2011: A Year In Review
By: Chris “DOC” Bushley
I have finally worked through my Holiday coma that was induced by a combination of turkey, sugar cookies and egg nog, and found that it was time to look back on the year 2011. And since this will be the last “Year in Review” I will ever get to do — damn you Mayan calendar — I better get crackin’!
(NOTE: This list is compiled of media that I personally read or saw throughout the year 2011. Sales charts and reviews have no sway over this list! It is my pure, unadulterated opinion! So have some fun and read along, and if your favorites don’t appear here — go to the forums and make your own list. We always want to know how other fans feel. This is a site for you after all!)
BEST WRITER: Scott Snyder — This man really came into his own in 2011! With three amazing ongoing series, American Vampire, Batman and Swamp Thing, as well as two spectacular mini-series, American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest and Severed; Scott Snyder churned out some of the darkest, most engrossing books on the shelves today. All that, plus he’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet!
BEST ARTIST: Jim Cheung– The artist on Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, makes every panel dance with excitement. From splash pages to close-ups, everything he does is poster worthy!
BEST ONGOING SERIES: Uncanny X-Force! — Shocker? Not to those that read this book! Rick Remender really knows the voice of these characters, making them better than they ever were before! Every issue is a complete tour de force of action and characterization. Plus he had Fantomex shoot a child Apocalypse in the face! Brilliant!
WORST SERIES: Heroes For Hire — This series started out as one of my favorites, but by issue four, I was running for the door! Multiply artists that were not on par with Brad Walker and storylines that kept getting worse — made me feel as if DnA were D.O.A.!
BEST COVER ARTIST: Joao Ruas — The covers to Fables are some of the most poetic images I have ever seen! Gallery worthy, Raus mixes nostalgia with modern sensibilities to create truly breathtaking images.
BEST LIMITED SERIES: Baltimore: The Curse Bells — Mike Mignola trumps his first Baltimore series, Baltimore: The Plague Ships, by weaving in plot devices to further enrich the Lord Baltimore character. Demon births, tortured children, black magic and a coven of vampire nuns — how can you get any better?
BEST CHILDREN’S SERIES: Tiny Titans — My four year old and I truly love this book and are saddened that it will end with issue 50. Art Baltazar and Franco do a great job of making the book fun for the kiddies, while factoring in current storylines for the adults. They even had the mysterious Pandora make an appearance, only to be revealed that it was really Ambush Bug in disguise!
BEST TV SERIES: The Walking Dead — Did I really need to include this category on my list? Hell yeah! Everyone needs to watch this show! If it can get my wife hooked, than anyone can become a fan of this amazing series. Sunday nights will never be the same again!
BEST COMPANY: DC — This should come as no surprise! 2011 was the year that saw DC finally take the reigns back from Marvel on the sales charts, though just barely! But it was the decision to throw caution to the wind and relaunch 52 new number ones that made them outshine the competition. What could have been an epic fail, turned out to be the biggest success of any company this year! Their multiple genre product line has something for everyone, from horror to cosmic, anyone can find a book that will appease them. I personally read more DC books now than I ever have in my life!
BEST RELAUNCHED SERIES: Animal Man — This Jeff Lemire book is one of the best things I have ever read! It is disturbing and horrific, but it also has a depth to it that is astounding! He has taken the Buddy Baker character and stripped him of all the hokey aspects DC has pumped him with over the last few years, and made him superb again!
BEST STORY ARC: “No Way Out” The Walking Dead — Robert Kirkman finally settled his characters into a nice, safe environment. And just when everyone was starting to conform back to electricity and warm baths, BOOM, all hell breaks loose! Mamma always said, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, they might break.” And that’s exactly what happens in this arc — things break!
BEST GUILTY PLEASURE: Hasbro’s Marvel Universe 3.75” figures — No they are not dolls, they’re action figures! I just wish they had these when I was a kid. These are the coolest toys on the shelves and some of the toughest collectibles to get your grubby little hands on. Everyone has Iron Man, but how many of you got the super rare Archangel with the full wings? Oh, I’m the only one who knows what I’m talking about? Okay.
MOST SHOCKING MOMENT: Carl shot in the face! The Walking Dead #83 — Just when you think Rick and Carl will make it through the zombie hoard that is ripping through the streets, Kirkman kicks you in the gut and flips you off! I have to say that Robert Kirkman has put more holy $#*% moments in this series than any other I have ever read, but the splash page of Carl with a hunk of his head blown off — shocked the hell out of me!
BEST VILLAIN: Norman Osborn — Brian Bendis has taken a classic character that had become mired in mediocrity, and created one of the most maniacal villains ever! The best part of the character is that even though he is on the fringe of insanity, his plans actually make sense and they make you second guess every move the Avengers have made in the last five years!
MOST IMPROVED CHARACTER: Cyclops — No longer the whiny Boy Scout, Scott Summers has emerged to become the patriarch of the whole mutant race! It took a group effort of great writers, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, Mike Carey and Paul Jenkins, to get him to that status though. But now he is one of the best X characters around! I mean, how many people has Magneto bowed down to before? ‘Nuff said!
BEST NEW CHARACTERS: The Black Legion, Uncanny X-Force — Okay, so they aren’t really “new” characters but whose nit picking? These amalgams of Marvel elite characters are completely bad ass! Hailing from the Age of Apocalypse storyline, we can only hope to see more of them in the new Age of Apocalypse book in March! An Orange Hulk that is energized by the sun and Ghost Rider wearing Iron Man armor–too cool!
BEST BOOK YOU ARE NOT READING: The Strange Talent of Luthor Strode — This crazy book by Justin Jordan and Tradd Moore is visceral, grotesque and yet, spends enough time on characterization that you actually care about these characters! The brutality of Kick-Ass and the heart of Invincible, this is an awesome book for the not too faint of heart!
BIGGEST FLOP: X-Men: Schism — This book had so much promise and gave off too little bang for the buck. Wolverine and Cyclops almost kill each other over who had better management skills? C’mon Jason Aaron! The reasoning behind the “schism” was laughable at best, but it did lead to my next category!
BEST NEW ONGOING SERIES: Wolverine and the X-Men — What Jason Aaron lacked in thought for Schism, he more than made up for here! Funny, charming and action packed; this book has it all! Great character development and a quick wit makes this book stand out above the rest. Plus, it has tiny Nightcrawlers called BAMFs, that steal Wolverine’s whiskey — AWESOME!
WORST RUNNING THEME: Marvel’s “not dead” revival — Over the past year Marvel said they would kill a character every quarter. Now, that may have technically happened, but how many of these characters are still gone? And what about those characters that “died” years ago? Here is a list of those that “died” and have now come back in 2011. Hence the phrase “not dead!” Johnny Storm, Thor, Cable, Aerial, Bucky Barnes, Sabretooth, Joseph (Magneto’s clone) and Scott Lang! I probably missed a few, but I stopped counting! Make death in comics mean a little more and fans will appreciate it more!
CREATOR OF THE YEAR: Robert Kirkman — The man writes four comic series, has a hit T.V. show, a hit novel, is the COO of Image comics, created his own imprint under the Image banner called Skybound, has a TWD board game, TWD action figures and countless merchandising! Plus, he’s a family man! I don’t know when this guy has the time to breathe let alone sleep! And the crazy part? All his stuff is great! He is a fan favorite and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, just don’t ask him why Atom Eve has put on so much weight!
HIGHLIGHT OF 2011: The New York Comic Con — This was fanboy nirvana all wrapped in a four day package! From the free swag, the acquired art work, Marvel’s exciting panels, the interviews, the Mark Hamill panel, hanging out with the guys from DC, the MTV Geek party and the general camaraderie of the fans and the CBN staff– THIS WAS AWESOME! Thanks to everyone who came out and we hope to see you in 2012!
Well, that’s the list! Now we want to see what you thought of 2011. Go to the forums or hit us up in the comments below, and tell us all your favorites or what really ticked you off about the past year in the world of comics!
And tell us what you are most looking forward to in 2012, besides the end of the world!