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These Are a Few of My Favorite (Comics)

Though I've had to stop the weekly comic reviews along with the short-lived (and unfortunately poorly-viewed) video series it spawned, I've nonetheless continued to read and collect the fantastic series I've highlighted throughout the year. And it seems no December is quite complete without a "Best of" list.

Since I unfortunately haven't had the chance to read every book on the stands, filling out a "best of" just seems like it would be omitting far too many greats. So, instead, I've decided to focus on my favorites (which, if you think about it, is really all that a "best of" list is anyway). 

Without further ado, my favorite comics and comic contributors of 2014.

Favorite Artist: Greg Capullo
Likely the biggest comic of the New 52, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman has been a tour de force since it launched, and while Snyder’s plot strength certainly helps, Capullo simply knocks it out of the park month in and month out. How he maintains a regular schedule, I’ve no idea, and there’s never any question of his abilities to tell a good story through his meticulous and thoughtful layouts.

Favorite Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Seems to me, 2014 was the year of the colorist, as several seemed to up their game and go for broke in both mainstream and independent titles. Matt Hollingsworth has led the charge, though, with his incredible work on Hawkeye (after previously partnering with writer Matt Fraction artist David Aja on Immortal Iron Fist) and The Wake, among others. It also helps that he loves beer and will freely offer practicing or up-and-coming colorists technical advice on twitter.

Favorite Writer:  Ales Kot
Some writers will overload a page with exposition and dialogue to tell a story. Others, like Ales Kot, work with an artist to let the plot flow naturally, unencumbered by unnatural monologues amidst fisticuffs. His Image series, Zero, is truly something to be admired, one of my favorite ongoings, and almost entirely silent. Kot could very well be a stunt coordinator, the way he writes. And it’s brilliant.

Favorite Ongoing Series: Swamp Thing
Though it will be ending next year as Charles Soule goes exclusive with Marvel, Swamp Thing has
been a pure pleasure since the launch of the New 52. Sure, it had its troubles under Scott Snyder when it crossed over with Jeff Lemire’s Animal Man for “Rot World,” but few superhero books tackle the kind of epic worlds this series has beheld. It will surely be missed.

Favorite New Series: Iron Fist: The Living Weapon
Iron Fist is my second favorite comic character of all time, while Immortal Iron Fist is my favorite ongoing series of all time. So, it should come as no surprise that Kaare Andrews’ The Living Weapon would be amongst my new favorites, but it’s Andrews’ ability, as both the writer and artist, to blend the plot and art together so seamlessly that truly elevates the series above the rest this year. Andrews has stated he’s planned a twelve-issue arc. Hopefully, he’ll find the inspiration, and the sales, to stay on long after.

Favorite Limited Series: The Wake
The Wake wasn’t perfect by any means. It was mildly bloated, rather cerebral, and, like Prometheus, raised some questions it only tentatively attempted to truly answer. But it was a startlingly exciting, and at times horrific, journey that every reader should give a go sooner rather than later.

Favorite Publisher: Image
Sure, it’s not the largest publisher around, but bar-none, Image is publishing some of its finest material to date and continues to attract some of the biggest stars to break out of their molds and explore new ways to push the medium. There’s a reason so many of the newer titles hitting Marvel and DC have an “indie” vibe to them, and this here is it.

Favorite Issue: Hawkeye 17
Immortal Iron Fist and Hawkeye both went a long way in influencing modern superhero comics, with several similar takes spawning after both. But, in part due to ongoing delays, readers were treated to a lovely one-off holiday tale by letterer Chris Eliopoulos that mirrors the modern-day Marvel Universe with Calvin and Hobbes-like art and myriad laugh out loud moments.

Biggest Surprise: Joker in Endgame
It may have only just happened, but the biggest reason the reveal Batman 35 worked was because there were zero hints given at the true nature of “Endgame.” On the day of release, I hadn’t even seen the cover, the only spoiler I happened across a terrible headline revealing it was about him fighting the Justice League, so with that ending, I felt the rug pulled out from under me. What a horrifying, yet tantalizing, way to reintroduce the character.
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