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Best of… 2014

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That’s right folks, it’s time for yet another “Best of…” list for 2014. Over at All-Comic.com, there were a lot of choices and names that brought us to the people you see below. There are a ton of fantastic creators and publishers that you don’t see on this list that we all love and respect. 2014 was a fantastic year for comics and comic fans and in our opinions, based on several rounds of internal voting, the following is some of our favorites:

Best New (Ongoing) Series:

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Jamie McKelvie and Ian Herring

Following in the footsteps of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel, G. Willow Wilson brings a fresh take to the then vacant title of Ms. Marvel. Marvel and the entire creative team have really outdone themselves and with G. Willow Wilson signing exclusively to Marvel we can all rest easy that we should be getting a lot more Ms. Marvel in the future.

“As a whole, Ms. Marvel #1 is one of the most impressive comics Marvel has released in recent years. Wilson, Alphona, and Herring are setting out to create a comic capable of uniting an unbelievable spectrum of comics fans. Its welcoming and fun story is nearly impossible to resist smiling at while reading, and Kamala is the type of character who’s extremely difficult to dislike.” – Nick Rowe, All-Comic.com

By a landslide, Ms. Marvel takes the title of our Best New Series for 2014.

Runners up: Birthright (IMAGE) by Joshua Williamson and Andrei Bressan, Southern Bastards (IMAGE) by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour

Best Ongoing Series:

Batman by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Miki and Fco Plascenia

In a long list of Batman-related titles, Batman proper has been the brightest star. Not only for Batman himself, but for DC Comics as well. This team they’ve assembled is not only one of the best to work with ol’ Bats, but also arguably one of the best teams in comics ever. With big-time Bat events like Zero Year and Endgame, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and team are firing on all cylinders and month after month continually top themselves. Most recently, Snyder’s Joker has been praised as being up there with some great names:

“…This issue is full of moments that are genuinely stunning and Capullo really brings [the] point home with some borderline disturbing images. Speaking of disturbing, this is the scariest Joker we have seen in years.  After this issue, Snyder’s Joker is easily up there with Moore and Morrison’s interpretations.” – Derek Baker, All-Comic.com

Without a doubt, Batman is our Best Ongoing Series for 2014.

Runners up: Saga (IMAGE) by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, Rat Queens (IMAGE) by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

Best Interior Artist:

Greg Capullo (Batman)

It might be inevitable after our last category that Mr. Greg Capullo has taken the top honors. From fine panel details to 8-story billboards in Times Square, Greg Capullo can do it all. An instant name among the Batman greats, Capullo’s passion and design pours onto every page he creates and month after month he, along with inker Danny Miki and colorist Fco, pumps out some of the best looking pages you’ll ever lay your eyes on.

Greg f’n Capullo. This guy literally bleeds into the pages that he spends hours crafting, and it shows. Look at his design for this Justice League Buster armor that he’s created. Just look at it! The hints of a bat, the scale of it; everything about it is just perfect and he makes it seem so easy.” – Tyler Goulet, All-Comic.com

His work is among the best in the industry, month in and month out, so naturally Greg Capullo is our Best Interior Artist for 2014.

Runners up: Chris Samnee (Daredevil) and Francesco Francavilla (Guardians of the Galaxy, Afterlife with Archie)

Best Cover Artist:

Francesco Francavilla (Afterlife with Archie, The Twilight Zone, The Shadow, The X-Files, many many more)

Scan the shelves at your local shop and it’s immediately evident that when it comes to covers, no one stands as prominently tall at Francesco Francavilla. Beyond just the sheer number of covers he produced in 2014, the care and craft on display is immeasurable. You just KNOW a FF cover when you see one, be it adorned on a Dynamite, Marvel, IDW, Vertigo, Image, or, of course, Archie title. Immersive, atmospheric, often noir-inspired and always stunning, that painterly style meshed with, sanguine reds, haunting blues and deep blacks that seem to go on forever, Francavilla is truly a master of the cover craft, ensuring your eye will be more than caught and your imagination will run amok envisioning what lies behind those beautiful, declarative images.

Joyfully providing the jeepers in all of our collective creepers, Francesco Francavilla is our Best Cover Artist of 2014.

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Runners up: Fiona Staples (MARVEL, ARCHIE, IMAGE) and Skottie Young (MARVEL)

Best Writer:

Tie: Joshua Williamson (Birthright, Nailbiter, Captain Midnight), Scott Snyder (Batman, Wytches, The Wake)

A tie? Damn straight it’s a tie! Looking over their full bodies of work this year, it’s impossible to deny just how deserving both Mr. Williamson and Mr. Snyder are. With Nailbiter and Birthright, Joshua Williamson didn’t just knock on your door, he kicked it down, lit it on fire, built you a new door, and then knocked that one down too. The man’s a magician, making you focus what’s going on in one hand while he prepares to blow you away with what’s waiting in his other, with plenty up his sleeves for 2015.

This has been stated before, but Joshua Williamson is easily one of the hottest talents in comics…Williamson continues to weave a beautiful mystery that demands to be read and talked about.” Derek Baker – All-Comic.com

Oh, and that Scott Snyder guy? You know, the one who scripts our Best Ongoing Series? Well, in 2014 he also blew us all away with the conclusion to his Vertigo mini-series, The Wake, continued to pen the best book in DC’s stable, help construct the launch of a new weekly book with Batman Eternal, launched a book in Wytches that has kept the majority of the All-Comic staff awake at night ever since and at least a million other things, all amongst the best in the business.

Snyder, who is no stranger to the genre, appears to tap into not only the supernatural, but also the darkness within people…This title is, no doubt, on its way to becoming a piece of iconic horror literature. Wytches will not only please fans of this genre, but any comic book reader eager to find a story that keeps them in suspense.” – Erik Gonzalez, All-Comic.com

How good a year did these guys have? They both beat out BKV, that’s how good a year they had. Deservingly so, Joshua Williamson and Scott Snyder share our title for Best Writer of 2014

Runner up: Brian K. Vaughn (Saga)

Best Colorist:

Jordie Bellaire (MARVEL, IMAGE, DARK HORSE, VERTIGO, VALIANT)

In a category that is rightly gaining the attention it deserves, the competition has grown fierce and yet, at the end of the day and after looking over the catalog of work, there wasn’t really a question as to who this prize would go to: Jordie Bellaire. THE Jordie Bellaire who seemingly colored everything this year with an unmatched skill that is nothing short of stunning. Be it the mesmerizing work of contrast in Moon Knight, the bold innovation of Manhattan Projects, the subtle grace in The Massive….look, you get the idea. She’s a coloring chameleon able to allow her colors to simultaneously allow the pencils and inks to shine through on their own merits, while asserting themselves as an invaluable storytelling element.

“…The preeminent Jordie Bellaire, who plays just as large a part in the storytelling as her collaborators. Her palette in the flashbacks sequences, muddied and washed out sepia, reds and yellows, is entirely responsible for what makes them so engrossing and effective. There’s great blending throughout that adds a staggering about of enrichment to background textures be they ornate laboratories or city skyscrapers, not to mention the disgustingly good job on the spider-clown-needle-faced-blob-monster. Thanks for that Jordie.” – Alex Mansfield, All-Comic.com

While there’s a number of colorists deserving of recognition for their contributions, none held a candle to the color-machine of Jordie Bellaire, our Best Colorist of 2014.

Runners up: Matthew Wilson, Matt Hollingsworth

Best Publisher:

Image 

Here’s the deal: Image Comics is currently producing the boldest, most creative, most innovative, most addictive comic books available. And they do this month after month after month, without fail and without apology. As some of the biggest creative names in comics flock to Image, so do their fans and frankly, the entire industry is better because of it. Their annual Image Expo convention is becoming THE convention to attend to understand where comics are going, not where they’ve been. We could list some of the titles, but honestly, you already know them. They’re the best books on the market and chances are you’ve already been told to pick them up lest you miss out on what makes comics uniquely great.

Big-name talent, big-name ideas, big-time game; Image Comics is undoubtedly our Best Publisher of 2014.

Runners up: Marvel Comics, Valiant Comics

Best Mini Series/OGN:

The Wake

Breaking rules and defying all expectations, Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s The Wake nothing short of a transcendent experience into horror, mystery and, surprisingly, joy. The tenth and final issue hit stands in July, but its mark is still being felt. Propelling the reader through time and space and out of every comfort zone, The Wake is a study not just in how to tell a compelling story, but how to grab the reader by the throat and make them beg not to let go.

“From the get-go you’re introduced to writer Scott Snyder’s knack for creating vast mythology. He’s a writer intent on recreating history and using real information to create smart and engaging stories. He’s basically found a way to weave Mermaids into human history in a way that if found 200 years from now could serve as a textbook to future generations and be believable…Sean Murphy’s artwork is as masterful as ever…Matt Hollingsworth has created two different worlds between the first and second half just by his play with the colors…From the very beginning Snyder introduced a world where curiosity and bravery were the means to new worlds, and new experiences. In this final issue he brings that ideal back around full force and we’re left with a story that pushes the reader to look forward and chase after their own adventure.” – Dan Leicht, All-Comic.com

 

Haunting, terrifying, inspiring and reassuring, All-Comic is proud to declare The Wake our Best Mini-Series of 2014.

Runners up: Andre the Giant: Life and Legend (:01) by Box Brown, Translucid (BOOM! STUDIOS) by Claudio Sanchez, Chondra Eckert, Daniel Bayliss and Adam Metcalfe

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