It's been a busy, and moreover game-changing, year in comics. Without further ado, here is my list of the most notable moments for horror comics in 2012.
The Walking Dead #100 Shatters Records
The Walking Dead comic has been a top-seller in the industry for several years now both due to its incredible storyline and its hugely successful television show, but with the release of its milestone #100 issue, it shattered records. With the practically instant sell-out of its 383,612 initial orders of the issue, it had the highest initial sales of any publisher since 1997. The issue offered 13 different variant covers and even went back for reprint. To say that increasing book sales over time is uncommon is an understatement. This book continues to get more popular and it's accompanying increased sales are well-deserved. Props to Robert Kirkman and the Image team for this amazing series. And while we are on the subject of The Walking Dead....
The Brutal Death of a Favorite Character
*SPOILER ALERT* One of the most shocking and and heart-wrenching events of the entire series took place in issue #100 of The Walking Dead: the brutal death of Glen at the hands of the new Big-Bad, Negal, and his little friend, Lucille. Senseless, shocking, unexpected, and incredibly cold and violent, it was a perfect fit for the milestone issue and reminded us all why we have stuck with this series since 2003. The image of Glen calling Maggie's name one last time with his skull busted and his eye popped out sticks with you long after putting down the book.
The Walking Lawyers?
Yes, this is the third item regarding The Walking Dead on this Top 10 list. What can I say, they have had a very exciting year. But in this case, the excitement was not so good. In February, the original artist for The Walking Dead, Tony Moore, filed a lawsuit against series writer and collaborator Robert Kirkman for allegedly tricking him into surrendering his rights for payments that never came. While we will never know all the details surrounding this case, it was announced in September that the two parties had reached an amicable agreement and would be moving on with their work and their lives. Nothing like a little real-life drama to add to our favorite zombie drama.
The Living Corpse Movie Premieres
At long last, fan-favorite comic The Living Corpse made its way to the big screen! On Saturday, July 14, 2012, "The Amazing Adventures of the Living Corpse" was screened at San Diego Comic Con. Based on the comic by Ken Haeser and Buz Hasson, the full-length animated film brought to life our favorite zombie super-hero, The Living Corpse. Three years were spent animating the film by a small group of people and the attention to detail and love of the material was clear. The film later premiered on the East Coast on September 29 and has been picked up by Anchor Bay films for distribution. Congratulations to everyone involved and Viva la Corpsie!
The End of an Era
It was announced in November that the Vertigo title Hellblazer will end with issue #300 in February. The final story of Hellblazer will be "Death and Cigarettes" which is written by Peter Milligan with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landin. While this is a bitter pill to swallow for fans of the series, hope remains with the announcement that the series protagonist, occult detective John Constantine, will continue his dark adventures in the new series "Constantine" that will launch in March as a DC New 52 title.
The Return of Iconic Characters
This year saw the return of two major characters in the comics universe: Evil Ernie and Hellboy. Evil Ernie is such an iconic character and it's great to see an origin story for him, as well as his return to the paneled page, especially with the love of writer Jesse Blaze Snider and artist Jason Craig. Furthermore, Mike Mignola brings back the dead with the lovable red lug Hellboy in "Hellboy in Hell". After having his heart ripped out in 2011, literally, Hellboy was dead. But now, Mignola is back with full control of his beloved character and an ongoing series sure to keep good little fanboys and girls happy for some time.
Great Year for Stellar Comic Art
While putting together the nominees for 2012 Artist of the Year, it became obvious that this was a particularly great year for artists in the horror comics business and an even better year for us fans! Simon Bisley and Richard Corben each drew several books this year, DC's New 52 for horror is putting out some amazing art, and then there are the usual suspects like Gabriel Rodriguez and Menton3 absolutely killing it on the paneled page. There were so many unbelievably great artists that after much squabbling and nail-biting, we had to select based on volume of comics produced and leave off legendary artists like Bernie Wrightson and Mike Mignola! Here's hoping that next year is another stellar year for comic art!
The Passing of a Friend
We have lost other great comic-industry folks over the years, but none so close to this site as Josh Medors. Josh was a long-time friend and supporter of the site and even made the first ComicMonsters.com official logo. We have honored him with a 2012 Horror Comic Achievement Award for all that he has done for us and for the horror comic community. He willed be greatly missed.
Kickstarter and IndieGoGo Change the Face of Publishing
Like the emergence of digital comics in the recent past, crowd-source funding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are changing not only how we buy our comics, but who will be able to get their books into everyone's hands. Back in the day, and by back in the day I mean a couple of years ago, a creator had to pitch their idea to a publisher and get them to publish their book. It was then primarily distributed through Diamond. But times are a'changing as they say, and now creators can put their ideas up on the crowd-sourcing sites and let the fans decide if they feel the book is worth their money based on the preview and/or description of the book. This essentially gives all creators an opportunity to publish their book if they get buy-in by the fans. Our first "Funding the Business of Fear" article here at ComicMonsters.com was for the book Nowadays, which is nominated for a 2012 Horror Comic Award for Best Original Graphic Novel. The trend of crowd-sourcing seems to be increasing, and hopefully the quality of books will remain high.
44Flood Takes Charge (and PayPal)
Taking full advantage of the new crowd-sourcing option to do strange and different projects that publishers wouldn't know what to do with is 44Flood, a new company formed to make the books that they want to make that don't fit into any typical category. These books are not merely comics, but include prose, art, and music, as well. 44Flood was created by Ben Templesmith, Menton3, Kasra Ghanbari, and Nick Idell, and the contributors also include horror comic creators such as Steve Niles, Jason Shawn Alexander, and Ashley Wood. While it is best to purchase the books while the crowd-sourcing is still available, the two books proposed so far, Tome and Lust, were so successful in their funding that they are available for purchase on the 44Flood website and will ship after their completion.
And that's a wrap for 2012! It has been a huge year for our favorite horror medium with big things on the horizon for next year. Here's wishing everyone a fantastic and horror-comic-filled 2013!
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