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It's not all doom and gloom
January 3, 2013 6:01 AM   Subscribe

Tom Spurgeon lists fifty positive comics news stories that happened in 2012.
posted by MartinWisse (45 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Catwoman O is missing.
How is that?

Any link which claims that "Walking Dead #100 Sold 80 Billion Copies" needs more T&A.
posted by Mezentian at 6:08 AM on January 3, 2013


Any link which claims that "Walking Dead #100 Sold 80 Billion Copies" needs more T&A.

No.
posted by kmz at 6:25 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


"there's awesome stuff going on in kid's comics!"
"oh, neat. Like what?"
(ARTICLE ENDS)


C'mon, throw me a bone here, guys. I have a kid and would love to spend on comics, but don't want to grind through a lot of bad comics to find the good ones. There's not even a caption on your article's images.
posted by boo_radley at 6:28 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I love Spurgeon but saying "Someone Tried A Different Convention Model" and then not explaining what it was isn't very helpful. The Projects' site is vaguely intriguing, but it would have been nice to have someone like Spurgeon write, or link, a more full report of what actually happened. That entry did remind me, though, of this nice local article about the NC Comicon:

“There has been a big move toward smaller regional cons, and we feel like we’re part of that movement. The idea is to get away from big media spectacles like San Diego, which are really more about films and video games now than they are about comic books.”

More: If you want to avoid the big-tent frenzy of San Diego, the other extreme often amounts to some folding tables in a dismal room where a few hard-core collectors cut deals. One notable exception is the young but fast-growing NC Comicon, which moves from its prior home in Morrisville to a new one in the Durham Convention Center on Nov. 17 and 18. Grassroots but ambitious, supported by the resources of a respected retailer, it focuses almost exclusively on comic books and the people who make them.

I love the idea of new, regional responses to the corporate megafest cons, and would love to learn more about what Portland did.
posted by mediareport at 6:40 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


Spurgeon is one of the best comics writers around, but at this point, he REALLY needs to invest in a professional redesign of his nine-year-old blog.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:44 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a kid and would love to spend on comics, but don't want to grind through a lot of bad comics to find the good ones.

The My Little Pony comic, like the show, is enjoyable by kids and the less cynical sort of adults. I hear the Adventure Time comic is as well, although I haven't read that one.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:54 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is there more content after the first-level links? 'Kate Beaton's panel was really good' should lead to more than just... her own website, shouldn't it?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:55 AM on January 3, 2013


2012 was the year I stopped buying comics. I cancelled all my pulls, I haven't been back to my local comics shop. I feel guilty about that. But I had to rein in my spending, and since I sure wasn't going to stop buying BOOKS, comics had to go. And as a Marvel collector, the whole all-crossover-all-the-time direction of "Marvel NOW!" just left me cold. Don't get your X-Men in my Avengers, dammit. I'd infrequently check the Comixology app to see if any interesting collections were on sale cheap. They never were. I'd hit the end of my time as a Comic Book Fan, it seemed. Sure, I still bought Atomic Robo, but I waited for the collected volumes and got them from Amazon. I got the second Walking Dead compendium, because I'd pre-ordered it months ago. Bought Chris Ware's Building Stories, but, hey, that's not comics, that's real litter-a-choor, right, suitable for tasteful display on one's coffee table. Sigh.

Then two things happened.

One: Brian K. Vaughan returned to long-form graphic storytelling with Saga. It's romantic space opera for adults that leaves me as giddy as a kid stumbling out of his first Star Wars movie. Fiona Staples' art is lovely, expressive, and just the right combination of otherworldly and grounded. It's a fantastic (in the best sense of the word) book, an example of what comics do better than any other medium - it sweeps you away, it immerses you in a strange and compelling world. It's big and bold and imaginative. It's world-building on a mythic scale that revolves around a heartfelt love story.

The other thing that happened is that somehow Marvel slipped up and allowed Matt Fraction and David Aja to have their way with The Dullest Avenger, Hawkeye. And six issues in, Hawkeye may be the best mainstream superhero book out there, because it isn't one: it's a crime comic, a caper comic, a buddy-cop comic with rarely a Spandex costume in sight. The conceit of the book is simple: Hawkeye is an Avenger. But this comic is about what happens on his days off. He rescues a stray dog. He drinks beer with his neighbors. He foils an international crime syndicate. He tangles with local mobsters. Fraction never loses sight of the fact that Clint Barton is very much just a man; he may be the world's greatest marksman, but a broken chair leg to the face is still gonna break his nose. And by downsizing his hero, taking him out of the purple costume, Fraction makes The Dullest Avenger into a delight. There's real tension. Aja's art is breathtaking. Rough, grainy, gestural, with small panels hopping all over pages suffused in lavender and grey and dim blues. It's a visual feast, and it tells small stories that are one-and-done.

So that's what's keeping me in comics right now. One big book, one little book. The opposite ends of the comic book spectrum. I'm spending less and enjoying more. I still feel bad for my local shop, though.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:12 AM on January 3, 2013 [11 favorites]


Superman Family Adventures is great. It's predecessor, Tiny Titans, is also great and available in trades. Batman: Brave and the Bold ended along with the cartoon but is in trades and is excellent.
posted by Artw at 7:49 AM on January 3, 2013


Great post, that was quite the time hole and I really don't even read any current comics. Somehow, and I can't tell which one right now, one of those links led to an interview with Dean Haspiel which I really enjoyed and I want to read some of his comics now. Thanks.
posted by marxchivist at 7:54 AM on January 3, 2013


I'm with Chris Sims on this:

Here's the thing: This is the best possible time there has ever been to read comics. As much as we might romanticize how great it would've been to walk down to the newsstand and buy those Stan Lee / Jack Kirby Marvel books in the '60s and pine for the Golden Age (you know, the '80s, when Simonson was on Thor and Ostrander and McDonnell were on Suicide Squad), or even yearn to go back to the late '90s when the Justice League was still good, those eras don't hold a candle to what we have today. And most of it has to do with the fact that all that stuff is still around.

We have more access to great comics now than we ever have before, and that's not even getting into what we're seeing with webcomics and digital. All of those comics are still out there, and most of the best are easy to find. Gripe all you want about how the shift in focus to the paperback and the bookstore market has led to overly decompressed storylines and killed the monthly comic as a storytelling unit, but it's also made keeping classic stories in print not just viable, but one of the driving forces of the market. Kick Ass might be an unrepentant piece of s**t, but if its unfortunate success has the side effect of getting me a cheap reprint of Aztek: The Ultimate Man, then at least something good comes out of it.

It's not just super-heroes, either. You want classic adventure stories? You can head over to Amazon right now and buy a ton of relatively cheap, great-looking collections of Hergé, Floyd Gottfredson and Carl Barks without even leaving your house. Prefer comic strips? Fantagraphics has 34 years worth of Peanuts in print right now. Hell, The Complete Funky Winkerbean just got started this year, and while that may only be of interest to students of abject suffering, it's still a testament to how much of comics history is out there right now, available to dive into.

It's the same way with new stuff. There's good stuff coming out from every major publisher, but even if you're so frustrated that you end up chopping out the front half of the Previews catalog and chucking it into the fire, there's enough great stuff coming out from indie and small press publishers that you could just read those and still fill every month.

And when you do throw in the Internet and digital comics? Forget it. We've hammered this point ad infinitum here on ComicsAlliance, but it's true: There's an unbelievable amount of comics out there and the barrier for entry is low for a creator and almost nonexistent for the reader, and the sheer variety of what's out there is absolutely staggering. Want to read about wisecracking cats having bizarre, occasionally surreal character-driven adventures? Say hello to the best comic of the 21st century. In the mood for high concept action comedy with medical ninjitsu? It updates in full color three times a week. Do you want to read wordless pornographic romance comics about Victorian robots? That is not just a thing that exists (NSFW), it's also really, really good.


2012 has been an AMAZING year for comics, if you just look at what's good. Prophet, Saga, Multiple Warheads, Zaucer of Zilk, Manhattan Projrcts, DB Cooper, all of these have been great. Theres a HUGE trade of King City now and it costs twenty bucks. Over at Dark Horse the Becky Cloonan Conan comics were phenomenal, and Mike Mignola is back on Hellboy doing some of the best work of his career. On my home turf 2000ad has had as strong a rub this year as it's ever had in its long and storied history Even over at Marvel and DC... Well, let's ignore DC but everyone needs to be reading Hawkeye now.

So yeah: 2012, a great year in comics.
posted by Artw at 8:10 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is still one of my favorite comic news stories. I could have sworn it was last year, but turns out them years are starting to bleed together in my dotage.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:31 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's something to get the list started for 2013. Mary and Bryan Talbot won the biography category of the prestigious Costa Book prize with a graphic novel exploring the lives of James Joyce's daughter Lucia as well as the author (Mary - Bryan being the artist, and possibly familiar to Mefite's from series such as Luther Arkwright and for his work on Batman and Judge Dredd). It is the first time a graphic novel has won any category of the Costa. A short extract of the winning book "The Dotter of Her Father's Eyes" is here.
posted by biffa at 8:32 AM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


SERGIO ARAGONES. He's still alive, and he's still awesome.

One day, maybe one day soon, there will be an extremely sad obit post about him. BUT NOT YET, so be happy!
posted by JHarris at 8:46 AM on January 3, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, also, Bill Watterson paints Petey Otterloop. His sister Alice has a fair amount of Calvin in her personality, but Petey is unique. It's a shame that Cul De Sac had to cease production, and I still have my fingers crossed that it'll be back, in some form, someday.
posted by JHarris at 8:50 AM on January 3, 2013


ChurchHatesTucker: The My Little Pony comic, like the show, is enjoyable by kids and the less cynical sort of adults. I hear the Adventure Time comic is as well, although I haven't read that one.

They are both terrific, although the AT one is of a slightly different continuity of the show. (Evidently no one told the writers ahead of time the earthshaking news that Marceline and Ice King knew each other.) I've only seen one issue of the PONY comic so far, but it's dense. They put a ton of work into it!
posted by JHarris at 8:55 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


let's ignore DC

Ignore most of DC, fine, but anybody who likes comic art should be buying Wonder Woman and The Flash every month.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:07 AM on January 3, 2013


Brian K. Vaughan returned to long-form graphic storytelling with Saga.

Saga is brilliant, almost as good as Prophet and what I like about both of them is that they read as if they could've been published in Spirou (Well, Metal Hurlant more likely) instead of by Image. There's a very European, French science fiction feel to both of them.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:11 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


the late '90s when the Justice League was still good

what.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:25 AM on January 3, 2013


Stuff I've been really happy with in the comics shop in 2012: Prophet, Multiple Warheads, Mind Mgmt, Atomic Robo, Rasl, Hawkeye.

(Multiple Warheads: sexy gonzo sf by Brandon Graham, tbh his run as the lead writer for Prophet is what's gotten me going into the shop on a regular basis this year. Mind Mgmt: dense, cryptic psychic espionage by Matt Kindt. Rasl: parallel worlds sf by Jeff Smith - it finished this year, well worth snagging the collections.)

I keep hearing about Saga but I missed enough early issues that I'm just gonna wait for the trades.

Also I was delighted to find that one of the copies of my own small-press book I sold to my local shop had been bought. So the was a very personal piece of positive news.
posted by egypturnash at 9:28 AM on January 3, 2013


What

If you're going to tell me that Grant Morrison's Justice League run wasn't good, we will have words.

If you're saying that Geoff Johns' current Justice League run is good, it'll be more of a sad, somewhat disapproving head-shake.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:32 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


egypturnash: "I keep hearing about Saga but I missed enough early issues that I'm just gonna wait for the trades."

The first trade is out. Also, Comixology is the first time I've bought a single issue of a comic book for reading purposes* since, IIRC, issue 50 of Groo the Wanderer and damned if it doesn't work. I recommend taking a look at it if you're tabletified.

*Damn you collectable Serenity comics! Just sitting there on my bookshelf being too fragile to carry around in a backpack!
posted by stet at 10:27 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have only ever bothered to get two autographs in my life. The only one I can remember for sure is Sergio Aragones. The man's amazing.

As for mainstream comics: Marvel's character stable has always been my first love, but good God, the last few years have made me cringe. I refused to buy the Avengers vs X-Men thing, but I flipped through enough of it standing in the bookstores to know that I'd made the right decision. Awful. Just awful.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:46 AM on January 3, 2013


Nthing Saga and Hawkeye. They're almost polar opposites, but both are must-reads.

I've only seen one issue of the PONY comic so far, but it's dense. They put a ton of work into it!

The second issue just came out yesterday. But yeah, the amount of references they cram in there is impressive. One day there'll be an annotated edition.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:57 AM on January 3, 2013


I'm on the fence about Saga. I've read the first six issues, and while they're awesome, I'm already getting annoyed by Vaughan's tendency to introduce compelling characters and then immediately kill them off.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:05 AM on January 3, 2013


I'm already getting annoyed by Vaughan's tendency to introduce compelling characters and then immediately kill them off.

Not a Josh Wheadon fan, then.

If it helps, I suspect at least one is Mark Twain dead.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:23 AM on January 3, 2013


I'm down with the Prophet love, but respect should also be given to the Glory reboot as well, in which the Rob Liefeld-created Wonder Woman expy went from looking like this to looking like this. (Incidentally, imagine the latter person naked and in bed with a guy who's old enough to remember WWII. That's what happens when you hang out with an immortal warrior who is not overly concerned with human notions of beauty and youth.) It's a bit gorier than Prophet, and a lot gorier than just about anything else this side of Crossed (which I loathe), but rewarding nonetheless.

So, of course it's ending. Damnit.

But, there you go. Saga and King City look promising enough that I just ordered the trades (thanks), yes to Hawkeye, Silk Spectre was pretty good (and I'm hoping that the thing with Hooded Justice in Minutemen turns out to be a head-fake); Batwoman is, so far, still being published and worth looking at. Building Stories was, as expected, awesome; Ellen Forney put out Marbles, an excellent history and discussion of her coming to terms with her bipolar disorder (and how it's affected her career); Gabrielle Bell's The Voyeurs was similarly excellent; etc. I'm sure that there have been worse years in comics while I've been reading them. I don't necessarily think that some of the not-so-good aspects are refuted by "news" such as "Gary Groth keeps doing what he's doing" or "Kate Beaton did a good presentation at SDCC" or "Matt Groening is ending Life in Hell, but thanks for the memories."
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:13 PM on January 3, 2013


Silk Spectre was pretty good

Tck.

Though you're right about Glory, which I've just gotten in trade as well. I love those new ten bucks Image trades, they're just the right size and price to take a gamble on a new series.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:57 PM on January 3, 2013


Well, I'm loving Hawkeye and DD: End Of Days and even Punisher: War Zone and will be dropping all my DC stuff if the next issues of the only three titles I keep bothering with don't pick up some steam big time. I recently sold a massive pile of trades as well as a longbox worth of odds and ends, it's just such a fucking schizophrenic experience going into a comic book shop these days. There are, what, ten Avengers books? Marvel stuff seems to reboot every dozen issues after some kind of spastic crossover and I don't even know where to start any more.

Fraction is doing two Fantastic Four titles and I think one is basically X-Statix and also there's the big X-Statix omnibus that everyone just fuckin' goes on and on about. Writers are meant to get better as they get older, aren't they? So what was up with Peter Milligan on Justice League Dark? All these Image titles, it seems like a dozen new ones every week but where's issue 2 of Luther Strode? Nobody knows.

Saga sounds interesting but then so did Y: The Last Man and it went on for decades and got stupider and stupider and oh god, Unwritten? Fables? Another two people can't shut up about and they've also been going on and on and there are like six bloody different Fables titles on the shelves as well. I don't know what to do any more or where I am.

Did anybody look at Fashion Beast? What the hell is that all about? Why is Crossed still a thing? What the hell is with Colder? I saw a HC collection of Black Kiss and I was like "Hey, sexycrimetimes" and even though this is Australia and they were selling it at the US cover price it was still like forty bucks for a half hour of reading! Nnnng!

What happened to Nonplayer? How come every time I go into a comic shop there are like fifty copies of every issue of every book sitting there for yonks but when I go in and say "Hey do you have a copy of [whatever] from a couple months back, I'm told it's pretty good and would like to start from the beginning, I don't care if it's a sixth reprint or whatever" the guys at the shop are all like "hurr durr we might be getting some in it's pretty hard to find", FUCK OFF! What's sitting in those six-million longboxes in the backroom? Fucking broken busts of The Phantom and Halo wallets and foil covers of X-Force #1 apparently. Yeah, THAT X-Force #1.

SHELVES AND SHELVES OF BLACKEST NIGHT AND SIEGE BUT GOD FORBID YOU WANT AN ALIENS OMNIBUS. Basically comic shops should be all about me and what I like and desire at any given moment. What is there even to read? Don't say Warren Ellis or Grant Morrison or Garth "Twenty-Five Iterations Of The Guy With Dark Hair And Sunglasses In A Jacket And Smoking" Ennis because I don't believe you and you are wrong. Thank you and goodbye.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 1:59 PM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Garth "Twenty-Five Iterations Of The Guy With Dark Hair And Sunglasses In A Jacket And Smoking" Ennis

I LOL'd.
posted by Mister_A at 2:03 PM on January 3, 2013


What is there even to read?

The three or four titles that have been praised above?

You don't have to read everything.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:14 PM on January 3, 2013


The three or four titles that have been praised above?

Oh, yeah, what, who are you? Mister...Got-An-Answer-For-Everything? I mean what else is there! Three comic books a month isn't exactly, like, rocketing me to Samuel Johnson levels of well-readedness or constantly having fun all the time like famous actors do.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 2:17 PM on January 3, 2013


Oh, yeah, what, who are you? Mister...Got-An-Answer-For-Everything?

Whom do I see about changing my username?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:29 PM on January 3, 2013


Boo_Radley: The Phoenix Comic, a UK-based kids comic, is now doing a digital edition via iTunes.
posted by The River Ivel at 4:33 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


turgid dahlia 2 > What happened to Nonplayer?

A day job. And now a kid on the way. But maybe a Kickstarter. See Smpsons' blog.
posted by egypturnash at 9:54 AM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I believe there was an accident as well - he broke his collar bone or something? Anyway, looking forwards to seeing more of that.
posted by Artw at 10:00 AM on January 4, 2013


TCJ: The 19 Best Comics of 2012
posted by Artw at 6:40 AM on January 5, 2013


Some really nice stuff here: Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Year) - 2012 Edition
posted by Artw at 6:45 AM on January 5, 2013


I love Crossed and I don't care who knows
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:04 AM on January 5, 2013


Keiron Gillen and Si Spurrier put forth a good case for Crosswd over wine in this podcast. I dunno, I read that first issue and bounced off of it hard.
posted by Artw at 8:15 AM on January 5, 2013


AV Club: The best superhero and mainstream comics of 2012
posted by Artw at 4:32 PM on January 6, 2013


Interview: Nate Simpson On Comickybook Nonplayer
posted by Artw at 9:05 PM on January 9, 2013


2000 AD's 'Trifecta' Crossover Is Hereby Declared The Best Event Comic of 2012
posted by Artw at 7:11 PM on January 11, 2013


Judge Dredd attempting to pick up the pieces after the events of the apocalyptic "Day of Chaos" story. Millions are dead, Mega-City One is in ruins, but life goes on. The guilty must be judged and justice must be served.

Again?

That said, it brings me joy to see The Simping Detective is still Simpin' after all these years.
posted by Mezentian at 11:19 PM on January 11, 2013


Again?

But really quite a lot this time.
posted by Artw at 11:53 PM on January 11, 2013


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