Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006: The Top Ten in GOOD

Loveless 14
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
After yesterday’s list of the “bad”, it only seems fair to list the “good” of 2006. Surprisingly, it was no trouble at all to think of 10 things that made me smile, or at the least gave me the pleasure of entertainment. On that touchy-feely note, let’s get to work hammering out the “best of” list.

10. Peter David’s X-Factor and Fallen Angel: Despite almost losing my faith in comics this year, books like X-Factor and Fallen Angel kept me going back to my local retailer in hopes of perfect shipping that week. Often overlooked, David’s take on X-Factor is the most well crafted X-title being published today. With superb scripting and a realistic bent on this group of outcasts, this is the book I have to read. David’s Fallen Angel is another title that has grown and evolved into the thriller it is today. While others speculate on the book’s ties to Supergirl, I enjoy it for what it is- quality entertainment.

9. Grant Morrison on All-Star Superman and Batman: Another creator that made me very happy this year is Morrison. I loved his irreverent take on Superman, but was especially thrilled with the Lois Lane and Jimmy Olson that he crafted. Sheer genius. Over in Batman, Morrison tied up loose ends by making an Elseworlds tale about him and Talia having a son into a stark reality. Once again I found myself drawn to the humanity of Bruce Wayne that lies in such dichotomy to the Dark Knight. I can hardly wait for more.

8. Daredevil: Ed Brubaker is most certainly the magnificent bastard that my husband has termed him to be. Brubaker’s work on Daredevil has been nothing short of brilliance. The way he crafted the tale of Matt’s stint in prison woven through Foggy’s certain demise left me awestruck. You definitely get your money’s worth when you pick up Daredevil. The art is absolutely fantastic as well, with Michael Lark holding down his end of the deal with ease.

7. Dynamite Entertainment gives great entertainment: I fell in love with several of Dynamite’s titles this year. Lone Ranger is the best western I have read in years. The gorgeous art and excellent scripting take my breath away. I also enjoyed John Layman’s take on Xena- perfection. My favorite has to be Red Sonja. I have longed to see someone take on my favorite red-headed warrior for quite some time. The latest storyline featuring Kulan Gath and flashbacks to Sonja’s terrible childhood is excellent. Other then grumbling about the variant covers, I can’t say anything bad about Dynamite’s titles.

6. 52: What a grand experiment this has been. Never in a million years did I think DC could pull it off, but here I sit today, with 34 weeks worth of the book on my desk. I have to give a great deal of respect to DC for making a commitment and pulling it off with quality writing and great art. As the story draws me further in, the only question I have left is this- when are they going to do it again?

5. Virgin Comics enters market: The new flavor that Virgin Comics has brought to the comic book industry is just what we needed. I love the Eastern feel of the books, and appreciate the opportunity to see creators that are new to me presenting quality product. Snakewoman and Devi are my favorites so far, with Seven Brothers not far behind. I have happily given up several Marvel titles to be able to afford the exquisite productions that Virgin has to offer. I am crossing my fingers for even more greatness in 2007, and am feverishly hoping that my local retailer will finally cave in and order more then my one copy.

4. ComicSpace: This is an idea I wish I would have thought of. Though it is still new, the opportunity for networking here is endless. I like Warren Ellis’ take on it as an exchange of business cards. I also appreciate the fact that I have been able to reconnect with old friends while meeting new ones. As this entity evolves, I will happily go with it.

3. High quality Vertigo titles: This year Vertigo gets my vote for best “group” producing comics today. As an adult reader, I appreciate the desire for different flavors. Each month I find myself breathlessly awaiting ALL these titles: 100 Bullets, American Virgin, Fables, Jack of Fables, Loveless, Hellblazer, and Y The Last Man. Each comic brings something unique and compelling to the table both story wise and art wise. When I read Loveless, my heart fills with pain while 100 Bullets makes me want to solve the mystery contained therein. Yes, I really wanted to know who killed the men in Y The Last Man. It really made me curious, which is what I want in a book. Enough schlock already, let me go read a Vertigo book. I know that I can rely on fantastic quality and dependable deadlines. I feel like these books are written just for me.

2. The fellowship I had at Emerald City Comicon and Seattle Comicard Show: Smaller shows get a bad rap, and it is about time someone stood up and cried bulls#*t. These smaller, high quality shows have given me a great deal of opportunity to make new friends, renew old friendships, and find great deals. I have had so much fun at both the ECCC and Comicard show that I will make time in my schedule any day for another one. Where else can you find yourself in a bar at midnight with Adam Hughes, Tony Harris, Jim Demonakos, and Sean Phillips, with Rick Remender talking about his room service order? Amazing.

1. Manhunter gets a reprieve: This may seem like a small thing for most of you, but for me it was vindication. A title I have loved from issue one is brought back from certain death and now shows signs of thriving. Amen! Writer Marc Andreyko spins a gorgeous tale, and with the new creative team of Javier Pina and Robin Riggs backing him, this book seems destined to break the cancellation curse. This is the one example I can think of where the readers talked and the company listened. Thank you for that.


Carl said...

Welp, unfortunately I am either behind or trying to catch-up on some of the major books or events. The NYE Read More Comics Sale/Party helped a lot since I either bought graphic novel collections of story arcs I missed or some of the single issues at 50 percent off.

Welp, here's my 10 ten about 2006, no particular order:

10. Some of my favorite characters of all time finally have either new books or a regular one instead of specials or mini-series. Army of Darkness, the returns of The Lone Ranger, The Spirit, Red Sonja and so many more is just staggering to this "old school" fan.

9. The reprinting of so many hard-to-find collections. At my shop since I was out of the loop for periods of time, I was stunned to see reprints of "Sachs & Volens", the original Red Sonjas and so on. I've even heard that Sabre is being reprinted also. Keep up the good work!

8. Angel and Spike live in the comics and Buffy Season 8: The Comic has been announced, need I say more?

7. Moonstone. God, I love that company! Kolchak, Sherlock Holmes, The Phantom, Frankenstein and so much more, but the best was the return of Buckaroo Banzai! They have my heart forever!

6. Two great comic book movies of 2006: Superman Returns and X-Men: The Last Stand. If only The Punisher had been in that last scene with Magneto. "Oh, just one of the boys now, eh, Eric?" (Magneto seeing the skull shirt) "What?!" (*The Punisher fires an UZI out of his coat-- BRRRRRRRRRREETTTTTT!!!) Fade to black.

5. Who Wants To Be A Super-Hero? It seemed cheesie and offensive in its ads (especially to us comics folk) but dammit, the show got to me. It had heart and peoples's dreams and it really was truly fun and wonderful. Can't wait for the next season!

4. DC Golden/Silver Age characters seeming to be really, really mainstream again. 2005 although killed a lot of them off, really brought the readers back to the roots of the DCU.

3. More novels based on the comic book characters. This year has seen new Batman, JLA, Hellblazer and DCU books as well as more FF, Spiderman, X-Men, etc. then I can recall seeing since the '80s. I want more, thank you!

2. The continued quality on Invincible, The Walking Dead, Daredevil, Y-The Last Man, 100 Bullets, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight and Blade should get rewards. I'd love to say the same about Powers, Fables and such, but I am so far behind in them.

1. Well, I guess number 1 is how many of the comic book folks are actually coming to cons and the many I met face-to-face last year and the ones scheduled in the next few months. Seems like not too long ago, no one near the top or that uber-busy artist could find time to do a measly convention. Times change...

Fearless Leader said...

Apparently, DC is supposed to launch another weekly right after the end of 52 called Countdown. Not sure what it would be about, but I'm all over it. For my money, nothing beats the spirit and drive behind 52.

Lisa said...

I was very happy to see Manhunter return, and enjoyed the issue.

I really enjoy X-Factor too - it's one of very few X books I read regularly. Fallen Angel is great too - but I hear he might be ending it due to low sales numbers.

I have been pretty impressed with D.E. too - I haven't read Lone Ranger yet because it sells out too fast here, and everyone who buys it loves it. No matter how many we order we sell out. Some of their stuff is a bit late, but all-in-all I think they've got some good stuff going.

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, thank you for the wonderful list! I really appreciated you sharing it with me. I wish I would have thought of #9 about the reprints. It has been a great year to find the trade paperbacks with oldies but goodies.

Thank you for sharing it with me.

Heidi Meeley said...

Grabbingsand- I would love to see DC be ambitious and follow up 52. If they could keep it fresh, I would follow it through to be sure.

Countdown... hmmm, could this be the mysterious return of Earth 2?

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa- lateness would be my one gripe about D.E. Otherwise, I have been very pleased with the quality of product.

Manhunter being saved just makes my day again and again. What an excellent book!

As for PAD's work on X-Factor, I think it is one of the freshest books out there in terms of having to work within the boundaries of continuity.

Thank you again for all your help with me trying to solve the Diamond problem. My retailer and I hope to sit down this week and do some more work on it.