So I’ve fallen a bit behind on my whole “Best Of/Year End” lists. This last one was especially hard for me, but I’ve finally narrowed down my 5 (well, 6) favorite writers of 2012. For your reading enjoyment.
5. Tie: Jeff Lemire & Scott Snyder
DC’s newest golden boys had a great year in 2012. Together, the duo finally got the ball rolling on their pseudo-Vertigo opus, ‘Rotworld.’ While that story in particular was one of my most anticipated of the year, it’s grown a bit long in the tooth. Fortunately both writers had other enjoyable works as well. Snyder wrapped up his surprising ‘Court of the Owls’ story and began the hotly anticipated ‘Death of the Family’ arc, both of which received astounding critical acclaim. Lemire wrapped up his run on “Frankenstein” and moved over to “Justice League Dark,” where he continues to weave bits of Vertigo lore into the New 52. Both writers also hit major milestones in their creator owned works at Vertigo, with Snyder hitting the halfway point of “American Vampire” and Lemire wrapping up his 40 issue run on “Sweet Tooth.” As if that isn’t enough, Lemire also released an original graphic novel, “Underwater Welder,” a small-town story in the vein of “Essex County,” to critical praise. These are two extremely prolific writers who seem to just be getting started. Both writers will launch new Vertigo series in 2013, and will add new DC books to their plates as well. Expect both writers to play a major role in the upcoming “Trinity War” event at DC.
4. Joshua Hale Fialkov
Fialkov wasn’t as productive as fellow writers Snyder and Lemire in 2012, but his work on “I, Vampire” was so focuses and unique among its peers that it alone earns Fialkov a slot in my top 10. “I, Vampire” went through around three status quo changes in the past year, each more shocking and exciting than the last. When a writer can play fast and loose with such played out genres as super heroics and vampires, while still remaining fresh and engaging, it’s an accomplishment worth mentioning. Recent news has revealed that Fialkov will finish his story in “I, Vampire” #19. While it’s sad to see the book go, I absolutely cannot wait to see how it all wraps up, as well as what the writer has in store for the future.
3. Matt Fraction
I’ve never been a Fraction fan. I gave “Cassanova” a shot once, but couldn’t get through it. However, the writer made it into my pull list in a major way this year with “Hawkeye”, “Fantastic Four,” and “FF.” These three books represent some the purest and most fun story telling in all of comics. Fraction’s ability to connect to the reader emotionally, using fantastic characters in everyday interactions, is unparalleled. If you want comics to be fun, instead of dark, depressing affairs, while still remaining relevant, look no further.
2. Brian K. Vaughan
I hate to admit it, but I’ve never read more than the first issues of both “Y, The Last Man” and “Ex Machina.” I’ve never touched “Runaways.” The only substantial exposure I’ve had to BKV was through his work on “Lost” (rest its TV soul). So, when I picked up the first issue of “Saga,” all my excitement was due to hype, rather than personal experience. I now understand the hype, and am dying to read more from this guy, who is a true modern story-telling master.
1. Jonathan Hickman
Hickman had an unbelievable year in 2012, from wrapping up his long-running “Fantastic Four/FF” run as well as his run on “The Ultimates,” to launching a new “Avengers” series and his creator owned “Manhattan Projects.” After reading his work I can say, without a doubt, that Jonathan Hickman is the new Grant Morrison. No other writer since has channeled such bizarre, otherworldly ideas and concepts into such small and poignant moments, eliciting an emotional response from somewhere deep within the human soul. He also has the uncanny ability to surround himself with fantastic art talent, such as Nick Dragotta, Nick Pitarra, Steve Epting, and Jerome Opeña. His background as a graphic designer shows in his work, which bears a clearly crafted design. Everything Hickman touches bears a mark of the highest quality production (except for AvX, but who can help that?).