Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Best of 2012: Who Says Comics Are For Kids?

This is supposed to be a blog about books. Unfortunately, I haven't been reading many books. It's not that I DON'T READ anymore, I just don't read with the same ferocity I used to in the past, when I would devour novels by the series.

These days, I still read a lot, but I've been a lot more selective with my reading. In fact, I've been reading a lot more comics and graphic novels lately... actually, ever since I got my iPad, that's pretty much 90% of my reading material these days. It's not that comics are any easier to read (I dare you to read Transmetropoliton or The Invisibles, and tell me that it's "for kids"), it's just that at this stage, I kinda like the wild imagination and creativity that some of these comics have.

Sure, some of the superhero stuff can be pretty run-of-the-mill, but even those are getting better - Mark Waid's Daredevil is superb, and Matt Fraction's Hawkeye is one of my favorite comics this year. Some of the new DC 52 (Scott Snyder's Batman and Animal Man) and Marvel NOW (Indestructible Hulk, FF) titles are pretty good too - I should know I've read almost all of them.

Anyway, enough about my reading habits. Here is a list of some of my favorite comics and graphic novels of 2012. Even if you don't usually read comics, I highly recommend you give these titles a try

Writer: Matt Fraction
Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye is the greatest sharp-shooter known to man. He then joined the Avengers. This book is about what he does when he is NOT being an Avenger. Brilliantly written (by Matt Fraction) and fabulously drawn (by David Aja), this series hits the bullseye with its sharp dialogue, great humour and the most likable version of Hawkeye yet.

Hellboy In Hell
Writer/artist: Mike Mignola
Hellboy is dead, and he's in Hell. That's all you really need to know. Mike Mignola makes a welcome return to the Hellboy-verse, writing AND drawing the newly-launched Hellboy In Hell series, and featuring Hellboy in, well, Hell.

Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
I loved Vaughn's Ex-Machina and Y: The Last Man. Those two had some of the coolest premises ever (though they also had a rather anti-climatic finale), and Saga pretty much follows in that vein. It's kinda like a love story about a pair of lovers from different sides of an galactic war, and their kid. Yeah, it sounds simple, but the story and art is jsut brilliantly fun.

The New Deadwardians
Writer: Dan Abnett
This new Vertigo eight-issue series featured a new twist to the usual “zombie apocalypse” tale, setting an intriguing murder mystery in a world where in order to save themselves from being eaten by zombies, the richer half of society take a “cure” that turns them into emotionless, immortal vampires instead.

Writer: Matt Kindt
A mind-numbing, mind-bending, mind-blowing mindfuck about a mind-managing secret organisation that secretly controls the world. The story is richly detailed, with so many little Easter eggs and extras in each issue. One of my favorite comics this year, and the latest entry in my "Read this if you still think comics are for kids" list of comics for people who still think comics are for kids.

Batman: Death Of The Family
Writer: Scott Snyder
Snyder writes the awesome American Vampire series for Vertigo, and this New 52 story arc features Joker at his most chilling and psychotic best.

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Despite what most "serious comic fans" say, I love the Ultimate Marvel universe because of the way they just fuck about with all the conventions in the normal superhero comics. While the new Spider-man Miles Morales still takes some getting used to, transporting the main Peter Parker Spider-man into the Ultimate universe (where he is supposed to be dead) was a brilliatn idea; and Parker meeting the Ultimate version of Aunt May and Gwen is one of my favorite comic moments of 2012.

Writer: Mark Millar
This was a real hoot to read. Millar is in top form writing about a team of super-villains who get together for one last, MASSIVE heist - stealing from the greatest super-villain of all time. If you like Millar's violent, sweary Millarworld stuff, don't miss this one.

Punk Rock Jesus
Writer: Sean Murphy
I first heard about this title at the Vertigo panel at the San Diego Comic Con, where the panelists of Vertigo writers were gushing over it like it was the second coming of well, Jesus. True enough, this is a hard hitting book about a future where some corporation tries to clone Jesus Christ in a Truman Show-esque reality show, but does such a bad job raising him that he eventually becomes a punk rocker.

Honorable mentions:
- Marvel NOW: Indestructible Hulk (Mark Waid)
- Marvel NOW: FF (Mark Fraction)
- Justice League Dark (Jeff Lemire)
- 47 Ronin (Mike Richardson / Stan Sakai)
- Building Stories (Chris Ware)


hennwei said...

eh. they revived hawkeye for this comic book? i thought he was the only one that wasnt going to be brought back from the dead?

Michael Cheang said...

I'm gonna assume you're referring to Post-House of M. He was resurrected not long after that I think.

This one seems more like a post-Avengers movie version though. And the book is more CLint Barton than it is Hawkeye TBH.

Dils said...

Like this review a lot!

Will take a look at: The New Deadwardian . But most of this, you bought at stores or online?

I am going to stop reading Fables now because I think they may have ran out of ideas, so am looking for new stuffs to ganti Fables.

Michael Cheang said...

I read them on the iPad. The Marvel & DC apps are pretty good.

If you like Fables, you should like Saga. It's got a very space-opera/fairytale-like feel to it.