Best Comic Series of the Year
*Tie* Sweet Tooth and Chew
When I got to thinking about which comic series has stood out the most to me this pat year, my thoughts were instantly drawn to Chew and Sweet Tooth. I feel indecisive in saying that these two comics tie, but I really cant say that one stands above the other. It is a special week when I have an issue of Chew or Sweet Tooth waiting for me in my pull box. If they ever happen to come out on the same Wednesday, I might just keel over from excitement. Aside from being totally awesome, the two comics share some common traits: Both comics are consistently entertaining. Both feature fantastic writing a great art. Both follow a consistent publication schedule, (when reading a story in small episodes, it is really nice to not have to wait too long to see what happens next). On top of all that, they consistently leave me wanting more.
Aside from the adherence to high quality that both titles share, the two comics are quite different from one another.
Sweet Tooth takes place in a post apocalyptic world where most everyone is dead and the newborn children are born as human/animal hybrids. The story follows Gus, a hybrid child and Jeppard, a man trying to survive in the changed world. I don't want to give too much away for people who haven't read the series, but I will say that Writer/Artist Jeff Lemire manages to make his characters unforgettable, the story deeply moving and emotional, and the art moody and cinematic. Sweet Tooth is a dramatic, tense story that unfolds slowly and always leaves me wanting more.
Chew on the other hand, is a comedy at heart. The story takes place in a world where an avian flu has killed millions, causing a chicken prohibition. (Some food lovers could argue that a world without chicken dinner is also apocalyptic...) Our hero Tony Chu, is an FDA agent with a secret. He's cibopathic, meaning he gets psychic impressions from the foods he eats, which makes him a damn fine detective. Too bad his FDA boss hates his ass and sticks him on the strangest, most bizzare cases. This comic features the talented creative team of writer John Layman and artist Rob Guillory. Keeping the story fresh, and fun seems to be their priority, oh yeah, that and putting poor Tony through the wringer whenever possible. I always get a good laugh out of each issue, but this ain't no one trick pony. Chew features some solid mystery and sci-fi elements as well, and Layman certainly seems to have a good idea as to where he wants the series to go. Excellent stuff.
I can't say enough good things about these two comics. I wouldn't be surprised to see one or both of these titles in the same spot next year.
Best Single Issue of the Year
The Unwritten #17
Yep, I flippin' loved to read Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid. I would read one of those bad boys until I had achieved nearly every possible scenario the book offered, then read it again. When I heard that the folks behind The Unwritten were going to make a comic in the Choose Your Own Adventure style, I knew I'd have to own it. Keep in mind I don't read The Unwritten, and wasn't a fan of the first trade. So a single issue from a comic series I've ruled out has to be pretty special, but this one had the power of nostalgia backing it up. Of course, the issue could have totally sucked, and they could have flubbed the concept. But they didn't. The creative team really made this issue amazing. Not only do they pull off the CYOA concept but they also manage to include a great story in the process. This one was lots of fun, and hands down my best single issue of the year.
Neonomicon #2: I'm still having nightmares from that one.
The Sixth Gun #6: The most awesomeness packed into one issue.