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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Donny Cates + friends bring back ‘Marvel Knights’ for its 20th anniversary

Daredevil, Black Panther, Punisher and more will be featured in ‘MK20’ #1 this fall.

It was 20 years ago that two creators at a small publishing house called Event Comics got the green light to take over several Marvel titles. Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti helped usher Marvel out of the dark ages of the 1990s and into the future, bringing in creators like Kevin Smith, Brian Michael Bendis, Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, Christopher Priest and many others to tackle Daredevil, Black Panther, Punisher, Inhumans and several other Marvel characters.

Overall it is was very successful, especially from a storytelling perspective; Quesada eventually took over as Marvel editor-in-chief, and the tone of the stories set the course for much of Marvel’s success over the past two decades. The Marvel Knights imprint eventually evolved into something else, featuring high-profile miniseries, and went dormant about five years ago.

Until now.

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Derington covers ‘Redneck’ to benefit Houston charity

‘Doom Patrol’ artist Nick Derington creates a variant cover for ‘Redneck’ #7 to help raise money for the Houston Coalition for the Homeless.

Two Texas comics creators have come together to help out the Houston Coalition for the Homeless, which continues to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Skybound and Donny Cates, writer of Redneck, have enlisted Doom Patrol artist Nick Derington to create a variant cover for issue #7 of the Texas vampire comic. Check it out below:

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‘Redneck’ shirt benefits hurricane relief in Houston

Proceeds will benefit the Houston Coalition for the Homeless and their efforts to support their flooded city.

With the Gulf Coast and other parts of Texas facing heavy rain and flooding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Skybound’s Texan vampires from the comic Redneck want to show their support. Not through blood donations, but via a limited edition shirt you can buy off the Skybound website.

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Comics Lowdown: Stan Lee immortalized at the TCL Chinese Theatre

Plus: Batton Lash vs. Cancer, Donny Cates signs with Marvel, DC Girl Power, Texas Latino Comic Con and more!

Hollywood cannot seem to get enough of Stan Lee. Over the weekend, Lee became a Disney Legend and yesterday, the comic icon had his hands and feet immortalized in cement in front of the TCL Chinese theater.

“I can’t tell you what this means to me. I’m thrilled,” he said. “And if I’m half as good as everybody said I am, I’m far too good to be wasting time with ordinary people. But I seem to be spending my life with ordinary people, who are the best people in the world.”

Meanwhile, Variety continued the love affair and took a look back on the life of Stan Lee.
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Cates, Shaw deliver magic swords to Texas in ‘God Country’

The creative team behind ‘Buzzkill’ create a new series from Image Comics.

The creative team behind Buzzkill and The Paybacks will re-team for God Country, due out from Image Comics in January.

Described as “Southern Bastards meets American Gods,” God Country, by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw, tells the story of an old man with dementia in Texas whose small town is destroyed by a tornado — which also happens to deliver a mystical sword that restores his mind and body. Then he fights monsters!

“This is a story Geoff and I have been wanting to tell for such a long time, and to be able to do it with Image is beyond a dream come true,” said Cates in the press release. “God Country is full of heart, action, giant swords, Kirby Gods, Texans, magic tornados, and family drama…so it’s really just everything I love piled into one great, epic yarn. This January everyone is welcome to come on in, grab a beer, have a seat and get ready… we have a hell of a story to tell you.”

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