Monday, December 04, 2006

Wizard 2006 Year End Awards: My Take

I am running a couple of weeks late, but I really wanted to get my two cents in on the Wizard Awards that are being featured in the January 2007 issue #183. To say the results were disturbing to me is putting it mildly.

The first award featured is “Man of the Year”. My first thought when seeing that Wizard has a man of the year is this: Where is the Woman of the Year? Did Wizard think no one was qualified in that category, or is Man of the Year supposed to cover both sexes??? My second thought was: Why Joe Quesada? Is it a way to pay for all the advertising Marvel did? Is it because longtime Wizard staffers are drinking buddies with Joey da Q? Maybe they see something I don’t see.

Quesada does his job, and I concede that he has been instrumental in reinvigorating the post-Bob Harras Marvel, but it ends there for me. Quesada has done a great job of networking through the years, and backs it up with hard work, but in my mind it still comes down to just that: Networking. Back in the day, Quesada and then-partner Jimmy Palmiotti came to Marvel and gave the fans Marvel Knights. That was a beautiful, blazing success. That is when Quesada AND Palmiotti should have been “Persons of the Year”.

To laud a guy for Civil War and being able to pick talent is like giving your kids an increase in allowance for getting all their chores done. It is his JOB. My other concern was Quesada’s choice of wardrobe for said pictures featured in the magazine. I wish he would have combed his hair and dressed up a bit, as most people being given awards and featured in magazines would do so. That is a minor quibble, but one none the less.

I can hear you now- ok Smarty, who would you have picked?? I have some choices as well. I would have considered Dark Horse Comics and Mike Richardson for one. What a year they have had, with a 10th anniversary celebration, an incredible run on Conan, the Star Wars line, Steve Niles books, upcoming Sin City 2, and new, interesting creator-owned titles.

There is also Ed Brubaker, Geoff Johns, and Dan Didio, not necessarily in that order. What about this for a radical idea: make a site like Newsarama or Comic Book Resources, or the bloggers on the internet “Person of the Year”? Just a thought.

The next award selected is Event of the Year”, which went to Civil War. Since it’s no secret how I feel about Civil War, you know I disagreed with this one. In my mind, the event of the year has been 52. DC has done a great job of getting the book out on time, and the talent involved is topnotch, which leads me to “Editor of the Year”, which went to Tom Brevoort. No offense, but Stephen Wacker, who has just left DC for Marvel deserves that honor.

“Artist of the Year” went to Steve McNiven. I have nothing bad to say about McNiven, as I think he is an excellent artist and an all-around nice guy. I just wish that Wizard would have mixed it up a bit, and not focused so heavily on Civil War in so many categories. A lower profile person I would have liked to see honored is Eduardo Risso. His work on 100 Bullets astonishes me every issue. Another favorite of mine is Pia Guerra of Y The Last Man. I know that these artists are lower profile, but it would be nice to see more on and of them in future issues of Wizard. I did like Wizard’s choice of Shane Davis as up and comer. His work on Mystery In Space is amazing.

“Single Issue of The Year” went to New Avengers #22, the spotlight on Luke Cage. As a fan of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, I appreciate the sentiment, but am surprised to find this is Wizard’s pick. Yet another Civil War tie-in takes a prize! How about a “Born in the Battlefield” issue of Conan? Birds of Prey #100? Y The Last Man #50? All-Star Superman #2, 3, or 4? I’m just saying…

“Breakout Talent of the Year” went to Charlie Huston, whose excellent work on Moon Knight has attracted many fans. While I appreciate the sentiment, I think runner-up Matt Fraction was a better choice. His Casanova is superb, and Punisher War Journal #1 and Immortal Iron Fist #1 back up his skills.

52 won “Boldest Move of the Year” and that is a hard one to argue. Having a weekly title has spoiled me. I also agree that Brian K. Vaughan is a great choice for “Writer of the Year”, though my first thought would have been to Ed Brubaker. His takes on Daredevil and Captain America have me mesmerized, and I adore his new creator-owned book Criminal. That is why I was pleasantly surprised that Daredevil took the title “Book of the Year”. These three categories didn’t upset me, because they were such palate cleansers after the first several awards.

“Hero of the Year” went to Superman. Huh? As much as I loved Morrison and Quietly’s All Star title, I didn’t think his other appearances merited it. Let’s go for the long shot- Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man. He has had a crazy year, and his appearances in 52 continue to intrigue me. Throw Ralph a bone, already!

J.G. Jones won “Cover Artist of the Year”. While this felt right to me, my first thought wasn’t “Congratulations”! It was this: Thank God it wasn’t Michael Turner. Sad, huh?

“Villain of the Year” went to The Governor from The Walking Dead. Sad to say, I have no clue who this character is, or if he is indeed the baddest of the bad, so I can’t judge. I just know that my first thought for this award was the “Girls” of the Luna Brothers title of the same name.

B.P.R.D: The Universal Machine won “Mini-Series of the Year”. This is yet another one I am not qualified to respond to as I didn’t read the book. Hell, I just would have voted for “CSI: Dying In The Gutters” and left it at that. Smooth.

Rounding out the awards was “Movie of the Year”, “Television Series of the Year”, “Animated Series of the Year” and “Video Game of the Year”. Well, this is a problem for me, because I hadn’t seen most of the winners. In the movie category, The Descent was the winner. I didn’t see that particular flick, so my vote would have been for Clerks 2. As for television shows, I loved Blade on Spike, so that would be my easy pick. I don’t watch Lost or Battlestar Galactica, which I know is sacrilege. The only animated series I have seen is Justice League Unlimited, which won that category, so I would agree there. To add insult to injury, I don’t play video games, so I don’t feel qualified to speak on this category. Yikes.

My bottom line on the Wizard awards is mixed. I am pissed about a “Man of the Year” award. Where is the “Woman of the Year” award for my girl Gail Simone? The woman wrote Birds of Prey, Atom, and Secret Six without batting an eyelash. Quality and class equal an award for Simone. Either change the name of the award or pick a lady as well. God knows, I would volunteer to help out.

With the personnel changes at Wizard, maybe an influx of new blood is the best thing that can happen. God knows we need a fresh approach on an old school, played-out magazine. Ten years ago, Wizard was the first thing I read the minute it came out. Now I read it whenever I exhaust all other available reading materials. That is a sad but true reality.


David C said...

One of the things that gets me, is even if you think Civil War is an artistic triumph for some reason (I think it's a horrible, character-trashing disaster), isn't it almost by definition impossible to justify giving it an award for editing?

With extreme cascade-failure lateness affecting the company's bottom line, and multiple glaring inconsistencies between the main book and its tie-ins, I can't see any way to justify that award.

RedheadFangirl said...

I'm with you on Simone. Let's call her the real, street-cred "Woman of the Year". Naming the head of one of the big 2 companies as the 'man of the year' is redundant.
And Civil War, for all David's reasons, is not an unmitigated success with fans or critics.

I would throw some love to Image titles like Girls; Vertigo ones like Jack of Fables, American Virgin; or real indie success like Mouse Guard.

Maybe half the staff being canned at Wizard/cartoonMaxim

Anonymous said...

I was just happy to see that eventually someone other than Marvel won something. At first I thought it was the Wizard 2006 Marvel Awards.

Of all of the choices, JQ as man of the year is a bad one. He can't get any of his own comics done on time (Daredevil Father) and sets a bad example for everyone - now no one feels the need to adhere to deadlines. In addition, wasn't he the one who said he doesn't think that they'll still be publishing flopy monthlies in another 10 years? I'm pretty sure it was him.

And don't even get me started on Civil War and how it's so obviously just a stunt and won't live up to the hype.

Heidi Meeley said...

David- I was very surprised to see Wizard give Brevoort top editing honors. After the schedule shifting and blame merry-go-around of a circus, I frankly figured he was disqualified. I was hoping that Stephen Wacker, who had been doing a great job of editing 52 before leaving for Marvel, would get the prize. Shows you what I know.

I couldn't justify the award either. Civil War is not my cup of tea and to see it so lauded surprises me to no end. I just kept thinking that Marvel must have been Wizard's number one advertiser to get such accolades!

Thanks for checking in with such great thoughts!

Heidi Meeley said...

Redlib- Simone had a great year, in my opinion. I think she is a talented lady, and furthermore believe her to be a class act. It would be nice to see her honored as such.

I agree on throwing in some "non-Marvel and non-DC" titles into the awards pool. It was nice to see Dark Horse and Image get one each, but it would have been better to see more spread around.

Maybe next year with all the shifts at wizard? I am crossing my fingers! I love how you call them cartoonMaxim- that is totally what it is!

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa- I agree with you 100%. I was pretty relieved to see a non-Marvel book or two win something, and would have liked to see even more diverse titles awarded.

JQ is definitely NOT Man of the Year for many reasons, and I agree that his lack of being able to produce a book just makes it that much more painfully obvious. We need a creator/editor/executive type who believes in the future of the industry to be selected for this honor.

Civil War- yep. I think I have probably done more then my share of complaining. I quite frankly feel sorry for the retailers who are having books sit on their shelves as customers fall away from the whole concept. It is a gamble in more ways then one.

notintheface said...

Wait a minute. "Civil War" had EDITING??

I just flashed back to the scene in CW#5 where Spidey was completely taken by surprise by that bomb. It's too bad he doesn't have some kind of early warning system. You know, a special SPIDER ability that would allow him to SENSE danger before it happened? Oh, wait...

notintheface said...

Also, no slight against other great women in comics, but if a "Woman of the Year" award existed Gail Simone would walk away with it every year. She's just THAT awesome!

Carl said...

Heidi, I can't believe you'd be so sexist about "Man Of The Year", sheesh! You should know by now that Marvel stands for "Men Advancing Retroreality Visions Excluding Ladies", ho ho!
I despise Joe Q. He got rid of Wolverine's cigars (in spite of having a healthing factor that makes cancer impossible for him), outed The Rawhide Kid who was minding his own bidness in the Old West and was the hand at the wheel when Spider-Man gave his enemies the greatest gift of all time, his real id. I personally see the guy as a snake-oil salesman and carpetbagger, willing to do anything for money and make sure Marvel stays on top, even if it means eventually turning the characters into complete money whores like some I could mention but won't *coughwolverinecough*.
Excuse me.
I still love The Punisher, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight, Blade and the hard-core Marvel characters. They could all break away from the regular MU and I'd never look back. I'd think, thank God I don't have see another damned mutant filled with angst and fighting bigotry (poor thing!), a pompous ass rich playboy in armor that goes off the wagon when his sales go down or pick up a book with a rampaging hulk that I never know which version it's going to be this story arc. If anything, there needs to be a new set of awards to give to Marvel, perhaps called "The Cashies" and have the lil'statue be a fist with a wad of bills in a death-grip. Sounds about right...

Heidi Meeley said...

notintheface- I have to agree that there was definitely something rotten in Denmark with Spidey not detecting that bomb. Maybe Millar forgot about the character's powers, or maybe he just didn't care. God knows.

Gail is indeed deserving of Woman of the Year. She has been very busy and has done excellent work on her titles. I can't say enough positive about her.

Heidi Meeley said...

Carl, I was waiting for your ten cents on this! I love it!

The hubby and I decided that it would be a very happy day if Marvel sold The Punisher to a different comic book company and let someone else take the reigns! :-) We know you would be for that!

I obviously don't agree with Joey da Q being named Man of the Year, but then again I don't have to kiss his hiney to sell advertising. The old school spirit of Wizard is long dead; in it's place is a book that tries to be what it thinks it should be and fails miserably.

I take it you aren't going to Make Yours Marvel any time soon??!!

Take care!