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Best Creators 2022

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Cable
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Best Creators 2022

Post by Cable » 19 Dec 2022, 13:12

2022 was the beginning of a new era in X-Men comics has Hickman made his exit. Let's celebrate those creators who kept the line going strong. I myself kept track throughout the year of what I believed were the best comics and below are those who most consistently gave us quality content these past 12 months.

I would love to see your own opinions about who did the best work in 2022.


X-Men Comics

Writers

1.Gerry Duggan
While Gillen got much of the spotlight this year due to writing the event comic AXE Judgement Day (an event that I felt fell flat), it was in Duggan's X-Men where many of the major revelations in the line were dropped this year, whether it be mutant resurrection being revealed to the world or the identity of Doctor Stasis bringing to light the existence of multiple variations of Nathaniel Essex. And yet while there were major plot events in the book, there was still vital character work being done on cast members like Synch or Forge. The latter was plucked from the pages of the grim title X-Force for a story in which Duggan showed him doing "the right thing" because "that is what the X-Men do." Duggan's title is the one which most exemplifies X-Men in the classic mold of an inspirational team of superheroes, something I think is always necessary. And bonus points this year for Duggan's Devil's Reign tie-in comic that used the fun concept of a shared past between Emma Frost and the Kingpin.
Highlight Issues this year: X-Men #6, #8, #10-11, #13, #17, X-Men Devil's Reign #1-2. And Invincible Iron Man #1!

2. Benjamin Percy
The year started off with a one-two punch from Percy: X Lives of Wolverine which was a sweeping epic of a love letter to the most popular X-Men character, and X Deaths of Wolverine which used a thriller narrative to push Moira MacTaggert to her new role in the post-Hickman era. Percy also makes the list for a third straight year for X-Force by continuing his X-Men version of A Few Good Men, examining what happens when paradise has to be protected by good people that do bad things. The effect that this could have on someone who has to justify their behavior is showcased in two ways: Sage who numbs herself to it by collapsing into alcoholism and Beast who tries to rationalize it by letting go of any sense of ethics in favor of callous pragmatism. This all has come to a head at the end of the year, with it looking like Sage will be saved while Beast is lost (if Beast is your favorite character I understand how Percy will be nowhere near the top of your list lol). This was the main theme though it should be noted there were other related ideas, like a fun detour that featured Kraven the Hunter coming to the realization that mutants were the actual apex predators of the world. All of this is grim reading, but at the same time Percy also showed his versatility by doing a touching story in Wolverine involving Deadpool and Danger and the importance of a found family/a sense of belonging.
Highlight Issues this year: X Deaths of Wolverine #1-3, X Lives of Wolverine #5, Wolverine #20, #22, X-Force #33

3. Chris Claremont
For those of us who are not overall fans of the present Krakoan status quo, fortunately the editors also gave us many stories set in classic eras this year. It should be no surprise that leading this effort was the X-Men GOAT Claremont. We got to take a tour through history with him as the year started in the 80s with a prelude to Excalibur, then on to the 90s with a never-before-seen adventure of Gambit mentoring the deaged Storm, and finishing the year beginning a new tale of 2000s title X-treme X-Men. It has been a fun trip down memory lane every step of the way.
Highlight Issues this year: X-Men Legends #12, Gambit #1, #3-5, X-Treme X-Men #1

Honorable Mentions:
Kieron Gillen
Chad Bowers and Chris Sims
Larry Hama


Artists

1. Andrea Di Vito
Di Vito is one of those artists whose work is timeless because the lines can fit easily whether in a book hearkening back to a classic era like the Wolverine: Patch mini or in a modern epic like his work on Fantastic Four's Reckoning War (alongside artist Rachael Stott). Yet it isn't stale because the use of panels and layouts is very much modern and dynamic. He can do the subtle parts like Patch viewing Tiger Tyger and Archie through a raised glass of whiskey to the action scenes with violently jagged and shattered panel structure to showing movement within single frames as seen by Patch's plummet to the ground in Patch #1 or his ethereal vision of Jean in Patch #3. As a fan of both old school and modern comics, Di Vito is the best of both worlds.
Highlight Issues this year: Wolverine Patch #1-3,#5, Fantastic Four #43

2. Sid Kotian
Kotian also had the task of drawing a classic era comic but rather than having a style reminiscent of the past his work is much more stylized with what looks at times like a manga inspiration perfect for portraying the spunk of young Ororo. Kotian also did his own colors and I loved some of the choices like the spirit plane devoid of color except the strikes of gold when there are signs of Storm tapping her dormant powers. His work overall provided the energy needed to provide a perfect collaboration with the sometimes staid prose of Claremont.
Highlight Issues this year: Gambit #1, #3-5

3. Rob Liefeld
Ok this one is a bit of a cheat because Deadpool Bad Blood was actually a re-release. But it did have added pages in its serial form so it counts! But while Liefeld's plotting leaves something to be desired, I think he does deserve recognition for the fact that his art has undeniably progressed (look at all the feet in Bad Blood ;)) from even when he was at the heights of stardom in the 90s. And while his exaggerated brawn and pouchphilia is often mocked, there is little doubt that Liefeld in large part defined the look of the 90s and if you want a book to transport you back to that era there are few better choices.
Highlight Issues this year: Deadpool Bad Blood #1-4

Honorable Mentions:
Javier Pina
Federico Vicentini
Dave Wachter


Non-X Comics

Writers

1. Jed MacKay
MacKay has been juggling several books this year and doing a great job on all of them. He started the year with the conclusion of the Death of Dr Strange event, which while not that impressive itself it did lay the groundwork for Clea to become Sorceror Supreme (and put Strange in a new role you know if you read her title). It was something some feared would be a short-lived gimmick but MacKay has been doing a great job fleshing out this exciting new change in the supernatural corner of the MU. Speaking of which, at the same time MacKay has been expanding the mythos of the Moon Knight. For the entire first year he left out elements that some might use as a crutch, like the infamous split personality, until he was ready to bring it in for issue #14 where he produced probably the finest arc yet. Or Marc's relationship with Marlene left untouched until this year's heartbreaking Annual (also featuring Werewolf-by-Night!). And if all of this work wasn't enough, MacKay has also been building one of the best stories for any minor character in comics with his volumes of Black Cat over recent years including this year's mini Iron Cat that has the characteristic mix of fun guest stars, a spotlight into her exciting history as master thief, and heartfelt exploration of her current conflicted feelings. Pray we get more in 2023!
Highlight Issues this year: Death of Dr. Strange #5, Moon Knight #14-15, Moon Knight Annual, Iron Cat #4, Strange #8

2. Chip Zdarsky
Zdarsky has been making waves in recent years with his run on Daredevil. While I have found the execution sometimes uneven, there is no doubt Zdarsky has been constantly bringing fresh ideas that keep it interesting, whether it be Daredevil going to prison for killing someone or now reviving the Fist to oppose Punisher's Hand or the madness that is the Goldman retcon. Add to that this year was Devil's Reign, the culmination of the story of Kingpin as NYC mayor which should go down as a definitive Wilson Fisk story.
Highlight Issues this year: Devil's Reign #4-6, Daredevil #1-2

3. 3. Derek Landy
If Landy is not on your radar, he should be. Formerly a screenwrither and novelist, he is newer to comics but I hope he gets placed on more titles. His Captain America/Iron Man might on title look like a shameless play for casual eyes, but if you read it you know it was anything but. Rooted in continuity and filled with great characterization and dueling philosophies, it was one of the books of the year for me. Now Landy is doing All-Out Avengers, an amibitious book that seeks to tie together individual issues that tell standalone action scenes with zero expositional setup. And he is talented enough to make it work.
Highlight Issues this year: Captain America/Iron Man #2, #4-5, All-Out Avengers #2

Honorable Mentions
Dan Slott
Zeb Wells
Kurt Busiek


Artists

1. Marco Checchetto
The critical acclaim the recent Daredevil comics have received are just as much (if not more so!) because of Checchetto's art as it is because of writing. If your preferences lean more toward 'realistic' art over 'cartoonish,' he is as good as anyone else out there. If you need just one example, read the milestone Daredevil #650 and be impressed by the chaotic explosion scenes or the pursuit across the rooftops of the city in the pouring rain.
Highlight Issues: Devil's Reign #4-6, Daredevil#1-2

2. John Romita Jr
John Romita Jr is great at drawing Spider-Man. Wait, what year is it? 2022!? Seriously though it has been a treat seeing Romita's distinctive style back on Spidey again for the title's new era as it pushes past 900 issues.
Highlight Issues: Amazing Spider-Man #2-4, #13

3. Yildiray Cinar
You can look at what I wrote last year because this year Cinar just kept doing the same with continued excellence. The Marvels was a must-read book imo and a large part of it was Cinar's quality work.
Highlight Issues: The Marvels #9, #11-12

Honorable Mentions
Stefano Landini
Angel Unzueta
Alessandro Cappuccio
Best Comics of Week 3

X-titles: Immortal X-Men #10 by Kieron Gillen (1) and Lucas Werneck (1)
Non-X titles: Spider-Man Lost Hunt #3 by JM DeMatteis (1) and Kyle Hotz (1), Eder Messias (1)

In parentheses # of times creator has had best comic this year

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Blackcyclops
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Re: Best Creators 2022

Post by Blackcyclops » 19 Dec 2022, 15:11

Best X-Writers

1. Spurrier
He’s probably the weirdest X-writer of all time but he’s also one of the best right now. Weaving a tale about concepts, characters and plots that in less skilled hands would be disastrous, Spurrier is giving us GOAT stories.

2. Duggan
I think in retrospect Duggan’s work will be much more appreciated by this board. Right now he’s writing a crisp and fun (while moving his plots along at a pretty considerable pace) superhero book that doesn’t shine away from being a book about superheroes. I think his book has gotten better over time and I think in 2023 he’s really going to shine on this title.


3. Ewing
No matter where he goes Ewing just always brings his A-game and I think throughout 2022 he’s given us one of the best X-title each and every week. I love his choice of characters, his plot threads and how he ties it into the larger MU continuity.

Honorable Mentions:
Gillen (Immortal is soooo good)
Ayala (a slow burn amazing read)
Howard (underrated as hell)

Personally this is the strongest lineup of X-writers since the HoX/PoX era started.

Non-X-book Writers
This was actually super hard too…
1. Zdarsky-see what Cable said
2. Wells- Spidey is actually been a consistently great book for the last 3 years
3. McKay- He’s basically writing the best non-A-lister stuff out there.

Honorable Mentions:
The Captains America Team (Kelly, Lanzig, Onyebuchi)
Gillen (Eternals and Judgement Day)
The Venom Team (V, Cates, and Ewing)

There are some incredibly solid non-X books out every month. What’s being done in Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Venom and the Caps books are just amazing and well worth reading.
So on one hand we have the existence of a being who can reset the entire timeline, destroying everything…, and on the other hand we have a few mind wipes and some gaslighting. You're right, totally evenly weighted.
-Cly

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Magnus
Posts: 2079
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 00:54

Re: Best Creators 2022

Post by Magnus » 02 Jan 2023, 06:09

I once again failed to keep up on my detailed notes for grading each issue this year, but I can say that Immortal X-Men and X-Men Red were far and away the 1-2 best X-books - not sure which I like more, but there's definitely a wide margin between them and the others. They're the two I always need to read right away each week, while others sometimes sit days or even a week before I get around to reading them.

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