Sunday, February 10, 2013

Kirby Your Enthusiasm, ep. 26: "Best & Worst of 2012"

I READ 885 comics or graphic novels in 2012. Some were good, some were awesome...and some were DUDS.
This post lists all the very best (and worst) of the year, along with original comments by me (if any).
Along with this post, comes a 25-minute podcast with a few of my thoughts. It can be found HERE.

BEST of 2012:

THIS WAS A TOUGH YEAR. I read a lot of truly great comics that aren’t on this list: 4 to 4½ books that didn’t quite make the list. But here are the creme de la creme.

My Friend Dahmer (Abrams Comicsart, 2012) *****
Writer/artist: Derf Backderf
One of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read. Period.

Punk Rock And Trailer Parks (SLG, 2008) *****
Writer/artist: Derf
Fuck me, this is fantastic!  

Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score (IDW, 2012) *****
Writer/artist: Darwyn Cooke

FCBD: Mouse Guard, Labyrinth And Other Stories (Archaia Entertainment, 2012) *****
Writers/artists: various

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman (Penguin Books, 1986) *****
Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began (Pantheon, 1991) *****

Uzumaki Vol. 1 (Viz, 2001) ****¼
Uzumaki Vol. 2 (Viz Media, 1998, 2002, 2012) *****
Writer/artist: Junji Ito
I hate manga but this creepy, spiral-obsessed horror comic is superb, and better than the unsettling movie that followed it.
One of the creepiest, dream-like horror books I’ve ever read. Genuinely unnerving stuff. So glad to see it get a reprint.

Peepholes (Blank Slate Books, 2011) *****
Writer/artist: Laurie J. Proud
Dark, warped, perverse, confusing in parts and altogether brilliant. And the artwork is just mind-blowing. Seek this collection of sinister short stories out now. NOW, I tells ya!

Miracleman #1-24 (Eclipse, 1985-93) *****
Writers: Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman/Artists: various
V For Vendetta #1-10 (DC, 1988-89) *****
Writer: Alan Moore/Artist: David Lloyd (with some assistance from Tony Weare)

I was blessed in 2012 by the fact that I read very few UTTERLY SHITE books. No negative star horrors. But there were some genuine DUDS along the way, so here they are:

Enormous #1 (Image, 2012) DUD
Writer: Tim Daniel/Artist: Mehdi Cheggour
An enormous-sized dud. Way too much photo-referenced art and confusing to boot. Half the photo-referenced characters look like other characters. The storyline of nature gone wild and growing to Godzilla-like dimension had potential but the art really let it down. The only positives for Enormous was the oversized gimmick and the fact that my copy was damaged in transit to Kings Comics so I scored it for a paltry five bux. I passed it onto a mate afterwards. He probably won’t thank me for it after he reads it.

Burt Ward: Boy Wonder/Wrath Of The Titans Classic (Bluewater Comics, 2012) DUD
Writers: Darren Garnick & Burt Ward (Burt Ward); CW Cooke (Titans)/Artist: Ramon Salas
Voltron: Shelter From The Storm (Viedia, 2012) DUD
Writer: Brian Smith/Artist: Jacob Chabot
Utter shit.
FCBD: Mega Man (Archie, 2012) DUD
Writer: Ian Flynn/Artist: Patrick Spaziante (interior), Chard Thomas, Fabio Redivo and Evan Stanley (cover)
FCBD: The Intrinsic (Arcana, 2012) DUD
Writers: Sean Patrick O’Reilly, Casey Jones & Erik Hendrix/Artist: Allan Otero
My Name Is Mud #1 (Incognito Comics, 1994) DUD
Writer/artist: Brian Denham
Before it got picked up by Maximum Press, MNIM got one self-published issue. I wonder if the Maximum dudes read it before offering Denham a deal. Confusing art – at times quite good, at other times very amateurish – dumb storyline, unlikable characters with confused motives, and appalling dialogue. This is utter shit. Of course, Maximum never did anything with MNIM either and it disappeared (thank goodness). Denham, however, went on to become a pretty good artist and does a lot of steampunk cheesecake pin-ups for Antarctic Press these days.
Judo Girl #1 (Alias Enterprises, 2005) DUD
Writer: Terrence Gripe/Artists: Nador Balan, Nick Schley & Sven Dyson (interior), Jimmy Taylor, Mark Brooks and Nadir Balan (covers)
Gara Galaxy #1 (Dead Dog Comics, 2004?) DUD
Writers: Chazz DeMoss & Joel Moen/Artists: Clint Hilinski (interior); Rudy Garza, Mojo & 12:21 (cover)
The Nazz #1 (DC, 1990) DUD
Writer: Tom Veitch/Artist: Bryan Talbot
Nice artwork by Talbot, but Veitch’s pretentious, at-times confused writing totally ruins this tale of how having godlike powers can corrupt a man’s soul. Or something like that.
Gun Nut Funnies (self-published, 2011) DUD
Writer/artist: Karno
A truly disturbing, paranoia-filled, pro-gun rant masquerading as a self-help manual. Yep, if you spend your life walking round a’feared that you may have to shoot someone dead one day, then deal with “the corrupt system” afterwards…well, this comic’s for you. Befriending lawyers on gun ranges, carrying a video camera pen on your person, life’s just a bed of roses for this idiot. I don’t know what happened to “Karno” in the past, but it’s totally fucked up his outlook on life – I would NOT want to live inside his head. For contact details, email author Kjartan Arnorsson at
Kill The Face #3 (ACE Comics, 1987) DUD
Writer: Joe Gill/Art: Steve Ditko & Rick Altergott
The nice Alex Toth cover saves this from negative stars, but this terrible comic single-handedly destroyed any interest I have in Ditko’s post-Spidey work. I gather he had a heavy hand in these scripts and it shows: ineptly written, heavy-handed and nonsensical in parts. This by-the-numbers superhero vs drug dealers shite was clearly written by dudes who’ve never touched the stuff. Cocaine users are depicted as the worst kind of heroin junkies. And clearly Gill and Ditko don’t know how police procedure works either. Godawful on every level. Even Ditko’s pencils are rudimentary and inker Altergott sucks arse. The back-up strip Who Dunnit (anonymous writer/art by Fred Guardineer) is nicely rendered, even if the murder mystery storyline is boring. Not sure if it’s a reprint or not. ACE Comics was clearly an ambitious line that promised way more than it could deliver. The Face (a public domain superhero from the 1940s) now resides in the Dynamite universe.

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