This week, we’re handing out the First Annual Comics Daily awards – one per day – between Christmas and New Year. Each award has been written up by a member of the Comics Daily team after a consensus was reached, and highlights what we feel have been the best of superhero comics this year.
Best Writer : Warren Ellis
Only two years ago, Warren Ellis was publicly contemplating retirement from comics – the medium as a whole is richer for his change of heart. The lynchpin of the writer’s year has been the launch of his Astonishing X-Men run, which has become arguably the most successful superhero book on the market. While maintaining Joss Whedon’s character driven approach, Ellis has delivered a much-needed injection of sci-fi concepts and dramatically improved the pacing, ensuring that each issue is a satisfying read in its own right. This one book alone would place Ellis as a strong contender for writer of the year, but it’s not even half of his contribution to Marvel during 2008. His Ultimate Human miniseries has easily been the highlight of the line this year; a world removed from the failures in its sister series. The conclusion of his Thunderbolts run further cemented his mastery of all types of team books, effortlessly ratcheting the pressure-cooker atmosphere towards an explosive climax. The outcome of Secret Invasion has made clear that Ellis’s working of Norman Osborn could turn out to be Marvel’s most significant character makeover since Emma Frost.
It’s not to pigeonhole the author in one particular genre, however. Unbelievably, you could consume nothing but Ellis this year and still have a balanced diet. While establishing himself as Marvel’s intellectual powerhouse, the writer has still maintained his relationship with independent publisher Avatar, launching No Hero and taking his Doktor Sleepless ongoing title from strength to strength. The latter has allowed the writer to maintain the freedom to explore his own idiosyncratic interests, perfectly balancing his more mainstream work. Not quite everything the writer has touched this year has turned to gold; his attempt at a Mrs Peel-vibe in Anna Mercury fell a little too close to softcore pornography, and the relaunch of his newuniversal property stumbled after only two issues. For sheer volume of quality, however, no other writer can complete.
Runners Up: Matt Fraction (Casanova, Invincible Iron Man, Uncanny X-Men), Ed Brubaker (Captain America, Criminal), Paul Cornell (Captain Britain and MI:13, Fantastic Four : True Story), Andy Diggle (Hellblazer, Thunderbolts), Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, Batman, Final Crisis)