So, here is the Best of the independents… Best Independent – Superhero
Eric – While I am a huge fan of Boom!’s Ireedeemable mythology I will have to go with Image’s Proof. I know it can be argued that I got the wrong category because this is not the tradition cape and tights type superhero book, but it is heroic none the less. Gulliver and the rest of the crew of Crypto-investigators from the Lodge search the globe in search of creature from local mythology and folklore and helping them adapt to the world of man. Beautiful book and hands down one of the best written books of 2009 – can’t wait for it to get back from hiatus!
Greg – If you haven’t checked out Irredeemable from Boom! Press, you are missing out on some of Mark Waid’s best work in years. In all his time working for the big named publishers, I find that Waid’s best work to be with the smaller press stuff. Anyone remember Quantum and Woody? Here we see a Superman-like hero who looses his patience with humanity. Seeing how the world reacts to the unstoppable force gone bad is some of the best writing of the year. Even more impressive is the series spin off where the world’s most powerful villain go straight.
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Liana (Pop Culture Diva) – Oh man. Tough one. This genre is just so swamped in post-Watchmen nihilism, and I stopped reading Invincible a while ago. I actually don’t have a pick for this.
Mike – Irredeemable – Mark Waid hits this one out of the park. I feel this is better than Empire. While Empire showed a little bit of character development, there was almost no back story. Here we see some of what drives Plutonian mad. He wants to be human so much and tries to be, but humans have invariably failed him in one way or another. The human he loves tries to broadcast his secret over the radio. He tries to keep alien technology from humans to keep them safe, but they twist his arm and kill tons of kids. This should be an immediate read when it comes out. Watch for good things from Incorruptible as well!
Chris and Neil (Kowabunga comics) – Avatar’s “No Hero”
Best Independent – Non-Superhero
Eric – If I have to give it to a specific book, I will say the Wonderland series, but far and away the entire Grimm Fairy Tales line from Zenescope had me glued all year long!
Greg – Another great from Boom! Press: Die Hard. While the early adventures of John McClain were somewhat hit and miss as far as single issues go, put them all together and you have a hard nosed crime story worthy of the Die Hard name.
Liana (Pop Culture Diva) – Parker: The Hunter, hands down. Just amazing, both technically and artistically. A must-read.
Mike – Fables – I know Vertigo is under DC, but I think this counts. Bill Willingham has an uncanny ability for these characters. I am reading this in trades, so I am a little behind, but these are worth every penny. Willingham does great things by introducing characters and keeping them in the story until he brings them to the forefront of the story.
Chris and Neil (Kowabunga comics) – Hellboy:Wild Hunt, Zombies that Ate the World (really), Walking Dead (even though it’s obvious, it is still true) Archaia Press’ OKKO: The Cycle of Earth, this was really awesome and the art is very reminiscent of newspaper adventure strips like Terry and the Pirates. Good story, strong art, strong, distinct characters, well paced, funny, dramatic. Overall a top notch book. The colors were too heavy though.
Best Non-Comic Franchise Comic
Eric – This was a tough one, because IDW’s Doctor Who books has some real fantastic peaks (and some low pits too!), but overall I will have to say Boom Kids! Muppets books.
Greg – I struggled with this one. At first my thoughts went to Aliens, because I felt their new Dark Horse mini-series was so good, but then I did some more thinking. I had to think of what property was in my face the most this year? Finally I had to settle on Ben 10: Alien Force. Starting as cartoon series on Cartoon Network and expanding into a myrid of toys, games, books, and a host of products I can’t even think of. The adventures of Ben and the Plumbers kids (if you watch the series you know what that means) have blossomed from something my kids watched on Saturday morning to a a series that my wife and I were interested in as well. When I think back to my early childhood, it’s filled with He-Man, G.I. Joe, Tundercats, Transformers, and yes even the Silverhawks. My kids will have Ben 10 in their memories.
Liana (Pop Culture Diva) – The Muppets.
I can’t say I read much of it, but The Incredibles stuff BOOM! puts out looks pretty good. Lets just hope we finally get a theatrical sequel.
Chris and Neil (Kowabunga comics) – Dr. Horrible
More Pullbox Awards to come… Big Events and Over-Hyped Fleecing!