The Bessers, of course, are named for Joe Besser, comedic second banana par excellence, the third Third Stooge, and patron saint of this very blog, and they recognize the best in comics that were read, though not necessarily published, in the last year or two, as based on old Better Late Than Never Review/The List posts. The categories are
So let's get on to the winners.
Best Short Story - Supergirl by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner in Wednesday Comics. It wasn't the flashiest or most high concept strip in the project, but the one I consistently enjoyed the most every week.
Best Single Issue (or One-Shot) - The Unwritten #5: "How the Whale Became," by Mike Carey and Peter Gross. It gave a lot of needed background and depth to the ongoing plot of the series early on, and the old English major in me appreciated the involvement of folks like Kipling and Wilde.
Best Continuing Series - Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam, by Art Baltazar, Franco, and Mike Norton. Like I said the other day, it's the best the Marvel Family has been treated by DC in years, or possibly ever, and is the only superhero book out there that I still buy monthly. They're foolish to bring this to an end.
Best Should-Still-Be-Continuing-But-Isn't Series - S.W.O.R.D. by Kieron Gillen and Steven Sanders. I loved this book for continuing the adventures of one of my favorite X-related concepts of the last decade, for the interplay between Abigail Brand and the Beast, and for how seamlessly it tied in the ongoing Earth-based events with cosmic-level ones. Plus, Lockheed, and the real Death's Head was back. Why did a book with that much awesome get kneecapped after just 5 issues?
Best Limited Series or Story Arc - Batman Confidential #s 26-28, "The Curse of King Tut." Now that's how you update a character concept, my friends. This new King Tut was just reminiscent enough of Victor Buono's TV villain, and respectful of the concept, too, while still seeming like a credible threat for the modern Batman. Plus, awesome interplay between Bats and the Riddler.
Best New Series - S.W.O.R.D. Seriously, guys, even at a paltry five issues, it was so much fun.
Best Publication for Kids - Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost. Most cartooning books get all hung up on tools and technique. This one ignores ability and equipment and just teaches kids the basics of how to make comics. The difference is huge, and I imagine rather empowering. I would've loved to have had this book as a kid.
Most Amazingly Accurate Adaptation - The Muppet Show Comic Book by Roger Langridge. Logically, it shouldn't work as well as it does. I couldn't imagine The Muppet Show without sound, much less puppets, and yet, this is truly The Muppet Show on paper. I am astounding by its very existence.
Best Digital Comic - Questionable Content by Jeph Jacques. This has truly grown beyond its indie rock-based humor strip origins and is a genuinely compelling comedy soap opera full of full, rich, bizarre characters that I absolutely need to follow every single day. This must have been how my grandmother felt about her "stories."
Best New Graphic Novel/Album/Trade Paperback/Whatever - Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley. There are several big "prestige" projects out there that got a lot of well-deserved press and attention, but I just found the fifth Scott Pilgrim book more fun than any of those. Also, it didn't hurt that it brought the plot to interesting places and finally asked some much needed questions. Also also, more Kim Pine.
Best Reprint Collection - Johnny Hiro Vol. 1 by Fred Chao. In this book, Chao creates not just likable characters and an interesting plot, but also a fully-formed world at once alike and vastly different from our own. Young people struggle with jobs, relationships, and finding their way in the world, while also dealing with monsters, samurai, Food Network personalities, and the occasional drop-in by a hip hop star. Plus, the book is an amazing presentation in that it gives as much all-new material as it does reprinted stuff.
Best Writer - Paul Cornell. Captain Britain and MI13 was good enough that I'll be checking out pretty much any comics work he does from now on. I may not buy it off the stands, and it may take me a while to get to some of it, but I will indeed be checking it out. That upcoming Knight & Squire mini, though... that one I'll likely be picking up as it comes out.
Best Writer/Artist - Darwyn Cooke, because even if I don't always enjoy crime/noir stuff, you can bet I'll still be checking out each of the Parker books just to see how gorgeously he draws and writes them.
Best Art-Type Person/Folks - J.H. Williams III. I mean, you saw those Batwoman stories in Detective Comics, right?
Best Cover Artist - Niko Henrichon, if only for this cover from Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #19. A better, more kick-ass depiction of Sue Storm you'd be hard-pressed to find.
Best Coloring - Dave Stewart. I mean, you saw those Batwoman stories in Detective Comics, right?
Best Lettering - Tom Orzechowski, because I believe Tom should letter pretty much every comic book ever.
Best Back Issue/Cheap Bin Find of the Year - While it's tempting to say that issue of Spidey Super Stories where Spidey and
70s Marvel Comics - nay, comic books in general! - don't get any better than that.