Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Artist Deathmatch: Round One

Alyssa Dalangin

Steven "Sash" Scott

Greg Kimmett

James Wisinger 

Tom Saltz

Steven R. Addlesee

Brandon Noel

Kevlen Goodner

Peter Vazquez

Ward Vaughn

Justice Goodner

Paul Andrew Kemble 

Sean Damien Hill

Please Vote on the Poll to the Right

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Justice League #5: Counter Point

I don’t claim to be an expert on superhero comics. My favorite comics are all in the mystery/crime/horror genres. I feel superhero comics just aren’t that interesting anymore. But Justice League #5 was an excellent issue, despite what my esteemed colleague seems to think. His main problem was with some of the art. While I do agree that some of Jim Lee’s distance shots are a little shoddy, those are few and far between. The rest of his art is absolutely impeccable. I believe that where some people may find faults in Lee’s art it is only because he is held in such high regard than any minute detail that is imperfect is hard to ignore. Lee is able to convey such detail in his emotions: anguish, defeat, confidence, surprise and fear.
           Enough about the art. Let’s say that those few panels mentioned in the previous post by Snapper Carr really were disappointing and not up to scratch. The story made this issue worth any error or ineptitude. Just look at what happens in this issue. Superman gets kidnapped by Darkseid’s minions, Darkseid kicks the crap out of Superman and breaks Lantern’s arm, Lantern shows his leadership (I got chills when Batman tried to hold him back and Lantern yelled “Then I die!”), Batman takes off his mask and reveals he’s Bruce Wayne, he lets himself get kidnapped by Darkseid’s minions in order to save Superman, all leading up to a shocking conclusion. While I may not like spending $3.99 on comics, this one was worth every penny. I’m not one to usually enjoy an issue that’s all fighting because its hard to have really good writing that goes along with a fight scene. So much of the issue is usually just “SMASH!” “KRACK!” BAM!”, but so much happened in between the fights of this issue.
Aquaman and Cyborg are a bit quick to fall in line behind Green Lantern’s leadership (Cyborg doesn’t even know what his powers are yet). But this is Justice League, not Everyman-For-Himself-While-Trying-To-Remain-In-Charge-And-Let-The-Baddy-Roll-Through-Town-And-Take-Over…..err, League. While it seemed a bit rushed, I’m okay with them coming together to take down Darkseid. I’m sure there will be plenty of tension between Aquaman and Green Lantern next time. All in all, really good issue, faults aside.

Rating 8.5/10

Gabriel Partridge

Preview: Action Comics #6

What happened to the Brainiac story arc?

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Justice League #5: Stale and Sour

Justice League #5: Written by Geoff Johns. Art by Jim Lee. 

Justice League #5 hit the comic stands a week late, which had me more excited than usual when I bought it. Rumors were spreading that it was because of Jim Lee's art. I opened the book and I was actually disappointed by Jim Lee. Did anyone else notice the sloppy art? Let's start with page 4: the first two panels. The Flash looks decent but Superman looks awful. He has a Jay Leno chin. Also, Superman's look reminded me a lot of Bizarro. Now, take a glimpse at page 10. The first two panels are meh. I just don't think Lee is that great at drawing scenes that look out from the distance. Aquaman looks a paint splat. I know for a fact that Lee's art was much better when he drew the Batman: Hush storyline.

Let's take a look at the story, which was really disappointing. Since Issue 1, all of the characters have been standing around looking at each other and questioning the situation they're in. Four issues later, it's still happening. It was interesting watching Green Lantern lead the team, but the others were way too comfortable with him leading. Just two issues before, Aquaman said he wanted to lead and suddenly he agrees to take orders from a surface dweller. By the way, Cyborg suddenly joins the team and decides not to ask any questions. Come on Johns, you are better than this. However, the touching scene between Batman and Green Lantern was enjoyable. We are so used to them arguing back and forth. It was fun to have Batman convince Green Lantern that he needs to step up and lead their depleted team. I hope for Issue six, we get a rare glimpse of Green Lantern in a J.L leadership role

Rating: 5.5/10

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Monday, January 23, 2012

The Rules for "Artist Deathmatch".

4 rounds of pure compeitition.

Each round features a different character and situation. 
1: A sketch of Daredevil
2: A sketch of Batman jumping off a roof top
3: A sketch of Superman flying with Lois in his arms
4: A sketch of a fight scene between 
Wolverine and Sabretooth.
Rules: Make each drawing your own. You can use any costume of any era.
Each week is a different round. The fans vote for the winners of each week.
Prize: The final winner will have his sketches from the contest and his own sketches advertised on our blog and will be interviewed for our blog.
No coloring allowed.
Do you have what it takes to be the best?????

Contact us at extras2124@gmail.com 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

30 Graphic Novels in 30 Days: Day 3 and 4

Day 3

Super Dinosaur: Written by Robert Kirkman. Art by Jason Howard

Writing: C+. How many times can a writer use the word "awesome". The main character, Derek Dynamo, wouldn't shut up about how cool and smart he was. Also, the main villain was 100% lame.  The evil Max Maximus fell to his knees and cried about never being able to defeat Derek and his pet Dinosaur, Super Dinosaur. Wanna know the biggest disappointment? One villain was named, "The Exile". There was absolutely nothing exciting about him. He went on and on about conquering the world. Like we've never read that before.

Art: B-. The art was the only thing that almost made the comic book anything close to exciting. It reminded me of Ben 10 and its quirky cartoon illustrations. Remember the really cartoons we grew up with: Spider-Man, Batman and Robin, Superman and Batman Beyond. The art definitely wasn't that. The art fit this book well but it reminded me too much of the crappy new cartoons. When did cartoons begin to suck???

Originality: C+. Kirkman's idea for Super Dinosaur is original, fresh and nothing I've ever read before. It's Jurassic Park meets Ben 10. Just because its new, doesn't mean its intriguing.

Overall: C+. This comic book reminds me of those times, when a popstar tries to sing a different type of genre and fails miserably.  I love the image that Image Comics has: independently created, non-superhero comics and very gritty. I now ask, why did Image Comics give the go ahead for this comic? The first time I read it, I stopped 10 pages in. Derek is a little brat with a supersized ego. This book was definitely made for elementary kids, which kinda sucks.When reading Super Dinosaur, I learned a few things. Derek'a ego overwhelms the story and the villains were completely weak and useless.

-Snapper Carr

Day 4

Rex Mundi. Volume 1 Written by Arvid Nelson. Art by Eric J and Jeremy Cox

Writing: B+. It’s definitely safe to say I enjoyed reading this comic. The story is excellent, it’s The Da Vinci Code before there was The Da Vinci Code (did Dan Brown even steal the name Sauniere from this comic?). I really loved the idea of a quest for the Holy Grail, in an alternative version of 1933 Europe where sorcery is commonplace. That sounds like a badass pitch right there. But one problem I had was there was almost no sorcery in this alternative world. I’m sure there’s more to it, but they talk about magic a lot and it only really happens like twice. At the end of each issue there is also a newspaper clipping, sort of like the Watchmen graphic novel has. Sometimes these newspaper clippings are interesting, they actually give us some pertinent information but sometimes they seem like they serve no purpose at all. I don’t know, I could do without them (they remind me of the seemingly pointless notes about“De Selby” in Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman).

Art: A-. The art is really good, the coloring is really good. Absolutely no complaints about the art. Eric J really does a good job capturing emotions in character’s faces and expressions. All of the old artifacts and statues are really brought to life. Again, I’m a little disappointed in the amount of magic and sorcery, but the few glimpses of it are really well done and eye catching, so I’m looking forward to seeing more of that in the further volumes I read.

Originality: A-. As I said earlier, this came out before The Da Vinci Code. Fiction has been so bogged down with The Knights Templar and The Holy Grail in the last ten years but Rex Mundi just barely predates the recent popularity of them in historical fiction. The quest for the Holy Grail isn’t exactly a new theme in fiction (Monty Python, Indiana Jones, etc. etc.) but Rex Mundi does it in a completely different way. I love alternative histories and so far this one is pretty satisfying.

Overall: A-. 
This was a fun, intelligent adventure through the bowels of an alternative Paris with betrayal, love, loss and the Inquisition. It all comes together really well and makes me want to read more. That being said, I don’t know if this happens to anyone else, but with every Dark Horse TPB I buy the goddamn cover comes off from the pages. The pages stay together but I have to use my girlfriend’s arts and crafts glue to stick them back to the cover. WTF.

Gabriel Partridge

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

30 Graphic Novels in 30 Days: Day 1 and 2

Day 1

1. Chew #1- Written by John Layman. Art by Rob Guillory.

Writing: A. Layman’s writing is so distinctive. It’s really different than anything I’ve ever read before. I love being introduced to a new character in Chew because you get this funny like blurb about who they are and what they do. A lot of the names are charmingly food inspired (Tony Chu, Amelia Mintz, Evan Pepper, Chow Chu).

Art: A-. Again, this is just really unique stuff. I usually like more realistic art, but the cartoon-y feel to Chew really, really works. It’s such a brilliantly absurd concept that this art fits perfectly for it. It’s so weird to see a comic with so many chunks of meat, but hey, that’s Chew.

Originality: A+. Chew is an incredibly unique comic. So enjoyably different. In a medium with so many boring superhero comics that do the same thing over and over again its really refreshing to have something truly dissimilar.

Overall: A. I can’t stand most superhero comics anymore. I just feel like they’re all the same. So it’s really awesome to have a fresh idea out there and Chew is certainly that. Who thinks of this kind of shit? If I came to you and said “okay, I have this idea about a guy who, when he eats people, can know everything about them” you would slowly nod and call in the guys in the white jackets and giant butterfly nets. Yet, somehow this story is just plain awesome. Can’t wait to read more.

 -Gabriel Partridge

Day 2

1. All-Star Batman and Robin- Written by Frank Miller. Art by Jim Lee

Writing: A-. There is nothing bad to say about the writing. Frank Miller took the fanboys' Batman and Robin and made it psychotic and intense. Joker was creepier than ever and I got chills when Batman described the ecstasy he felt when hurting thugs and the rest of the degenerates that plagued Gotham. I found Black Canary misplaced. She was a Batman copycat who got really horny when she saw him in action.

Art: A+. It's goddamn Jim Lee. He is almost a perfect artist, I think I've only complained about him once. Most fans are easily annoyed because his awesome art delays the books he does but its worth it. Did you see the Batcave? It was a goddamn fanboys' wet dream. Wanna know the difference between a decent artist and an amazing? The answer is the ability to not only improve the story but also make it a classic.

Originality: B+.  It was different and fun to read a Batman who might actually be insane.  I thought Miller's version of the Justice League was pretty weak: Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Plastic Man. The team would be more dynamic if he had left out Plastic Man and substituted Booster Gold or even Ted Kord.

Overall:  A-. One of my few problems with this book was that it barely scratched the world and the story that Miller created. Batman was insane, Dick Grayson had to stop himself from going crazy and becoming a murderer, Superman was Batman's bitch and he didn't even know how to fly. I believe that if Miller was given the opportunity to write a second volume, All-Star Batman and Robin would have been considered better than Watchmen.

-Snapper Carr

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Up and Coming Indie Comic Book Writer: Anthony Ball

Stan Lee, Robert Kirkman, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison: These are names that echo in every comic book shop. Here is one name that has not made an echo but will in the future. I want to introduce you to a friend and the next "Great American Comic Book Writer", Anthony Ball. 

Who is Anthony Ball?

Wow, that's a good question. I'm Chicago born and bred, a devoted son, loyal friend, brother to some, mentor to others, creator, writer, WonderFunder steering committee member, scotch enthusiast, drinker of beer, lover of women and the man who the original Indiana Jones films were based on.

What are the two comic books that you are writing for presently?

Right now, I'm writing Disco Frankenstein and The Anointed. Disco Frankenstein is a tribute and parody of the old Universal monster movies of the 1940's and the blaxploitation flicks of the 1970s. Think of Frankenstein's monster as Shaft and all the bad guys and hustlers are monsters and urban legends and you get the idea. The Anointed is a new twist on an old concept. The main character, Oz, is a hard luck kid who discovers that his mother was an angel, his father a vampire and that his blood is needed to cast a spell that would reveal every guardian angel on Earth...and that's just the first story arc. The Anointed has demons, the very first vampire, Odin, angel / human hybrids, a renegade angel and a plot to destroy Jacobs Ladder. In short, its way more that I can put in a one page pitch (still working on that).

What is your standard day schedule, when you are writing?

My standard day schedule is making sure my moms is ok, worrying about bills and then getting motivated despite all of that. I write whenever I can, and have energy. Between taking care of my moms, looking for a job, tending to WonderFunder business (a nonprofit endeavor that seeks to provide valuable benefits to the independent comics, graphic novel, and English language manga producing community. For more info check out http://www.wonderfunders.com/ or look us up on Facebook under WonderFunders) and promoting myself and others. I barely have time to write, but I still do. The lesson here is that if you're a writer, BE A WRITER. You can do all the other stuff that goes with being involved in comics, joining groups, forums, blogging, etc...but if you don't physically write something, few scripts, some pitches, plots, etc...YOU ARE NOT A WRITER, you just another person who claims to be a writer (ever see that standing joke with Stewie and Brian on Family Guy about Stewie writing his novel? Yeah? Then you get what I'm saying.).

I am giving you an opportunity to kill any comic book character. Who would it be, why’d you pick this character and how would you kill the character?

Well I'm taking the opportunity to name two: Spider Woman and Moon Knight. Two of the most useless and uninteresting characters ever. I could write a small comic on why I'd do it, but I'll just leave it at they suck. No matter WHO writes them, they still stink. I'd just kill Spider Woman and be done with it. No return, no reboots, no nothing, just oblivion. She wouldn't even die a special death, she'd just get shot in the head like Ted Cord, but there'd be no hype, no mourning surrounding it. In fact, she'd just be considered missing among her peers. Moon Knight...where to start? How long has he been around and not had a successful title? The concept was crap and the idea of a night time avenger running around in all white has always been preposterous to me. I'd have the Joker show up and beat him with the same crowbar that he killed Jason Todd with, and then he'd toss his body right in the middle of Yancy St.

What made you decide to write comic books instead of writing for television and movies?

No real decision there. I just started writing comics. Writing for television or movies never ever entered my mind. Now that I know a few things involved in writing for other mediums, I'd still write for comics. There's a freedom there that you're not going to get with any other medium. You're only limited by your imagination (well, depending on who you write for and what kind of editor you have).

What is your favorite novel?

A tie - The Lost World by Michael Crichton and the Regulators by Steve King (what a F'd up book).

What is your favorite single issue comic book?

A lot to choose from, but hard to dispute. For me it's probably the Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, the Death of Barry Allen. Man, the book literally made me cry when I first read it.

If you had an opportunity to work for Marvel, DC and Image, who would you pick?

Whoever pays the bills for me. Seriously, I really wanted to work for DC when I was younger, a lot of character there to love. Now, I'd have to say Image or Dark Horse. The view here from the sidelines hasnt looked good in the last few yrs in regards to the big two. I cant imagine what its like to be in the middle of writing something really good or coming up with a great idea only to get have to toe the editorial profit making line. Freedom is what writing is about, not conforming for a corporate view.

If you had the opportunity to rewrite an origin for any character, who would it be and what changes would you make?

I originally had a really cool answer for this, but thinking about it now...Moon Knight. What a challenge and a cheat it would be. Like stealing liver from a baby (the kid dont want it, you dont want it but it dont get no easier than that). Think about it: what better challenge than to write a character you cannot stand? On the flipside, I wouldnt keep a scrap of his past, so its like having a blank template, with a company paying me to write him. It would almost be cheating. I have a great idea for rebooting Moon Knight but I figure that's Marvel's problem, let them come up with something...or they can always call me. 
What is Single Salt Malt Comics?

Single Malt Comics consists of Anthony Ball (Co-creator, head writer - Disco Frankenstein, The Anointed), Rodney C. Jacobsen (Co-creator, artist - Disco Frankenstein), Jesse Lima (Co-creator, artist - The Anointed), Trevor Sanders (Colorist - Disco Frankenstein, The Anointed) Miguel Caraballo (Letter - Disco Frankenstein, The Anointed) and several other talented individuals who have lent their creativity to our projects. We have some merchandise right now, including more clothing, posters and eventually comics. Besides Disco Frankenstein, we have a few more books in production, (The Weird Weird West and McGinnis & Oakley) which should see the light of day sometime late this year. Right now we are in our infancy, but this year is the start of big things for us and for the independent comic community as a whole. Trust me.

Disco Frankenstein's Indie Go Go page: Last week to donate! Lets see this comic book in our local comic shops. 

P.S. On the right, vote on our newest poll.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The New DC Logo

Here is a short history of DC's Logos 

This was my favorite: The Logo of the 90s. 

The New Logo


By the way, check out our new poll on the right: What is the Worst Big Budget Superhero Movie?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Best of 2011: Comics

Snapper Carr:

Breakout Character: Roy Harper: Before the new 52, Roy Harper was many things. He was a cat killer, a villain and a drug addict. Let’s flash forward to the New 52. He is a drunk, kind of a dick, and really funny but at the end of the day he really just wants to be a hero. After attempting to be killed by Killer Croc, he pulled himself together and got Waylon James (a Batman Villain) as his A.A sponsor, attempted to liberate an evil Middle Eastern government and slept with his sort of best friend’s girl. Roy Harper is far from being a perfect character but definitely one of the most interesting characters in comic books.

Biggest DisappointmentSupergirl. Yes, I loved most of 52 but there was plenty of trash that I read. Here are a few titles: Supergirl, Green Arrow and Stormwatch. I expected so much from Supergirl because I figured the origin would be different and wouldn’t be the normal, “Oh her shipped crashed on Earth and she is confused and lost and that is the end of issue one”. Ugh…..that is exactly what happened. Issue one and issue two consisted only of fight scenes and zero character development. To me that is pretty boring. If I could redo the first couple of issues, I would do it without the suit and I would do it on Krypton. It would give the reader a better introduction to who Kara is and what she will become. The point of 52 is to be new and exciting, the 52 Supergirl we were given is boring and stale.

Best CompanyDC Comics. Through 2010 and mid-way through 2011, comics were not doing it for me. Comics were too fast of a read and I was getting bored easily. For years, I was a huge fan of DC Comics but up until last year that began to fade. When 52 happened it changed everything. 1) My wallet had less cash in it. 2) DC was kicking ass again. Many complained that DC was only doing it for the money. I can’t deny that but I want to believe that maybe they did it for the fans also. Pre-52: Besides Green Lantern and Batman, the rest of the DC Universe sucked. Superman complained about not feeling human enough, Wonder Girl kept flip flopping on whether or not she was the right leader for the Teen Titans and the Justice League was full of B and C rated superheroes. The final months of 2011 put an end to all that bullshit. The Superman we all know and love is finally back, Aquaman is cool, and those that voted to kill Jason Todd realized they were wrong.

Best Artist: Joe Eisma. This was a tough choice. First off, I am going to explain why I didn’t pick Jim Lee. Justice League Issue four’s art was a little sloppy. The final match was Kenneth Rocafort, Red Hood and the Outlaws vs Joe Eisma, Morning Glories. At first I wasn’t the biggest fan of Rocafort’s art. The images of the people in the background always seemed a bit off. However, I began to notice the brilliance in his art. I’ve noticed the incredible skill in the characters’ expressions. The movement of the lips and eyebrows really added an element to the story-telling. Dear Joe Eisma, please do more books! Thanks- all your fans. Eisma’s artistic skills bring a truly important element to Morning Glories. The face expressions, the body movement, the architectural and landscape details are flawless. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an artist draw vomit and Joe Eisma nailed it. The winner is Joe Eisma.

Best Writer: Geoff Johns.This started out as Battle Royale: Jason Aaron vs Geoff Johns vs Brian Michael Bendis vs Scott Lobdell vs Grant Morrison vs Robert Kirkman. And the winner is… Geoff Johns. Let me state some facts for you. In less than a decade he brought back Hal, Barry and he made Booster Gold a true hero. But, in 2011 he made Sinestro a Green Lantern again. Let’s not forget, he did the unthinkable. Somehow, he made Aquaman a really cool superhero. For the last three years, the Justice League of America was full of wannabes. Thank Rao for that not being the case anymore.  Geoff Johns brought back the Big Six! I say six because I’m not sure how I feel about Cyborg being on the team.

Best Single Issue: The Amazing Spider-Man #672. When I learned about “Spider-Island” I thought meh. Jeez, I was 100% wrong. The entire story arc was magnificent. Everyone in NYC got spiderpowers, Dan Slott brought back Kaine, and MJ said those three words that guys freak out at.  My Best Single Issue of 2011 is The Amazing Spider-Man #672. Have you ever read a conclusion of a story arc and be utterly disappointed with? Me too, it happens a lot!!! That was not the case with this issue. It was clever, fun, and ended on a high note. Mid-way through “Spider Island”, there were rumors spreading that Ben Reilly was being brought back from the grave but Slott shocked us all with Kaine. For years, Kaine has been decaying but he fell into some kind of gunk and now looks exactly like Peter. With Kaine normal and fighting along aside Spidey, it was fun reading their back and forth witty rapport. If you are a Spider fan you know about “Parker luck” aka, life sucks. In one of the few times in his life, he saved everybody and no one died. By the way, I loved when Mary Jane told Peter she loved him but since he was in the moment, he was deaf to it. By the way, Mary Jane > Gwen Stacy.

Best Overall Comic Book: Invincible. It took me a few hours to decide on this one. I went through Dan Slott’s The Amazing Spider-Man, Grant Morrison’s version of Superman and Robert Kirkman’s Invincible. I decided on Invincible because it’s the best superhero comic book in the universe. As readers, we are so used to the writers never really developing the character and doing the same story over and over again with little tinkering. Mark Grayson aka Invincible could be the most flawed superhero of all time. In 2011, Mark and his father went to war own with their own species (the Viltrumites). The war ended with a stalemate. The Earth was saved and the Viltrumites were allowed to breed with humans. While he was at war, his girlfriend had an abortion. Most recently, Mark decided to a free Dinosaurus (a villain who blew up Las Vegas) because he believed he was right in doing so. According to teasers, Mark will no longer be Invincible in 2012.

Gabriel Partridge:

Breakout characterVincent Morrow (Witch Doctor). This new Image (on the Skybound imprint) comic is so fresh in the comic world. It is equal parts hilarious and gruesome. It’s Fringe, meets Doctor Who with just the right amount of grotesquery thrown in. He has the charming wit of David Tennant version of the Doctor with the Frankenstein-ian madness of Walter Bishop on Fringe. Pretty damn good mix for me.

Biggest Disappointment:  Mark Waid’s Daredevil. As a huge Daredevil fan, I was really pumped for this comic. I was excited to see Daredevil returning to his non-emo days. Recently, he’s been a kind of woe-is-me whiner (although I did really like Daredevil Reborn) and I was looking forward to seeing Matt get back to his good old days.  I suppose they kind of got him back to that version of Matt but that was really about all they did for me.  They spent too much time on the Jobrani court case (Matt being a lawyer, is admittedly a big part of the comics, but I guess it just doesn’t really do it for me anymore) and not enough time with Daredevil thrashing villains. While it definitely wasn’t an awful series, it just sort of left me with a “meh”, unsatisfied feeling.

Best CompanyDC. It’s really hard not to talk about DC’s New 52.  They did a really incredible marketing move this year with the New 52. Love it or hate it, we all bought it. It helped reintroduce a lot of old fans back into comics and brought in a whole slew of new ones. There were a lot of less than perfect issues introduced this year with the New 52 but there were a helluva lot of good-to-awesome new titles. All-Star Western, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Red Hood and the Outlaws , Justice League, Batman, Green Lantern and Detective Comics made the whole thing worthwhile.

Best ArtistGabriel Rodriguez (Locke & Key): Three words: Hoooo Leee Shit. Gabriel Rodriguez is an unbelievable artist. Rodriguez and Joe Hill really are the absolute perfect balance of a wonderful writer paired with a shockingly (and I mean “shockingly” in every sense of the word, given some of those incredibly bloody, gruesome scenes) outstanding artist. They come together to make the best comic I have ever read (and I really don’t mean to be gushing with my love for this comic, but I really can’t help it).I’ve always been one to feel that good art is just to accompany the more important: good writing. Gabriel Rodriguez made me completely change my POV. The art to this comic is so important that if a lesser artist were to do it, Joe Hill’s brilliant writing would be completely lost to its audience.  A great story is one thing, so many comics have a great idea or a great writer, but to be able to pair that with a truly impeccable artist like Rodriguez? Well, that’s one in a million.

Best Writer: Scott Snyder (American Vampire, Swamp Thing, Batman, Severed) Is this guy serious with the year he’s had? He’s doing one of the best ongoing series out right now in American Vampire. It’s such a brilliant and unique take on the vampire genre that’s become so popular and bogged down with tweeny romance bullshit . Swamp Thing is one of the bright lights of DC’s New 52, and is a pretty damn cool take on classic muddy monster. Severed is one of those rarities. It’s part mysterious, part horror, and all addicting. Snyder’s Batman is one of the top 5 New 52 titles. It (as well as Detective Comics) have done a good job of getting back to Bat’s detective roots. Every issue is a mystery in Snyder’s Batman. He’s also created a pretty sweet mysterious villain in Talon. Everything this man does keeps me on the edge of my seat and wanting to read more.

Best Single Issue:  Morning Glories #11. This is such a freaking cool comic. As one of the biggest fans of Lost you’ll ever find, this comic is right up my alley. It’s so goddamn, frustratingly, yet satisfyingly confusing. It always keeps me guessing and scratching my head. This issue in particular was satisfying. In a series that gives you so many question and cliffhangers, this one gave you a few answers (as well as a fucking awesome question/cliffhanger). We finally got to know a little about the little douchebag Ike, which got the audience to understand exactly why we should hate him (or be intrigued by why he’s even included in this group). It’s rare for me to like an entire issue that’s based on a character that I hate but this one was incredible. It delved into the past of the character and left us with one of the best cliffhangers/twists in recent comics: the imprisoned man and the man we were supposed to think Ike killed in the beginning of the issue, is revealed to be Ike’s seemingly deceased father, and one of the most mysterious characters in the comic, Abraham.

Best Overall Comic: Locke & Key. I really cannot say enough good things about this comic. As I mentioned before Gabriel Rodriguez really does some of the best art I’ve ever seen. The finale to Keys to Kingdom (Detectives, Part 2) did exactly what any good ongoing series should do: leave us wanting more. It was a great conclusion to a great story arc and left me itching for the next story. I really am just waiting for this series to fail and disappoint me because nothing can be this awesome for this long but it really continues to do just that. My favorite issue of the series (and possibly favorite issue of the year) was the opening issue to Clockworks; The Locksmith’s Son. We finally got the awesome flashback to Locke kid’s predecessors in 1775 and the inception of the keys, which was fuckin’ sweet. In my Best of 2011 post I really, truly and wholeheartedly, could have used Locke & Key for it all. And I mean Every. Single. Category. (with my  biggest- nay, only disappointment being that it has a timeline for an end date). I had to struggle to not use Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’s incredible series as my best of for everything in this post, because, while they deserve it, what fun would that be?

Don't forget to vote on our poll: Best Comic of 2011!