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The 2019 411 Comic Book Awards: House of X, Batman, Conan, More

January 15, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
House of X 1

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. If you enjoy reading or discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. I throw out a subject, you comment below. Easy. Let’s get started. 

Previously on…

Last time we discussed the 2019 411mania Comic Book Award Nominations. Here’s what some of you had to say:

Prez Gar: “Best Big Two Publisher: Marvel. DC has had too man delays lately.
Best Independent Publisher IDW. GI Joe, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, need I say more?
Best Writer: Charles Soule. He does great Star Wars stories.
Best Artists: Javier Rodriguez. History of the Marvel Universe gave him a chance to draw a vast amount of the Marvel characters.
Best Event House of X/Powers of X. The redefining of the X-Men books.
Best Book The Amazing Mary Jane. Face it, tiger, we hit the jackpot.
Best Hero Spider-Man. Multiple books, a movie, last year was his year.
Best Villain Kindred, the mysterious new addition to Spidey’s rogues gallery.”

Jeremy Thomas: “No surprise, mine is X-Men heavy.Best Big Two Publisher: Marvel. They’re kind of killing it right now.
Best Independent Publisher: Image continues to put out books that utterly slay me.
Best Writer: A tie between Jonathan Hickman (House/Powers, New Mutants, X-Men), Gerry Duggan (Marauders) and Al Ewing (Immortal Hulk)
Best Artists: Alex Ross and Pepe Larraz tie for me. Marvels Epilogue was every bit as gorgeous as the original book, and I mean…HoX.
Best Event: House of X/Powers of X, for sure.
Best Book: As much as I want to say Marauders here, and I think it should be a nominee, I have to go with Immortal Hulk. (Also honorable mention for Runaways)
Best Hero: Thor, thanks in large part to War of the Realms.
Best Villain: Ozymandias”

Wilbro: “I haven’t been following as many comics in 2019 as in years past, but for Best Writer I’ve got to nominate Jeff Lemire. Everything he writes seems to blow me away.”
Too many great comments to share. Go back and see for yourself. Also, as always, thanks for the input!

This week we discuss…

2019 411mania Comic Book Awards

I’ve been with 411mania for over 12 years and I’ve always wanted to do a comic book awards but never had the right timing to do so. This year is different. 2019 was a great year to be a comic book fan. Marvel and DC put out some great titles and even pulled off some impressive event books that actually changed the status quo. Looking at the independent scene, I can’t remember a time where we’ve had so much quality variety on the shelves and it looks to continue into 2020. 

Let’s jump into it. 

Best Big Two Publisher: Marvel
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Marvel continued to dominate in sales but the most impressive feat was making the X-Men matter again. Jonathan Hickman pulled off the near impossible by putting out the entertaining and thought provoking House of X/Powers of X. He took things even further by relaunching the X-titles with renewed focus and priority. Think about that and think how easily things could have crashed and burned or become a confusing mess. Bravo, Mr. Hickman. 

But that’s not all from Marvel. War of the Realms and Absolute Carnage also managed to be fun events that reminded fans that events can be different yet still fun. Marvel Comics  #1000 was a cool 80-page anthology, with an all-star creative team taking a page to tell a story covering a major milestone from Marvel’s 80 year history.

Not to be left out, Marvel’s mainstays all had solid years from Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, and Iron Man down to supporting characters like Black Cat, there was plenty to love. And we can’t forget about the Star Wars books. It’s safe to say that while Marvel isn’t perfect, they still put out an impressive array of comic books. 

A quick word on DC. Things weren’t all doom and gloom with them. While I felt Doomsday Clock slipped on the landing, it was a strong crossover that many felt would fail from the start. ‘Year of the Villain’ was another surprise that I truly enjoyed. <Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern were strong contenders for Book of the Year.

Overall, if I give Marvel the “A”, I’d give DC a strong “B”.

Best Independent Publisher: IDW
This was the hardest category of them all. I had so many independent titles on my pull list, it had to be a new record. Titan Comics, Aftershock Comics, Valiant, Dynamite, Dark Horse, Boom!, Image, Alerna…I could name a couple dozen and still miss a bunch. All have books that I’d put up against anything the Big Two are doing. But when it comes to the one that stands out, it has to go to IDW Publishing. 

Locke & Key, They Called Us Enemy, I Can Sell You a Body, and so many more along with properties like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, Transformers, My Little Pony, Disney, Ghostbusters, and Star Trek, make IDW jump to the head of the pack. Not only that, they strive to put the best creative teams together to make great stories with great art. 

If you haven’t been paying attention to IDW, now is the time to start looking. 

Best Writer: Tom King
I know some won’t agree with this but Mr. King has consistently putting out some of the best books on the shelves. He can play with major characters like Batman as well as put a cool spin on lesser known ones. In 2019 he gave us some of the finest Batman books out there, ‘City of Bane’ being a standout in 2019, with real weigh and drama along with finishing up Heroes in Crisis, which gets better with every read. 

Love him or hate him, you’re talking about Tom King. 

Best Artist: Ryan Sook
Another category where everyone will have their own preference but Ryan Sook gets this for one big reason: Legion of Super-Heroes. His artwork in the relaunch has been gorgeous and spot on. He captures the dynamic motion of the fight scenes and can bring his clean lines to life in the quieter, character building moments. He’s had the tough task of drawing the largest super team ever and makes it look easy. 

Best Event: House of X/Powers of X
Is there any surprise here? Jonathan Hickman over-delivered an event that could have easily broken down into a mess. He delivered twists and surprises, which is tough to do when everything out there is geared to leaking or spoiling. He made the X-books, for the most part, must-read, and brought our favorite mutants back to the forefront, where they belong.

Not only that, he was able to meld the long history of the X-Men into a cohesive blend, launching a number of titles that each have their own place within the X-universe. Not an easy task but one he did superbly. Bravo. 

Best Book: Naomi: Season One
Before you start ranting below, answer one question: have you read this? If not, do so. You’ll see why it won. If you’ve read it, you know why. DC took a new character and crafted a story that was both epic yet intimate. Brian Michael Bendis plays to his strengths in this one and is backed up by David F. Walker with some breathtaking art by Jamal Campbell. 

In a time where people are complaining about companies taking known superheroes and changing them to fit a “message”, DC turns it around and gives us something fresh and intriguing. Each issue encompasses all that is good about the industry and reminds me of why I started reading in the first place. 

Best Hero: Batman
From his various series to graphic novels, Batman had a very good 2019. He had a roller coaster personal life, battle some of his greatest foes in hard-hitting fashion, and we got plenty of memorable moments on the comic book page. 

While I thought The Batman’s Grave was stellar storytelling what put him over the top for me was Last Knight on Earth. It’s an instant classic and a stark reminder that you can put Batman into any type of story and pull new things out of him. If you haven’t read it yet, rectify that immediately. 

Best Villain: Batman Who Laughs
Another tough one but I love his visual and they’ve worked him into DC proper in a major way that made him a player right off the bat. Pun intended.  From his own series and playing antagonist in Batman/Superman, he had major play in DC’s ‘Year of the Villain’, and looks to be around a while. 

And some other categories for fun…

Best Comeback: Conan The Barbarian
I really, really wanted to give this to the Legion of Super-Heroes but the Conan the Barbarian series has some of the best stories that have ever been told and Marvel’s working Conan into their 616 with Savage Avengers was impressive.

2020 Will Be Their Year: The Eternals
With a movie coming out, expect plenty of comic book projects in the lead up

Didn’t Like Doomsday Clock? Read This: Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt
This 5-issue Dynamite miniseries should be on your list of books to read immediately. More than just a homage to Watchmen, this book understands why we love it and builds on that. 

Something to Make You Think: Little Bird
It’s a visual and cerebral feast. If you’re looking for something different, here you go. Another gem from Image. 

Best Web Series: Cosmoknights
I read it based on a recommendation one of you emailed to me and absolutely loved it. I’ll let its tagline speak for itself…”For this ragtag band of space gays, liberation means beating the patriarchy at its own game.” Enjoy!

Best Title of a Graphic Novel You Didn’t Know You Needed to Read: Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell capture so many things perfectly in this graphic novel. It’s good to expand your tastes and this book is where you should start. 

Best X-Men Comic Book Reviewer: Jeremy Thomas from 411mania
If you missed his reviews, I suggest you go back and read past 411mania Comic Book Review Roundtables. His reviews from the House/Powers of X are a must for any comic book fan and his thoughts on these various series launched from the event are the best you’ll read. Bar none. 

Creator Everyone Loves to Hate: Rob Liefeld
Because…of course. He says what he wants to and doesn’t care what people think. Follow him on Twitter for a laugh or to get angry. 

The “Really? His book is great?” Award: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen
Yes, this book is really great.

Best Mini-Series That Was Overlooked: Silver Surfer: Black
5 issues that presented Silver Surfer in a new, yet familiar way that was beautiful to read and beautiful to look at. We need more Silver Surfer. 

So Long and Thanks for the Memories: Vertigo Comics
Until we meet again?

There you go. Give me your thoughts below and keep it respectful! 

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!