(WARNING: There are all kinds of swears in here, up, down, and sideways. In today’s America, a typical 10-year-old has heard the “F” word about a thousand jillion times. BUT! If you object to such stuff, YOU WON’T LIKE IT HERE! Perhaps you would enjoy BleedingCool.Com better? SCRAM, WUSS!)

ASM #655 - Best comic of the year (SPOILER!)
Some of the authors thought this issue was good, and that Marcos Martin might be a good artist.

The mighty Comics Vault bullpen of hotheads, sociopaths, schizos, holograms, and women from France got together to throw down about the past 13-ish months’ worth of excellence in the field of comic book art. We were on the scene to record that momentous conversation, and will again be on the scene in five weeks to testify at the ensuing litigation! Let’s jump in at the beginning, SHALL WE?

Here are the categories that the Comic Vault staff judged:
Best letterer
Best colorer
Best one-shot
Best floppy re-issue (Walking Dead Weekly, DC Presents, etc)
Best canceled series
Best series that we’re not sure if it’s canceled or what
Best Limited Series
Best Original Graphic Novel
Best ongoing series that doesn’t come out real often (RASL, Infinite Vacation – basically, any Indie, pretty much.)
Best single page
Best sequence of panels
Best-written single issue
Best-drawn single issue
Best anthology series
Best story arc
Best publishing company
Best writer/artist
Best writer
Best artist
Best overall single issue
Best series
Best comic thing of the year of any sort


With out further ado, let the fairy tale, award show, train wreck begin……

(JOHN paces nervously in Comics Vault Tower, a one-story brownstone mounted high up near the heart of downtown Chicago, on top of the biggest antenna on Sears Tower. It looks like some kinda crazy cubic stone Dennis Miller sitting on top of John Holmes’s skyscraper building antenna from that one time that he co-owned a skyscraper with, oh, let’s say Jean-Paul Sartre.)

JOHN VELOUSIS: (To himself, like a crazy person) Come ON. Being on time means being ten minutes early or something. They’re probably together. Talking about me. Plotting against me. Calling me a “crazy person” in a pejorative way. I hate them so much! Why don’t they like me more?

ROGER RIDDELL III: Where is everybody?

JV: I’m right, here, Riddell.

RR: Where is everybody?

JV: I really do NOT want to start this, dude.

RR: Guys, I’m here!

JV: Roger, come on, we’ve had our dif-


(JV sits and seethes. He and Roger pointedly don’t make eye contact. The 7:30 start-time comes and passes without any word from anyone else. 7:40 does this as well. Roger begins loudly playing that knife thing Lance Henriksen does in [amazon_link id=”B00012FXAE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Aliens[/amazon_link]. At 7:45, John abruptly grabs the CB Radio microphone and yells into the speak-into-here part of it)

JV: This is just like Sunday all over again, fuck you all I hate you roundtable is canceled I hate you!

(NICK SANDILANDS enters through the hatch in the floor, carrying a box the size and shape of the one that had Gwyneth’s head in it in [amazon_link id=”B00464AVXW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seven[/amazon_link].)

NICK: Hey guys, I made food! Oh. Are you two, uhhhhh… I made food.

RR: Where is everybody?

JV: I will stab y-

(MIKE DEVIVO crashes through the window, swinging on a rope from something somehow.)


JV: Why would you do that!? AGAIN!? The fricking oxygiiihhhggsha


RR: [amazon_link id=”B0024FAR5M” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Sons of Anarchy[/amazon_link] is fantastic. (JV Glares. Mike uses a pencil to itch under some of his bandage wrappings. Nick looks nervous.)

RR: As opposed to the snoozefest that the [amazon_link id=”B0049P1VHS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Walking Dead[/amazon_link] has been.

JV: Never actually seen Sons of Anarchy, got S1 D1 in my Netflix kway-way.

RR: It’s addictive, Johnny.

JV: So’s meth. (long pause) I hear.

RR: First season starts out a little slow just because there’s a lot of exposition in the first couple of episodes, but it stays pretty consistently paced once it gets going.


NICK: (Jumping) AAIEAHH!!!

MEG: Most of this stuff I just don’t really feel that strongly about, sooooo yeah.

(MATT SARDO taps on the window from the outside. He’s standing on the ledge.)

MATT: (Faintly, though he’s shouting.) I’m going to stay out here so Mike can’t destroy my oxygen again.

NICK: … Wh… ?

MEG: I flew here from France.

(John and Roger stare at each other in confusion. Roger mouths the words “Kill you.”)

MIKE: I’ll turn Ryan on! (He flips a switch on the Ryan device. A hologram of RYAN W DUELFER appears.)

RYAN: I’m making La-SAG-na! Oh wow, Meg’s here!

MATT: You have to start now! I’m your boss!


(Long pause)

JV: I have no nominee.


MIKE: Neither do I. Come with it, Rog.


JV: (Doing his totally sweet Asgard voice.) ROGER I COMMAND THEE TO SPEAKETH.

RR: I rewrite all the dialogue in my books. That’s why they all have great reviews.

NICK: If you notice the lettering you are a better man than I.

MATT: If I don’t notice your letters you’re doing a great job.

JV: Nobody has a letterer? Fuck em.

NICK: Aheh, I was wondering why Jason Aaron, Rick Remender, Fraction, and Slott all sounded the same!



RR: At least I had an answer.

JV: Okay, I’ll say Chris Eliopolous, just because Joe Caramagna is in the Vietcong. BEAT YA TWICE OVER!

RR: (Under his breath) I’ll beat you twice. Period.

Oh, big deal, so Dave Stewart used a lot of reds.


(Nobody says anything.)


JV: Dave Stewart. His work in [amazon_link id=”1595828273″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Hellboy: The Fury[/amazon_link] took my breath away. And I hate my breath.

RR: Edgar Delgado.

MIKE: Gabe Eltaeb and Randy Mayor Green Lantern. Anybody who has to put that many different colors in a book and not have it look cluttered wins.

NICK: Colorer, meh. I couldn’t even name one


JV: You don’t have to yell, we’re all right here in the same room. Except for Matt. And Ryan, kind of.

RYAN: Bettie Breitweiser, from [amazon_link id=”0785151230″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Captain America and Bucky[/amazon_link]. (Ryan then makes this “grrrrrr” rolling-tongue sound that the others pretend not to hear.)

The Duncan Fegredo Art doesn't totally suck either.

NICK: Can we be real for a second, does anyone really think anybody cares about Colorer, Letterer, Inker, etc?

JV: I cannot be real for a second. You completely miss the point of this exercise, and I don’t like your coat.

NICK: Shmobviously.


NICK: Okay, okay, “pretend-real” then.

RYAN: [amazon_link id=”B0060GAOA4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Fear itself 7.1[/amazon_link]. Does that… count as a one-shot?

JV: Sure, why not? Do what thou wilt, that shall be the whole of the law.

NICK: OH! [amazon_link id=”B004TTHCOK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Jimmy Olsen’s Big Week[/amazon_link]!


NICK: Nick Spencer! I love that guy!

JV: Funny, Nick, when we were in the ICU talking about this earlier, I was amazed that you and me agreed EXACTLY on best one-shot.

Co-Superman! Jimmy Olsen 1-shot, by Spencer, Silva, & Dym.

NICK: Too bad he’s Marvel Exclusive now….

JV: Really? That’s kinda terrible, Spencer’s worst work has been for Marvel.

NICK: Yeah, [amazon_link id=”0785140158″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ultimate X-men[/amazon_link]? Sucks. [amazon_link id=”0785147497″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Iron Man 2.0[/amazon_link]? 2.suck!

JV: Wait, no way is Spencer Marvel exclusive, ’cause he’s still doing Morning Glories. And Infinite Vacation, though the next issue probably won’t come out until his contract expires.

NICK: Creator owned!

JV: Mmmmmm. OH, also my Jimmy Olsen vote – uh, are these votes? – is tied with the [amazon_link id=”B0048GXMIE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Hellboy/Beasts of Burden[/amazon_link] one-shot, which was quite awesome too.

RR: Oh shit…Did I read any one-shots this year? I know I did, but I don’t remember them.

MIKE: I did – Cyclops, and it was god-awful. It kept me away from every other one-shot after it that came out.

NICK: Who wrote Cyclops?

MIKE: I don’t even remember.

RR: I’ll have to check my boxes really quick.

JV: Nice homework-doing, Rog. THAT WAS A SARCASM.

RR: [amazon_link id=”B005GXVQRW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SPIDER-MAN: DEADLY FOES[/amazon_link]

JV: You made that up.

NICK: Yeah, I call shenanigans.

RR: Spider-Man: Deadly Foes #1

NICK: Or more specifically, Google-anigans.

RR: Where Robbie Robertson’s kid beat up the Hobgoblin.

NICK: Bing-anigans

RR: And Norah Winters looked even dumber.

NICK: Ask Jeeves-anigans


JV: Well, that’s what Nietzsche says.

NICK: Speaking of Jeeves, does anyone else think Alfred is a Hologram in the New 52?

RYAN: Are you being catty at me?

NICK: Or- no, I… or a robot? Alfred?

MIKE: Nope. (He pulls out a Bat-a-rang-looking thing and readies to toss it, probably at somebody’s face, but John wrestles him to the ground.)

NICK: Or Ultron?

RR: Alfred is Marvel Movieverse Jarvis. Bruce Wayne stole him while traveling through time.

NICK: Bwah!

RR: On the same trip where he bedded Mary Jane on the night of the Spider Wedding.


MIKE: I liked DC’s reissues of classic 90’s and 80’s stories

JV: I yam caught between [amazon_link id=”0785148639″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Casanova: Gula[/amazon_link] or [amazon_link id=”B0055J9STK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Batman: Irresistible[/amazon_link].

NICK: Oooh I forgot about those Mike! Screw Walking Dead Weekly, I change my answer!

JV: Any of you read the latter? It got no love at all anywhere, super-awesome Tony Harris art with a Tom Peyer script that somehow makes Batman hilarious while still being an utter badass.

Batman: Irresistible - letters by Kurt Hathaway, colors by JD Mettler.

MATT: Who buys re-issues?

JV: People who skipped a decade when good work was being published. And who like standing INSIDE buildings. Aren’t you cold?

MEG: [amazon_link id=”1607060760″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Walking Dead Weekly[/amazon_link], I guess. In France, the tables have machines that hold comics and turn the pages for you.

RR: Does the trade of [amazon_link id=”1592911315″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Neonomicon[/amazon_link] count as a reissue?


MIKE: That is a firm response to that.

JV: That’s why I put the word “Floppy” in the category title.

RR: It’s been like a year since that series ended, so it can’t be best graphic novel. Although, it was pretty good, what with all the Chthulu rape scenes and whatnot.

JV: There is NO category for best Graphic Novel Re-issue of Stuff Previously Collected In Periodical Form. Deal with it!

RR: I don’t read any other reissues. I only buy first prints of back issues, or I’ll pick up trades if that’s too expensive.

JV: Then poo on your own hand like that guy did in the “[amazon_link id=”B00000FBH2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]OZ[/amazon_link]” TV show.


JV: (After pondering) Okay, I’ll respect your wish re: poo. Mike, do you have any specific DC Presents thing?

MIKE: I enjoyed the hell out of [amazon_link id=”B000WOVVC0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Superman: Secret Identity[/amazon_link].

NICK: Onward!


MIKE:[amazon_link id=”B0058M6ANG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] Nova[/amazon_link]!

RR: [amazon_link id=”B005VSF1Y6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Uncanny X-Me[/amazon_link]… Oh wait.

MEG: Secret Six.

NICK: Red Robin.

JV: Xombi. Xombi was good.

MIKE: I really enjoyed Red Robin. I liked what they did with Tim.

NICK: Tim was really headed down the paranoid insane Batman path.

MIKE: Which I enjoyed.

NICK: The Ra’s al Ghul plot was great.

MIKE: I liked that they were setting up Ras as his ultimate villain. No one is showing my pick Nova any love, huh?

JV: WE HATE NOVA HE IS STINKY AND LOOKS LIKE [a] FART [would look if one could see farts].

RR: o.O

MATT: I miss Nova. And [amazon_link id=”0785138196″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Immortal Iron Fist[/amazon_link] [which was canceled mid-2009] and [amazon_link id=”0785133380″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Guardians of the Galaxy[/amazon_link] [which ended in mid-2010, but I figured I’d bring them up just to be a pain in the balls for whoever is transcribing this shit]!

NICK: Never got a chance to check out Nova. Heard he is going to be involved [in some comics story-line in some way] in 2012 though. Unless I made that up.

RR: I never got a chance to check out Nova, either. Didn’t they kill him in [amazon_link id=”0785146008″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Secret Avengers[/amazon_link]?

NICK: Yeah he dead…

JV: No, he just kinda left Secret Avengers. Like Brubaker did. And every single plot that Brubaker had planned.

RR: He was a member until they went to Mars and he put [the knock-off Serpent Crown] on.

MIKE: Yep.

JV: He didn’t die in Secret Avengers, I mean

MIKE: He IS dead at this point.

JV: Right, okay.

MIKE: Or at least trapped in the cosmic cube with Thanos and Starlord.

NICK: D-E-D. Dead.

MIKE: Which I’ll talk more about later.

NICK: Thanos or Darkseid?

MIKE: Thanos.


RR: Maybe cancelled series… What Ever Happened to Baron Von Shock?

JV: Roger, it’s not best CHANCRED series! WOOF!

RR: I was enjoying that book. I had to put no thought into it at all. And then it stopped mid-storyline and Image claims it’s just delayed. For the past year.

JV: The Baron Von Shock thing is real? Was he the guy from [amazon_link id=”0785125167″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Avengers: The Initiative[/amazon_link]?

RR: No. Baron Von Shock was an Image book written by Rob Zombie. It was weird and campy and terrible, but I enjoyed it because of that.

MATT: Did [amazon_link id=”B005HKL89K” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk[/amazon_link] finish?

JV: My answer is T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. I think. [Editorial note, 2 days later, John saw in an ad in some DC publication that the annoying-to-type T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was going to be wrapped up as a six-issue mini-series.] Batman, Incorporated WOULD be my answer, but [some DC insider that John thinks he’s BFFs with or something] says it ain’t canceled. BUT [the guy I know] may be fooling himself. I think DC is gonna totally fuck Grant Morrison and [B.I.’s talented but obscure artist] [amazon_link id=”1607064774″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Chris Burnham[/amazon_link]. In the bad way.

NICK: (Massively sarcastic) Even with the sweet new Jim Lee Darkseid redesign? Supposedly Batman, Incorporated is going to be renamed as Batman Leviathan and finished early 2012.

JV: NO WAY will it be finished early 2012. As of about a month ago, DC didn’t even have any scripts.

RR: But if that happens, Burnham can just write Captain America, Incorporated.

NICK: He has Body Armor!!!!


NICK: Captain America, Inc. Shh, you’re gonna give Marvel ideas!

RR: It’s not like they didn’t have a bunch of dudes trying to get that shield.

NICK: Will Captain America have Body Armor when Jim Lee redesigns him…

JV: Is your guys’ oxygen seeming a bit thin?

NICK: Just you!


RR: Cap already has body armor.

NICK: Rhetorical! Hence the ellipse…

JV: Best limited series NOW, jack-holes!

NICK: Hah!

RR: [amazon_link id=”0785156682″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SCHISM[/amazon_link]


RYAN: [amazon_link id=”B005H0FO1I” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]X-Men: Schism[/amazon_link]. Me too!

MATT: Third vote here for [amazon_link id=”B005BTA500″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]X-Men Schism[/amazon_link], that or [amazon_link id=”0785151958″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ultimate Captain America[/amazon_link].

MIKE: [amazon_link id=”0785149023″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Thanos Imperative[/amazon_link]. That book was written and drawn in Amazing Sauce.

NICK: Knight of Vengeance! The only good Flashpoint series. Azzarello and Risso! Martha Wayne as the Joker! Whaaaaaa!!!!!

RR: Schism or [amazon_link id=”0785158049″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Fear Itself: Spider-Man[/amazon_link]. That was the only Fear Itself book that I enjoyed.

JV: [amazon_link id=”0785151559″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Incognito: Bad Influences[/amazon_link] or [amazon_link id=”B005PHU0TE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]BPRD: Monsters[/amazon_link] or [amazon_link id=”1595828257″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth[/amazon_link]. I like things with colons.

NICK: Didn’t read any of those, haven’t ever been a big X fan, but you know I am interested in reading even more so now that you guys like it so much.

JV: (In a way hot-assed Scottish accent) I dinnae read any of your answers either.

NICK: Oh, my bad then, SPOILER ALERT!

MEG: Who Is Jake Ellis?

RR: [amazon_link id=”1592911099″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Crossed 3D[/amazon_link] was an interesting one-shot. I like turtles.

JV: Actually, now that [Martha Joker]’s been mentioned, I DID read issue 1 of [Knight of Vengeance], but not the rest. We all like turtles, I think it goes without saying.

RR: And I take back what I said about Fear Itself: Spider-Man being the only Fear Itself book I enjoyed. [amazon_link id=”0785158073″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Fear Itself: Deadpool [/amazon_link]was fun.

JV: Fear Itself: Deadpool TOTALLY rocked! Give it! (He and Roger high-five, then Roger uses the other hand to sucker-punch JV in the jaw.] AOOUW YOU COCK!

NICK: I didn’t read any of the Fear Itself tie-ins besides .1 and .2.


(Mike looks dead.)

JV: Is Mike dead? FUCK!

RR: The GN I’ve been thinking about writing is the best one.

MIKE: (Lying) Nope.

RR: HE’S GOT MACARONI COMA. (Earlier, Mike had eaten a LOT of macaroni and cheese. Like, a bowl the size of the box that Gwyneth Paltrow’s head was in at the end of [amazon_link id=”B001BPQT8A” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Seven[/amazon_link]. Which is really too much mac & cheese to eat in one sitting.)

NICK: Mac and Cheese coma shmobvs.


NICK: Ahhhh!!!

MIKE: This is true.


NICK: Great minds Roger! (Roger punches Nick in the ear.) YACCH! WHAT THE FUCK!

MIKE: Shameless plug for [amazon_link id=”B0032Z4MJK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Velveeta shells and cheese[/amazon_link]. (Stares at feet.) I made three boxes.

JV: I wanted to cook & eat your dead tattoo, Mike. (Long Pause) Is that weird?

NICK: Graphic Novel, if I don’t get laughed off the panel for it being too girly, [amazon_link id=”1401232914″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]New York Five[/amazon_link].

RYAN: My god, you are such a pussy.


MIKE: I had a tough time with this one

RR: Does [amazon_link id=”1592911242″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Crossed 3D[/amazon_link] count?

JV: How would we know?

RR: It was a graphic novel.

MEG: Does [amazon_link id=”1934964379″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Stumptown[/amazon_link] count?

JV: NO! Listen, BEST. ORIGINAL. Right there, if it’s a collected series that was previously A SERIES, THEN IT’S NOT ORIGINAL!

MEG: Uh-HUH. (Steadily gives JV the stink-eye.)

MIKE: I want to just say Hickman’s [amazon_link id=”0785144226″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]S.H.I.E.L.D.[/amazon_link] because it reads much better that way.

JV: (Shouting… really starting to lose it.)  I WANT PEOPLE TO OBSERVE PARAMETERS BUT I GUESS NOBODY [is] GONNA GET [the precise] THING [they’re seeking in this instance, you lousy] FUCKERS!

(Mike and Nick are laughing hard enough that their sides are clearly hurting. Matt has put his ear to the window to hear the rest better. It seems stuck.)


JV: [amazon_link id=”1934964441″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Petrograd[/amazon_link] is my answer. (He’s holding a blood-soaked t-shirt to his neck.)

RR: I really enjoyed Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

JV: That wasn’t original, it was stolen from the Samuel Beckett play of the same name.

RR: I couldn’t believe DC released a cheap cash-in graphic novel adaptation of [amazon_link id=”1401219268″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Watchmen[/amazon_link].


MEG: [amazon_link id=”0785152512″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Scarlet[/amazon_link].

MATT: Stuff of Legend is my favorite indie book! (He’s still in the same spot he was 2 hours ago, his ear is DEFINITELY stuck to the window.)

MIKE: Infinite Vacation!!!

A page-and-change from Infinite Vacation #1 - credits unknown. Uh, this issue came out last year. WTF?

JV: [amazon_link id=”1582405816″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]GODLAND[/amazon_link] ALL THA WAYYYYYY. Ah shit, it’s bleeding again.

NICK: Scarlet by Bendis and Maleev, with Infinite Vacation a close, close, close second.

MIKE: Nick Spencer is on all kinds of crazy for [Infinite Vacation].

RR: [amazon_link id=”0785151036″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Amazing Spider-Man[/amazon_link], because it only comes out twice a month and that is not enough.

NICK: The art in that is crazy as well Mike.

MIKE: I agree, it’s pretty amazing.

JV: I really do enjoy Infinite Vacation, gotta say, but Godland is off-the-hook awesome.

MIKE: Water colors be damned.

JV: Is THAT how colors grow? (Long pause) You water them? (Long pause) Water colors? (Long pause) Hello?

MIKE: [amazon_link id=”B001QIGZX6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Cape[/amazon_link] should get a mention as well. It has nothing to do with that cancelled NBC show.

NICK: Which was the worst thing ever, how did I watch 10 episodes of that?

MIKE: Has anyone checked out Cape? The comic has nothing to do with the [amazon_link id=”B004XM38CS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]show[/amazon_link].

JV: Nossir. Uh, I wanna mention [amazon_link id=”B005OHT7DK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Powers[/amazon_link] also. And RASL.

NICK: Powers… also soon to be a crappy TV show… Negative, but I love Joe Hill.

JV: I love Joe Mama. I really hope POWERS isn’t horrible.

NICK: Locke & Key has been a pretty great read. Sad that it’s going to be wrapped up soon.

JV: THAT series does intrigue me, gotta check it out.

NICK: I definitely highly recommend Locke & Key.

JV: None of us reads ANYTHING. We’re gonna look like complete assholes.

RR: Powers is going to be on FX, right?

NICK: Yeah, Powers on FX. What makes us great is that we all read different things! So when we come together we are like Voltron! (John is confused, he never read the thing with Voltron in it.)

JV: I get the impression more that when we come together we’re like bukkake.


RR: I used to think any original series FX aired would be fantastic, and then they aired that [amazon_link id=”B0065FFMR0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]American Horror Story[/amazon_link] shit.

NICK: Hmmm, I like American Horror Story.

RR: It’s so awful. Ha! Ha! Ha!

MIKE: Back on topic, gents.


RR: [amazon_link id=”1572243406″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]BEST SINGLE ISSUE[/amazon_link] Amazing Spider-Man 655.

JV: That’s later, hater.

NICK: Splash page of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Amazing Spider-Man 655.

An okay image from Amazing Spider-Man 655.

JV: Yeah, good choice.

MIKE: Animal Man #2 Into the Red – ’nuff said!

Art? Travel Foreman. Color? Lovern Kindzierski. Coupla made-up-sounding names, right? These comic-book people!

NICK: Yeah that’s pretty great too, Mike.

RYAN: In [amazon_link id=”B005NKZV0G” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]X-Men: Schism #4[/amazon_link], Cyclops blasts the oncoming sentinel from Utopia.

MATT: Walking dead #83, Carl gets shot in the face.

JV: Uhhhhhhh fuck! I… UHHH…

NICK: Matt’s nomination of Carl’s hole in his head was probably my favorite moment of The Walking Dead ever. To be honest, I had been pretty bored and contemplating dropping Walking Dead until that point.

RR: ASM 655 had the best splash page.

MIKE: Yeah that was brutal.

RR: With the cathedral. What’s the Walking Dead book like compared to the show?

MIKE: Different, which is a good thing.

RR: The show is pretty boring, and I’ve held off on getting into the book because of that.

MIKE: It keeps it interesting.

NICK: Definitely.

JV: I shall go with the Uncle Ben page [from ASM 655], but only the version with the captions removed. Or the cathedral. Or the Escher thing from [amazon_link id=”B005XZEBP2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Secret Avengers 18[/amazon_link].

MIKE: I think people are giving the show too much flack.

JV: Rog, the Walking Dead book is 10,000,000% better. In every way that the show is cliched and predictable, the book is clever and inventive and original. They’re like opposites.

MIKE: Yep.

NICK: I haven’t watched the last two episodes, but the first two of this season were meh.

RR: They are terrible at doing flashbacks on the show.

MIKE: I have all the collected trades thus far.


NICK: [amazon_link id=”B005YDT17Q” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Secret Avengers 18[/amazon_link] was awesome. Aja!

RR: Sequence? The Shang-Chi fight from Secret Avengers 18.

NICK: Shang Chi!

David Aja with Raul Allen. Warren Ellis wrote it. I'll be your thug any time, Commander!

JV: That two-page six-panel fight thing was a total salute to Winsor McKay, but with bone-crunching violence added.  But, like, the figure posing and the line-work was straight out of [amazon_link id=”1449576974″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Little Nemo in Slumberland[/amazon_link].

RYAN: From[amazon_link id=”0785156623″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] Fear Itself #7[/amazon_link], Steve Rogers – Captain America – receives Mjolnir!

MATT: Walking Dead #83 again, when Rick hacks off his girlfriend’s hand to save him and Carl.

NICK: The death of Johnny Storm.

MATT: Yeah, the [amazon_link id=”0785151435″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Fantastic Four[/amazon_link] where the Human Torch dies is pretty good.

JV: I am going to go with the series of splash pages beginning Fables [amazon_link id=”B0056H0CTQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]#106[/amazon_link], first 9 pages. Amazing shit, as momentous and enormous as the dire threat that itself was jarringly and amazingly squelched by the sacrifice of Bigby’s father. Man, amazing issue.

EXACTLY. Mark Buckingham pencils, Steve Leialoha inks, Lee Loughridge colors, Todd Klein letters, Bill Willingham writes.

MIKE: Honestly best sequence for me was Green Lantern #67. Sinestro protecting Hal and then getting a GL ring out of nowhere was pretty cool.

NICK: GL 67 was pretty great, very unexpected.

MIKE: Yes. It was definitely a fitting end to that arc.

NICK: Excited to see how this resolves itself. I don’t buy the ending to GL#3.

MIKE: Me neither.


RYAN: The ending of [amazon_link id=”B0064GH5KW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Magneto: Not A Hero #1[/amazon_link] – The return of Joseph =]!!

JV: Yeah, uh, I read that and have no idea, who the eff is Joseph? I missed that era of super-history. Also, what the hell did you just do with your head?

RYAN: Joseph was a clone of Magneto created in the mid-90’s. Everyone believed him to be Magneto, amnesic from the fall of Avalon and Xavier wiping his mind clean. He sacrificed himself during “the [amazon_link id=”B002Q6ULKK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Magneto War[/amazon_link]” years later. And I smiled broadly, sideways.

MIKE: Batman #1 with Joker getting his face ripped off and nailed to the wall was a “Holyshit!” moment if I ever saw one.

NICK: Joker face-off is pretty good.


RR: Spider-Man. Although, I feel more like a Wolverine guy these days.

NICK: Batman.

JV: Character. Huh. I dunno. I’m gonna go with the tilde. No, wait, I’m going to go with a dark horse here – Finesse from Avengers Academy. Her actions and words rock nearly every issue, from her Sherlock Holmes act in the “point one” issue to her heroism in the Fear Itself storyline conclusion. Also, her haircut is really the right one for her head, I think.

(Nobody says anything for a really long time.)

RYAN: James Buchanan Barnes.

(Nobody says anything for a REALLY long time.)


MIKE: Nick Spencer’s creation of the first issue of [amazon_link id=”B004IAF1A2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Infinite Vacation[/amazon_link]. Seriously huge ideas happening in that book.

MATT: A tie – The Walking Dead #83 and 84.

JV: Is that the only comic you read last year? (JV’s deliberately standing out of Matt’s view because he knows Matt can’t move his head.)

NICK: Best Single Issue [amazon_link id=”B0054YSXRY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Amazing Spider-Man #655[/amazon_link].

RR: ASM 655.
JV: You’re all not wrong here. But I say it’s issue [amazon_link id=”B005BSX0RQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]#2 of Hellboy: The Fury[/amazon_link]. It’s unusual for the MIDDLE issue of a miniseries to be the best one, but THAT one was a game-changer. Mike Mignola pulled out all the stops, with callbacks a-plenty, amazing and dramatic mood changes, and a stunning narrative device that worked to perfection: Hellboy is fighting the Dragon, who is telling Hellboy of its invincibility – the Dragon’s INEVITABILITY.

JV: Suddenly, the word balloons become caption boxes, and the result blows away these words’ poor power to add to or detract from its impact.

(Everybody pretty much ignores JV and talks while he’s rambling – muttering, really.)

NICK: But haven’t you seen [amazon_link id=”B00005V1WW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The One[/amazon_link], Mike? Not the One Mike, but The One, Mike. Similar idea…

MIKE: The terrible Jet Li film?

NICK: Turrible, turrible.


RR: Amazing Spider-Man #655

JV: Tie between ASM 655 & Secret Avengers 18

NICK: Secret Avengers 18! Or ASM 655! BASTARDS! At least we all know great art.

MATT: I love the art in Justice League #1, hate the story.

MIKE: Green Lantern #67.

JV: Mike luvs [amazon_link id=”B005LJITS0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Green Lantern[/amazon_link]. Hey Mike, marry Green Lantern.

MIKE: Seriously, Mahnke delivered in that book.

JV: More like WANKY!

MIKE: It felt huge in scope. I enjoy a well-drawn book. Which GL #67 is.

JV: Seriously, if we go to C3P2D2, let’s start a fist fight.

RR: If CBR decides to pay me to cover C2E2 again, I might be torn

JV: New asshole for you will be torn by me in fist fight.


JV: [amazon_link id=”B005NJ0K2G” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dark Horse Presents[/amazon_link]. Very welcome in its return to the world.

MIKE: I don’t have a horse in the anthology race.

NICK: I’m with Mike, no answers.

JV: Okay, fuck dat. I just, uh, wanted to give DHP some love without actually, y’know, reviewing it.

RR: If we go to C2E2, I call dibs on cosplaying as Kraven.

RR: NOBODY cosplays as Kraven.


MIKE: Animal Man. Really, a tie between that and Swamp Thing. Just because they are both contributing to a larger story.

JV: Is there a list of these somewhere?

NICK: Here’s a link. (Hands JV a sausage link.) I’ll also say Animal Man.

RR: I don’t read DC except for Batman graphic novels. I have too much on my pull list to add the Batman books.

JV: OMAC or Wonder Woman.


RR: [amazon_link id=”0785156798″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Wolverine and the X-Men[/amazon_link].

RYAN: [amazon_link id=”0785119205″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Winter Soldier[/amazon_link]!

MIKE: Umm… [amazon_link id=”078515261X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Journey Into Mystery[/amazon_link].

JV: YEAH I CHOOSE MIKE’S ANSWER! Although, honestly, at this point it’s beyond “promising.” OOOH! SPACEMAN!

MIKE: I agree

Stephanie Hans gets her Klimt on!

NICK: [amazon_link id=”B005QMNAZE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Moon Knight[/amazon_link]

RR: Jason Aaron brought back Doop! DOOP!

MIKE: Aaron’s writing the hell out of that book.


RR: [amazon_link id=”0785151044″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]SPIDER-ISLAND[/amazon_link]!

MIKE: Detective Comics – Scott Snyder’s entire run. Not even kidding. #871 to 881.

JV: Cornell’s Lex Luthor run on Action Comics.


MEG: Sooooo seconded on the ‘Tec [Detective Comics to its friends] run. Snyder with Jock and Francesco Francavilla.

NICK: Yeah, Snyder and Jock’s run on ‘Tec.

MIKE: Yep!

NICK: But yeah the whole thing is pretty great.

JV: Well, I’m gonna act like I hate it so that Tucker Stone will like me.

MIKE: I can’t wait ’til they release it in trade. I just want to mow through it again.

NICK: [amazon_link id=”B00559VS6G” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Uncanny X-Force[/amazon_link], the [amazon_link id=”B005EBZNDY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dark Angel Saga[/amazon_link] so far!

RYAN: Ditto on the [amazon_link id=”B0050VGIMS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dark Angel Saga[/amazon_link]!

Esad Ribic's covers for Uncanny X-Force are all neat-o keen-o.

RR: I need to re-read [amazon_link id=”B005JF4GAG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Dark Angel Saga[/amazon_link].

MIKE: So far that’s been amazing too.

RR: I keep getting lost during the month-long breaks.

NICK: I’m excited to see it wrapped up.

MIKE: Me too, it’s got one issue left.

RR: I hate that it’s wrapping after they already announced the new X-teams, now everyone knows who dies, if it wasn’t already obvious.

NICK: Yeah, I was reading a Rick Remender interview today, it talks about Psylocke and Wolverine being on opposite sides, and having it explained in #19.


RR: Marvel

JV: Who gives a fuck? Why did I make THIS a category?

MATT: I like DC for their rolling back of prices.

MIKE: DC for actually pulling of the New 52 successfully, and the price rollback.

RYAN: DC (price cuts!)

MEG: DC wins this year.

NICK: DC – Drawing the line at $2.99! Next year, whoever drops $1 off their digital comics from store cost.


MEG: J.H Williams III.

MIKE: J.H Williams III. Batwoman is insanely good. Like, I’m impressed he’s been able to keep the quality of the art up.

NICK: J.H. Williams III is a solid choice.

Art? J.H. Williams III - colors by Dave motherfuckin' Stewart!

JV: Eric Powell ([amazon_link id=”1595823468″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Goon[/amazon_link]) or Jeff Smith ([amazon_link id=”1888963204″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]RASL[/amazon_link])

RR: I like Slott, Remender and Aaron. Can’t decide for sure. Slott’s ASM has been phenomenal.


MIKE: This is for a writer who is also the artist.

NICK: Jagass.

RR: Oh.


RR: I’m not paying attention…[amazon_link id=”B003L77GK6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Sons of Anarchy[/amazon_link] is about to come on [my face.]

MIKE: (Who has been huffing furniture polish for the last 5 pages, BTW) Which logically means make you agree with me and say [amazon_link id=”B005I63N5A” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Batwoman[/amazon_link].

NICK: I like that Batwoman is going to be one of the Hardcover releases.

MIKE: Me too. Uh, anybody want some furniture polish? I forgot I was hogging.



MEG: Scott Snyder.

NICK: Rick Remender!

RYAN: Jason Aaron (X-Men Schism, Wolverine and the X-Men, [amazon_link id=”0785147853″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Wolverine[/amazon_link].)

MATT: Jason Aaron.

MIKE: Scott Snyder.


MIKE: Remender is a close second.

NICK: [amazon_link id=”0785158111″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Venom[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B005TLUJXS” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]X-Force[/amazon_link], [and now that Mike is sharing his polish, I’ll pretend Remender’s also written] [amazon_link id=”0785152555″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Secret Avengers[/amazon_link].

JV: JEFF PARKER! And / or the Mignola-Arcudi team.

NICK: Slott would be my close second, Bendis would be third.

MIKE: Batman, Detective, American Vampire, Swamp Thing. Snyder has been a beast this year.

JV: Nick Spencer would run away with it if not for his Marvel crap.

RR: Slott has done the best ASM since Michelinie.

NICK: Fraction would be here, if he didn’t unleash a stinkbomb called [amazon_link id=”B0060GWOGG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Fear Itself[/amazon_link].

JV: Right.

NICK: Snyder has been awesome.

MIKE: Agreed. I agree with my own vote.

NICK: And higher. [??]

RR: Bendis gets on my nerves a lot.

NICK: He is too talky, but he does great dialogue.

JV: I like BMB.

RR: [amazon_link id=”B0063U5RS6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]New Avengers 18[/amazon_link] didn’t need an entire issue of the same character set-ups over and over and over.

JV: Yeah, he DOES waste a lot of time.

MIKE: [amazon_link id=”0785148728″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]New Avengers[/amazon_link] has become Real World: Avengers Mansion.

NICK: [amazon_link id=”0785151699″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Moon Knight[/amazon_link] is a book everyone should be reading!


RR: Marcos Martin.

MEG: Shit, this could go to Jock, Francavilla, Nicola Scott for existing, JFC I can’t decide!

MIKE: Artist would be Travel Foreman right now.

JV: It would be if Marcos Martin died right now. Travel the fuck outta here with that damn shit!

Same art team as the Cathedral, with letters by VC's Joe Caramagna. But art by THE BEST ARTIST OF 2011, from THE BEST COMIC OF 2011, probably.

RYAN: Paola Rivera ([amazon_link id=”0785152377″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Daredevil[/amazon_link].)

MIKE: Or, I love [amazon_link id=”B005XFYPBW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Thunderbolts[/amazon_link] when Kev Walker’s on it.

NICK: Cliff Chiang is the best artist right now.

NICK: Shame he isn’t working on more stuff.

MIKE: He gets an honorable mention. And hey, Travel Foreman does some pretty cool stuff.

RR: I’m starting to dig Humberto Ramos, although some of his art is still way too anime-ish for me to dig on a 616 (the “main” shared Marvel Universe) book.

NICK: Yeah, I dig Ramos too. His Spider-Island stuff was good.

RR: Yeah. (Suddenly punches Nick in the kidney.) He’s developed a nice balance between that anime style and more cartoonish realism.

MIKE: It’s still funny and odd in all the right ways.


JV: [amazon_link id=”B005CCR7PM” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Amazing Spider-Man #655[/amazon_link].

RR: ASM 655.

MIKE: Animal Man #2. Sorry guys, I don’t read Spider-Man.

NICK: ASM 655.

JV: It’s unanimous! [amazon_link id=”0785151036″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Amazing Spider-Man #655[/amazon_link]!

JV: BEST SERIES (Non-Marvel or DC)


NICK: Real fast, does Icon count as non-Marvel?

JV: Uhhh… NO.

NICK: So Vertigo is out then, too.

JV: Likewise, Vertigo and Wildstorm are DC Comics.

MIKE: CHEW, guys? [Here, the transcriber has deleted Mike’s Ben Stein shtick from some [amazon_link id=”B000BNX4MC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]shit[/amazon_link] John Hughes movie.]

NICK: I’m going [amazon_link id=”1607063980″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Chew[/amazon_link] too. [amazon_link id=”1607063352″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Chew[/amazon_link] is awesome.

MIKE: I want that to be a showtime series, with John Goodman as Savoy.

NICK: I only read it by trade, but it is a great read. It’s one of those books that I tell my wife to read, and she usually hates everything I suggest comic-wise, and she read the first trade and was like, “When can I read the next trade?” It passes the wife test!

MIKE: Cool.

JV: Invincible or Atomic Robo or Mignolaverse stuff ([amazon_link id=”1595827579″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Hellboy[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”1595827560″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]BPRD[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”1595829253″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Abe Sapien[/amazon_link] miniseries.)


NICK: [amazon_link id=”B005MGGV96″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Uncanny X-Force[/amazon_link].

MIKE: Agreed, [amazon_link id=”B00632VCA6″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Uncanny X Force[/amazon_link].

MATT: [amazon_link id=”0785152377″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Daredevil[/amazon_link].

JV: [amazon_link id=”0785155783″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]HULK[/amazon_link]. Or [amazon_link id=”0785152210″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Thunderbolts[/amazon_link]. Jeff Parker has not sucked yet, not even once.

RR: ASM or [amazon_link id=”0785158871″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]X-Force[/amazon_link].

RYAN: [amazon_link id=”B005M2156O” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Daredevil[/amazon_link].

MIKE: I would say [amazon_link id=”0785157980″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Thunderbolts[/amazon_link], but Kev’s art is half of it and he was never consistently there.

RR: [amazon_link id=”0785151389″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Deadpool[/amazon_link] is still fun, though.


MIKE: [amazon_link id=”B0060XPBM8″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Animal Man[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”B0060Z8ISA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Swamp Thing[/amazon_link] tie.

RYAN: Animal Man.

JV: [amazon_link id=”1401233066″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Fables[/amazon_link].

NICK: [amazon_link id=”140123206X” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Detective[/amazon_link], pre-New-52 reboot.

NICK: Best Vertigo – [amazon_link id=”1401233333″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]American Vampire[/amazon_link]. Best Icon -[amazon_link id=”0785152512″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] Scarlet[/amazon_link].

MIKE: Scott Snyder continues to roll on.


MIKE: Archie comics putting out a [amazon_link id=”1897376162″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Megaman[/amazon_link] comic book counts for me. Being serious here. I’m a Capcom fanboy.

MATT: I love my new[amazon_link id=”B004ZHDI80″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] Thor hammer key chain[/amazon_link]! It is really heavy and hurts if I hit you with it.

NICK: Best Comic Thing is either Greg Guillemin’s art prints – or my new New Era Batman Snapback.

JV: President Axe Cop’s prayer to God at the end of [amazon_link id=”1595828257″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Bad Guy Earth #3[/amazon_link]. No, wait – I change my vote to Sammy Braddy!

MIKE: Our collective talents being brought together by Matt to form this.

MATT: Thanks! OW!


(No Comics Vault writer was ever seen alive again – OR WERE THEY?)

Matthew Sardo
Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.