Best Comics of 2013
Hawkeye Vol 2 (Marvel Comics) –
This is my book of the year.
It takes place in a few month’s time and deals with the day-to-day business of superheroics. The focus is on Clint Barton during the periods when the Avengers are not requiring him to jump off high things and take punches from aliens and villains. The reader sits with Barton for uncomfortably long periods, sees him chat with his dog, and ruin relationships with people who love him and (used to) respect him. In an industry of big battles, it is refreshing to see a book focused on human relationships.
Superior Spider-Man (Marvel Comics) –
So, in the perfect storm of complicated continuity and sequential silliness, Doc Ock has switched bodies with Peter Parker ala Freaky Friday. The twist, and it is one Chubby Checker would be proud of, is that the body of Octavius is dead. And so is Peter Parker’s brain. The result is a villain learning how to be a hero that not being a villainous homicidal evil-scientist is harder than it looks. The strength of this book comes from watching a hero really struggle with ethics.
Rachel Rising (Abstract Studios)-
This book is amazing. Rachel has risen from a shallow grave only to discover she is part of a long slow revenge plot involving a town’s slaughter of 300 women for witchcraft.
Terry Moore works to both build laughs and freak the reader out with intricate scenes of horror, comedy, and suspense. It’s the best bit of horror in the past decade.
Battling Boy (:01 Books)-
Paul Pope re-imagines the trials of Hercules in this young adult graphic-novel series. Battling Boy has come to a planet overrun by a league monsters to fight his way into adulthood. Armed with a series of mystical T-shirts which imbue him unique powers, Battling Boy finds that the road to becoming a hero involves thought, inner-strength, intelligence, and heart. Paul Pope once again proves himself a master of the art.
Grindhouse Doors Open at Midnight (Dark Horse Comics) –
Alex De Campi brings to the world of comics the world of cinematic exploitation. Planned as an eight issue series, the books work in pairs (so that’s four Grindhouse tales all together). The first deals with sexy space bee-ladies and the current arc is about a woman’s prison ship in the grips of a religious zealot. It’s low-brow to the highest degree and the subject of the next Bibliodiscoteque episode.