Which publishing company has impressed you most this year?
IDW – This is an exceptionally difficult question because of the bitter disappointments I have had this year with most companies. Marvel because of their abuse of X-Men and flooding of Deadpool and Inhuman books, let alone their wish to overuse any hero that has their solo book selling well including Ms Marvel and Squirrel Girl. DC needed to start afresh as their staleness was becoming quite pungent, but I do not think they have taken any great strides creatively to move forward. They have given us biweekly Bat books and multiple kinds of Superman to provide a buffet approach to superhero books. Wonder Woman is essentially two separate titles written by the same writer but released bi-weekly. Image Comics have courted the best-selling writers from Marvel and DC but allow such great scheduling laxness that we never see promising books and sometimes wait months for issues of others. They have also fallen to the starting afresh plague and released multiple new books full of potential promise. So much for allowing upcoming creators an opportunity. I chose IDW because they have continued to be brave and allow innovation. I thoroughly enjoyed Judge Dredd which had a completely new kind of story in a new world far removed from Dredd once inhabited. Transformers continues to shine as one of the most interesting and clever set of books out there. The March trilogy was a wonderful set of books chronicling the fight for equality of the African American people in the US. Finally, they gave me the greatest satisfaction with providing me with a new Locke and Key story for which I will always have so much love.
Who have been your favourite three writers?
i. Tom King
I have been a fan of Tom King for a few years now and I enjoy his work on Batman, once we had gotten past the first arc. However Vision will remain my most favourite book of the year and the strategy King employs to deliver a personal tale will always be remembered.
ii. Jonathan Layman
Chew has been such an exciting book for almost all of its immense sixty issue run. It ended this year and that meant there would be some pain and suffering, but it was produced in an art form full of love and passion.
iii. Kieron Gillen
The Wicked and Divine has been a strong book throughout and this season not only saw a great finale but some fantastic character stories and innovative single issue stand alones. Combine this with his stellar work in Darth Vader where he successfully created a great new character and a passionate protagonist, Gillen is duly recognised.
Who have been your favourite three artists?
i. Gabriel Hernandez Walta
After coming to the limelight with Magneto his rise to prominence occurred with Vision. Not only can he produce compassion in the minimal of expressions but his storytelling was clever and intuitive. Some of his panel work was a joy to behold.
ii. Chris Bachalo
Dr Strange began as a very strong title and it wasn’t until reading the Limbo stories in Uncanny X-Men, did I realise how perfect he was for magic. This series has been fun and full of design delights and quirky characterisation and thoroughly enjoyable to read.
iii. Wes Craig
The only reason why I continue to read Deadly Class is because Wes Craig is unlike any other artist. There is a flow to his pages and a rationale that correlates to the meaning of the page. Remender may write it but Craig brings the characters to life
Which colourist has caught your eye this year?
Ian Herring on Ms Marvel has been so important in keeping the tone and mood of Ms Marvel consistent. I truly appreciated his work because often when the artist changes the atmosphere changes with them. The look and feel of the characters and city remained the same because of his colour palette.
Which creative combination has stole the show this year?
Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting and Elizabeth Breitweiser on Velvet – These are a perfect combination and in that produce the most glorious work. The use of lighting has always been a prominent feature of this book and both Steve and Bettie make it look like a spy story should.
Which have been your top three favourite comics?
The premise of creating and destroying a family has no business being in a solo book about an Avenger. But it was and brought such emotion and empathy for non sentient life in a way no one could have imagined.
I am not sure it sure if it is the characters or the sheer longevity of the story with its twists and turns that made this book so impressive. In any case the ending brought surprise and upset to both respects.
iii. The Wicked + The Divine
The slow build and character solo issues brought for much anticipation and I must say, it did not let us down. The art from McKelvie and Wilson, together with all the guest artists made this title always look amazing from start to finish.
What has been your favourite single issue book this year?
Chew #59 – This comic made me cry so much because not only was it the culmination of years of build, but it was the end to so many beloved characters. And it was done in a passionate and kind manner, with delicate writing and emotional art.
If you could bring back one book or creator on a comic that ended this year, which would it be?
Jonathan Hickman on Avengers. It isn’t so much that I miss Hickman but more that I miss the Avengers. I do not read any of the books any more because I have lost complete interest in them. They used to be so compelling and exciting.
What has been the best thing to have happened in the comic industry this year?
DC Rebirth – not that I think it was all that great but because it needed to happen. There is still too much focus on Snyder and DKIII but there is new blood and new stories to be told. The New 52 had died a death because they had lost the will to change things, so instead they saved it for a huge relaunch.
What has been the saddest thing to have happened in the industry this year?
The death of Steve Dillon has left an unfillable hole in all our hearts, especially when his work on Punisher was so fantastic. There are plenty of missteps and terrible behaviour to talk about in comics again, but the sadness will lie with the passing of Steve. I am fortunate to have met him earlier this year and converse with such a lovely man.