The 11 Best Things About Comics in 2007


Oh 2007, where have you gone? It was certainly an eventful year, and there have certainly been worse years to be a comic book lover. Apparently, lists are all the rage in the world of blogging, so I figured we should have a list of the best things in comics from this past year. We’ve got eleven of them, because that’s how long this list goes.

So I present to you, in no particular order, The 11 Best Things About Comics in 2007.

1. Ed Brubaker – What I like so much about Ed Brubaker is that he’s managing to make me (and others) happy in so many different ways. Criminal is a far different dish than Captain America, but both have been so good this year. And from what I hear, things are going pretty well over in Uncanny X-Men land as well, especially lately. That would be good enough, but there’s Iron Fist and Daredevil too? I was none too pleased when I stayed home sick the night
iFanboy got to interview him. If past is prologue, he’s only going to get better, and continue his savage domination ofour Pick of the Week honors in 2008.

2. Skrulls – Between New Avengers and New Avengers Illuminati, Brian Michael Bendis has thrown the whole Marvel Universe into a tizzy. After the events of the past few years, like the Civil War and House of M, and who knows what other event, a good number of readers are growing a bit tired of these EVERYTHING-WILL-CHANGE events, yet despite that, there’s been a good deal of anticipation for what is coming. The internet positively buzzed when Elektra was revealed as a skrull in New Avengers #31, and we’re rather patiently waiting to see what this really means. Does it mean that Black Bolt isn’t really a pansy? It’s looking that way, and that’s a good start.

3. Geoff Johns – I imagine there are a lot of DC fans out there thanking their God for Geoff Johns. Here’s a guy who almost singularly understands what to do with characters who other writers just can’t get a handle on. Not only does he do incredible work on his own, but his collaborations bear delicious fruit as well. From the homerun teamwork that was 52 to the inexplicably compelling Justice Society of America, to finally doing something interesting with the in continuity version of Hal Jordan in Green Lantern, to the rarely seen writing of consecutively interesting Superman stores in an actual Superman title, Geoff Johns is one of the few creators out there who knows how to make DC comic books work. He’s got a gift to combine the legacy with modern sensibilities that pleases longtime fans, and brings new readers to characters who have languished unloved and disused for decades. He’s been exclusive to DC for a few years, but if I’m Joe Quesada, I’m standing by with high hopes and a big bag of money. Johns is also iFanboy’s own on-camera interview white whale, and luck permitting, he will be ours in 2008.

4. Podcasts – If there had been podcasts in the mid 90’s, the comic book industry probably wouldn’t have collapsed. Also, the three of us at iFanboy would probably be millionaires. Podcasts seem to motivate people to want to get involved with comics, and participate, even if just by listening. I’m not just talking about our show, but any of the countless legions of podcasters out there, all sending out their thoughts to a specific niche of people who want to hear what they have to say. I don’t listen to them all, but I love that they all exist, and in a democratic way, they all get a chance to be heard. No matter what kind of a comic book reader you are, there is a show for you. Podcasting is just so perfect for comics, because it just seems that the best thing about reading comics is talking comics, but as the audience shrunk, it turned out that people were just reading comics on their own, and didn’t get to hear what anyone else thought. There have been message boards, and websites for years, but none of these feel as personal or direct as a podcast. And finally, we get to hear from a creative community whose audience was too small to matter to the mass media. No more, thanks to podcasters bringing us all the different kinds of comic book chatter we could ever hope for. At the beginning of the year podcasts were still new, and now it’s looking like they’ll have a ubiquitous future in the comic book world, and it’s going to do nothing but make comics more fun to read.

5. Cliff Chiang – Where did this guy come from? Prior to a few short months ago, nary an iFanboy had known the name, Cliff Chiang. That all changed with the start of the unexpected joy that was Green Arrow/Black Canary. With a style that’s part animated, part classic comic book, and all clean, he’s taking an ethic that’s 180 degrees from the super-detailed and rendered artists like Jim Lee and Michael Turner, and doing excellent work with a minimum of lines. Chiang is a guy we’re glad we’ve gotten to know, and one who we’ll definitely be following in the future. The thing is, he’s only going to get better.

6. Vertigo Comics – We did our Vertigo show earlier in the year and wouldn’t you know it, since then, Vertigo’s really shot back up in my estimation. Fables has always been good, but in the past six months it’s just been stellar, and the same can be said of its sister title, Jack of Fables. I’ve also since discovered Scalped and The Exterminators. Then you’ve got Brian Wood just cranking on DMZ, and his new title about Vikings, Northlanders, as well as Mike Carey doing the book that I think should be a huge crossover hit in trades, Crossing Midnight. Finally, you’ve got what has to be the best year John Constantine’s seen in a good long while, with a spectacular run on Hellblazer. It’s starting to look like we’ll need to do a follow up show, just to account for all these fantastic books we missed the first time around.

7. Scott Pilgrim – I’m not sure there’s anything left to say about this title that we haven’t said, yet I feel like I could still go on for another couple hours. This title is something wholly new, and the more I think about it, the more I just need to tell myself to stop thinking about it, and just enjoy it. But I can’t help but think about why I like it, and what’s good about it, and the fact that I just can’t put my finger on it. We only got the one volume this year, and we’ll have to make do with that. It was more fun and imaginative than a giant stack of comics I have sitting on my shelf all put together. And I think we can all use more fun.

8. Trade Paperbacks – Was this not the best year ever for comic book publishers getting behind trade paperbacks? I can only imagine having to do this show 10 years ago, and just suggesting for people to go back and hunt through back issue bins, and pay giant sums of money to read issues from the back catalog. Publishers were just throwing away money by not keeping their stuff in print. Now, if a book is marginally successful, and even sometimes not, you can just bet that a trade will follow, and that kind of choice is great for us comic book consumers, because we get to pick the way we like it, and creators get to pick the way they do it. I’m telling you, you new people don’t know what it used to be like. Sure a back issue hunt could be a fun challenge, but at the end of the day, I like things a lot more this way.

9. Movie Speculation – I don’t know if you noticed, but 2008 is looking to be a hell of a year for comic book movies. 2007 had several releases, but they were largely either disappointing, or just kind of OK, with the notable exception of 300. But in 2008, we’ve got some things to look forward to. And if we learned nothing else from The Phantom Menace, sometimes the anticipation is better than the actual thing. This year, we got to play all sorts of guessing games about Iron Man, Watchmen, (unless the writer’s strike kills it) a JLA movie, a new Hulk movie, a new Hellboy, a new Punisher, and of course The Dark Knight. And these are the movies that are actually going to happen, not just development speculation. Besides, it’s a lot easier to make entertaining trailers than it is to make a whole 2 hour movie any good.

10. Rick Remender – You may not have realized you needed Rick Remender, but you do. This guy is seemingly keeping genre work alive in comics, single handedly. We’ve seen genre comics come and go, and the reason they usually go is that they’re not very good. Remender changes that formula by coming up with a grindhouse style horror comic, and actually making it fun, like with Crawlspace. Fear Agent is just two-fisted, hard bitten old school sci-fi fun. Strange Girl is as unique as anything out there. The dude’s even got a superhero comic coming out from Dark Horse called The End League. We need this guy, because he loves comics, and he wants to show you all they can be. I challenge you to try to pigeonhole him. It can’t be done. Next year, he’s going to be writing The Atom for DC. Seriously? Did you see that coming? You never will with Remender.

11. The iFanboy Web Community – Between the folks who show up here at iFanboy.com and the people over at the Rev3 forums, this has been an amazing year for the three of us. We’ve met a lot of people at conventions, and even a few randomly out on the street, and we’re continually stunned at how kind and supportive everyone has been, not only of us, but of the other people in the community. I never would have believed that a group of people could sustain an enjoyable web community for so long without petty argument and bickering that is so common on the web, but it’s still happening, and there are new people showing up all the time. So, to our regulars, and the people who are just posting for the first time, and the people who read and will never post, we thank you all so much. You all have a hand in this just as much as we do.

Comments

  1. great article josh, i agree with each and every one of your picks!

  2. Amen, Josh, and thanks to you, Ron, Conor and each and every one of the Faithful for making a new guy feel so welcome here.

  3. Great list! I completely agree with your point about podcasts. It’s that ability to have someone to discuss these great stories with that makes them that much more fun.

  4. nice picks. but lets be honest, Tom Katers is nuumber 12

  5. Well done article, I dugg it

  6. Boo stinky Geoff Johns and his boring Green Lantern stories. Can’t speak to the rest of his work, but after a 12 year run on GL I gave up the ghost on his boring stories.

    Scott Pilgrim is cool, thanks for finding that one for me.

  7. Hang on, Ron did the 11 worst list, now Josh is doing the 11 best… Why no list love for Conor? Was he naughty over Christmas?

  8. Hang on, Ron did the 11 worst list, now Josh is doing the 11 best… Why no list love for Conor? Was he naughty over Christmas?

    Conor’s going to be doing the “The 11 Best Meaningless and Marginal Things About Comics in 2007.”

  9. Thanks for a great year guys, its been fun and even though I hardly post on the site over the last few months I’m still a rabid ifanboy, great article once again and thanks for a great year.

  10. If memory serves me correctly, Cliff Chiang did some nice work on the Human Target ongoing a few years back. He wasn’t the only artist on the series. Great comic book, I wish they had finished collecting it in trades.

  11. Yeah, Human Target was great psycho-spy action, though the double-identity nature of the book made it a little hard to follow in monthly format. Well worth checking out, as is Chiang’s work with Azarello from Tales of the Unexpected from last year (Doctor 13: Architecture and Morality).

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer would definitely make my list as well.

  12. Hooray for comics, hooray for iFanboy!

    Here’s looking forward to Conor’s top eleven events that inspired ambivalence and puzzlement! 😀

  13. Great list. My additions:

    Casanova: I know Josh has come out against it, but that shocks me. Fraction’s reality bending spy epic is one of the few comics that rewards the repeat reading. (Also notable that Fraction’s partnership with Brubaker has yielded the single-best super-hero book of the year in Iron Fist).

    52: Most of it was in 2006, but the denouement of 52 was the conclusion to the greatest experiment in comics that I remember being a part of. I saw everything coming and couldn’t turn away. It made me love characters I couldn’t care less about. Spectacular. The deaths of Charlie and Ralph actually made me cry. “Time to change… like a butterfly.” Line of the year. Also, making Mister Mind cool is no easy feat.

    Nightly News: Angry. Awesome.

    Local: Brian Wood’s best work yet.

    Rex Mundi: The most involving creation of an alternate history I’ve read in a while. I miss Eric J, though.

    Nothing Better: Tyler Page nailing the inane and pretentious dialogue of freshmen in college.

    Walking Dead: Only started recently. Bought all 7 trades in 3 weeks. Most addictive comic ever.

    Jonah Hex/Spirit: Jordi Burnet and Darwyn Cooke are pretty to look at.

    Checkmate: Super-hero comics are not supposed to be this smart. Someone tell Rucka.

    Morrison/Williams III Club of Heroes arc on Batman: most of Morrison’s run has been surprisingly mediocre. This was sheer brilliance and exactly what I had been expecting. And does anyone layout a page like JH Williams?

    Mostly, I’d like reiterate the ifanboy community. While those are the hits from this year, most of this year sucked (Countdown, late books ruining momentum, most of the Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman sucked/didn’t come out, not enough Queen and Country, all Marvel heroes being assholes or criminals, etc.).

    This was a bad enough year that, if it were 10 years ago, I may have dropped collecting. But having this community has shown me where the hidden gems like Fear Agent, Wasteland, and Fell are. Best wishes to everyone in 2008!

  14. Completely disagree about the Skrulls..could care less. Bendis is so freaking overrated ( oh wait..Ultimate Spiderman..Powers..ok maybe not; it’s just the Avengers crap leaves a bad taste in my mouth.)

    Brubaker and Johns are the writers of the year to me. They are so different but have delivered some freaking awesome stories. Capatin America, JSA, and the Sinestro War ( can’t belive the one poster above called it boring..dude did you read Mighty Avengers fighting the Ultron /Wasp creature for what felt like 3 years ??)

    I would add Astonishing X-men to that list ( I know, delays..but every issue was great when it came out unlike Mighty Avengers) and Buffy too !!

  15. Great job guys.

  16. I think it’s funny Chiang has just now busted out when I’ve been waiting for him to do so for almost three years now after I read the “Beware the Creeper” Vertigo mini he did back in about ’04. I just assumed that was the starting gig for him before he got put on something like a Bat-book or whatever. He was even doing covers for Detective for a while if I remember right. But nothing. And now he’s all the rave. Pisses me off because now if I ever do find him at a con he’ll probably have a pretty high going rate for con art.

    As for Skrulls, meh, I’m tired of them already. Probably because I’m not the biggest proportor of Bendis’ Avengers books right now, but I just don’t want to hear about them anymore. I just spent three years playing this game of “Who’s the impostor?!” watching BSG, I’m not getting messy in the pants over speculating the same thing with my comics. Ah well…

  17. 4. Podcasts –

    There’ve been many a time where I’m driving by my shop, ready to ignore it, but i’m listening to ifanboy, so I can’t. I have to know what it is you guys are so excited about. so I go in and get books. this should be closer to #1.

  18. Strange Girl was a great series. Remender rocks!

  19. Finding comics podcasts and in particular iFanboy was a great thing that happened for me in 2007. I really like your approach to comics. You delve in to the issues in some detail, but you don’t get bogged down in minutia or conversley skim over things with opinions like “I liked it, it was awesome”. You keep levity to your show, but your comments are also thought out and have depth. You’ve also opened my eyes to a lot of great series that I would have missed without your show.

    I don’t have a lot of time/the initiative to post regularly, but I really do get a lot of enjoyment from the podcasts and website. I’m sure there are many other grateful lurkers out there like me. So I just wanted to say thank you for your efforts.

    I’m looking forward to the new year.

  20. Okay, just finished the first Scott Pilgrim. It’s connected but a little off-topic, I know, but I just had to express how blown away by this book I was. It’s… well, damn near perfect (for a fun adventure comedy, obviously, I’d never compare it to something like Watchmen). But I haven’t had such a good time, so much FUN, reading a comic book as this in a while.

    Sorry to bore people with my late, unrelated thoughts, but I had to tell someone. The hype was certainly worth it!

  21. We are never, ever bored with Scott Pilgrim talk.

    I’d date that book if only its parents didn’t think I was bad news.

  22. I just got onboard the Scott Pilgrim bandwagon, too. I just read #1 and 2, and was blown away. My favorite part is the “rewards” left behind by the evil ex-boyfriends when Scott defeats them, a la videogames. That cracks me up!

    Anyway, I ordered #3 and 4, and can’t wait to read them.

  23. Jim, soon as I finished #1 I was straight on Amazon to order #2, 3 and 4. LOVE the band name ‘Sex Bob-Omb’!