Comic Book Power Rankings – August 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine (unless noted), although they are influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra Marvel 1
  He’s just a normal family guy, trying to cut it in the blue collar goon industry. Trying to place the normal within the insanity that is Battle World creates comedy gold.
2 Prez DC 3
  As far as political satires go, Prez is hands down the funniest, and is so hyperbolic that the fact that it’s relatable at all is appalling. Root for the little guy in one of DC’s rare non-cape books.
3 Rasputin Image 8
  Rasputin is my favorite comic at the moment. So far it’s the only book that’s compelled me to send fan mail. It’s a well written narrative, beautifully drawn, and spectacularly colored. I get something out if every issue I read and feel satisfied. Totally in love with this series. – Jené
4 Ms. Marvel Marvel 17
  Although Kamala briefly got caught in the web that is Secret Wars, her last issue, a heart-warming team up with Captain Marvel herself gave this book a special place on my shelf.
5 The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Marvel 8
  Three of the top five books are led by young women. Coincidence? Hell no! Squirrel Girl is hilarious and relatable – which says a lot since… ya know, she’s a squirrel.
6 TMNT IDW 49
  Not even shell-shock could stop Donnie! Things are getting heavy as a battle royale contest between the turtles and Foot knock down the door of the upcoming #50 spectacular.
7 Justice League DC 43 5 -2
  This is the best JL story since Forever Evil, and the most desparate time we’ve seen the team in of all New52. Geoff Johns continues to write an amazing book.
8 Batman DC 43 2 -6
  This is not the same book we read with Endgame. Bruce is in identity crisis mode and Gordon has taken over as Batman. Wacky story aside, Snyder/Capullo produce.
9 We Stand On Guard Image 3
  With the right creative team, even Canadians can be interesting. Brian K Vaughan’s new title makes you hate America more effectively than Donald Trump’s presidential run.
10 Bizarro DC 3
  Bizarro no am good book. Bizarro am very bad book. Book no am funny. Art is very ugly. Bizarro very normal, and Jimmy Olson (Bizarro’s worstest enemy) never wear disguises. Bizarro no am have hijinks. – Montgomery
11 Superman DC 43 8 -3
  We finally learned how Lois spilled the beans about Superman’s identity, and it’s refreshing to see Superman fight an enemy he can’t defeat by punching.
12 Old Man Logan Marvel 4
  While I love seeing an out-of-place Wolverine wander around Battle World in a confused rage, it’s Andrea Sorrentino’s panel layout that really keeps me engaged.
13 Groot Marvel 3
  As much as I loved the recently-retired Skottie Young Rocket Raccoon book, Groot is just as adorable. It’s good for all ages, with feel-good lessons in friendship and kindness. Aww.
14 Deadly Class Image 15 5 -9
  While the Remender/Craig tag-team reigns champion, I can’t get over just how scathingly manic-depressive this book got this month. It’s a downer for sure.
15 Nailbiter Image 15 16 +1
  The deeper we keep falling into the mystery, the further the bottom seems to be. It’s a phenomenal book, but I feel just as lost now as I did at square one.
16 The Walking Dead Image 145 4 -12
  I still look forward to this book every month, but the more I read it, the more I realize that Robert Kirkman is becoming George Lucas 2.0. There’s just too much TWD in the world for me right now. That being said, this new threat is gonna bring back the funk.
17 E is for Extinction Marvel 3
  Thank you, Chris Burnham, for making unsexy comic books cool. His raw art is perfect for this post-Morrison, Morrison-style book, which is as awesome as it is awkward.
18 Giant Sized Little Marvel AvX Marvel 3
  This book makes me feel like vomitting rainbows with each issue. It can be formulaic, but it’s just so darn cute – how could anybody not love this??
19 Postal Image 19 11 -8
  Mark, the autistic one-man Scooby gang, is tearing this conspiracy wide open. Although, just because it’s getting bigger doesn’t mean it’s getting better…
20 Batgirl DC 43
  It can be silly at times, but that’s part of the charm. Babs Tarr’s art has definitely grown on me. I’m fully on-board after some post-Gail Simone withdrawals.

 

Notably absent:

Most of the Secret Wars: I’m burnt out on Secret Wars. Marvel must be murdering DC in sales as of late, but their long game is tiring fans out.

Shutter and Birthright: For books that started as two of my favorite Image titles, the convoluted stories in both books have derailed their momentum significantly. I don’t expect that too last, though, as both books have the creative teams to handle it.

Wonder Woman: David and Meredith Finch have been a refreshing addition to the book, but the last couple issues have been noticeably lacking in substance or style. Plus, Donna Troy is completely one-dimensional and incapable of independent thought.

Retired books/ Hiatuses (Hawkeye, Saga, Bitch Planet, Sex Criminals): Some of the best books in the biz took the month off, making way for some newcomers to really shine this month!

Creator-Owned Spotlight: Deadly Class and Blackhand Comics’ Wes Craig [EXCLUSIVE]

Hush Comics: What is your origin story?

Wes Craig:  Well I was a kid who always wanted to make comic books. I used to write and draw my own superhero stories in grade school. In my teens I made a comic called “J.D.” that was kind of based on me and my friends. I also did other comics like a Viking story, and a story about a man who meets the devil in a bar. 

When I graduated from high school I took a three-year course in Illustration & Design. While I was in there I started mailing away samples of work to DC and Marvel Comics. A had a few years of doing that, sending away samples, getting rejection letters. I got really close to a job when a DC editor called me and told me I was on the right track, I kept sending samples with no real response and then a year later I got a call from the same editor basically telling me the same thing but he’d forgotten that he called me the year before. Hahaha. 

I went to conventions and pitched ideas to Image Comics too, but I wasn’t quite ready yet so they never got green lit. Eventually I got a gig on a DC Comics title as my first paid gig [Ed Note: Wes’ first title was DC Comics’ Touch]. It got cancelled after only six issues. But my foot was in the door. Since then I’ve worked for DC and Marvel on a bunch of their titles – Guardians of the Galaxy was what I was most known for. When the offers weren’t coming in, I’d take jobs in video games, doing storyboards or character design, and work on my own comics.

Then one day, Rick Remender emailed me and asked if I’d be interested in working with him, I was a fan of his work so I was into it. And that brings us to Deadly Class.

HC: You have a very specific style. Which artists did you draw inspiration from when you were learning how to draw? Who continues to inspire you?

WC: It doesn’t feel like I do have a specific style honestly, but that’s probably something that a lot of artists feel. Anyway, when I was learning to draw I was a big fan of George Perez, his work on Teen Titans was the first comic I collected. Will Eisner’s The Spirit was a big one, I used to pick up black and white reprints of that from Kitchen Sink Press. 

I remember the first time I saw Moebius. Katsuhiro Otomo and Masamune Shirow. Brian Bolland. The Image guys like McFarlane were an influence early on. I still go back to a lot of Eisner, Moebius, and Otomo. I love anything from Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly. Jeff Smith. Paul Pope, David Lapham, David Mazzuchelli and a lot of the indie artists these days, people like Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine, Emily Carrol, Eleanore Davis. The Hernandez brothers. There’s a lot of great stuff out there.

deadly class #12
Deadly Class #12

But it’s also funny because some of the stuff you don’t like as a kid can turn into your greatest influence. When I was young I didn’t like Jack Kirby or Mike Mignola. Now they’re two of my favourite artists of all time. I just didn’t get it back then. But that’s a lesson to me as an adult, too; just because you don’t like something right away, don’t automatically reject it – maybe it’s the “shock of the new” and your brain just isn’t willing to accept it yet.

HC: What supplies do you prefer to use? Do you like traditional or digital tools more?

WC: I prefer traditional. I have friends who tell me how fast digital is, but I like the feeling of paper and ink. I use digital too, though. Especially in later stages of Blackhand Comics to adjust colors. 

deadly class pencils and ink
Credit to Twitter: @WesCraigComics

For Deadly Class, it’s deadline driven so I use standard bristol board and Sakura Calligraphy pens and brushes. Those get the job done the fastest for me. 

But for Blackhand or other personal stuff I like to change it up and try new things.

HC: What is your process when you sit down to create? Does this change when depending on what role you’re taking on for the project (writer vs artist)? Which is hardest for you?

WC: When I’m drawing Deadly Class, Rick and I usually get on the phone and talk out ideas a bit. Then I’ll get the script (page and panel breakdowns with basic description and dialogue). I usually have ideas for how I want the story to flow, changing page compositions and stuff, and Rick’s always very open to that. The final dialogue is done after I finish all the art. That’s one of my favourite aspects of Deadly Class, it feels very alive the whole time it’s being produced. When I’m doing my own work I tend to plan it to death at the beginning so when I’m doing the actual drawing it’s kind of boring, paint by numbers. So I’m trying to leave more room for improvisation now.

When I write and draw my own comics, I write description, dialogue, and do rough little thumbnail panels all at the same time, then I’ll compose it into a page and go over the dialogue and try to make it work together. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle to try and make it feel like something real is happening on the page, but that’s the challenge.

Wes Craig Blackhand script
Credit to Twitter: @WesCraigComics

So yeah, the process changes completely depending on your role. I find writing and drawing my own stuff the hardest, but also the most rewarding. 

Creating something and seeing it through the whole way kind of IS comics at it’s purest for me.

HC:I noticed that on your Twitter feed, you love sharing your recent sketches with followers – not just Deadly Class and Blackhand material, but a lot of experimentation with techniques and content. Is there any specific experimental stuff you’ve been wanting to fit into your upcoming books?

WC: Yeah, I have a lot of little experiments I’d love to try out. The thing about it, though, is it has to fit the story. I don’t want to shoehorn anything in that doesn’t belong. But yeah, lots of ideas on layering and “cut-up,” for lack of a better word. 

“Layering” has to do with looking at the page and the images as a three dimensional space, layering images and panels on top of each other. Quietly did this very affectively in We3.

A panel from Grant Morrison and Frank Quietlys We3
A panel from Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly’s We3

And “cut-up” just has to do with how comics work, were actions and sentences are broken up, and it creates this staccato effect.  Those are two areas I’d like to explore a lot more.

HC: Is Rick Remender really the biggest asshole in the industry? I know you guys like to give each other a hard time; do you have any stories that would give us an insight as to how your relationship works?

WC: Mr. Remender’s lawyers have informed me that I am to answer all such questions with nothing but glowing praise.

He is a saint.

HC: You, Rick and Lou are probably the best team in comic books right now. Are there any other creative teams in the business that you admire?

WC: Sure. Like I’ve said mostly I’m a fan of cartoonists that do the whole thing themselves but there are a few creative teams that work so well together you’d think it was one person. 

I think we’ve worked well together and gotten that effect sometimes. Unfortunately, Lee won’t be working with us going forward, but you can see his work on a bunch of other great Image series like Southern Cross and Wolf. But we have Jordan Boyd working with us now and he’s amazing, and I think we’ve managed to keep things very unified. Also, Rus Wooton on letters really helps bring it all together. That’s my favourite part of the process: seeing a page where we’re all coming together seamlessly. 

Anyway, I think Ed Brubaker, Sean Philips, and Elizabeth Breitweiser are great. Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly, too. 

HC: Why Image Comics? What about working with them do you enjoy?

WC: Working with Rick was a big draw, but so was working through Image. They’re just really strong right now, they’re making a lot of good decisions and publishing a lot of good books.

HC: If you could clone yourself and jump on to do art for another title in the industry, what would it be?

WC: Honestly, I’d just do more of my own stuff. Blackhand Comics, and other projects I have in mind for the future. I try and get as much of that done between issues of Deadly Class as I can, but it’s tough. 

HC: Deadly Class comments on homelessness and the lengths one will go for security. How do you think we can help our homeless population, especially our homeless youth?

WC: Well, I think affordable housing is the thing that stands out the most for me. Cities never invest enough in that kind of thing; they say they will then they just keep building condos for the rich. 

Really, I think the best thing is to ask homeless people what they think. But my thoughts on it are that people need dignity and a purpose. They don’t need to be coddled and treated like they’re incapable, they just need a little help, a leg up. And shelter where they can feel secure and human. 

HC: Deadly Class seems to be a lightning rod for teenage angst and rebellion. Do you feel the book has transcended to something beyond the book’s stories?

WC: Well, we hope so. It seems to have reached older people who can relive those experiences with some adult perspective. and younger people who are growing up now, and see things they can relate to. The letters we get really blow me away, how passionate people are about it.

That connection people have, I think that’s the part I’m most proud of. It’s a really violent series, but underneath there’s a lot of heart and real feelings. And we try not to treat the assassin angle like it’s “cool.” Killing is a terrible thing, so when it happens, it’s not some victorious moment; it makes the character physically sick, or it damages something inside of them. I don’t know if I’ve always put that across to the audience, but that’s what I try to do.

HC: If you had to choose one of your books’ worlds to live in, which would you choose and why? Who would you want as an ally?

WC: Man, definitely not Deadly Class, that school is terrible. I guess that short story in Blackhand I did called “Circus Day.” That place seemed pretty harmless. I’d just hand out with the clowns and the freaks all day.

HC: You’ve got a T-Shirt on the way, and I’ve been trying to get my hands on a skateboard deck for months now. Do you see Deadly Class ever being branded the way The Walking Dead is one day?

WC: If we ended up with a TV show or a movie, I’d imagine there’d be some more merchandising. Right now, I’d like to keep it pretty simple, though. 

DeadlyT_Size
You can pre-order these shirts, due in October, at your local comic shop.

HC:You have announced some new Blackhand stories, with more coming soon. How will these differ from the first published volume?

WC: I keep going back and forth on that. I have an overall concept in mind for a second volume, a kind of apocalyptic theme. But there’s other ideas I have too, sometimes I think I’ll just do the first volume and that’s it, other times I want to do it more than anything. So we’ll see. 

Right now it’s looking like I’ll be going ahead with it though.There would be a lot more stories in a second volume and a more standard format. But like the first volume, a lot of dark, pulpy weirdness.


You can find Wes Craig on Twitter (@WesCraigComics), Tumblr (WesCraigComics), Facebook (Wes Craig Comics), or online at BlackhandComics.com. You can even buy original (or prints of) Deadly Class art at Cadence Comics.

Buy Blackhand Comics: Volume 1
Buy Deadly Class Volume 1: Reagan Youth & Volume 2: Kids of the Black Hole, pre-order Volume 3: Snake Pit

Comic Book Power Rankings – February 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine, although it is influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Saga Image 25
  There is a whole new danger afoot. I like the direction that this already-stellar series is taking our protagonists, even if it is head-first into danger.
2 Batman DC 39 1 -1
  Joker has been playing with his food up to this point. With Batman up against the ropes, the Caped Crusader is getting desperate, and the Clown Prince of Crime is getting brutal.
3 Spider-Gwen Marvel 1
  Who would have thought that one issue of a mini-series would launch such a cult following? Marvel really Hit the Jackpot with this one.
4 The Walking Dead Image 137 4
  I’m as enthralled as I am disgusting with the eyeball-licking love session at the end of the last issue. I’m excited to see Carl grow, no matter the nasty cost.
5 Deadly Class Image 11 6 +1
  Marcus isn’t out of the doghouse just yet. The last thrill-ride of an issue keeps the adrenaline flowing.
6 Suiciders Vertigo 1
  There’s no better way to spend your time in a post-apocalyptic world than to see drugged up gladiators with cybernetic enhancements pummel each other to death.
7 Batman and Robin DC 39 5 -2
  While it wasn’t as emotionally pleasing as the last issue, Robin getting a spot at the table with Batman and Superman is a big deal.
8 Superman DC 38 16 +8
  The end of the last issue was so explosive that I’m surprised I was able to hold onto the page. In just six issues, Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr created history.
9 Amazing Spider-Man Marvel 15
  Even though Spider-Verse winded down this month, Spider-Man has left behind a wake of Spider-lore that will continue to effect the Marvel U… until they reboot it all, anyway.
10 Bitch Planet Image 3
  This book is extremely polarizing, but it has resonated with women in ways that no super-powered chick has. It’s very real and very original.
11 Postal Top Cow 1
  I’ve got a fever for creepy mystery books, and this Norman Bates-ish post boy is the cowbell of creepers. After one issue, this is already among my favorites.
12 Detective Comics DC 39 14 +2
  Anarky is afoot in Gotham, bringing an aspect to Bat-books that has been sorely missing. Add in amazing artwork and a Harvey Bullock back-story, and I’m sold.
13 Mortal Kombat X DC 3 10 -3
  MKX is trying to build a cohesive backstory to the upcoming video game, and its doing a commendable job. Due to it being a digital first, the issues are a bit short, though.
14 TMNT: Mutanimals IDW 1
  How can one mutant be on the same level of wicked awesomeness as Mikey? Mondo Gecko, along with Hob and the gang, are just as interesting as the TMNT – if not more.
15 Wonder Woman DC 39
  David and Meredith Finch have done a fine job with Wonder Woman since taking over, but what has me geeked out is an inevitable showdown between Diana and Donna Troy.
16 Nailbiter Image 10 18 +2
  Like this series could get any creepier… Finch is done doing the Hannibal Lecter dance with Nailbiter, and we are going to have quite an interesting arc coming up.
17 EI8HT Dark Horse 1
  Time travel and dinosaurs have never NOT been a winning combination, and this new series is no exception. I haven’t enjoyed a new sci-fi series this much since Black Science.
18 TMNT IDW 43 8 -10
  Everything is coming to a head with Shredder and Krang, but the confrontation between the two factions left more to be desired. A great book, but I wish it would stop teasing us.
19 Shutter Image 10 17 -2
  Kate’s world has practically exploded in the last few episodes, and the epiphanies just keep on coming. I could do with some more Alarm Cat, but I’m still enjoying the ride.
20 Magneto Marvel 15
  The Master of Magnetism got his mojo back, and he has a new scary focus that is all about his business. I bet Sabretooth is wishing he got the memo earlier.

 

Notably absent:

Birthright: Daaad! There’s something weird going on with Mikey! This fantasy book about a long-lost brother is really just now getting juicy, but there’s a dark secret lurking in here somewhere, and I’m not sure I like the path that Birthright is taking just yet.

Nameless: This book almost made the list this month if not just for the fact that two of my favorite creators are working on it (Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham). That being said, I have no idea what the hell is going on. Not even a little bit

Hawkeye: Bittersweet that one of the most underrated books in the whole industry is moving on after this month, but Matt Fraction and David Aja had such great chemistry. I can only hope we will be that lucky again.

Deathstroke: The Expendables of comic books, right here. I mean, maybe not really at all. The explosions and punny retorts are there, but this isn’t your father’s Slade Wilson. Beautiful panels by Tony Daniels don’t hurt, either.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: The first book swallowed me up so wholly that I was feeling let down by the second book. There weren’t nearly as many jokes, and the set-up for the next arc felt kind of boring. I don’t expect that to last.

 

 

Comic Book Power Rankings – January 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine, although it is influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Batman DC 38
  There just isn’t a better book out there, and starting off Joker’s 75th birthday with Endgame is a great way to ensure the top spot.
2 Sex Criminals Image 10
  Unabashed sexuality and humor make this the most honest book on the shelves. And the freezing time with orgasms thing is great, too.
3 Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Marvel 1
  Plenty of silly to go around, Squirrel Girl isn’t just a great new book, but has potential to bridge gaps between comic book readers of all creeds.
4 The Walking Dead Image 136
  Carl is both a lover AND a fighter, as new dangers loom on the horizon (as always). Kudos for making this small world into a bigger, scarier place.
5 Batman and Robin DC 38
  Damian is back from the dead – with superpowers; he may be bulletproof, but he is not immune to the human condition as he deals with his own mortality. Beautifully done.
6 Deadly Class Image 10
  Sure, there’s the teenage angst of the 80’s, the murder, drug trips and the love triangles. But really, “That was no fart” is why this book is so high on the list.
7 Justice League DC 38
  How could Lex Luthor create more havoc as a good guy than as a villain… In any case, a zombie Batman JL vs. Supes and WW? Get the popcorn.
8 TMNT IDW 42
  Mutanimals attack! There is so much going on in TMNT right now, but the mounting war with Hob and Splinter interests me most.
9 Superior Iron Man Marvel 4
  Ever think to yourself, “self, Tony Stark sure straddles the line between good guy a-hole and bad guy a-hole.” Well, self, you’re right, and this book is why.
10 Mortal Kombat DC 4
  I’ve been waiting for a legitimate MK comic book for years. This is just as bloody and fun as the game, and will get me over til its April release.
11 SHIELD Marvel 2
  It’s like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but worth the time investment. We still get the strategic genius of Agent Coulson, now with superheroes!
12 Star Wars Marvel 1
  Who would I be if this on the list? In what was the most anticipated book this month, I’m already more into this run than I ever was with Dark Horse’s.
13 Multiversity DC ?
  Seemlessly poking fun at the Multiverse while creating a cohesive story, Grant Morrison does what Grant Morrison wants. Good for us.
14 Detective Comics DC 38
  I would never have guessed that Anarky would be the next great Batman villain. This book puts the “detective” back in Detective Comics.
15 Birthright Image 4
  What child doesn’t wish they could go on a Jumanji-style demon-slaying adventure with their family? A really lame one, that’s for sure.
16 Superman DC 38
  A new creative team introduced a new character, and really revived a series which has since been oerwhemingly underwhelming.
17 Shutter Image 8
  Shutter has been suffering recently from the necessary lull of storytelling, but it’s so unique and gorgeous that I won’t dare remove it from the Top 20.
18 Nailbiter Image 9
  Each issue has increasingly given me the heeby-jeebies. In a good way. I am not a horror comic fan but I am most definitely a fan of this book.
19 Moon Knight Marvel 11
  Shuffle around the creative team, take away his armor, Mark Spector is still one BAMF. Moon Knight is my new underground favorite at Marvel.
20 Tooth and Claw Image 3
  Making the list solely on the principle of curiosity, Tooth & Claw is a fantastical book of magic, anthropomorphic animals, and other ill s***.

 

Notably absent:

Saga: “What have you done for me lately” is the name of the game here. Expect Saga to knock one of these series off its high horse when the series returns from its three-month hiatus this week.

Wonder Woman: Barely missed the cut. Great panels and intriguing characters keep me coming back each month.

Spider-Verse: Another Marvel “event” has worn out its welcome and left me pining for the end. I’m done buying six books to understand one story.

Powers: Brian Michael Bendis’ soon-to-be streaming series is a whole new world (to me), but I think I need to learn more before I can really dive in.

Shaft: I expected this to read more like the comic book embodiment of Public Enemy, but it’s got more bark than bite at this point.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: I love this book, even more so since Brian Buccaletto took over, but there is just too much emphasis on “The Dark” recently for my taste.

 

 

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Writer

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Comic Book Writer

  • Geoff Johns – Superman (DC Comics), Justice League (DC Comics), Forever Evil (DC Comics)
  • Josh Williamson – NailbiterBirthright (Image Comics), Captain Midnight (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Matt Fraction – Hawkeye (Marvel Comics), Sex Criminals, Satellite SamOdy-C (Image Comics)
  • Rick Remender – Black Science, Deadly Class, Low (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder – Batman, Superman: UnchainedThe WakeAmerican Vampire (DC Comics), Wytches (Image Comics)

WINNER – Scott Snyder

Batman, Superman Unchained, The Wake, Wytches.  The man is a comic book writing machine.  And just because he writes a lot doesn’t mean his quality comes down either.  After all, he does have an MFA from Ivy League university Columbia; the man knows what he is doing. And he is making fanboys and fangirls around the globe very happy with his work.  – Adrian

Second Place – Josh Williamson

josh williamson writer nailbiter 7 best of 2014
Nailbiter #7

 

For me, 2014 was the year of Josh Williamson, and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how he wanted it. He was previously known for GHOSTED, but in 2014 Williamson launched two new series both of which have been pretty darn well received by their audiences and critics. Nailbiter is one of the most original and psychologically terrifying horror books to come out in 2014, but Josh apparently wasn’t done there; he decided to break the mold for fantasy books as well when Birthright came out in October. Williamson has a great career in the world of comics, especially for being less than 30 years told, and his unique take to storytelling is no doubt a huge factor in his success. If you’re not a fan or simply haven’t read his books yet do yourself a service and pick them up now. You can thank me later by sending me a nice bottle of wine. Or cookies. – Keriann

Third Place – Matt Fraction

Hawkeye #17
Hawkeye #17

Sure, he looks like Harry Potter’s dad, but Matt Fraction would never make fun of a muggle. Fraction has put in some good work with Marvel over the years, but this year has been an exceptional year for him. With Sex Criminals, Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky have pushed the boundaries of censorship, and his Hawkeye run has been one of the highest-grossing books Marvel has in its lineup. Both of those books have netted him an Eisner Award in 2014. Recently, he has been the writer of Ody-C, an outer space interpretation of Homer’s The Odyssey. If you’re ever bored, check out his Twitter page, where his display name is “butt stuff reindeer.” He’s kind of a weirdo, and I mean that in a good way. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Geoff Johns

Superman #35
Superman #35

If there was a crown for most consistently badass comic book writer, it would go to Geoff Johns. He’s like a reckless magician, introducing amazing and interesting new characters, and then vanishing before they ever really get a chance to live up to their potential or be fully fleshed out. I wish Johns could just write Justice League and Superman forever (not to mention Green Lantern, a book which he ended his ten year run on last year). Where Johns really gets it right is that he sees and plans the big picture before we even see the first panel; there is a plot of planning – logical planning – that go into a Johns story, and where you end up is exactly where you were meant to, and whether or not you saw it coming, you can’t believe that nobody ever thought to do this before. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Rick Remender

remender black science 6 best of 2014
Black Science #6

 

With a pen of righteous glory, Rick Remender has a thing or two he could teach other comic book writers.  This year Remender killed it this year with Black Science.  His masterful way of telling a single story through the eyes of many (with vastly different viewpoints) resulted in me giving standing ovations in the middle of my living room.  Each character he brought to the page had something new to offer.  No one character was driving this ship and that made for very memorable reading.  Remender also knows what it means to let a story drive a genre.  Black Science is all about multidimensional travel – very sci-fi heavy.  But if you were to read an issue with just text and conversation bubbles and all blank panels you’d probably find yourself just as intrigued and captivated.  That’s the sign of a truly good writer.  That’s why Rick Remender is Hush’s writer of the year. – Taylor

Next category: Best Comic Book Artist

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best New Series

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best New Comic Book Series

  • Image Comics – Deadly Class (Rick Remender & Wes Craig)
  • Marvel Comics – Ms. Marvel (G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona)
  • Marvel Comics – Moon Knight (Warren Ellis/Brian Wood & Declan Shalvey/Greg Smallwood)
  • Image Comics – Nailbiter (Joshua Williamson & Mike Henderson)
  • Image Comics – Shutter (Joe Keatinge & Leila del Duca)

WINNER – Nailbiter (Williamson/Henderson)

I love dark humor, and Nailbiter is chock full of it.  Nailbiter tells the tale of a town in Oregon that is home to a few too many serial killers.  People travel there to visit the murder store.  That alone is hilarious.  There are a slew of new murders occurring, and the police are involved.  We are slowly getting to meet the different killers and townsfolk, but the main killer, Nailbiter, is by far the best character in the series.  I look forward to this book every month, and am sure 2015 will bring out some very interesting things about the people of the small town.  Congrats to Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson for an amazing story.  Job well done! – Adrian

Second Place – Shutter (Keatinge/del Duca)

Shutter #2
Shutter #2

“Superhero this, superhero that. I want something different. I want… I want a vast and mysterious world full of danger at every corner. I want a gang of lions fighting with actual ghost ninjas, and ruthless assassins riding triceratops into battle and and and… the main character has to have a cute, unassuming companion. A pet. But not just any pet; let’s make it a ridiculous Japanese-inspired alarm clock cat. Oh, and it has to have a kick-ass artist like, uh… who’s that girl from Denver? Leila del Duca? Yeah, definitely her. Wait, what’s that? There’s a book like that out already? Hell yeah I will pick that up” – you after reading this

Third Place – Moon Knight (Warren Ellis/Declan Shalvey)

Moon Knight #2
Moon Knight #2

He’s the one they always see coming.  That’s the way he wants it.  He wants them to know in the moments before he ends them that they never had a chance.  This is the core of Marc Specter, Moon Knight.  Marvel revived the Moon Knight title this year.  I’d never heard of the hero before this year, but at the suggestion of a friend I picked it up.  Best. Decision. Ever!  For those unfamiliar, Moon Knight is a hero with very unique powers granted to him by the Egyptian deity Khonshu.  If he’s not kicking butt in his blindingly white three-piece suit, he’s doing it in his ancient Egyptian heavy armor.  In one word, Moon Knight is awesome.  I tend to use that term often, but after reading Moon Knight this year my “awesome-bar” has been raised quite high.  Thus I will be using it much more seldom in 2015.  I’m glad to know that a main arc for this series has just begun.  2015 should be an eventful year for Marc as he fights the evil that lurks in the darkness.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my search for my own suit of magical, ancient Egyptian armor.  I don’t know if I can face 2015 without it. – Taylor

RUNNER UP – Deadly Class (Remender/Craig)

Deadly Class #3
Deadly Class #3

A boy has to have a dream, and if that dream is to kill President Ronald Reagan, who are you to judge? Deadly Class is another awesome Rick Remender book under the Image Comics imprint that follows Marcus Lopez, common street urchin that gets recruited to a school of assassins. It’s relatable because it’s high school, but also not at all because they are constantly murdering each other. The use of color is phenomenal here; Wes Craig likes using vibrant colors to denote violence and danger – which is a majority of the time. The story has gotten continually deeper, and as Remender fleshes out the background stories of the supporting characters, it has only gotten more captivating since the first issue. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Ms. Marvel (Willow Wilson, )

Ms. Marvel #3
Ms. Marvel #3

I don’t need a comic book character that looks like me to be relatable. If I could relate my childhood struggles to anybody, it wouldn’t be Peter Parker; it would be Kamala Khan. The new Ms. Marvel book, written by Colorado native and Egyptian transplant G. Willow Wilson, follows a normal girl with a good family who is trying to find a way to stretch herself between two cultures. She doesn’t just do battle with baddies, but with all the everyday problems that plague a girl in her position. Aside from the funny Arab-American banter, there is a lot this new generation of comic book readers can learn from a girl like Kamala. – Sherif

 Next Category: Comic Book Mini-Series

Comic Book Reviews 06-25-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

 

Pick of the Week:

 

Superman #32 – A

No, this is not Bizzaro World; Superman actually got a higher score than Snyder and Capullo’s Batman. This is proof that DC’s poster-child, Clark Kent, is not washed up. All it takes is a phenomenal creative team, and the Man of Steel is returned to his former glory. Thanks to writer Geoff Johns, I’m ready to start following Superman for the first time since George Pérez left at the beginning of The New52. He did have a little help from DC Comics’ rookie, JOHN ROMITA JR. That’s right – legendary Spider-Man artist and Kick-Ass co-creator is drawing the most iconic character in comic book history now. The best part about this book is that it is a perfect jumping-on point for new or estranged readers. Not that I can solicit this book any harder, but the story had me humming the John Williams theme song. The Big Blue Boy Scout is back! – Sherif

 

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse:

Dream Thief: Escape #1 – B+

Dream Thief is a new comic out this week and it is pretty cool, I gotta say.  The story is a nice twist on revenge and possession, both major factors in main character Johnny Lincoln’s life.  Johnny gets possessed by murdered ghosts sometimes.  Those ghosts then go find their murders and use Johnny to kill their murderers.  While it sounds very creepy, it is a pretty funny book because it has a lot of quips to keep the story just light enough to not be so disturbing.  The story takes place in the mid 80’s in Florida, which makes a for a very beautiful and colorful backdrop.  The book ends with Johnny meeting another person, a very special person (no spoilers, I promise) who also gets possessed by ghosts, allowing the story to end on a pretty major cliffhanger, and making me want to pick up this book immediately next month! – Adrian

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #6 – B+

Another series that has come to an end and after six months, Serenity and its crew finally get everything, well almost everything resolved.  The series ends on a great note and one that I really wish I could see done with the cast and crew of the show. This last issue makes any Serenity fan tear up by just looking at the cover with Wash being so prevalent so seeing that image going into the last issue it sets you up to have so much of what happened to Wash get resolved and have everyone on the track to healing after the insane events of the film Serenity. – Jacob

 

DC/Vertigo:

Batman #32 – A-

Zero Year is really heating up as we approach the climax – the showdown between Batman and Nygma is heating up… kinda. There is a constant back and forth between the two to see who has the statistic advantage. Even though both are so young in their respective masked careers, they are both supremely sharp and the battle of wits is a site to see. The issue ends on yet another cliff-hanger, and this one makes a little less sense than I would have liked, but that’s the nature of a story centered around The Riddler. Batman has been the most consistently great book in the DC staple, so if you’re on the fence, definitely read this arc. – Sherif

Justice League #31 – A

The idea of Lex Luthor being a valued member of the League is ridiculous, and writer Geoff Johns is not afraid to show it. Since a very dreary Forever Evil arc, Justice League is enjoying a nice little break before the next Big Bad comes along. Unlike other books, there’s no filler here. We get to see the new Power Ring, as it begins to corrupt a poor young woman in Portland. Meanwhile, Lex comes to Bruce Wayne with that shocking discovery, and it’s interesting to see Lex get the upper-hand of the detective who’s always thinking six steps ahead. Mostly though, it’s Shazam and Cyborg that steal the show with their hilarious banter at the Watchtower. – Sherif

 

IDW Comics:

Super Secret Crisis War #1 – A

Here we have an ultimate team up of all of our favorite Cartoon Network characters joining together because all of their villains are planning to take over multiple worlds together. For this issue I love how each character is done in their distinctive style and yet they all feel like they belong together which makes this issue so much more than just pictures of my favorite cartoons together. Hopefully with all the main issues and one shots included in this series we will get to a point where it all is explained a little bit better than what we got in this issue, but it is all leading up to a series that will have anyone who watched Cartoon Network freaking out because of happiness by the end. – Jacob

X-Files: Season 10 #13 – B

Thins are getting real! More of The Lone Gunmen, more Krycek,, and everyone is crazy! This issue is definitely one of the better ones as part 3 of this current story arc, and we get a couple answers but just like X-Files, we get more questions. The art in this series can be a little hit or miss, as it is not very detailed and at times it can be hard to tell who is who. The writing of this series though is what makes it good and it gives me so much hope for another movie that could be awesome. Although this issue was great for me, I have not missed an issue so for anyone trying to start here it would likely be rather confusing. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

Saga #20 – A

If I had a dollar for every time I screamed “Holy S***!” while reading this issue, I would have $3. Seriously, follow through the pages and tell me if you can spot them. I may still be a little punch-drunk off meeting Fiona Staples at Denver Comic Con, but I’m in love with her art, and with the beautiful writing of Brian K Vaughan. The range of story goes from “trouble in paradise” to straight up disturbing by the end of the issue. How long can Alana and Marko stay hidden? What the hell is going on with Prince Robot IV? Mostly, though, I wonder how many more times can we tell you how amazing Saga is before you go read it?? – Sherif

Deadly Class #6 – A

A “sadistic, twit redneck who likes to f*** sheep” sounds like the most terrifying villain of all time. This book is so ludicrous; I love it. The kids’ trip to vacation has been no vacation, but they band together over a common enemy – the way everything plays out had my eyes wide and my heart racing. At the end of the day, every issue of Deadly Class has been beautiful and brutal, and this issue is no exception. This is a great read if you think need something to make you feel better about your own high school experience. Each issue uncovers more and more of the students’ pasts. This was a perfect way to close out the arc. – Sherif

Outcast #1 – B-

Robert Kirkman is at it… still. I can’t really say “again” because well, The Walking Dead is still happening.  Anyway, Outcast is Kirkman’s answer to the Horror genre. We follow main character Kyle Barnes and his really bad luck with the women who are closest to him getting possessed by demons, and then he has to exorcize them.  I’m not sure if this is a comment on women or not, but I’ll tell you this, for the first 20 pages of the 48 page issue, I had no clue what was going on.  But don’t let this turn you off.  By the end of the story, it all kind of makes sense.  And leaves enough unsaid that makes the reader want to know more about Kyle, our new demon hunter hero, or should I say Outcast? – Adrian

 

Marvel:

Amazing Spider-Man #3 – B

The return of Peter Parker has been a solid one so far. While he was “away,” Otto Octavius made quite the mess of his life: pissing off frenemies, chasing off close friends, and falling in love with another woman. The story with Black Cat is getting very interesting, as she is reborn with a lot more moxie this time around. Peter, meanwhile, is learning the joys of owning your own business. It’s quirky and fun, but is lacking of any real substance right now. The story is still building, so I’m sure that will change in the next couple issues. – Sherif

Ms. Marvel #5 – C+

I don’t know what happened between the end of issue #3 and this one, but somewhere along the line, the book lost a lot of momentum. I’m still really excited to see where Ms. Marvel is going, but it seems to have lost a bit of the flare and the social relevance that catapulted it to the top of my reading list each issue. I’m still interested in the story, and the dynamic characters are a lot of fun in themselves, but it still needs something to push it back over the hump. – Sherif

Original Sins #2 – C+

This series obviously is a way to connect lesser character of the marvel universe to the Original Sin storyline going on now. All of the stories so far don’t really show much connection but a small mention of the events in Original Sin. Each issue is going to contain a large Young Avengers story and then two other stories one being a medium size and the other usually just two pages. It does make me happy that Howard the Duck got to be the small story in this issue, but other than that novelty, I don’t see too much of a connection between these stories to warrant purchasing this issue unless you are a completest. – Jacob

Deadpool vs Carnage #4 – C-

Although this series has been dull, and left you wondering why is it happening (which is actually quite strange considering the other things Deadpool has done). In this last issue we finally get everything resolved, absolute insanity is brought down to a little bit crazy, and we can all finally take a nap and forget it all ever happened. But seriously this series has been entertaining for what it is, the artwork has definitely been good throughout the series and this last issue. Ultimately this series will have its fans but mostly it is just a series to read on a boring day, and there are much worse things to readout there. – Jacob

 

Funniest Panel

Shazam and Cyborg discuss additions to the Watchtower in Justice League #31
Shazam and Cyborg discuss additions to the Watchtower in Justice League #31

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

awesome panel 6.24
Superman and his mystery buddy tag team this robot in Superman #32

 

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.