Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Comics of 2012 Hawkeye, Shade, Locke & Key, Saga and Flash Gordon get high marks

You know a medium is firmly niche when Marvel's top comic books sell 55,000-65,000 a month (not including event or "death" issues which cause temporary spikes but don't expand the readership). But at the same time, the creativity and originality remind you that comics can be a great vehicle for storytelling and makes you wonder why aren't more people loving this artform.

 Hawkeye (Marvel): If The Rockford Files was translated to a superhero comic, you’d get Hawkeye, the funny yet dramatic, chill but tense and flat-out best continuing book of the year.
It showcases the adventures of Clint Barton, the Avengers’ archer, not as he fights to save the world but rather as he fights to have some downtime (but, luckily for readers, cannot).

 Shade  (DC): Shade was a simple DC villain before writer James Robinson reinvented him and made him an integral part of his acclaimed Starman series in the 1990s. In 2011, Robinson returned to the character with a 12-issue mini-series drawn by various artists.
The mini-series was above-average -- but the best was a "Times Past" story set in 1944 and published in early 2012. What set it apart was the sensational art drawn by Darwyn Cooke, which -- paired with the issue’s strong script -- elevated it to “best” status.

 Locke & Key: Clockworks (IDW): Author Joe Hill and artist Garbriel Rodriquez don’t need a universe-spanning, Earth-threatening, pages-padding plot to tell an epic story. They do it all, and win awards for it, by having it mostly set in and around the Massachusetts estate of the Locke family.

 Flash Gordon: The Planet Mongo (Titan Books): If you want to see why and how Flash Gordon has remained one of the best sci-fi heroes, take a gander at this 203-page tome from Titan.
The publisher is aiming to release the complete Flash Gordon library and volume 1, released in the spring, took us from the very first Sunday strip on Jan. 1, 1934, to May 18, 1937.

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