Alright, folks! You’ve read all of our Bloody-disgusting staff picks for favorite comics of 2012, but now you get to hear what your favorite creators have been loving over the past year. Below are the Top 5 of 2012 lists from industry pros, Alan Robert (“Crawl To Me”), Tim Seeley (“Hack/Slash”, “Revival”), Jim Zub (“Skullkickers”), David Hine (“The Darkness”, “Crossed”), And Matt Hawkins (“Think Tank”).
Steve Niles and Menton3 teamed up for this short three part mini-series that could very well be the opening scenes of an epic big budget feature film. The premise is straight forward enough, a bleak post-apocalyptic world is overrun by Vampires and Robots, each in need of blood to survive. The visual storytelling is top-notch. Wide shots of barren gray landscapes instantly set the stage and create the right heavy mood. Sparse dialogue sprinkled throughout add just enough depth to its characters to move the story forward organically. My only complaint was that the series was too damn short. It stopped just when they hooked me in. Hoping the trade will offer up some more story for me to sink my teeth into.
Legends of the Dark Knight “Crisis of Identity” (DC Comics)
I’ve always been a huge Ben Templesmith fan, so to see him return to comics this year after a brief hiatus was a big highlight for me. This Batman story arc started out as a digital-only 3-part comic that eventually found its way into print. Ben’s signature style and unique approach to the Dark Knight mixed with B. Clay Moore’s fantastic storytelling was an excellent combo that I thoroughly enjoyed. Seeing Templesmith’s wide-grinned Joker made me crave another Wormwood: Gentleman’s Corpse book… so my fingers are crossed for that.
The Walking Dead: Something to Fear (Image)
First off, I’m a serious Dead Head. I’m a fanboy for the comics and wait impatiently for Sunday nights to arrive to watch the tv show. This story arc hits its peak with killing off a fan favorite at issue #100. It’s an unforgettable and brutal scene that will stay with me for a long, long time. Robert Kirkman deserves all the success in the world for how far he’s taken this series. It does not disappoint.
Frankenstein, Alive, Alive (IDW)
Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson were put on this earth to make Frankenstein comics. Wrightson’s haunting black and white artwork is packed with more detail than you’ll ever see in a modern day comic. Seriously, this guy can draw the shit out of a monster book. His style is like no other. Niles and Wrightson breathe new life into good ol Frankie and its a beautiful thing. It’s like watching a lost Frankenstein movie from the thirties. They capture the right tone perfectly.
This series was not only bold and visually stunning, but its theme and characters stood apart from just about any other books on the shelf this year. Co-creators Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari demonstrated their passion for storytelling with every panel of this unique tale of immortals. To put it bluntly, these guys did not fuck around. They not only created their own complex universe for their characters to thrive in, but they lived and breathed this series and it shows. Menton3’s artwork is atmospheric and simply put… mind blowing. It is the driving force of the series. To witness this level of perfection and attention to detail on every page is inspiring. The compiled hardcover is a must-have and is a massive, oversized artbook-like experience. I highly recommend it.
The Sixth Gun (Oni Press)
Bunn and Hurtt know exactly where they’re going with this character-centric supernatural western and it shows in the series’ rock solid consistency.
Saga (Image Comics)
It started a bit slow for me but a few issues in and I was well and truly hooked. Vaughan and Staples are a creative team for the ages and this series is a creator-owned standard bearer.
Locke & Key (IDW)
Joe Hill’s gripping supernatural story continues to amaze me as it winds ever closer to the end. I can’t wait to see how it all wraps up and then re-read the entire incredible story from start to finish.
Amazing Spider-Man (Marvel)
I haven’t been a regular reader of Spider-Man in over 16 years, but Dan Slott’s stories have tapped into the core that makes Spider-Man great without throwing away old continuity. I’m back on board in a big way.
Batman (DC Comics)
Snyder and Capullo are carving out a timeless run with top notch stories and art on one of the world’s most popular superheroes. This is how it’s done.
Honorable Mentions: Atomic Robo, Empowered, Invincible, Where is Jake Ellis and Luther Strode.
The Sixth Gun (Oni Press)
This is such a consistently great comic that it makes me mad it’s not more popular. This year saw some of the best issues of the book (which, admittedly, I read in trade form) which constantly builds from the very simple concept of “six cursed guns that everyone in the ol’ West wants.” Excellent character work, and panel-to-panel storytelling. Reads like a “how to” of cartooning.
I’m consistently amazed with these books. I’ve always had at least an affection for Transformers, but I hadn’t regularly read their comics since I was 12. But that changed with the intriguing “space soap opera” relaunches, MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE, and ROBOTS IN DISGUISE. While the Michael Bay movies show just how dull, incoherent, and uninteresting transforming robots can be, the two IDW books give us political drama, epic sci-fi action, and, yeah, I’m going to say it, intense character exploration, all while making comics that can be shared with kids. Great templates for all long-standing “boys action” properties, and superhero comics too.
Another well done, back-to-fun superhero book from Marvel, in the vein of the equally great Daredevil by Mark Waid. Sometimes you just want to read about good natured, well meaning dudes fighting evil, in clever stories that take full advantage of the comics medium, and HAWKEYE delivers.
Archer & Armstrong (Valiant)
Speaking of that thing that HAWKEYE does so well….Archer & Armstrong plays to all the things that have always made Fred VanLente’s work so great. It’s pulp hero action, with heart, smarts, and though it’s all-ages, it’s also got an edge of satire that not every reader will (or needs to) pick up on. That’s the way ya do it.
Blacksad, A Silent Hell (Dark Horse)
Just so damn good. Crime and kitty cats. I liked it so much, I went as ol’ Blacksad for Halloween, even though most people thought I was “some kind of Thundercat.”
Saga (Image Comics)
This will be on everyone’s list, but it deserves to be. Given the creative team, I expected great things. Expectations were surpassed.
Wild Children (Image Comics)
Ales was a complete unknown to me when he sent me an advance copy of this, so there were no expectations at all. An unexpected, original and provocative book that demands multiple readings.
The Nao of Brown (SelfMadeHero)
When I heard about this one my first reaction was “Where the F*** has Glyn Dillon been hiding himself since the nineties?” Apparently he has been storyboarding for Gorillaz among other things. Anyway, he is back with a bang. This is beautifully drawn, wonderfully written and if you don’t read it, you’re depriving yourself of a work of genius. Like the rest of the books on this list, it is like nothing you have read before.
Krishna: A Journey Within (Image Comics)
Where did this spring from? Totally off the radar, this deserves far wider recognition. The digital artwork is some of the best I’ve seen and this 300-page book constitutes a ‘body of work’ on its own. Singh previously worked on Virgin Comics ‘Ramayan 3392AD’. This book is a huge leap forward.
The Hive (Pantheon)
This was a long time coming. Part two of a trilogy I believe. Any year Charles Burns has a book out, he’ll make the best of the year list. It’s funny, baffling and more meta than The Bulletproof Coffin.
Honorable Mentions: Chris Ware’s Building Stories and Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes by Mary and Bryan Talbot might have made the list, but I haven’t read them yet.
This is the only super-hero book I actually spend my own money on. I love Waid’s take on Daredevil. He humanizes him in a way that’s far more interesting than anything else I’ve seen published of late. Making a super-hero relatable is hard to do and Waid is the master at it.
The Darkness (Image Comics)
Self-serving to pick this I realize but this is absolutely one of my favorite books out there right now. Hine’s dark storyline is captivating and Haun’s art gives this supernatural horror book a touch of realism that makes it that much scarier.
Revival (Image Comics)
I love horror. Revival is the first original take on this genre I’ve seen in a very long time. This is Tim Seeley’s finest work to date and anyone not reading this is missing out.
The Walking Dead (Image Comics)
A perennial favorite that never ceases to please, Kirkman manages to keep his characters fresh by killing them off and adding new ones all the time. His cliffhanger endings are text book and I’m fully vested in his characters at this point.
I read the first 5 issues of this recently when someone showed me that all 5 covers make one giant image which I thought was pretty cool. Reading the story, I wished I’d have gotten into it earlier. Medical thrillers are fun and this one makes the film Turistas look like My Little Pony in comparison.