This year's Q-bee winners include a King and a guy who wears a crown, a Wonder Woman and a Punisher, and, in keeping with the holiday spirit, a man in a red suit. Here are the creators and creations WMQ readers voted for as the best of 2017.
Best series: Jughead
The five nominees for Best Series of 2017 were a mix of light and dark, but in the end, the light shined through. Archie’s 16-issue “Jughead” solo series wrapped earlier this year having given us two distinct yet delightful creative runs, the first from writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Erica Henderson, the second from Ryan North and artist Derek Charm (Mark Waid and Ian Flynn co-wrote the last two issues with Charm on art).
Where the main “Archie” title is a mostly lighthearted teen soap and the “Riverdale” TV show is a dark-mirror version of that, “Jughead” existed to make us laugh, while still managing to sneak in valuable messages about dating and social-media etiquette. Writer North also brought over his lower-margin narration boxes from Marvel’s “Unbeatable Squirrel Girl,” providing additional humor bang for your $3.99.
A superhero struggling with depression amid interplanetary war. A multiversal mega-event tha…
Best writer: Tom King
Give Tom King a character – any character – and he will find a way for that character to break your heart. He did it with the Vision at Marvel, and he spent 2017 doing it systematically with a host of DC characters.
In “Batman Annual” #2, he traced the course of Batman and Catwoman’s courtship from Year One to their golden years in a sequence that rivals the beginning of Pixar’s “Up.” In “Mister Miracle,” he plunged Jack Kirby’s super escape artist into the depths of depression, the only trap he can’t seem to escape from. In “The War of Jokes and Riddles,” he made Kite Man – a character who is shorthand for Z-list Bat-villains – sympathetic. And in “Batman/Elmer Fudd,” what could have easily been a silly, throwaway one-shot, King made the speech-impaired, perpetually failing hunter a lover and a fighter to be reckoned with.
May King continue to break our hearts in 2018.
DC on Thursday sent out preview art of the second issue of "Mister Miracle," a 12-issue maxi…
Best artist: Mitch Gerads
Nothing about Gerads’ work on “Mister Miracle” is phoned in. The fact he’s doing all the pencils, inks and colors himself means he’s doing the work of three men.
Then there’s all the little touches. The rigorous use of the nine-panel grid, the occasional blurring of panels and use of what looks like Scotch tape in places, aimed at making readers question what they’re seeing and the reliability of the narration. The way Big Barda’s eye color keeps changing from blue to brown, and the way you’re forced to keep going back to previous issue to see how frequently that happens, and guess whether it’s plot-relevant.
“Mister Miracle” isn’t a disposable monthly rag. It demands to be reread, to be reinterpreted, to be re-understood month to month, and Gerads’ art does more than its share of the heavy lifting on that.
When you think about the characters who have been around since the earliest days of the Gold…
Best publisher: Marvel
Marvel’s strength lies in numbers. Every month, it dominates the industry in market share, at somewhere between 35 percent and 40 percent, according to statistics kept by Diamond Comic Distributors. This year, Marvel had the most pre-ordered book seven out of the first 11 months, according to Diamond, with top sellers including the first two issues of its “Secret Empire” event, two Spider-Man comics and its linewide “Legacy” primer.
But there are critical successes to be found as well. Its spring “ResurrXion” campaign reinvigorated the X-Men line. Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward’s “Black Bolt” was the best thing to come out of the Inhumans since the creation of Ms. Marvel. Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman’s “The Mighty Thor” continues to reach new creative peaks. And after a bummer summer in which Steve Rogers turned full-on supervillain, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee made Captain America great again.
Marvel goes into 2018 with a new editor in chief, some key issues on the horizon (Cap #700, anyone?) and, hopefully, the potential for an even better year.
In 1996, during a WCW pay-per-view, Hulk Hogan, arguably the most famous name in pro wrestli…
Best movie based on a comic: Logan
Hugh Jackman’s (allegedly) final movie as Wolverine isn’t a big, noisy superhero slugfest. Instead, it’s a western, a post-apocalyptic road trip and an examination of a long-lived life of violence that still manages to find hope amid unyielding bleakness. Whatever Marvel’s plans are for the filmic properties of 20th Century Fox, “Logan” shows what a mistake it would be to recast the character at this point. Putting Daphne Keen’s Laura in some yellow-and-blue togs, however …
Best TV show based on a comic: Legion
In a year with four DC shows on the CW, three Marvel shows on Netflix and two on ABC, and “Gotham” still being a thing, FX’s “Legion” is a lesson in the power of quality over quantity. “Fargo” showrunner Noah Hawley’s take on the multipowered son of Charles Xavier was a psychedelic, eight-episode trip with a unique vision, and featured great acting from Dan Stevens, Aubrey Plaza, Jean Smart and Jemaine Clement. Here’s to more mind-bending madness in Season 2.
There’s a moment, about two hours in to last year’s “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” w…
Best actor in a movie based on a comic: Gal Gadot
Three words: No Man’s Land. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman was already the best part of last year’s “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” This year, “Wonder Woman” become the best part of the relatively nascent DC movie universe that began with 2013’s “Man of Steel.” Gadot imbued the character with all the brightness and hope that had been missing in the previous DC films, while still managing to be more badass than Batman or Superman.
Best actor in a TV show based on a comic: Jon Bernthal
We first met Jon Bernthal’s Punisher in last year’s season of “Daredevil,” arguing with Matt Murdock about the right way to vigilante and killing loads of bad guys over the course of a hot New York summer. And while the Punisher didn’t get to play with the rest of the Netflix heroes on “Defenders,” his solo series this fall has given us a deeper look at Frank Castle the man, who he is, what he believes and what he kills for. And while a number of actors have played the Punisher over the years, from Dolph Lundgren to Ray Stevenson, Bernthal is the first to give us this level of depth while keeping him a violent force of nature.
Best comics podcast: Off Panel with David Harper
Whether he’s interviewing writers and artists about their creator-owned work, analyzing the state of the industry with fellow comics journalists or shooting the breeze about good books with his buddy Brandon, Alaska-based David Harper speaks with the same voice, that of someone who loves the medium and has the longboxes to back it up. For more, check out his Patreon page.
April in New Jersey is comic-con season, when a young geek’s thoughts turn to combing throug…
Best NJ Con: Camden Comic Con
It’s hard to argue with a free show, especially one that draws top talent. For four years, Camden Comic Con has operated an April show at the Rutgers Athletics and Fitness Center. This past year, the con, co-organized by Bill Haas and Miranda Powell, set an attendance record at 2,700. Past guests have included longtime “X-Men” writer Chris Claremont, “New Mutants” co-creator Bob McLeod and “KISS” writer Amy Chu.
Guests booked so far for next year’s show, April 14, include writer longtime Marvel writer Carl Potts, DC and Marvel artist Mark McKenna, Dorian Vallejo, artist and son of the iconic sci-fi/fantasy illustrator Boris Vallejo, and artist Christine Larsen. Powell also told WMQ the fifth annual show will have more programming and food trucks.
Most anticipated comics film of 2018: Avengers: Infinity War / Deadpool 2
What could be just as exciting as every hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe banding together to fight a cosmic threat that’s been building over the course of nearly 20 films? Ryan Reynolds in a red-leather suit making dirty jokes and stabbing people!