Salute A Real… Special Recognition Award
Jenny Frison-She produced more of my favorite covers in 2014 than any artist. God damn, look at those three covers. From the series she works on-Revival, Red Sonja and Vampirella.
4. Dr. McNinja by Christopher Hastings-I love McNinja (about a doctor who is also a ninja) but the long stories were hard to follow in three page increments every week. Plus while each story was good there hadn’t been a knock out one in a while.
3. Go Get A Roomie by Chloe-Fun romp of a series and I enjoy the main characters. Kinda hard to truly explain but its about a enthusiastic woman who comes into the life of a woman who prefers to sleep her days away.
3. Menage A 3 Giz & Dave Zero1-Following the misadventures of Gary, his roommates Zii and Didi and the various people in their lives. A lot of it has to do with sex. Always a fun, read with big laughs and ‘sexiness.’
1. Sandra on the Rocks by Dave Lumsdon & Eisu Mokhtar-Spin off from Ma3 about Didi’s once co-worker who is now working as a model in France. Been having fun watching this one develop.
Favorite Single Issues, Story Arcs & Mini-Series
5. Wonder Woman #35 by Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chaing, & Matthew Wilson-For all of the weird and sometimes awful decisions Azzarello made he never lost touch with who Diana is as a character and Chiangs art-I loved it through out so WW #35, and the whole run, is important for me. Plus that showdown with First Born…
4. Silver Surfer #6 by Dan Slott, Michael & Laura Allred-My favorite issue of the newest Surfer series has Silver Surfer adjusting to traveling with his new companion Dawn. After removing her tonsils (cause he didn’t want to return to Earth for her to see her doctor) they land for ice cream on Planet Prime. A world where everyone dedicates themselves to one discipline and and get a numbered rank. Its a fun story with gorgeous art. Plus Dawn and SS have such great chemistry.
3. Multiversity: Pax Americana by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely & Nathan Fairbairn-I can’t truly explain to you the fourth story in Morrisons long awaited Multiversity series but I can say this baby was trending on twitter for two days. Has a comic book ever done that. The comic dream team of Morrison and Quitely reunited for a watchman-esque story using the Charlton characters that inspired the Watchman characters. Its all about the investigation of a Presidents assassination and other murders and disappearances. A comic that has raised the bar in craftsmanship and technical skill.
2. Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures by Grant Morrison, Cameron Stewart & Nathan Fairbairn-While Pax Americana by by the critical darling of 2014, the fifth Multiversity story is my favorite for being the funnest and brightest. Morrison teams with frequent collaborator Cameron Stewart to take Shazam! back to its roots as Captain Marvel and family battle Dr. Sivana who is mining suspendium to create an 8th day called Sivana day. This is not contemporary, serious, darker take on the classic character that DC normally does. This is pure, old school style with much childlike wonder.
1. Stray Bullets: Killers by David Lapham-No single story arc, mini series, or issue had me nervous and scared like Stray Bullets latest Killers. Now I read some Stray Bullets years ago but it wasn’t till this year that I got to read the long out of print series (which was finally finished after a long hiatus). In that omnibus I fell in love with Virginia Applejack and this series follows her and a certain boy who becomes her love interest. However Stray Bullets is about bad things happening to people and as it built and built-I just got scared looking at the cover. Its ending, was masterful. Depressing, dark and yet… A little bit of relief. I almost an anxiety attack reading the final issue.
5. Brian K. Vaughan for Saga-Saga continues to be a glorious piece of comic literature. BKV has kept the emotion flowing and action hot. Watching the family of Alana and Marko try to survive enemies but also dealing with their own problems-damn. This space opera/fantasy lives up to the hype.
4. Dan Slott for Silver Surfer-Dan Slott is one of those guys who can either amuse me greatly or bore me. Silver Surfer amuses me greatly. Surfer is a pretty straight faced kinda character who is funny in the way he deals with people and the things around. Pairing him up with a human companion, dawn, and having them out on many adventures makes this a thrilling cosmic superhero book.
3. Greg Rucka for Lazarus-Greg Rucka is building a mythology and world with characters that are gripping. This dystopian scifi series about family empires controlling their lands and doing business or battle gets better and better. Rucka knows how to build tension so damn well and every issue of Lazarus has me excited. I am also all in on Michelle Rodriguez wanting to play Forever Carlyle. Hollywood, make it happen.
2. David Lapham for Stray Bullets: Killers-Read my comments above about Stray Bullets: Killers. Its pretty obvious why this is here.
1. Grant Morrison for Multiversity and Annhilator-Morrison has so far delivered on his long awaited Multiversity project. Several one shots with two bookends all set on alternate DC worlds with a overarching them. A group of ehroes battling the threat of the Gentry. I spoke on Thunderworld and Pax Americana but I also dug Secret Society of Superhero with Chris Sprouse. The modern retro pulp one shot was big action. The Just, though the weakest, featured some pretty cool characters and ideas. The first issue, Multiversity, which set the series up was big and epic. Than there is Morrison and artist Frazer Irvings incredibly insane Annhilator. About a screenwriter who is dying and his only help is the character who he is writing a script about. Frazer’s art matches these big, dark, cool story. Morrison has had me excited for each and every project and I’m looking forward to the ends of these books as well as the Nameless and (hopefully) his Wonder Woman OGN.
Favorite Artists/Art Teams
5. Tie: Phil Noto for Black Widow and Sean Philips & Elizabeth Breitweiser for Fatale and Fade Out-It wa shard to choose between these two for the bottom spot. Phil Noto is why I picked up Black Widow and he has not disappointed me. Such a perfect fit for this big action spy series. People say Widow couldn’t handle a movie-I tell those people read this comic book. Philips tied with Staples for my top spot last year (sorry Staples, but competition was tight this year) and barely made it on here. His work was awesome throughout but issue #34 of Fatale is why couldn’t let him slip out. What an amazing series that was, and Fade Out is pretty damn good looking.
4. Cameron Stewart & Nathan Fairbairn for Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures-Cameron Stewart draws the best Captain Marvel/Shazam since Jeff Smith’s mini series several years back. Don’t get me wrong, I like some fo the more serious takes but the animated look and vibrant feel just suit Shazam so well. That vibrancy also brought to you by Nathan Fairbairn. His colors-wow. These two put out a book that just looks so damn fun.
3. Michael & Laura Allred for Silver Surfer-Retro, animated look was definitely a big deal with me in 2014 apparently as Mike and Laura Allred brought that to Silver Surfer. Such a beautiful and cool looking comic.I’m glad Allred has drawn each issue as well instead of them trying to put it out monthly with fill in artists who don’t compare. Thank you Marvel.
2. Stejpan Sejic for Death Vigil, Sunstone, Harley Quinn Annual and various covers-Sejic has been the underground buzz for a while thanks to his DA page and cult work on Top Cow books like Witchblade but 2014 showed he was primed for the big time. His books are filled with characters that are just filled with personality. I love how he makes the ladies smile. Whether its Bernie the Grim reaper in Death Vigil, Harley and Ivy in his brief segment in Harley Quinn Annual, or the sexy ladies on Sunstone. He also knows how to lay out a captivating page and does great covers. Check out Death Vigil by the way. I need more of that.
1. Frank Quitely & Nathan Fairbairn for Multiversity: Pax Americana-Even people who hated the story could not deny the look. This book is on another level as far as meticulous craftsmanship. Sequences in reverse, 8 page grids, giant lay out set in the same room with each panel representing one of three timeframes (the above). This is a book comic artists are going to study. There are people out there who absolutely hate Quitely because they say his characters are ugly. Hey, if you feel that way, fine. Does not change this man is leaving many artists in the dust. Also, shout out to colorist Nathan Fairbairn who had to color this epic.
Favorite Ongoing Comic Series
5. Black Widow by Nathan Edmonson & Phil Noto-I did not expect to like this book nearly as much as I did and I absolutely love it. Noto was why I tried it and Nathan Edmonson has delivered action packed issues. I loved the recent team up with X-23. The arc where she battled the one known as Molot Boga/The Hand of God.
4. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples-I’ve spoken highly about Saga before and a bit under my favorite writers. This book is on the top of my reading stack each time out. Its been incredibly intense in the last few issues as well. I hate the hiatus the book takes because I always need my fix.
3. Silver Surfer by Dan Slott, Michael & Laura Allred-Slotts on the writers list, Allreds on the art team list. Check out Silver Surfer. Believe me. This one is great tons of fun.
2. Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama-Not showing up anywhere else is my #2 book of the year Attack on Titan. I discovered the manga last year after AX when people were cosplaying it and have been following it since. The story about a future where people live in a city of walls to protect against man eating titans is dark, creepy, violent and insane. This is a book that goes beyond the hype. I didn’t think it’d be that good but it came through. While the writing isn’t pitch perfect and I’m not a huge fan of the art it does not bring this series down. Its quality. I love this manga. I haven’t actually watched the anime though.
1. Lazarus by Greg Rucka, Michael Lark & Santo Arcas-Lazarus is the ongoing series right now that has been killing it each and everytime out. I talked about Rucka earlier but let me say this about the art team-damn fine job. Lark’s style is nitty-gritty and a perfect match for this dystopian look. The colors bring the grim out even more. The current arc Conclave is just boiling. I’m waiting for it to go down hard. The Lift from earlier this year was amazing. Lazarus jumped to the head of the pack.
Top 10 Covers
10: TIE-Masters of the Universe #19 by Stjepan Sejic & Rachel Rising #29 by Terry Moore
The MOTU covers have been amazing since Sejic took over and this one, using Skeletor as a frame is brilliant. Even more so when you add the familial ties between Skeletor, King Randor and Prince Adam. Rachel Rising has striking covers but this one, of Rachel doing the famed Marilyn Monroe pose over her open grave with her neck scar showing is… wow.
9. Elektra #2 by Michael Del Mundo
If the recent Elektra will be remembered for anything is the amazing artwork of Del Mundo. It was the standout and this cover is stunning.
8. Vampirella (2014 series) #2 by Jenny Frison
Dynamite likes doing a whole slew of covers for their lady lead books so each Vampirella issue has three covers and Jenny Frisons has produced many of the best of the first six issues. There is something so hauntingly beautiful here.
7. Steed and Peele: We’re Needed #2 by Alice X. Zhang
One of those eye grabbing covers that made me do a double take. I have no interest in the old Avengers (British Spy) series nor the comics they’ve inspired but this is a beautiful Ms. Peele piece that almost made me want to buy this issue.
6. Revival #20 by Jenny Frison
A very fun cover that looks like it could piss some conservatives off. I just had a good laugh at this one, which is one of the most joyful and happy covers I’ve seen Frison do.
5. Vampirella (2014 series) #6 by Jenny Frison
Making her third appearance on the list a with my fave Vampirella cover of the year. Its simply gorgeous. Vampirella’s make up washing away under her tears. Frison really should have been appointed the main covers rather than the main variant because most the Terry Dodson ones could not come close to the raw emotion or artistry in Frison’s Vampi covers.
4. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 by Robert Hack
A cool trick Archie Comics pulled. A neat haunted house cover with Sabrina’s head as the focal point, but its really a window to a much cooler image-the one that was the original promo shot for the series. Its enticing, creepy and overall just head and shoulders above many covers this year.
3. Saga #21 by Fiona Staples
God damn! Just God damn! Its even more pitch perfect if you’ve read the story on the inside.
2. Catwoman #36 by Jae Lee
With the creative change to Catwoman acclaimed artist Jae Lee took over the covers and from #35 and up has been knocking out near iconic covers. The series has Catwoman Selina Kyle in the role of Mob Family Boss and the change has been reflective in his beautiful covers. This one, the second cover out, is the best thus far. I also love how he did the comic title. Its a rarity for the title logo to be instrumental to a cover-especially at DC. This one is pure brilliance.
1. Red Sonja #8 by Jenny Frison
With four spots on the top 10 and my special recognition award Jenny Frison killed it this year with her covers. With Red Sonja #8, she set a standard for amazing Red Sonja visuals. I almost immediately knew that this was the cover of the year when I saw it. I just had to have it. It simple, yet conveys the badassness of Sonja better than any cover I’ve seen. While I think Frison has been able to do more with Vampirella and Revivals covers, her work is strong on Red Sonja and this one-well this one is a classic. I’d get this one on a shirt if I could.