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

Oh boy. What a fascinating quintet of award-winners today, as we’ve got graphic novels, mini-series, giant Marvel releases, tiny, forgotten ones, an Oni book, and a whole lot of underlying sadness. That’s right! There’s good in there too, but a whole lot of sad. But that’s not what we’re here for, as it’s time once again for the SKTCHD AWRDS, as I share five more picks for my comics of the year, shelling out awards for some of my personal favorites.

As per usual, my methodology was simple. I read a lot of comics. I made a list. I checked it way more than twice. I finalized a stack of 25 and gave each of them awards in lieu of ranking them, as I felt as if this might be a bit more fun. It’s that simple.

Let’s get to that, and as per usual, they’re in alphabetical order, and if you have any thoughts about what I may have missed, let me know on the SKTCHD forums!

The Quiet Giant Award: Immortal Hulk

Written by Al Ewing
Line art by Joe Bennett, German Garcia, etc.
Inks by Ruy Jose, German Garcia, etc.
Colors by Paul Mounts, Chris O’Halloran, etc.
Letters by Cory Petit

Immortal Hulk is a fascinating book because it’s a Hulk title that’s heavily defined by the quiet moments. Whether you’re talking the eerie, end of the universe story in issue #25 or the beats where the Hulk isn’t smashing but something far more frightening – plotting – this title elevates at moments that are often secondary in comics starring the Jade Giant. It’s because like Banner, Al Ewing knows the devil is in the details, and it’s something that separates this book from others before and makes it more akin to Peter David’s beloved run.

Fascinatingly, this has come as Ewing has dramatically increased the scope and scale of this title to previously unthought of levels for the character, connecting the Hulk to other dimensions, immense spans of time, and to a level of smashing we had yet to believe possible. As they say, as above, so below, and it turns out a Hulk is a Hulk no matter where he goes. That leads to wonder and terror in equal measures, and to a truly unique read.

Of course, it’s not just Ewing, and it’s not just quiet moments in space. Joe Bennett has done career-defining work on this title, and this year featured him going off on the monster realm, particularly with the new wave Abomination character, both when Rick Jones resided within and General Fortean. The latter is a deeply fascinating character in this run – albeit a no longer living one – if only because he’s one that shows how the Hulk doesn’t destroy things physically, but emotionally, mentally, and, perhaps crucially, competitively. Fortean wanted to prove himself, and Bennett proved himself a horrifying monster in painstaking detail. It was a remarkable creation, and one that was elevated by the veteran artist’s mind and delivery. He’s the exact right artist for this run, as he can deliver moments both big and small while giving us ample measures of whatever emotion we’re supposed to be feeling with few words from Ewing in conjunction.

Special shout out to German Garcia, too. It was a one-stop appearance in Immortal Hulk #25, but my god, what doozy of a visit from the veteran artist and his collaborator in colorist Chris O’Halloran. We needed someone who could deliver wonder and horror while making those known things completely alien to us, and Garcia crushes it.

I don’t need to tell you this comic is good. It is known. But I appreciate it for the little things. We’re used to big with the character. Doing something a bit different, a bit more nuanced, a bit wilder has helped this comic become a modern classic. It’s been a thrill to read.

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