What a year 2012 was for comics. It became readily apparent as we were prepping these lists that yeah, this was one hell of a year, and it was impressive if only because the incredible diversity. We saw more titles showing up in all of the categories than ever before, which just speaks to the breadth of genres and types of comics everyone can experience if they just look in the right places these days.
2012 was a paramount year for new comics, with a huge selection of books coming in for this category as options. Ultimately though, it came down to five books that you’ll see a lot more from as we go along because they were just so damn great. Let us know what your picks would have been in the comments, and make sure to pick these books up!!
5. MIND MGMT
Why it ranks (Mike Romeo): Matt Kindt is one of the best cartoonists working today. He’s spent the last decade building a solid library of wonderfully drawn, wildly imaginative graphic novels. But what happens when he starts to consider the merits of the monthly ongoing comic? Mind MGMT is what happens, and your pull list is all the better for it. In Mind MGMT, Kindt explores espionage and world politics through the lens of psychic manipulation. What would happen if global superpowers had a fleet of mental projectionists to impose their will on unsuspecting populations? How would these agents cope with their actions? What’s the fallout from giving individuals that kind of power? These are the ideas Kindt wrestles with every thirty days. Then, as if the story itself wasn’t enough, each issue is littered with backup strips, secret messages, and fake ads that fit together like a puzzle to unlock even more content on a secret website. Not only Kindt is pushing to give each and every reader of this series a reason to return month after month, but he’s also working incredibly hard to ensure that Mind MGMT has more bang for your buck than any other title on the stands.
Why it ranks (Michelle White): Tim Seeley and Mike Norton’s “Revival” was billed as a “rural noir” on its release, which seemed like a misnomer when it came clear that this was in fact a story with zombies in it. But it’s the focus on character and on atmosphere that has made “Revival” one of the strongest debuts of the year, with Seeley and Norton making the most of the Midwestern small town setting and crafting a tale that’s as much about the interpersonal worries, fears, schemes, and suspicions of a small group of people as it is a subtle — and occasionally gory — horror story. Standing at the centre of it all is Officer Dana Cypress, a character who’s both sympathetic and flawed, and just wants to figure things out and keep her sister and her son safe. Along the way, Norton’s art has established just the right mood, capturing the odd eeriness inherent to sunny snowy days, while his character work has kept all the characters believable as well as faintly untrustworthy — which is fitting, because the way things are going, it looks like a majority of them are hiding something or other. Overall, “Revival” has been a novel story intricately and masterfully told, as well as a potent, erm, revival of the zombie genre. We’ve got high, high expectations for the rest of this series.
3. Manhattan Projects
Why it ranks (Matt Meylikhov): A surprise to no one who is a regular reader of Marvel Comics, Jonathan Hickman’s first creator-owned ongoing with the sprightly Nick Pitarra is a smash hit of 2012. Featuring a fantastic dark and clever concept that explores WWII’s greatest minds, this sci-fi book very quickly made a name for itself with rich characters, incredibly detailed artwork and a sharp eye for color and design, “Manhattan Projects” is very much unlike any other title to come out this year, and one that very quickly established itself as a new Image staple. Add to that the overlying mystery of it all as to what’s really going on behind some of the doors this book keeps shut, we’re given a very smart and dense series from two of the creator-owned world’s best talents. “The Manhattan Projects” is by far one of the can’t miss new books of 2012, and given how well it smashed its way out of the gate this year, 2013 should be just as great a year for the series.
Why it ranks (David Harper): Hawkguy is pretty much my main bro, at this point. In just five issues, Matt Fraction has made Clint Barton the superhero that everyone would want to hang out with, always doing the right thing the wrong way but always in entertaining fashion. They’re, for the most part, delightful one and dones that are just a blast to read. Then you have the art from Dave Aja and Javier Pulido (not to mention the extremely underrated and important colors of Matt Hollingsworth) who are such great fits that we can’t imagine any other artists on the book (although we said that about just Aja before Pulido was on the book). This is the most fun book in comics, and you know what? Sometimes, comics should just be fun.
Make mine Hawkguy, bro.
Why it ranks (Walt Richardson): Was there really any doubt in anyone’s mind that “Saga” would make the top of the list? I didn’t think so. Brian K. Vaughan’s return to comics had an enormous hype machine behind it in the months preceding its debut, leading it to be one of, if not the most anticipated book of the year. It would have been so easy for things to go horribly awry; after raising our expectations so much, the odds that “Saga” would actually follow through with the pre-release excitement seemed stacked against the series. The key word there, though, is “seemed.” Seven issues in (eight, depending on when this goes live), and “Saga” has proven itself to be everything everyone wanted it to be: imaginative, exciting, heartfelt, and above all, a goddamn good read. Vaughan’s pen still brings characters to life like nearly nobody else in the business, and his space fantasy world is both familiar and new. The breakout star of the book, however, is artist Fiona Staples, who has been creating some of the most fantastic comic pages of the year in this ongoing series. Saga’s debut year was nothing less than stellar, and I can’t wait to see it defy our expectations further in 2013.