In light of how shit that Best Comics list from Vice was I wanted to write my COTY for this thread. I ran into problems. Is it best series? Best single issue? Best scene? Do they have to have started in this year or is it counting the parts from this year in an earlier series? Too many variables, too many rules. Forget it.
Instead, I’m just going to shout-out my favorite comics things from this year. It’s bit long so here’s the break:
Shout-out to all the new readers. Hey, I get it. Comics are hard to get into. They’re expensive and self-referential and some of them have histories which span the better part of a century. How the hell do you know what to read first? It’s not a perfect system by any means. Despite all that, the average age of the comics reading public is going down as young people find more books that speak to them. Respect to the folks brave enough to jump in and respect to the folks making things worth jumping for.
Shout-out to the great colorists of 2017. Jordie Bellaire, Matt Wilson, Tamra Bonvillain, Matt Hollingsworth and so many more. Colorists are killing it in 2017. Bellaire elevates every book she’s on and Doom Patrol just wouldn’t be the same with Bonvillain. Waid and Samnee’s collabs would be fine, but you can’t deny Matt Wilson’s contributions. He is essential.
Shout-out to DC Rebirth’s continued success. I thought this was going to be the year the wheels fell off. I was convinced DC’s editorial bad habits from New 52 were going to creep back in and mess everything up again. That didn’t happen. Instead the good books got better and some of the lesser books were shaken up in exciting ways. The future is looking pretty bright for DC as they transition out of the Rebirth era into The New Age of DC Heroes in January.
Shout-out to alternative comics. I’m talking about everything from Image Comics to The Vault to single creator self-published comix zines. This was the year where Iron Circus made their millionth dollar on Kickstarter. This is the year there were too many comics anthologies for me to realistically submit to. This is the year Image Comics doubled down on their second boom, taking nearly 10% of the market share for themselves. Kotaku published a comic this year for pete’s sake! And it was excellent! The small and middle press will not be slept on any longer.
Shout-out to Black Bolt by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward. This book rules school. I was a huge cynic about Marvel through most of 2017. Whether it be questionable editorial decisions which left untested creators rudderless in a new field, predatory business practices which have only worked to hurt comic sales, the endless churn of events for years and years, or Ike Perlmutter’s ridiculous scramble to stick it in the eye of Disney’s film competition, Marvel had lost me. I would show up for certain creators, but that was it. Black Bolt looked like everything I didn’t care about in a modern Marvel book. A “stunt casted” book about an Inhuman character that never really spoke to me – no pun intended – with a deconstructionist plot. I don’t really remember what got me to try it, but I’m so happy I did. Black Bolt is truly gorgeous and should not be missed.
Shout-out to New Super-Man by Gene Luen Yang and Viktor Bogdanovic. This book is pure joy. It’s a new take on the superhero formula which examines what it’s like to realize you’re part of the problem and to honestly change yourself, which is something I needed to read this year I think. I love the cast and hope their new book continues the same level of heartfelt goofy fun.
Shout-out to Batman/Elmer Fudd #1 (Tom King and Lee Weeks) and Batman #37 (Tom King and Clay Mann). This is a double shout-out because Tom King wrote 'em both and this is my list so shaddap. Batman/Elmer Fudd establishes a wacky premise and runs with it so well it replaced my prior concept of Gotham City. All the Looney Tunes characters are just people in this version of Gotham City, which means they’re all some level of dirtbag with score to settle. It rules and I love it. Batman #37 is about Batman and Superman coming to terms with the fact that they have always been work-level friends and they’re becoming actual best friends, all spurred by Batman’s engagement to Catwoman. This results in a hilarious double date at the Gotham carnival on superhero costume night. No one is allowed in without wearing a superhero costume, so Lois suggests they switch to maintain their secret identities. The issue is an excellent analysis of the relationship between The World’s Finest heroes and is a reminder of what can happen in superhero stories when stuff isn’t blowing up the universe every other minute.
Last, but certainly not least. Shout-out to the reemergence of comics discourse. For years it felt like the only things people wanted to talk about in comics was power levels. In 2017 I saw people having earnest discussions about comics as if they were pieces of art, not just who would win between Superman and Thor. Whether these discussions were happening on youtube, twitter, polygon, or in this thread, I really appreciate people taking comics seriously again. I appreciate all of you for being the rad comics-loving people you are at every level of fandom.
Thank you for being you and I’ll see you in the new year!