Time really is a funny thing. As the year draws to a close, I'm once again reminded that sometimes my life seems to stagnate. Goals I set never got accomplished or were killed by lack of commitment, or directions I never thought I would take have become my path. Either that, or I look back and ask myself "What have I been doing for the past 12 months?" And to look ahead to the future is almost certainly scary. The future is hazy and truly out of my control, which makes the fact that I didn't use the past year to my full advantage sting that much more.
While I feel this way about my personal life, it's true that I can extend these sentiments into my comic reading experiences this year. Maybe it's because I didn't buy as many books this year, or because I bought more back issues than in previous times, but this past twelve months of comics by no means blew my mind. In some ways, the months and the issues just seemed to pass, with almost no major repercussions.
But that's not to say there weren't some bright spots. This past year of comic reading brought a renewed interest in Spidey, a continued adoration of the new Batgirl, a change of heart towards Judd Winick, an ever deepening connection to the Fantastic Four, and some truly fun moments with Felicia Day. These are the moments that I hope can fit into that "time well spent" category. These are the things I'm here to celebrate today.
So won't you join me once again, as I take the time to dole out a few awards to the best (and worst) of what I read this year? In other words, it's time for the 2010 Kellsies!
Kellsies 2010 Rules:
1. Kellsies are only given out for books that came out in 2010. In the case of mini-series or arc that started in 2009, a majority of it had to come out in 2010.
2. Kellsies are only for books I read or purchased. I had to actually sit and spend time with the thing to form a valid opinion. Internet spoilers don't really count.
3. I reserve the right to make up any category I deem fit. Don't be surprised if you see an award for "Best Out of Character Namor Moment in an X-Men Book."
4. Kellsies are by nature fully biased, partially arbitrary, and overall meaningless. It's advised that you take them with a grain of salt.
And for those of you just joining us, this is actually the fourth Kellsies post(holy $#@!). The inaugural edition can be found here, the 2008 posting can be found here, and the 2009 awards can be found here.
As always, the books chosen to receive Kellsies are classified under one of two categories. The stuff I liked, which was what I consider above average, is known as the "best." The stuff I read that I felt was unnecessary is unfortunately dubbed the "worst." While I feel bad about dogging out someone's hard work, the disparity between best and worst is often easy to spot, and ultimately worth noting for posterity. It's like a time capsule of sorts.
Enough with the exposition, onto the awards!
Best Series- Justice League: Generation Lost
Spinning out of the Blackest Night Mini-Series and tying into DC's company wide storyline "Brightest Day", Gen Lost excels due to the execution of its overall premise. The mystery of Maxwell Lord being resurrected and his cat-and-mouse tactics with the DCU's most famous heroes and villains lends itself to a compelling "what will he do next?" chess game of superheroics.
While a lot of my fondness for Gen Lost comes from Judd Winick's use of snappy characterizations and humorous nuances, I also realize that I should tip my hat to DC for putting this book out bi-weekly. Though I'll end up paying much more for the series in a year than the other comics I enjoy, Gen Lost's determined shipping schedule makes me feel that there is indeed a planned ending for the series, and that answers will actually be revealed. Plus Maxwell Lord is a total MOFO, and I like it. I might as well call him villain of the year, while I'm at it.
Best Cover - Superboy #1 by Rafael Albaquerque
I looked over a lot of covers in search of what I felt was the standout image of 2010, and this piece by Rafael Albaquerque really seemed to tower above the others.
What makes this cover for me is the overall tone, which seems to scream "youthful hero." From the deep yellow backdrop (not many comics with those!), to the undeniable focus on the "S" symbol on Kon-El's shirt, to the ever so slight smirk on the titular hero's face, this is how you want to present your #1 issue. Heck, the cover pretty much sold me on trying the series!
Best Mini-Series- The Guild
As a prequel of sorts to the semi-popular web series of the same name, The Guild really fired on all cylinders as a limited engagement. As an adaptation of another medium, it succeeded in bridging any weird transitional gaps that may occur from screen to page (unlike every Simpsons comic ever). With series creator Felicia Day writing the issues, all characterizations were dead-on, and the comic had actual credibility with fans of the show (a.k.a me).
Best of all, the comics gave us the backstory of how the characters in the show came to meet. While that particular storyline is often alluded to in the show, the only place to see it "in continuity" is within the comics, creating an interesting "bookend" (or in this case "bookfront") to the web show. So in other words, the Guild wins because it feels like a mini-series with a purpose.
Best Moment- The Death of Magog
Worst Series-Justice League of America by James Robinson
To be fair, I only read two issues of the series this year, #41, which was the big launching point for a new team, and #50, which was the oversized milestone issue. The nicest thing I can say about both issues were that they left feeling underwhelmed.The worst I can say is that both stories were steaming piles of literary excrement.
DC had promoted Robinson's run heavily, promising new characters, a new team dynamic, and lots of unique ties to the DC Universe. Instead we got an awkward collection of heroes who joined the team and then quickly quit, leaving Donna Troy, Jesse Quick, and Jade as the forerunners of the series. And while it's true that all of those ladies are interesting characters, they are supporting players at best. They could be in a JLA if it were led by heavy hitters like Superman himself, but even then, I probably still wouldn't read the comic.
.....For the next 2 issues!
Worst One-Shot - Batman: The Return
I read a lot of sorry excuses for one-shots this year, but none made me as utterly indignant as Grant Morrison's Batman: The Return. As the "official" (for $4.99 it better be official!) homecoming of Bruce Wayne as well as the kick off to the Batman Inc. era, this comic suffered from an overall lack of heart. While Batman isn't known for hugs and kisses, he returned like some kind of superheroic Donald Trump, with all his extended family acting as his Apprentice contestants (note the page where they all get their "assignments"). While I understand that the whole point of the story is to a.) show off David Finch's art and b.) Establish a newly repurposed Bruce Wayne, it doesn't mean I have to accept the status quo. While I will give the story credit for ironing out questions of how Bruce and Damian would operate in the future, its ending left me cold. If the idea was to get me to follow Batman Inc., this book had the opposite effect.
Worst Mini-Series- ShadowlandBilled as a "street level" event, Shadowland's goal seemed simple enough: New York heroes were going to fight an evil Daredevil. The first issue started out in event-worthy fashion, with Bullseye escaping his jailers, the people of New York becoming more distrustful of DD's empire, and finally the cliffhanger of our favorite blind lawyer doing the unthinkable (ok it was like the worst kept secret in comics this summer). It was good enough, and then it got....weird.
I actually read the DD tie-in issues, Shadowland 1-3, and the Spidey one-shot, and the momentum of this series died so quickly that I didn't stick around for the conclusion. The ultimate irony(is that the word for it?) is that this was the "street level" event that ends up with a demonic battle of wits. The supernatural background of it all totally negated the whole reason I actually wanted to read the storyline, which was to see a bearded Punisher shoot Spider-Man.That put the "tease" in teaser image...
Worst Cover (or Most Distracting Cover Feature) Justice League Generation Lost #1I love Tony Harris, and I truly enjoy all his art. But out of all the comics I purchased this year, there was one thing that bothered me so much on this cover that I really did think about intermittently it for months. I present to you the cover to Gen Lost #1, and ask you to look at Booster Gold.....
I just winced a little.
Based on my predictions from last year, I was right about Magog getting canceled in 12 issues, Dan Didio's run on Outsiders has become a disaster, and Geoff John's Flash has failed to impress (ok, I'm the only one apparently).
- Green Lantern will be one of the cheesier superhero movies, but will have great special effects.
- The Thor movie will suck in proportions equaled only by Ghost Rider. But Lady Sif will keep me very interested!
- The Walking Dead will return to TV and lose a ton of viewers. I don't know why.
- People will take a second look at Fantastic Four, and be uber impressed by the massive story unfolding.