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2018 ComixCentral Comic of the Year Award Winners!

2018 COMIXCENTRAL COMIC OF THE YEAR AWARD WINNERS


The year 2018 brought ComixCentral a bevy of new and awesome Indie Comics from some of the best and brightest stars in the Indie game. We are so fortunate and proud to have these titles available on our site. The quality of content made this years awards quite the challenge to decide on. So what did we do to help remedy this problem? We called in the Heavy Hitters, we brought in six of the biggest names in comics and dropped the tough decisions in their laps! We were so lucky to be joined this year by Jim Lawson, Ben Bishop, Michael Lent, Charlie Adlard, Pat Mills, And Robin Etherington! They were tasked with selecting a winner in a specific category of their choosing. Jim Lawson was also so kind to select two category winners, including the toughest job of all, Comic of the Year! Below is a list of all the winners and comments by our celebrity judges and members of our ComixCentral staff on why they thought that book or creator was deserving of the win. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners this year! Keep creating and knocking our socks off!


*Click on the covers to BUY the comic and support some of the best Indie creators in the world!*


BEST ACTION ADVENTURE COMIC

Winner- Stroper

By- Eddie Porter

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“We loved how Stroper sets up the story in this issue with a masterclass of visual storytelling. The minimal speech and text give an exemplar in just how it’s posible to build a story setup, world(s) and create a specific sense of character in a single issue. Stoper dispenses with extensive exposition with engaging effect. It’s unique style and tone set this story up perfectly for the action that follows. And set up for a 10 issue story arc readers are in for a real blast from this deserved winner for best action adventure.” – Jamie Norman (CXC Staff)

BEST ALL AGES COMIC

Winner– The Legend of Polloman

By: Gonzalo Alvarez

Judge– Robin Etherington (Disney, Dreamworks, Etherington Bros.)

“Polloman was engaging from the off: a deep dive into Mexican folklore with beautiful visuals. The art style was fresh and playful and perfectly complemented the tone of the tale. I loved the consistent use of language translation between the panel borders. More please! Dirk Brody was a straight up slice of action adventure joy. Like the protagonists themselves we’re thrown in at the deep end and hang on, breathless, till the last desperate escape. The choice of limited colour palette works wonders with the clean inking. It’s fun and bold, giving precious little of the obviously larger ongoing plot away, and being none the poorer for it’s omission. Bravo!” –Robin Etherington

*Robin would like to make a special mention of Dirk Brodey: The Lost Empire of the Moon! as runner up in the category.

BEST COMEDY COMIC

Winner- Fetch

Writer – Nicholas Poonamallee

Artist – Szymon Sobczak

Judge- Jim Lawson (TMNT, Dragonfly)

“Pretty Damn Awesome! An entertaining and lively book had my interest from page 1. The art particularly arresting with thoughtful panel layouts and use of B+W. Also nice use of both simple and detailed linework. Portrayal of action was just stunning.Story- clever and funny. Characters were good and the dialogue worked well. The plot itself nothing new really but that didn’t stop me from reading with anticipation to the end, and closing the book wanting more. Great job.” – Jim Lawson

BEST FANTASY COMIC

Winner – Starside

By–  Dylan Klein, Lane Brettschneider and Jordan Chao.

Judge– ComixCentral Staff

“A masterful execution of character development and suspense. From the minute this beautifully illustrated and written comic begins, the reader is drawn into the main character “Jack’s” world. A simple, straight forward life existing of a day to day before school ritual, contact with a beloved sibling and typical teen angst over girls and grades. The writer takes their time, telling the story properly, not rushed to “ge to the action” and we appreciate the trust they have in the reader. When the action does begin, we were not disappointed. In Fact a rush of goosebumps told us just how good this team really is. A well deserved win, we can hardly wait for issue #2!” – Leigh Jeffery (CXC Staff) 

BEST HORROR COMIC

Winner- Six:Eight

Writer- Michael T. Gonzalez

Art & Letters- Allen Byrns

Judge- Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead)

“Ok read everything… and the winner is…SIX : EIGHT! Out of the shortlist I read, it was the book that had the strongest combination of art and story – something I look for always – if it’s not 50/50 story/art, then it’s failing as a comic. On top of that the art style was gloriously textural and atmospheric, which worked well with the downbeat seedy nature of the story. Nice subtle touches too… stuff that stays with you well after you read the book. It’s always hard for print media to compete with film and TV when doing horror, since that medium can capitalise on tension and the the jump scare due to its format, so comics etc have to seek out other ways to scare the reader – imagery, concept – and Six : Eight achieves that really well.” – Charlie Adlard

BEST LGBTQ+ COMIC

Winner- Alex Priest

Writer- Jenn Arledge

Art- Scott Malin

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“This was my introduction to the Alex Priest series and I can tell you one thing, I am disappointed……IN MYSELF! I can’t believe I hadn’t yet read any of the available books in the series before we started the awards process. Jenn Arledge has crafted a fun and exciting world for her characters to reek havoc in. Scott Malin’s art is a perfect fit for the tone of the story. In this issue I really enjoyed how the two storylines were on opposite ends of the spectrum. One being full of action and fear and the other a happy reconciliation. And then when it matters most when the storylines collided towards the end of the issue it left me feeling satisfied and the cliffhanger left me wanting to pick up the next issue! Everyone needs to go and read all the issues in this series, they won’t be sorry!” – Joey Sheehan (CXC Staff)

BEST MANGA COMIC

Winner- Dead Ronin

By- Luke Brown

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“There is only one choice for best manga. Its Dead Ronin. The best way to describe this book is to imagine strapping yourself to a rocket and hold tight. From page one it never lets up. Luke’s artwork only gets better with each new page. His style perfectly captures the high speed action without missing any of beautiful detail. The story hits you from the start and trust me once you start you will not want to put it down. Luke has pushed himself and this series to the highest point and its brilliant.” – Craig Johnson (CXC Staff)

BEST MYSTERY COMIC

Winner- The Pale

Writer- Sanders Fabares

Art- Jay Fabares

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“For us ‘The Pale’ represents everything that’s great about Indie comics. The freedom to tell new, interesting stories, beautiful artwork, and excellent story craft. This story builds an engaging mystery expertly told with excellent characterisation and wonderfully brought to life. The character devleopment is well placed allowing the you to learn and invest more in them as the story unfolds. This book has production values the belies the two creators behind it (Sanders and Jay Fabares) and they should be really proud of what they’ve created here. This award was for the comic of the week winning issue but we totally recommend checking out all the issues in this story. We see big things ahead for this creative team.” – Jamie Norman (CXC Staff)

BEST SCI-FI COMIC

Winner- Astr0 Pi6

By- Justin Sunseri

Judge- Pat Mills (Judge Dredd, 2000AD)

“It was a surprising choice for me. I really hadn’t expected it to be the one I would go for as the comic world I write for is so very different. I’ll explain more about this in a moment. But as I read it , I was drawn into the concept and the art. The images are inspired and beautiful. The story premise seems highly original. I’ve certainly never come across anything like it before. It was written and drawn from the heart and thus didn’t fall into any of the obvious traps – e.g. being too cute, too cliched, or too educational/moralising etc. There was a joy in the creation which communicates itself to the readers. A ‘feel good’ factor without the gooey soft centre of a Hallmark film.

I think it has enormous social and commercial potential and I found myself wondering how the series would develop. Who had commissioned the pig to go on his space travel and why. How would the pig deal with other challenges. What other science fiction worlds he might visit.

In Britain, there’s, rightly, considerable professional hostility to educational and middle class comics and I’m one of their fiercest critics. Primarily because such comics are usually smug, patronising,sustain our wretched class system. and working class kids in the UK – the largest potential audience – tend to hate them. I turned to Astro Pig fully expecting it to be the American equivalent and intending to quickly move on to the other comics. To my surprise I was completely captivated by it – it has none of the negative attributes I feared it might have.

It is truly delightful and an outstanding winner!” – Pat Mills

BEST SUPER HERO COMIC

Winner- Canada Bear

Creator, Pencils, Cover- Paul Farris

Writer, Letterer- Sean Wilson

Line Artist- Carlos Azevedo

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“The obvious choice for Best Super Hero of the bunch was Canada Bear. Everything a good Super Hero story should be. A proper origin story, an out of control baddy, the world in chaos and we have only one hope. A steely eyed, massively muscled, smooth talkin’, catch phrase dropping hero to save the day eh! Canada Bear has the all the elements that make for a delightful Comic read. The artwork has that wonderfully classic Saturday morning cartoon feel that assures me I’m going to be giggling and entertianed with the flip of every page. The story lines flows perfectly from punch line to punch line, and the charming dialogue fits each character like a glove. A delightful read for all ages, and fun fun fun!” -Leigh Jeffery (CXC Staff) 

BEST THRILLER COMIC

Winner- The Maroon

By – Derek W. Lipscomb

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“No question about it. The Maroon is the best thriller. No other comic has pulled me in and had me on the edge on my seat at all times. Derek continues with each issue to add more depth, character development and world building. The artwork is consistently amazing and fantastic action set pieces. The Maroon deserves this and so much more. One day I hope to see this adapted for a series as the story is huge and ever expanding.” – Craig Johnson (CXC Staff)

BEST COMIC PROMOTION


Winner- Mashbone and Grifty

Art & Story- Oscar Garza

Story- Rolando Esquivel

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“If there was one comic series that came to mind when we thought of “Promotion” it was Mashbone and Grifty. Never is there a day that we don’t get an eagerly anticipated eyeful of their fantastic artwork, clever tag lines, click-worthy links, and awesome custom gifs come across our various social media channels. A truly professional marketing effort is being precisely exectuted by this talented group of creators and we can’t get enough! Not to mention they are putting out one fo the most creative, beautifully illustrated and hilariously written indie comics on the market “Mang!” ” – Leigh Jeffery (CXC Staff)

SPIRIT OF INDIE AWARD

Winner- The Maroon

By – Derek W. Lipscomb

Judge- ComixCentral Staff

“Derek Lipscomb is the obvious choice. No one in the indie comics community does as much as Derek. He supports every indie comic he comes across. He’ll retweet a project you are working on, an ad you have going and he reaches out and gives words of wisdom and guidance. He has on more than one occasion helped me and cheered me. He is an inspiration to not just me but to everyone in Indie. Derek is undoubtably the heart of the Indie Comics community. We are all lucky to have him on our side!” – Craig Johnson (CXC Staff)

PEOPLES CHOICE AWARD

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!!!!

The People’s choice award was an open vote to the fans of ComixCentral. We asked them to vote for six of their favorite comics from the past year. When the vote was done we had a top six that was so close we just had to give everyone an award! All these comics are worthy of the award and we are proud to have them on our site!

 

WRITER OF THE YEAR

Winner- BOB: Non-Union Psychic

Written and Scripted- Lance Lucero & Adam Volle

Art- Francisco Resendiz

Letters- Kurt Hathaway

Judge- Michael Lent (Prey, The Lynx)

“BOB: NON-UNION PSYCHIC #2 is such a fun, fresh and inventive universe. The characters all have interesting backstories. The pacing is spot on. Story elements are properly motivated and dialogue isn’t always carrying water for exposition, something that fellow writers notice. The more I read the more I want to both understand and immerse myself in this idiosyncratic world. There is a seamless integration of vision between writer, artist, letterer and colorist. As a reader, BOB is a full meal experience — story is engaging and each frame is chockablock with interesting elements and attention to detail that reward attentive readers. You are in the moment and yet, aware of the greater universe just outside a given panel or page. I kept thinking that the BOB team really needs to bring out the TPB from #0, 1, & 2. That would be awesome. Like the other books, Bob is really a credit to the CXC universe.” – Michael Lent

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Winner- Whisper Wilds

Creator/Writer – Brent Nelson

Art/Letters- Emanuele Arnaldi

Judge- Ben Bishop (The Aggregate, Drawing Blood)

“Emanuele Arnaldi’s artwork in Whisper Wilds is both inventive, and beautiful. The incredible color palette throughout, as well as the brilliantly imaginative character designs, make for a very fleshed out, and immersive world within the story. I want action figures, I want a cartoon, I want to see this book continue for a long time. Love it.” –Ben Bishop

COMIC OF THE YEAR

Winner– The Legend of Polloman

By: Gonzalo Alvarez

Judge– Jim Lawson (TMNT, Dragonfly)

“Well- I went through all the books that made the final cut last week. There’s a lot of really impressive stuff there and I wanted to chew on it over the weekend.I had a tough time. There was probably 4 books that I kept coming back to as my top picks. Emotionally there was one that I really dug but in the end I decided on another that I loved, but I felt that the extra effort that had gone into the book and it was a little more expansive in the world-building department. This is the book that I picked as winner. The Legend of Polloman. I love that I went into the book not knowing what my expectations would be. As I flipped through and read the first pages I was really impressed that this was like no other comic that I’ve read and on top of that it was really thoughtfully designed. Plus it was folklore and historical and I’m a sucker for both those things. Then when I was hoping that this would somehow translate into an actual comic story there it was- what I wanted- perfect timing. A good story too. I think it makes the presentation stronger when the characters are relatable and feel emotions and contend with situations just as we do.- fear, hope, frustration- all the human stuff we struggle with. By the end of the book, we begin to see these worlds (human/folklore) coming together. A beautiful, well-crafted comic.” – Jim Lawson


CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE WINNERS AND NOMINEES!

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Interview with the creative team behind The Lynx


Interview with the creative team behind The Lynx


Participants: Marshall Dillon (Editor/Letterer/Graphic Designer), Vittorio Garofoli (Artist and Inker), Michael Lent (Creator/Writer), and Carmelo Monaco (Colorist).

INTRO by Michael Lent

It was a lot of fun putting together Blog #1 of the THE LYNX, so members of the team behind our book thought you might like to know more about us and our work.

The following is based on questions I asked or general observations made by the artists themselves.For this blog we reversed the order from the previous blog and will begin with Marshall Dillon.

MARSHALL DILLON

Lettering, Graphic Design and Editorial Contributions

How did you get your start in comics?

In 1993, fresh out of high school, I partnered up with 3 friends and started a small self publishing company. We spent a lot of money and made very little. I did that for another nine years or so until I became Managing Editor and eventually Associate Publisher at Devil’s Due working on titles like GI JOE, D&D, and various other retro properties.

What were some specific comic books or series that have inspired you?

X-Men. 1983-1995 or so…all the wonderful Claremont stuff. In particular I liked Marc Silvestri’s run. All that stuff was lettered by Tom Orzechowski. He’s a lettering god. He was the voice of Claremont. What X-Men was… what it DID was it created a sense of family. Misfit characters, a whacky world, insane situations, but they all loved each other. And as a fan I loved them and felt loved by them. It was magical. I never got that feeling from Batman or the Avengers or any other comics.

Do you have a genre that you consider to be a specialty?

As far as MAKING comics, no. I prefer non-superhero stories, but I’ll gladly do them. I love reading fantasy and sci-fi and I’m pretty good at giving the lettering for those genres an appropriate feel without looking kitschy.

How did you come to wear many hats including writer, editor, colorist, inker and, of course, letterer?

I guess they call it bootstrapping. I just found something that needed to be done and I tried my hand at it. Originally I wanted to be a penciller, but I didn’t have the dedication for it. I love to write, but without an audience I don’t typically make time for it. As an inker, I’m still a novice. I do it for fun mostly. It gives me a new reason to talk to people and have the kinds conversations I liked having as an editor, but from the other side of the table. 

What are some signature elements to your lettering?

Hopefully it’s meshing with the art / story / genre. Making choices that are appropriate. I think I’m a pretty good storyteller (most people don’t realize how lettering works to help tell the story). I also usually have a lot of added value services for self publishers and even for people going through Image. I help put all the elements together so it all comes out well in the end.

What are some challenges letterers could face when working with both artists, writers and possibly publishers? 

As I said in Blog #1, lettering IS storytelling. It’s usually the last stage of the storytelling process. Letterers take the vision of the writer and the vision of the artist and try to make a cohesive item. We merge… we WELD the two into one thing. That’s what we DO. Now, the challenges vary greatly by project. Some books are over written, some are over drawn. Some artists just draw whatever the hell they want with no regard for the script and some writers write whatever the hell they want with no regard for the rest of the process or for the reader (those people should write novels and leave the rest of us alone). There are fundamentals of comic book storytelling that MANY writers blatantly ignore. Its worth rereading Eisner’s and McCloud’s books frequently to refresh your understanding of the basics and invigorate your desire to experiment within realistic constraints.

What is some advice for people who would like to get into lettering? 

Hmmm… I didn’t set out to be a letterer… so it’s a tricky thing. If I could have been a penciller I would have. If I could have been a writer I would have. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a letterer, but if you want to be a rockstar, pick up the guitar and sing. Don’t play drums. Now, if you want to break in to comics at all this is an amazing time. every aspect of the industry is in a constant state of flux. everything is being disrupted. YouTube, crowd funding, viral marketing, none of that was a thing 20 years ago. You can learn everything you need to know about how to make comics from the internet and from Amazon. Once you have some skills you partner up with other young bucks and slowly level up. There is no shortcut. it takes work. It takes YEARS of work. (I only recently gave up looking for shortcuts myself, so… ;))

What are some upcoming projects you are working on that we should know about?

It’s always tricky you know when to hype things. What I can say is that WAYWARD is coming to an end with issue 30. I love that team and that book. We all did some of our best work on that. I do a LOT of work at Aftershock. I particularly enjoyed working on BACKWAYS, and continue to enjoy working on PESTILENCE, LAST SPACE RACE, BEYONDERS, MOTH & WHISPER, VOLITION, and ANIMOSITY. If you compare the writing, art and lettering on all of those titles you’ll get a glimpse of what I spoke about above. making decisions that work with the script and art to create a new whole thing. It’s like welding with letters! 😉

Wayward #26. Series ends on #30. Cool for Dillon to get letterer props on the cover.

CARMELO MONACO 

Colorist

How did you become a comic colorist?

I started working as comic book colorist when I was a student at Palermo School of comics. I was 23 years old and already knew how to use Photoshop. I was in the first year of a three year program at school, and truth be told, I wasn’t great at color theory. So it came as something of a surprise when the school principal needed a colorist for a simple gig and gave me the opportunity. The project was a French comic book for kids that was linked to a cartoon called Totally Spies! The series focuses on three teenage girls in Beverly Hills, California who work as undercover super agents. To date, the series has run for six seasons and produced 156 episodes. 

I seem to have a tendency to back my way into things. For example, I was pretty old, 14 or 15, when I started reading comics. I didn’t really have an interest in them before then. The medium grew on me and I think my first great inspiration was Uncanny X-men, written by Scott Lobdell, with lots of great artists including Madureira, Adam and Andy Kubert, Chris Bachalo, and so on and so forth. After that, I started reading all different genres of comics, French, indie, Italian, manga… 

As a colorist there are many guys I watch consistently, all with different styles and techniques ranging from digital medium to traditional. You never know what your next gig will be, so you kind of have to know how many different styles as you can.

What are some specific genres you might like to work in?

 Well, I really have almost never did the same thing twice, so I don’t think I have a specific genre where I am particularly good at. And part of me doesn’t want to be. I am not that kind of guy who wants to do only one thing because he is good at it. In some sense, when I understand I am good at one thing, I kind of lose interest and start studying something else. Maybe that’s my biggest strength and my biggest flaw. It is a strength when I teach, because comic books work if every aspect is well orchestrated, (script, drawing, inks, color, etc.), but as a professional, it is very hard to be really good at many different things, so you have more possibilities of success if you specialize yourself at just one craft.

Carmelo Monaco hard at work.

VITTORIO GAROFOLI

Artist, Inker

Who are some of your influences?

I admire artists such as Brian Hitch (Marvel’s Ultimate series), Alan Davis’ work on the Excalibur series, and French comic book such as Alpha by Yori Jigoumov and Largo Winch. 

My influences range from artists such as Trevis Charest, Ivan Rais, Mike Perkins, as well and Italian artists such as Sergio Toppi, Massimo Carnevale and Corrado Mastanuomo who helped inspire my style on THE LYNX.

Village

What are some aspects of your craft that you are still mastering?

In my opinion, one of my problem is recreating and showing action, namely people in motion such as during the battle that ensues in THE LYNX. 

Capturing the full range of emotions and feelings is also a challenge that I face like many of my fellow artists.

What is some advice you would give to aspiring comic creators?

Practice, practice and practice. It’s simple but true: you can’t better without constantly engaging in the craft.

The business of comics is hard, so it’s important to trust in one’s own abilities in order to take advantage of opportunities that WILL occur IF you don’t give up easily. 

Be willing to accept and take the advice of those who are more experienced.

Album cover for Hotel on Mars

MICHAEL LENT

Creator, Writer

Tell us a bit about your experience as a comic book writer.

I love being a comic book writer. If you’re on the fence and is thinking about taking the plunge, do it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t circle around it. Don’t survey the scene or assess the situation. Just do it. You will be astonished by the results. Sometimes when I’m working on a few projects at once and new art or lettering is arriving via email every day – it feels like Christmas. 

There are so many milestones to keep you motivated and sometimes they come fast and furious. Starting and completing a book… Landing a publisher… When the book comes out… The day you see it on a shelf in your local shop or online… Boothing to represent your work at a con… Meeting fans and fellow creatives… Indescribable experiences. All this can be yours if you just do it.  

Lack of confidence and the internal critic are the two dragons that keep people from pursuing their dreams. Both involve a sort of cynicism about the process and one’s chances in it. So instead of descending into the arena of combat we remain on the sidelines or up in the spectator stands where we judge the actual combatants, or rationalize to ourselves that it’s all about “who you know.” Cynicism is paralyzing which is why it’s such a dubious and caustic currency. “I could do better than so-and-so but…” Better to stop comparing ourselves to the competition and just get to it. I, Michael Lent, have no special skills except maybe tenacity. 

What is it like to work as part of a creative team?

Working with a team is an amazing journey all by itself. Everyone comes possibly from all corners of the earth with very specific skill sets, galvanized for a common goal which is creation of the book. Think Fellowship of the Ring. Some of these fellowships go on for years and when they break apart because the project has ended, sometimes you never work together again. Consequently, the finished work takes on a life of its own. Personally, over time I start to lose the sensation or muscle memory of having written it. What I’m left with is the fellowship and the historical chronology represented by the finished book.

Whats dome general advice you would share with a fellow creator?

Make your work be all it can be and you have take chances. Talk to people. Get your work out there. Let readers kick the tires and judge your book for themselves. 

I have done projects for Marvel, Disney and many of the major publishers and studios, but I believe in DIY because I’ve learned the hard way that if you wait for someone else to pick up your project, you may be sitting around for a long time.  There are times when I run into would-be creators at a con and they show me some killer concept work or an ashcan, but then a year later, I run into them again and see the same samples. I try to encourage them to push forward but some lack confidence in either themselves or the overall concept. Don’t let that be you.

People break through every single day. Why not you? Maybe today is your day. 

Proving that sometimes it takes a village and more than three years of development and production, this is MALEVOLENT, the first-ever American animated horror film. Nearly completed, Lent is an associate producer on the movie under the leadership of lead producers Cindi Rice, Paige Barnett, Jim Cirile, Tanya Klein, and producer/director Jason Axinn.


Come back next week for part three of this special blog series, where we take a look at how the pitch for THE LYNX came together.

 Follow: Michael Lent

Follow: Marshall Dillon

Follow: Vittorio Garofoli

Follow: Carmelo Monaco


Banner Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash