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Ok, this one is a kind of a no brainer. This year long series started with a bang on Halloween with a murder and kept you guessing all year as to who the mysterious killer name Holiday was. I have admit, I never would have guessed it was . . . . but that would be telling. Stil;l, this Jeff Loeb/Tim Sale teaming was the first of many and still considered by some to be the best. The story takes place right after Batman Year One and serves as a transition from Batman fighting common criminals to the zany rouges gallery we all know and love. It is available almost everywhere in trade.
These was a tie because both of these stories are amazing Claremont was truly on the top of his x-men writing at this time and the art in 159 was done by Bill Sienkiewicz (on pencils with Bob Wiacek on inks). Sienkiewicz would later go on and do some of my favorite work on New Mutants (and Moon Knight, who's werewolf by night issues almost made this list).
Of course, the X-men did recently had another great vampire event called “Curse of the Mutants” as they faced off against Dracula’s son. But, the crossover wasn’t really scary (apologies to Jubilee) and these earlier issue has earned a place in my nostalgic heart.
Ultimately, I guess the story in this issue culminated in the Inferno crossover in the 90s (which was only scary when you consider how many books you had to buy to keep up with that crossover).
You know I have to have a Superman story and surprisingly, there aren’t that many to choose from. I almost went with the Satanus/Blaze storyline from the 90s where Superman is used as a pawn in a fight between two demons (and resulted in the death of Jerry White), but I think I’m going to have to go with Action Comics Annual 1. This Annual (set after Crisis and featuring an early team-up between the new Batman and Superman) has some great storytelling by John Byrne and beautiful pictures from Art Adams. They story features a Batman and Superman story as they face off against a town of vampires. It isn’t really a team-up book, since they are only together for the last few pages.
In this adaptation of the Saturday morning cartoon, the Spider Friends (Firestar, Iceman and Spider-Man) face off against the Green Goblin on Halloween. I still watch these with my daughter. I had forgotten how many inside jokes there are for mighty Marvel fans (an example can be found in the costumes at the Halloween dance). And who didn’t love Firestar? This series was short lived (one issue), but it is still a fun memory. I even bought my daughter the limited edition action figures. (And it warms my heart when she says, "Spider-Friends--Go for it!")
This issue features a great Supergirl/Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) team-up as they face 13 Draculas. (Not the real one). Bryan Q. miller did an amazing job with this series (which ended far to soon to pave the way for the new 52) and this issue is a great example of how much fun this series was. I know that we will never see this version of Supergirl again (which is a crime), but now that Barbara Gordon has regained her legs and the Batgirl mantle, I wonder what happened to Stephanie (and her predecessor Cassandra) in the New 52 anyway. Maybe she'll return as the Spoiler. But, I digress.
I’m not going to pick one issue of this amazing series. If you like horror, you really need to read this series. If you work at Fox, you really need to green light the pilot, which was awesome. If you are Stephen King, you should be really proud of your son, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Joe Hill tells amazingly intense character driven horror and Gabriel Rodriguez' art is so detailed it is scary. We also reviewed this in our Comics Experience book club (with both Hill and Rodrigues in attendance), but I guess I never wrote about it, whoops, sorry about that.
This is a recent trade from Image by Joshua Hale Fialkov (he also wrote Essec County and currently does I Campire and Frankenstein for the DC New 52) and art by Rashan Ekedal. Oh my goodness this book is creepy. I'm not sure what I can say about this other than to advise you not to read it before you go to bed. It is truly disturbing. I should also mention that Josh is a really nice guy and not anywhere as near scary as his writing. We met him on our most recent Comics Experience Book Club call.
I was lucky enough to get an advanced peak at this series through the Comics Experience Workshop. The Pack is a great old fashioned Werewolf book told with in a modern setting. Mike Raicht’s storytelling is top notch! (I actually like this better than his other book, Stuff of Legend—blasphemy, I know). The book features horror art by Daniel Faccilongo. The Pack is part murder mystery, part Breakfast Club. Issue 1 just came out this month, so you still have a chance to pick it up and get on the ground floor of this book.
While some would argue that picking Sandman is as obvious as Walking Dead, I’ll risk it. In this issue we meet Death, dreams older sibling. Throughout the issue, we follow death as she makes her rounds, collecting the dead. But, Gaiman takes a completely different track with her by making her an adorable cute little Goth girl. Instead of a grim reaper, Gaiman, a master storyteller, makes Death into a hopeful chipper soul--someone who you want to meet at the end of your life. I almost put the Death mini-series on this list, but this issue sums up the character. the story can be found in Preludes and Nocturnes, the first Sandman trade. We reviewed it for Comics Experience Book Club, which can be found here. I have mentioned Comics Experience so many times in this article, I feel like i should be charging them by the link. Of course, it could just be a testament to how great they are in getting creators to meet.
You really didn’t think I wouldn’t get through this list without plugging my own books. For shame.
First up, Don't be Afraid. All people have one thing in common, hiding deep within their hearts – fear. The feeling of pure fright can be paralyzing and often maddening. Join your host, the evil clown known as Mr. Scratch as he presents five tales that examine all levels of horror. From the gripping terror of a racing mind to fanged monsters in the night, all manners of fear dwell in these stories.
From ancient Greece, to early America, and out to the edge of space, GREAT ZOMBIES IN HISTORY, the anthology series from ELEVATOR PITCH PRESS, tells the secret history of the undead. See how Samurai, Vikings, Spartans and even Teddy Roosevelt dealt with the zombie horde.
Great Zombies in History -- those who do not learn from history are doomed to be EATEN!
I guess there is always next year.
What is your favorite story?