The start of a new year is always a strange time for comics, particularly since we so often have little idea about what to expect. For example, this time last year, who expected we’d be ¾ of our way through a Watchmen prequel series and that Marvel would be in the midst of their biggest publishing initiative in years at the start of 2013?
But there are some things we know for certain this year: crossover events are coming back in a big way for both major superhero publishers, and there is no shortage of exciting new series, both creator and company-owned, all across the board.
In alphabetical order, here are our most anticipated comic books for the year – be sure to sound off with your own in the comments.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis | Artist: Bryan Hitch, Carlos Pacheco, Brandon Peterson | Publisher: Marvel | Release: June 2013
Sure, Avengers vs. X-Men wasn’t exactly a thrill ride. It had some cool moments and some great fallout (pretty much all of Marvel NOW!), but ultimately the event itself was long and dull. However, we’re hopeful that 2013’s Marvel event – The Age of Ultron – can erase those memories and make us excited for event comics once again.
This one has been seeded for a very long time throughout Brian Bendis’ Marvel work, and it’s all finally coming to a head. When Ultron wins the battle against humanity, which of Marvel’s finest will be left standing to fight the last fight?
Oliver Queen has struggled to connect with readers since the New 52 relaunch in 2011, but it looks like this year might finally be a banner year for the Emerald Archer. With writer Jeff Lemire (Animal Man, Justice League Dark) and artist Andrea Sorrentino (I, Vampire) taking a crime/noir approach to Green Arrow riddled with dark mysteries of his past and all-new villains, we’re confident that Ollie will finally find his place in the current DC Universe.
Now that Green Arrow’s got his own hit ab-riddled TV show, it’s about time that he became a power player in the greater DCU.
Writer: Ben Katchor | Artist: Ben Katchor | Publisher: Pantheon | Release: February 2013
Ben Katchor’s new graphic novel is a collection of stories that explores at the most mundane objects of 21st century living in a bizarre new light – from architecture to household commodities to materialistic items of our affection – in an effort to challenge the way we look at the world we live in.
Katchor’s patented surrealistic illustration along with his clever -- and frequently twisted – outlook on society will surely result in one of our most beloved comics offerings of 2013.
The release of a new book from Norwegian cartoonist Jason is usually the highlight of the year, and we’re not expecting the debut of Lost Cat to be any different. Jason’s unique style is economic but full of depth, using his definitive anthropomorphic characters to present us with the most human of emotions through extreme situations.
Lost Cat follows a detective that returns the titular feline to its owner, only to discover he’s got a profound connection with said owner. When she goes missing, the detective moves on with his life physically, but mentally he continues their relationship as Jason explores what happens when you lose the person you feel most connected to.
Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick | Artist: Emma Rios | Publisher: Image | Release: 2013
We honestly don’t know all that much about Pretty Deadly at this point, other than it’s a western tale by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios, published by Image Comics. And really, that’s all we need to know. DeConnick had a breakout year in 2012, so hopefully her newfound readership from fantastic Marvel titles like Captain Marvel and Avengers Assemble will follow her over to the creator-owned realm. Couple that with the always lovely work of Emma Rios, and that’s a recipe for sure-fire awesomesauce.
Plus, you know, comics could always use some more westerns.
Writer: Neil Gaiman | Artist: J.H. Williams III | Publisher: Vertigo | Release: November 2013
Quite possibly the most acclaimed piece of comic book storytelling this side of Watchmen, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman is returning in 2013 with a brand new prequel mini-series. Joined by the wonderful J.H. Williams III on art duties, Gaiman is returning to his Endless saga to show the events that led to the capture of Morpheus way, way back in Sandman #1.
The announcement of the series was the standout moment for comics at San Diego Comic-Con 2012, and though we won’t be seeing it debut until much later this year, don’t expect the hype for this book to disappear.
Writer: Brian Wood | Artist: Carlos D'Anda | Publisher: Dark Horse | Release: January 2013
Though the future of Star Wars comics appears to be in flux thanks to Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm – they’ll likely wind up being put out through Marvel once Dark Horse’s licensing deal expires – 2013 is still chock full of exciting new comics set in Dark Horse’s galaxy far, far away. Simply titled Star Wars, Brian Wood and Carlos D’Anda’s new series forgets all the sequels and prequels that came after A New Hope and instead returns us to that magical moment in 1977, when anything was possible.
We didn’t know the Skywalker legacy. Han wasn’t in carbonite. The Clone Wars were just a throwaway mention in a line of dialogue. The Rebels were riding high from victory. It was a period of immeasurable possibility, and that’s what this series aims to explore – a Star Wars you haven’t seen since 1977.
Much like Green Arrow, Superman has struggled to connect with readers of the New 52. Based on a chat we had with Scott Snyder a few weeks ago about his new Super-book with artist Jim Lee, that’s about to change. With the Man of Steel movie on the horizon, now is the time to return Superman to his role as the preeminent superhero. We can think of few better ways to do that than by giving the character to one of modern comics’ most celebrated writers, who has demonstrated an affection and understanding of DC’s characters that clicks with the fans. Not to mention pairing him with one of the most high profile comic book artists of the last twenty years.
We think it’s safe to say that the Man of Steel is in good hands in 2013.
The last love story ever told, you say? Written and drawn by Jeff Lemire, you say? Our money: take it. With Sweet Tooth at an end, Lemire unveiled his new Vertigo project at New York Comic-Con this year, which he called his “most ambitious and most challenging.” Coming from a guy that’s given us comics like Essex County, Sweet Tooth, and our pick for Best Original Graphic Novel of 2012, The Underwater Welder, that’s saying a lot.
Trillium is a sci-fi series with a powerful human story at its center, and you can bet we’ll be waiting anxiously for the first issue to debut.
Writer: Geoff Johns | Artist: Unknown | Publisher: DC | Release: 2013
Whereas Marvel has had event fever these last couple of years, since relaunching the DC Universe at the end of Flashpoint, DC hasn’t had an outright universe-spanning crossover event. That all changes with Trinity War, which was teased with last year’s Free Comic Book Day offering, which we picked apart and analyzed as much as we possibly could.
With two Justice League teams coming to the forefront in 2013 and the very mysterious Trinity of Sin making sporadic and ominous appearances throughout this last year and a half, it appears that things that have been brewing since September 2011 will finally reach its boiling point this year.
Writer: Gerard Way & Shaun Simon | Artist: Becky Cloonan | Publisher: Dark Horse | Release: June 2013
It’s been a while since we’ve seen any comic book work from Gerard Way, the writer of the utterly fabulous Umbrella Academy. Though more Umbrella Academy isn’t in the cards at the moment, his new project – The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys – takes its name from Way’s band’s most recent record, My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, a concept album about a post-apocalyptic future. This book is the continuation of that story, starring the lone surviving member of the original Killjoys who must continue the good fight against the evil corporation known as Better Living Industries.
But don’t worry, fandom of My Chemical Romance or experience with the Danger Days album isn’t required; Way’s quirky writing style (along with co-writer Shaun Simon) will surely deliver some mighty fine characters, and the inclusion of Becky Cloonan on art duties is simply icing on the cake.
Writer: Scott Snyder | Artist: Sean Murphy | Publisher: Vertigo | Release: 2013
With Scott Snyder’s American Vampire going on hiatus for most of 2013 and Sean Murphy’s Punk Rock Jesus (IGN’s Best Mini-Series of 2012) having wrapped up, it’s time for the two creators to pair up once again – they previously collaborated on American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest – for something entirely new. The Wake is an underwater horror tales, in which a deep sea discovery leads to a change in the way that we live our lives on land.
A new mini-series from two of our favorite creators in comics? This one is a no-brainer.
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