It’s Thanksgiving again, and with that, another fourth-Thursday-of-November to eat too much, watch football, gather with family, avoid racist uncles, and maybe forget the sketchy-at-best historical underpinnings behind the holiday. But no matter your faith or creed, at the end of the day, Thanksgiving is about being grateful for what we have. And not to humble brag about it, but your ever-lovin’ Comic Watch crew thinks we’ve had a pretty amazing year with lots of things to be happy about. We had to narrow the list to just ten, and it wasn’t easy, but we think you’ll be pretty cool with what we came up with!
10. UNPRECEDENTED TIMES: Editor/reefer madness poster boy Mighty Mighty Mike Eakins said, “There’s an unprecedented TREASURE TROVE of comic goodness at our fingertips! We as a fan base are spoiled… and we act like it sometimes!” Er, not to put to fine a point on it there, Mike, but don’tcha think we’ve earned it?! So, so many outstanding series are available right now from a plethora of outstanding publishers and creators, it can be easy to forget how good we fans have it right now. There’s literally something for everyone, and it doesn’t even take a lot of effort to hunt things down. That inclusivity and willingness to find niche readerships makes the current state of comics very, very exciting.
9. KICKSTARTING GOODNESS: “What’s New on Home Video” columnist Mike Spring is grateful for Kickstarter (or Zoop, if you prefer) allowing him to publish his second creator-owned graphic novel, UNCAPED! (How’s that for a free plug, Mike?!) But it’s not just the opportunity for the so-called little guys that crowdfunding presents; bigger names like Matt Wagner and Scott Snyder and David Pepose so many more have gotten in on the fun, too, allowing for a wealth of new material that might not have found publication homes otherwise. The format also allows readers to get in on the fun, by enabling them to support however much or little they want in varying tiers. It’s a good bet a creator you love has SOMETHING cooking for fans to buy in on!
8. TOM TAYLOR IS THE EPITOME OF LAWFUL GOOD: It goes without saying that endless creators had banner years in 2023, but Tom Taylor continues to do no wrong. Pick up anything he’s written this year, and we defy you to find fault with it. Heck, he’s so good, DC offered him an increasingly-rare exclusive contract, guaranteeing fans years to come of fantastic work from one of comics’ brightest voices.
7. KELLY THOMPSON IS PRETTY AMAZING TOO THOUGH: Stalwart reviewer Berry Radtz said of the divine Ms. Thompson, “[She] gave us one of the strongest runs of Captain Marvel we’ve seen in years!” And while that’s true beyond true (we’d argue it’s the strongest Carol run ever), Kelly, not to be outdone, co-created one of the best new series of the year in Black Cloak from Image and has kicked off the latest Birds of Prey iterations with more style and skill than you can shake a canary at. We expect Eisners for her next summer.
6. LADIES’ NIGHT AT DC: DC has put an extremely strong focus on their female-led titles this past year, from the aforementioned Birds of Prey relaunch to Tom King’s badass take on Wonder Woman to Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville, which gives some underutilized women a chance in the spotlight. Plus, Batgirls wrapped up earlier this year, G. Willow Wilson’s Poison Ivy continues to scintillate, Power Girl has a new lease on life (even if her ever-present boob window causes eye rolls), and Tini Howard’s turn at the helm of Catwoman has been an unexpectedly strong treat. DC knows what everyone else knows: Who run the world?!
5. SUPERMAN REMAINS THE G.O.A.T.: Honestly, since the Rebirth Era kicked off back in 2016, DC seems to have laser-focused vision for who and what Superman is supposed to be about, but this past year – with two extraordinarily strong monthly titles and the Man of Steel’s son Jon continuing to forge his own path – 2023 has maybe been the best year for Superman in well over a decade. And considering how many years Supes has been flying around, that’s a pretty considerable feat for all concerned. DC seems to understand that Superman isn’t just another hero – he’s THE hero, and all concerned had better use that as their measurement.
4. X (-Men) GON’ GIVE IT TO YA: The X-Men’s Krakoa era, kicked off all the way back in 2019, was a huge gambit (no, not that Gambit) in that it kicked over the board and completely made us all rethink what it even means to be a mutant. Jonathan Hickman’s three-year plan concluded last year, but the X-crew wasn’t done yet, paying off years’ worth of subplots in one massive, bloody fell swoop in this year’s Hellfire Gala special. Considering the sprawling nature of the Krakoan narrative, how long it’s been playing out, and how many writers have come and gone – to have so much go right plot-wise with such huge payoff is, frankly, a jaw-dropping feat of patience, creativity, long-term planning, and coordination that we fans rarely if ever see.
3. NEW VOICES: 2023 felt like a larger group than usual of new talents and voices pushed themselves to the forefront, whether it’s Pepe Larraz or Meredith McClaren or David Pepose or Martin Coccolo or Kael Ngu, this year’s new voices and talents absolutely dominated the conversation for who’s going to be the talent we all follow the next decade or more. Sure, most of these folks have been around prior to this year, but 2023 has been the breakout they deserved.
2. EVERYTHING’S TURNING UP CHIP: Chip Zdarsky’s rise in the industry over the past decade is pretty well-documented, but 2023 has seen him become the first writer ever to pen both Batman and Daredevil simultaneously. Not bad, eh? He’s the gift that keeps on giving, capably poring through established continuity and using it to take characters in strange new directions. We didn’t have the return of the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh on our 2023 bingo cards – especially given how huge of a touchstone Grant Morrison’s run is – but not only has Zdarsky had the cajones to rattle that cage, he’s taken the concept and run a marathon with it, too. Next up: a dystopian future for the Avengers.
1. MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: Undeniably, the number one thing we’re grateful for this Thanksgiving is Skybound and Robert Kirkman giving us our ’80s toys back to play with! We’re referring of course to Transformers and G.I. Joe – both of which were stealth-launched in Void Rivals #1. It’s fair to say nobody saw it coming, and the resulting excitement was like a bomb going off in the industry. It’s also fair to say that in this age of internet news, months-out previews, and huge gala news junkets, anything that can still surprise is is a great thing indeed. The fact that this surprise was not one but two beloved properties returning to print – and in a brand-spanking-new shared universe, no less – was one of those perfect moments where seemingly all of fandom united in its sheer, undiluted joy.
What Comic Watch is Grateful For This Thanksgiving!
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