Thursday, January 18, 2007

I'd Like To Thank The Academy...

The Comic Book Resources boards are having their annual awards, the Corries, where posters vote on their favorite posters, boards, threads, and comics. Last week opened up nominations; voting begins next week. Now, if you're not a board member (possibly even if you are), you don't give much of a damn about my poster and thread nominations. But I figure there's a market for my noms in the comic categories. So, here we go.

Favorite Company/Publisher: IDW

This was my official Mike Smash! "fuck the system" nomination. Much like people who vote for third party candidates, I've become disillusioned with the "Big Two." While they did put out some very good comics this year (see below), they also put out some very shitty ones. "Civil War," "The Trials of Shazam," large portions of "52"… it's like there's a concerted effort to piss me off. IDW, on the other hand, produced some dern fine miniseries (Spike vs. Dracula, CSI: Lying in the Gutters), and also publishes Fallen Angel. And, they don't go overboard with the. So, there was an overall higher pleasure quotient with their output, and so they get the nod.

Favorite Single Issue: Fables #50

This year, I started reading Fables in trade, and it's a decision I have yet to regret. This issue, a definite milestone, was an excellent look at the dual sides of one of the series most engaging leads, Bigby Wolf. And the entire second half of the issue, the wedding, is pure romantic gold. In a series that often turns fairy tales on their head in a disturbing manner, it's ironic that one of their best tales has a classic "Happily Ever After" ending. Ironic, but fitting. Good show for Messrs. Willingham and Buckingham for the feel-good comic of 2006.

Favorite Story: Parental Guidance (Runaways 14-18)

Oh my God! They killed Gert! And they made me love every minute of it. The bastards.

Favorite Continuing Series: Runaways

Favorite Limited/Mini Series: Dr. Strange: The Oath

These, I both covered in my previous entry on my 10 favorite series of the year. What I said there still stands: Damn good comics.

Favorite New Series: The Spirit

Only one issue in the year, but what an issue. Darwyn Cooke successfully resurrects Will Eisner's classic series as fun, cool detective adventure, capturing all of the classic elements while still making it his own project. You likely won't catch Gerhard Schnobbel anywhere in this comic, but you will find a series that's well worth your money, and then some. Don’t let this one go the way of Plastic Man, people. You won't like me if that happens.

Comic Most Deserving of More Attention: Agents of Atlas

Yet another book containing what people claim they want but never buy, Agents of Atlas was full of fun, pulpy adventure. When your audience empathy character is a talking gorilla, you know you're in for a fun ride. Hopefully, we'll see the return of the Agents sometime this year. If you didn't pick this up the first time around, give the hardcover a try when it comes out in April.

Favorite Original Graphic Novel: Pride of Baghdad

A surprisingly different entry from one of comics' brightest young starts, "Pride" takes the real-life escape of four lions from the Baghdad zoo in 2003 and turns it into a metaphor for war, freedom, and self-determination. Niko Henrichon's beautiful and breathtaking art turns a brilliant script into one of the best comics, not just of the year, but of the decade.

Favorite Reprinted Collection/Trade Album: Showcase: Haunted Tank

Yeah, that's right, the Haunted fucking Tank. Where else are you going to see the ghosts of J.E.B. Stuart and Atilla the Hun duking it out in the skies? Or a tank parachuting out of an airplane, and destroying an enemy fighter WHILE STILL IN FREEFAL? Or Sgt. Rock, Navajo Ace, and the Haunted goddamn Tank teaming up to get an Allied spy back to friendly territory? Nowhere, that's where.

Favorite U.S. Edition of Foreign Material: Rurouni Kenshin

Pretty much the only foreign material I read, but darnit, it's damn good.

Favorite Comics Cover/Book Design: Runaways #18

I normally sing the praises of Jo Chen's covers for this series, but this year, I have to give some props to Marcos Martin, who did the covers for "Parental Guidance" and knocked them out of the park. Of them, my favorite is this one: simple, understated, and breaks the Internet in half.

Favorite Online Comic: PvP

I didn't "get" PVP for the longest time, but the last couple years have solidified it for me. Hidden inside the self-referential humor and fart jokes is, surprisingly, a great deal of skill for storytelling. Scott Kurtz outdid himself this year with the surprisingly touching "Romance-off" between Brent and Francis, as a competition to woo their respective girlfriends turned into serious, but funny, look at relationships and the never-ending battle of the sexes. Strip dates are from August 12 to September 4; check it out. Good stuff.

Favorite Newspaper Comic Strip: Doonesbury

It's gone under a lot of people's radar, but Garry Trudeau is doing some of the best work of his career right now. Back in 2004, he took the daring step of having longtime cast member B.D. lose a leg in Iraq. The story of his physical and psychological healing continues into today, and 2006 contained many watershed developments in B.D.'s therapy. As someone who's been in therapy before, I've identified heavily with the storyline, and Trudeau's depiction of someone struggling back to normalcy is both heartfelt and true to life. The story has received quite a bit of accolades from the military community, and I think it's about time the comics community followed suit.

Favorite Comics Periodical and/or Book: Comics Buyer's Guide

It's more intelligent than Wizard, and less elitist than The Comics Journal. For Goldilocks fans like myself, this magazine, with its monthly compendium of reviews, opinions, nostalgia, and industry news is just right.

Favorite Writer: Grant Morrison

All-Star Superman. Seven Soldiers. The good parts of 52. Even his Batman, which is only getting points docked from the online community for being excellent, as opposed to his usual brilliant. I don't think any writer's ever had a year this good. And the bastard'll probably top in in '07.

Favorite Artist: Adrian Alphona

I handed out this nom, not just for the work Alphona turned in in 2006 (which was phenomenal), but also for how much he's grown. Charting his style from Runaways 1 to now, you see a timeline of a rare talent coming into his own. That his own growth mirrors that of the characters is icing on the cake, I suppose. While I'm sad to see him leave that series, I'm definitely looking forward to the next thing he does.

Favorite Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke

Cooke, meanwhile, has pretty much stayed stable for the past few years, but wow, what a guy. Between his issue of Solo, the Absolute Edition of New Frontier, and his new Spirit series, Cooke demonstrated in 2006 that he's got a solid handle on this whole write-and-draw-your-own-comics thing. I'd love to see a draw-off between him and Jeff Smith, though.

Favorite Cover Artist: J.K. Woodward

He's no Dave McKean, but Woodward's covers (and interior art) on Fallen Angel are some of the best moody noir-horror work I've seen since Sandman wrapped up. Different style, to be sure, but same quality.

Favorite Talent Deserving Wider Attention: Todd Nauck

Nauck is one of those guys who's put in a lot of solid work for the industry (well over a decade), but hasn't gotten the appreciation he deserves. He's not flashy, he doesn't cross-hatch the hell out of everything, and he meets his deadlines, so naturally he's gone unnoticed. This despite five years on DC's top team book Young Justice, a similar tenure on Teen Titans Go!, an acclaimed creator-owned series for Image (Wildguard), and most recently, a stint on Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (which he'll pick up again in 2007). Nauck deserves better, and I aim to see he gets it.

Those are all the categories I nominated in. Some, I abstained, not feeling qualified to make any suggestions. Voting starts on Monday, so check out to see who makes the final cut, and who goes on to win the 2006 Corries.

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