10 for ‘08…

…being a semi-random list of 10 comic book things that tickled the Suspending Disbelief’s fanboy fancy in’08  by Michael K. Willis

ALL-STAR SUPERMAN

Yeah it took Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely almost 3 years to get out 12 issues but who cares?  Freed from the shackles of continuity, Morrison let his mercurial imagination run and the result was a fun and funky, reverent and utterly, delightfully unrestrained Superman story that was well worth the wait between issues.  Quitely’s stunning artwork was a wonderful bonus treat.  The line for the Absolute All-Star Superman edition starts right behind me. 

AMERICAN FLAGG: DEFINITIVE COLLECTION, VOLUME 1

Long time in coming, the hardcover volume…collecting AF 1-14 and more, was well worth the wait as well.  Howard Chaykin’s seminal work is still as vital and prescient as it was when it came out back in the 80’s and this beautiful book is a fine showcase for it. 

THE DARK KNIGHT

Yes it was dark and perhaps a tad too long but it was also amazing with an utterly chilling and incredibly engaging performance by Heath Ledger at its bleak heart.   All super-hero movies should be this good. 

DYNAMITE COMICS

This company is putting out an impressive lineup.  Picking up Garth Ennis & Darrick Robertson wild and woolly The Boys from DC was a great move but their must-read output doesn’t stop there.  I had a special fondness for The Lone Ranger, Alex Ross’ Project Superpowers (and its spin-offs), Zorro, and Grant Ennis’ Battlefields.  They also get props from this quarter by putting out the hardcover omnibus edition of Ennis and Gary Erskine’s amazing Dan Dare series (originally published by the now-defunct Virgin Comics.) 

FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS

The core Final Crisis is…oh, let’s be kind and say taking its time to make sense…but this book is like manna from heaven for Legion of Super-Heroes geeks (like me.)  Geoff Johns and George Perez and more Legionnaires than you could shake a flight ring at…what’s not to love?  :-) 

GREEN LANTERN

Geoff Johns and company are firing on all cylinders with this book and super-hero space opera has never been more fun as it ramps up from the grand Sinestro War and barrels headlong towards the multi-Lantern wonder that next year’s “Blackest Night” promises to be. 

IRON MAN

Robert Downey, Jr. was so perfect for this role in the movie that if you didn’t know better (but, of course, we do right?) you’d think that Stan had created the character of Tony Stark with him in mind.  In comics, the hard decisions that Stark has made since the Civil War came back to bring him low…and as annoyed as I was with the character at one point (I was on Cap’s side) I took no joy in it…instead I am intrigued to see how he claws his way back (you know he will.) 

LOVE & ROCKETS: NEW STORIES

Where the Hernandez Brothers lead, I will follow.  The new annual, trade paperback format for L&R makes for a long wait between issues…but, again, I’d rather have it good than fast so whatever works for the Bros works for me (especially when the results are as cool as the first issue was.) 

SECRET INVASION

Brian Michael Bendis is a magnificent bastard (something I’m sure he hears all the time) who masterminded a crossover that flowed so smoothly together that you’d think they actually planned it that way :-)  While part of me wishes that Marvel and DC Universes would lighten up…super-hero comics are supposed to be fun, aren’t they?…I can’t deny that I’m intrigued to see where things go in the dark aftermath of the Skrull invasion (even if that does mean we have to wade through a half-dozen or so Avengers titles in the process.)

VERTIGO COMICS

The good folks at this DC imprint had a banner year with a bunch of must-read titles flowing out at a wonderful clip.  Led by Bill Willingham’s ever inventive and simply wonderful Fables and Jack of Fables the line also featured gems like Matt Wagner’s fascinating Madame Xanadu, the absurd and acerbic Army@Love, the brutal but engrossing Unknown Soldier, the engaging Air, the groovy super-hero riff Greatest Hits, the beautiful Neil Gaiman/P. Craig Russell adaptation of Sandman: The Dream Hunters, Brian Woods’ always compelling work (DMZ, Northlanders, the Demo trade paperback), and more.  It was a good year to get Vertigo. 

* * *

Happy reading…and continued suspension of disbelief…to you and yours in ’09!

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