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Welcome to the answers to part B of the House of Flying Scalpels Annual Comic Awards! The fun stuff!

What has upset you most about comics / the industry this year? 

Cynical fandom and lack of inclusiveness 18%
Poor attempts at equality and diversity 9%
Crossover saturation 8%
Adaptation of comics to movies and television series 8%
Reboots and must read grandiose stories 8%
The price of comics and trade paperbacks  7%
Industry stagnation 4%
The continued use of particular creators 4%
Loss of a creator or a certain comics 3%
Cancelling of short running titles 2%
Unpleasantness of creators 2%

This question has brought so many issues to the forefront that I would never be able to do them justice with some quotes and a small paragraph. I have decided to dedicate a post on the major issues and these will be the top two grievances on the list. It turns out that what fans hate most about comics is other fans and their behaviours on social media. This couples into the major issues with diversity and equality of the mainstream comic market. As you can imagine there is a lot to explore here and I want to devote the time to do it justice. There were plenty of other issues at hand and I will leave you with some comments below.

How stagnant the industry has been in terms of promoting diversity of creators, as well as the inability of the comics community to promote existing titles beyond 12 issues. I mean, not everything should be new and different all the time.

That there’s nothing original, stories at Marvel and DC are being recycled. That and too many writers are jumping ship to do creator owned books with Image, causing a bit of over saturation. 

I cannot abide Marvel’s habit of launching a book with a big-name creator, then having the creator bugger off after one storyline and leaving the book struggling to justify its existence beyond leeching money out of the completionists – example, Amazing X-Men. I really wish that Marvel would slow down, stop bouncing directly from one event book to another, and allow their titles to develop a proper run rather than having to drops story lines every few months.

Given my long history with the DC universe, what upsets me the most is my absolute lack of interest in anything from the New 52. I’m not suggesting that the comics are badly written/ drawn, I just can’t conjure up any enthusiasm to try any of them.

The over-reliance on multiverses as a story hook. Can we please find something different and not so ‘OMG CATACLYSMIC’. Having the stakes as high as possible every damn time gets dull. 

I’m very disappointed with marvel this idea of trying to give every book a new number #1 all the time and in general both marvel and dc seem too interested in release variant covers than give us good stories, I’m a bit tired of these changes all the time.

Marvel’s treatment of those franchises that they do not own the movie rights to. Inhumans are not the X-Men no matter how hard you try and the Fantastic Four deserve more respect than they have been given.

Sad to see so many Marvel superheroine titles getting the axe as the company just doesn’t know how to properly price these books. $4 is steep for any teen/young adult budget.

Crossovers/events! Sure, some of them are good, but for the most part they seem unnecessary and could be just another arc in an established title. Tie-In issues aren’t as bad, you don’t have to buy them, but when a title you’re reading has its story spill out in to other books that you have to read to properly follow things, well that really grinds my gears. I think I could handle one big event a year, but I’ve four on the go at the minute, which has effectively added another 10 titles to my pull list. I cancelled one title because the solicitations for the first post-event issue stated ‘The dust hasn’t settled but the next big event starts here’. 

DC seems to actively hate not only their established fanbase but also the prospect of new readers. It’s true in the books they publish and true in the movies they’re putting out. The higher-ups (Johns, DiDio, Lee) should look at what’s working with Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg on Arrow and Flash, and fold that into their cinematic universe, and even their comic books. Not every book/movie/television series needs to be dark. That’s the only paintbrush DC has right now, and it’s turning off old readers/viewers and new ones. A lot of us grew up on lighter fare, that’s what hooked us in the first place.

Well it’s the continued synergy between films and comics. Through the publishers point of view, it’s a way to get new readers once they’ve seen the film and bought the t-shirt and action figures, also to get the rights back from 20th Century Fox. Though I see things differently as these kind of creative decisions are hurtful not only to the creators who have written books like Avengers, X-Men and many other books for many years but to long term fans like myself. You expect me to believe Scarlet Witch isn’t a mutant anymore?

The ‘movieazation’ of characters in the comics. I thought the movie universe was supposed to be ‘separate’ from the comic universe? That should work both ways shouldn’t it? I get that ‘they’ want potential new readers to recognize the characters from the movies in the comics, but at least have a story arc to legitimately explain the changes for us long-time fans. 

The heavy-handed liberties taken with character histories: For example BMB ‘updating’ the X-Men’s history for this current story arc, shoe-horning Angela into the Asgard mythos, etc.

When Marvel started rolling out the new NOW trade paperbacks they really priced me out of the market. While previously big titles like Avengers could creep up to £18 a volume, the NOW re-launch made even the thinnest trades start at £15. The only books I’ve found for under this price in the past few months have been Magneto and Nightcrawler. With Image publishing first volumes at £7.50 and £11 a book thereafter there’s really been no choice for who got most of my money in 2014.

Instead of complaining I would like to sing praise to Scott Snyder. Mr. Snyder went to DC and pleaded to have “Batman” price lowered after a brief hike up. His efforts not only worked but they brought me back to reading Batman and other DC titles. I would like to see more creators using their clout. Well done Mr. Snyder.

DC

Which is your favourite Batman book (including Bat family) and why?

gotham-academy_612x929-600x910 B0aPSTlIAAAIglv-jpg-large-3e7c11. Batman & Robin             18%                                      = Gotham Academy           18%

3. Detective Comics                         12%

4. Batman Eternal (10%) 5. Grayson (6%) 6. Batgirl (5%) =6. Batman/Superman (5%) 8. Batwoman (4%) 9. Batman ’66 (3%) =9. Catwoman (3%)

Lack of response – 20%

There was a very specific reason why I asked this question. That was because Batman is not my favourite Bat book and I find it a little tiresome and repetitive. The heart of Batman lies in Batman and Robin and that is not just because that is where Bruce mourned the loss of Damian and reconnected with his family. I find that there is a blanket support for Batman and some people forget how many other good bat books there actually are. The poll reflects that and there genuinely is something for everyone within the line. You will notice how many people actually put Batman first before making a comment and I specifically tallied that. 32% of you guys mentioned it and about 9% only gave that answer highlighting its popularity. I do hope some of you may go and give another book a try but ultimately it is about what you want to see in your Batman, because every aspect is covered somewhere in this diverse set of books. Check out your comments:

I can’t believe that Batman and Robin doesn’t get the praise it deserves. It’s such a consistently great book, thanks to both Tomasi’s excellent writing and Gleason & Gray’s superb artwork. Hopefully the Robin Rises strolling has brought more people in.

Batman and Robin, because its carrying on the leftfield attitude of Morrison despite his departure from Incorporated etc. 

First choice – Batman by Snyder/Capullo. Second choice would be Batman and Robin, only thing that lets the book down is that the endings of the stories are sometimes a let down so the journey is often better than the final destination

The Batman line of books have been great for years now, but this is the year where it exploded into something different under Mark Doyle. There are books about so much beyond just Batman, you have a book about a boarding school, about being a grad student superhero, about being a spy, about an insane asylum, and there’s even a very well done weekly book.

It’s tough to pick between so many great books. I love the journey that Bruce has been on in Batman & Robin. I’m a huge fan of spy stories so I love Grayson. The new direction in Catwoman may just make it the most improved comic of the year. Then Batman Eternal is a great example of how a weekly series is done. I just wish we they didn’t show us a post Eternal world already in a few books. As I talk myself through the choices I think I will go with the work that Tomasi & Gleason have done on Batman & Robin 

My number one would be Batman, although aspects of Zero Year weren’t as strong as expected. My second choice at the minute is Detective Comics since the new creative team came on board, the book has had new life breathed into it and we have seen Batman actually utilising his detective skills.

Gotham Academy embraces all the mystery and fantasy of a YA novel and yet comes across with maturity and understanding. It is a style of book that the big two need more of to bring in new audiences and thrill long time readers.

Before Zero Year I would have said Batman, but I was really let down by that. I get that Snyder was trying to update and modernize the origin, but Year One is the only Origin I will ever recognize. Part One of ZY was good if you want an updated origin. The 2nd part with the Riddler was an amazing Riddler story, BUT NO MAJOR VILLAIN BELONGS IN BATMAN’s origin story or even a true “superhero” story.

I miss Batman the detective, the solver of normal big city crimes, which is why Detective Comics was my favourite Bat book of 2014. It was gritty and dark and Batman solved believable crimes. Snyder does Batman the superhero extremely well and he does Batman horror/Joker well as we have seen in Death of the Family and so far in Endgame, but we do not see Batman the detective or Batman the defender of Gotham in his books. I may be in the minority, but I love small scale Batman stories where he is a detective and creature of the night solving more realistic crimes and handing out justice to thugs and murderers, than I do the superhero who battles super villains and is part of the Justice League. I love Snyder’s Batman, but it wasn’t working for me as the only Batman book because it only shows one half of the character.

Detective Comics. Especially since Buccellato/Manapaul came on board. It’s simple, interesting, beautifully drawn Batman stories, rather than the “this will change everything about the character forever” stuff.

Batman by Snyder & Capullo for sure but I’d say Catwoman was the big shock of the year in the Bat family. Valentine and Brown are doing something so cool with Selina Kyle. I think next year, that’s going to end up being my favorite Bat-family book.

I find all the Bat-books quite tiresome. They are usually self important, over-written and visually bland. Saying that, Batman and Robin has been the most consistently entertaining. However even that title has become bogged down in obvious company mandates.

Grayson! Glad I listened to you on this one and let it be noted that I’ve always liked Dick (insert obvious joke here), but I really like secret agent Dick (and again). 

Who is your favourite member of Wonder Woman’s newfound family?

 

Strife1. Strife             12%                                                                                                 = Orion             12%

3. Hades                   9%

= Hera (9%) = Hermes (9%) = Superman (9%)

Lack of response – 66%

Azzarello and Chiang’s Wonder Woman was a very impressive family book, from the perspective of a complete redesign and a glorious supporting cast. I say supporting but for the most they were the focus of the book as Diana was set aside for many issues at a time. However they were incredible entertaining and had the most audacious style. I enjoy how diverse the answers were and given that Orion isn’t a family member, I am giving the prize to Strife! I was quite surprised how 66% of the readers did not vote because they didn’t read the book. I am not one for checking comic sales but I do think this run should be checked out because it is so enjoyable to read.

Milan, since I adore and miss Wesley Willis and it was fun to essentially have him in the DC Universe.

I loved that lil’ Hades dude struttin’ around with the candles on his head! I mean, how trippy was that!? Plus he had a good side…I think…or is he tricking me?

Superman. I know that’s not what you mean, but I’m sticking with it. I was very sceptical about the Superman/Wonder Woman pairing, and even more sceptical about their receiving an ongoing series. I think Charles Soule really stepped up and set the tone for their relationship that the current crop of Superman writers have followed. A relationship between two of the most powerful people in their world should be interesting in a way that Lois & Clark aren’t, and that’s exactly what has been played up.

Assuming you mean the Olympian Gods from Azzarello & Chiang, I’d say Demeter. She doesn’t do much, but her redesign is sick as hell. 

Hephaestus. He’s the grumpy yet caring older brother that every superhero/deity needs.

Hades is certainly a top contender. He has such a beautiful and unsuspecting character design; his dry humour is a plus too!

Brian Azzarello, starring as Ares.

Are you convinced by Lex Luthor as a leader of the Justice League?

 

JUSTICELEAGUE_30-LUTHOR-495x300Yes              71%             No              29%  

 

Lack of response – 68%

So the real question here is whether Geoff John’s is writing Lex Luthor as a convincing leader. Many people are enjoying this story, and once again I am surprised at the high negative response rate, showing just how Justice League has fallen. There are clearly some John’s loyalists out there who are enjoying the run but also a fair few who are only in it to see him turn on the League. Sinestro was the most incredible character because of Geoff Johns and his friendship with Hal will remain my personal highlight of the whole Green Lantern run. I remain unconvinced by Lex as a character, a leader and as a villain because I do not think he is being utilised as well as he could be. It is pretty straightforward writing and even the positive comments often note that they are just waiting for times to change. Ideally you want Lex to maintain a subterfuge for as long as possible from the League but most importantly for the reader. That concept would change the results quite significantly.

As a concept it sounded terrible, but the post-Forever Evil issues did a great job of justifying the decision, and my hope is that Luthor sticks around for some time now. He has great chemistry with the various team members. Luthor isn’t a Norman Osborn, being an incredibly powerful psychotic shitbag. His influence and effects are far subtler, and I’m looking forward to seeing them play out. 

LOVE. First time we’ve seen Lex grow as a character since Smallville. He has been one dimensional for a long, long time.  

Justice League has become more interesting since the end of Forever Evil, undoubtedly. However, Luthor is only ever going to be a temporary measure heading up the title team. The writing of recent has been solid but it is still difficult to fully invest in.

Seems a bit of a vanity move i.e. Johns wants Luthor in the team with out really having any long term plan or even any point to it really it seems.

Luthor is not the leader of the Justice League. He is a necessary evil, as he should be written. Headlines and pull quotes can be used to sell and idea, but Johns’ reality is much more layered and interesting. Luthor’s role has more weight now compared to the old-style foil he uses to play to Superman.

Nope, not a chance. I am huge Geoff Johns fan but I don’t think anyone could make me believe Lex Luthor’s had a change of heart. I’ll always believe he’s an ulterior motive.

Let me quote Superman from Justice League Unlimited: “Oh, come on! It’s Lex Flippin’ Luthor!”

Geoff Johns can do no wrong in my eyes and he’s been writing a great Lex at the head of the JL. Watching the sparks fly between Batman’s paranoia and Luthor’s bloated ego has been a delight.

Okay my biggest problem with Lex is not that he’s acting out of character. I think he is and I think Johns is doing a good job overall. My biggest problem is that he comes off more like an antagonist to Batman rather than Superman. Superman already lacks in the villains department so I’m not thrilled with taking away Lex. But I do think that there’s something else here and that we’ll see Lex rise as a hero but then take a huge fall again as a villain. Right now, I think he’s trying very hard to be a hero and Johns is conveying that well 

Well considering he was responsible for unleashing a deadly virus on Metropolis that was meant as a protection against the League, I don’t think he will be a part of the team much longer. The fact that you’re even asking this question is a testament to the work that Geoff Johns is doing. Lex, under the pen of Johns, is one of the great pieces of character work at the Big 2 this year, and has revitalized DC’s flagship title. When Luthor is at his best he is a complicated character who isn’t full blown evil, and the way Johns is forcing the reader to question what they know about Lex shows why he has been one of the best writers in the industry for the past decade.

I’m convinced that in his head Lex Luthor has always been a hero, I’m waiting for the inevitable and awesome turn to come in the story.

Hmmm. I’m thinking about this at 11:30 at night after a way long day, I am kind of convinced by Lex! I’m actually a little annoyed at Batman and Superman’s mistrust of him; he seems earnest and heroic (if not a little flawed). But I guess I can be a bad judge of character sometimes…I’ve got the 7 past relationships to prove it. 

Johns’ writing on the book has been substandard at best, but he has managed to deliver an interesting Lex Luthor, but he hasn’t given the character time to really shine as a leader.

What are your thoughts on the rejuvenation of DC?

For the change                37%

For the change but….     38%

Against the change         20%

Lack of response – 39%

I very much regret not asking what ages the commentators were throughout. It would give an interesting demographic to gauge the responses. As you can see there are a huge amount of people who are behind the idea but there are some caveats to their support. Those responders group into two sections, those who appreciate the book but it just is not for them and those that find the execution of the ideas flailing. There is little doubt the change in direction is necessary and potentially a little late but it is how well they are received which will be the true judge. I for one welcome the change but with any new type of comic, there will be teething problems and the creators have to get through that, and hopefully with the support of their editors.

Great stuff. I’m not the target audience for Gotham Academy, but that first issue was a great read. The same for Batgirl, and I really appreciate the creators coming forward and apologising for their recent controversy (which I feel was only a minor misstep).

Although I like the fresh start of Batgirl, the last issue with the transgender villain was really off-putting. It seemed off and insensitive. Gotham Academy is fun but it does smack of being over-calculated to target a particular segment of the tween market, but it’s kind of working. Publishers often try to rejuvenate themselves, and it usually results in little more than a shuffle of the creative teams and a bit of re-numbering. The fact that DC have brought in new talent and gone in a new direction deserves to be commended. 

I feel like DC has de-aged and I have no interest in these books with heroes twenty years younger than they were and without their history. #oldman.  

Haven’t warmed to either of the series yet, Batgirl is trying way too hard to be cool and Gotham Academy I just don’t care for the characters at all. They’re trying to recreate Young Avengers/Ms Marvel but they’ve gone the wrong side of hipster.

Not sure I see this as a real rejuvenation, more of an “oh shit, Marvel’s doing this so we should too, right?” That being said, I absolutely love the 2 books you mentioned, it just it feels more like DC playing catch up than something original.

I think it’s very good for the industry. Creates more for people who might not normally be interested in comics to read. 

I don’t know if I’d call it rejuvenation, as there are plenty of people that do not like the new Batgirl. Also, I don’t know if I’d say it was DC as a whole, as this “new vibe” is primarily the Bat-books under new editor Mark Doyle. What I do see is an editor in Mark Doyle that has a strong vision for what he wants the Batman line of comics to be, and he has made sure that the talent he brings fits that vision. He claims that he wants a Batman book for every comic book fan, and it seems as if that will happen.

I think it should be embraced, because these creators are honestly trying to rejuvenate an overwrought DC universe. Whether they are successfully accomplishing it or not is another story altogether…

I think it is good that DC want to attract new readers, Batgirl #35 wasn’t for me but I can see why it appeals to people. I just wish DC weren’t so reliant on the Bat-family to push their ideas, as there are plenty of characters deserving of some limelight. 

I’m all for fresh outlooks and creative books. I usually like these types of outside-the-box ideas whether it is comics or TV shows. Unfortunately they always end/get cancelled prematurely.

I think it’s absolutely fantastic. I’m personally of fan of both of those titles and I feel that these books wouldn’t have been given the go ahead were Mark Doyle not the editor of the Bat books. It’s nice to see some fun being brought back to the Bat-side of DC. The best thing of all though is that it will hopefully bring plenty of new young readers to comics, which is the most important thing of all.

Honestly, These books should have been in place at the start of the New52. It’s a shame that it took DC this long to wise up and give some younger blood a swing at some of their bigger titles. 

It’s definitely needed. DC has taken some very odd steps. The New 52 can’t decide if it’s keeping the old continuity or rebooting, and a lot of the stories seem confused, or like weird 90’s throwbacks. I’m glad they’re taking some steps in a different direction. 

Excellent choices, they are wonderful, fresh and exciting. I feel anyone could appreciate these books, and with me being a 2nd year uni student, Batgirl is proving increasingly relevant to me. I appreciate them taking risks, even if they’re not always right.

I think that for every good thing on Batgirl, a questionable moment seems to occur with either the art or the writing. I think that I’m not sure how long the initial goodwill and principles can possibly ride out the very relevant gaffs they’ve made, and that good apologies require good actions amidst a significantly diminished public trust.

It’s a good idea, a good direction, but the execution has been uneven. Gotham Academy is strong and beautiful and everything I ever wanted. Batgirl has been more of a disappointment. I love the aesthetics, but the characterization is weak and in the most recent issue it was downright ugly (I do applaud the team for their apology). Now, just because I have no intention to keep up with that book doesn’t mean I don’t want it to succeed.

It’s a mixed bag. I LOVE the art on both Batgirl and Gotham Academy, but Batgirl has had some odd, problematic storylines. When it avoids getting into those points, it’s a fun book. Gotham Academy is a fun book as well but I decided to drop it after 2 issues though. I think they’re going in the right direction though by trying to broaden the appeal of these books.

I love that DC is trying new things…BUT it’s such a shame that the new Batgirl team made many lofty statements before producing, in my opinion, a routinely problematic book, from the increasingly sexualized figures, transphobic elements and oddly off tone. We are three issues in and already we have had two explanations/ rationalisations/ apologies for content. Gotham Academy and Gotham by Midnight, on the other hand, have me very interested.

Rejuvenation? More like an experiment that’s going to fizzle out

I think Batgirl has been insulting and appalling. It’s the best example of tone-deaf writing with best intentions gone wrong. The writing for Gotham academy is solid but the art is what makes that book one I still pick up.

Batgirl is a better concept than a book, and Gotham Academy is a wonderful gem that needs more sales. It’s not rejuvenation though; these are fringe books, except for Batgirl, so they won’t make a dent in the core line.

Marvel

What is the best Marvel Now solo title?

Moonsketch-copy21. Moon Knight             18%

2. Magneto                                17%

3. Silver Surfer                           10%

4. Loki (7%) = Rocket Raccoon (7%) = Ms Marvel (7%) 7. Iron Fist (5%) = Black Widow (5%) = She-Hulk (5%)

Lack of response – 11%

Marvel is in an interesting state of flux at the moment with some disappointing crossovers and some hit and miss ideas with the X-Men and Avengers. Hickman’s work is pretty popular but is not easy to keep up with, you only need to read my summary posts to appreciate that but Remender and Bendis are more of a mixed bag. However some of the new solo books have been getting excellent reports and combined with the joyousness of Thor and Daredevil, they seem to be the highlights of the year. If you look at the top three answers then it is clear that the quality is shining through these ventures. Not only that but the creators of these books have been allowed to tell the story they wish, whether it is the Dr Who homage of Surfer or the inner turmoil of Magento. These aren’t necessarily the grand world changing stories to sell big books but they are compelling nonetheless and wonderfully drawn. Let’s see what you had to say. There was a fantastic response rate too with only 11% of responders unable to answer.

Black Widow has been so amazing. The art is perfect, the story telling compelling. It hasn’t missed a beat.

I’d give this to Loki for sure. A fun read with consistent art and tone. It’s nice to have an oasis of a fun book like Loki out there to break up the general gloom and doom. 

Who would have thought a Moon Knight book could be this good? Its proof you can take any character and put it in the right hands to create something really special. It stood out by ignoring trends and doing its own thing, no big sweeping storyline, no needless side characters etc.

The Doctor Who fan in Slott is coming out, and he is able to fit a lot of the themes and adventures you find in Doctor Who into Silver Surfer. These crazy adventures are wonderfully illustrated by Allred. The final product is one of the most pure fun books currently being released.

What Bunn is doing on Magneto needs to be praised. It takes the very core concept of the X-Men titles, and the most complicated character in the X-mythos (and possibly comics) and makes serious, morally debatable comic that doesn’t hold back.

Ms. Marvel owns this category. The rejuvenation of the teen-hero problems and plights takes older readers down memory lane while giving younger readers a relatable character to dive into reading. 

It’s Ms Marvel. Hands down. Honourable mentions to Silver Surfer for being so fun and different from the stoic Surfer stores, Moon Knight for creating a perfect 6 issue run, Rocket Raccoon for being hilarious and Winter Soldier for being utterly, jaw droppingly gorgeous. 

Cyclops. I never thought I’d love a book about a teenage Scott Summers as much as I do.

Elektra is vastly under-rated! Such a beautiful book, too bad not enough people read it

Iron Fist! I like Kaare Andrews ‘Daredevil Man Without Fear’ approach to this series, and I always dig classic Kung Fu learn to overcome stories.

Rocket Raccoon. It’s a solid standalone title that is easy to read without massive amounts of continuity and it’s just plain fun.

Even though, in an earlier question, I had mentioned of Magneto’s return to (fickle) villainy, and I was sad at such a prospect. Especially as I was enjoying him so much becoming a well established hero within the X-Men teams. However, Cullen Bunn, has done an exquisite job of layering dark themes and bloody murder into Marvel Comics.

I really enjoyed the first five issues of Cyclops, I wanted a DOOP book, but I was lost with this one because I felt I needed to have read Battle of the Atom to understand. Silver Surfer, Star-Lord, The Punisher and Iron Fist were not for me So I guess that leaves Moon Knight, but I left that when Ellis and Shalvey left too. Longest way to say I don’t have a best Marvel Now solo title.

Who is your favourite spidey character in the Spider-verse so far?

Spider-Gwen-1-Cover-Robbi-Rodriguez-720x11121. Spider-Gwen             40%

2. Spider-Ock                            23%

3. Spider-Ham                           10%

Lack of response – 37%

I painted the Spider-Verse with the same brush I paint all crossovers these days, disdain. However I was delightfully incorrect as I am quite liking the crossover and am enjoying see the time devoted to new characters. I have always had little interest in Spider-Man and so my investment in seeing some of these alternate Spiders is quite small, but I can appreciate Spider-Ock and Gwen’s reappearances. With the schoolchild squee pervading through Twitter, I thought it would be quite pertinent to ask who everyone’s favourite was. I was quite surprised at how few people chose Miles but I guess he pales in comparison to the might Octopus and the lovely Miss Stacey. As a side note I do find it amusing how a Simpsons movie can have such an impact on a Spider-Man comic book!

Spider-Gwen – she has a wonderful fresh but old school vibe about her. Gwen has always been a favourite of mine but putting her in Pete’s position has been a lot of fun in a short space of time. The design of the character is probably one of my favourite character designs ever.

The obvious answer is Spider-Gwen. She has just exploded onto the comic book scene, and rightfully so. She is a beautifully designed character that captured the public’s thirst for more awesome female characters. She’s great and all, but I love Lady Spider. Another badass female character, but she’s from an awesome Steampunk reality. Her story in the issue of Spider-Verse with the steampunk villains was a highlight of the tie-ins for me.

Spider-Ham – Every time I see him on the page I’m signing Homer’s Spider Pig song from the Simpsons’ Movie in my head.

My favourite Spidey incarnation is the 60’s animated one he’s so been faithfully done, it brings back memories of watching the animated series on video, though I’m still in shock Dan Slott killed off Spider-Man and his amazing friends!

No question its Peter Porker the Amazing Spider-Ham. I was excited to see him in the previews and since then he has kept me laughing whenever he is on page. The jokes they make at him being a cartoon but the way he can back up what he says is fantastic and he is proving to be a powerful character within the spiderverse and much more than just a Star comics throwaway.

All of them, haha! If I had to pick one, it has to be Otto/Superior Spider-Man! Hopefully Spider-Verse gives us an out for Otto to continue as one of many Spider-Men! (Miles is a close 2nd!)

Superior Spider-Man, he got me interested in Spider-Man for the first time in years and that book was my favourite Spidey story.

Excluding Avengers/New Avengers – which has been your favourite Avengers title?

 

Uncanny_Avengers_Vol_1_5_Textless1. Uncanny Avengers             36%

2. Secret Avengers                                 25%

3. Undercover Avengers                         17%

4. Mighty Avengers (12%) 5. Avengers Wordl (10%)

Lack of response – 41%

The word Avengers is everywhere, and I didn’t think that was what Hickman meant when Rogers said, “We need to get bigger”! However some of the books have been really rather good and I was interested to know how many people read them outside of Hickman’s work and what they liked. There were 38% of pollsters that weren’t reading any other Avengers book which is quite a shame. Say what you will about Remender’s commercial books, he still has a number of devoted fans as Uncanny Avengers wins overall. However there has to been a large amount of credit given to Secret and the youth Undercover book which have all been quite impressive as B/C Avengers titles. They have a lovely degree of character individuality which the main Avenger books seem to overlook.

Secret AvengersAles and Michael and Matt have been doing some crazy shit and it’s been rewarding and funny. Spider-Woman made friends with a bomb and Hawkeye was amazing.

Avengers World has been a lot of fun and the fact that it has been focusing on a lot of the new Avengers introduced in Hickman’s run has made it perfect to read in conjunction with the two core titles. With that said, it would be my fourth favourite Avengers title.

I have to go with Uncanny Avengers as my favourite non Hickman Avengers book. Remender wrapped up a story two years in the making (even longer if you go back to Uncanny X-Force), and every single issue felt like it could have been the core title of a Marvel Universe wide crossover. It felt like Remender had his own little corner to play in and he made the absolute most of it.

Mighty Avengers, at least before the relaunch, it was just pure action and fun but Secret Avengers is just so out there and over the top I love it.

Avengers Undercover – A concept that could not have been more perfect for me. It was hurt by having to rush to its conclusion, but fantastic.

Secret Avengers is hilarious. While some characterizations can be over the top, the dynamic between Maria Hill and M.O.D.O.K. is heart breaking and hilarious. I cannot get enough of it.

I quite enjoy most of them with the exception of Secret and Undercover. I don’t dislike them, I just don’t read them. I’d say the one that I enjoy the most outside of Avengers and New Avengers would be Uncanny. I really liked it from the start and it seemed to get better and better when the Apocalypse twins came in killing Celestials and whatnot.

Mighty Avengers, for sure. Though the art has been a little of, with Greg Land being on it. What I love the most is the diversity of characters, in nationality, personality and powers/skills. And the concept of taking the ‘Heroes for Hire’ theme and have it become a charitable organisation. Sadly that series ran short in November with the release of Captain America and the Might Avengers, though I do look forward to seeing what that book brings.

Okay fine…Ill ask a question about Wolverine. Was his death befitting his legacy?

ZvmRqG2No             59%   Yes               19%   Just don’t care         28%

Lack of response – 46%

Sadly Wolverine has been overused and misinterpreted over the last couple of years that people seemed to have stopped caring. Cornell had an interesting take on his loss of healing factor but it petered out somewhat, even though he gave a personal ending prior to Soule taking over. I honestly could not believe the final four issues that led to his death because they were very weak and this saddened me. This was a beloved character of mine that was so abused to the point where I did not care about him dying, let alone how it was portrayed. And even now in his wake, we are seeing nothing but books featuring his name and an abuse of his legacy. Hence my rationale for the question. Despite the demise of Logan readership, there were still 54% of people that managed to answer on this topic.

It wasn’t, unfortunately. I didn’t like the lead-up to his death, and the execution of it was bizarrely underwhelming for everything that it had all rights to be. I think I was spoiled by Aaron sending him to hell and what happened not long after bringing him back. Wolviiiiieeeeeee *sobs* 

I don’t think the actual death itself, despite being wonderfully done by Soule & McNiven, was befitting of the character. It just seemed so random, but then I realized it may have been the end of Wolverine (for now), but it was the start of a bigger story. I believe this story, and the aftermath of his death being explored by those friends & enemies closest to him will be befitting of his legacy.

Not really, but I’ve been sick of Wolverine for the past 10 years, so a brief respite is more than welcomed.

Nope, just a cynical marketing move in my opinion. Didn’t check it out either. Wasn’t bothered in the slightest.

No way. To be taken out like that was more like a whimper than a bang. I would have liked to see him go toe-to-toe with one of his legendary foes not be a Han Solo rip-off. A blaze of glory or nothing else! 

What a pathetic cop out! A complete crock of bull shit that boils down to movie rights. If you’re gonna “kill” off such an iconic character the least you can do is give him a warriors death. (You’ll notice this has been HEAVILY edited)

I think so, painful and heartfelt.  

I thought it was a dud, I can’t quite explain it but there was something missing, there was no emotional hook for me at all.

Eh. I wasn’t that bothered by it, it was alright, I liked that he gave his life effectively stopping others from going through what he had, but I think I expected a more explosive death.

His death screamed temporary, his legacy demands permanence.

Ultimately this was a mercy killing. Let the character rest for a while 

After all the years of build-up, how could they not have Sabretooth be the one who finally ends him? Marvel get’s a big F for ‘fail’ on this one. 

Well that is….a bit of a crap demise

The event was cheap and gimmicky, but the execution of the way he died I thought was perfect though. Very well done, and befitting of the character. Now keep his ass dead and stop with the never-ending parade of tie-ins.

No. Wolverine was my favourite X-Men growing up and I feel like he kind of just petered out. The fact that they then turned the death into seemingly 13 different books made it even worse.

It was unexpected. He went out saving people on a small scale. No one will ever really talk about it. It’s quiet and understated. I thought the mini was very good but haven’t read any of the other fallout.

I think it was fine. It was a storyline destined to be unable to please many no matter what. I enjoyed the story though.

Don’t believe his death, so no. Cornell’s series started off really well but I felt it ended by him being told what to do by Marvel, i.e. 3 Months To Die – so just didn’t feel convincing. 

It was fucking horrendous. It had very little to do with Cornell’s lead-up to the Death (although considering how bad those comics were, that probably wasn’t a bad thing). The scheduling was terrible, resulting in Wolverine still being alive in at least one book (Amazing X-Men) after he died in the delayed final issue. It’ll sell well in trade, like Origin. And like Origin, it’ll be one of the worst books to give to someone who likes Wolverine.

Independent

Which is your favourite creator owned Rick Remender book and why?

deadly-class-011. Deadly Class             54%

2. Black Science                      34%

3. Low                                     11%

Lack of response – 38%

Ben (@punkrocksellout) was so obsessed with Deadly Class that I had to counter him by saying Black Science was the better book. At the time I genuinely found the art and story so engrossing but a few issues later I had switched because Deadly Class produced some of the finest character exposition I have read. Rick Remender is such an unknown quantity but I will say his personal character stories always impress over his big overarching crossovers. This was the case for Uncanny X-Force which was incredible but not for Axis which I was quite sadden by. Add in Low to the fray and we have three Remender indy books that are flying high with three truly wonderful artists. However I must say that there were approximately a third of people that didn’t respond to this question and a few that do not enjoy Remender’s writing.

Black Science – I love the constant change in scenery. His other creator owned books are good, but none of them grabbed me like Black Science did. 

Deadly Class through and through. It speaks to me when I still haven’t found a character to care about in Black Science.

Black Science for the win. It’s like a darker, meaner, more dangerous Lost in Space. It can go anywhere and I mean ANYWHERE. It is crazy insane and action packed. Yes, yes, I know I griped about multiverses being used as a story element in an earlier question but it works BETTER in a single book, such as this, as opposed to throwing an entire established universe into the same sort of thing.

Deadly Class – There’s so many reasons I love this book, first off I think it’s great how the characters are all being developed and to me it doesn’t feel like some are just there to flesh the book out, they all seem like they are going to be integral to the story. Which brings me to the story, at first I wasn’t too sure this book would be for me but after the first issue I was hooked. I get the impression that this is a story Rick has been itching to tell for a while and it really shows, to me anyway. 

Black Science – I love the Universe hopping, almost a Quantum Leap style vibe, where anything is possible. It can make individual issues enjoyable in their own right without them being just part of a long setup.

Let me start by saying that Ben Diederich, aka @punkrocksellout, aka #oldmandiederich, is wrong. The best Remender book is Black Science, followed by Low, and lastly Deadly class. Black Science takes the classic space faring, dimension traveling story we have all seen a hundred times and turns it on its head and it is amazing and beautifully illustrated by Matteo Scalera. I love Low for the same reason. It takes something familiar and does something different with it. Deadly Class is too normal. I was so close to dropping Deadly Class, but it has gotten better recently and I am going to stick with it. 

When you first asked this I said Deadly Class. Now I’m saying Low. Stel’s positive outlook is both endearing and heart breaking. Very excited to see how this whole thing progresses. 

Deadly Class, I remember I said before I could really relate to it and still do punk, skater kid battles the burdens of growing up in a hostile environment, finding acceptance and family amidst others on the edge of society. Plus assassins. 

Deadly Class because it is visually stunning and it has a tone that really plays well with my own sensibilities. 

Deadly Class. As I mentioned above it’s a title I wasn’t even planning on being interested in, but it has quickly become my favourite. The fact that I’m not a fan of the 80’s, or the punk scene, but still look forward to this book more than the others means something is being done right.

While I love Low and Black Science, Deadly Class shines as the top because it’s the most “real”. You can feel how close to his heart this story is, it draws you in.

It’s Black Science. Dean White’s colours are going to necessarily push this one over the top, and Remender doing independent science fiction is the thing he’s been at his best doing for some time, now. Deadly Class is good and all, but I’m necessarily a bit disconnected from it on a personal level, so it’s a good book but doesn’t best its competition as a result.

Who is the coolest cat from The Wicked + The Divine?

tumblr_ncfj8iwE0a1qcxfsno1_4001. Luci             59%

2. Baal                   6%

3. Inanna               4%

Lack of response – 53%

The Wicked + The Divine is a lovely book with some incredibly fashionable characters that define coolness. Luci is clearly the most popular character and I almost regret not excluding her from the question. The round table sees some incredible homages to pop stars gone by but you have to give McKelvie huge plaudits for how he fleshes out their style. I must make mention that some people didn’t understand the terminology of the question and thought I was asking who was cooler out of McKelvie and Gillen, apologies but that would have been a rhetorical question!

I’m guessing that you actually mean people, but I forgot all their names. I liked the dead girl (Luci). Unless @punkrocksellout chooses her in which case I don’t like that series. 

I know most people are going to say Luci but I’m going with Laura. She’s all the cool and fun stuff about fandom in one character. I get her.

Anybody who doesn’t say Lucifer is trolling you.

Inanna – goddess living in a man’s body. The Prince of the Pantheon, I feel like I’ve finally been given my character to love in this series, now that the bombastic David Bowie/Lucifer amalgam is no longer centre stage.

The funny thing is I don’t particularly care about any of the characters but I love them all anyway. I’ll say Luci, she had a little twinkle in her eye and it’s the closest we’ve had to Gillen writing Loki again.

I’m struggling to think anyone in the cast is ‘cool’. But they’re all fascinating, being that the series seems to me about the distance between the cool and the real.

Luci – Anyone who follows me on tumblr is probably familiar with my custom #wicdiv tag, #hella gay for satan. I love that character. Runners up are Baal and Inanna, for attitude and design.

Which power would you have if you were an Mind MGMT agent?

5951. Duncan’s predictability             41%

2. Lyme’s mind altering powers                        24%

3. The magician (12%) 4. Administration Monk (6%) = Immortal (6%)

Lack of response – 83%

I was quite disappointed at how few people answered this question (17%) and I don’t think I truly realised how many people either trade wait or don’t read this book. Perhaps it is a niche market but they are certainly worth reading. I love the agents of MGMT and their power sets are so wonderfully created and rendered by Matt Kindt. Duncan’s ability to “see” the future is so amazing but I think we have all lost sight of the tragedy of never being able to be surprised. In fact our own lack of foresight has doomed us into choosing a power that will only make us miserable like it did Duncan! Well he had some fun at first…

I cannot remember what it is called (The Magician), but when they are able to make locations in plain sight but cannot be seen or make people see things differently… I would be walking around in pyjamas all day, but have people see me dressed to the nines. 

I think I’d be something like Perrier. I don’t write anything particularly important but between writing for comic sites and the writing I do at my “real” job, it seems like that would be the power I end up with.

Ooh…I would go with Duncan’s small frame pre-cognition. Handy in life without overwhelming you with questions about whether you’re influencing too much.

Since I already know he mentioned me in his, I would have the power of erasing Brian Willis from my twitter feed/memory.

What is the best creator-owned book this year?

Southern Bastards - Here Was A Man v1-0001. Southern Bastards             74 pts

2. Deadly Class                                      55 pts

3. East of West                                      36 pts

4. The Wicked + The Divine (39pts) 5. Wytches (32 pts) 6. Nailbiter (18pts) = Low (18pts 8. Trees (14pts) 9. The Fade Out (12pts) = Copperhead (12 pts)

Even though I deliberately chose to lose the distinction between mainstream and creator owned books, I kept this question in order to find out what people loved separately from the big two. The fact that half of the top ten comics were creator owned was a massive achievement but it is always quite interesting to see what people read outside of the mainstream. I was half expecting Deadly Class to run away with this but it seems that there were a lot of you enjoying Southern Bastards but not quite enough to make your top three comic books. That is a woeful understatement in reality but more people enjoy that comic than Deadly Class, which is not that surprising given it won the best story arc award. It is amazing to see the diversity of the top ten but I am a little saddened that all the books are Image, when there are some great comics coming from the other publishers.

Tooth & Claw – I know it has only had 2 issues so far, but growing up I read the Redwall series of books by Brian Jacques. Autumnlands is essentially the comic version of those stories so it gets a strong nostalgia vote.

Ragnarok! If you’re a fan of Simonson’s Thor, you should be reading this because he’s doing what he does best, Norse mythology. Love his layouts and have always liked his art.

Starlight – I honestly thought Millar was past his best but this year Starlight has seen a return to form for the former convention organizer, it’s emotional at it’s core as it shows what happens to heroes when they get old. Duke McQueen a former space faring hero in the same vein of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers is given a chance to save the universe once again.

Wytches by Scott Snyder and Jock – Having picked up Batman and the Wake this year both by Snyder, it’s easy to see why him and Jock are such favourites amongst the comics community. It’s a great and spooky reinvention of an urban myth as Snyder eschews the broomsticks for something far creepier.

The Wicked + Divine – it’s Gillen and McKelvie together on a book where they can do whatever they want. What more needs to be said.

Undertow – I loved this series so much because I connected with Ukinnu in a way I have rarely connected with a comic character. His story of a life of privilege and what was expected of him and wanting to do something that mattered in life without it becoming a “poor me poor me” tale really spoke to me. It also had a beautiful unique style to the art with colouring that was really something special.

As we have reached the end of the third successive #HoFS annual comic awards I must give thanks to all those who participated. You didn’t have to spend so much time and articulate your thoughts just for me, but I am grateful that you did. I truly hoped you enjoyed reading the outcomes and aren’t too disappointed that your favourites weren’t at the top or your comments didn’t make the page. Ultimately forget about everybody else, you like what you like and that is all that matters. But I would like you to take a chance on something you might have read about above, there is always some incredible work you’ve never heard of. Until next year, much peace and love!

2 comments

  1. I agree about being annoyed by marvel atarting a title wi a big name and switching, case and point moon knight. Everything in this article is spot on. Great job.

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