Friday, February 3, 2017

Kirby Your Enthusiasm, Ep. 47: Best and Worst of 2016

Listen to my podcast HERE.

COMICS READ in 2013: 807

COMICS READ IN 2014: 1179

COMICS READ IN 2015: 1222

JAN. 105
FEB. 101
MAR. 108
APR. 140
MAY 146
JUN. 100
JUL. 95
AUG. 119
SEP. 115
OCT. 100
NOV. 69
DEC. 82
Total comics and GNs read in 2016: 1280

BEST of 2016:
***** or better
Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #5 [Crayon Butchery Variant Cover; b&w interior] (Marvel, 2006) *****
Story: Warren Ellis/Art: Stuart Immonen
God, this was a fun series. I’m totally gonna have to go back and read it again soon. And you can colour in this issue. Awesome!
Stray Bullets: Sunshine And Roses #10-19 (Image, 2015-16) *****
Writer/artist: David Lapham
Kaptara Vol. 1: Fear Not, Tiny Alien (Image, 2015) *****
- originally published in Kaptara #1-5 (Image, 2015)
Writer: Chip Zdarsky/Artist: Kagan McLeod
A perverse, camp sci-fi reinterpretation/pisstake of He-Man and...The Smurfs? Brilliance!
Marvel Zombies 5 #1-5 (Marvel, 2010) *****
Writer: Fred Van Lente/Artists: various
The Invincible Iron Man Vol. 1 (Marvel, 2010) *****
- originally published in The Invincible Iron Man #1-19 (Marvel, 2008-09)
Writer: Matt Fraction/Artist: Salvador Larroca
Fucking awesome mature (as in MATURE) superhero action. First, Tony Stark faces his worst fears when terrorists use Iron Man technology to create bloody mayhem around the world. Seems an old enemy’s son has decided to target Stark. Then, following the Skrull invasion, Stark and SHIELD are out, Norman Osborne and HAMMER are in. Tony decides to stop Osborne from accessing top-secret documents by storing them in his brain, then slowly deleting the info using Iron Man tech. Only problem is, the process is making him dumber and deader by the minute. How can Stark – using increasingly older and more outdated Iron Man armour – defend himself against the likes of the Sub-Mariner, Madame Masque, Crimson Dynamo and Osborne himself in the guise of the Iron Patriot?
This is amazingly well-written, beautifully illustrated comics. Sophisticated superheroes? Who woulda thunk it?
The Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2 (Marvel, 2012) *****
- originally published in The Invincible Iron Man #20-33 (Marvel, 2009-11)
Writer: Matt Fraction/Artists: Salvador Larroca; Jamie McKelvie
Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art Of Darwyn Cooke (DC, 2015) *****
- originally published in a bunch of comics (DC, 1985-2015)
Read my blog review HERE.
Batman: Ego And Other Tails (DC, 2007) *****
- originally published in Batman: Ego, Selina’s Big Score and other titles (DC, 2000-05)
3 comics
The Twilight Children (Vertigo, 2016) *****
- originally published in The Twilight Children #1-4 (Vertigo, 2015-16)
Writer: Gilbert Hernandez/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Darwyn’s final project and it’s a fitting tribute to his genius. Gilbert’s magic realism doesn’t always grab me in Love And Rockets, but here married to Darwyn’s extraordinary art helps take it to another level. Love, lust, betrayal, aliens, CIA agents and weird glowing orbs make this book a must-read.
Catwoman: The Dark End Of The Street (DC, 2002) *****
- originally published in Detective Comics #759-762, Catwoman #1-4 (DC, 2001-02)
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artists: Darwyn Cooke, Mike Allred and Cameron Stewart
Crites’ Colouring Book by Tom Crites (Headpress, 2016) *****
Saga: Vol. 6 (Image, 2016) *****
- originally published in Saga #31-36 (Image, 2016)
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan/Artist: Fiona Staples
The best comic series out there continues to bring me great joy. After a few missteps in volumes four and five, this one is a fine return to great form. Just perfect. Sci-fi, romance, war stories, erotica and, now, Orange Is The New Black makes this the genre mash-up to beat all mash-ups.
The Wild Party (Pantheon Books, 1994) *****
- originally published in 1928
Writer: Joseph Moncure March/Artist: Art Spiegelman
Incredible re-release of a classic poem about a debauched party. Art has done so many illustrations for this version that it’s practically a graphic novel. So I’m including it here.
Deadly Hands Of Criminal (Image, 2016) *****
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Sean Phillips
Starve Vol. 2 (Image, 2016) *****
- originally published in Starve #1-5 (Image, 2016)
Writer: Brian Wood/Artist: Danijel Zezelj
Dave Stevens Selected Sketches & Studies Vol. 2 (Bulldog Studios, 2003) *****
Limited edition sketchbook. Sadly, unnumbered and unsigned.
Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker #1-6 (Dynamite, 2011) *****
Writer: Garth Ennis/Artist: Darick Robertson
The Boys #55-72 (Dynamite, 2011-12) *****
Writer: Garth Ennis/Artists: John McCrea, Darick Robertson, Russ Braun
Man, does Garth Ennis hate superheroes or what?
Fantastic work by the great man and a satisfying conclusion to this brutal, at-times offensive, but always entertaining series.
Sink #1 (Comix Tribe, 2016) *****
Writer: John Lees/Artist: Alex Cormack
About as violent and disturbing a comic as I’ve read this year. Horrifying in parts – you’ll never see Glasgow in the same light again.
Hieronymus (Knockabout, 2015) *****
Writer/Artist: Marcel Ruijters
An “unauthorised” – yet thoroughly researched – biography on one of the great Dutch artists, Hieronymus Bosch, who captured Medieval hell on Earth in his frightening paintings. Mega-talented Ruijters captures Bosch’s everyday life, and it’s pretty horrible – but it provided plenty of inspiration for his horrific art.
Goldtiger (2000AD, 2016) *****
Writer: Guy Adams/Artist: Jimmy Broxton
This mock biography of an obscure, Modesty Blaise-style action strip from the 1960s is pure brilliance. Just read this article to get the full story about this fascinating project.
Get Jiro: Blood And Sushi (Vertigo, 2016) *****
Writer: Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose/Artists: Alé Garza (interior); Dave Johnson (cover)
A prequel to equally brilliant Get Jiro from 2012.
Southern Bastards Vol. 3: Homecoming (Image, 2016) *****
- originally published in Southern Bastards #9-14 (Image, 2015-16)
Writers: Jason Aaron (#9-11, 13-14); Jason Latour (#12)/Artists: Jason Latour (#9-11, 13-14); Chris Brunner (#12)
I’d already read four of these issues (because they took so damn long to come out I thought I’d avoided that particular reprint and had hit all-new issues. Wrong! Still, it was great to reread this whole chapter again in one hit. Amazing story. Some real bastards down south, y’all. Hey, we know that even better after the US election, right?
Nailbiter Vol. 5: Bound By Blood (Image, 2016) *****
- originally published in Nailbiter #21-25 and Nailbiter/Hack/Slash one-shot (Image, 2016)
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Artist: Mike Henderson
Rules Of Summer by Shaun Tan (Lothian, 2013) *****
This is fabulous.
The Sixth Gun Book 9: Boot Hill (Oni Press, 2016) *****
- originally published in The Sixth Gun #48-50 (Oni Press, 2016)
Writer: Cullen Bunn/Artist: Brian Hurtt
The Saviours (Image, 2016) *****
- originally published in The Saviours #1-5 (Image, 2016)
Attack On Titan Anthology (Kodansha Comics, 2016) *****
Writers/Artists: various
Huck Book 1: All-American (Image, 2016) *****
- originally published in Huck #1-6 (Image, 2016)
Writer: Mark Millar/Artist: Rafael Albuquerque
Invader Zim Vol. 2 (Oni Press, 2016) *****
- originally published in Invader Zim #6-10 (Oni Press, 2016)
Writers/Artists: various
The Rattler (Image, 2016) *****
Writer: Jason McNamara/Artist: Greg Hinkle
I bought this graphic novel for Greg’s art, but Jason’s supernatural noir tale is gripping. I loved the tale, which reminded me a lot the original film version of The Vanishing.
Power Man And Iron Fist Vol. 1: The boys Are Back In Town (Marvel, 2016) *****
- Power Man And Iron Fist #1-5 (Marvel, 2016)
Writer: David Walker/Artist: Sanford Greene (#1-4); Flaviano (#5)
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now (Marvel, 2016) *****
- originally published in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1-6 and Howard The Duck #6 (Marvel, 2016)
Writers: Ryan North with Chip Zdarsky (HTD #6)/Artists: Erica Henderson (SG #1-6), Joe Quinones and friends (HTD #6)
Howard The Duck Vol. 1: Duck Hunt (Marvel, 2016) ****¼
- originally published in Howard The Duck #1-6 and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6 (Marvel, 2016)
Writers: Chip Zdarsky with Ryan North (SG #6)/Artists :Joe Quinones and friends (HTD #1-6); Erica Henderson (SG #6)
Obviously, I read HTD #6 and SG #6 the first time round, so I didn’t read them again.
This is a more poignant, nuanced HTD. Silly, yes – but sad, too. And it gets sadder in the next volume.
Howard The Duck Vol. 2: Good Night, And Good Duck (Marvel, 2016) *****
- originally published in Howard The Duck #7-11
Writer: Chip Zdarsky /Artists: Kevin Maguire (#7); Joe Quinones and friends (#8-11)
With special guest stars...Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones...well, interstellar versions of them anyway. Did you know Howard’s life is being run by intergalactic creators, who throw all sorts of weird shit at him like The Collector and mentally unstable Sentinels? Yep, this final arc gets very meta as Chip and Joe deal creatively with the idea of a HTD series being cancelled...again. Very enjoyable if sad. Still, with a bit of luck, he’ll be back one day. Howard always comes back.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 4: I Kissed A Squirrel And I Liked It (Marvel, 2016) *****
- originally published in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7-11 (Marvel, 2016)
Writer: Ryan North /Artists: Erica Henderson and friends (#7-10), Jacob Chabot (#11)
Read this comic and learn more about counting with binary numbers and tree lobsters than you ever thought possible!
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe (Marvel, 2016) *****
Writers: Ryan North/Artists: Erica Henderson and friends
An original hardcover graphic novel because too much Squirrel Girl is never enough. This pisstake on The Punisher Kills The Marvel Universe sees Doreen get taken down by the only person powerful enough to do so: her evil clone. What happens when Bad SG (aka Allene) attempts to defeat every superhero and super-villain in the world? Well, she does so with ease. This novel is such a delight to read. Such a delight.
I honestly wondered whether kids would appreciate SG, despite seeing all those pix in the letters pages of young girls cosplaying as Doreen, because there was too much back story and SG history to take in. And then the other night I was looking for the graphic novel, turned around and found my nine-year-old daughter reading it. Jones quite liked it and is now reading Vol. 4 (yes, she’s reading the series backwards. So sue her). Anyway, despite not knowing anything about Doreen or her supporting cast, she thinks the series is “good”. So there you go.
Deadly Class Vol. 4: Die For Me (Image, 2016) *****
- originally published in Deadly Class #17-21 (Image, 2016)
Writer: Rick Remender/Artist: Wes Craig
Speaking of bleak, this series is about as dark as it comes. I mean, I’m not sure how Remender can keep the series going when the three main characters FUCKING DIED in the final issue of this arc. High school sucks at the best of times, but when it’s a school of assassins and the only way to graduate is to kill the non-affiliated freaks and geeks, it’s MURDER. Just love Deadly Class – top-notch art and storytelling. I’m genuinely looking forward to finding out where Remender goes from here.
Velvet Vol. 3: The Man Who Stole The World (Image, 2016) *****
- originally published in Velvet #11-15 (Image, 2016)
Writer: Ed Brubaker/Artist: Steve Epting
A.D. After Death Book One (Image, 2016) *****
Writer: Scott Snyder/Artist: Jeff Lemire
One of the most extraordinary, moving comics I’ve read in some time. Beautiful. I can’t wait to read the next book.

WORST of 2016:
Nameless #6 (Image, 2015) DUD
Writer: Grant Morrison/Artist: Chris Burnham
Unfathomable, tedious, odious, needlessly gory shite of the highest order. Morrison disappears up his own anus once again. Avoid.
The Fifth Force featuring Hawk & Animal #2 (Antarctic Press, 1999) -*
Writer/Artist: uncredited
Easily the worst wrestling comic ever produced. Overpriced, stupid, pointless.
Aski – Rumble in the Lost Temple #1 (Lucha Comics, 2014) DUD
Writer: Roberto Mercado/Artist: Kundo Krunch
I don’t ask much from a wrestling comic except be well-written and well-drawn. Aski fails in both categories. But even bad artwork can be forgiven if a story makes sense and is fun to read. But this comic is just shit on every level. Poorly structured action scenes that succeed in both being mundane and predictable. A plot that hinges on our hero’s friends being two of the dumbest arseholes on the planet is also a turn-off.  When a luchador says, “Don’t go into the jungle – it’s full of criminals and dangerous animals”, don’t then deliberately ignore him, get attacked by a deadly animal and kidnapped by criminals. That doesn’t make you plucky and gutsy adventurers, it makes you FUCKWITS. Anyway, this comic is terrible.
AWF: Amazon Wrestling Federation #1 (Xigency Studios Inc., 2013) -*
Writer/Artist: Joe D. McFee
This weird, slightly fetishy comic shows the very worst of what’s on offer at Comixology. Poorly drawn, badly written tale about an Amazonian college basketballer in love with a nerdy tutor who wins a wrestling promotion in a poker game (I’m not kidding here). At the same time, the basketballer decides to become a pro wrestler. The sheer amateurishness of this comic is positively painful. Somehow, this comic reached four issues!
Worlds Collide #1 (DC/Milestone, 1994) DUD
Writers/Artists: various and shit
I only bought this crap for the free stickers. Godawful crossover – no wonder Milestone folded. It should stay folded.

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