My Fave Five Comic Books of 2013
Ever since Katie and Sharon invited me to review comic books for I Smell Sheep, I've been having a blast doing something that I just never had the chance to do when I was a boy: read comic books!
It's like I'm making up for lost time. And it's nice to live in a century where a thirty-something fella can read a comic book without having scorn heaped upon him. I get enough of that for reading horror novels, anyway.
Okay, so to be clear, the vast majority of comics I have read this year were published by Image and Dark Horse, though I have had the chance to read some promising titles from publishers like Valiant, Top Cow, Zenescope, and others, so please don't take this as any kind of definitive list or anything. It's just me cheer-leading the books I managed to read. So, here we go.
#5 Kiss Me, Satan by Victor Gischler (Dark Horse) - This series was custom-made for me, it feels like, because it is an amped-up urban fantasy that makes no apologies for how entrenched in the genre it is. I can only imagine the fiendish glee Victor Gischler and Juan Ferreyra take with putting the story on the page. It's only three issues into the five-part series as I write this, but it's already a standout for me.
Gef's reviews of Kiss Me, Satan
#4 Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image) - I'm late to this series, but what I've read has been a delight to a devilish degree. The overtly melodramatic noir is so well-suited to the medium, I'm surprised. I would go bonkers if there was a TV or film adaptation of this series, but I have to wonder how a general audience would react when the allusions to supernatural elements rear up at certain points. Bah, screw adaptations--the comic book is superb.
Gef's reviews: Fatale
#3 X by Duane Swierczynski and Erin Nguyen (Dark Horse) - I'm already a fan of Swierczynski's novels, so when I caught word he also wrote for comic books and he had a new series coming out, I just had to check it out. I'm glad I did, too. The hyper-violent revenge thriller is at times so over the top, I feel like I should be repulsed, but there is just enough humanity injected into the story that I am simply captivated.
Gef's reviews: X
#2 Skullkickers by Jim Zub and Edwin Huang (Image) - I think it was Skullkickers #19 that first introduced me to the irreverent humor of Jim Zub. This series has been one of the most genuinely hilarious comic book series I've ever read. Heck, one of the funniest book series, period. If you enjoy fantasy adventure with drunken dwarves, you're gonna love this series.
Gef's reviews: Skullkickers
#1 Ten Grand by J. Michael Straczynski, Ben Templesmith, & C.P. Smith (Image) - I like my urban fantasy gritty, and Ten Grand might be the grittiest. Up until very recently, it was illustrated by the incomparable Ben Templesmith, whose artwork such a bleak and mesmerizing portrayal of this universe. Now, the helm has been passed to C.P. Smith, just as the main character ventures into Hell to save his lady love, which has been a bit of serendipity, offering a refreshing twist on the visual tone of the story. Straczynski's writing remains unchanged, meaning brilliant. I am hard-pressed to imagine a series that could impress me more.
Gef's reviews of Ten Grand
And there you have it. I'm sure other lists of this sort look entirely different, but I'm going with my gut and basically putting my personal tastes in comics on display here. Aside from Batman and the occasional X-Men comic, I don't get wrapped up in the superhero genres. I have been far more drawn towards the books that work to tell stories a little more grounded, yet just as fantastical.
So, what are your favorite comic books from this past year? What have I been missing out on and need to hunt down once it's out in trade form?