Best Comics Of 2013 Part One Of Two

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.

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Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

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Itty Bitty Hellboy by Art Baltazar & Franco

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Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe & Roc Upchurch

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Killjoys by Gerard Way, Shaun Simon & Becky Cloonan

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The Wake by Scott Snyder & Sean Murphy

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Hawkeye by Matt Fraction & David Aja

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Revival by Tim Seeley & Mike Norton

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Locke & Key by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez

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Mind MGMT by Matt Kindt

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Young Avengers by Kieron Gillan & Jamie McKelvie

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Trillium by Jeff Lemire

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Saga by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples

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Baltimore Comic Con ’13: Top 5 Writers I Can’t Wait To Meet

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!

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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.

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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!

1Sean 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.

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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.

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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!

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Free Comic Book Day 2013!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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Kristin

Batman #13 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

I’ve always deeply loved and adored Gotham’s finest crime fighting Bat team, whether they’re gradually kicking butt across the beautifully drawn panels in a comic, animatedly doing so on my television, or being portrayed by actors on the big screen.  I definitely own more Batman comics and trades than any other title in my personal library and I love each and every one with my whole heart.  I’ve often spoken with people (more recently) that have enjoyed the Christopher Nolan films, but are intimidated by the comics because they’re unsure where a good starting point would be amongst all of the Bat history.  With DC’s reboot of The New 52 last year, it made it easier for some folks to jump in on the story and gain some background knowledge before delving further and exploring the extensive Bat lore.  Many longtime comics readers have been critical of DC’s New 52, but I myself was thrilled to be given the opportunity to introduce my world to a bunch of newbies.  Having already been very familiar with Batman, and with Scott Snyder’s beautiful prose, I had very high hopes for the series and as anyone who has been reading will tell you, Snyder and Capullo’s Batman is certainly a standout in the new wave.  If you haven’t already, you can pick up a copy of the first trade Batman Volume 1: Court of Owlsand the second trade Batman Volume 2: The City of Owls on Amazon.  And you can read my spoiler free review of the issue after the photo ^.^
After tearing through the first 12 issues of Batman, and waiting (not so) patiently after reading all of Scott Snyder‘s tweets, I was extremely anxious and excited to see one of my favorite villains return to wreak some havoc in Gotham city.  After months and months of waiting, it finally happened.  Today was the day that the new story arc began and The Joker himself resurfaced!  I literally counted down the minutes until my lunch break so I could run to my comic book shop and hold in my hands the very issue I had been coveting all along.  If anyone could write a Joker story, it would be Scott Snyder.  Again, the high expectations were set, the pressure was on, and my heart began to race as the first speech bubble appeared at the top of the page.  I read and read until finally, on page 8 his giant face graced Bruce’s monitor.  I don’t want to spoil any of the issue for those who haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I will say that it was everything I wanted in a Joker-centric story arc and more.  And it was only the first issue!  Robin, Nightwing, and Batgirl all were already involved in the story, and The Joker made it clear to Gordon that he has is out for Barbara.  There was even an appearance by my favorite female villain, The Joker’s lovely counterpart, Harley Quinn.  The final page of the issue was so shocking and terrifying, that I’m quite uncertain as to how I will be able to wait until next month to get another piece of the story.  And as always, the artwork is absolutely breathtaking.  Greg Capullo designed gorgeous die cut covers for each of the issue #13’s of the titles involved in the “Death in the Family” story arc which I recently blogged about for On Wednesdays We Wear Pink.  I was pleased to find that I was able to intimidate several of my instagram followers who all admitted that they would be having nightmares after viewing my ‘mask.’  On Sunday during NYCC, my number one priority is to attend DC’s Bat panel, and if the audience dons Joker masks (at SDCC they were all Court-of-Owls-mask-clad) I will simply squee in delight!  What have you all thought of the story so far?!  Tell me in the comments, on twitter, or on tumblr!
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My Favorite Moments: Baltimore Comic Con 2012

This past month was the first time I have ever attended Baltimore Comic Con and I can confidently state that it is one of my favorite (possibly even my most favorite) of all the cons I have ever attended.  The convention is very comics-centric and since it’s much smaller than SDCC or NYCC, you’re able to see and do everything you could possibly want to without spending any time waiting on long lines.  Many of the industries leading talents were in attendance and because of the size, everyone was very approachable and you were able to have actual conversations with the people you admire without feeling rushed.  Not to mention all the shopping I did and all the rad cosplay I saw!  So once our press passes were approved, my brother and I got up super early on Saturday morning (like 3AM early), and hopped on a train to Maryland.  For the first day of the con I decided to sport my Lazy Oaf Batman bodysuit, which was lucky because one of the guys at the Stylin’ Online booth loved my outfit so much, that he gave me a pair of these Batman earrings for free!
I also ran into Scott Snyder again!  He and Greg Capullo were signing together and I had them put their John Hancock on a copy of one of my single issue Batman variant covers.  Greg was also giving out a limited edition print, and I was able to snag one of those as well.  Immediately afterwards, we found out via Twitter that Jeff Lemire (for those who don’t know Lemire is my absolute favorite comic book writer), was signing at the Top Cow booth.  Even though I had already read his latest graphic novel, Underwater Welder three times and own a hard copy and review pdf, I decided to purchase another, in which Jeff drew a beautiful sketch of Jack complete with bubbles and a personalization to me.  But here is the craziest part, there were only about 5 people waiting on his line, so I did not have nearly enough time to try to relax and be cool when I met him (see the photo of me smiling all uncontrollably silly with Lemire as proof).  That alone made my trip worth it, but there was so much more!  If you haven’t already read Lemire’s Essex County, Underwater Welder, or Sweet Tooth, you should immediately drop everything and pick them up!  I even cosplayed as Sweet Tooth earlier this year.
My next favorite part of Baltimore Comic Con was definitely the shopping.  I got a Wonder Woman messenger bag (lined with navy blue fabric with white stars), a kawaii Superman backpack, a Totoro necklace, Wonder Woman and Batgirl Barbies, and a ton of artwork.  I also finally got to meet my Twitter friend Joe Eisma who is the artist and one of the masterminds behind Morning Glories.  Joe totally made my day when he told me that he loves looking at my instagram photos to see the kind of outfits I’m wearing since the Glories are all just a few years younger than me.  I got a gorgeous Morning Glories print of Casey signed by Joe, since she is one of my dream cosplays.  I also met Thom Zahler and Amy Ratcliffe where I purchased some of the best Spider-Man artwork I’ve ever seen.  The art I now own depicts Gwen Stacy (aka me) and Mary Jane fighting over a Spider-Man costume.  It’s absolutely adorable!  I also was really excited to meet Amy, who is a writer for Nerd Approved with a serious affinity for Star Wars, and she was super sweet in person!  Next I visited Cliff Chiang’s table and we reminisced about seeing Marvel’s The Avengers.  Dan Slott and I had sat next to him during the Marvel screening last April.  I’ve really been loving Cliff’s Wonder Woman artwork in the New 52, and I always loved his Zatanna art as well.  I got a really cute set of mini prints from him that included Batgirl and Teen Titans art.  My last stop for artwork was at Paolo Rivera’s table.  I simply had to have the iconic Daredevil snow angel cover from issue #7 of Mark Waid’s run and of course a Spider-Man print.
And lastly, what would any convention be without some good ole fashion cosplay?  On Sunday’, Baltimore Comic Con hosted their annual costume contest, so that is the day to attend if cosplay is your thing.  I loved some of the really unique costumes I saw such as Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, The Riddlers, and a Captain Marvel fashioned after Kelly Sue DeConnick’s new series.  After the con my brother and I grabbed some dinner and drinks near the hotel before calling it a night.  Oh! Another favorite highlight was during the Marvel NOW! panel when Mark Waid made my brother stand up and model his “I’m Not Daredevil” t-shirt from WeLoveFine.  For full coverage of the panels I attended and the Harvey Awards, you can view it all at On Wednesdays We Wear Pink!
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