To celebrate the end of the year, the staff of Sequential Planet will be listing their favorite things from 2018! Below are some of Steven’s favorite picks of the year. Click here to see the rest of our picks!
Series of the Year: Ice Cream Man
There’s a lot of comics that came out in 2018. Did you know there’s new comics out every Wednesday? I’m not a math guy, but it adds up to a lot of comics. In that ocean of comic books, Ice Cream Man has consistently hit every issue out of the park. I like to describe it as the “Black Mirror of comic books.” W. Maxwell Prince tells us a new horror story every issue, with the only connection between them being the titular Ice Cream Man. He’s some otherworldly being, and not always directly involved, but he’s definitely not up to anything good. Horror doesn’t usually appeal to me, but this comic scratches that itch. It’s not outright scary but instead is more subtle and unsettling. Even the least horror-esque story is pretty bleak at the end of the day.
Best Writer: Donny Cates
The guy is practically taking over Marvel right now. He’s got Venom, Death of the Inhumans, Marvel Knights: 20th, Cosmic Ghost Rider, and the epic that is Thanos Wins. Those are all great stories, and I even considered Venom for the best series of 2018. My favorite thing from Donny Cates is his series Redneck from Image Comics. I only discovered it early this year, but it quickly became one of my favorites. If Donny Cates is writing something, I’ll read it.
Best Artist: Martin Morazzo
Martin Morazzo is my choice for best artist of the year for his work on Ice Cream Man. He’s also one of the few artists where as soon as I see his art, I know it’s him without even looking at the credits for the book. As I mentioned, there’s been a lot of books in 2018. I had to do some research to remind myself of what came out this year (and by research I mean some Google searches and browsing Reddit). But, from all the way back in January, Ice Cream Man #1 has images in it that never left my mind. I don’t like spiders, and the first issue of Ice Cream Man heavily featured a spider. I kept slapping my legs and looking under my desk at work whenever I thought I felt something. All because of Martin Morazzo’s art.
Best Colorist: Triona Farrell
Triona Farrell works on two of my favorite series from this year: West Coast Avengers and Nancy Drew. Her work in West Coast Avengers is great, but combined with the art of Jenn St-Onge in Nancy Drew, I think it it really stands out in the crowd.
Best Issue: The Unbelievable Gwenpool #25
There was really no debate in my mind for this category. Gwenpool quickly became my favorite character in comics (probably in all media, but there’s a lot of media), and I was (and still partially am) bummed out that the book was cancelled, but what a perfect ending to the series. No other comic book has made my eyes water, and it happens whenever I re-read it.
Best Publisher: Marvel Comics
Every industry has its highs and lows. In the few years i’ve been reading comics both Marvel and DC have been at their respective ends two or three times each. In my opinion, 2018 has been an outstanding year for comic books. Sure, there’s the occasional bad book, but on the whole I think the quality across the board from every publisher has been really good and consistent. Marvel takes the spot for best publisher purely because at my core, i’m a Marvel fanboy.
Best New Series: West Coast Avengers
This pick feels like i’m cheating, since the original team first appeared in the 1980’s. But this series is easily the comic I look forward to the most each month. It’s got Gwenpool on the roster, both Hawkeyes, and is written by Kelly Thompson who is one of my favorite writers. It hasn’t been around as long as other series that started up this year, but it’s been non-stop fun since the series started.
Best Miniseries: Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles
This miniseries surprised me. I really had no idea who Snagglepuss was (still don’t know anything about classic Snagglepuss). But this series, written by Mark Russell with art by Mike Feehan, really hooked me in from the start. Snagglepuss is a gay playwright in 1950’s New York in the middle of the second red scare and McCarthyism. The U.S. Government is after him to go against fellow playwrights and artists as communists, or they’ll ruin him and his career.
Movie of the Year: Avengers: Infinity Wars
I looked at a list of movies movies released in 2018, and except for maybe two or three, every movie i’ve seen in theaters this year has been a superhero/comic book movie. To me, it’s just a perfect movie. The culmination of ten years and 19 movies, everything from the story, to the ensemble cast and their performances, to the visual effects… it all just works.
Best Director(s): Joe and Anthony Russo
This shouldn’t be a surprise, really. They directed the biggest (and best) movie of all time.
Best Actor/Best Performance: Y’lan Noel, The First Purge
Full disclosure, this is mostly to talk about The First Purge and the Purge movies in general. They’re all great. The First Purge is one of the few non-superhero/comic book movies I’ve seen this year, and it’s freaking fantastic. The Purge films are some of my favorites. I haven’t seen the TV show yet, but it sounds like I’ll enjoy it as well. The First Purge is maybe the best prequel movie ever made. Y’lan Noel is great as the lead in it, and he can easily be a leading action star someday. Watch this movie, it’s so good.