So far in the Best of the Year we’ve restricted ourselves only to comics and graphic novels published this year in our own reality, but today we expand it to take in some of the most interesting works from both major publishers and independent presses in various parallel Earths:
Picklehack by Smedgington and Miss Paley. A fabulous Steampunk tale of an alternative Victorian Britain, where the deformed arch criminal mastermind Picklehack already controls the UK-wide trade in pickled vegetables and is determined to expand his control to include all condiments across the entire British Empire, even if he has to go up against the great Celtic god of Condiments, Rowatts for mastery of this vital trade.
Secret Civil Wedding, by Sparky Millboy and various artists. Marvel’s major ‘event’ story arc for this year finally saw Bruce Banner and Tony Stark confess their love for one another, with lifelong right-winger Stark having to accept that his playboy persona was a cover and that he could no longer support a political party that denied him and Bruce the right to hold a same sex civil partnership and become husband and husband. The path of true love becomes even more complicated when it is revealed that their maid of honour, Ms Marvel, may be a shape changing alien.
Infinite Credit Crisis, by Student Grant and various artists. Of course DC also had their own huge crossover ‘event’ running throughout the year. As the banking system collapses and mortgage defaults rise rapidly many of our heroes find themselves evicted from their homes and broke. Superman and Lois Lane are forced to borrow money from Lex Luthor, putting them under his thumb where all his previous villainous schemes had failed. Meanwhile Bruce Wayne sees the possible end of Wayne Enterprises when he realises over half his stock portfolio has been invested into a hedge fund scheme that didn’t really exist and the Icelandic bank who underwrite Wayne Mansion goes bust.
Batman’s Tights RIP, by Student Grant and Tony Spaniel. The story arc that has been building ever since the return of The Flush and the Black Socks finally comes to a climax. During an epic ‘final’ fight between the Dark Knight and the Black Sock the Batman’s athletic leaps and combat moves cause his tights to rip, revealing his entire bottom to the world. Immediately charged with public indecency, he has to vanish from the world. Publicly lambasted as a flasher, is this the end of the Caped Crusader?
Tables by Gill Fillingham and Shark Tuckingham. The multiple Eisner award winning series continues to explore the world of mythological characters attempting to get by in the real world working minimum wage jobs as waiters and waitresses in the restaurants of New York.
Owly Versus Bill Oddie, by Sandy Bunton. One of the most beloved all-ages characters in comics finds himself stalked by the former Goodie turned BBC bird watching presenter Bill Oddie who has become obsessed with him.
Pasted by Fallen Grant, Frank Muchley et al. The first issue of a new humorous British adult comic contained short strips from a number of acclaimed creators, all themed around the subject of wallpapering.
The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Aligirl. An unusual graphic travel book taking the reader on a bicycling tour of the finest historical dykes which hold back the seas from flooding the low-lying Netherlands is fascinating.
Pie Craters of the Midwest by Joshua Blotter. An absorbing and often hear-breaking account of the famous home-made pie contests held in the Midwestern states of the USA and how seriously some contestants take them.
Necessary Sponsors by Praun Azzopadapidapi and Daniel Gandalf Goodshow. Currently being serialised online this strip from two leading lights of the UK small press comics scene follows a crack team who must plug the gap in their operation’s budget by seeking out sponsors, but sometimes the sponsor’s agenda may conflict with the aims of their team…
Fern Britten Goes Lightly, by Panner Terry. The debut graphic work from Terry is a fictional account of curvy TV personality Fern Britten losing a huge amount of weight, leaving the world of light entertainment and starting her own detective agency, aided only by a talking, environmentally friendly re-usable shopping bag.
We Can Still Be Casual Lovers by Tawil. The celebrated German cartoonist’s semi autobiographical comic account of the break up of relationships where both parties remain friendly and decide they can still indulge in casual weekend sex even though they are no longer an item.