Over at HouseToAstonish.com — One of my favorite comics podcasts — they have their annual nominations for their awards show, the “Homies,” celebrating the best in comics in a particular year. Here’s what I nominated for 2016:
BEST NEW SERIES (any comic whose first issue was published in 2016)
Action Comics (DC)
It’s hard to justify it as a “New Series” starting with issue 957, but this book is a lot of damn fun. The initial Doomsday arc may have run an issue too long, but the stories since — Including a second (third?) Clark Kent, Post-Crisis Lois Lane getting back to work at the Daily Planet, and the rivalry between Supes and no-really-I’m-a-goodie-now Lex Luthor have me coming back for more. It’s easily my favorite Rebirth title.
BEST ACTUALLY NEW SERIES (any comic with a new concept first published in 2016)
Kim & Kim (Black Mask)
“This looks like the kind of comic you’d like,” said my co-worker, as we flipped through PREVIEWS. “You think so? Maybe. I’ll give it a shot when it comes out.” And dang, was she right. I’m not entirely sure what it was about it, but that first issue REALLY hit me hard, and I just fell in love with this series. At just four issues, it’s an easy enough to pick it all up in one go. Good on Black Mask for putting this one out.
Shout-out to Motor Crush, which may have taken this spot if more than one issue had come out this year.
BEST CONTINUING SERIES
Transformers: MTMTE/Lost Light (IDW)
When IDW launched two ongoing Transformers books back in late 2011, I was definitely more interested in the Transformers-As-A-Politcal-Thriller theme of Robots in Disguise, because it was something Transformers had never really done before. But as the two series went on, more and more people kept going about how good its sister title, More Than Meets the Eye was. And that became astonishingly clear to me when RID dropped its subtitle and just became adventures of Optimus Prime & Co., having relatively mundane adventures on Earth, while MTMTE seemed to just get wackier and more interesting as that series progressed, until it really did become one of my favorite titles, and one of the best bits of Transformers fiction probably ever.
BEST MINI, ONE-SHOT OR OGN
Kim & Kim (Black Mask) See above.
Terry Moore (Abstract/Motor Girl)
Maybe a bit unfair, given that Motor Girl only has two issues out, but the amount of revelation in the second issue, after the amount of setup in the first, had me questioning everything about the title. And I can’t wait to see where it goes next — A thing that Moore had me doing during Strangers in Paradise, too.
Sophie Campbell (Jem & The Holograms)
I didn’t realize how much Ms. Campbell’s work on IDW’s Jem & The Holograms really MADE that book, until she was off the title. Gorgeous linework, interesting character (re)design, and solid storytelling totally pulled that book together in a way that other artists haven’t been able to.
Joana LaFuente (Transformers: MTMTE/IDW)
Oh my god, COLOR! And it’s not all browns and oranges, or pinks and turquoises! Honest-to-goodness, diverse COLOR! More comic colorists could learn from this.
MOST WANTED (comic you wanted more of/to continue)
X-Men ’92 (Marvel)
I know a lot of people didn’t like the book (and obviously sales reflected that), but a light-hearted, out-of-continuity X-Men book was exactly what I needed, after how dreary the X-Books have been since House of M, which was like a decade ago. I want to continue liking the X-Men, but Marvel keeps making it hard for me to do that.
MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE
G.I. Joe #1 (IDW)
Historically, I was always more of a Transformers guy than a G.I. Joe guy, but the announcement that Skywarp would be in this title really caught my attention. Sure, it’s just been out for a day, but I really enjoyed that one issue, which had a solid definition of the book’s premise, introduction to characters, and a setup for issue 2 — Everything you’d really want out of a first issue. I’ll be adding it to my pull list.
STIFF DRINK AWARD (Event/revelation/twist that hit you so hard you need a stiff drink)
Ravage’s Fate (Transformers: MTMTE #54 + 55)
It’s hard for comics to make me sad. I’ve been reading them for nearly three decades, and I often keep my brain pretty disconnected from fictional stories. But the way that Roberts & co. had (somehow!) made Ravage one of the most likable parts of MTMTE is surprising enough. But what Tarn did is unacceptable. And the quick cutaway to Soundwave’s reaction totally sold it. Outside of David’s death in Strangers in Paradise, nothing in comics has ever hit me that hard. Which surprises even me.
I had completely written DC Comics off, with how badly the New 52 was handled. There may be an audience for dark, gritty, overly-serious comics, but I am not part of it. But when they announced a renumbering, I thought I’d give it a chance. I’m only reading a handful of the Rebirth titles, but only because I can’t afford any more of them.