So, 2012. It was a pretty good year for comics, huh? In fact, I would venture to say that it may just be the best I can remember. It’s certainly the only year in which I was genuinely excited for at least one book every single week of the year. That may be because of more exposure to what is coming out, but I was hardly ever disappointed in what I picked up. All the quality certainly made this much more difficult than I had anticipated, but I managed. From a list that was whittled down from near 40 books, I give you the best comics of 2012!
As a lifelong fan of the King of the Monsters, this series has made me incredibly happy. James Stokoe has brought an incredibly engaging story from what is usually a rinse-and-repeat character. Godzilla is easy to make a spectacle, but rarely is it something to be considered when making a “Best of” list. Oh! Not to be forgotten, this is the best art in any book you will see all year. Just sayin’. Kudos, Mr. Stokoe.
This is Jeff Lemire’s best work to date. There is no debating that. The Twilight Zone feel is mastered from the get go, the family dynamics )that Lemire is so adept at writing) is top notch. A story that starts simple enough ends up enormously deep and complex. While Lemire’s art isn’t what you are used to seeing in comics, it is unique and gorgeous in black and white watercolors.
This came to me very late in the year (about 3 days ago), and I immediately latched on. I read through 96 strips in about 30 minutes, and loved every single second of it. Yale Stewart writes and draws this little gem, and he does so with charm and a deep understanding of the characters he’s using. JL8 is the first time since the New 52 started that Superman has been portrayed correctly through an entire run, and when Bruce is questioned by Hippolyta you see just how well he knows his stuff. It’s perfect(also, adorable and hilarious).
Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have taken a character that I knew little about and cared nothing for, and turned it into one that I anticipate as much as my all-time favorites. This book carried a tone that was a rarity in the big two publishers, and it was such a refreshing addition to my pull list. As only Mark Waid is able, he then flipped the script, and turn the whole series on it’s head (and relieved Matt of his in doing so!).This is masterful street level comics, and one of the best comics you could have picked up in 2012. Makes you wonder what beat it out, doesn’t it?
Technically I read all of I, Vampire in 2012 because of the atrocious covers of the first few issues, but I’m glad I finally gave it a chance. Josh Fialkov, Andrea Sorrentino and Mario Maiolo throw the “superhero status quo” BS out the window and gave readers a wild, bloody, and ridiculously beautiful ride. I, Vampire rivals even DC’s best books, and in almost all cases it stands head and shoulders over them.
Let me preface this by saying: If this book had a full year’s worth of releases, I would have put it in my top 3. This is easily my favorite new comic of the year. Matt Fraction was a relative unknown to me coming into this series, and then he bro-ed his way into my heart. No other book has the style and the sense of humor that Hawkeye has. AND there is David Aja’s art; it’s superb. 2013 is bright for Hawkguy.
BKV’s return to comics had me giddy. He already was one of my favorite creators out there, and he has only upped his stock. It helps that he is paired up with one of the hottest artists in the business in Fiona Staples. Saga mixes so many different aspects, and does it ridiculously well. It’s a humorous love story thrown into a magical, Star Wars esque universe. Yup. It’s great.
The Court of the Owls ended fairly well, but it didn’t end on as high a note as I would have hoped. Then Scott Snyder introduced Harper Row and brought back my favorite comic villain , the Joker. Batman #12 is near perfection, and #13 was the best Batman issue of the year. I’ve read as many Joker stories as I can get my hands on, some good and some bad; this is the only time I have gotten a physical reaction from him. He makes me tense. It pleases me. Snyder and Capullo have come together to make a stand out series–from the book turns in Batman #5 to all the references in the most recent arc. I can’t say enough good things about this book…Actually, I could go on all day about it, but I will save you that torture.
2. Punk Rock Jesus
I debated these last two for a long time. In the end, I couldn’t give the top spot to a mini that hasn’t finished yet. That said, Punk Rock Jesus only has five issues and two of them are among my favorites of the year. Sean Murphy’s art is perfect for world building, and it is on display with how deep and tangible the world seems to be with the small amount of exposition that he has given. He’s created some of the most intriguing characters in recent comics, and you feel something for them immediately. The final issue is my most anticipated book of 2013, and that is only next week.
1. American Vampire
Was there any doubt? While Scott Snyder and Rapheal Albuquerque have always given top-notch work, 2012’s AV stories have been the best of the series. Death Race introduced a fantastic character in Travis Kid, and The Blacklist proceeded to rip my heart out and attempt to stamp out the passion for the characters that I have built up to this point. It did not work, but the gravitas of the events of The Blacklist and the emotions they evoked were not matched by any other book I read this year. This is the best book of 2012. This is what comics should be, and the American Vampire team should be very proud of what they did this year.
There you have it, the best books of 2012 according to me. But before I go, there are many things that I am looking forward too in 2013. Here are a few:
The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy (both featured above)
“Untitled Superman Book” from Scott Snyder and Jim Lee (from all accounts it’s the first sighting of actual Superman in the New 52!)
Trillium by Jeff Lemire
Guardians of the Galaxy by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven
Star Wars by Brian Wood
Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios