Archive for Brian Wood

Best reads of 2008

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2008 by greenwolfman

I made my list of top 5 albums for the year so here is my follow up of best reads. This list contains graphic novels since no novel I read was published this year.

Best ongoing Series and Arc
Action Comics.

This has been favorite read of 08 but in particular the Legion of Super Heroes arc. Geoff Johns has had a great run on Action, and each arc was a joy to read, but this one was brilliant. I know I am partial since I grew up reading the old silver age comics, but that aside this story was so engaging. I could not wait for each new issue. Whether it was to see how my heroes got out of a jam or just to see how Gary Frank would draw a grown up version of these characters.

While Frank’s art was a show stealer and contains pages I would kill to own I have to applaud Johns’ writing. What better way to flesh out your main character then to reunite him with childhood friends. I do not want to give away spoilers, but Johns ran the man of steel through quite the gambit in this arc.

Local
by Brian Wood (Author), Ryan Kelly (Illustrator)

Check out the description here: http://www.onipress.com/display.php?type=bk&id=349
This mini series came out a while ago but the trade was released this year and the best damn 30 bucks anyone could spend. I have been a long time fan of Brian Wood, and I loved his other mini, Demo, but I bought this book because all of favorite writers called it a master piece, and you know what they were not lying. Besides the great 12 novellas that this series is made up of you also get the covers, pin-ups and after thoughts of the writer and artist from each issue. The latter may not seem like an added value, and normally you would be right. The after thought section in this case is an edition that makes the stories richer. By sharing their thoughts and creative process I felt a greater appreciation for this book.

Favorite Writer
Ed Brubaker

I went back and read his runs on Captain America and Daredevil and I loved them. A lot of comics fail at making the hero human, but not this man. He develops his main characters and supporting cast by giving them proper conflicts to work through that push them as people. He lets his characters feed off of each other in such a way that you would think he had actors playing out his scenes for him. If you are not into “cape” books then pick up his series Criminal.

Favorite Artist:
Gary Frank

I mentioned his run on Action comics, but this man brought me pages this year that grabbed me harder than anything else. His rendition of the Superman, and his supporting cast was do detailed, and meticulously rendered, but what made me give it to him was his Braniac arc. While his characters were very life like, he had real life people to base them off of. His illustrations for Braniac were unique, highly detailed, and eerily life like. He also got this award from me because his book was on time.

Best Single Issue:

Ex Machina #40
This issue just came out, and merited my addition of this category for my 2008 best of. Writer Brian K. Vaughan and Artist Tony Harris end 08 with a stand alone issue staring themselves. The creators break the 4th wall in a reinvented way; their main character Mitchel Hundred (story synopsis here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_Machina_(comics) ) is seeking a creative team to make his autobiography into a graphic novel, and our creators are trying out for the job. This is not the first time a creative team have added themselves to a book as the official comic biographers of their creation, but as I said this was done in a new, and very enjoyable way. The series scribe Brian K. Vaughan makes fun of himself, and he also offers a bit of personal insight into his life that made story identifiable.

Tony Harris accurately draws himself and Brian into the issue, and delivered a solid 20 pages of art that were and friendly to this reader. The last two pages being a spoiler I will not deliver. Tony always delvers quality (even if it means sacrificing a deadline) but I think in this issue the attention to detail he gave made this one of his most professional issues. Kudos to you Mr. Harris. You may run behind, but your quality of work makes it okay.

Honorable Mentions

Scud the Disposable Assassin: The whole Schebang.

Do you like weird things? Are you cynical? Do you appreciate the absurd? Do you dig cartoony art? Then pick this up. I would describe the series but you all know how to google. Read the description and then decide if this is your cup of tea.
Mini Why I loved it:
Finally collected, and bound into one solid trade paper back Rob Schrab’s 90s cult classic was finally completed this year, and then released into trade. I bought this for my roommate, and best friend Dave for his birthday and I greatly enjoyed reading it after he finished it. Absurd, strange, and maybe best enjoyed when on drugs this series reminds me why Generation X was something worth admiring.

Warren Ellis’ Freak Angels web cereal.

Each week he has put out six pages of this story about 12 young adults who live in White Chapel after a catastrophic event that has drastically changed the world. These 12 young men and women happen to be very similar to the “Children of the Damned” and may or may not have had something do with the catastrophic event. Check it out at freakangels.com.

If you are interested in any of these comics I recommend you head out to Challengers Comics (http://challengerscomics.com) and get yourself a copy.

Advertisements