2012 Comic Book Round-Up - Part 1 - The Good

If you listened to this week's podcast then you've been waiting for this list to grace the site. It's a long list so sit down and get compfy. If you didn't listen to the podcast and for some reason hate reading then you can listen to the episode here. And now, congrats to all our winners!

Book(s) of the Year

Deadhorse #5 (215 Ink)

Deadhorse #5

This is probably one of the greatest single issues I've ever read. I still think of this issue months after reading it because it was so phenomenal. The dream sequence was unlike anything I've ever read in comics and while it had a Twin Peaks vibe to it, it managed to be something entirely new to the world of comics. I recommend reading the series as well, but this issue stood out the most to me from the entire year. It's the perfect balance between writing and art and that's why it has my pick for the best of the year. -Dustin

Spider-Men #4 (Marvel Comics)

Spider-Men #4

An issue full of strong character moments that harkened back to what made Ultimate Spider-Man so fantastic at the beginning of the series. This mini-crossover event had its ups and downs, but this issue stood out for the great dialogs. This issue was the best Bendis had to offer. -Kevin

Goon #39 (Dark Horse Comics)


Not only is The Goon deliver great story, laughs, and art on a monthly basis, the comic now serves as a historical chronicle of the comic book industry from 2000-2012. The satire, although pointed and harsh, succeeds in showing the faults and failings of the medium. Eric Powell writes and illustrates this book, and not one issue has scored lower than perfect in my reviews. -Carl

The Manhattan Projects #5 (Image Comics)

The Manhattan Projects #5 Cover

TMP #5 is one of those very rare examples of a comic which somehow manages to hit every single beat within the limited space of a single issue. It features character development, swift plot progression, surprise, action, moments of dark humour, a scattering of sci-fi concepts, and the promise of even greater enemies to come (as well as a Jonathan Hickman infographic too). Nick Pitarra's unique and highly detailed artwork brilliantly captures the emotional range of the characters involved and his designs for the various aliens manage to be grotesque, amusing and highly threatening all at once. It's the best individual issue of a monthly comic I've read this year. -Ed

Honorable Mention

Bedlam #1 (Image Comics)

Book of 2011 We're Still Talking About

Pinpoint #1 (Big Dog Ink)

Every time I read and an awesome action sequence I think of this book and maybe one day something will take its place and I'll stop talking about it, but until then you should try and buy it. -Dustin

Seeds (Com.x)

I always find myself thinking about that book, so many touching moments to relate to. It’s a modern day classic. -Kevin

Journey into Mystery (Marvel Comics)

Kieron Gillen has crafted an emotionally resonant and frequently humorous story out of the obscure magical corners of Marvel's universe, taking the broken villain Loki and reinventing him as a vulnerable anti-hero in his early teens. Journey has been beautifully illustrated by its various artists and the level of care and craft that's gone into every issue radiates from the page. Somehow it has managed to survive the curse of the 'event tie-in story' and emerged from 2011's Fear Itself and continued through two 2012 crossovers as one of the finest and most moving comics that Marvel has published in a long time. -Ed

Best Childhood Revival

Battle Beasts (IDW Publishing)

This property was handled with so much care and forethought that it really was a great mini-series that has the potential to do more. It reminded me a lot of the way the Turtles were handled last year and that's a good thing. -Dustin

Mars Attacks (IDW Publishing)

The trading card series came out before I was born, but for a revival title, the book provided a surprising amount of fun. -Carl

TMNT Color Classics (IDW Publishing)

I'd be lying if I said I was a fan of Eastman & Laird's original TMNT comics in the 1980s (I was barely alive when they first published) but I loved the 90s cartoon series and it's been nothing less than an absolute joy to read IDW's full color reprints of the gritty comics which started the franchise. -Ed

Best Mini-Series

Night of 1,000 Wolves (IDW Publishing)

Layout 1

I almost forgot about this series, but then after looking back on the year I remembered who fantastic this series was. Its story was crafted so perfectly and the art was equally wonderful. If you haven't checked out this series you’re only cheating yourself. -Dustin

Swerve (Arcana)

Swerve #1 Cover

A crime fiction hidden within the world of Wrestling set in the 70’s. You don’t need to know wrestling to appreciate this story, full of gun running and crime, but it’s quite enjoyable if you do. -Kevin

Baltimore: Dr. Leskovar’s Remedy (Dark Horse Comics)


I found the eerie tone, the unique art, and the original story engrossing. This was a great departure from the atypical horror tales. With the setting of post WWI Europe, the comic provided an alluring, new take on the vampire hunter motif. -Carl

Punk Rock Jesus (Vertigo Comics)

Punk Rock Jesus Cover

A daring indictment of religious extremism and the mass media's greed and celebrity obsessed culture, Sean Murphy's PRJ has consistently impressed me from the outset. Murphy's black and white artwork is as powerful and engaging as his story, putting most full color comics to shame by comparison. It's rare to see a story in any medium which succeeds at blending harrowing personal tragedies and big social themes as seamlessly as PRJ does. Trust me; you won't want to miss this when it's collected in trade. -Ed

Honorable Mentions

Godzilla: Half Century War (IDW Publishing), Ex Sanguine (Dark Horse Comics), Witch Doctor (Skybound Entertainment), Stumptown vol. 2 (Oni Press), The Victories (Dark Horse Comics)

Best Ongoing Series

Mind MGMT (Dark Horse Comics)

Mind MGMT #4 Cover

It took me a while to narrow this down, but after a lot of debate with myself I had to go with Mind MGMT. It’s a series that caught me by surprise. Not only is the writing and art fantastic, but the world and concept are rich and well thought out. I really can only think of a few other series that I look forward to reading each month as much as I do this one. The first story arc wrapped and left me dying for the next chapter of the story to begin. As long as Mind MGMT is being published, I'm there for it. - Dustin

Harbinger (Valiant Comics)


This book started off as just an honorable mention, but after a lot of thought there was no way I wasn't going to pull double duty and give this book ongoing of the year as well. If Valiant were to produce only one series it would be this one. Month after month it manages to improve and suprise, but at the same time being an incredible read. -Dustin

Crossed: Badlands (Avatar Press)

Crossed Badlands C-Day

I love this world and now that it comes out more often, I think I'm going to cry. -Kevin

X-O Manowar (Valiant Comics)

X-O Manowar #4 Cover

Despite a forced crossover with Ninjak that diluted the focus from Aric, X-O moves with a lightning pace, has an outstanding premise, and builds up to a huge climax. -Carl

Prophet (Image Comics)


I'm a sucker for high-concept science fiction and Brandon Graham's re-launch of Prophet delivers that in spades. Every issue is packed with action and adventure, set in the far reaches of time and space, and throws out more alien ideas and weirdness than anything else I've seen. It's like a fusion of Conan and a deep space safari, seemingly inspired by the early Heavy Metal comics. The art is always incredible and in order to keep to the monthly schedule Prophet is produced by a rotating group of artists with each working on a different character's perspective and storyline. It's a complex and ambitious comic and I can't get enough of it. Most of the backup comics have been brilliant too. - Ed

Honorable Mentions

Revival (Image Comics)

Best Original Graphic Novel

Friends with Boys (First Second) and Siegfried (Archaia Entertainment)

If you asked me to pick between these two books I would tell you I found it almost impossible to pick between the ten original graphic novels that I originally had. Friends with Boys is a book is a book that I will never forget reading and will revisit often because I loved the characters and the world so much. Siegfried is a book that is completely different, but equally as good. Its art is fantastic and haunts my imagination. It's also a book that I will revisit and enjoy for years to come. -Dustin

Superman - Earth One Vol. 2 (DC Comics)

This is Superman and JMS at their best. A stunning follow up that managed to capture all of the magic of the first volume and was everything the Batman book wasn't. -Kevin

Wild Children (Image Comics)

Initially it's about a group of rebellious teenager taking over their high school, Wild Children morphs into a mind bending meta-fiction exploring the nature of adulthood, perception, our sense of self and how stories can change our reality. Remarkably it's Ales Kot's debut comic, with Riley Rossmo providing experimentally structured artwork. It's the most intellectually demanding and ambitious comic I've read in 2012 and even those who think it fell short of its lofty intentions should applaud the effort. I certainly do. -Ed

Honorable Mentions

Sumo (First Second), August Moon (Top Shelf Productions)

Best One-Shot

Dracula World Order: The Beginning


This self-produced one-shot caught everyone by surprise. So much so that it went back to the printers for a second run. It was a fresh take on vampires with a strong mix of talented artists. -Dustin

Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation (Skybound Entertainment)


Great humor, excellent allusions to horror elements, and a plot unlike any other story made this one-shot a great comic. -Carl

Chew: Secret Agent Poyo (Image Comics)


Poyo works as a standalone but also ties directly into Chew and like the main series it's an anarchic and absurdly funny story, only now it stars a homicidal cyborg chicken. Rob Guillory's comedic art style sets the tone for Chew, elevating John Layman's script for Poyo to new heights of hilarity and handles the action scenes very effectively too. 100% pure fun guaranteed. -Ed

Honorable Mention

Brody's Ghost - The Midnight Train and Other Tales (Dark Horse Comics), House of Fun (Dark Horse Comics)

Best Mega Indie Book

Dead Man's Party (Double Cross Comics)


This book has it all, great writing and story with fantastic art. We all love the hit-man genre (and if you don't that's on your crappy childhood) and this book tackles the always interesting Hit-man vs Hit-man storyline in a new and interesting way. -Dustin

Gross Grandpa (Josh Filler)

Gross Grandpa #2 Cover

This book was a fun read. You can’t take yourself so seriously while reading it and it has a lot of wieners in it. -Kevin

Tommy (Creature Entertainment)

Tommy Cover a

Creature Entertainment's twisted tale of a wicked bunny made me laugh and feel uncomfortable at the same time. I loved every minute of it. -Carl

Best Collected Work or Trade

Manara Erotica Vol. 1 (Dark Horse Comics)

This was my first exposure to Milo Manara. Since then he's become one of my favorite illustrators ever. Erotica seems to have a bad name in the world, but if anyone read this then they wouldn't think so anymore. Dark Horse did a fantastic job of collecting Manara's work and releasing it for a new generation to enjoy, like myself. -Dustin

Rachel Rising: Volumes 1 and 2 (Abstract Studios)

I can be a little difficult to get a hold of the singles and sure there's always digital bit this is something you need to hold. -Kevin

Nexus: Omnibus Vol. 1 (Dark Horse Comics)

It’s a space sci-fi superhero comic, but it's also a lot more than that. Nexus is intricately layered with a complex web of intrigues, sub-plots and big philosophical ideas, accompanied throughout by moments of humor and pathos. Every character has their own personal flaws and network of relationships, while the plots offer no easy answers for our heroes or us as readers. It also happens to be a rip-roaring action spectacle with great artwork to boot. Omnibus 1 is just out and at almost 400 pages long deserves a place in everyone's collection. -Ed

Honorable Mention

Scott Pilgrim Colored Hardcover – Volumes 1 and 2 (Oni Press)

Best All Ages Title/Book

Northern Adventures Quarterly #1 (Frozen Light Comics)

A lot of series claim to be for all ages, but that usually just means it's written for children. True all ages means that there is something for everyone and that's exactly what this book was. It had action, mystery and interesting new characters that adults and children could be interested in. -Dustin

Archie (Archie Comics)

Archie--he's going on adventures with KISS, dudes are getting married to dudes. It shows kids that the world is going to be awesome when you grow up. -Kevin

Peanuts (Kaboom)

People who write the stories from this comic clearly respect Charles Schulz and the legacy of Charlie Brown. When I see a comic book that acts as a great entry point for a child to start loving comics, I am happy. Books like Peanuts mean that new generations of fans will be introduced to GREAT comic books. -Carl

Best Movie/TV/Video Game Adaptation

Husbands (Dark Horse Comics)


Based off the Web-series this comic doesn't exactly tie-in to the show, but makes great use of the characters as it throws them into different comic and story genres to teach them moral lessons. A great read with a huge talent pool of artists. -Dustin

Dragon Age: Minis (Dark Horse Comics)

Dragon Age Those Who Speak #1

Lose the video game shackles and this is still a top tier action adventure book. -Kevin

Best Digital Only Title

The October Girl (Monkey Brain Comics)


Not only did the covers blow me away, but the art inside was just as good. This book showed just how powerful a digital only title could be and I'm looking forward to more. -Dustin

You have fifteen pages to make me a believer in your story. Congratulations Matthew Dow Smith you did that is spades. -Kevin

The Highs - The Events and News Stories 2012 Will Be Remembered For

The Summer of Valiant

Valiant Comics returned this year and it was big. Not only did they do some amazing pre-launch work with their marketing, but they delivered big name creative talents on all of their titles. The results? A great re-launch of the company and five monthly titles that have all been rather outstanding and consistently good. It was a welcomed return for the company. -Dustin

Great stories don't need to be retold. Valiant didn't just spin out reissues of the stuff from the 90s. They re-launched with a series of NEW stories with old characters. And the result? Damn, do those Valiant books kick ass. -Carl

Marvel NOW!

This could have been massive event that could have changed everything. With the popularity explosion that the brand is on with Joe Public Marvel could have brought a million on-lookers into the comic world. Instead they took the movies and put them into the comics. -Kevin

An Entire Year of Consistently Brilliant New Series from Image Comics

I can't even count how many amazing new comics have been launched by Image this year, let alone fit them all into my monthly budget. They've certainly made their 20th anniversary year something to remember. -Ed

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out our Worst of 2012 List coming soon!