2013 was a great year for comics. It feels like a similar statement is made after every year concludes, but 2013 unquestionably saw exceptional work from several creators, across multiple publishers and genres within the medium. To close out the year, we offered what we felt to be the best comics of the year, highlighting dozens of writers and artists whose creative output we felt deserved to be celebrated.
But now we want to hear from you. Readers often offer us their opinions, via the comment section or social media, as to what they’re enjoying, or what they think we missed. Now we’d like you to let us know with your vote, as this week we’re launching the first annual ComicsAlliance Reader Choice Awards. We’ll have two categories per day throughout the week, and you can vote more than once if you like, though you’ll have to wait an hour at least before coming back to vote again. Voting will be open until February 11 at 10 a.m. EST, and we’ll announce the winners shortly after.
You can cast your vote after the cut for the best cover artist of the year.
Great cover art requires a special set of talents; a gift for composition, an eye for striking color or attention-grabbing contrast, and a knack for conveying story or mood in a single image.
ComicsAlliance continues its look back at some of the best cover work in 2013 from some of the most talented cover artists in the industry. This week we shine the spotlight on Rafael Albuquerque (Animal Man), Jenny Frison (Revival), Ibrahim Moustafa (High Crimes), and Jock (Wolverine).
Earlier this week we spoke to illustrator Jock about his Savage Wolverine story arc, which began in Wednesday's issue #9. To further promote the book, a slick looking video has been produced featuring art from the three part story arc. But the video wasn't created by Marvel or even Jock, but rather the artist's 15-year-old son, Aubrey Simpson, and you can check it out below.
Best known by his pseudonym Jock, Mark Simpson is one of the most interesting artists in mainstream comics right now. Brought up in the 2000 AD school of British comics and breaking into the American market with The Losers graphic novel series at Vertigo, Jock set a new standard for himself with work on 2011's Batman: The Black Mirror, where his bold and contemporary graphic style contributed to what many fans and critics agree was the most significant Dark Knight adventure in years, not to mention one of the coolest Joker illustrations of all time.
Like many comics illustrators of his skill and increasing popularity, Jock has availed himself of the comics scene's resuscitating fascination with strong artistic visions and is releasing this week Savage Wolverine #9, the first chapter of a three-part arc he both wrote and drew. It's a major career move for Jock but only the latest auteur artist spotlight for Savage Wolverine (following delightfully eccentric work by Frank Cho and Joe Madureira), which in this crucial way is one of Marvel's most important titles.
ComicsAlliance spoke with Jock about his unorthodox take on the mutant also known as Logan, who the cartoonist drops into a vicious otherworldly realm in a story that owes more to tripped out European sci-fi than the X-Men classics of Marvel's past.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.
When it comes to the subject of DC Comics' "Villains Month" -- whereby every title in the publisher's New 52 line of superhero books is being "taken over" by a supervillain -- most of the conversation seems to focus on arcane retailing controversies about the initiative's 3-D covers or reader debate about questionable character revamps. What really got our attention was Dial E, the villain takeover issue of Justice League #23.3, a comic that's distinct because it serves as a coda to one of DC's best series in years, the recently concluded Dial H created by China Miéville and Mateus Santolouco about Nelson Jent, a schlubby bro who temporarily becomes a brand new and occasionally universe-traversing superhero when he dials "H-E-R-O" on a mysterious phone-like device. Dial E is an auspicious sendoff for the quirky and acclaimed series, one that features 20 pages each drawn by a different artist. Many of them are ComicsAlliance favorites like Jock, Emma Rios, Frazer Irving, Sloane Leong and. Annie Wu.
Courtesy of DC, we've got advance looks at five artists' pages, but even better, they're without any letterings so you art fans can enjoy their great work without any obfuscations. Additionally we're pleased to preview the first five story pages as well, featuring the words of Mieville and pictures by Mateus Santolouco, Carla Berrocal, Riccardo Burchielle and Liam Sharp.
Launched in 2005 by what was then called DC Direct, the Batman: Black & White statue series is DC Collectibles’ three-dimensional spinoff of the hugely acclaimed, Eisner-winning 1990s comic book anthology edited by Mark Chiarello that invited some of the world’s best and most idiosyncratic artists to express their own uninhibited visions of the enduringly popular and graphically compelling Dark Knight. Like the original book, the Black & White statue line has become a favorite among collectors and illustration enthusiasts for its high quality craftsmanship and impeccable taste in collaborators. Some of the artists who’ve designed for the Black & White series include Paul Pope, Simon Bisley, Eduardo Risso, Mike Mignola, Steve Rude, Alex Ross, Frank Miller, Matt Wagner, Neal Adams, Bruce Timm, Cliff Chiang, Darwyn Cooke, Frank Quietly... the list is very long and almost embarrassingly auspicious.
Having collected numerous DC and Warner Bros. Animation-related statues from the days when they were still licensed out to sculptors like Randy Bowen, the artists of Graffiti Designs and the talents at the much missed Warner Bros. Studio Store, I’m obviously a great admirer of the work of DC Collectibles. There’s something very hard to describe about how a great statue or other three-dimensional representation of your favorite hero can express their true, well, awesomeness in a way that’s utterly distinct from line art or even film or animation. It’s arguable that no collectibles line possesses this power in greater quantities than Batman: Black & White, as the line’s success with fans and creative professionals continues to demonstrate as it releases its fiftieth statue this week, designed by longtime ComicsAlliance favorite Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus, The Wake).
To celebrate the occasion (which also syncs up nicely with the long-awaited return of Chiarello’s beloved anthology, for which a photograph of Murphy’s statue will serve as a variant cover), we connected with DC Collectibles VP - Creative Services Kevin Kiniry and Design Director Jim Fletcher to talk about the history of Batman: Black & White, the possibility of a Black & White villains spinoff, and why so many comic book artists consider working on the line a “badge of honor.”
One of the most memorable Batman covers of the last several years and very arguably one of the coolest Joker images ever created, this famous Jock illustration is finally being offered as a deluxe print that we can hang on our walls.
Each year at Comic-Con, amidst all the chaos, there's one moment that stands out. It's a significant moment that, even if you don't witness it, you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard it happened. And while I've not taken any kind of formal survey, I feel confident saying that this year, that unforgettable moment happened when writer Christopher Yost closed his eyes and drew Batman with a giant set of balls.
Inspired by the website Blind as a Bat, artist Olly Moss approached a bunch of industry friends at Comic-Con with a task: close your eyes, pick up a marker, and draw Batman. Among those who stepped up to the challenge were Becky Cloonan, Mark Chiarello, Jock, Jhonen Vasquez, Duncan Jones, Mark Buckingham, and many more, and the results are amazing. You can check out a few examples, including Yost's masterpiece, below.
Last week Warner Bros. released details of the highly anticipated 'The Dark Knight Trilogy: Ultimate Collector's Edition.' Featuring blu-ray editions of all three Batman films directed by Christopher Nolan, plus additional literature and numerous other extra features, the box set is a dream for devoted fans of the franchise, and ComicsAlliance has partnered with ScreenCrush to give a copy away for free.
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