So 2013 is in the rearview, but what a year for comics, am I right? While Marvel had an impressive and diverse publishing initiative in Marvel NOW, DC alienated fans across the board with bland updates to their characters (save for Batman & Wonder Woman, maybe) and business practices that would seem right at home in the mid 20th century. Meanwhile, Image released a flood of new titles that only continued to improve their brand as the go-to company for independent, creator-owned fare. Paul Pope dropped his long awaited Battle Boy, comic legend Gilbert Hernandez dropped five new books, and we got another issue of Adrian Tomine’s Optic Nerve. We even got some “Event” books that weren’t half-bad. Hit the jump and check out what we here on Spaceship Omega thought was the 13 Best Comics of 2013, and make sure to agree/disagree with our rankings in the comments section!
[WEEKEND OPEN BAR: The one-stop ramble-about-anything weekend post at OL. Comment on the topic at hand. Tell us how drunk you are. Describe a comic you bought. This is your chance to bring the party.]
I want you to consult your medium.
And I’m not talkin’ about that gargantuan-racked Gypsy babe you met at the bus stop. Do I think it’s righteous that she wore a revealing shawl and was jambox-blastin’ an Among the Living cassette? Yes. Do I think that she actually has psychic powers? No. Unless you like waking up in another state to find that you’ve been drugged, robbed, and’re wanted on an arson charge, you’re goin’ to want to stay away from her.
Trust me, I know from experience.
Anyways, the sort of medium we’re dealin’ with today ain’t of the supernatural variety. Well, not literally (we’ll come back to that). See, the word “medium” comes from the old-tyme Ancients’ expression for “in the middle.” As such, there’re a whole mess of ways to apply the term. Yes, that’s why when you go to Dunkin Donuts, the serving size of hot dirt-water that’s larger than the small but smaller than the large is called medium!
When takin’ a stroll across the Arts & Entertainment Dance Hall, we need to look at media as the ways in which creators express themselves. In a sense, any given medium is the means by which a transfer occurs from the mind of the Creator to the mind of the Viewer. It’s actually an alarmingly simple process: an idea is in the Creator’s mind, the Creator shapes some sort of artifact, the Viewer experiences said artifact, and now the same idea is in the Viewer’s mind! Voila!
Stephen King describes the process in On Writing:
Look — here’s a table covered with a red cloth. On it is a cage the size of a small fish aquarium. In the cage is a white rabbit with a pink nose and pink-rimmed eyes. In its front paws is a carrot-stub upon which it is contentedly munching. On its back, clearly marked in blue ink, is the numeral 8.
Do we see the same thing? We’d have to get together and compare notes to make absolutely sure, but I think we do. There will be necessary variations, of course…
I sent you a table with a red cloth on it, a cage, a rabbit, and the number eight in blue ink. You got them all, especially that blue eight. We’ve engaged in an act of telepathy. No mythy-mountain shit; real telepathy.
That’s right, you degenerate broads and bastard boozers clinging to the railing of Spaceship OL — every time you read a book or listen to an album or play a video game, you’re on the receiving end of some genuine telepathy! And when you find it in your soul to create some art? When you show someone the landscape you painted or the sonnet you penned? Yeah, you’ve got it — you’re on the transmitting end of the thought-transfer!
So what’s this all gettin’ at? Well, simply put, I want every goddamn one of you to declare your medium-allegiance. At the end of the day, in which art form are you most invested? Which mode of expression sweep-picks your heartstrings? What is it about this medium that gets your blood pumpin’ and spirit swirlin’?
[What is your medium of choice?]