Traditionally in the land of features journalism things start to wind down in the month of December. Record companies send you endless best of compilations, magazines and papers only ever want to post end of year polls and no-one really seems to give a toss. Don’t worry though, you’ll be glad to know the young McFee is still working his heiny off (is that how you spell heiny?) right up until Christmas Eve Eve because I’ve been lumdered with some horrible deadlines this year. So to make up for the lack of Dead Horse activity this week, here’s my top ten comics of the year that is currently published in this month’s AU.
And The Winners are…
As we wave a cheery goodbye to 2008, your trusty comics correspondent casts his eye back over the last 12 months and picks the top ten books of the year while also picking highlights from ‘09’s calendar because we’re dead clever like that. If you feel there’s anything missing from the list let us know via www.iheartau.com
Top Ten Comics of 2008
Captain America (Marvel)
Ever since writer Ed Brubaker took over the reigns penning Marvel’s Star Spangled Avenger (and soon to be film star in 2010) Steve Rogers has never had it so good. Well, apart from the fact that he was gunned down in public in issue 25 and is now as dead as Russell Brand’s career at the BBC. Still, with a new Cap in place courtesy of his former WW2 side-kick Bucky and an epic plot involving fake presidential candidates, unborn babies and a schizoid Red Skull, Bru ensures that even though it’s now 25 issues since we last saw Steve Rogers we’re still glued to this must-have book.
Hack/Slash (Devil’s Due)
Hack/Slash is an independent comic starring Cassie Hack and her best friend Vlad. They’re slasher slayers (try saying that one after a few Brandy Balls) and each issue they hunt down serial killers who refuse to die while wearing skimpy clothing and looking all hot and shit (and that’s just Vlad we’re talking about). This year the ongoing series just got better and the characterisation, jokes and gross out moments are spot on every time. Add that to the fact that the recent Hack/Slash Annual featured former AU cover stars the Suicide Girls and you have a guilty, but great read.
After the events of last year’s World War Hulk, Marvel bosses decided to give the title a reboot, start it off with a new number one and enlist Heroes’ producer Jeph Loeb as writer and Ed McGuinness as penciller. It could’ve sucked harder than an over-zealous porn star, but thankfully, with the introduction of the rather mental Red Hulk (whose identity is still a mystery) it has turned into one of the most successful books of the year.
The Walking Dead (Image)
Robert Kirkman’s zombie epic continued to shock readers in 2008 and after the gruesome events of the recent issue 50 it’s hard not to see why. By focusing on the people rather than the dead, Kirkman’s book is as compelling as it was when it was first launched in 2003.
Secret Invasion (Marvel)
Secret Invasion was THE event in this summer’s comics calendar and the ride isn’t over yet in this eight part mini-series. The story revolves around the shape-shifting Skrulls who have infiltrated Earth and intend to take it over and the Marvel heroes’ struggles to find out who to trust. From the reveal of Spider-Woman being the Skrull Queen to Ms Marvel getting shot by a returning Nick Fury this series has had us hooked.
Action Comics (DC)
It hasn’t been a good year for DC fans, but Geoff Johns’ and Gary Franks’ Action Comics is the pick of the publisher’s roster. The long running Superman title made the headlines a few weeks ago after they killed off Clark Kent’s Pa and this was just one of the many jaw dropping moments from the must read book.
Blue Monday (Oni Press)
Blue Monday is an independent mini-series about the life and loves of high school student and Britpop loving Bleu L. Finnegan. The black and white, manga influenced comic is all about teenage kicks and is a great purchase for those who enjoy comics with as little spandex as possible.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Dark Horse)
When the mega-successful TV series ended with series seven, Buffy creator Joss Whedon decided that he would continue to tell stories about his characters on the printed page. Series Eight has been a huge success and hasn’t lost any of the invention and wit that fans loved originally and the sight of a skinless Warren is worth admission price alone.
Fantastic Four (Marvel)
When it was announced that the super-star team of former Ultimates writer Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch were to once again pool their talents for Marvel’s first family, I’m not ashamed to say I gave a little yelp of glee. After some first few issues that were rockier than the Thing’s under carriage, FF is now firing on full cylinders and shows no signs of slowing down.
The Boys (Dynamite)
Garth Ennis’ Marmite book about a black ops team who police super-heroes has been a great read this year. Pulling no punches, the title has already had hamsters living inside super-hero Blarney Cock’s nether regions, zombie teens, super-powered gay orgies and features more swear words than a night out with the Osbournes. Not for the faint hearted….