best of 2011 Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Comics A.M. | De Guzman leaves SLG, Powell joins Diamond

Jennifer de Guzman

Publishing | Jennifer de Guzman announced that, after 10 years, she has left her position as editor-in-chief of SLG Publishing: “My decade SLG was, I suspect, like no other decade anyone has spent working anywhere. I had great co-workers and got to work with fantastic creators, all of whom I will miss very much. (Though because this is comics and a community like no other, we will always stay in contact.)” [Possible Impossibilities]

Retailing | Chris Powell, current general manager and chief relationship officer for Texas-based comic chain Lone Star Comics, has accepted the newly created position of executive director of business development for Diamond Comic Distributors. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund board member will start his new position in March. [ICv2]

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Fun with numbers: O.M.A.C. and the New 52’s ‘Second Wave’

For the most part, news that DC Comics is canceling six titles from the initial New 52 didn’t come as much of a shock — with one possible exception. The critically acclaimed O.M.A.C. by Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen is marked for cancellation with Issue 8, alongside the other fledgling series whose sales have foundered.

While DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras expounded on both the “Second Wave” of the New 52 and the reason for the cancellations, the fact remains that, month-to-month, O.M.A.C. has been a consistent all-star in reviews, even going so far as to be the No. 52 title on CBR’s Top 100 Comics of 2011.

Wait … No. 52? Fifty-two as in, “The New 52″?

Whether it was dumb luck or a harbinger of things to come, that is indeed the slot O.M.A.C. took in CBR’s Top 100 of 2011, a fitting piece of offbeat trivia for one of the quirkiest books of the DC relaunch.

Comics A.M. | How digital changed Geoff Johns’ approach to writing

Aquaman #1

Digital comics | Geoff Johns explains how digital presentation made him re-evaluate his approach to writing Aquaman #1, as digital readers focus on stories panel by panel rather than page by page. He notes that they also spend more time on individual panels, taking in all the details before moving on: “It’s weird to go back and look at some of the old comics now. If you read something in this fashion you will notice stuff that you skipped over so quickly because your eye takes in the whole page instead of the panel individually. I think that’s probably one of the biggest advantages of digital.” Johns also reveals digital considerations have also led him to scale back on internal dialogue to “let the art and characters expressions speak for themselves.” [Variety]

Digital comics | On a related note, Shaun Huston ponders the challenges of making “comics as we know them” work on digital devices: “While there’s some latitude to read full pages on the iPad, and the Fire at 4.7” x 7.5” (or the Nooks) affords that option more realistically than the iPhone or similarly-sized devices, in all of these cases there will be situations where most readers will shift to Guided View in order to effectively see some particular detail on a page. For many, Guided View will be the primary choice, which is a qualitatively different experience than reading page-by-page. In fact, while in that mode, ‘the page’ arguably becomes irrelevant as panels are strung together into one linear sequence, rather than into a series of page-specific sequences.” [PopMatters]

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The best of the best of the year lists

Wonder Woman #1

• Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass lists 2011’s 10 best issues of DC Comics for female characters, highlighting issues of Secret Six, the pre-relaunch Batgirl and post-relaunch Wonder Woman: “…Enter Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang. From the first pages it was clear this run was going to be different. Stunning art and an unforgivingly aggressive storyline unafraid to shake up the status quo made Wonder Woman one of the two top selling female led books of the new 52 and a top 20 comic for the first time in years. Wonder Woman is back on top and all is right with the world.”

• ComicsAlliance compiles their complete best of 2011 list, which includes Atomic Robo, Criminal: Last of the Innocent and Batman: The Black Mirror.

• Josh and Elizabeth from Things From Another World count down their favorite comics of the year in video form.

• Ed Sizemore lists his top manga of the year, including Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths and Wandering Son.

• Kelly Thompson at Comics Should Be Good! shares her bests, and a few worsts, of 2011. Her bests include Princeless, Detective Comics and Uncanny X-Force.

• Ben Morse posts a gift-getting guide, or a “helpful guide to some of the good stuff that came out in the 12 months prior either already or soon to be available in collected form that you can use to divest yourselves of those newly acquired gift cards or wads of cash.”

• read/RANT list their 10 best of the year, including Paying For It and Ultimate Spider-Man: Death of Spider-Man.

• And finally, the year in Squirrel Girl.

The 50 best covers of 2011

The fourth annual rundown of the best covers of the year features 50 images representing the work of 42 different artists (plus colorists, inkers, letterers and designers) from eight publishers.

Returning creators like Jo Chen, Dave Johnson, Paolo Rivera and J.H. Williams III are joined on the list by such “newcomers” as Francesco Francavilla, Viktor Kalvachev, Tradd Moore and Steve Morris.

As with previous installments, I’ve attempted to explain the appeal of each entry; some covers get just a sentence, while others receive entire paragraphs. That doesn’t reflect the quality of the image, but merely what I have to say about it.

For those interested in the lists from previous years, they can be found here: the best covers of 2010; the best covers of 2009; and the best covers of 2008.

With that out of the way, I present, in alphabetical order, the 50 best covers of 2011:

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Our favorite comics of 2011

As we start to wind down our big birthday bash, I’m always reminded by our year-end “favorite comics” post of just how much variety there is out there in the big world ‘o comics, from Uncanny X-Force and Batwoman to Habibi and Love & Rockets, from small press to Big Questions, from Wonder Woman to Mister Wonderful, from Daybreak to American Vampire.

So here are the favorite comic lists from the folks who I have the honor of working with every day on the blog. I like to read these just to see what I missed this year, and maybe come away with a list of stuff to go back and check out. I hope you come away with a similar feeling.

Michael May

Planet of the Apes

1. Planet of the Apes
Written by Daryl Gregory; Drawn by Carlos Magno (BOOM!)

How often does a licensed comic exceed the standards of its source material? We can’t say “never” anymore. Carlos Magno’s lush, detailed art draws the reader into a Planet of the Apes more fantastic than anything we’ve seen on screen. Once there, Daryl Gregory’s story balances adventure and social commentary better than any of the film versions too.

2. Anya’s Ghost
Written and Drawn by Vera Brosgol (First Second)

Anya’s relationship with her ghost is as dysfunctional as the rest of her life and Vera Brosgol’s graphic novel is darker than similar stories in the high school, supernatural-buddy genre. Not that the entire novel is dark. Characters change and grow in positive ways, but any positivity at the end is felt more keenly because of what they had to go through to get there.

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The best of the best of the year lists

Infinite Kung Fu

With only a couple days left in 2011, here are a few more “best of 2011″ lists from the past few days:

• iFanboy has chosen DC Comics as their publisher of the year. They’ve also listed their best collections of the year, including Infinite Kung Fu, Mr. Murder is Dead, Bone 20th Anniversary Full Color Edition and the Walt Simonson Thor Omnibus.

• ComicsAlliance finished up their countdown of their top comics of the year, with Daredevil and Love and Rockets New Stories Volume 4 taking the top two positions.

• The A.V. Club has posted two separate lists–one focused on superhero and mainstream comics, the second on “graphic novels and art comics.” The mainstream list includes a separate “Best of” section that includes categories like best new characters, best one-shot and “best fix.”

• Kelly Thompson lists 13 “fantastic female creators” for 2011 on Jezebel, which is a companion piece to previous lists she’s done (i.e. no repeats). This year’s list includes Marjorie Liu, Carla Speed McNeil, Renae De Liz and Kelly Sue DeConnick, among others.

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The Middle Ground #83 | Five of my favorites

“Best Of”s are always a problem for me; I get plagued by the knowledge that I know that I’m going to forget something really important – The list of important things that I’ve forgotten in my life is both embarrassingly long and just plain embarrassing, trust me – as well as the fact that I’ve just not managed to read all the good stuff released this year. How can I claim that something is one of the Best 10 Whatevers of the year if there’s another something I suspect may be even better, if only I could finally get around to making time for it?

And yet… ’tis the season, isn’t it? With 2011 just days from crawling out the backdoor, ashamed at its behavior and hoping that no-one will think too ill of it in future, this is the point where everyone looks back and picks their favorite things of the past twelve months. “Favorites” is a far more accurate term; less definitive, true, and less likely to get hits because of that, but it’s more true to say “I liked these the most” than “These are objectively the greatest,” isn’t it? And so, in no particular order and with the warning that I will inevitably have forgotten something important and wonderful, five of my favorite books of 2011: Continue Reading »

The best of the best of the year lists


As the end of 2011 approaches, websites and publications are unveiling various year-end lists. Here’s just some of what’s been released in the past few days:

• Brian Truitt at USA Today looks back at the year that was in comics, naming best writer (Scott Snyder), best non-superhero artist (Rob Guillory), best fight (Spider-Island) and many more categories.

• Kaleon Rahan takes an alphabetical approach to the year in comics, where “A” is for Action Comics, “J” is for Jim Lee, “S” is for Schism and “W” is for “What the Hell(boy).”

Dan Kois and Glen Weldon at NPR both name their favorites of the year.

• Cap’n Carrot at Dad’s Bug Plan lists his favorite ongoing series of the year, including Daredevil, Secret Six, Darkwing Duck and Batgirl.

• iFanboy lists the top 10 comic events of the year.

• Sean Gaffney discusses his favorite manga titles of the year.

The best of the best of the year lists


• iFanboy has named Petrograd by Phil Gelatt and Tyler Crook as their book of the year.

• Johanna Draper Carlson shares her top ten graphic novels of the year, a list that includes Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, Criminal: The Last of the Innocent by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Love and Capes: Wake Up Where You Are by Thomas Zahler and Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton.

• Danny Djeljosevic, Nick Hanover and Jason Sacks at Comics Bulletin count down their top ten graphic novels of 2011, which include Frank Miller’s Holy Terror, Oil and Water by Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler, and Habibi by Craig Thompson.

• Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson continues her countdown of the top people of 2011. Jeffrey Brown comes in at No. 71, while Brian Selznick lands at No. 55. Jeff Lemire is at No. 31. Robert Kirkman and Kevin Smith both break into the top 20. I won’t spoil the No. 1 pick, but I agree with it wholeheartedly.

• Jonathan P. Kuehlein of the Toronto Star picks his year’s best, including Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey by GB Tran, Joe The Barbarian: The Deluxe Edition by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy, and Scarlet: Book 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.

Ryan K Lindsay and Ken Boehm share some of their favorite comics of the year over at The Weekly Crisis.

Great comics critics serve up a holiday feast

Trimming the tree, hanging the stockings, lighting the menorah, setting up the Nativity scene, watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Scrooged back to back: The holidays are all about tradition. And two of the best comics websites around have holiday traditions of their own.

First up is Inkstuds, the comics interview podcast and radio broadcast hosted by Robin McConnell, and its annual Best of 2011 Critics Roundtable. This year McConnnell is joined by The Comics Journal‘s Tim Hodler, Joe McCulloch (aka Jog the Blog), and Robot 6’s own Matt Seneca for a truly enjoyable and insightful discussion of such titles as Big Questions, Prison Pit, Thickness, Paying For It, and Kramers Ergot 8, among many others. Radio turns out to be a terrific format for each participant, so much so that I was compulsively using every spare moment to finish the podcast — I even opened up my laptop in the passenger seat of my car and played it on the way to the drugstore. Give it a listen.

Meanwhile, Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter has kicked off his much beloved by me Holiday Interview series. His inaugural interview with Art Spiegelman tackles his new book-cum-documentary MetaMaus, his stint as the Grand Prix winner of France’s massive Angoulême comic con, and his take on the legacy of the underground comix movement, while the series’ second interview examines the future of the small-press publisher Sparkplug after the death of its founder Dylan Williams with the company’s new triumvirate of Emily Nilsson, Virginia Paine, and Tom Neely. Spiegelman and Sparkplug are both vital institutions in their own ways, having put their money where their mouths are with respect to the kinds of comics they’d like to see in the world, and Spurgeon makes for a great interlocutor as they articulate their respective visions. Go and read.

The best of the best of the year lists

Animal Man

As the end of 2011 approaches, websites and publications are unveiling various year-end lists and gift guides — so many that keeping up is a challenge. Here’s just some of what’s been released in the past few days:

• The Village Voice shares their list of the best comics and graphic novels of the year, a list that includes several collections of older material, Animal Man, Spaceman, Mister Wonderful and more.

• Comic creators Jim Woodring and Anders Nilsen, along with Thor star Chris Hemsworth, landed in the bottom quarter of Pop Candy’s annual 100 People of the Year list. The rest of the list will roll out all this week.

• The top ten comics list by Joe Gross of the Austin-American Statesman includes Criminal, Journey Into Mystery, Finder and Hark! A Vagrant, and is topped by Love & Rockets: New Stories #4.

• John Lucas at The Straight lists his favorite graphic novels of 2011, including The Cardboard Valise by Ben Katchor, Paying For It by Chester Brown and Habibi by Craig Thompson.

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USA Today selects best ‘graphic novels’ of 2011

Infinite Kung Fu

USA Today writers-about-comics David Colton, John Geddes and Brian Truitt have assembled a year-end rundown of graphic novels, webcomics and comic-book collections that’s part best-of list, part holiday gift guide. The books, in no apparent order, are:

Flashpoint, by Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert (DC Comics)
Habibi, by Craig Thompson (Pantheon)
Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads, by Kirk Demarais (Insight Editions)
Bob Powell’s Terror, by Craig Yoe (IDW Publishing)
The Death-Ray, by Daniel Clowes (Drawn and Quarterly)
xkcd, by Randall Munroe
Infinite Kung Fu, by Kagan McLeod (Top Shelf)
Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: Artist’s Edition (IDW Publishing)
Who is Jake Ellis? Vol. 1, by Nathan Edmondson and Tonci Zonjic(Image Comics)
The New 52 collection (DC Comics)
An Elegy for Amelia Johnson, by Andrew Rostan, Dave Valeza and Kate Kasenow (Archaia)
Hark! A Vagrant, by Kate Beaton (Drawn and Quarterly)
The Homeland Directive, by Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston (Top • Shelf)
One Soul, by Ray Fawkes (Oni Press)
Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case (Dark Horse)

Visit the USA Today website to read what they have to say about each entry.

The best of the best of the year lists

Daredevil #7

As the end of 2011 approaches, websites and publications are unveiling various year-end lists and gift guides — so many that keeping up is a challenge. Here’s just some of what’s been released in the past few days

• Matt Madden and Jessica Abel, editors for the Best American Comics series, have released their annual Notable Comics list. Every year they try to get their hands on every North American comic that’s published every year so they can narrow them down to about 100 or so comics for their guest editor to choose from for each edition. This year’s list includes comics by Matt Kindt, Brandon Graham, Megan Kelso, Kathryn and Stuart Immonen, Michael Deforge, Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, Mike Dawson, Joshua Cotter and many, many more.

• In a list of their favorite music, movies, books and more of 2011, The Tulane Hullabaloo spotlights Mark Waid, Marcos Martin and Paolo Rivera’s run on Daredevil: “The series contains a sense of pure, manic glee missing from many of today’s dark, gritty and realistic superheroes, with Daredevil grinning as he makes snow angels on the rooftops of his beloved city rather than brooding over his internal demons. It’s a joy to read every month and cannot be recommended more, even to non-comic book enthusiasts.”

• UK comics retailer Forbidden Planet has been posting best of the year lists from various comic folks on their blog, including Sean Azzopardi, Mary Talbot, Edward Ross and Robin Etherington.

• MTV Splash Page counts down the top five comic book movie deaths of 2011.

• Brian Truitt at USA Today offers a list of gift ideas for comic fans.

• Lauren Davis at ComicsAlliance offers a guide to various webcomics collections and merchandise she thinks would make fine gifts — “a fantastic way to convert friends and family to your favorite webcomic.”

The best of the best of the year lists

Hark! A Vagrant

As the end of 2011 approaches, websites and publications are unveiling various year-end lists and gift guides — so many that keeping up is a challenge. Here’s just some of what’s been released in the past few days:

• Time has released their list of the top 10 fiction books of 2011, which includes two graphic novels — The Death Ray by Daniel Clowes at No. 10 and Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton at No. 7.

• Prolific manga commentator Deb Aoki lists her nominations for the 15 best manga of 2011, divided up by category (shoujo, shonen, etc.). Despite talk of a “manga bust” in recent years, 2011 was a pretty good year for new series, and there are some books here that are definitely worth a look.

• Garrett Martin, Hillary Brown and Sean Edgar at Paste Magazine share their picks for the 20 Best Comic Books of 2011, which they’ve broken into two different lists — new comics and reissues. Their lists include Animal Man, Big Questions, the We3 Deluxe Edition and Celluloid, among many others.

• Drawn’s John Martz shares his favorite books of the year, which include Pope Hats, Paying for It, Mister Wonderful and The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists.

• The Comic Vault present a lengthy discussion among their bullpen of their favorites of the year, breaking it down in various creator and comic book categories.

• Multiversity Comics named Image Comics publisher the year, and has released lists of the best new titles and most overlooked titles of 2012.

• Comics Should Be Good!’s Kelly Thompson shares her third annual “female positive comics holiday gift list,” which includes Shadoweyes in Love, Echo, Batman: The Black Mirror and Strange Tales II, among many others.

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