In with the old, out with the new…Let’s start this year with a look back.

2011 was a year in which many Marvel mainstays had relaunches/reboots (Daredevil and Moon Knight being the most successful, “Power Man” less so), and every DC character was reborn.  It was a year in which there were at least 52 more #1s than usual.  But 2011 also saw indie books rising in popularity due to successful TV shows like AMC’s The Walking Dead and pour-over from last year’s high-profile Scott Pilgrim film.

According to Diamond—the official distributor of the comic book medium—Justice League #1 was the best-selling issue of the year.  DC actually beat Marvel for a couple months, but sales from September to November gradually slowed, and by December Marvel was back at #1—albeit barely so.  Marvel sold 39% of all comics sold in December, while DC fell from 39% to 38%.  So, it looks like 2012 will be a return to normalcy.

But there’s no denying DC’s short term success: Not only did they have the three best-selling comics of 2011, but they’re also probably three of the top sellers of the past 10 years.  Justice League #1 topped 361K sold, and Batman and Superman both topped 250K.  Marvel’s best seller of the year was The Death of Spider-Man (Ultimate Spider-Man #160), which sold a comparatively small 159K.  It’s best-selling book of the past 10 years, however, was the Obama issue of Amazing Spider-Man, which told 530K.  And that was just on a sucky back-up feature.  Marvel should make The President as ubiquitous as Wolverine.  They’ll sell tons!

So what else is new?  Muppet Thor for one thing!

Hit the break and read on…

THE RETURN OF NEXUS.  Anyone else remember Mike Baron and Steve Rude’s comic about a cosmic dude named Horatio hellpop with a really cool visor, a costume that looks vaguely like Black Lightning?  Well, he’s returning to comics.  This time with Dark Horse, in Dark Horse Presents #12 in May 2012.

MUPPET THOR.  I’m not a big reader of webcomics, due to lack of time and the fact that the vast majority are horrible.  But this one, written and drawn in 24 hours, is pure genius.

frog thor
FATALE.  Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ horror noir debuted on 1/4/12, and has already gone into a second printing.  Good for them.  If anyone deserves success, it’s the team behind Criminal and Sleeper.

MARVEL LEGO.  Four of the sets have been announced, based on the Avengers film:

  • Captain America’s Avenging Cycle, with Cap, Nick Fury and a motorcycle
  • Loki’s Cosmic Cube Escape, which includes Loki, Thor, and Cap.
  • Hulk Helicarrier Breakout, which includes Hulk, Black Widow, Iron Man, Cap.
  • Quinjet Aerial Battle, with Thor, Hawkeye, Widow, Iron Man and the Quinjet!

DIRECT-TO-DIGITAL WORKS. Bryan Wood (DMZ) has announced he’ll be selling a comic right to the fans, digitally, and Warren Ellis has recently made some cryptic comments supporting digital distribution for creator-owned product.  I can’t say I disagree—the internet has wonders for little bands trying to get a little more exposure—but such direct-to-consumer marketing rarely leads to the kind of success where the creator can give up a day job and support themselves entirely on art.  I’ve always been torn on that issue anyway: Should artists be getting rich, or is art really best when it is for art’s sake?

THE BOYS: THE MOVIE.  Adam “two crappy movies” McKay (Anchorman and The Other Guys) has formally been courting Simon Pegg to play Hughie in his adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Roberson’s profane and provocative comic book.  Pegg has said he thinks he’s too old for the part, even though the comic book character is modeled on him.  I for one can’t imagine how this comic would translate into anything other than an X-Rated slasher film.

ALAN MOORE’S 1963.  He apparently isn’t proud of this early, creator owned work—so  much so that he forbid the publisher to reprint it.  Or, at least he hates the publisher.  Too bad.  You can find bootleg .cbz files of it, but that’s about the only way to get it.

EARTH ONE TWO AND THREE.  Superman: Earth One 2, the sequel to the huge bestseller by JMS and Shane Davis, and a third Earth One book—Batman by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank will come out in 2012.  And I won’t care.  I didn’t think that much of Superman: Earth One.

MODOK THE MINIMATE.  I need one.  Desperately.



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