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  #1  
Old 12-19-2008, 06:25 PM
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Default The Best and Worst in Comics for 2008

Since the New Year is almost upon us, it's time for a little reflection on the year that was 2008. What, in your opinion, constituted the best and/or the worst in the world of comics for the last twelve months? What was the notable storyline or story arc of the year? Is there a single issue that stands out? Whose artwork comes to mind? You get the drift. Share what you think was the outstanding (or not) thing that happened in comics for the year.
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  #2  
Old 12-19-2008, 06:28 PM
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Uh oh Steve...you've done it now

Post after post complaining about SI...
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  #3  
Old 12-19-2008, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAM! View Post
Uh oh Steve...you've done it now

Post after post complaining about SI...
And don't forget that awful mess called Final Crisis. Yes, I know I've done it.

Let me get the ball rolling, I nominate New Krypton as the best cross-over event of the year. It really is the best Superman story in years. And the implications for future stories are staggering. 100,000 Kryptonians on Earth. Oh the wonderful complications this promises.
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  #4  
Old 12-19-2008, 07:24 PM
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Biggest Surprise:
Locke and Key

Best Art:
Steve McNiven
Old Man Logan

Most Fun:
Deadpool

Best Ongoing:
Walking Dead
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  #5  
Old 12-19-2008, 08:20 PM
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Best Story Arc: Action Comics 'Brainiac'

Best Ongoing: Scalped

Best Single Issue: All Star Superman #10

Biggest Disappointment: Secret Invasion

Best New Series: Invincible Iron Man [despite the artwork]

Best Writer: Grant Morrison

Best Artist: Gary Frank

Books I need to start reading: Thor and Secret Six
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  #6  
Old 12-19-2008, 09:13 PM
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Best Single Issue
All Star Superman #10, Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely

Best Ongoing
Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season 8, Joss Whedon, Drew Goodard, Brian K. Vaughan & Georges Jeantry

Best New Series
Atomic Robo, Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener

Best Returning Series
Madman Atomic Comics, Mike Allred

Best Story Arc
The Black Glove, Grant Morrison & JH Williams III

Best Event Series
Final Crisis, Grant Morrison & JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco

Best Limited Series
Marvel 1985, Mark Millar & Tommy Lee Edwards

Best Artist
TIE: Lenil Francis Yu, New Avengers & Secret Invasion and Gary Frank, Action Comics

Best Cover Artist
Jo Chen, Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 8

Best Writer
Geoff Johns
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Last edited by Labor_Days : 12-19-2008 at 09:15 PM.
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  #7  
Old 12-19-2008, 09:17 PM
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Best iFanboy User Review
John42, All Star Superman #10


Quote:
Conor said this book feels “transcendent.” I think that’s a perfect term, and here’s why:

In the other Superman books, for better or worse, he feels like a character. In All-Star, he feels like an Icon. Geoff Johns and Kurt Busiek address his psychology. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely address his meaning in cultural mythology.

And this is the meaning they find: Superman is the best. He is the best we can be, he sees the best we can be, he sees the best we are. The book feels transcendent because it’s about transcendence, about becoming better.

Sometimes I feel like ‘dark’ has become synonymous with ‘good’. When I say a work of art “was really dark,” I usually mean it as a compliment. And there’s a lot of dark art out there. Look at 2007 top-10 movie lists. They’re full of examples of humanity at its worst. But hey! We live in dark times, what with war and recession and maybe depression. Art naturally reflects that. But when the worst of humanity is easy to find, that makes art which finds the best in humanity all the more valuable. It’s harder to do, too. Bright, hopeful stuff can very easily come across as saccharine and phony. Morrison and Quitely pull it off.

There’s so much meaning in All Star Superman #10 that it’s easy to miss. Comics are such a weekly, transitory medium that books which reward long, deep, re-reading are at a disadvantage. All-Star is similar to Astonishing X-Men in that Morrison and Whedon are both usually verbose writers producing sparse dialogue. In both cases, I think the writers feel such respect for their subject matter that they feel a responsibility for efficiency, to pack the most amount of meaning in the least amount of words. All-Star #10 certainly does that.

Lois’s introduction is a prime example. Here, Morrison and Quitely pull of a neat post-modern trick, accessing familiar concepts to tell a whole story in a page. Like Leonard Cohen says, “Everybody Knows” this story: Lois gets caught, Superman saves her. Therefore, it can be told in 4 panels and 3 words (“Lois?!?!” “Don’t Ask”). This recalls the origin retelling at the beginning of All Star #1, which was like the 4-count before an impossibly majestic Ramones song: ‘Doomed Planet1/Desperate Scientists2/Last Hope3/Kindly Couple4’ DOUBLE- PAGE SUN SPLASH!. The next page continues that rhythm, combining words and images to produce perfect motion in a static medium (“I am the true man of steel… Do your worst!” BOOM!)

The following conversation with Lois gets to the transcendence theme, elevating her archetype to a new level. The damsel-in-distress story- the purest example of the patriarchal narrative (active male subject/passive female object) is turned on its head.

We find out she deliberately got herself captured. He was avoiding her; she found a way to make him talk to her. The traditionally passive capture transcends itself to become a proactive move. Then, in a panel in which Quitely gives her a posture that exudes incredible strength, she articulates the Superman theme: “There’s always a way.”

Next: Suicide Cure! In 1 page! “It’s never as bad as you think. You’re much stronger than you think you are. Trust me.” OK Superman! I’ll trust you. In suicide, a moment of ultimate weakness, Superman focuses on this person’s strength. He provides absolutely no evidence of that strength, but you believe him. Because he’s Superman. That’s the power of the icon. That’s the “magic” of stories that Morrison talks about. Fictional Superman, the cultural icon, is built out of our very real belief that we can be better. His very existence is evidence of our strength.

Quitely’s work on this page deserves attention. The first panel makes awesome use of the comic-page’s inherent advantage in vertical space. You feel really high up, like you’re standing on a skyscraper. And the background is 100% full of skyscraper. The contrast between that hard steel and the woman’s soft, anguished face really makes you feel despair of the flesh in the techno-city of tomorrow. Then, when the big ‘S’ chest shows up behind her, he feels so thick, so strong. The cold-strong steel is defied by his warm-strong flesh. Then, when she melts into his arms, I melt too.

Next: Paradigm shift in Kandorian social philosophy! In 5 Panels! First, some context: For DC Comics fans, The Bottle City of Kandor is simply a fact. It’s an unchanging plot-point- a Kryptonian city shrunk into a bottle. Yeah, Superman is trying to return them to full size, but it’s kinda like Mr. Fantastic trying to cure the Thing: everybody knows it’s not gonna happen. So, for DC fans, a viable solution to Kandor is pretty mind-blowing. Especially a “so simple why hasn’t anybody thought of it before” solution. It transcends our assumptions, which Chomsky or any other propaganda theorist will tell you is 90% of the battle. Live on Mars and leave the bottle as tiny Supermen and Superwomen. The ruling council of Kandor opposed it because they didn’t want to be tiny. Then Van-Zee says “Have we confused matters of pride with matters of scale?” That’s such a brilliant line because it pulls the rug out from our assumptions; it makes us think in new ways, makes us transcend our usual thought patterns. That’s the best we can ask from art. Once again, Superman brings out the best.

Then, the Kandor Emergency Corps comes and says that they won’t wait for the Ruling Council. They don’t need the ruling class to make up their minds for them. They are transcending their social structures. Their dialogue proves Morrison a master of Comic Book Language. There's an awesome bit of the Silver Age that can been lost in modern realism: Words that resonate with drama. Words full of myth and legend. “Will you lead us as you once did, Van-Zee?” combined with preceding rousing speech and Quitely’s triumphant postures, gives you that intangible “F##k Yeah!” feeling.

Next: Lex Luthor! These five panels are a great romantic reading of the Superman/Luthor relationship. Once again, Superman sees the best. He calls Luthor out on the claim that he would have saved humanity without the Alien Superman’s intervention; he challenges Luthor to use his genius to benefit humanity. “Lex, I know there’s good in you.” Superman sees the good in the greatest Super-Villain of all time. Damn!

Quitely is once again a star here. When his back is turned to Superman, Lex is grinning. When he faces Superman, that grin turns to stoic defiance and saliva. That hidden grin shows the Luthor truth: Like it or not, he is defined by his relationship with Superman. Sure, it’s an antagonistic relationship, but it’s a relationship none-the-less. Humans- yeah, we’re selfish, but we care about what other people think of us. That means we care about other people. Sartre says “Hell is other people.” That’s because we care so much. Other people are Heaven, too.

Finally: Earth-Q! This is the clearest exploration of the transcendence theme. Superman creates an Earth to see what Earth would be like without a Superman. In other words, our Earth. Here we see the transcendent moments in human history: Early humans making cave paintings, the first art, and pointing to the sky, wondering what could be up there. Then, advances in art- Indian (I think) statuary. Then a Renaissance theorist arguing that we shouldn’t worship Gods, we should become Godlike- “Surpassing imagination’s greatest paragons.” Surpassing our dreams. Then we get Nietzsche imagining the Superman in his book Thus Spake Zarathustra (which gave the title to Richard Strauss’ piece which became the 2001 theme, which maybe better than any piece gives you a musical feeling of transcendence). Then we get Joe Schuster imagining Superman. What would happen on a world without Superman? We would dream him. The fact that we can conceive ultimate good means that we can BE ulitimate good.

Humans do a lot of horrible things to each other. But we do a lot of great things for each other, too. I’d bet that for every Anton Chigurh-psycho-killer there’s 100 child-cancer-ward nurses. Even if we hurt people (and it’s easy to hurt), we try to help (and it’s hard to help). And that’s beautiful. That’s Super.
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Last edited by Labor_Days : 12-19-2008 at 09:18 PM.
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  #8  
Old 12-19-2008, 09:32 PM
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Best writer has got to go to Geoff Johns. Between wrapping up Booster Gold, bringing it in Action Comics with the majority of his Legion arc, the Brainiac arc, and New Krypton, JSA being still good, Green Lantern getting a GREAT origin, Red Lanterns, Rogues Revenge, and the start of Legion of Three Worlds, Johns still has tons of hype revolving around the upcoming Flash Rebirth and possibly writing ongoing Flash after that, Blackest Night, and Superman: Secret Origin with Gary Frank, it's really Geoff Johns just going out and kicking ass and taking names.

More thoughts later.
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  #9  
Old 12-19-2008, 09:41 PM
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Best Single Issue
Y: The Last Man #60, by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra

Best Ongoing
Scalped, Jason Aaron & R. M. Guéra

Best New Series
Invincible Iron Man, Matt Fraction

Best Returning Series
Criminal, Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

Best Story Arc
Bad Night, Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips

Best Limited Series
Marvel 1985, Mark Millar & Tommy Lee Edwards

Best Artist
Steve Epting, Captain America

Best Cover Artist
James Jean, Fables

Best Writer
Geoff Johns, Green Lantern, Action Comics & Ed Brubaker, Criminal, Captain America, Daredevil.
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  #10  
Old 12-19-2008, 10:15 PM
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Best in General
Geoff Johns

Best New Hotness
Jason Aaron
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