The SKTCHD AWRDS: The Comics of 2019 (Part One)

Round Two of the SKTCHD AWRDS are here, and now, we’re digging into my comics of 2019. Already partially revealed in my year in review episode of Off Panel, this week’s awards go into each title at greater depth while adding write-ups on five titles I sped through in the podcast. It’s a deep dive into each of them, as I bless each of my faves with a very specific, totally real award that matches its contributions to comics in 2019.

The way I created my award choices are simple, of course. Just like with my creators of 2019, I read a whole lot of comics, came up with a big list reflecting my favorites, and then spent way too much brainpower reducing said list into the 25 you’re going to read about this week. It’s that simple, but it’s worth noting, as per usual, that these are my favorites. I’m not saying these are the best, and I think most who claim something to be the best are conflating the two ideas. It’s a crucial difference. Consider this my guide to 2019, in the form of a million words about 25 comics.

We’ll be going in alphabetical order based off title, and as per usual, if you think I missed something, consider jumping into the comments and sharing it! I for one am more than happy to read comics that were great that I might have missed on, so let’s discuss our favorites there!

The Infernal Affairs Award: Assassin Nation

Written by Kyle Starks
Art by Erica Henderson
Letters by Deron Bennett

Sometimes, you just want a comic you’re going to enjoy. And for me, Assassin Nation was the comic I enjoyed the most this year, as Kyle Starks and Erica Henderson made an action comic that was equal parts hilarious, engaging and thrilling. While the premise was quite simple and made the whole thing seem like it was going to be intentionally ludicrous in a very specific way – it was about a crime boss hiring 19 of the 20 best assassins to protect himself from assassination – it ended up being something more, even if it was also ludicrous.

That’s because I was expecting something more Hard Boiled like, and it ended up arguably being more like Infernal Affairs, or The Departed, if you prefer. Sure, it was violent and had big, wild characters with names like Fuck Tarkington 7 and Desert Regal, it was also a conversation driven mystery that kept you guessing, even if by the end you were like, “Oh, yeah, that should have been obvious.”

But hey, also gun fights! And hilarious jokes! And cutaway gags! And arguably the greatest character creation in 2019 in the form of Taipan, an assassin designed off of Arnold’s Commando character, John Matrix! 8 It’s both a lot more than the simple action comedy it seemed to be, but also exactly that at the same time. Sometimes that’s all you need when you’re reading a comic: a couple pals trying hard to entertain each other, and in the process, succeeding at just that with you, the reader. Assassin Nation was the best in the business at that this year.

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