Raven Lyn Clemens (The Paradox of Getting Better, Silver Sprocket). Vignettes regarding the finer points of absolutely losing one’s shit. Clemens’ trick: if you make it a cartoon, give yourself the distance to say what really happens. Through a mask of absurdity, they are able to convey a relatable darkness with a deeply disquieting casual air. Which, yeah, not facing what you’re facing is the only way of getting through sometimes. As the reader, you bear witness to some truly alarming behavior only to suddenly realize you’re looking in a mirror. Spent a lot of time wondering what that means, the comfort in knowing you’re not alone, or that you are strong enough to make it. Is it made a positive because, good or bad, you’re alive to bear it? Fucked up or not it’s yours, your life, and it means something. — AOK
Charles Soule (Eight Billion Genies, Image Comics). Soule’s presented a simple but brilliant premise: every human being on Earth is suddenly assigned a genie who will grant each person one wish. With each issue, he explored how those wishes are applied by different individuals and groups. From characters who burned theirs almost immediately, to those who carefully bided their time and strategized, to those who made selfless and heartfelt desires come true, the range of wishes explored is vast. More, Soule builds the narrative by exploring how these various wishes reshape the world. Over the course of days, months, and years following the genies’ gift, we experience results that are equal parts humorous and horrifying, but all essentially human whether in their folly or in their foresight. In a masterpiece of storytelling, the unexpected course of granted wishes, individually and in concert, evolves and changes every aspect of the character’s existence. — CH
Tom King (The Human Target; Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, DC). A target-for-hire and a Kryptonian hard-head, both on different paths, yet both careening towards catharsis. We don’t yet know how Christopher Chance’s story will end in The Human Target, but what we have to work with so far seems to indicate that, when you pair this story with the entirety of Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, Tom King has hit yet another stride in an already impressive career. King’s work can be messy, his characters equally so, and that’s how I like things. Nobody’s perfect, mistakes get made, sometimes people and circumstances have a tendency to ruin shit, and that’s the stuff of story. King puts disaster and consequence in his stuff, the achingly human sort, and while I sometimes scream for an editor to rein him in sometimes, I’m always glad King has this chance to crack open the heads of characters I love so well just to see how he’d make them tick. Implode. Endure. — JJ
Luca Oliveri (No Love Lost, Peow Studio). A horny pulp romp with ideas spilling out of every pocket and earnest longing stuffed down the front of its pants. Cool stuff. The weapons and the vehicles are what get me really hyped, like using a space-combat-grade battle axe to cut a tank in hot pursuit clean in half. But beyond that lies the bureaucracy and its outlaws that set the scene, or the team approach to fighting cosmic kaiju, roles reversed due to fate—a book packed with neat ideas that are executed well, fun, fast, and furious. There’s a Fantastic Four mix of scientific gadgets and sexual tension, but the look and general vibe are pure shonen manga. Also, it’s this huge chunk of story that has an ending which is just the script turning a new page. The potential brings both satisfaction and longing; that’s good comics. — AOK
Tom Taylor (Nightwing, DC). Legacy hero guest shots, interesting new characters, and stand-alone stories that fold seamlessly into epic narrative make this one of the year’s best ongoing series. With elevated stakes for its hero and a setting as adversarial as the primary villain, exploration of Dick Grayson’s crimefighting style and personal life reflect the contributions Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, and Clark Kent made in shaping this hero of the next generation. Taylor never ignores the seamier elements of the Bat-Family side of the DC street, but he’s made Nightwing a hero who refuses to be delineated by it or malformed into a lone and brooding vigilante by opposing it. Grayson’s smart, a consummate strategist, a team player, and each issue leaves a positive assurance that, despite hard-fought challenges and occasional setbacks, Nightwing succeeds in making the DC world a vastly safer and better place than it would be without him. — CH
Al Ewing (Ant-Man, Marvel). He’s written quite a bit more this year than Ant-Man, and I admit I haven’t read all of it. Al Ewing writes a lot of stuff, and I do mean a lot of stuff, and that he maintains this mind-bending level of coherence and ambition while doing it is precisely what will make this writer a legend in due course. In the meantime, Ant-Man was handily the most engaging in-canon cape comic I read in 2022, due in no small part to the way Ewing can dabble in period anachronisms (his Stan Lee affect is so good it’s spooky), byzantine plot construction, and grand ol’ superhero derring-do in a way few can compare. Ant-Man could have been a mere birthday one-off for Hank Pym, Scott Lang, and all the rest, but Ewing (not to mention his collaborator supreme, Tom Reilly) turned this celebration into a victory lap, and soon, a perennial collection that will no doubt be re-read and cherished, a true Marvel milestone.
What were your favorite writers of 2022? Let us know in the comments section below.
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