It’s almost 3 weeks into 2008, so it’s high time to get the baggage of 2007 boxed up and stacked in the garage. I meant to write a Best Comics of 2007 actually in 2007, but alas.
I got back into comics in a big way last year, taking up my first subscription since .. well, ever. I probably owe this to the DCP and their gentle reminders (Comics Industry: take note). Anyway, for all that I’ve been reading, there wasn’t actually a great deal of it that came out in 2007:
1. Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together (Bryan Lee O’Malley) Hands down winner, keeps getting better with each volume (now up to #4). If you haven’t gotten into this yet, then start with Free Scott Pilgrim from FCBD 2006. The whole comic is online, it don’t cost nothin’! I’ll wait here until you’ve read it. Done? Now go buy the books: Bryan Lee O’Malley deserves all of your money.
2. Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil (Jeff Smith) Where have I been? Bone is wrapped up, and apparently being re-released in colour. Or as a single volume (I think I want this one). Monster Society of Evil is a respectful update and re-imaging of the origin of Captain Marvel (DC/Fawcett), with the expected Jeff Smith-isms added in. I loved it, especially Tawky Tawny, a talking tiger.
3. The Arrival (Shaun Tan) I’m cheating here, since the hardcover came out in 2006 and I didn’t read it until this week. The “crossover hit” of the year? Shaun Tan comes from a traditional artist/childrens illustrator background, and had only recently gotten into graphic novels himself while working on this project.I was skeptical about it, but The Arrival is utterly charming, a fairytale without words. Read some words about The Arrival on Shaun’s website, since the book has none. My favourite scene was the Giants.
4. Shortcomings (Adrian Tomine) This one feels like cheating as well, since (for those who read the comic) the story started in Optic Nerve #9 back in 2004 (was it really 2004?), and only concluded in #11, mid-2007. This is, undoubtedly, his most complete story. It even has an end! The racism theme was well played, for me. I’m always looking forward to more from Tomine, but I have a feeling that Optic Nerve #12 could be some time away.
5. Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E Vol. 2 – I Kick Your Face (Warren Ellis & Stuart Immonen) Again, cheating. I picked up the comics instead, but I felt like this book was noteworthy as the only Marvel comic I’ve enjoyed in about 10 years. Well written, funny, and great art.
- Usagi Yojimbo (Stan Sakai) is my comic nutrition, the most consistently well written and well drawn comic you’re ever likely to read. If you think this is just a funny animal book, then you are sadly mistaken.
- The Mike Mignola ride (with John Arcudi, Guy Davis and now Duncan Fegredo and Jason Armstrong), aka Hellboy/BPRD (and now Lobster Johnson), is still a great read, and although we all lament Mike’s decision to step back from drawing, his writing easily makes up for it. They could basically spin off their own company.
- Fear Agent (Rick Remender, Tony Moore & Jerome Opena) had an amazing year, with a move to Dark Horse and the release of The Last Goodbye. You can still read Fear Agent #1 at Newsarama, but this is only a taste of how good things become 10 issues later.
- Andi Watson‘s new comic, Glister. I would buy anything that Andi makes, but this seems oddly timely, since it’s a kind of fairytale with all-ages appeal. I’m hoping to introduce my girls to it soon.
- Mike Allred came back with Madman Atomic, a new Madman series at last, and the stories have been typically crazy and awesome so far.
- Finally, the much hyped Umbrella Academy (Gerard Way & Gabriel Ba). I’ve heard it described as The Royal Tenenbaums meets the X-Men. I’ll probably reserve judgement until this mini ends, but I’ve had a blast so far. I think comic people are just annoyed that a famous musician can also write comics that don’t suck. Good for him.
I’ve been following a few web comics since last year, too. Some highlights:
- Jonny Crossbones (Les McClaine)
- Anything by Andy Helms, I love the Barbarian Diary
- We the robots (Chris Harding)
- The bizarre Persimmon Cup (Nick Bertozzi) on ACT-I-VATE
2008 will be the year of Jamie Smart.