As 2020 draws to a close (finally!), the Kabooooom! Crew looks back on their favorite comics, comic writers, comic artists and comic covers of the year. For Kabooooom’s favorite movies and TV shows — click here!
» BEST COMIC BOOKS «
Daredevil has undergone some major changes over the last few years and I am ashamed to say I didn’t care. This is not to say that I do not care about Daredevil as a character, it’s just that the stories did not really hook me too much… until now. Quite possibly the best thing to come out of 2020 was Daredevil. Each book was as engaging as the last and left me wanting the next. The writing is terrific, the art is consistent, and the story is interesting. Right out the gate we find out Daredevil has accidentally killed a man through the course of his regular superhero activities. He hangs up the mask and focuses on his lawyering, a copycat dawns the mask to keep the Devil in Hell’s Kitchen, and Matt Murdock follows his heart right into a local crime family! I cannot get enough of this book. – Harvey Moreno, Staff Writer.
John Constantine, Hellblazer
While he made his grand return to adult comics in 2019, 2020 was John Constantine’s year… which would explain a lot of 2020, come to think of it. While it’s time upon this Earth was all too brief, John Constantine, Hellblazer was a welcome return to form, presenting a perfect mix of weird horror and politics that evoked the character’s roots under the pens of Alan Moore and Jamie Delano. For 12 magical issues, Simon Spurrier spun a wicked tale, bringing Constantine into a modern London full of smoke-free bistros and IPAs where there were once seedy pubs and G&Ts. This setting was brought to life beautifully by the outstanding art of Aaron Campbell and Matias Bergara. I’m sad to see it go, but nothing good can last forever – a lesson we Constantine fans know all too well. – Matt Morrison, Editor-In-Chief.
» BEST WRITERS «
Is it a cop-out to say the writer of my favorite comic book series from 2020 was also my favorite writer for the year? I don’t care. Chip Zdarsky can do no wrong! Well, maybe he can, but I still don’t care. From Daredevil, to Sex Criminals, and Stillwater, all the way to the only book from Marvel’s Empyre event that I actually cared for (Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling #1), Chip kills it with everything he does! He is witty without needing to be smarter than you, his stories are well-crafted and full of surprises, and he makes sure that all of his characters have a defined voice. Not everybody needs to sound like Spider-Man. Keep up the amazing work! – Harvey Moreno, Staff Writer.
I didn’t review a lot of Tom Taylor’s work over the course of 2020. I fear sounding like a broken record whenever I do discuss his work, having praised so much of it over the years. While other writers were setting out to break the Internet with their stories, Taylor was quietly delivering the Harley Quinn/Poison Ivy wedding we’d always dreamed of and breaking our brains with stories where John Constantine woke up in bed with Lucifer, Ted Kord became a terrorist and Joker acquired the powers of a god. And those are just the stories I can explain with a one sentence summary! So much of Suicide Squad, Injustice: Year Zero, Hellblazer: Rise and Fall and all the various and sundry DCeased sequels seems inexplicable out of context. Perhaps I can’t explain why Taylor’s writing is so fantastic, but it is, and he’s more than earned a nod as one of the best writers of 2020. I can’t wait for his upcoming Nightwing series, which is promising to be one of the best books of 2021. – Matt Morrison, Editor-In-Chief.
» BEST ARTISTS «
For a long time I have had a certain mindset when it came to comic art: if the story is good enough, you can get away with stick figures. That being said, you’d like to look at the best art you can for the story at hand. In my opinion, there was no better artist to grace a comic page in 2020 than Clay Mann. He brings a certain level of dynamism that is often missing in modern books. His characters are portrayed mid-action without feeling like a stiff pose. When I can read a comic and the characters feel like people, it cements my emotional attachment to them and that is the hallmark of a great artist. It also helps that he works so well Tom King (who was so close to Chip for my #1 writer of 2020) on the books they create. – Harvey Moreno, Staff Writer.
I’m always hard pressed to pick a favorite artist each year. There are so many artists I admire, due to my own ability to manage more than simple stick figures. This year is no exception, so I’ve elected to highlight an artist who I think is highly underrated yet works miracles on a regular basis. Consider the above page, in which Doctor Doom enters the scene astride a saddled bear. Before a word of dialogue is uttered, we know all that needs to be said about Doom as a character and how is viewed by the people who observe his grand entrance. Such things are all but impossible to pull off, yet Salvador Larroca does them often enough it seems simple. Also, Doctor Doom is riding a bear! – Matt Morrison, Editor-In-Chief.
» BEST COVERS «
Amazing Spider-Man #50 – Mike Mayhew Spider-Gwen Variant
When you think of Mike Mayhew, what probably comes to mind is a vivid image of humanistic realism. The man has an astonishing talent for capturing the essence of a character on the page. If you have seen his work over the last couple of years you know what I mean. The absolute best piece of the year – by him or anyone else – was the variant cover he created for Amazing Spider-Man #50. This cover has an unmasked Spider-Gwen posing from the waist up in a classy, pseudo-pinup pose and her familiar rockish pink and purple background. It was only available through his website and, yeah, I totally dropped $75 to give this art to my wife for Christmas. – Harvey Moreno, Staff Writer.
Suicide Squad #11 – Jeremy Roberts Variant
Jeremy Roberts created a number of outstanding variant covers for the short-lived Suicide Squad revival of 2019-2020. He may have saved the best for last, with his rendition of the new Harley Quinn costume, originally designed by Bruno Redondo. In a year that presented many different takes on the Queen of Clowns in a variety of outfits in film, television, comics and cartoons, Roberts’ imagining may be the most quintessential. Or should I say Quinn-Tessential? Harley’s sporting the red and blue dyed pigtails popularized by Margot Robbie, but her bodysuit is a classic design, all black and red, with diamond designs, frilly cuffs and a jacket that is both protective and fashionable. Throw in a little fire and you have one fantastic cover. – Matt Morrison, Editor-In-Chief.
Those are our picks for our favorite comic books, writers, artists and covers of 2020! What are some of yours? Let us know in the comments!
And from all of us here at Kabooooom – Happy New Year!