It’s that time of year! The Multiversity Year in Review is here, and from now until Thursday, December 22, we will be talking about favorites in a variety of categories. Let us know what we missed in the comments!
3. Ta-Nehisi Coates
(Alice W. Castle) Of all the things I’ve written for Multiversity Comics, this might be the trickiest. What can be said about Ta-Nehisi Coates that hasn’t been said a million times over throughout the year. He was already an award winning writer and journalist before he even came to our little humble abode in comics. Hell, he was recipient of a MacArthur Grant in 2015. He was, by no means, small potatoes before he was announced as the writer of “Black Panther” and I think that was one of the reasons that series felt so important.
Taking a character that had languished in the past few years and allowing a prominent writer and journalist well versed in race relations use his experience to tell a story reflective of the racial divide in the world while also just being a damn good comic put Ta-Nehisi Coates’s name in the mouths of people who might not have heard of him. I certainly wasn’t as aware of his work as I should be before he entered the comicsphere because I’m generally a terribly uneducated shut-in of a nerd. Coates’s writing on “Black Panther” opened me up to the writing of a man who was rightly considered a genius. I don’t know if Coates will stick around comics in 2017, but I certainly hope he does because he could do huge things for the medium.
2. Magdaline Visaggio
(Ken Godberson III) As a whole, Black Mask Studios has been releasing high quality content, but over the last year, “Kim & Kim” was the major highlight. It brought a name unfamiliar to most to the forefront: Magdaline Visaggio. In record time, this writer was able to give so much life to Kim Q. and Kim D., both as individuals and their relationship. Alongside that, Visaggio is able to create so much mirth into the book without it ever coming off as grating which it could have easily fallen into. “Kim & Kim” has gone on to massive, deserved critical acclaim and Visaggio herself has “Quantum Teens Are Go” happening next year along with a backup story in DC’s “Mother Panic”. Here’s to more work from her!
1. Cecil Castellucci
(Chris Thompson) It feels a little disingenuous to call Cecil Castellucci a Breakout Writer, but in terms of her comic career I would have to say that 2016 was definitely a breakout year. I’d actually missed her earlier work with DC on The Plain Janes and other things, but her recent “Shade The Changing Girl” (and the upcoming “Soupy Leaves Home”) really made me sit up and pay attention. Considering my love of Steve Ditko’s original Shade — not to mention Peter Milligan’s excellent reimagining in the late ’80s — there were some pretty big shoes to fill, yet Cecil has done it with aplomb. I’ve actually been enjoying all of the Young Animal line, but her work on “Shade The Changing Girl” with Marley Zarcone and Kelly Fitzpatrick has definitely been the stand-out for me. It’s still in its early days, to be sure, but when I think of the writers who most impressed me this year, I immediately think of Cecil. I had the pleasure of chatting with her at this year’s SDCC, and I look forward to seeing her work with Jose Pimienta on Soupy Leaves Home from Dark Horse in the new year. If what we’ve seen so far is anything to go by, then I only expect things to go onwards and upwards.
Brian: I think it is fair to say that, within the world of comics, all three of these writers made huge strides, both in terms of their work, and in terms of public opinion. Someone like Coates was not a known quantity in comics, but had a huge following outside, whereas Visaggio broke through to her biggest audience in any capacity with “Kim & Kim.” And then there’s Castellucci, who has been a pro for nearly a decade, but really came into her own this year.Continued below
I’m also very happy that, unlike some of the other lists we’ve had thus far (and one notable one coming up), we don’t have a single straight, white, cis male on this list.
Mike: I think it’s humorous that a MacArthur genius made the list. Comics keeps it humble!
Matt: Castellucci’s Princess Leia book was a lot of fun. I hope these creators don’t lose their souls as the mainstream corporately-owned superhero companies notice they attract a lot of attention and use their names to sell books.