2012: Creators and Characters to Watch

Hey! You made it! Happy New Year! We’re rubbing the sleep out of eyes, drinking some water, and sitting in bed wondering, “What’s next?” Most of us at iFanboy took last week off, and I spent mine sitting by the beach in Mexico (Akumal), catching up on a bunch of reading and wondering about what 2012 will bring us. Speculation can only get one so far–expectations tend to disappoint–so I thought I would share not what I think might happen, but really just wanted to take a step back and discuss what characters and creators I am looking forward to watching this year. 2012 promises to be full of change and endings, and I think there will be a fair amount of poignant goodbyes in store.

2012 will bring about the end of both DMZ and Northlanders, two books I have been picking up since their first issues by Brian Wood. Interestingly, I have gone through the same “full cycle” with Wood before, with Local and Demo, and I really feel like I have gone on an amazing journey with him. DMZ really stuck a chord with me early on, but I must admit I feel the book has been stumbling along for awhile now—it’s very much time for this book to be over, which is kind of sad. We had some glimpses into some very cool characters and plot lines (whatever happened with the pirate radio girl? That guy who was driving into New York?), but now its just kind of devolved into this self-centered, meandering tale of…what? The main character, Matty Roth, has been through a lot, but for all the many years I have spent with him, I don’t feel much empathy for him, though I feel like I should. I just feel like Matty—and, by extension, Wood—has given up. He’s taking the blame for a bunch of stuff he wasn’t responsible for, and now…well, I am not going to spoil it, but let’s just say it’s looking pretty bleak, as has been the case with this book for most of 2011.  It pains me to write this, but while DMZ had some incredible moments and  some really powerful issues, I feel like it just ran out of steam, somehow.

Northlanders has just been a delight and while I am sad to see it go, I am looking forward to getting this thing in some massive collection someday. Wood brought us some wonderful characters and some of the art has just been fantastic (this was the case for DMZ as well, the Nathan Fox issue was superb). I get the sense that Wood liked this book more than DMZ; Northlanders just got better and better while DMZ just started gasping along.  I am very curious to see how Wood will end this book and only a little surprised that I consider Northlanders one of his best works to date.  I am looking forward to what Wood is bringing us next, and if Becky Cloonan’s work on their upcoming Conan is any indication, I think we’re in for a treat.

2012 will also see the end of Scalped, by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra, which has been one of the most consistently great books since it began in 2007.  Aaron’s been kicking ass for the past few years with great runs on Wolverine and Punisher MAX, but at the of the day, there has always been Scalped to come back to for what I would (perhaps foolishly) consider as Aaron’s signature book.  Everything has to end, of course, but a world without Scalped gives me pause. I am very curious to see what Aaron will do next, and as much as I enjoy his super(anti-)hero work, I hope he can bring us something as pure and personal as Scalped has been. I wonder, too, what is next for R.M. Guéra, whose work on the book (the side image notwithstanding—I just really loved that story), whose work on this book has been incredible. I can’t wait to see what is next, though I bet it will be disconcerting at first!

As tempting it is to focus on the farewells, I think, if anything, 2012 will be full of momentum for many characters and creators. We’ve talked a lot about Daredevil before, but I can’t help but be straight up eager to see where Waid takes Matt Murdock. A happy Murdock is just someone I’ve quite honestly never seen before, and it just seems to me that his new attitude will result in 12 issues of great story and character development.  With so many books taking themselves so seriously, I think Daredevil is poised to truly captivate readers, who will hopefully tell the friends to keep up with the book.

It’s going to be hard, but somehow, I think that Uncanny X-Force will continue to thrill readers over the rest of 2012. Sure, the Dark Angel saga is going to be hard to followup, but as long as Remender is able to work with Opeña, there is some serious magic to be made. Similarly, watching Scott Snyder’s popularity rise throughout 2011 means that 2012 could very well be a hugely pivotal year for him, as he continues to write engaging stories across various books, nailing the characters as he does so. His work in Batman and American Vampire continues to be top-notch, and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

I’ll just tell it to you straight: I’ve kinda burned out on Brian Michael Bendis. I just…hit a wall, somehow. I think he’s a terrific writer and I love his characterizations — but maybe there is too much of a good thing. I am just not as interested in his particular form of witty banter and knowing winks to the audience right now. I think he’s great, I recommend his work without reservation, but for me, it’s like, I’ve been there, I’ve read that. It’s delicious but it’s not for me right now. I never thought I would get tired of Bendis, but if you look at the books that I have been dropping, from Powers to the Avengers titles, I’ve just lost it.

Speaking of Petering out, I will share with you that I have not been reading any Spider-Man books as of late. None of ’em, not even the excellent Ultimate Comics version. I like Ultimate Spider-Man, but, and this is kind of my fault, I’m having a hard time finding the damn books. Like–I can’t seem to find the books on the Marvel app.  It’s stupid, really, and I will pick them up, but it’s not a huge priority to me, even though I love Pichelli art on the book.  At some point in 2012, I think I will dip my toes back into The Amazing Spider-Man, but it won’t be for awhile. It’s like being in a relationship that is good, you are just kind of done with.  I need some space, Peter; I’ll be back sometime.

Finally, when I think about a creator and a character that I am most excited about in 2012, it’s gotta be Darwyn Cooke’s next installment of the Parker books, an excitement that got a nitrous-boost after paging though Richard Stark’s Parker: The Martini Edition. Other than that? I am looking forward to seeing Chew continue to weave one of the most entertaining and unique stories in modern comics.

But most of all? Even more than the next Parker book? I am looking forward to the stories and creators that are going to come out of nowhere and completely knock my socks off.  I want to make sure I keep an open mind and continue to try new things, to see what’s next for comics in 2012.  I love what I love, but what I have always liked about comics is how creators are constantly doing things with the medium that I could never have imagined.

2012 is going to be a nutty year for comics, with The Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel’s The Avengers, and The Dark Knight Rises movies coming out, there will be a lot of attention given to those franchises—we’ll be talking about those films and debating on whether or not these films will bring more people to comics (so far, the track records are not there, of course).  As the publishers work to capitalize on the interest these films will generate for those properties, let’s hope that other comics and other characters don’t get put on the sidelines.

So: 2012. What are you looking forward to? Anything you’re nervous about?

Here we go!


Mike Romo is an all-digital actor in Los Angeles. You can reach him through email, visit his facebook page, connect with him on google +, and collect his tweets on twitter, and his photos as “mikeromo” on Instagram.


  1. Let’s see 2012…..2012…

    I’m excited for Saucer Country and Manhattan Project. Last year I tried so many new books I’m not weary as much to try new comics.

    Chew will continue to be delayed but whatever it’s the best series in the world right now

    DC should bring out some new titles in the near future, hopefully, but the one’s I continue to read now will be great.

  2. I agree with Romo on the subject of Bendis. He’s a good writer, just needs to focus on fewer projects and be right back on top.
    I’m looking forward to MudMan, Fatale and Saga, along with where ever Severed may be going after this run ends.
    A little nervous about Avengers vs X-Men. I truly hope Marvel doesn’t drop the ball here. The New 52 has had a good start, but can it last?

  3. I’m pretty sure it’s just an oversight that you didn’t mention Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ “Saga”, over at Image. It’s the new release of 2012, as far as I’m concerned. Chew is amazing as well, always a great read.

  4. I’m most excited about Saga, Fatale and Saucer County.

  5. I can’t wait for the new Parker book, I’m also looking forward to Brian Wood’s The Massive and Conan. I could list all the things I’m excited for, but it would take too long.

  6. You echo my feelings on Spider-man. I love the character, but Dan Slotts style does nothing for me. I keep thinking I’ll jump back in at some point, but so far nothing has sounded interesting.

    This year I am super excited for Image. Y: The Last Man took me away from Super heroes for the first time, so any BKV project will get a look. But there are alot of other images series that sound cool too, like Hell Yeah and Thieve ofnThieves.

    I’ll continue to keep a close eye on Lemire and Snyder, as following them has bought me the most enjoyment from 2011, at Vertigo, old DC and the New 52

  7. Nice summary of things that were and that will be in 2012. I am most looking forward to Saga, The Massive, Fatale, and the new Parker. And anything that Scott Snyder will be on is an instant pick up for me.

  8. I am on the opposite field when it comes to Bendis, he is hitting on all cylinders for me, especially on the ultimate side of things. I guess the most thing i am excited for is what will Vaughn bring to us in 2012, and will Millar deliver with his new books.

  9. I’m most excited about whatever Brian Wood is going next.

    @Mike: I don’t agree with, but can completely understand, your take on recent DMZ stories but it seems to me to be the logical place for Wood to bring the character of Matty. He was a dumb kid pretending to be a journalist when he arrived, made some terrible decisions in his attempt to be one of Parco’s insiders, and now is growing up and seeing what an idiot he’s been and how it’s affected everyone. Matty’s the only main character in a comic since Yorick in Y: The Last Man that has been an absolutely awful person. Hopefully Matty’s acceptance of his failings can redeem him just like Yorick walking out to meet Alter did.

  10. I’m nervous that too many good books will come out for me to buy.