“In My Rearview Mirror”
By: Chris “DOC” Bushley
It’s late, my wife and daughter are snuggled up in their beds as visions of super heroes dance in their heads. Well, possibly my daughter’s but my wife is probably having visions of Channing Tatum! I cannot believe another year has passed us by and I ponder all the things that have occurred in one of the most tumultuous years comic fans have ever seen. There were the seething fans from the The Dark Knight Rises vs. The Avengers debate, the uproar over The New 52 Alan Scott’s sexuality, the shock over the brutal death of Glenn in The Walking Dead #100, the return of the Joker, Indie comics creating a big buzz with fans, Second Waves, Third Armies and Kirkman becoming the king of the world! 2012 was truly THE year to be a comic fan and my list is only the tip of the iceberg of all the things that occurred last year. So, take a look. Agree, disagree, it’s all in good fun. And remember, my list only contains things that I have personally seen or read so, if your favorite book or movie doesn’t appear here — make your own list in the comments below to share with us!
BEST MOVIE: The Avengers: This summer blockbuster was so full of those classic, fun comic moments that you just couldn’t catch your breath. It was everything that Marvel had been painstakingly building up to for years — and it completely blew me away! The original Superman may have made us believe a man could fly, but The Avengers made me believe that gods live among us!
WORST MOVIE: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: Everyone forgot about this Valentine’s Day weekend blockbuster, didn’t they? Apparently, Ghost Rider did so well that they NEEDED to make this steaming pile of a sequel for the six fans that enjoyed it! I will sum this movie up in two words: Flame Urine! ’nuff said!
BEST “NON COMIC” SUPER HERO MOVIE: Chronicle: This “found” video film about teenagers that acquire super abilities had amazing scope and even better special effects. Though, by the final battle scene, I was finding it hard not to scream out, “Tetsuo!” at the top of my lungs!
BEST MOVIE CAMEO: Sam J. Jones a.k.a. Flash Gordon, Ted: When I first saw this movie, I nearly went into convulsions as “Flash” appeared on camera! Flash Gordon is one of my favorite childhood movies and all those scenes in Ted hit me with a wave of nostalgia. Fantastic!
THE MOVIE WTF!? MOMENT OF THE YEAR: John Blake knowing Bruce Wayne is Batman in five seconds: The Dark Knight Rises was a good movie, but it was riddled with WTF!? moments that I just couldn’t shake off. After three movies, Commissioner Gordon can’t figure out who Batman is but an orphan turned cop can the first time he meets Bruce Wayne as a adult? Crazy!
BEST “NEW” COMIC COMPANY: Valiant Entertainment: The nineties are alive and well again and you can thank Valiant for that! But these aren’t your daddy’s comics anymore, each series has been laced with some of the industry’s top talents and are making a race for a top spot on your pull list each week! Smart and engaging, each book has it’s own niche in the grand scheme of the Valiant Universe, and if you didn’t get caught up in the “Summer of Valiant,” you still have a chance to catch up with the newly released $10 trades before the Harbinger War begins! Great stuff!
BEST ONGOING COMIC SERIES: Batman: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have taken the character of the Batman and completely remade him for a new generation without losing any of the nostalgia that older fans love so much. Not only have they perfected Bats himself, but the entire supporting cast and the rogues gallery as well. Not to mention, creating new villains such as the Court of Owls and their assassin Talons to further cement their names in the Batman mythos for all time. Oh yeah, and they created the scariest version of the Joker I have ever seen!
BEST NEW COMIC SERIES: Archer & Armstrong: Well, if you want to get technical, A&A was around in the 90’s but this “new”version surpasses it’s predecessor by leaps and bounds! Andy Diggle has created an amalgam of Lethal Weapon, National Treasure and part Animal House that will keep you enthralled and amused! There is nothing better than a drunk immortal and a virgin ninja fighting off assassin nuns!
BEST “NON SUPER HERO” COMIC SERIES: Mind MGMT: Matt Kindt stunned fans with his espionage, secret society, psychic warfare book! It is eloquent and atmospheric, creating a world that may or may not be reality but hooks you just the same. Don’t wait for the trades on this one, folks, Kindt has said that the single issues hold clues that WILL NOT be in trade form! GET IT NOW!
BOOK MOST IN NEED OF A MEPHISTO DEAL: Amazing Spider-Man #700: Okay, so everyone has been complaining about this book enough already so I’ll make it short and sweet. How can a villain who has wanted to kill you since issue #3 suddenly change his mind in the last five pages of issue #700 because he saw your memories? Yeah, I thought so!
WORST CROSSOVER: Avengers Vs. X-Men: With another shameless money grab by Marvel, the fans lapped up this horrible series that promised everything and gave nothing! Well, Professor X died, but besides that everything else went back to the same ‘ol same ‘ol. The Avengers are the world’s favorite again and mutants are hated more than ever! Too bad it cost fans almost forty dollars to get right back to where they started from!
BEST COMIC WRITER: Scott Snyder: Between Batman, Swamp Thing, American Vampire, American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares and Severed, Scott Snyder has created some of the most disturbing and fascinating books in 2012. Every issue is done with a true passion for the characters and an eye for detail that is missing in a lot of books today. He may not be Rob Liefeld’s first choice, but he’s alright by me.
BEST INTERIOR ARTIST: Esad Ribic: Some of the most stunning images have come from the hands of Esad Ribic. Whether it be variant covers for various Marvel books or the interior pages of Uncanny X-Force and Thor: God Of Thunder, Ribic is at the top of the art field. Quiet and reserved, this man let’s his images speak for him!
RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL ARTIST: Mike Mignola: Although Mr. Mignola has never stopped writing both B.P.R.D. and Hellboy, he hasn’t drawn any in quite some time. So, with one month left in the year, Mike Mignola sent the comic world into a frenzy when he returned to art chores on Hellboy: In Hell #1 in December 2012. It was utterly outstanding and made all our Christmas wishes come true!
BEST COVER ARTIST: Joao Ruas, Fables: Joao Ruas creates the most haunting and visually stunning covers you will see on the racks today. Mired in folklore and whimsy, these somewhat disturbing images are the perfect match to the stories found inside his astonishing covers. They are true works of art that everyone should behold.
FAVORITE VARIANT COVERS: Scottie Young’s “baby” covers: Scottie Young, the artist on Marvel’s OZ books, has been churning out very rare “baby”covers for all the Marvel Now! books and they are amazing! Well, maybe I’m biased because my daughter and I have read the OZ books and have a few of Scottie’s posters, but they are very cool collector covers. So, make sure you ask your local retailer if they get any in, you won’t regret it!
BEST COMIC CHARACTER: The Joker: Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have created the most sadistic, cunning and scary Joker character I have ever read! They have taken a character that has sometimes been used as a veritable joke in the DCU and made him someone that they should all be afraid of, especially since he seems to be always two steps ahead of everyone! Completely creepy!
TOUGHEST CHARACTER TO FOLLOW: Superboy: So, he has his own comic, he has been in Legion Lost, he has been in Teen Titans and he has been in The Ravagers. He is supposedly on the Teen Titans and the Ravagers teams but he is only there for an issue or two and then he vanishes! No explanation is given, he is just gone and no one knows where the hell he goes! Here’s a tip: put him on one team or none, but please make a decision! It is beyond annoying and he’s not that great a character to begin with — so just decide already!
MOST BRUTAL COMIC DEATH: Glenn, The Walking Dead (Image): TWD #100 was one of the most horrific books I have ever read. The utter disregard for human life that Neegan portrays is alarming and what he does to one of the most beloved characters in the TWD universe — completely sadistic. Kirkman knows how to pull on the ‘ol heart strings and that’s why The Walking Dead is no longer the little book that could, but a money making machine!
MOST POINTLESS COMIC CAMEO: Nova, Avengers Vs. X-Men: Okay, so he crashes to earth, mumbles and then falls into a coma. Twelve issues later, he flies out of nowhere punches a Phoenix charged Cyclops and then gets beaten to a pulp. Then Thor asks him is if he wants to join the Avengers? So, if I put on a football helmet, jump off the roof and fall into a coma — I could possibly become an Avenger too? Why didn’t anyone tell me it was so simple?!
THE COMIC WTF!? MOMENT OF THE YEAR: Peter Poctopus/Dr. Octavpider-Man: Oh, you know what I mean!
WORST TOY OF THE YEAR: DC two packs of Squinkies: Okay, I know Squinkies have been around for years, but 2012 had some exclusive stocking stuffer two packs hit the shelves at local retailers. Now, can anyone tell me what these squishy miniature versions of The New 52 heroes are good for? They can’t fit as a pencil topper, they’re too light to use as a paper weight. Mostly, I scream Shazam at the top of my lungs and throw them at my intern, D-ROX’s head! If anyone has a better idea, let me know!
COOLEST TOY OF THE YEAR: The Walking Dead Minimates: Now we all know Minimates are AWESOME, but 2012 saw them become even better! With the launch of TWD Minimates, you can now control the fates of little versions of Rick, Glenn and Shane against a horde of four zombies! My desk has never looked better than strewn with “Lego-style” zombie parts!
BEST TELEVISION SERIES: The Walking Dead(AMC): This series has been top notch since it’s inception and, as a fan on the comic as well, I couldn’t ask for anything more! Human drama mixed with a zombie backdrop, TWD has taken the world by storm and it goes to prove that comics are not just for “geeks” anymore! Plus, any show I can watch with my wife that doesn’t contain a judge’s chambers or cheating senators is a definite win!
BEST REALITY TELEVISION SERIES: SyFy’s Face Off: One of the most creative shows I have ever seen, Face Off, brings make-up and visual effects artists from around the country to compete against each other in a series of challenges. I am astonished by how creative the artist get with minimal time and equipment. Plus, there is always a bevy of quest stars to help judge their work, such as, Kevin Smith and LeVar Burton!
BEST CARTOON SERIES: Ultimate Spider-Man: This series is what I wish the Spider-Man cartoons of my day would have been like! Spidey’s witty banter, great looking art and friends that couldn’t negate each other’s powers! Now, I know Sam Alexander Nova is in there and that might not sit well with some of you, but it really is a great show! And anything I can watch with my daughter is well worth a fake bucket head any day!
BIGGEST MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Cartoon Network’s DC Nation: DC Nation is actually my favorite block of comic cartoon gold, but since Cartoon Network pulled both Green Lantern and Young Justice(my personal favorite cartoon) for no definitive reason, fans couldn’t enjoy their favorite shows! So, without there being any DC cartoons on Saturday, we all moved onto Marvel ones on Sunday, hence my pick for Spider-Man over Young Justice! Horrible idea by Cartoon Network!
MAN OF THE YEAR: Richard Corben: This living legend artist has churned out more books in 2012 than most of the “hot” young talent that the “Big Two” clamor over and he’s 72 years old! Well known for his work in the horror genre, Mr. Corben has seen quite a demand for his talents lately, especially from Dark Horse. He has worked with Mike Mignola on Hellboy, Jan Strnad on Ragemoor and has translated Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Conqueror Worm” into comic form. Mr. Croben was also inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 2012 for his continued artistic prowess over the years!
THE MOMENT THAT SET THE WORLD ON FIRE: Disney buys Star Wars: This was one of those events that takes you by surprise and you’re not actually sure if it’s true or not! I remember continually telling EIC Matt McGloin to, “Shut up!,” on the phone because I was so floored! Though fan reaction has been mixed, I personally cannot wait to see what will eventually come of this. At least it can’t be any worse than the “prequels” right?
If you made it this far — Thank You! I hope you all had a great year and we hope to see your ideas in the comments! Now, I have to go find my Squinkies for Monday morning — SHAZAM!