Without artists, all of your favorite characters, scenes, costumes, and locations would just be words on a page. In short, they’re the ones that make comics comics. That’s a lot of responsibility, yet the best artists manage to juggle all of those tasks and inject some meaningful art and style into the proceedings. Whether its a subtle expression or a jaw-dropping action sequence, our favorite artists add the requisite magic to make their worlds and characters real. These are our top 10 artists of 2015.
Episodic storytelling is the name of the game in monthly comics. Month- or even multi-year-long arcs are fine, but a series lives and dies by its individual chapters. From self-contained one-offs to issues that recontextualize their respective series, this year had a ton of great issues. Whittling down those issues to a list was no easy task (and we look forward to hearing how your lists differ in the comments), but we would gladly recommend any (and all) of these issues without hesitation. These are our top 10 issues of 2015. Continue reading
The comics industry might have trained us incorrectly. We’re meant to gobble up as much story as possible, as quickly as possible. That way we buy more comics, and Batman and Spider-Man can continue to punch dudes into perpetuity. But the books we read are far from disposable — they contain some truly astounding artwork from some of the most talented storytellers out there. They’re our directors, our actors, our choreographers, our set and costume designers. These are our top 13 artists of 2013. Continue reading
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing the The Sandman Overture 1, originally released October 30th, 2013.
Shelby: Nearly 20 years ago, I started reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Just about every time a new book came out, I would re-read the last one or two; if enough time had passed between books, I would re-read the whole series to prep for the newest. The last volume comes out in paperback in December, and I’ve been reveling in what could very well be my last re-read of this series. There’s something about reading something again, especially something that’s been a part of your life for so long. The characters are like old friends, the settings and stories like places you’ve been before and can’t wait to re-visit. I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan, and I adore Sandman; I have been eagerly (and somewhat impatiently) waiting for Overture. From page one, it was like a reunion with an old, old friend.
Today, Shelby and guest writer Suzanne are discussing Batwoman 21, originally released June 19th, 2013.
Shelby: Story breaks are a tricky thing to manage when you’re dealing with a serialized form of media. In the case of comic books, the writer already has to contend with a month of time passing between story points; I like to think I’m a pretty attentive reader, and there are times I have to go back and skim over last month’s issue to remember what all we’re dealing with. But to interrupt your own on-going story with a mini-story takes a lot of confidence in both your on-going work and your interlude. J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman have that confidence for good reason, as they interrupt out regularly scheduled Batwoman programming for a touching look at Gotham’s scaliest villain.
DC has staked their claim on the month of September. Two years ago saw the relaunch of the entire publishing line, and last year saw special “zero” issues for every series. This year, DC is releasing 52 issues featuring villains, old and new, from the DC Universe. There’s no one-for-one correspondence to existing series, and DC hasn’t been the most forthcoming with information about what exactly they’re putting out. There’s a lot to sort through here and no easy answers for what’s going to be worth our time and money. Welcome to the Chat Cave.
We generally avoid quantifying our enthusiasm around here — we’ll gladly praise or condemn comics as our tastes dictate, but turning that into a grade or a score makes us uncomfortable. As there are in our pull-list, there are holes in this ‘Best of’ list. Mea culpa. We’ve had some great experiences with comics this year, and these are the series that were consistently fun, thoughtful and beautiful. Too subjective for a year-end list? Ignore the rankings. Any way you slice it, these are fantastic series that deserve the scrutiny we heap on everything. Each is a rewarding read and well worth your attention. Our picks for the top 12 series of 2012:
You know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t mean you can’t judge the cover on its own merit. Some covers are so excellent that they back all the drama, excitement and emotion of the whole issue into one succinct image. Sometimes they end up being their own surreal experience. And other times, we’re just exciting to see our favorite heroes kicking ass one more time. These are our top 12 most awesome, creative and graphic covers of 2012.
Well, 2012 is coming to a close, and you know what that means — year end “best of” lists! We’ve got our share of those coming to you soon, but we wanted to start things out with a nod to those writers and artists excelling at a particularly 2012 task — engaging with their audience via social media. Time was, you might only ever get a chance to interact with your favorite comics creators if they happened to be attending a con near you, but technology (for better or for worse) has now put them only a few clicks away. Still, some manage it better than others, and we wanted to take a moment to single out those creators that have gone above and beyond with crafting an inviting, entertaining twitter presence. Here it is, our Top 12 Best Creator Twitter Feeds of 2012. Continue reading
Today, (guest writer) Jack Ehlers and Drew are discussing Batwoman 0, originally released September 19th, 2012. Batwoman 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Jack: I don’t much care for plot in fiction. There is enough cause-and-effect to parse out in real life, and I would rather just trust fiction-writers to operate within their own made-up rules and make all the numbers add up on their own. I want to stare out the window of the car and appreciate the landscape without worrying about whether we missed our exit, and Batwoman 0 allows me to do exactly that. Continue reading