The Third Annual Occult Detective Awards Begin… NOW
THE THIRD ANNUAL
OCCULT DETECTIVE AWARDS
We shall begin, my friends, this third installment of the increasingly esoteric and schizophrenic Occult Detective Awards by first looking into the world of four colours, where words and pictures converge in a sublime, brackish cesspool of innovation and creation. Arguably in its final death throes as producers of monthly pamphlets of wonder, the comic industry as a whole suffers from an aging audience and a lack of true vision beyond the snatch and grab of the event fueled buck. It saddens me. I’ve been a comic fan since before I entered the public school system, learning to read from the writings of such luminaries as Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, and Archie Goodwin, among others. But we are not here to bemoan the crumbling infrastructure of a once mighty empire of imagination, but instead to celebrate that which still strikes our fancy… or at least mine anyway. Your own mileage may vary.
Time to pass out the trophies. Drum roll, if you please:
Best Ongoing Series
HELLBLAZER — Peter Milligan has done the unthinkable, he has, in 2012, made John Constantine and Hellblazer relevant again. Not that sales necessarily reflect this, but from a fan stand point, Hellblazer has been consistently top notch entertainment, adding depth and poignancy to a character that’s had more than its fair share of up and downs in its nearly 300 issue run. With its scheduled cancellation, Hellblazer is in fact, going out with a bang, as they say, and I couldn’t be happier for it.
Best Graphic Novel
CRIMINAL MACABRE: THE IRON SPIRIT — Not familiar with Criminal Macabre? Well, that’s a problem that needs to be immediately addressed; and what better place to start than with The Iron Spirit. Our protagonist is a burned out wretch by the name of Cal McDonald, who also happens to be a talented occult detective, albeit one who is drug-fueled and alcohol-infused. McDonald’s adventures take place in a not-so-alternate reality where cornucopia of fiendish beasties, including demons, ghouls, and ghosts, are commonplace. What sets The Iron Spirit apart from previous McDonald misadventures is the absolutely gorgeous artwork from Scott Morse, and a truly heartfelt and poignant story penned by Criminal Macabre creator Steve Niles. I’ve not missed a single Cal McDonald outing, be it comic or prose, and this one is the crowning achievement in the series. When a military weapons project goes wrong, it’s up to Cal to set things right, in classic Criminal Macabre fashion. I recommend this one highly, whether you’re a longtime fan or looking to dip your toes in for the very first time.
ALABASTER: WOLVES — Aunt Beast herself, the spectacular Caitlín R. Kiernan, reinvents Dancy Flammarion, a sixteen-year-old monster hunter tasked with killing beasties by Heaven, for Dark Horse comics in this superb five issue mini-series. Beautifully lettered and illustrated by Steve Lieber, with delicious color work from Rachelle Rosenberg, Alabaster: Wolves is pure alchemy that should not be missed.
FATALE, BOOK ONE: DEATH CHASES ME — Collecting the first five issues of this groundbreaking series, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Fatale is hard-boiled Noir at its finest, conjuring up a thrilling fusion of Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Raymond Chandler, and illustrated like the best crime and horror comics of the golden age.
THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: CENTURY: 2009 — What the hell was that? Genius, that’s what. Alan Moore. Kevin O’Neill. Really, do I need to say more? Not for the faint of heart, this final chapter in the third volume of the LoEG saga is breathtaking, mind-blowing, and bloody brilliant on so many levels. Moore is an unmitigated madman and O’Neill his surrealistic co-conspirator in what is a truly whirlwind of an experience.
CULLEN BUNN — Every one of the writers attached to the books above would be deserving of this year’s honor. Milligan. Kiernan. Brubaker. Niles. Alan freaking Moore. But here it is, Cullen Bunn has elevated himself to be the go to guy in my book. His work on titles such as Fear Itself, Wolverine, and of course, the brilliant weird western that is The Sixth Gun has shown that he is a writer to be reckoned with. 2013 looks to be even brighter for him. Mark my words. Bunn’s the real deal.
MIKEL JANIN — This Spaniard has dazzled me with his work on DC Comics’ Justice League Dark. Able to perfectly marry European-style photo-realism with American-style cartooning, Janin has been, in a very short time, the stand-out artist in the New 52 line. With a background in architecture, Janin’s distinct line work and attention to detail is nothing short of brilliant and I look forward to following his career for many years to come.
Stand-Out Publisher of the Year
DARK HORSE COMICS — Sure, they’ve had a couple of misfires (I’m looking at you Conan), but all in all, Dark Horse’s stable is a breath of fresh air. Criminal Macabre. Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. Alabaster. The Buffyverse. Ghost. The Goon. Billy the Kid. And much more… Occult Detectives and the Horror genre are alive and well at Dark Horse. They are consistent, reliable, and know which side of their bread is buttered. While the Top Two keep churning out their mega-events, crossovers, and headline grabbing relaunches, Dark Horse just keeps doing what it does best — delivering kick ass comics by some of the best creators in the business.
And that’s it for the first day of our week long event. Tune in tomorrow as we tackle a more weighty subject — esoterica — as the Third Annual Occult Detective Awards continue.