I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it plenty more times, I love lists. Which is why I also love when the year is ending because it’s the perfect time to reflect on the things you enjoyed in the past 365 days, and compile them into one comprehensive guide (or in this case, one comprehensive guide in two parts). There were so many amazing comics published this year that it was too much of a challenge for me to narrow the list down to ten. I decided to divide my favorites into two parts with 12 on each list. Even with a total of 24, I feel as though I’m still neglecting several series that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this year. The list is overwhelmingly Image and Marvel titles and as much as I adore each of the series I’ve chosen to highlight, I am hoping for more diversity next year.
Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo
Itty Bitty Hellboy by Art Baltazar & Franco
Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe & Roc Upchurch
Killjoys by Gerard Way, Shaun Simon & Becky Cloonan
The Wake by Scott Snyder & Sean Murphy
Hawkeye by Matt Fraction & David Aja
Revival by Tim Seeley & Mike Norton
Locke & Key by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt
Young Avengers by Kieron Gillan & Jamie McKelvie
Trillium by Jeff Lemire
Saga by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
At most conventions it’s difficult to meet and spend one on one time with creators because of huge lines and such, but that is not the case at Baltimore Comic Con. I usually don’t write a “Writer’s I Can’t Wait To Meet” post because chances are, I’d have to spend most of my con floor time waiting in a line, and quite frankly, that’s not why I go to cons. Midtown Comics often hosts comic signings with wonderful creators in the industry, so I always make my way over to those and I reserve my con time for mingling with friends, admiring cosplayers, purchasing new toys, and swooning over all the prints in artist alley. But for Baltimore Comic Con it’s reasonable to formulate a mental (and now physical) list of writers you’re looking forward to seeing. Here are mine!
Mike Carey – Baltimore Comic Con is Mike Carey’s only United States convention of the year, and I’ve currently been re-reading and obsessing over his Unwritten series for Vertigo. Carey has an original graphic novel coming out later this year based on Tom Taylor’s adventures and I’ve been dying to find out more information about the story. You may also be familiar with Carey’s other series Lucifer, which is a spinoff of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman. He’s also written some Hellblazer, Fantastic Four, and a whole lot of X-Men.
Joe Hill – I haven’t yet met Joe Hill which is kind of crazy since I admire him and his prose so much! I was thrilled to see his name on the list of attendees this year and I can’t wait to introduce myself to him. Joe and I have followed each other on Twitter for quite some time now (ever since I wrote a few reviews gushing about him & Gabriel Rodriguez’s brilliant Locke & Key series), and I’m so excited to get to see him IRL. I’m also a huge fan of his horror novels Horns, Heart Shaped Box, and of course NOS4A2. And holy smokes, I am so excited for his upcoming Wraith: Welcome to Christmasland comic!
Sean Gordon Murphy – You may also recognize Sean Gordon Murphy from my Top 7 Artists I Want To Give All Of My Money To post from yesterday. Murphy is a jack of trades having mastered both writing an incredible story and illustrating one in his own stylized manner. I first fell in love with Murphy’s work after reading Punk Rock Jesus, and I’m currently loving the Vertigo series, The Wake, he’s co-creating with Scott Snyder. I actually met Murphy at a Midtown signing a few months before I left for filming, and again on Free Comic Book Day, but nonetheless, I’m excited to see what he has with him in Baltimore. Oh! He also designed a super awesome Batman Black & White statue that you have a chance of winning from Comics Alliance.
Mark Waid – Mark Waid is another writer I’ve met in the past, but I’m still really looking forward to seeing again. Waid was at Baltimore Comic Con last year and he has one of the best senses of humor of anyone I’ve ever met. He helped moderate the Marvel NOW panel which was getting ready to launch at the time (oh, memories). Waid actually made my brother stand up in the middle of the panel because he just so happened to be borrowing and wearing my “I’m not Daredevil,” t-shirt from WeLoveFine which Matt Murdock dons in issue #7 of Mark Waid’s incredible run. Daredevil is my second favorite Marvel hero (second only to Spider-Man), and I absolutely adore the direction Waid has taken the series in. He’s also written some other notable stories like Kingdom Come and Superman: Birthright. So yeah, he’s kind of a big deal to me.
Bill Willingham – Bill writes one of my favorite Vertigo series of all time, Fables. I love everything that he’s done with the characters and how he’s modernized their story. He’s managed to create one of the most fascinating universe’s in comics today, and he shows no signs of stopping any time soon (thank goodness). I’ve also previously met Bill Willingham at last year’s New York Comic Con and he had plenty of hilarious stories to tell, including one about my best friend Melissa as the drunken Snow White from a signing in Texas a few years back. Baltimore Comic Con is also hosting the official East Coast Fables panel which is going to include the majority of creators who have worked on the book, and it’s going to be a full TWO hours!
After going back through my list, I’ve realized how many of these creators I’ve already met! Being the huge comics fan that I am, it doesn’t even lessen the excitement level for me the slightest bit, and I am so thankful for that feeling! One more day, and to Baltimore I go!
This year Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) coincided with May the Fourth and I was initially conflicted with which sector of geekdom I felt like representing that day. Ultimately, I chose to wear a comic themed ensemble as the previous year, May the Fourth Lando’ed (horrible pun) on the same day as the theatrical release of The Avengers, and I wore Star Wars things. And that is how my mind works. I’m hoping that next year, we’ll get two separate days to celebrate because why not! I ended up spending the majority of my day at Midtown Comics’ Downtown location on Fulton Street. They were one of the only stores in New York City that had signings going on and we all know how much I love getting books signed by authors and artists! After a slight subway mishap when my C train decided last minute that it wanted to be an F, I ended up in Brooklyn, and had to turn around and head back to Manhattan. I had received more stares than usual on the train due to my Supergirl theme, but it was exceptionally weird when a guy started taking photos of me without asking. That’s just creepy. I’m happy to pose for a photo if someone asks permission, otherwise, it’s just uncomfortable.
The first signing I went to had Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos signing copies of Archaia’s FCBD offering, Mouse Guard. I had wanted to purchase a copy of Cow Boy, which is the Archaia book that the pair created together, but sadly, Midtown was out of copies. But I did also have Nate sign my copy of PIGS, so I was really happy about that! While I was chatting with them, Chris took a photo of me which was posted on CBR as part of their Free Comic Book Day Coverage! I had initially been referred to as Supergirl with her Superman, but it looks like they’ve since revised it to say my actual name. Not that I have any issue being referred to as Supergirl. There had already been a line formed outside for Midtown’s later signing with Scott Snyder and Jim Lee who were promoting their new Superman Unchained book for DC Comics, so Nate and Chris went outside and signed books for everyone in the line as well. And Chris sprinted down the alley to Vine a video of the line, which was quite hilarious and ended in him getting chased by motorcycles. I was also so excited to meet other Kristin H., who handles the official New York Comic Con twitter account. We had previously been guests together on a special Geek Girls Named Kristin edition of the Average Intelligence podcast which is hosted by Gary, but we hadn’t ever met in person until FCBD.
After the signing, my friend Tanya and I did a quick run to the new comic shop, Carmine Street Comics, which had just opened two days earlier. Carmine Street Comics is run by two former employees of Manhattan Comics (the old Cosmic Comics), which sadly, closed two after FCBD. I like that their new store focuses on indie comics. Aside from checking out the location and stock, one of the main reasons I wanted to head there is because I had been wanting to read Brad Abraham’s Mixtape ever since fellow blogger Ari did a spotlight of the series on her site. And now I have them! We also ran to Joe’s Pizza which is a famous pizza place which you may remember from Spider-Man 2. It just seemed appropriate. Next we headed to Forbidden Planet for all of three minutes before leaving to meet my friend Lauren, and her roommate Andrea for some sandwiches and comics at the Times Square Midtown Comics. Lauren and I were the perfect embodiment of the day, with me representing Supergirl, and Lauren in a Star Wars tee.
Then it was back to Midtown Comic Downtown for the Scott Snyder and Jim Lee signing. The store was incredibly busy as everyone was really excited to see Scott and Jim. Two of my friends had been scheduled to interview them both before the signing began, Ali for MTVGeek, and Alan for CBR. After their interviews concluded we had some books signed (I had Scott sign my copy of American Vampire Volume 1, and I must’ve had a major brain freeze because I totally forgot to bring my copy of Hush for Jim to sign – who just so happens to be my favorite Batman villain). But oh well, next time! Then we headed out for drinks and some food, but right before leaving to head home, we ran into Scott Snyder outside of bar and he invited us in to hang out for a little while. It was so much fun! Jim Lee bought us drinks and Lisa chatted with him about psychology. Then Alan, being the sweetheart that he is, drove me all the way home so I didn’t have to take the train. Lisa, Alan, and I listened to a Neil Gaiman audio play for our mini road trip, but we only had the time for half so I’m still dying to find out how it ends!
How was your Free Comic Book Day & May the Fourth? Do you have any yearly traditions set up to celebrate your geekdom on either day? I’d love to hear all about them! I broke my usual tradition of doing a comic shop crawl and hitting all of the stores in NYC, but I had an amazing day nonetheless! I was shocked at how quickly the time had passed. Next year, I’m definitely going to make an effort to hit more shops!