Thursday, January 01, 2009

Year in Review 2008 – Part 1- Writer of the Year

I have no set categories or exact science in how I will do this from year to year. What I did this year is review ever single week’s listing of books that I read. In going through everything, I just saw what shook itself free and decided from there.

Writer of the Year: Geoff Johns.

This was pretty easy after going through everything Johns has been on an incredible roll. Seminal runs on books are hard to come by, but I think Johns has crafted three such runs. First and foremost he has left an indelible stamp on Green Lantern and he still has a lot more coming on that book. The Green Lantern corner of the DCU is consistently one of the most entertaining and enjoyable books. In addition Johns’ ideas have allowed the GL Corps to be another series (especially under Tomasi’s pen) that I look forward to each and every month.

JSA is next and we have just heard that he is leaving that books shortly but has been the main force behind the first series and the latest series. He has certainly lain the ground work for so many characters that I think the book has a five year run with great stories that just come to mind from what Geoff has started. Geoff has brought the JSA back to the premier status that you would like to see from the first super team.

Next up is Superman and under Geoff’s hand and then with Gary Frank joining in Superman in Action comics has been one of my favorite books month after month after month. Action in 2008 has to be the best super hero series from DC. I have loved seeing the Legion return, see the supporting cast be given some life, see Supergirl saved from the convoluted beginnings she had and just see Superman elevated to a higher status.

Next year I’m looking forward to the Origin of Superman, Blackest Night, Flash Rebirth and the rest of the Legion of Three Worlds saga and hopefully more. Geoff respects and loves these characters as much as I do and yet is willing to modernize them and make them relevant for today’s time. If I have a goal for the blog it would be to one day get a chance to have a long conversation with Johns about how he views the DCU and what drives him.

Other writers that have had big years in my book are (in no particular order):

Robert Kirkman – Forget the controversy of his manifesto, look at how great Walking Dead and Invincible are again and I love Astounding Wolf-Man. Kirkman has some wonderful characters and they are now hitting on all cylinders with timing that should make 2009 an exciting year for these books.

Peter Tomasi – Stepped out of the editor’s chair and has brought Nightwing back to life, did a great job on the Black Adam mini-series and has made GL Corps a must read ever month. When I see Tomasi listed as the writer it is now a guarantee that I will be trying the book out.
Grant Morrison – Love him or hate him, he creates some terrific material. Of course you have to wait until it is done to rate it usually, but Batman and Final Crisis have been fascinating to try and decipher at times if nothing else. Also he gave us the best Superman series of all time and it wrapped up in 2008. All Star Superman maybe his best work ever and I love that series and will happily spend $100 for the absolute version. Plus in 2009 I hear we will see more of the Vertigo side of Grant Morrison. Grant is easily one of the ten best writers in comics, all time.

Jason Aaron – Not only does he have the best comic book on the market in Scalped, but the man has made me read and look forward to Ghost Rider, which I abandoned and never looked back on years ago. Jason also gave us a great Punisher Christmas special this year.

J. Michael Straczynski – I have absolutely fallen in love with Thor (although I have issues with the pacing at times) and The Twelve so far has been the best mini-series produced in 2008. It is a true masterpiece with characters that are alive and vibrant and as tortured as any characters lost in time would be.

Rick Remender – Fear Agent, Atom, Booster Gold, End League (not so much for me) and Gigantic. Rick’s stuff just is fun, crazed and so full of energy and often laced with humor and sarcasm that I find to my taste. I can’t wait to see his new Punisher series from Marvel.

Joe Kelly – Just for “I Kill Giants” and Four Eyes, two wonderful series from Image. I Kill Giants has to be the most heart felt and touching book I have read in ages and I can’t wait for the conclusion. Four Eyes was a wonderful first issue and just a very cool concept. Joe seems to be on a roll right now and I’m looking for his name in the credit lines.

And that does not even count others who have done some great work like Steve Niles, Gail Simone, Ben Templesmith, Warren Ellis, Chris Folino, Garth Ennis and I’m sure I will be upset that I forgot someone else. I think the writing in comics is at his absolute best and 2008 certainly is proof of that to me.

More of the Year in Review Later.

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