Man of the Moment

Sean William Scott

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Friday, December 31, 2004

('s 2004 Wrap-Up Awards 

The "There But For The Grace of God" Award for comic-book fans who most embody all the negative stereotypes about comic-book fans had a lot of stiff competition this year. For a while there I was sure the Bendis Board was going to come out into the lead for the now infamous "Fuck, Marry Kill" thread, but in the end the award had to go to the John Byrne Forum, for not only giving us such wonderful bon mots of wit as "hispanic women with blond hair look like prostitutes, no matter how clean they are" and "Christopher Reeve isn't a hero because he didn't choose to be crippled" but for also reminding us why cults of personality are a bad thing.

The Comic That Best Chronicles Its Creator's Ongoing Nervous Breakdown award has to go to Cerebus, which started out as a really very funny humor book, reached it's artistic height when Sim started using it to explore issues of religion and government and the relationship between the two, and went all to hell when Sim suddenly realized that women were out to get him, and that there was a sinister plot between women and homosexuals to emasculate all the God-fearing heterosexual men. He even managed to get in a few pointless swipes at Muslims as the series reached it's conclusion.

The Making My Job Easier Award goes to Marvel for their clear, easy to understand and consistent content guidelines.

The "Everything Old Is New Again" Award faced some stiff competition again this year. From comic-book companies going out of business due to gross financial mismanagement, to the revival of moribund properties and the return of artists we'd all rather hoped had retired, just about every major comics publisher was in the running for this award this year. But, in the end, it has to go to Marvel, for not only brining back books and characters from the past, rather than at least trying something new, but for instituting an arcane system of variant covers in an effort to bring the speculator market back into comics full-swing. Next year I fully expect Marvel to announce that they've partnered with CGC to pre-slab all their comics.

The Best Comic That Can Also Be Used As A Weapon Award goes to DC's "Absolute" format hard-covers. They're too big to comfortably read and a little too pricey for anyone but the most dedicated fan (says the man who owns at least 3 of them...), but man, if you ever need to stun a moose, these are the books you want with you.

The "We Get It Already" Award goes to Chris Ware, who now seems utterly incapable of not including some complaint about where his books get shelved in any interview, or on the books themselves. Mr. Ware, we all know you dislike your books getting shelved next to role-playing games and X-Men comics, but until a concerted effort is made to get bookstores to shelve art-comix in the literature section, I think you're just going to have to live with the situation.

The Most Entertaining Comic Of The Year Award goes to Brad Meltzer for Identity Crisis. Not for the actual content of the story, which was a decent but not exceptional pot-boiler, the super-hero equivalent of a book you take with you on a long plane flight, but for all the enjoyment I got out of watching bloggers, comics pundits and columnists, and message board posters going out of their minds alternately savaging and sainting Meltzer for his work.

The "You Know, They Make Good Comics Too" Award goes to Slave Labor, for continuing to bring us comic after comic that is desperately trying to recreate the success of Johnny The Homicidal Maniac and falling short.

And now, the slightly less sarcastic awards:

Best Super-Hero Comic is a tie between Adam Strange, for its lush art and fast-paced adventure, and She-Hulk for being a fun, all-ages and accessible comic that uses existing continuity as a point for building new stories, not as a way to freeze out newer readers. I hope both books become models of what a super-hero comic should be like.

Best Original Graphic Novel goes to Scott Morse's Spaghetti Western, for no reason other than it's the one I liked the best.

Best Non-Super-Hero Comic is a tie again, and goes to WE3 and Demo. Morrison and Quitely's sci-fi talking animal book is the most visually exciting and dramatic story I've seen in quite some time, and Morrison's talent as a writer shines through. Wood and Cloonan's tales of angst and strange powers was an excellent experiment in using the form of the 32 page comic to tell full, compelling stories that were far deeper than most of their neighbors on comic racks.

Sexiest Comic Creators is a tie-again.

John Cassaday

Steve Sadowski

They draw nice, too.

Person Of The Year I think is Grant Morrison, for bringing a delicious blend of Freudian undertone and whimsy to super-hero books with Seaguy, creating the best action comic in years with WE3, and bringing mad ideas back to the staid-old JLA with JLA: Classified. All-in-all, it was an excellent year to be reading books by Morrison, and with Seven Soldiers of Victory, Vimanarama, more potential Seaguy and All-Stars Superman to look forward to, 2005 should be an excellent year for Morrison fans as well.

(edited because, after I got home from work, a couple of minor typos were drawn to my attention, and I realized I never finished my thoughts on the Byrne Forum)


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