2006 started feeling like the 90s all over again. Stash traffic hitting ballistic as I tunneled back in time to the rookie geek in me , buying everything in sight ,owning a lot of crap , culling them severely. Good news, though: 2006 ended like 2005. I’m back to collecting four non-sporadic monthly ongoing titles, my more-then-ten-year average- - - New Avengers (until Leinel Yu leaves), X Men(until Carey leaves or I get bored with them mutants,as I always do), Superman (until Busiek or Pacheco leaves) and Iron Fist (until either Matt Fraction or David Aja leaves) . The rest are either finite series or are so sporadic- - - Love and Rockets, Pop Gun War - - - they might as well be . And the ones closest to my heart - - -mostly stuff from Image - - - are the object of tradewaiting. My wallet, to put it mildly, is beside itself with glee.
My year in comics, then.
Limited Series of the Year / Book(s) of the Year: Long story short. Here are my favorite comics of last year. Finite. Ongoing. Unfinished. Whatever. The reads with headbutt. Unmissable and alphabetical.
A.L.I.E.E.N. (Lewis Trondheim, First Second) : McConey’s a minor gem. Moreso, Trondheim. More out than McConey , this is a bit of avant candy, like Happy Tree Friends without the store-bought brattiness.
DC Solo 12 (Brendan McCarthy, DC) : McCarthy’s underworked and that's the crime. So all manner of his narcotic strangeness foreclosing DC’s most audacious experiment smacks of making up. His Flash screams for an All Star treatment.
Elmer (Gerry Alanguilan,Komikero):Speaks to me in ways Maus wanted to but couldn’t. At turns funny, sad, profound, daring. And it’s only halfway done.
I Was Lost In Salasco (Josel Nicholas, Monkey Vs.Squirrel):The story behind the domestic indie breakout story of ’06 is that there’s no story. Josel still had stacks of this when the Komikon closed - - -shows you how rock and roll the scene really is. Underlooked lo-fi scratchy-punk social comment that does what every indie comic should : spits in your eye, kicks against the pricks. Aiming for literacy is a game for wussies.
Nextwave Agents of H.A.T.E. (Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen, Marvel) : Gutful of party-down irreverence weaponized into a silver bullet that’s a headful of manga tripout. Funnest superhero comic of ’06. So, of course, it gets cancelled.
The Night Trippers (Mark Ricketts & Micah Farritor,Image) : Everything a good comic needs - - - vampires, rock and roll, psychedelics and art that will lick your eyes.
Phonogram (Kieron Gillen & Jaime Mckelvie,Image) : “A rabid jackal of a comic, prckly and drooling” No better way of calling it. Phonomancy is the new black. Must.
Seven Soldiers (Grant Morrison,JH Williams III and Various,DC) : Chinese puzzle with interlocking ,independent pieces. Masterpiece of synergy. Instruction codes for crossovers with story surplus. Opiates.
Trese: Our Secret Constellation (Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, Alamat) : In which Trese goes from a quasi-X Files bubble bath to something you shoot up and alters your chemistry a bit. Dangerous , brilliant, possibly sublime - - - the Darna inversion to catch up with. I start roadwork tomorrow. Damn you, Budjette.
Wisdom (Pete Cornell & Trevor Hairsine, Marvel MAX) : Turns out the Ellis-channeling's just smoke, residue. Cornell has his mojo down - - -it's very British, it's very weird and it's very bloody good.
Honorable Mentions:Arnold Arre's Andong Agimat - - -Tagalog could use a bit of spit and polish but this is still Arre's shining hour by way much. Matt Fraction & Gabriel Ba's Casanova - - -the faint undercurrent of Diabolik sucked me in and I am a Fraction-fanboy-in-progress. And Gaiman and Romita's Eternals - - -why few Gaimanheads have picked up on this is a mystery for the ages, could be the superhero walk-ons, could be that it's a Civil War crossover of sorts, could be that it's harder to dress up in public as Kirby characters, could be that Gaimanheads are just faddists.
Hero of the Year/Best In Costume/Best In Ripped-Apart Costume/Best In Body: Iron Fist. Iron Fist. Iron Fist. Iron Fist. Respectively.
Writer of the Year:Grant Morrison still had most of the old school biting the dust and eating his but Brian Wood's stuff on Demo and the bits of Local and Supermarket I read last year were knocks out of the park. And then there's Kieron Gillen.
Artist(s) of the Year:
Top Row: Brendan McCarthy for - - - you need any more reason? Yoshitaka Amano for Hero .
Second Row: Micah Farritor , mostly for The Night Trippers and for making Strange Girl the Image comic I'm tradewaiting for with bated breath.
Third Row:Frank Quitely for the handful of All Star Supermans that left pretty much everyone in the lurch. Leinel Yu for snagging the clock-in art grunt job on New Avengers.
Bottom Row: And Bong Leal for being Bong Leal.
Company of the Year: Hands down Image Comics.
Worst (Or Mostly Just OK But Really Blah except for The Creeper which sucked eggs) Books :Oh god . . . the Johns/Donner Action Comics (but not the Kubert art), Eddy Barrows' art for The All-New Atom(but not Gail's writing) , Civil War (but not the McNiven art) and pretty much all its tie-ins except Robinson's Frontline , the Steve Niles Creeper reboot, the sleeping pill Dini made out of Detective , Infinite Crisis, Meltzer's JLA revamp and most OYL titles, Brubaker's New X Men but then mutants were never my thang, not all but parts of Siglo:Passion and its oh-so-corny coinage, Teen Titans , Carey and Portacio's Wetworks and pretty much the rest of Worldstorm - - -except Authority and Tranquility. I love superheroes but a lot of them put up a stink in 2006.
Famous Last Words: Crossovers suck.