This week, we’re handing out the First Annual Comics Daily awards – one per day – between Christmas and New Year. Each award has been written up by a member of the Comics Daily team after a consensus was reached, and highlights what we feel have been the best of superhero comics this year (though, to prevent All Star Superman sweeping the board, we’re limiting each comic/creator to one win each)
Best Ongoing : Amazing Spider-Man
We kick off the awards with a fairly controversial choice. Exactly 12 months ago, Spider-Man fans (myself included) were choking back bile at the thought of what “One More Day” – an editorially-driven storyline designed to write Peter and MJ’s marriage out of continuity – had done to the character. It was a poor story with an unpopular conclusion, and the writer himself did all but openly disown it. Quesada had practically gambled his career on the character’s future, and from the outside, things looked pretty grim for Spider-Man in 2008.
Marvel, though, had a plan. They wanted to make Amazing Spider-Man ship three times a month, and to do that, they brought together a wide range of creators, old and new. The resulting comic was, without a doubt, the one to read in 2008. Whether you love or hate idea of annulling the spider-marriage, it’s hard not to agree that Amazing isn’t telling some of the most genuine Spider-Man stories in years.
It’s hard to know what deserves the most applause. The rock solid shipping of 36 issues of one of Marvel’s flagship titles? The attempt to establish new villains and rebuild a supporting cast? The wealth of ongoing, slow-burn subplots? Everything about the new Amazing says “we’re trying as hard as we can” and as a fan you can’t help but appreciate it.
The creative teams, too, have been an virtual “Who’s who?” of comics talent, from Steve McNiven to Marcos Martin, from Mark Waid to Dan Slott – these people know their craft. Even when you get a writer or artist you don’t like, there’s no need to worry – within a week or two, someone else will take over. The thrice-monthly format is inarguably a creative success, at last merging the collection-focussed ethos of the present decade with the issue-focussed approach of times past.
Whatever you might think of Amazing Spider-Man‘s continuity glitches and editorial repositioning, it’s hard to argue with the results. The series is once again the very template for what a modern super-hero comic should look like, a whole 40 years after it originally redefined the genre. Quesada may have gambled a lot on Spider-Man, and right now, it looks like the gamble might just have paid off.
Runners Up: Batman, Uncanny X-Men, Blue Beetle, X-Force, Ultimate Spider-Man
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