December always brings many reflective articles looking back on the best of everything that’s come out in the last twelve months. With so many pieces looking back over the entirety of 2018, it’s sometimes easy to forget that stuff is still coming out throughout December, despite the holiday wind-down that we’re all obviously on.
So join us here at Multiversity as we take a look back over the last 31 days and reflect on the month of comics that was December 2018.
Best Issue: “Miles Morales: Spider-Man” #1
There were many contenders to this crown, most of which were strong debuts which rose to greet the end of 2018. “Die” from Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, “Martian Manhunter” from Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo, even the latest issue of “Klaus” (more on that later) were all vying for this position. I’m a big fan of Spider-Man, though, which makes me completely bias to this brand new day for Miles Morales.
There’s something so quintessentially Spidey about this opening issue from Saladin Ahmed and Javier Garron that reading it instantly took me back to my younger days where you’d find me devouring those old black and white “Essential Spider-Man” volumes. Lee, Ditko and Romita produced some of the best web-swinging adventures that Marvel has ever released, but the quality of this latest debut, along with its faithful acknowledgment of (but not blind adherence to) the tropes and trappings of the world they’re playing in makes “Miles Morales: Spider-Man” #1 such a treat for fans old and new.
Best Writer: Al Ewing
Why Al Ewing hasn’t been given the keys to Marvel’s big events I do not know. He’s consistently produced some of the wildest, most high concept stories to come out of the House of Ideas over a period of years at this point, and his latest work on “The Immortal Hulk” is further proof of his talent.
Not only that, but he was involved in the “Defenders: The Best Defence” crossover that took place throughout December, and if you’re familiar with his writing from books like “Ultimates” you’ll see his fingerprints all over this fun and frantic event.
Best Artist: Dan Mora
If you look back over the previous issues of “Klaus” (whether it’s the single issues of the limited series, or the two one-shots), you’ll notice that Dan Mora adapts and changes his art style to suit the tone of the individual story. He’ll morph his overall aesthetic in order to present an altogether different experience to any of the issues that came before, to the extent that you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a different artist altogether.
The original “Klaus” series was like a fairy tale superhero origin for Santa, and Mora’s exaggerated forms and facial expressions reflected that feel. Fast-forward to this year’s “Klaus and the Crying Snowman” and his linework is sharper, his page structures more frenetic and his inking is scratchier in high energy panels and thicker in quieter, moodier moments, both of which fit in with the darker elements of the plot. It’s become an annual delight to see what he brings to this series every December.
Best Festive Special: “Klaus and the Crying Snowman”
December is the season to be jolly, and while there are some years where the celebrations seem to pass comics by, in 2018 there were plenty of festive specials to commemorate this most wonderful time of the year. “Red Sonja,” “Hellboy,” “Archie,” “Curse Words” and the “Giant Days” team all had holiday specials out. DC had a bleakly named “Nuclear Winter Special,” and Marvel had not one, but two specials: “Merry X-Men Holiday Special” and “Season’s Beatings.”Continued below
There was fun to be found in all of these, but what stood above the pack is the now traditional “Klaus” special from Grant Morrison and Dan Mora. “Klaus and the Crying Snowman” is the third annual one-shot since the end of the main limited series in 2016, and it continues to build a complex and colorful world of gift-giving beings that save the world (not to mention Christmas) from evil festive plots. This time, Klaus teams up with a tragically forgetful snowman to protect Earth from sentient tree-beasts and aliens who want to steal the warmth of the sun.
Most Concluding Chapters of Major Comic Books Released in One Day: Six
Oh Marvel, you’re so crazy. I totally get it. A new year is approaching, you want to get your old storylines out of the way so you can start January fresh, but finishing off four of your events (plus two series) in one day seems a bit…excessive, don’t you think?
Wednesday, December 19th saw Marvel release the final parts of three of their biggest events of the year. “Extermination,” “Infinity Wars” and “Spider-Geddon” all ended at the same time, and the Three-week mini event “Defenders: The Best Defence” also came to a close. Throw in the fact that the 12-part “Old Man Hawkeye” ended and the final issue (#25) of “Star Wars: Darth Vader” also came out, and Marvel seems determined to start 2019 off with as many loose ends tied up as possible.