Best Comics of 2008

Best Comics of 2008

Over the holidays I sent off a Holiday Wish List to Sequential the Canadian Comix News and Culture blog, and while it’s a good list, it’s by no means comprehensive.

I didn’t think that 2008 was a spectacular year for comics.  There was some good stuff, but there wasn’t a whole lot of great stuff.  I think I summed up my experience with 2008 in my list:

2008 was an okay year for comics, not spectacular, not horrible, but just “okay”.

There wasn’t a great moment that made me really excited about the next issue. There wasn’t an event that I just couldn’t miss.

2008 was a great year for me. All New Comics continued to grow (growing about 100% year over year), but it came at a price. We are gaining customers because stores in smaller towns are shutting down. We also had to raise prices due to the massive drop in the dollar, and we’re struggling not to raise shipping prices (although that may not be a big deal if gas prices continue to stay where they are).

We’ve already seen effects of the recession with several customers cutting back significantly, and a couple having to cancel due to layoffs. I think this will continue to be the case, and it will be up to the publishers to create compelling entertainment which readers simply can’t live without.

With that said, there was some stuff I really enjoyed such as:

Biggest surprises

Comic Book Tattoo
This original graphic novel features over 80 creators telling 50 different stories inspired by the songs of Tori Amos.  At 480 pages, it was a huge graphic novel, and it was printed at nearly album sized, which makes it really impressive.  You can find the softcover version of it for about $23.00 at Amazon.ca.

Umbrella Academy Apocalypse Suite
I ignored this when it came out.  I mean really, how good could a comic by the guy from My Chemical Romance be?  Turns out really good.  I bought it in trade and devoured it in one sitting.

Best ongoing comics:

Green Lantern
Hands down my favourite comic month in and month out in 2008 was Green Lantern (and Green Lantern Corps), these are the two must read comics for me every month.  The Rage of the Red Lanterns and the Rise of the Star Sapphires have been good stories.  I’m looking forward to the Blue Lantern and Indigo Lantern tales, and the Orange Lantern stuff that has started leaking out already looks terrific.  This is all prelude to “The Blackest Night”, which promises to be the big DC Universe event of 2009.

Action Comics 858-863 Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes
Wow, Geoff Johns really came into his own this year as every DC comic that I really enjoyed (Green Lantern, Action, and Legion of Three Worlds) were all written by Johns.  This story was spectacular, and Gary Frank, who has always left me cold, pulls off an incredible Superman.

Secret Invasion
Maybe I’m sappy, but I really liked this series.  It was full of fun little plot contrivances, and little surprises, but I don’t care, I had fun the entire time.

Final Crisis
I know I’m in the minority on this one, but I’ve actually enjoyed Final Crisis.  I was confused until the most recent issue came out, and now I think I know where Grant Morrison is going with this…and I like it!

Most surprising:

Youngblood Hardcover
This was a “remixed and remastered” version of the original mini-series that started Image Comics.  With dialogue rewritten by Joe Casey, and new digital inks, it breathes new life into a story that’s over 15 years old!

Coolest non-comic thing I bought:

Sandman and Death 20th Anniversary Bookends
I don’t normally splurge on toys and statues these days, but these were well worth the large chunk of change that I laid down for them.  They’re beautiful with both Sandman and Death looking amazingly detailed.  Sandman sits on a large base of sand with little Goldie the Dragon and Matthew the Raven figures on his side, while Death

Best books about comics

How To Make Webcomics
Player vs Player’s Scott Kurtz co-writes this book on the business of making web comics.  Liam and I have considered doing a Zuda competition entry, and I’ve whipped up a blog to start documenting the creation of the comic, but then Char went and had Maks, and my time has been incredibly limited and very precious, so nothing’s come of it.  It’s a new year’s resolution though, so I’ll get it done this year.

Watching the Watchmen
This takes an exhaustive look at everything that Dave Gibbons put into the making of the Watchmen.  He’s kept every scrap and extra piece of paper over the years, from early notes from Alan Moore, to preliminary sketches and initial drafts.  Pete got my copy signed by Gibbons, who also drew a great little sketch of Rorschach, and put the logo on Dr. Manhattan in the background.  It sits alongside my copy of Absolute Watchmen and seems pretty happy.

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