Smash Pages’ favorite comics of 2018

See what the Smash Pages’ staff enjoyed reading this past year.

With 2018 winding down, Smash Pages’ contributors take a look back at some of their favorite comics of the year, from Hey Kiddo and Spectacular Spider-Man #310 to Wet Moon and The Secret Voice.

Brigid Alverson

Silver Spoon, by Hiromu Arakawa (Yen Press)
Arakawa is best known as the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, but you couldn’t get any farther from that series than Silver Spoon, a comedy about a city boy who goes to agricultural school in rural Hokkaido. Yuugo Hachiken worked hard and did everything he was told, but he still didn’t get into an elite high school, so he takes what he thinks is the easy way out by going to a school that’s not academically focused—or so he thinks. In fact, the students at Ooezo Agricultural High School are very knowledgeable in their fields, but those fields are things like genetics and animal husbandry. The rubber really hits the road in the practical lessons, though, and Hachiken quickly realizes he is out of his depth when it comes to herding chickens, riding a horse, or fetching a stray calf. There’s a lot of city mouse-country mouse comedy in this series, but it’s also a fascinating look at where our food comes from (at least in Japan), and the different agricultural models espoused by different farmers. In fact, like Hachiken’s classmates, this book is very smart and sophisticated in addition to being endlessly entertaining.

Meal, by Blue Delliquanti and Soleil Ho (Iron Circus)
The idea of eating bugs may elicit an “Eeeww” from most people, but Delliquanti and Ho go beyond the ick factor in this romance about an insect cuisine enthusiast and a chef who wants to start a new restaurant based on the dishes of her youth—dishes that include ants, grasshoppers, and tarantulas. There’s a love story woven in there as well. Yarrow has just moved to a new city in hopes of getting a job in the kitchen of Chandra Flores, insect chef extraordinaire, who is about to launch a new restaurant. Milani, her neighbor, is friendly and helpful but the two have a little trouble making it click. At the same time, Chandra suspects that Yarrow is only into insect cuisine because it’s sensational, while to her, it’s part of her heritage. There’s a lot in this slim volume: Love, food, bugs, and bugs that are food, and the creators even include a couple of recipes at the end of the book.

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Comics Lowdown: Eric M. Esquivel fired from ‘Nightwing,’ ‘Border Town’ cancelled

Plus: Free Comics Book Day, George Freeman, Marie Javins and more!

Although it wasn’t yet announced, DC Comics has said Eric M. Esquivel will no longer co-write Nightwing. The news that Esquivel was writing the book was to be revealed today in DC’s January solicitations.

The news follows the cancellation of Border Town, a well-reviewed series Esquivel wrote with artists Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain. Both Villalobos and Bonvillain announced on social media they had quit the title after allegations of sexual abuse against Esquivel became public. In a piece titled “X, my experience with my abuser,” toy designer Cynthia Naugle detailed a history of abuse by a co-worker at a comic shop, who has since been identified as Esquivel.

Neither DC Comics nor Vertigo have commented directly on the abuse allegations. Esquivel, who had changed his Twitter account to private following the allegations, has now made it public again and posted several tweets in response. At Book Riot, writer S.W. Sondheimer says she will no longer cover Vertigo titles as a result of their silence on the matter.

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Bellaire, Mora put a stake in BOOM!’s new ‘Buffy’ title

BOOM! Studios will relaunch ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ in January in stories set at Sunnydale High.

Following the announcement that BOOM! Studios obtained the license to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the publisher announced this weekend that writer Jordie Bellaire and artist Dan Mora will work with Buffy creator Joss Whedon on the title.

“Buffy has brought my life so much joy and to be part of that now is ridiculously overwhelming on many levels,” Bellaire said. “My very favorite aspect of Buffy is how we have a wide group of characters that love each other, hurt each other and sometimes, they even kill each other. I can’t wait to dabble within that universe to find new stories, explore older ones and forever maintain the theme of self discovery and growing up, whatever that means.”

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‘Buffy’ comics license moves to BOOM! Studios

Buffy and the gang follow ‘Firefly’ from Dark Horse to their new home at BOOM! Studios.

After about two decades at Dark Horse Comics, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer license has moved to BOOM! Studios.

The move isn’t too surprising, Buffy creator Josh Whedon mentioned that Fox was taking back the Buffy license this past summer in an interview with CBR’s Kiel Phegley. BOOM! announced they had the Firefly license, also a Fox property, not long ago, and Fox has a minority stake in BOOM!.

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Joss Whedon’s ‘Angel’ returns for another ‘season’ at Dark Horse

Buffy’s ex returns next year in a new series by Corinna Bechko, Geraldo Borges and Michelle Madsen.

Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff Angel will return to comics in January for Angel Season 11, by writer Corinna Bechko and artists Geraldo Borges and Michelle Madsen.

Published by Dark Horse Comics and following this summer’s announcement that Buffy would also return for an 11th “season,” the new series “finds Angel being tormented by memories of his past,” the press release states. “His visions link his dark past to a Big Bad coming in the future. The goddess Illyria intervenes and assists Angel as he discovers that it might be possible to change the future by traveling back in time to change the past.”

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‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ comics to continue at Dark Horse

Company announces “Season 11” by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs.

Joss Whedon’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” will continue to slay the undead courtesy of Dark Horse Comics and under the guidance of writer Christos Gage and artist Rebekah Isaacs. With Comic-Con International starting tomorrow, Dark Horse announced “Season 11,” which will run for 12 issues starting in November.

“Buffy fans have been wonderful to Rebekah and me throughout Season 10, so I couldn’t be more excited to keep our creative team together for Season 11,” Gage said in a press release. “True to form, Joss is not content to just rest on his well-earned laurels, so Season 11 will shake things up with a story that’s shorter, bigger, more epic and presents what may be the greatest challenge Buffy and the Scoobies have ever faced. We hope the readers will enjoy the ride!”

There’s not a lot of description in the press release as to what that big challenge is, but it says: “After overcoming the struggles of Season 10, Buffy and the Scoobies give themselves a well-deserved break from fighting evil. Unfortunately, the momentary peace comes to a screeching halt when a supernatural disaster wreaks havoc on the citizens of San Francisco, and the gang is forced to save the world from imminent doom, again.”

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