This isn't really a Top 10-type list. I'm not gonna take the time and try and figure out which thing was the best and which was second. I'm just gonna list the things that I enjoyed last year. It's a retrospective.
• BATMAN (The Dark Knight, Batman: The Brave and the Bold)
Just to be clear: This isn't about any Batman comics. Ever since DC Editorial decided he needed to be Dark Knighted, all the fun and enjoyment was sucked out of the character for me. Although I do still like Batman's appearances outside of the comics (and in books like SUPERMAN/BATMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA).
I don't think that THE DARK KNIGHT was the BEST MOVIE EVER!, but it was still pretty fun. For me, the character called "Joker" wasn't the real Joker, but Heath Ledger did such an incredible job playing him, that I accept him as the Joker for the Christopher Nolan Batman Movie Universe. And the scene where Batman flipped the truck was pretty awesome.
Wasn't a fan of the THE BATMAN animated series, so I don't miss it. BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, on the other hand. Wow. This is fun!! I love everything about it. I don't even know where to begin, so I'm just leaving it at that. If you like light-hearted fun, this is a great place to get it!!
• BILLY BATSON AND THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM!
TINY TITANS is cute, if you like that sort of thing. But it's all surface. Just for giggles. DC SUPER FRIENDS doesn't even have as much action as the neutered Saturday morning Super Friends of the 70s.
BBATMOS! on the other hand rocks! If the art was a little less cartoon-y, this could almost fit into the DC Universe. Great characters, great art, great writing. I love that there is actual continuity, something that neither TEEN TITANS GO! or JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED really made much attempt at. This is a book that rocks. If you don't require large doses of angst and blood and gore, you just might get a kick out this one. If only it came out more often than quarterly...
• BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: SEASON 8
The problem with a lot of licensed properties, is usually the company that snaps them up doesn't get them. Or don't hire the right people to produce them. And they end up being kinda sucky.
With BUFFY creator Joss Whedon as "showrunner," that isn't a problem here. It keeps the vibe of the show and the characters act mostly in character!! The art is good too, keeping the likenesses of the actors close enough, but not in a posed-for-publicity-photos kinda way.
If you liked the TV series, you'd probably enjoy this a lot. If you didn't...don't bother!!
• DONNA TROY
Okay, I'm not saying this was the best year ever for Donna...but at least she got some exposure, which is more than you can say for the poor girl since her resurrection in 2005!
Everyone knows that COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS was just one big ol' bag of suck. With crap sauce on top. But that was mostly just the storyline. Donna was cool!
She got to kick her own butt. LOL. Yeah, I'm stupid like that.
I read some places online where they thought Donna was too "Rambo-ette." Of course, these are probably the same people who always complained that Donna was too wishy-washy back in the day.
While Allan Heinberg's main contribution to the legacy of Donna Troy was to turn her into Giganta's neckless... Gail Simone has worked on making Donna a viable character again.
And, oh my gosh! Look at what Aaron Lopresti brings to the table!! He draws the most beautiful Donna since George Perez slathered his inks on Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez!! She looks amazing. I even feel that Aaron's Donna outshines his Diana.
On top of all that, Donna also stars in the new THE TITANS series. True, it's not a jewel in her crown, but at least we're getting a monthly dose of Donna again. And after the first 6 issues, it stopped being a complete festering suck sack!!
• GAIL SIMONE
I'm of the mind that Ms. Simone can do almost no wrong. She's brought the light back into WONDER WOMAN, even when the series is dark. Most writers can't seem to decide if she's a "Peaceful Ambassador" or an "Amazon Warrior." And most can't find a fine line between the two. I feel that for the most part, Gail is successful in making the dichotomy work. It's obvious that her Diana doesn't want to fight. She approaches each conflict with the hopes of finding a peaceful, diplomatic solution. But -- if that isn't going to happen, she's like screw it, and kicks their ass.
Even as a kid, I never much got into titles that featured villains. They just didn't do anything for me. SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS, SUICIDE SQUAD, that Planet Prison mini-series (whatever it was called). Even ROGUES' REVENGE was just alright. And mostly because it was part of the larger FLASH story arc. But those things just don't interest me.
Then along comes that damn Gail Simone with THE SECRET SIX. I really don't know why I love it so much. I really like the characters. The stories have, thus far, been entertaining. You can't deny the hotness of the sparks flying between Catman and Deadshot. And any series that gives Nicola Scott so much opportunity to draw nekkid menz can't be all bad!! Because she does it so well!
• GEOFF JOHNS/LEGION OF 3 WORLDS
Geoff Johns would've made it onto the list without FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS, but since they both had to be on here, he has to share billing.
With ACTION COMICS (Legion, Brainiac, New Krypton), Johns turned Superman back into a character worthy of being the DC flagship.
Geoff's GREEN LANTERN (lead up to Blackest Night) has given Hal Jordan the highlight of his existence since...well, probably ever.
While "Thy Kingdom Come" ran a couple months too long (and why shoehorn the "Earth-2" story into the middle of it?), JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA continued to show why these characters and their legacies have endured for almost 70 years.
But FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS, with it's glorious George Perez eye-candy, probably goes down as the year's most guilty of pleasures. Words can't describe how enjoyable this series has been, despite the spotty release schedule. And nobody gets Superboy-Prime like Geoff. And the anticipation of what's to become of the Legion(s) following this is exciting!!
• OPENING THE DC VAULT
Originally, this entry wasn't going to be about the book DC VAULT a Museum-in-a-Book, but when I was trying to think of name, all I could think of was DC Vault, and that reminded me of this book, which is definitely a highlight of 2008.
There's all kinds of history from the beginning of DC's publishing history through the present (although the past 15 years is pretty much summed up in about 4 pages). What makes this book so awesome, though, are the reproductions throughout. They just pour on the awesomesauce. The only bad things about this book are the binding (which makes finding and keeping the book in good condition nearly impossible, if you want to read it) and the fact that it's so small. I want more repros!!! I want a Volume 2!! Seriously though, anyone who has ever been a big DC fan should track this book down!!!
But what this entry was really supposed to be about: Is that this year, DC really dug into their vaults and pulled up a lot of cool stuff to present in reprint collections. The SHOWCASE PRESENTS volumes kept on coming, the start of the DIANA PRINCE: WONDER WOMAN collections, the STARMAN OMNIBUS series, the continuation of the JACK KIRBY FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS series, CAMELOT 3000 DELUXE EDITION, the JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL collections, LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: 1050 YEARS OF THE FUTURE, the announcement of the forthcoming DC CLASSICS LIBRARY collections... Just an endless string of classic after classic (maybe some not so classic...). A great year for long-time fans of DC all around!!
• PROJECT SUPERPOWERS
I don't know why I have a fascination with Golden Age heroes, but I do (check out my other blog, LOL.). I honestly don't understand it. But I really enjoy them. Sometimes the hokier the better.
I also enjoy when characters that have fallen into the public domain get re-imagined by other creators. Like Malibu's THE PROTECTORS and the AC Comics stuff. So I was pretty excited when they made the announcement for PROJECT SUPERPOWERS. Obviously, I didn't know if it would be any good (and there are a few people out there that don't like it), but luckily it turned out pretty awesome. I wish they'd hurry up and reveal the secrets of the urn. I wanna know what happened in there!!
I like PS more than some of the other Golden Age reduxes (?) that have come out in recent years, because although it is grim and grittier than the heroes originally were, it's still about super heroes, and not just people from the past whining and whimpering about how the world has changed and left them behind.
All in all, for a lot of crap that was pumped out, 2008 wasn't an all-bad year for comics fans!! Maybe 2009 will be even better!!!