Another year gone by, another mound of comic book goodness to sift through. I did a quick count of a random month (June 2013) of the five major comic book publishers (Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, IDW Publishing, Image Comics and Marvel) and they combined to put out a whopping 306 books! That’s a lot of story out there.
There were tons of great series that debuted, died, re-numbered, and some superb miniseries that hopefully come back for more. I felt there were strong attempts to move focus onto more female characters this year from various publishers. It was great and refreshing to see but the resulting short-lived (and loved) series flared and sadly faded.
Here’s what I thought was a fantastic read worth looking up in case you missed it the first time broken down into mini-series and on-going ones. I also focus on mostly non-horror books because they deserve some attention too. Thanks, 2013. I can’t wait to see what crazy goodness comes out in 2014.
From start to finish, this series was gorgeous to take in. The whole experience left this reader wanting more and more so and seeing it recently collected in a bookstore makes it that much more desirable. Thankfully, fans only have to wait until January 2014 for more pulp hero greatness.
This caper / conman / pseudo hero story was gorgeous to watch unfold. The creative team of Jai Nitz and Greg Smallwood brought such great creative juices to this series that there should be another story in the cards soon.
Also worth mention is “The Rocketeer & The Spirit: Pulp Friction” (IDW Publishing/DC Comics) by Mark Waid and Paul Smith. I know I’m cheating a bit here by cramming in two miniseries in one listing BUT they all share our favorite pulp rocket hero. Both are very different in style and approach. Both show off how great a character Dave Stevens gave to the world and how much creators can keep him flying high for a long, long time.
Looking at my list, you might think I’m a sucker for pulp heroes. You wouldn’t be too wrong. I also love when creations like Six-Gun Gorilla come out and just blow my mind. The imagination bubbling out of each panel is so much to take in that it`s a genuine pleasure to re-read each issue several times. For entertainment, reading / watching something more than once and loving it more and more is high praise in this time of quick and disposable amusements.
“The Goon” #44 is the only issue we’ve seen from Eric Powell this year of fan-favorite muscle-man, “The Goon”. That’s why I’m calling it a one-shot so I can include it in my list. It is a prime example of how I like crazy creative storytelling in any medium but especially comic books. It’s dark, it’s funny, and it’s mostly in Spanish! There’s even fighting with chickens. Let’s hope The Goon makes more spectacular appearances in 2014.
Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine
The Fifth Beatle
This is, and has been, one of the most consistently fun series from before and after the New 52 came around. After having Jonah Hex hang out in wild west Gotham, why not throw in Booster Gold, time travel and throwing our favorite bounty hunter into the modern DCU? I hope they never stop this series and let these creators do whatever they like until Hex himself decides to hang ‘em up.
I always loved this series in its previous incarnations. To me, It was always made for comics’ fans as a love letter about all the things that make superheroes great reading. Now, they’re going for the cosmic Kirby craziness which has not disappointed at all yet.
Again, I know I’m stuffing two titles into one entry on my list but between these two, you’ve got DC’s trinity well represented. It’s been a great spectacle to behold so far in Greg Pak’s “Batman/Superman” with time travelling dimension hops. It’s also great to see Tony S. Daniel back to drawing “Superman and Wonder Woman” in their new epic-looking series as well. I’ve got good vibes (too soon?) about these two series being more and more enjoyable as these creative teams are allowed to let loose.
Alas, these Defenders we barely knew ye. Having some of the most fun-looking covers by Mark Brooks each month showcase how kick ass these characters are. Valkyrie and Misty Knight got to gather just about every Marvel female character (and some new ones) at one point or another to wow the crowd. I wish the crowd was bigger so we could get more of these “Fearless Defenders”.
As intertwined as all things Justice League were in 2013, “JLDark” continued to be the under-the-radar great team book. Where else can you get all things DC supernatural, Frankenstein, The Flash popping by and Constantine conning everyone in sight? Here’s hoping new series writer J.M. DeMatteis and excellent artist Mikel Janin can keep this motley crew churning
I’ve realized I’ve become more or less a fan of the off-shoot series from main characters. When one hero has so many series coming out monthly, I find solace in discovering tangent titles like this to put a different perspective on the way the world sees them. In the spirit of Suicide Squad and Thunderbolts comes Nick Spencer’s hidden gem in the Spidey titles.
From issue #1, this series has felt like an Avengers book for grown-ups. It’s got so many incredible high-concept sci-fi ideas floating around each issue that it feels like super-smart big concept super-heroics. Rick Remender’s big book of Kirby and Steranko-infused border-pushing series with awe-inspiring artwork from Daniel Acuna and company has not stopped and I hope it doesn’t any time soon.
By far, this series is one of the best new titles of 2013. Each issue from creator Michael Avon Oeming feels so engrossing and somehow real. This is an HBO TV series waiting to be made and wow even bigger crowds. It is one series where consequences matter and impact what happens next magnificently.
Quantum & Woody