Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Best of 2014

 Here is your eagerly awaited Crabby Reviewer Best of 2014 list! Get your wallets out, as I hip you to some incredible stuff that you may have/probably did miss.
 As always, I remind you that I have a study that is practically a warehouse of unread material from the bast 15 years...So this is the best of what I read in 2014. That doesn't necessarily mean it was published in 2014. Also, these are the books that I rated a perfect 10.....There were a lot of good things that are getting left off of this list, because they weren't, in my eyes "Perfect" reads.
Gird your loins...here we go!!!

THE STAND OMNIBUS
 I've always considered THE STAND a high point of the Stephen King oevvre (Pretentious word alert!), and I'm a total sucker for Marvel's omnibus format, so I expected to love this massive, two-volume slipcased hardcover set, but I was surprised at just how much I loved it. I started off buying the individual issues, and the monthly format wasn't working for me, so I dropped the book shortly before I completely switched to trade-waiting. The omnibus was a complete impulse buy, and I'm so glad I splurged. Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has delivered a perfect adaptation, and artist Mike Perkins knocked it out of the park with some of the best artwork I've ever seen. The duo was dropping hints that they were going to adapt King's 'SALEM'S LOT next, but there hasn't been any action on that front, so I'm assuming it's not happening, which is a real shame.(Read the original Crabby Review HERE)
  

 LOCKE & KEY, VOLUME 5: CLOCKWORKS
 We follow up a Stephen King  comic with one written by his son, Joe Hill. LOCKE & KEY is a masterpiece or horror, fantasy, suspense, and psychological fuckery. I can't recommend this series enough. (Just as an aside to IDW, I would buy the hell out of a LOCKE & KEY Omnibus...hint, hint! This is a series that cried out to be read in one massive bite, rather than the occasional small one. Rumor has it that Joe Hill hates the omnibus format, though....poop.)
  

THE ALAMO: THE COMIC BOOK
 A floppy makes the list! A chunky floppy, but a floppy, nonetheless. Written and illustrated by Rod Espinosa, THE ALAMO: THE COMIC BOOK was an absolutely perfect telling of the famous battle. For some reason, there are four people selling copies of this obscure comic for three hundred bucks or more. If anyone wants a copy and has that much money to spare, drop me a line. I'd take $200.00.  ;)
  

 IN REAL LIFE
 A beautifully written and illustrated graphic novel that tells the story of the online friendship that grows between a young American girl and a Chinese boy who meet while playing an online game called Coaresgold Online. Writer Cory Doctorow and artist Jen Wang present a world that I knew absolutely nothing about, and make it understandable and accessible. This deserves a wide audience. (Read the original Crabby Review HERE)
  

 THE SANDMAN, VOLUME 9: THE KINDLY ONES
 Hands-down, the best volume in Neil Gaiman's epic SANDMAN saga. All of the threads that Gaiman has so meticulously left scattered throughout previous volumes are pulled together and woven into a dark, lovely tapestry. Morpheus' struggle to save his realm from the wrath of The Furies is a tour de force  of horror and fantasy, and it gets better and better each time I read it. (Read the original Crabby Review HERE)
  

 MURDER ME DEAD
 STRAY BULLETS writer/artist David Lapham's pitch-black noir is back in print, courtesy of Image Comics. I'm not generally a big crime reader, but this was an outstanding piece of work.
 

 HELLBOY LIBRARY EDITION, VOLUME 4: THE CROOKED MAN AND THE TROLL WITCH
 Should I rave any more about Mike Mignola? No...?  OK, OK....I'll just say that the combination of Mike Mignola and Richard Corben CANNOT....BE....BEAT. Dark Horse's Library Editions are their version of Marvel's omnibus format, but with much better paper. They have smaller page counts than Marvel's do, but the production values and the lower price more than make up for it.
  

 PUNISHER MAX: BULLSEYE
 Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon's gruesomely over-the-top Punisher vs. The Kingpin epic reaches it's second delirious volume, which is basically an extended sequence of The Punisher fighting Bullseye in a gory HOME ALONE/ROAD RUNNER homage. It was like a real-life ITCHY & SCRATCHY episode...They fight, they fight, they fight and fight and fight.....Disgusting, hilarious, disturbing, and entertaining as hell, Aaron and Dillon have delivered a fight for the ages.(Read the original Crabby Review HERE)
 

 MISTER SLAUGHTER
 Robert McCammon's brilliant series of historical thrillers star a young "Problem solver" named Matthew Corbett. In MISTER SLAUGHTER, the third book in the series, Matthew and his partner, Hudson Greathouse, are hired to escort captured murderer Tyranthus Slaughter from the mental institution where he is incarcerated to a ship in Manhattan that will extradite him back to London, where he will be tried and, presumably, hung. Slaughter is a master manipulator, and immediately finds an achilles heel that he can exploit with Corbett and Greathouse: Greed. He offers to show Corbett and Greathouse where he has stashed the money he had stolen before he was caught in exchange for his freedom, and the duo agrees. The plan is to get Slaughter's treasure, and still take him to his extradition, but the wiley Slaughter pulls the inevitable double-cross, leaving Greathouse near-death, and a battered, resolute Matthew in desperate pursuit as the ruthless killer leaves a trail of bodies behind him as he flees. Probably the best serial-killer novel since THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS...McCammon is a master, and he gets better and better with each book. I can't recommend this series enough.
  

 SUPERMAN VS. MUHAMMAD ALI DELUXE EDITION
 This probably got such a high rating based on nostalgia, since this was a book that I adored as a child...but, whatever. I loved it. The art, the colors, the bluster and bravado of Ali contrasted with the humble attitude of Superman, the insane detail that Neal Adams packs into the crowd scenes....Nostalgia or not, I had a blast revisiting this bizarre team-up from yesteryear. (Read the original Crabby Review HERE)
 Without meaning to, I've created a Top 10 list. Twelve months, 280 books read, and only 10 perfect books. Not such a great average. There were a lot of 9's, but there were also a lot of 0's. Hopefully, 2015 will be a better year. Happy New Year to all of you Crabby Readers, and thanks for reading my crabbiness.