Art of the Year Award – Series: New Avengers
(#12-25 and New Avengers Annual #1)
Art in general is debatable. Even more so is comic book art since everyone has a particular art style they love or perhaps find ugly. No matter how you may feel toward the differing art styles of Mike Deodato (#12) Simone Bianchi (#13-15), Rags Morales (#16 & #17), Valerio Schiti (#19-21), Marco Rudy (Annual #1) or Kev Walker (#22-25), the one thing nobody can tell me is thatNew Avengers isn’t the most emotionally visual or dramatically chilling comic book of 2014 because of these men, with the assistance of their inkers and colorists respectively. Bianchi’s three issue arc fits the atmosphere of the Illuminati like a glove. His crisp, 3-D-like art is fascinating, drawing you in. Rags Morales’ two issue run brings with it a simplistic but stunning, fine-tuned pattern, and young gun Valerio Schiti totally, and beautifully, knocks it out of the park. Schiti is one of my new favorite artists due to the amount of cinematic fullness he has brought to New Avengers. When you focus in on his art, it comes across as though the panels are actually “moving” in a way, somewhat resembling a motion comic. Moreover, his facial expressions from characters are extraordinary. The scene where Black Panther is shouting/crying in New Avengers #21 hit me hard and always will when I look back at it. Rarely any artists can achieve this. Last but not least, we cannot forget Marco Rudy’s New Avengers Annual #1. That issue is just magnificent as well as ground-breaking for comic book art.
Story of the Year Award:
A Perfect World (New Avengers #18-23)
A Perfect World is phenomenal. It is one of the greatest comic book stories of any generation. And it’s a story I know only writer Jonathan Hickman could articulate. This is it; The Illuminati’s hands are tied as the inevitable has arrived. An incursion leaves you with the options: destroy the colliding earth or sacrifice yours to spare both universes, or allow the earth’s to collide, in due course destroying both. When this incursion brings with it true heroes believing in hope known as The Great Society from their alternate earth who have effectively stifled incursions before in heroic conduct, The Illuminati are forced to look into the mirror of who they should be instead of who they have become. The dynamic, thought provoking themes explored question if The Illuminati can still call themselves superheroes. Ingrained so strikingly with astonishing, memorable dialogue, imbued with an incredibly intense and brilliant battle, peppered throughout with amazing character moments from team members on both sides, and concluding with rawness of feature film-worthy emotion and drama, this is such a marvelous story. I believe it truly is the best comics can ever get as of right now.
Cover of the Year Award:
Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor #2 (September 2014)
I sometimes don’t want to take my eyes off the second issue of Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor. I could just stare at the cover by Alice X. Zhang until I just couldn’t any longer. The painting depicting the 11th Doctor gazing in smiling wonderment at the glowing lights falling around him is very capturing. The colors and lighting are lovely and the artists’ rendering of Matt Smith is flawless. The more you admire this work, the more it sticks with you. It’s simply gorgeous and speaks for itself.
Art of the Year Award – Single Issue:
New Avengers Annual #1 (June 2014)
The entirety of the New Avengers Annual #1, including the cover, is drawn by one man. That one man’s name is Marco Rudy, a rising artist who needs to get paid the biggest paycheck from his employers. If it was possible to show every comic book fan this issue, I would. I might even buy it for them if it came down to it because New Avengers Annual #1 is a completely and utterly beautiful comic book. Page after page is a delight to the eyes with mesmerizing colors and figures, I almost don’t believe how one man can do all of it. It’s uncanny and amazing at the same time. Dipping into a Doctor Strange tale involving exorcising a demon and more, this is a premiere Doctor Strange issue that wouldn’t be as stunning as it is without Rudy’s painting technique here to assuredly give you art at its best.