By Zak Edwards
January 14, 2010 - 13:00
By far the most enjoyable mini-series was Eric Shanower and Skottie Young’s adaptation of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The issues were just plain good and funny and not trying to do something fresh and overly original. With all the different versions and perversions (McFarlane’s toys of ‘adult’ Oz characters anyone?) of Baum’s Oz, it’s nice and refreshing to see a well done adaptation. With the help of Skottie Young’s energetic and gorgeous visuals, this series was the most old-fashioned fun I’ve had with comic books this year. Close runner-ups would be “Incognito” and “The Great Unknown,” if it had finished this year rather than being delayed.
Best Ongoing Series
This was a tough one. With so many series starting, restarting, and ending in 2009, finding the best of the best is hard to pick. I think I’m going to fall back to the old favorite of “Fables.” Fables has two great achievements and one awful mistake this year. The Great Fables Crossover will likely be ignored in the coming years as most fans’ defense mechanism and is the obvious mistake which unfortunately took so long. However, after the event, the series had a surprising recovery, a standing testament to Willingham’s series going places readers never expected. Also, as the war
with the Adversary was fought last year, the fact the series has maintained such quality without the major focus it enjoyed during the first twelve volumes is an achievement in itself. The series has yet to jump the shark and we are all grateful.
Jeff Lemire’s “The Nobody” was moment in comic books which showed how simplicity and silence speaks volumes. Lemire’s major publisher debut is a retelling of “The Invisible Man” which ironically reveals more about small town politics and the people living there than of the man who cannot be seen. Lemire’s ability to convey so much powerful emotion with little words and strong visuals makes the book absolutely astounding. The titular characters’ unravelling underwater has got to be one of the most impacting moments for me this year in all the stuff I read, forever ingrained, I continue to regularly show people the sequence whenever given the chance.
The star to watched and to watch this year has got to be without a doubt Jeff Lemire. 2009 was certainly this man’s year. He concluded the “Essex County Trilogy” which has got to be some of the best Canadian Literature to come out this year, and Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro had books this year! “The Nobody,” his first work for a major publisher, came out in the summer to critical and popular acclaim. But, if an amazing indie series and a successful graphic novel for a major publisher wasn’t enough, Lemire is also four issues into an ongoing colour series for Vertigo
called “Sweet Tooth,” which is a favourite around here at The Bin. With Sweet Tooth continuing next year and the promise of another project with Top Shelf, Lemire is also the man to watch in 2010.