Hello Third Eye Faithful!
I’m a tad late on this one, but you know what they say: better late than never. 2011 is done and gone, and we’re moving forward into 2012, as we prepare to meet the apocalypse with a smile. Looking back, here’s a rundown of our ultimate “Best Of” choices for 2011. Whether it be Best New Series, or Best Graphic Novel, we’ve put together a nice little list of the stuff that wowed us and kept wowing us all year long.
All of these books are in stock and available now at both Third Eye locations, so if you see something that tickles your fancy, true believer, then pop on by, and we’ll hook you up.
JUSTICE LEAGUE – DC COMICS
We had to give it to the Justice League, folks. While there was a TON of great new books being released this year, it was JUSTICE LEAGUE that really rocked the stands, and sent the comics world into a frenzy. But, far be it from just a hype book, JUSTICE LEAGUE, just gets better and better with each subsequent issue. A must-read, on time every month, and featuring two of the biggest names in the industry.. JUSTICE LEAGUE reigns supreme.
UNCANNY X-FORCE – MARVEL COMICS
A crowd-pleaser month in and month out, UNCANNY X-FORCE debuted last October, and quietly and quickly climbed it’s way to the top of every fan’s stack until it turned into one of the biggest monsters coming out on Marvel, and folks, it was pulling us in the same exact way. Strong storytelling, fresh artwork, and a long-term plan with the ultimate payoff make this one our vote for BEST ONGOING of 2011.
FLASHPOINT – DC COMICS
2011 definitely proved to be the Year of DC COMICS, so you can expect them to show up on this list a few more times, but FLASHPOINT definitely gets the nod for best limited series. A stellar and innovative mini-series that showed us just how awesome a big comics event could be. Toss in the fact that this was THE story that definitively sets up the DC NEW 52, and there’s no doubt, it gets the win.
HEART – IMAGE COMICS
It was a tough call with a lot of fresh new creators coming out of the woodwork this year, but we’ve gotta give the nod to Blair Butler and Kevin Mellon with their IMAGE series HEART. While Kevin had already wowed us with his fantastic work on LOVESTRUCK and GEARHEAD, this was Blair’s first comic work, and we were totally blown away. A great debut from both these guys, HEART is exactly what we want out of a good comic.
MORNING GLORIES VOL.1 FOR A BETTER FUTURE – IMAGE COMICS
The best trade paperback released in 2011, by far, would have to be MORNING GLORIES volume 1. There was some SERIOUSLY stiff competition, and we really went back and forth on this one, but with it’s incredible compelling plot line and cast of characters, the fantastic artwork of Joe Eisma, and even the fantastic looking trade dress and design of the book, MORNING GLORIES gets the nod.
ECHOES HC VOL.1 – IMAGE COMICS
One of the things I love so much about doing these BEST OF lists is I get to show some love to books that may not have gotten a ton of hype upon initial release. ECHOES is a fantastic little limited series that kind of went under the radar for many folks this past year, and folks, that’s downright criminal, ’cause this book SMOKES. A dark story of schizophrenic man who discovers his father was once a serial murderer, and now fears falling into the same path, ECHOES is a macabre, and fascinating read that is a MUST for anyone who can get down with movies like SE7EN. PLUS: the book itself looks fantastic. A great cover design, a unique size and format, and more make this a nice little hardcover that packs quite a punch.
BATMAN NOEL – DC COMICS
You know, you drop a BATMAN graphic novel near the end of the year, you put Lee Bermejo’s artwork all over it, and you give it a killer high concept that makes everyone feel a little more warm and fuzzy while reading their books over the holidays, and guess what that gets you: best graphic novel of 2011. Seriously, a gorgeous looking book from the co-creator of both JOKER and LUTHOR: MAN OF STEL, this is a MUST.
SKULLKICKERS – IMAGE COMICS
What’s a crossover book? You know how you have that one friend who is into all sorts of awesome, geeky things, but just won’t give comics a shot? They’re huge into D&D, or Joss Whedon, or William Gibson, but still won’t give your Y THE LAST MAN trades a shot? Crossover books are the books that reach folks like that, and SKULLKICKERS dominated 2011. Play Magic, don’t read comics? Read SKULLKICKERS. Got a World of Warcraft devotee in your life? Hand ‘em SKULLKICKERS. It’ll make anyone a believer.
SACRIFICE #1 – SAM HUMPHRIES * DALTON ROSE
Folks, SACRIFICE, by far, was the best damn indie comic debut we saw in 2011. This book came in right in time, near the end of DECEMBER, and took many of you by storm. Completely self-published and self-distributed, SACRIFICE not only reads great, and has fantastic art with a killer concept, but the production values on this one match, and for some, exceed what many major publishers are putting out. Incredible.
STUFF OF LEGEND – TH3RD WORLD PUBLISHING
For the second year running, we’ve gotta tell you: STUFF OF LEGEND gets the love as the BEST ALL AGES SERIES we’re stocking. There’s something special about this book, and the combination of a compelling story from Mike Raicht & Brian Smith, with CP Wilson III’s amazing storybook-like artwork really brings this story of a kidnapped boy, and his faithful toys who embark to rescue him into something compelling and exciting for both kids and adults; the mark of a truly great all ages book.
NONPLAYER – IMAGE COMICS (ok.. so it’s not really a one-shot)
While it’s not necessarily a one-shot, the fact that we only saw one issue of this gorgeous book in 2011, is going to get it qualified as one. Seriously though, we still keep restocking NONPLAYER #1, and you know why? ‘Cause it’s an INCREDIBLE read, and looks amazing. This IMAGE series debuted last year, and blew our minds with it’s Geoff Darrow and Moebius-inspired artwork, and the very SNOW CRASH-like story of a young girl who pisses off the wrong NPCs in her favorite online game. GET IT!
THOR BY WALT SIMONSON OMNIBUS – MARVEL COMICS
The publishers are putting out so many incredible omnibus, absolute, and complete collections that we decided “Hey, what’s the best one?” And, you know what, this monsters gets it. Take one of the most iconic, and character defining runs in comics, collect the ENTIRE thing into one massive 1,000+ tome of comic goodness. Up the production values, and remind everyone just how amazing Walt Simonson is, and voila: best omnibus of 2011. A must-have.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ULTIMATE COLLECTION – IDW PUBLISHING
How long have fans been asking for an ultimate series of reprints on the old original Ninja Turtles stuff? A really, really long time. There’s been shots at it here and there, but, finally, IDW has done it right, and we’re pretty stoked. This oversized hardcover recaptures the subversive edge of the darker, grittier classic Turtles comics, and we love it. Heck, even the cover art that wraps front and back, conjures up images of Powell Peralta skateboards, Raphael graffitti art, and all the stuff we love about the ’80s and the Turtles.
FANTASTIC FOUR #600 – MARVEL COMICS
Holy crap, was this an epic landmark issue, or what? We knew something good was in store, ’cause Hickman works pure magic on this title non-stop anyways, but #600 was one of the most satisfying single issues of any comic series we read all year. From cover to cover, from the main story to the back-ups.. the entire thing SMOKED. We loved it. A true banger!