6 Dec 2012

The Paradoscars 2012

The votes have been counted, the winners announced at a glittering award ceremony (well, okay, at a local curry house with a tipsy PCG!) and that’s the Paradoscars done for another year. In some categories the voting was very close indeed, in others the arguments were friendly but passionate, but we think all the nominees deserved their place in each category – they’re there because the PCG think they’re the best of the best (with the exception of Nazis, possibly).

Thanks to everyone who voted, especially considering some of our nominees weren’t the most obvious in each category, and we hope you all come back for more in 2013.

And so here they are, the winners of the Paradoscars 2012:

Best Ongoing Title: Uncanny X-Force

Also nominated: Conan The Barbarian, Daredevil, Prophet

James R: A couple of years ago I had no interest at all in the X-Men - a horribly convoluted history, years of backstory and a myriad of different titles meant that I gave the Children of the Atom a wide berth. That all changed with Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force. A title that was tightly and brilliantly plotted, with the philosophical argument of determinism vs. free will as its central theme. In 2012, the title has built to a spellbinding climax with the ‘Final Execution’ saga. Even though Marvel are continuing X-Force as part of the Marvel Now! relaunch, you can bet it won't be in the same league as this superhero opera.

Best Miniseries: Avengers Vs. X-Men

Also nominated: Dancer, Spider-Men, Supercrooks

Stewart R: Well, this proved to be the first year in quite some time that Marvel actually managed to pull off their Summer event party and have the majority of people happy with the sum total of what they had delivered. Avengers Vs. X-Men fell back on the tried and tested Dark Phoenix storyline of old, but also looked towards the previous years’ Schism and Bendis’ last mutant-centric event, House Of M, for its inspiration and ultimately provided its audience with a series that was far more than the one-dimensional ode to superpowered fisticuffs that it could have been. Ethical dilemmas, political ramifications and the strengths/breaking points of friendships were all put briefly under the icroscope and the shockwaves of the story are still rolling across the Marvel Universe as I write this!

Best New Title: Saga

Also nominated: Hawkeye, The Massive, Prophet

Tom P: I loved Saga the second I finished the first double -sized issue; I must have read it a dozen times that weekend. Its strength for me lies with its unpredictability. Brian K .Vaughn and Fiona Staples have created a universe of never-ending possibility, violence and beauty where anything can happen. Best of all though is the characterisation - I have genuine affection for the cast and care what happens to them. Saga lives up to the hype.

Best Single Issue: Hawkeye #1

Also nominated: Avengers Vs. X-Men #6, Chew: Secret Agent Poyo #1, Prophet #21

Matt C: In actuality, it could have been any issue of Hawkeye so far that scooped this award. The series is that good. It feels like Fraction is more comfortable writing the adventures of Clint Barton than any other character in the Marvel Universe as the stories simply glide along in an effortlessly exciting, tremendously witty manner. And this is the issue where the template was laid down, quite possibly catching a lot of people off guard, as who really ever thought that a Hawkeye series could be this riveting? Turns out Fraction did, and with the efficient simplicity of David Aja's exquisite linework, the result is razor sharp, zipwire tale that thoroughly deserves the accolade of Best Single Issue of 2012.

Best Cover: Hawkeye #1

Also nominated: Avengers Vs. X-Men #9, Batman #13, Wolverine & The X-Men #4

Rob N: A surprise win as far as I'm concerned because, although I voted for it, it's hardly a traditional superhero cover with airbrushed/photoshopped art and brokeback poses. So well done all of you who opted for a striking piece of art in place of rather more commercial covers. In many ways, David Aja's minimalist 'offbeat' cover of Hawkeye #1 reflects perfectly the alternative feel of what some wise individuals are calling the best mainstream superhero book currently being published. Well, Matt C said something like that anyway, and frankly I have to agree with him.

Best Original Graphic Novel: The Underwater Welder

Also nominated: Batman: Earth One, Parker: The Score, Things To Do In A Retirment Home Trailer Park

James R : A worthy winner in every respect. Jeff Lemire has effortlessly established himself as one of the most unique and distinctive talents in comics over the last couple of years, and he cemented his place in the firmament with this OGN. Lemire weaved the themes of fatherhood, loss and responsibility into a wonderfully atmospheric tale of the unexpected, focusing on the life of Jack Joseph, an underwater welder working off the coast of Nova Scotia. As with all of Lemire's work, there's emotion and heart present in his pages that allows you to fully invest in the tale as it unfolds. As a story, it's one that stays with you long after you've reached the final page, and as a OGN it was flawless.

Best Digital/Web Comic: Avengers Vs. X-Men: Infinite

Also nominated: Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight, Crossed: Wish You Were Here, The October Girl

Tom P: One can't help but be impressed by Marvel's Infinite comics. They came free on redemption of the digital codes included with a few issues of Avengers Vs. X-Men. Written by Mark Waid and illustrated by various artists these tales came to life on your phone, computer or tablet with some terrifically imaginative panel transitions and effects. I can't wait to see what Marvel has in store for the Infinite line and look forward to more.

Best Writer: Scott Snyder

Also nominated: Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, Brian Wood

James R: Back-to-back wins for Mr Snyder! He certainly had some incredibly tough competition this year - and frankly each of the shortlisted writers deserved to win it - but in terms of sheer consistency, Snyder has had a great 2012. Not only does he continue to steer Batman with an assured hand, but he's also doing a great job on Swamp Thing and of course American Vampire. The latter title is going on a hiatus, but with the prospect of him writing Superman next year with Man Of Steel (the ultimate tough gig - Superman is notoriously difficult to write well, just ask Brian Azarello and J. Michael Straczynski!) and also a new creator-owned project, I think you can expect to see Scott Snyder in the running for a hat-trick for the Best Writer award in 2013.

Best Artist: Olivier Coipel

Also nominated: Greg Capullo, Darwyn Cooke, Gary Frank

Stewart R: For your big tentpole event you should tend to turn to your big guns and while John Romita Jr and Adam Kubert offered up some pretty decent chapters for Avengers Vs. X-Men, there was never any doubt that the issues that were getting the lion’s share of the praise for artistic skill and flair belonged to Olivier Coipel. His ability to utilise the standard comic book page to capture moments of breathtaking scale and power alongside tremendously subtle panels that propel you through the story surrounded by a sense of wonder and awe was evident this summer.

Best Cover Artist: Greg Capullo

Also nominated: David Aja, Marcos Martin, Alex Ross

James R: I gave Capullo my vote as I felt his sterling work on Batman deserved to be recognised in some form! There's yet to be a late issue of Batman since DC relaunched the title, and Capullo is yet to drop the ball. He finds the right mix of urban decay and noir that Batman needs, while putting his own distinctive mark on the Dark Knight. His covers have been terrific too - from the 'Court of the Owls' arc to a frankly terrifying Joker for 'Death of the Family', he's been consistently brilliant. As with Scott Snyder, there's the definite sense that there's more great stuff to come, and with his covers and his interiors, Capullo is establishing himself as one of the great Batman illustrators.

Best Inker: Stefano Gaudiano

Also nominated: Mark Morales, Tim Townsend, Dexter Vines

Tom P: Inkers can often get unfairly overlooked but without the definition they add to the layouts and pencil work, half the books we read wouldn't look as good. Guadiano's inking always defines and enhances an artist’s work, and from X-O Manowar to Winter Soldier he’s ensured a book maintains a high level of quality and consistency.

Best Colourist: Dean White

Also nominated: Bettie Breitweiser, Matt Hollingsworth, Dave Stewart

Stewart R: The fact of the matter is that the masterpiece series known as Uncanny X-Force would not have been as effective as it was were it not for the efforts of Dean White. He has maintained a crazily high standard through all of his work in 2012, playing with the established palettes of the aforementioned UXF to great success as well as delivering yet more sterling work with Mark Millar’s Kick Ass 2 and Hit-Girl. At this moment in time, if you’re looking for a colourist to really help define the visual direction of your title, you turn to Dean White!

Most Promising Talent: David Marquez

Also nominated: Sam Humphries, Simon Roy, Nye Wright

Tom P: David Marquez took over from Sara Pichelli on Ultimate Spider-Man and instantly made the book his own. His clean, bold, energetic and emotive style came to define the title and helped to prove that Mile Morales was far more than a publicity stunt. He's rapidly become one of Marvels most talented artists and I can't help but feel this guy’s only just getting started.

Best Publisher: Image

Also nominated: Dark Horse, DC/Vertigo, Marvel

Stewart R: In previous years the majority of publisher talk revolved around how good or bad a job Marvel or DC were doing with their properties. The tide began turning late last year and these days I don’t hear people talking about their pull-list without Image being mentioned in some capacity. Their policy of relentlessly churning out new comic book series after new comic book series could have turned into one of the worst business decisions ever, yet it has become clear that their eye for quality is actually some sorcery-enhanced, hi-tech laser designator of mystery that evidently only selects the very best creator-owned projects. It’s a tool that is fast propelling them towards the status of most important comic book publisher of the next 10 years.

Best Main Character: Loki

Also nominated: Judge Dredd, Wolverine, Wonder Woman

Matt C: One of those creative decisions that sounds idiotic when you first hear about it but turns out to be an eminently ingenious idea: a teenage Loki! During his tenure as writer of Journey Into Mystery, Keiron Gillen carefully remoulded the trickster god into the most compelling, intelligent and complex character in modern superhero comics.  It obviously wasn’t going to last forever, but during the short time that young Loki attempted to escape the shadow of his former self he made an indelible impact. This iteration of the Thor’s half-brother will be sorely missed.

Best Supporting Character: Black Widow

Also nominated: Kate Bishop, Broo, Foggy Nelson

Rob N: Despite many attempts at starring in her own short lived titles, it's fair to say that the Black Widow has always worked best as a supporting character, going back as far as the halcyon days when she was one half of the Daredevil/Black Widow crimefighting team on the West Coast. Her inclusion in Brubaker's Cap and Bucky titles has enhanced the ongoing storylines and created an almost family feel to the comics, alongside other characters such as the Falcon and Sharon Carter.

Best Villain: Joker

Also nominated: Cyclops, Doctor Doom, Nazis

Rob N: DC's Clown Prince of Crime could easily crash and burn through overuse (and certainly if he was in the hands of Marvel we'd probably see him in as many titles as Wolverine) but on the whole he's been handled well. When he does appear in a storyline it's usually with narrative purpose and rarely wasted. The current storyline in the Bat titles doesn't seem to be an exception to the rule.

Best Adaptation Into Another Medium: The Avengers

Also nominated: The Dark Knight Rises, Dredd, The Walking Dead

Matt C: Even five years ago the idea of this movie even existing seemed like an impossibility, but Marvel Studios have shown they can turn the impossible into reality and with the substantial assistance of Joss Whedon they brought together a selection of their most iconic characters to the big screen to both critical acclaim and – as the 3rd highest grossing movie of all time – enormous box office success. Epic, thrilling and funny, it’s now raised the bar incredibly high for future superhero movies.

Best Comics Website: Comic Book Resources

Also nominated: 2000 AD Online, Bleeding Cool, Thirteen Minutes

Stewart R: Everyone has their ‘first stop’ for news of various different media and hobby persuasion; the BBC for current affairs for example, Empire magazine for cinema, IGN for video gaming. In the comic book world there are plenty of sites to choose from for your fix of the latest reviews, previews and interviews, yet arguably only Comic Book Resources could claim the right to use the word ‘comprehensive’ in their manifesto. Their website has provided teasing glimpses into the future of the industry with exclusive previews of upcoming titles as well as opening the window into the current offerings upon shelves with some highly entertaining and interesting interviews and interactions with the many talented souls who work so tirelessly to keep the comic book industry going. Add to that a passionate dedication to the vast treasure trove of past material and you have one hell of a website.

Disappointment Of The Year: DC’s New 52

Also nominated: Amazing Spider-Man movie, Before Watchmen, Dredd’s box office performance

Matt C: I was one of those guys super-excited by the prospect of DC rebooting their universe back in the summer of 2011. I’m a bit of a continuity nerd but the idea of having a clean slate and coming at their iconic characters in a fresh, inventive manner was very appealing. But, although there was a lot of invention on display, not many of the books really managed to gain a strong foothold and after a while a new set of continuity problems began to manifest themselves. I tried over 20 of the original New 52 titles and now I’m down to just two (Batman and Flash). I’ve never been a dyed-in-the wool DC fanboy (I grew up on Marvel UK comics) but even bearing that in mind, I was getting a lot more DC books before the reboot. I find I simply have no interest in the wider DC Universe as it stands anymore, and therefore I can only brand the whole enterprise as anything but a success, and it appears I’m far from alone in thinking this way.

Most Looking Forward To In 2013: Iron Man 3

Also nominated: London Super Comic Con, Return of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, The Wolverine

James R: Can Marvel Studios keep their incredible run going? Kevin Feige et al have conquered all before them, and in 2013 it's time for ‘Phase Two' of the Marvel Movie Universe. Once again, the adventures of Tony Stark are at the vanguard and Iron Man 3 looks like an intriguing prospect. This may be Robert Downey Jr's last solo outing as ol' Shellhead and with Shane Black in the director's chair it should be explosive. Unlike our own Stewart R, I did watch the trailer, and I liked what I saw. The criticism levelled at Iron Man 2 was that it lost momentum setting up The Avengers. Now free from such responsibilities, I'm hoping Iron Man 3 can deliver on its epic potential.

PCG Honorary Award 2012: Stan Lee

Matt  C: For our inaugural Honorary Award there was really only one contender. Obviously there are plenty of creators who’ve had an equal or perhaps greater impact and influence on the comic book medium, but if you want someone whose ubiquity over the years has cemented his legendary status in the industry, it’s Stan ‘The Man’ Lee. As co-creator of characters like Spider-Man, the Fantatsic Four and Iron Man it’s highly questionable that so many of us would be so attached to comic collecting if it wasn’t for this guy. Several of the PCG had an opportunity to meet Stan this February, albeit very briefly, at the London Super Comic Con, and can confirm that the after being in the industry for around seven decades, he’s still got the magic. Thanks for everything, Stan!


walkeri said...

I can not believe that DC is the biggest disappointment of the year.
So they got a few things wrong,so what and is continuity really that big a deal,I thought a good story and good art where what make a comic,but hey who am I to moan.
At least DC give us a more diverse range of titles to read than Marvel who seem to be heading down the let's make most of our titles all about the Avengers and the X-Men.
I wish sometimes that this site wasn't so pro Marvel as it seems,but hey again I could be wrong.
Glad I got that of my chest after the week I've had.

Andy C said...

I'd agree with your preference of DC over Marvel, Ian. Marvel have some great titles such as Winter Soldier and Uncanny X-Force but their more mainstream stuff tends not to be my cup of tea. I don't want rushed unreliable fortnightly release schedules, overpriced titles, unjustified events and cynical movie tie-ins. I just want great comics.

DC do seem to be more diverse as you say, even more so if you count Vertigo. They are of course no strangers to sales gimmicks and pointless crossovers either. But The New 52 (along with Andy at Paradox and cracking reviews by the PCG) encouraged me to try new titles and this lead to me checking out other stuff by Marvel and Image. So I also would not consider the New 52 as a disappointment, but hey, we've been outvoted!

I'm glad that Image took Best Publisher. They have kept their heads down, avoided the gimmicky sales tricks of both DC and Marvel, and just concentrated on producing great stories, and they have my total support and respect for that.

Most importantly, I hope the PCG had a good curry. Great work guys. I love the fact you didn't always go for the obvious nominees even if I couldn't vote in all categories, and a bit of friendly debate is always good fun! Looking forward to next year's Paradoscars already!