I know a lot of people find these list exhaustive and repetitive but I love them. Most of the year I stick to my personal tastes and recommendations but at the end of the year when all the lists come out I find so much that I missed or hadn’t even considered. Every year I find an album or a comic I hadn’t heard of that completely blows my mind or makes me rethink the possibilities of what is capable in that medium. Stand outs from previous years would be the comic Daytripper or the album Sonic Mass by Amebix.
The other reason I love these lists is it gives people the chance to share all the wonderful things they saw, read or heard that year. There is no end to the awesome stuff that comes out every year and that stuff was made to be seen, heard and read. The idea is that maybe some of these things are new to you and you may find the same enjoyment in them as I did.
With that being said these lists are a collection of my favorites from comics, webcomics, movies and music from 2012. I am not going to take a stance and say these are the best things of 2012 because I don’t believe I have the authority or know how to proclaim that. These are simply lists of things that affected me in some way or the other or I just simply enjoyed the heck out of in 2012.
Locke & Key
Teenage Love Zombies
I got the first collection of Locke and Key last Christmas and really enjoyed it. It took me until the middle of this year to get the next three collections and read them. Once I started I couldn’t stop. It rapidly has become not just one of my favorite horror comics but one of my favorite stories ever. Joe Hill is on top of his game and Gabriel Rodriguezs’ art compliments it perfectly. The issue where he did the Calvin and Hobbs tribute were so incredible I thought Bill Waterson came out of seclusion. Masterful work being done here and if you haven’t read Locke & Key you are surely missing out on how great storytelling is done.
Punk Rock Jesus
Sean Gordon Murphy knocked this one out of the park. Long have been waiting for him to do his own creator owned book and I was not disappointed. It reminds me of the great Vertigo books, ones that pushed the boundaries and dared to make comics about more than spandex. It is written and drawn as if it were a punk song, loud, violent, fast and in your face with Sean’s amazing black and white toned and inked work. A thing of beauty.
Legends of the Dark Knight
I bought an iPad this year and it has completely changed my reading habits when it comes to comics. I feel weird saying but it has replaced completely my need to go to a store anymore and has given me more freedom to check out new stuff. One of those was a digital only, weekly installment Batman series. I started with the three part Steve Niles story and was hooked immediately. First off, Steve told a story that I can’t believe hadn’t been told before proving that in the right hands Batman still has gold to mine. Secondly, these comics were free of continuity and designed to let creators have free reign over the Dark Knight. Every week you get a Batman comic, boiled down to the true essence of the character. It is refreshing to see that Batman can still be fun. At $0.99 it is hard to pass on every week.
I imagine Prophet was a hard sell. A cheap 90’s Rob Liefeld character given a second life where it left off in the 90’s but the new Prophet series is some of the best sci-fi I have ever read. The first arc, takes only the bare minimum of the Prophet back story to drop you right in the middle of a far distant future devoid of humans. There is no explanation as to what anything is but is written like you should know. It completely immerses you in this strange alien future doesn’t even seem concerned if you are confused. It all works brilliantly and is one of the great comic character reinventions.
Satan is Alive: A Tribute to Mercyful Fate
Satan is Alive is truly a wonderful book. Mostly a collection of comics with pinups and interviews peppered throughout it is a wonderful love letter to the masters of evil. The stories and art are all top notch, the interviews are fascinating and the the contributors are amazing. The love and care from this book radiates from it as you flip throughout pages making it a prime example of what a truly great comic and project can be. Hail Satan is Alive! You can pick up a copy over here.
Matt Smith’s Barbarian Lord caught me by chance. I saw another artist on Facebook liked it and thought the title was intriguing so I followed his “like” to the page and boy am I glad I did. Barbarian Lord is an incredible comic. The art is so unique and wonderfully drawn that is seems like the genre was created so that one day Matt Smith could make Barbarian Lord. Based just on the Facebook page I ordered the books he had available and waited with bated breath for them to arrive. When they did arrive they came loaded up with drawings on the inside and even a reference to a brief conversation I had with Smith on Facebook regarding one of our favorite bands. If all comic buying experiences were like this the industry would be way better off. Buy a copy of Barbarian Lord Tales over here.
Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman book has been overall pretty good for a Batman book. The Court of Owls storyline was interesting but it seemed like it was lacking something and I never quite got comfortable with it. It was Batman but it didn’t seem like Batman. The new arc which reintroduces the Joker has been Batman all over. Back are the members of the bat family as well as the Joker, as twisted and evil as we have ever seen him. A little darker than I like my Dark Knight but you can’t deny the story telling chops on display here.
Hellboy in Hell
Mignola returning to an ongoing Hellboy story taking place in Hell is so amazing it has to be mentioned even though only the first issue has come out this year. Few things can be as awesome as this.