Top 10 Comics of 2012 | Steve Higgins

Higgins Best of 2012Comics, comics, everywhere, and barely a minute to read.

 

 

 

In November of 2011 my wife gave birth to our daughter, an event that was life-changing in a number of different ways. Obviously one large effect having a baby had on our lives was in regard to our finances, as the cost of things like formula, diapers, and onesies had to be factored into our budget. I assumed before the baby was born that these additional expenses would require me to cut back on my comic-buying habits somewhat, and I planned accordingly to drop a few titles that I wasn’t enjoying as much as I had once been. The cull of dead weight from my pull list was a relatively painless process, and I found I was still able to afford many of my favorite monthly titles.

What I had not counted on was the fact that I would no longer have time to read many of the comics I was regularly buying. Every comic fan has a “to read” pile of graphic novels and single issues that he or she intends to get around to reading when they find the time, but as my free time dwindled due to my ever-growing parental duties, my stack of unread comics grew and grew. As months passed I found myself reaching the end of 2012 without having read enough of the comics I purchased to put together a proper list of the best books of the year. Instead I have created this list of the Top 10 Comics I Bought in 2012 and Wish That I’d Had Time to Read.

Higgins Dark Horse Presents 1

10. Dark Horse Presents (various creators, Dark Horse Comics; issues unread: 1-20)

Even before my daughter was born I got behind on this book, simply because it was always easier to read three 22-page comics than to read this 80-page behemoth each month. I really need to make more of an effort to read it each month, considering several of my favorite series like Concrete, Finder, Beasts of Burden, and Rex Mundi have seen short stories published within its pages.

Higgins Fatale 4

9. Fatale (W: Ed Brubaker, A: Sean Phillips, Image Comics; issues unread: 4-11)

To be honest, if I were given a choice of what Brubaker/Phillips collaboration I could read monthly, I’d pick Criminal, no question. That’s a big reason why this book has languished on my pile, waiting to be read, but that’s not a fair comparison. This horror/noir comic is still very strong in its own right, and I wish I could get caught up on it.

Higgins Courtney Crumrin 1

8. Courtney Crumrin (W/A: Ted Naifeh, Oni Press; issues unread: 1-8)

Ted Naifeh’s all-ages series about a young girl and her uncle who both have magical abilities has long been a favorite of mine. When I heard it was going to become an ongoing, in color no less, I was very excited. So why haven’t I read a single issue of it? Good question.

Higgins RR6-COVER

7. Rachel Rising (W/A: Terry Moore, Abstract Studios; issues unread: 6-13)

I really admire Terry Moore’s Echo, and this series about a woman who rises from the grave is equally strong. I actually started deliberately waiting to read this one until I had several issues of it in hand, finding it was better to read it in larger chunks, but I haven’t made it back to read it in a while and the chunk just keeps getting bigger.

Higgins Sweet Tooth 31

6. Sweet Tooth (W/A: Jeff Lemire, Vertigo Comics; issues unread: 31-40)

Many Vertigo series which I’d been buying monthly throughout their run have recently ended, including Northlanders, I Zombie, and Scalped, and I have yet to read the conclusion of any of them. Sweet Tooth is the one of those series that I liked the most, enjoying the world and the characters so much that I’m sad to see it end. That sadness will possibly keep me from reading the book’s final issues a little longer than any of the others, as I am reluctant to say goodbye to that world just yet.

Higgins Mind MGMT 2

5. Mind MGMT (W/A: Matt Kindt, Dark Horse Comics; issues unread: 2-7)

A St. Louis-based artist who I know fairly well, Matt Kindt is someone whose work has long been among my favorites, regardless of the fact that he is a friend. But if our friendship is indeed factored in, then my getting so behind on this, his new ongoing series from Dark Horse, is absolutely appalling. I read the first issue and loved it; I can do no more but apologize to Matt for not having had a chance to read further as of yet.

Higgins The Sixth Gun 18

4. The Sixth Gun (W: Cullen Bunn, A: Brian Hurtt, Oni Press; issues unread: 18-27)

Similarly I have known Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt for many years, and again quite separately from that personal connection I am a huge fan of their Western/Horror mash-up from Oni Press. I was so happy for them when news was recently announced that their comic is being given consideration as a pilot for NBC, and I was more than a little ashamed at the same time that I have fallen so woefully behind on the book itself.

Higgins Punk Rock Jesus 2

3. Punk Rock Jesus (W/A: Sean Murphy, Vertigo Comics; issues unread: 2-6)

I met Sean Murphy at C2E2 last year and approached him for a sketch, telling him how much I admired his work on Joe the Barbarian, which I consider the best thing Grant Morrison has attached his name to in years. He thanked me profusely, and as he drew, he told me a little bit about his new miniseries from Vertigo called Punk Rock Jesus. Its premise of a reality show in the near future focusing on a clone of Jesus intrigued me, and I decided then and there to preorder the comic when it came out. I even made the time to read the first issue, which set up the rest of the series well. However, time slipped away from me, and now that the miniseries is done I intend to go back and reread the first issue again before then reading the rest of it in one fell swoop.

Higgins Stumptown 1

2. Stumptown: The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case (W: Greg Rucka, A: Matthew Southworth, Oni Press; issues unread: 1-5)

The first Stumptown series was a fantastic detective yarn in the tradition of Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe or television’s Jim Rockford. When it concluded, I couldn’t wait to read more stories featuring the main character, Dex, working more cases. Apparently it turns out that I could, as I have with this entire second series.

Higgins Saga 1

1. Saga (W: Brian K. Vaughan, A: Fiona Staples, Image Comics; issues unread: 1-9)

I have read and enjoyed almost every book Brian K. Vaughan has written, including Runaways, Y the Last Man, Ex Machina, even The Escapists and his run on Mystique. When I saw this new sci-fi comic from him was coming out, I preordered it, considering it a no-brainer. And as I’ve been buying it month after month, the accolades from friends and critics have poured in, with everyone raving about how great Saga is. I still have yet to crack open even one issue and that is a damn shame.

In closing I feel the need to mention that there were several comics (and a few graphic novels) that I did find the time to peruse, and a few of those were quite noteworthy books. I loved Alison Bechdel’s follow-up to Fun Home, Are You My Mother?, and Darwyn Cooke’s third Parker adaptation The Score was quite good. I read and liked several comics from DC’s New 52, especially the Dark line with its takes on Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Dial H, and I Vampire, the last of which was to me the highlight despite its recent cancellation. The comic version of The Walking Dead continued to far outshine the television adaptation, with the events of issue 100 being especially shocking and memorable. Finally, two new comics stood out to me as worth finding the time to read: Matt Fraction and David Aja’s new Hawkeye book for Marvel, and The Massiveby Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson at Dark Horse. | Steve Higgins

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