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Games, Movies and More - See the Nominees for The Escapist Awards 2014

The Escapist Staff | 17 Dec 2014 13:30
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Best Comics Art of 2014 Nominees

Ben Dewey - Tooth and Claw

Comics Art Tooth and Claw

Publisher: Image Comics
Writing: Kurt Busiek
Art: Ben Dewey

This new series by Astro City mastermind Kurt Busiek obviously has great writing, but the real standout is the gorgeous drawings by Ben Dewey. Described aptly by Image as "Conan meets Game of Thrones meets Kamandi," Tooth and Claw is high fantasy epic about a group of wizards who attempt to bring a long-vanished champion back into the world, after which everything goes completely tits up. Also, all the characters are anthropomorphic animals.

As befits a story about talking animals, Dewey's art calls to mind The Wind in the Willows and the animated adaptation of Watership Down, which is to say, it's charming and quaint, but also grim and ominous. Beautifully textured landscapes and environments and richly drawn characters are flung into the reader's eye so casually that you almost become spoiled for all other comics. Simply put, Dewey is a phenomenal talent, one of the best comics artists since P. Craig Russell or Mark Buckingham.

Jesse Moynihan - Forming II

Comics Art Forming

Publisher: Nobrow Press
Art and writing: Jesse Moynihan

Forming is difficult to describe. It tells the story of the birth of human civilization, except that in this version, we result from what amounts to a resource acquisition dispute within a major corporation run by aliens, who also happen to be the gods of various earthly religions. Involving multiple pantheons, aliens sleeping with people, corporate politics, and rebellious humans (and half-humans) themselves, the story provides massive amounts of family drama, labor unrest, and cosmic-level violence as the origins of the universe, not to mention most modern religions, are revealed.

Mounihan's art is deliberately simplistic, often resembling a child's watercolor paintings. That's a good choice, because as the story gets more complex, so do his drawings, conveying (at least to this reader) a sense of the development of humanity itself as it is manipulated, abused, sexed-up, and exploited by the gods and corporate titans desperate to get their hands on Earthly resources. If you haven't read the series, or even heard of it, rectify that mistake immediately.

Tom Neely - The Humans

Comics Art Humans

Publisher: Image Comics
Writing: Keenan Marshall Keller
Art: Tom Neely

I struggled with this one, because - Full Disclosure - Tom Neely is a personal friend of mine. But in all honesty, The Humans, a new series from Image, is absolutely one of the best-drawn comics in 2014. Concerning the adventures of a 1970s motorcycle gang comprised of various types of anthropomorphic apes, it's a gritty, terrifying and hilarious look at the collapse of the American dream in the weird cultural dystopia that was the post-Vietnam era.

Neely's art is trippy, angry, graphic and profane, and it feels like the painted-equivalent of a room full of overflowing ashtrays and stale vomit. (This is quite often literally true, considering what The Humans get up to in this series.) You don't have to trust my take on it though, pick up the first issue and see it for yourself in all its drug-fueled, disgusting glory.

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