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2011. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2010, though some are from earlier times and we got around to reading them. Keep in mind, this is what I have read.  If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

Best Super Hero Comic – Daredevil

Daredevil #1 CoverDaredevil has had an interesting 2011, we started with Shadowland and then got Matt Murdock finding himself and then a relaunched back to basic series written by Mark Waid with art by Paolo RiveraShadowland wasn’t too bad, a bit uneven, but as a whole Marvel had issues with this year’s events.  Seeing Murdock corrupt and the emotion from his friends was an interesting read.  After you had Murdock wandering the country in short mini-series followed up by the relaunch.

It’s that relaunch that makes Daredevil stick out in my mind.  It’s a comic I look forward to reading each month.  Waid has given it a pulp action feel like classic Green Hornet or the Shadow and Rivera’s art is fantastic.  The comic is just fun to read.  On top of Waid’s take, Daredevil is now an Avenger and each of his brief appearances so far has enhanced that series.  When you show up in an ensemble comic and steal the show, that says something.

Waid has set up a lot going into 2012, can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Runner Ups – Moon Knight, Uncanny X-Force, Aquaman

Best Non-Super Hero Comic –DMZ

DMZ 50Is there a more politically relevant comic book series out there? Every month we’re given something to think about as we follow Matty Roth through Manhattan which is now a DMZ in the middle of the second American Civil War.

Writer Brian Wood is able to pivot and comment on what’s currently happening in politics and the world challenging our perceptions and not seem preachy at the same time.

With some single issues that stand as some of the best of the year and numerous holy shit moments, this isn’t just one of the most relevant comics out there, but some of the best political commentary of any entertainment medium.  Fittingly, this final week also brought us the final issue of the series, a perfect way to end the year.

Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent

Criminal: The Last Of The Innocent #1Really, just sign me up for whatever Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips have in store.  This latest volume of their crime/noir series from Marvel/Icon gave us a shit-head of a main character and kept us on our toes as to what to expect.  Sean Philips also showed us something new by changing up the art style every so often.

These two are one of the best teams in comic books today.  Early 2012 brings us Fatale from them to be published by Image which is more horror/noir.  Hopefully we’ll be seeing another volume of this series as well.

I’m a huge fan up pulp/noir comics, and this is the gold standard by which all others are judged.  Just fantastic.

Runner Ups – Critical Millennium, Severed, 27: Second Set

Best Single Issue – Transformers #22 and #23

Transformers #23 CoverTechnically it’s two issues, but the story is spread out between the two issues and either stands out as the best.  On top of that Transformers: The Death of Optimus Prime reflects on what’s discussed in these issues as well.  Megatron is captured and the two issues reflect on his and Optimus’ past and how they became who they are.  Flash forward to the present and the two leaders debate politics and motives.  It’s an adult discussion coming from two giant robots.

DMZ might have been “the” political discussion of the year, but these two issues I just didn’t expect it from.  Absolutely fantastic and enough to give me pause and make me think.

What’s the difference between a terrorist and freedom fighter?  Find out in these issues.

Worst Single Issue of the Year – Holy Terror

Just a holy piece of crap.  This is up there as one of the worst things I’ve ever read.  The graphic novel by legend Frank miller is racist, xenophobic, sexist and horribly written.  Can’t believe we’ve waited so long to read it.

Runner Ups The Infinite (any issue)

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Green River Killer

Green River Killer A True Detective StoryDark Horse’s Green River Killer is a true-crime story focused on the Green River serial killings.  The writer was close to the subject, as his father was one of the lead detectives.  The story has multiple layers, looking at how families were affected, the struggles the police went through and at the end, why the killer did what he did.

The graphic novel is haunting.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it for many days it was that disturbing and unsettling.  The art is good, but it’s the story that gets you.  The whole time you’re wondering how they’re going to solve this, but also why is this happening.

Add in the fact this is a true story.  It’s a disturbing true story.  Being able to get some of the behind the scenes to a story I only know from newspapers and the nightly news, just adds more to it all.

Runner Ups Any Empire, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

Best Event of the Year – Uncanny X-Force: The Dark Angel Saga

Uncanny X-Force #18 Teaser 1I’m counting this as an event, though it’s really a long story arc.  Rick Remender has put together the best “X” book put out by Marvel.  This event which saw the rise of a new Apocalypse in the form of Archangel and X-Force is all that stands in the way between him and world destruction.

Diving into “X” lore with trips to the Age of Apocalypse universe, this was a story for the hard core “X” fans.  But, more than that, everything was thrown into it.  You had no idea what was going to come next and what to expect.

It wasn’t until I finally read the last issue that I know the ending, that’s how much of a big question mark Remender gave us.  The follow as well was fantastic as why characters did what they did and a new status-quo and direction were set.

Runner Ups Artifacts, Flashpoint

Best Genre of the Year – Horror

Horror was where it was at this year with DC folding in some Vertigo books and some great limited series like Severed.  Animal Man, Swamp Thing, I, Vampire, B.P.R.D. and more lead the way to dethroning last year’s winner, a bunch of shuffling zombies (though that’s also horror in a way).  I’ve never been creeped out more and enjoyed it as much.

Runner Up – Steampunk, Zombie

Best Comic Tie-In of the Year – Batman: Arkham City

I enjoy a video game or two (dozen).  One of the best video games of the year, not just comic book tie-ins was Batman: Arkham City which just brought more of the brawler game.  There’s a reason many are naming this as one of the best video games of the year and it’s sold so well.  It’s that damn good.

The downloadable material which seems to be coming as a steady flow, the fact you can play as so many characters, that all adds up to a comic book experience you can control.  Add in amazing graphics, game play and there you have it, it’s a must buy video game.

Runner Up – Marvel Universe toys, DC Universe Super Heroes Legos

Best Comic Book Related Movie – Thor

Marvel Studios Thor PosterThis year’s crop of comic book related movies wasn’t as amazing as I’d hope, but it’s a solid bunch.  Marvel’s batch as what stood out and all three really deserve to share the honors.  Each was excellent and flawed in their own ways, but out of the three Thor holds up best.

The story is pretty standard, didn’t really challenge me at all, but the visuals and Chris Hemsworth’s acting is what really makes it all stand out.  The flaws also are the least of the bunch with only the final fight between Thor and the Destroyer really bothering me.

Out of the bunch, this was also the highest grossing, showing it wasn’t just me that liked it.

Runner Ups – Captain America: The First Avenger, X-Men: First Class

Best Surprise of the Year – DC New 52

DC ComicsThis is a mixed one as DC’s relaunch is also a disappointment, but I’ll address it all here.  DC made a bold move this year to shake up their sagging line of comic books by starting from the beginning and relaunching the entire line.  It was gutsy.  On top of that, their digital initiative was bold.

The story that lead up to it all, Flashpoint, was pretty damn good and what came out of it as well.  I took a chance on all fifty-two issues and came away with giving half of them a chance for the second issue.  From there, I made further cuts, but today, I’m reading more comics from DC than I ever have and their higher volumes they’re selling that the initiative has worked for the short term.

The disappointing part is that they didn’t go far enough.  The comics were pretty standard and we didn’t get anything out of the box.  There also was a clear audience, adolescent males (or men stuck in their adolescence).  While we saw more advertising to the general public, we haven’t seen a sustained campaign.  For all their gains in 2011, I think we’ll see a good chunk of it erode in 2012.

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Marvel Events

Marvel ComicsFear Itself and it’s follow up were and are bad.  X-Men: Schism was ok, but much better than what was before.  Shadowland was uneven.  Marvel has been having some issues when it comes to their events.  I won’t call it overall event fatigue in the industry as others have put out quality and showed what works.

Too many tie-ins, stories not thought out and gimmicky tricks paved the way to a substandard experience.

Marvel relied on the tired gimmick of death, killing the Ultimate Spider-Man, Bucky, the Human Torch and more, that all made headlines but some of it is already undone.  There’s only so many times you can call death before the masses catch on and shrugs their shoulders.

Already we’re heading into more events at Marvel in 2012, here’s hoping there’s some improvement.

Runner Up – Green Lantern (movie), DCnU

Best Character – Moon Knight

Moon Knight #1 CoverMoon Knight has always been a character that’s intrigued me.  Brian Michael Bendis, along with amazing art by Alex Maleev, have given us a new series that really looks at the many personalities of Marc Spector.  The new series really has fun with the idea having Moon Knight drawing upon his personalities at different points.

Moon Knight is the psychotic Batman, a super hero struggling with mental illness.  But is he really suffering from it?  And should it be this much enjoyable to read?

Publisher of the Year – Archaia

ArchaiaArchaia received the honor last year as well, so let me really explain my logic here.  Lets start with the big two, Marvel and DC.  Marvel’s line has suffered in 2011, they’re out.  DC made a bold choice, but four months letter, it all feels empty.  There’s quality, but there’s also a lot that just doesn’t excite.

BOOM! made it’s case towards the end of the year with some great original series, along with some on-goings that continue to show off their quality.  Add in a lot of licensed comics and they’ve got a line that has something for everyone.  There were also some busts, but they’ve got a great line of comics.  Image Comics, for all the quality also has some major duds.  Inconsistency is the issue, but their quality is some of the best out there.

Dark Horse has some amazing comics.  A lot of big name licenses and some good original, but there’s a lot of series I read and just didn’t interest me.  Their quality though is up there.  If your a Star Wars or Buffy fan too, they put out excellent product.  Then we come to IDW Publishing.  A lot of license there too, and also a lot of original material.  Each week I see their new releases, I get excited, as a whole, I’m probably interested in more of their monthly comics percentage wise than any other publisher, and it’s all excellent.

And the big winner is Archaia.  I should start with the presentation of the books.  Beautiful covers and packaging is the first thing that sticks out.  Their entire line of graphic novels are beautiful to look at on a shelf.  Then there’s what’s in between those fancy covers.  The variety of the books and quality is unmatched.  I can find something for everyone and hand out one of their series or a graphic novel and know I’m good with my choice.  All of what I read was good to great and much challenges story telling and comic book visuals.

Licensed books, original books, it’s all here.  And it’s amazing.  There’s comics for kids and adults and books kids and adults will love together.  Books from the US and Europe, we have different styles and perspectives, it’s like the publisher goes out of it’s way to present choice and variety.  And it’s all good.

I said it last year and it still holds true this year, when I think Archaia, I think high quality and expect the best.  They continue to not let me down.

Runner Up – IDW Publishing

Gazillion Entertainment at Comic Con

Official Press Release

Gazillion Entertainment wants to share some fun news leading into Comic-Con later this month. During the Marvel Games Panel on Saturday, July 23rd from 12:30pm – 1:30pm we’ll be unveiling some updated information on the much anticipated Marvel Universe MMO as well as a new trailer and details for Super Hero Squad Online including:

  • Marvel Universe
  • Gazillion will be unveiling some key art for the game for the first time as well as a brand new character.
  • Marvel Universe, a free-to-play MMO, will allow you to play as Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, Hulk, Thor, Spiderman, Nova, Squirrel Girl and tons more.
  • Super Hero Squad Online
    • Gazillion will be premiering the new Collectible Card Battle system for Super Hero Squad Online. The system introduces a new element to game play, adding Player versus Player combat, and ratcheting up the excitement for everyone.
    • At the booth we’ll also be having hands-on gameplay of the new Captain America characters for Super Hero Squad Online, and the new Red Skull mission.

    Throughout the show we’ll also be giving away exclusive SDCC T-Shirts!

    So come on by the panel for new game info, swing past the Marvel booth for free schwag and SHSO hands-on gameplay, and get the latest info on both Super Hero Squad Online and Marvel Universe.

    Marvel Universe Wolverine


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    Check out the latest entry to Hasbro‘s Marvel Universe toy line.

    MVL U Wolverine PackagingMVL U WolverineMarvel® Universe: Wolverine™

    Wolverine began his career as a soldier for the most secretive black operations team on Earth. Years of struggle pulled him out of that world, bringing him first to Alpha Flight™, and then to the X-Men™. Under the tutelage of Charles Xavier, he came into his own. He moved away from the soldier of fortune he had been, and became a true hero and champion of the mutant species.

    Intricately detailed down to the last muscle, this articulated Wolverine action figure is ready to fight! Send him into battle to fight for the fate of the world or leave him posed for action on his stand as a warning against evil-doers everywhere!

    Figure comes with a classified file with a secret code.

    SUMMARY:
    Articulated action figure comes with a stand for display after you’re done enacting all of your fiercest good-versus-evil battles! Figure comes with a classified file with a secret code. Ages 4 and up.

    MARVEL, all related characters: TM & © 2009 Marvel Entertainment, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Licensed by Marvel Characters B.V. All rights reserved.
    ®* and/or ™* & © 2009 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved.

    The information provided here is as complete and accurate as possible; however, product names, colors and/or materials are subject to change without notice. Many of our products, including the designs and features contained therein, are protected by trademarks, patents and/or copyrights. Appropriate legal action will be taken against any infringers of these rights.<

    Marvel Universe Toys


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    The newest entries for Hasbro‘s Marvel Universe toy line.  There’s some great looking stuff to be released.

    Best Comic Books of 2010

     

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    It’s the first day of a new year and so that means we’re doing our “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2010.  Generally these are comic books that came out in 2010, though some are from earlier times and we got around to reading them.  Keep in mind, this is what I read.  We’ve added some new categories this year, but without further delay, here are the winners!

    Best Super Hero Comic – The Invincible Iron Man

    Invincible Iron Man #500.1Yes, this series won last year too, but writer Matt Fraction has kept up the excellence with an amazing plot mixing superhero heroics, politics, corporate rivalry and with the latest issue, we learn this is all the tip of the iceberg.

    In single issues there’s usually some bigger worldly issue we’re presented with, great banter, often fantastic action and beautiful art.

    This is a superhero comic for adults and one series I look forward to each month.

    The upcoming Invincible Iron Man #500.1 is the perfect jumping on point to see what you’re missing.

    Runner Ups – Secret Warriors, Uncanny X-Force

    Best Non-Super Hero Comic –DMZ

    DMZ 50Is there a more politically relevant comic book series out there?  Every month we’re given something to think about as we follow Matty Roth through Manhattan which is now a DMZ in the middle of the second American Civil War.

    Writer Brian Wood is able to pivot and comment on what’s currently happening in politics and the world challenging our perceptions and not seem preachy at the same time.

    With some single issues that stand as some of the best of the year and numerous holy shit moments, this isn’t just one of the most relevant comics out there, but some of the best political commentary of any entertainment medium.

    Runner Ups – American Vampire, Chew, The Walking Dead

    Best Limited Series or One Shot – Daytripper

    DaytripperI’ve handed this comic off to so many people and not only sucked them into this series, but also got them to ask what else is out there?  This showed that comics aren’t about just spandex anymore.

    There’s no other series out there that created such an emotional reaction each month.  I’m not embarrassed to admit there were numerous moments I broke down crying or teared up.  No other series has done that before to me.

    It’s a shame it ended and hopefully we see more soon from the phenoms Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá.

    Runner Ups – Killer: Modus Vivendi, Taskmaster, Velocity

    Best Single Issue – Unknown Soldier #21 (New Category)

    This series saw it’s conclusion this year but it also brought the best issue of any comic book during it’s end run.

    This issue focused on the history of one Avtomat Kalashnikova rifle as it’s passed from one owner to another.  It’s a powerful issue looking at the mass distribution of a weapon that’s been a driver and common tool in today’s conflicts .

    Powerful, heart wrenching, and an amazing political and historical statement, this issue is a must read for comic book fans and non-comic book readers.

    Worst Single Issue of the Year – Fantastic Four Annual #32 (New Category)

    Three words as to why – Time. Travel. Abortion.

    Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Return of the Dapper Men

    Return of the Dapper Men HCThere’s no other graphic novel that was more magical this year than Jim McCann‘s and Janet Lee‘s Return of the Dapper Men.

    This is a magical world of wonder where time has stopped and adults have disappeared.  Neverland in a modern setting.

    A modern classic is the only way I can describe this graphic novel that seems to evoke the best of those magical tales we read, watched and were told as kids.  This is a graphic novel parents will be sharing with their children for years to come.

    Runner UpsHow to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, Cuba: My Revolution, Revolver

    Best Event of the Year – Artifacts

    Artifacts #1 CoverThe first issue had me gasp “holy shit” out loud and the subsequent ones have just been setting up what will be a hell of a ride.

    The public seems to have reacted well with issues going back for numerous printings.

    All hell is about the break loose in the Top Cow universe and with Ron Marz‘s talented writing to drive it and some fantastic artists to back him up, there’s a chance this might be next year’s top event as well.

    Best Genre of the Year – Zombie

    The Walking Dead Zombie Teaser 2One thing makes zombies get the win here, The Walking Dead.  The comic book series continues it’s excellence and the television show had us wanting more after it’s first season’s six episode run.  There’s a reason it was one of the top rated cable series ever, it’s that damn good.  Evidence of it’s spread beyond the normal comic book reading public are the numerous people reading it on my daily commute and my non-comic book reading friends asking me about the series and comic.  I don’t see this type of legs with the big movie blockbusters.  Congrats to Robert Kirkman and AMC.

    Runner Up – Noir

    Best Comic Tie-In of the Year –Heroclix

    Heroclix Web of Spider-manI’m a sucker for Heroclix and picked up the Blackest Night set at Gen Con this year.  I don’t play, but love looking at the detailed figures.  There’s something so much fun about it and I wish I had some local gamer friends that I can break out my figures once in a while and give me an excuse to get more.

    With sets based off of Watchmen, Blackest Night, Brightest Day, Jonah Hex, Iron Man, Spider-Man and the DC 75th Anniversary it’s impressive this was a game and company on the brink of collapse not too long ago.

    Runner Up – Marvel Universe toys.

    Best Comic Book Related Movie – Scott Pigrim vs. the World (New Category)

    Scott Pilgrim vs. the WorldIt’s been an up and down year for movies based off of comic books.  Next years crop of movies looks strong, but this year had one stand out and that was the kinetic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

    This was a movie for the Nintendo generation with so much in there even our ADD generation missed some of the winks and nods littered throughout the film.

    It holds up after multiple viewings and I know I left with a smile on my face.  Overall it was a year of weak competition but even in a strong year this would be a contender.

    On an aside my favorite movies of 2010 were The Social Network, Black Swan, The Town and The Fighter.

    Runner Up – The Losers

    Best Series Finale of the Year – Ex Machina (New Category)

    Ex MachinaI can’t think of a series which ended so perfectly.  To say more would give it all away, but I was beyond satisfied when I finished reading it and hoped for a second volume.

    The finale of this superhero as Mayor series answered our questions, gave us some jaw dropping moments at the end and presented a Presidential ticket I might even vote for.

    A lot of series left unanswered questions or gave us disappointing ones, but this one never seemed like a cop out and never treated us like children.

    The ending was damn near perfect and the series one of the best of modern times.

    Runner Up – Daytripper

    Best Surprise of the Year – Killer: Modus Vivendi (New Category)

    The Killer Modus Vivendi 006 CoverThis is a new category that I thought was appropriate to throw out there.  I look at this as comics you probably skipped in 2010, but you really should go back and check out. 

    Killer: Modus Vivendi is the third volume for this character and saw him being manipulated by the CIA and Cubans in a tale about oil and spheres of influence.  Bond and Bourne, eat your heart out.

    Not only do we have great action, some intense moments, but there’s also politics and a worldly view you don’t find out in too many other comics.  It’s the complete package in comics for adults.

    Runner Up – Velocity, Kill Shakespeare

    Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Brightest Day and Heroic Age

    Enter the Heroic AgeI “Entered the Heroic Age” and looked forward to tomorrow’s “Brightest Day” and can say “no thanks.”  Does no longer being dark and gritty also mean convoluted and boring?

    Marvel and DC comics took a dip this year as they moved away from dark stories and attempted to hark back to the golden age of black and white heroes and villains.  We also got the return of the 90’s with the return of characters we thought and hoped were dead and stayed that way.

    This all clearly isn’t lasting long as the Marvel event Fear Itself looms over 2011.  As a hole things just aren’t quite as exciting as they’ve been in years past.

    Runner Up – Iron Man 2

    Best Character – Killer

    I’m so happy Archaia put Killer: Modus Vivendi in my hands.  With it I got one of the best politically charged noir comics on the market and a badass anti-hero in the man we only know as Killer.

    He beds the hot chicks, assassinates people with a shot, causes revolutions and destabilizes regions. Bond and Bourne are wimps compared to writer Matz‘s creation.

    We get to see politics and the world from outside of an “American” perspective and a cold unrepentant killer and assassin who it’s all a job to.

    This was the third volume with more to come.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.

    Publisher of the Year – Archaia

    ArchaiaSo where’d this company come from?  I don’t think there was one comic I read I was disappointed in or didn’t enjoy in some way.  The hardcovers are just high quality products and stories in between the covers reflect that.  The Killer, Mouse Guard, Cyclops, Critical Millennium and so many more are series you should be reading and if you’re not then you need to check them out.

    Many of these series continue into 2011 and there’s many new ones to come.  When I think Archaia, I think high quality and expect the best.  So far they haven’t let me down.

    Runner Ups – Top Cow, Marvel

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