It is hard for me to remember which comics come out in any given year because I have moved to mostly trades. I am not sure if it counts if the trade came out this year and the comics were published last year or not but I am going to base it on comics I am pretty sure came out in 2011 in one form or another. Before we start, yes I do love The Walking Dead. It is consistently awesome and I have been reading it since issue 7 came out and it never ceases to amaze me so I am not adding it to my favorites list because well, it is always my favorite.
Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
I was blown away by this comic. Easily one of the best comics I have read in a long time. If there are still people out there that doubt the legitimacy of comics I would suggest giving them a copy of this. An introspective look at life and death (multiple deaths of the main character) and the choices we make. Beautifully illustrated and masterfully told Daytrippers in a new standard in the collection of comic masterpieces.
Hellboy: House of the Living Dead by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben
It never ceases to amaze me the level of quality Mike Mignola and the Hellboy universe crew maintain. A follow up to the wonderful Hellboy In Mexico Mignola stated that this was directly influenced by the old Universal horror movies. Richard Corben’s art is always amazing and is the perfect partner for Mignola’s writing.
BPRD by Mike Mignola and Joh Arcudi
I suppose this might be cheating but hey I love this universe and they consistently put out a good book. BPRD was on fire this year. I was bummed by Guy Davis’ leaving the book but John Arcudi swept right in and made it his own. The ongoing story in BPRD constantly ups the ante and now with Liz gone and Abe in a coma the tension is overpowering.
Fear Agent by Rick Remender, Mike Hawthorne, Tony Moore, John Lucas and Lee Loughridge
Remender’s fantastic space adventure series sadly ended this year with the last mini series Out of Step. This book is no holds barred sci-fi pulp awesomeness and I am very sad to see it go and at the same time I couldn’t see a better way for it to end. The last two pages were amazing.
Venom by Rick Remender and Tony Moore
Ok this might be cheating as well but Remender and Moore make a good team. They managed to take a character that in my opinion had become very stale and repetitious and breath some new life into him. Venom, no longer attached to Eddie Brock now finds himself with Flash Thompson working for the government taking out super villains. It is a crazy idea that just seems to work similar to teams work on Punisher when they made him Frankencastle.
DC New 52
I admit I was skeptical of the DC relaunch last year. I had long been burnt out on constant continuity revamps, crossovers, deaths, resurrections and multiple earths that had plagued DC comics and kept me from reading them. Outside of Vertigo and the occasional Batman series I had pretty much abandoned the company. The relaunch however promised some interesting ideas as well as day of release digital comics which is something I am very keen on, so I thought I would give it a shot (despite my dislike of the new costumes). DC has some fantastic characters and if they were starting fresh maybe I would be interested in them again. I picked some out that I thought I would be interested in and dove in. To say the least I was pretty impressed. DC managed to capture my interest in superheros again. The teamed up great writers with great artists and actually made some great books. Here are the ones I have enjoyed the most so far.
Animal Man by Jeff Lemire and Travel Foreman
A crazy and bizarre trip into the surreal aspects of the Animal Man character
Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
I was impressed with Synders work on American Vampire and Capullo is always awesome but the two together have made a classic Batman book here by returning him to what he should be. My favorite part of this series has been Batman actually doing some detective work for once!
Batwoman by W. Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III
This book is a feast for the eyes. The way Williams constructs pages and panel layouts is a thing of beauty.
Demon Knights by Paul Cornell and Diogenes Neves
One of the new series that takes play outside of the current DC universe and in the past. A fantasy story that delivers on all the elements of the genre.
Frankenstein Agent of SHADE by Jeff Lemire and Albert Ponticelli
Just some balls to the wall monster action goodness. Frankenstein’s monster leads a team of Universal classics to a monster planet to stop it from destroying earth. Awesome.
Swamp Thing by Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette
Snyder has brought back the horror to Swamp Thing as well as the surreal nature of the character made oh so popular by Alan Moore. Not derivative of Moore’s work but using some of his elements Snyder has crafted a new Swamp Thing full of scares and intrigue complimented by Paquettes beautiful artwork.
Honorable Mentions: Invincible, House of Mystery, The Unwritten, iZombie, Avenging Spiderman, Bad Island and the Sixth Gun.