It was a tough task to make a list of the “BEST” comics for 2013 because inevitably some books have to get left off. Some really great books.
What does one do?
She makes another list.
Sometimes they were flubbed by crossover confusion. Sometimes Grant Morrison didn’t make any sense, again. Sometimes the writer got caught up in a sexual harassment scandal. But no matter what the obstacle, these titles still managed tear-jerking, character-defining, cuteness-overloaded, chaotically magic moments. Here are their honorable mentions.
I waited for this series for so long and with so much hope. Batman Incorporated, Volume 2 was most assuredly marred by the New 52 and shoe-horned into a world where it didn’t fit, but at least DC didn’t pull another Countdown. They let Morrison have the Batman finale that he originally intended. It was intense and weird, but filled with rich detail and Talia Al Ghul. Morrison really knows how to write that woman. Better even, he makes the Bat so utterly fucked up, yet so mortally-meta that it transcends the flat-line notion of a playboy with fancy toys. Morrison’s Bruce doesn’t have time for that. He is busy figuring everything out. I can relate, is what I’m saying. -V.
I haven’t felt this way about a character since I read Gail’s Birds, and if you know me, you know that’s saying a lot. Kelly Sue has created the Wonder Woman of this decade. Captain Marvel is beautifully bossy, super-powered, self-reliant and demonstrates the kind of honor and duty this military brat can’t help but respect. Crossover politics detracted a bit from the fluidity of this title, but it didn’t matter when DeConnick decided to bring the story to climax. Captain Marvel had me choked up and full of joy more times than I care to admit. -V.
JL8 is so totes adorbs and artist/writer Yale Stewart just “gets” it. By that I mean he writes these legacy characters – Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Power Girl and Martian Manhunter – in all the ways that DC seems to avoid like the plague AND in the voice of 8-year-old kids. It’s kind of perfect. This is the webcomic where Diana says, “Name me one good thing about being a princess! They’re weak. They always need to be saved. They’re like, prizes for the boy heroes to win.” Azzarello take note. -V.
When this reboot of a 90’s Liefeld character was announced, I was completely uninterested. Upon picking up the first issue, however, the stunning visuals by Ross Campbell and brilliant scripting by Joe Keatinge had me hooked. I was very sorry to see the series end, and now have a crushing lack of kick-ass, scarred-up broads in my pull list. -L.
Life With Archie
This is a fun, frothy soap opera that gives you double the story for your money: separate realities in which Archie is married to Betty or Veronica. It’s not just about them, though. The large cast of characters endures a host of tribulations like federal corruption charges (Veronica), cancer (Cheryl), financial disaster (Jughead), shootings (Kevin’s husband, Clay) and more. There’s still a core of wholesomeness and some good times, but stuff is nonetheless real in Riverdale. -E.
My attachment to Rachel Rising is almost romantic. When it shows up in my stash on Wednesday, my heart flutters. When I am reading it, it’s an intimate experience. And when that issue is over, I miss it until the next month. I don’t know what it says about me being in love with a horror-story, but I am. Also, Terry Moore’s talent for nuanced, authentic characterization, in art and story, is unsurpassed. -V.
Red Sonja makes me feel like less of a lush and more of a warrior. That makes for a fun reading experience. And you sure can tell when a creator loves the character that they are writing. It is so clear that Gail loves Sonja. When Gail loves her characters, she makes them endearing and lovable to us. In this case, spit and fire included. -V.
Filling in the blanks between the first Death Star going kablooey and Luke becoming a Tauntaun jockey on Hoth, Star Wars serves up an action-filled space epic that’s true to the original films yet fresh. It’s great to see several substantial female characters, including Princess Leia, who gets to shine as an ace pilot and a hands-on leader of the Rebellion. All your favorites are here, plus some intriguing new faces who mix things up. Even though we know how the story ends, this series is an exciting chapter. -E.