Whether it was aliens invading or heroes dying, 2008's comics definitely aimed for bombast - but how many of them were actually great? As the year stumbles to an end, we take a look back.
In terms of SF comics, 2008 feels a bit... lacking, to be honest; there was nothing with the energy of King City or Wonton Soup, and a lot of the best books were final issues, instead of the start of something new (Collections and reprints-wise, it was a great year, however - I'd point you in the direction of Skyscrapers of the Midwest, The Babysitter and Jack Kirby's OMAC, to begin with - but they weren't really created this year...). It might just be a necessary lull; next year has new work from Paul Pope, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Brandon Graham, James Stokoe, et al, after all. But it did make this year seem curiously anemic in retrospect. So here is the pick, perhaps, of a poor bunch:
Quite simply, the best superhero comic of the last few years. Tapping into the awe-filled tone of the 1950s and '60s Superman stories while still seeming contemporary, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's twelve-part reinvigoration of the Man of Steel finished this year with the perfect send-off: Something positive, optimistic and just a little melancholy.
Matt Fraction's sci-fi superspy series filled its second run with time-travel, sex and gigantic reality-altering weapons before, in its final issue, folding in on itself with a reveal that, at first, felt like a cheat but ultimately recast everything that had gone before and made you need to re-read it like you need to breath. If only everything was this fearless.
(Fraction almost ended up on this list twice; his Invincible Iron Man series for Marvel was, to my mind, the ideal follow-up to the movie, finally figuring out a way to make the character interesting without making him an asshole.)
Fight Or Run: Shadow Of The Chopper
You can argue amongst yourself whether this silent series of strips is really science fiction or not, but Kevin Huizenga's videogame-inspired shorts that bring two surreal characters face-to-face to see their response works both as an exercise in comic formalism and experimentation, and as a funny, surprising reading experience. Me, I'd probably run.
Yes, there have been a lot of problems with DC's big 2008 "event" - the seeming inability to hit deadlines and switching of artists midway through the story, to start with - but despite it all, Grant Morrison and company's slow-motion apocalypse has been creepy and hypnotic, all the moreso for the way in which it refuses to play by the rules.
Love & Rockets: New Stories
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis analogs slaughter aliens. Surely I don't need to say anything else.