December 2013 and it’s been a pretty weird year. So, just three things. One: Superman can, does and has killed (Man of Steel). Two: It was a real thrill to see a nude of my wife in an artbook and Three: It was an even bigger thrill to see her artwork for Total Recoil on the Sony Japanese PS Vita site.
Guardians of the Galaxy © Marvel Comics
All the selected are graphic novels, whether collected or standalone. There is no point in giving an award to a single issue comic, that’s like going for a three-course meal and eating only the starter.
Best 10 of the Year 2013 (in no order of preference)
Richard Stark/Darwyn Cooke (IDW Publishing). Want to know how you can turn a theme park into a weapon? It’s all here.
Empowered Vol 8
Adam Warren (Dark Horse). Darker than previous volumes but still powered to the max (see what I did there).
Bakuman Vol 20
Tsugumi Oba/Takeshi Obata (Viz Comics). Finished too soon.
Omaha the Cat Dancer Vol 8
Reed Waller/Kate Worley/James Vance (NBM). A fond farewell to one of the more mature and adult titles published.
Dustin Nguyen (DC Comics). Two words: “Back seats!”
The Great War
Joe Sacco (Jonathan Cape). The Bayeux Tapestry of WWI.
Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books). Tesla, parallel universes and art theft.
Castle Waiting Vol 2
Linda Medley (Fantagraphics). Need a book for a young, smart and sassy daughter? Here you go.
Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me
Peter Bagge (Fantagraphics). You know how – in a forum argument – there’s always one post that should stop that dead because it makes the point spot on? That is what this book feels like.
Terry Dodson/D.P. Filippi (Humanoids). The story’s slight, but oh my God. TERRY DODSON!
Best Art Books
Muses a Gogo
Guillem March (Self Published). It has a nude of the wife within. Of course it’s going to be here.
Hugh Hefner (Taschen). Playboy has (strangely) come in for some stick of late. This boxset reiterates how influential it also was with civil/human rights and that sex – for all genders – should and can be fun.
Best graphic novel for boys
Battling Boy – Paul Pope (First Second). Want a book for an over-active, adventurous boy? Here you go.
Best graphic novel for girls
Most consistently funny
Arsenic Lullaby: The Big Stall – Douglas Paszkiewicz (Arsenic Lullaby Publishing). Would still be funny if only for the description of Lovecraft readers as “disaffected English Lit students”.
The “Oh My God I’m So Ashamed I Bought This” award
Black Kiss 2 – Howard Chaykin (Image Comics). Oh my God, I’m so ashamed.
Endless Wartime – Warren Ellis/Mike McKone (Marvel Comics). Bit like Matt Smith’s final Doctor Who story. All the pieces are there, but so underwhelming and by the numbers.
DC One Million Omnibus – Grant Morrison/Various (DC Comics). Wow, I’d forgotten how bad this was (except for Morrison’s JLA sections; which are always good).
Age of Ultron – Brian Bendis/Various (Marvel Comics). Started off so well. But the variable art and mucking up of Marvel’s continuity makes me more and more believe that one day Marvel will have to do a Crisis on Infinite Earth’s tale.
Saga Vol 2: Brian K. Vaughan/Fiona Staples (Image Comics). Saga gets lauded a lot, but really it’s just the equivalent of sixth-form poetry for sad Goths and Warhammer players. “Please shoot it in my twat” – I mean; seriously? Do you know anyone who talks like this? Even the baby is obnoxious.
SEX Vol 1 – Joe Casey/Piotr Kowalski (Image Comics). “Here’s an idea. Let’s get Batman to retire and be surrounded by sex, because we all know how uptight and repressed he is. Right?”.
Brian Bendis for Guardians of the Galaxy (Marvel)
Joe Sacco for The Great War (Jonathan Cape)
The “Well, That’s A Surprise” award
Nemo: Heart of Ice – Alan Moore/Kevin O’Neill (Top Shelf Productions). Who would have thought. An Alan Moore story with no rape scene as a plot device; and in a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tale too.