The Best Comics of 2013!
2013 has come to an end, and it was a great year for comics! Here are our picks at Tuesday Night Movies for the best comics of 2013!
1. Copra: I hopped on the Copra train late. I picked up the first Copra Compendium when issue #7 was on the stands. I devoured the first three issues and quickly ordered the rest of the series, rereading that first compendium over and over again until the issues arrived. It is a gorgeous comic, with sublime art and a great story. If you’re a fan of the Suicide Squad, forget the series that DC has on the stands right now and read Michel Fiffe’s Copra instead!
2. Hawkeye: If it wasn’t for Copra, my #1 comic of 2012 would have repeated in 2013. Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye remains the best comic being published at Marvel. Heck, it’s the best comic produced anywhere but inside Michel Fiffe’s apartment. I wouldn’t be surprised to find this comic at the top of my Best Comics of 2014 list.
3. Battling Boy: I had never heard of Battling Boy before Nick told me about it just before NYCC. I’m glad he recommended it to me, because it is awesomesauce. This and Copra are superhero comics for those who want more from what they’re finding on the stands. Pope’s art is insanely kinetic. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter in the Battling Boy saga.
4. Young Avengers: I’m typing up this list the day before Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s excellent Young Avengers series comes to an end. It’s been a glorious 14 issues thus far. This comic has such a unique voice, and I’m very sorry to see it come to an end. McKelvie’s line work is so beautiful and Gillen captures the voice and feel of teenagers perfectly. And I think this series marks the first time I’ve liked Noh-Var since Grant Morrison’s Marvel Boy series.
5. Sex Criminals: Matt Fraction makes my list twice! I first heard Fraction talking about Sex Criminals on the Word Balloon podcast and immediately put it on my watch list. I hyped it up a bit in my head and my expectations were blown away. The comic has a wry sense of humor that doesn’t turn cornball or overtly perverse, which it easily could have devolved into.
When I started compiling my list of the best comics of 2013, I found that I hadn’t started reading many new comics this year – most of the books I read were launched earlier – but there are a few that stood out above the rest. Here’s my top 5 comics of 2013 list, in no particular order:
1. Batman ’66: If you listened to the Billy & Bryan Show where we discussed the Dark Knight Rises, you may remember that I love Batman more than most things, and when I heard that DC was releasing a weekly digital series based on the classic Adam West Batman TV series, I was ecstatic! The show is one of my very favorite interpretations of the character, and this book echoes it perfectly – it’s fun without being silly, is gorgeous to look at, and is the best use of Comixology’s “guided-view” technology that I’ve seen so far. Even though they later release them in physical form (with beautiful covers by Mike and Laura Allred,) reading the comics digitally is the way to go. I’ve found most post New52 Batman books to be virtually unreadable (outside of Scott Snyder and Grant Morrison’s stuff) but as long as they keep putting these out, DC will at least get some of my money every week.
2. Battling Boy: Years in the making, Paul Pope finally released the first book in his Battling Boy series at this year’s New York Comic Con, to pretty much universally rave reviews (I tried to put one together myself but had trouble coming up with more than “this is a fantastic book, and I like it.”) In addition to being a great adventure story, it’s also perfect for readers of (almost) all ages – the closest analog I can make is that it reminds me of Kirby’s classic 1970’s work. Pope is firing on all cylinders and I cannot wait for the next installment(s) in the series.
3. The Private Eye: Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga was on my list of my favorite stuff from last year, and continues to be among my favorite books each month. That said, I think I might like The Private Eye, Vaughan’s newest book, even more. Featuring gorgeous art by Marcos Martin, the series takes place in a future where all of the information contained in “the cloud” has been released into the world for everyone to access, which results in the internet being completely shut down and people reverting back to paper records for everything. An inspired idea from Vaughan, who eschews social media (he doesn’t have a Twitter account or a website.) In addition to being a great comic, the series has also made waves by its business model – customers get to decide how much they’re willing to pay for each issue, even going so far as to be able to get the book for free. In addition, there are no plans to offer a physical version of the comic; digital is the only way to get it.
4. Lazarus: I found myself reading more of Greg Rucka’s work this last year than I have in the past, mostly due to the release of his and Michael Lark’s Lazarus series. I’ve been a fan of Lark’s work ever since I first read Terminal City in the late 90’s, and this is definitely some of his best work. The premise of the book, where all of the world’s wealth is under the control of a handful of families, leaving everyone else to pretty much work under them, is fantastic while at the same time completely terrifying, as this is something that could eventually occur in real life. Rucka has taken to joking at conventions about how he’s been pigeon-holed as “just a writer of strong female characters” and while the main protagonist of the book, Forever Carlyle, is not going to change anyone’s mind about that, his handling of the book makes those comments completely moot – comics needs more books like this, and Lazarus continues Image’s recent winning streak of putting out some of the industry’s best books by its best creators.
5. Sex Criminals: speaking of fantastic comics that Image released in 2013, Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Sex Criminals is my book of the year. They’ve taken what could have been, in lesser hands, a crass idea (basically, they’re trying to translate a “sex comedy” such as American Pie into comic form) and created a charming and hilarious book. The premise is (pretty) simple: two characters, Jon and Suzie, find that they have the ability to stop time when they, um, “climax” and decide to do what anyone would do in that situation – commit crimes! Like I said, this could have definitely been an embarrassing lowest-common-denominator book full of low-brow jokes, but it’s turned out to be witty, fun to look at, and (surprisingly, at least to me) legitimately sexy. Zdarksy is an inspired choice to be on art duties; the drawings are full of hilarious background details, and Fraction’s story presents a realistic portrayal of how people learn about sex and fit themselves into relationships – seeing where this book is headed is one of the things I’m most looking forward to in 2014.
Written by Billy Henehan and Nick Doyle