Well, here they are folks, out winners and the respective runners-up for 2015. There were a lot of great creators and books nominated, and even more across the industry. This is but a small look at some of the books and creators we thought stood out the most from this past year of great comics.
Best Publisher: Image Comics
Publishers like Boom! and Black Mask made huge strides this year, easily producing some of our favorite books, but when all is said and done, at the end of the day, all the votes are counted, all the chickens are home to roost, all the colloquialisms questionably tacked together… Image Comics once again reigns supreme. The sheer number of quality books pushes this publisher above the competition; it’s a deluge of creativity that’s unmatched. Once an indie darling, we officially live in the era of The Big Three. Go ahead Image, #ownit.
Runner Up: Black Mask
Best Writer: Jason Aaron
Southern Bastards. Thor. Weirdworld. Doctor Strange. The Goddamned. Jason Aaron is all over the map and we love him for it. It’s not just that each of his titles are excellent, it’s that they’re all radically different from each other. Aaron is consistently consistent at being whatever the hell he wants to be and as a result is batting 1.000 in the comics game.
Runner Up: Matt Kindt
Best Artist/Penciller: J.H. Williams III
Here’s the deal: J. H. Williams III is pretty renowned for mindboggling layouts and gorgeous precision, and this year he delivered the best work of his career. What Williams delivered in Sandman: Overture is mind-blowing and displays a mastery of the craft virtually unmatched not just this year, but any year. Elements of Escher, Bosch, and Eisner are all over this work and if you haven’t taken the time to completely lose yourself in the sprawling wonder that is Overture, heck, you haven’t seen what it looks like when comic dreams come true.
Runner Up: Andrew MacLean
Best Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Woooooow, is this category loaded. Color artist is an absolutely stacked category this year and there are plenty of other names that deserve recognition. Of all the categories, this is the one where you could legitimately say, “they’re all winners” and not in that Millenial “everybody gets a trophy” sort of way either. However, there can be only one and when forced to choose the one that will rule them all, the answer becomes clearer: this is Jordie Bellaire’s world and we’re all just living in it. Bellaire is a chameleon of color, able to change her style to match the work while still establishing herself as a storyteller all her own through her incredibly smart choices and skill. Pick up a book and if the colors absolutely sing in perfect harmony, there’s a 100% chance that Queen Jordie’s the reason.
Runner Up: Matt Wilson
Best Letterer: Todd Klein
Another talent-heavy category, this year’s nod goes to arguably the industry’s most prolific letterer and gentleman who literally wrote the book on lettering, Todd Klein. Incorporating a blend of traditional and modern techniques, Klein manages to dazzle with his choices of fonts, placements, effects, and ability to blend seamlessly into the narrative. Paired with the visual powerhouse that is Williams III on Sandman: Overture, the letter art was never pummeled, but rather, it was equally essential. Plenty of deserving artists in this category, but there’s a reason Klein’s name is synonymous with lettering.
Runner Up: Steve Wands
Best New Series: We Can Never Go Home
You remember being over at a friend’s house, chilling, listening to music, and you hear something that absolutely blows your mind from some band you’ve never heard of and you have to know right now who and what this is and where you can get it? That’s what We Can Never Go Home from Black Mask Studios is except it goes the extra mile and hops out of the speakers and punches you right in your face to boot. Style, substance, heart, tragedy, humor, ass-kicking, punk rock; We Can Never Go Home came out of nowhere to smack around your emotions and leave you wanting more. With two thoroughly developed and irresistible lead characters, a grounded approach to super-powers, some guns, and a mix tape, Matthew Rosenberg, Patrick Kindlon, Josh Hood, Amanda Scurti, Tyler Boss, Dylan Todd, and a bevy of contributors created something special. It might be eBay’s favorite variant cover comic book, and those things are beautiful, but let us tell you: the story inside those covers is worth every damn penny.
Runner Up: Midnighter
Best Continuing Series: X-O Manowar
X-O Manowar has been, arguably, one of the most consistent series since the Valiant Comics relaunch way back in 2012. With writer Robert Venditti (Green Lantern, The Flash) at the helm and a string of revolving artists like Cary Nord, Diego Bernard and more, this group of creators has managed to set an extremely high bar for the rest of Valiant and even the rest of the industry as a whole. Even with all the other great series at Valiant, X-O Manowar remains the crown jewel and the one series that continues to lead Valiant’s charge.
Runner Up: Southern Bastards
Best Collected Edition/OGNs: Two Brothers HC
Two Brothers is nothing short of a masterpiece. Adapted from Milton Hatoum’s novel, Dos Irmãos, real-life Brazilian twin brothers, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. Moon and Bá have created poetry in comic book form. The tale of, surprise, two brothers spans lifetimes and is framed in the indescribable beauty of Manaus. It plays with time, it plays with memories, and it explores heartache and passion. Read our review to get a full picture of what it is that makes this work a living, breathing, timeless piece of pure storytelling.
Runner Up: Apocalyptigirl TPB
Best Cover Artists: Mike Del Mundo
Composition, composition, composition! That’s the name of the game here and no one is more deft or more creative when it comes to arranging the visual elements of a cover than Mike Del Mundo. It doesn’t hurt that his style and skill with various mediums are jaw droppingly gorgeous. You can spot a Del Mundo cover from across the shop and they’re often as clever as they are beautiful. Few other artists are as playful while being unbeatably precise in balancing form and mass, but Del Mundo goes that extra mile and makes it all come together to reflect the exact tone of the story inside that art. Quiet and solemn, riotous and chaotic, sly and smooth, whatever it needs to be, Del Mundo will strike at the heart of it and like the wizard he is, magically transform and mold it into something that deserves to be framed and hung behind a red velvet rope.
Runner Up: Mike Mignola
Thank you again to everybody for checking out our list and we more than recommend anything found here or on our nominees page (of course). If there were any books that you think we need to check out, but all means feel free to comment below and we will do our best to take a look. Who knows, next year maybe your favourite book will become ours. Until then, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all that fun stuff.