As I said in my introduction to the award for Best Artist, true funnybook classics have great art and a great script. But for me, it always comes back to the writing. I can endure kinda crappy artwork (and have!), but without a worthwhile story, a comic just isn't worth my time. That's why this category is nearest and dearest to my heart, and why you get no pretty pictures to accompany the nominees. This one's all about the text! But speaking of the nominees, let's see them now...
Author of the most complex character studies in the world of corporate spandex, Matt Fraction produces books that I don’t mind spending four bucks on. This year, he continued his on-going portrait of Tony Stark’s addictive personality in Iron Man, and turned his sights onto Thor, giving that character the softest of reboots by putting some serious thought into both his aspect as a god, and as a Viking. His work on Casanova was stellar as well, but since it was 99.9% reprint… It doesn’t really count toward this year’s awards.
Brian Michael Bendis
Though best-known for his corporate spandex work, Bendis is instead getting this nomination for the two books he owns himself: Powers and Scarlet. Powers continued this year as one of the very best examples of long-form adventure writing in the business, never straying too very far from its police procedural roots while still developing one of the most compelling super hero universes out there. And Scarlet launched with some fresh narrative techniques and an energy that betrays Bendis’ excitement for the project.
I’ve gone on, at length, many times before, about Morrison’s Batman work. It’s perhaps the most complex corporate spandex work ever written, a grand epic mystery incorporating elements of science fiction, super heroes, mythology, game theory, philosophy, and lord knows what else, alongside some of the best character writing in the business.
Ennis is a complicated writer. On the one hand, he turns out a never-ending stream of crass men’s adventure fiction. And on the other, he invests some of his most crass work with a surprising depth of character and relationships that feel absolutely real. Such is the case with the work I’m nominating him for this year: The Boys. I’ve gone on at length about the relationship between Annie and Hughie in my reviews of the series, but this was a year that also saw Ennis imbue even comedy relief characters The Frenchman and The Female with life. Excellent character work, slotted in between all the exploding organs and sexual perversion.
The funnybook Shakespeare turned in only one funnybook this year: the black and bitter Neonomicon. A big ol’ middle finger to the mainstream funnybook industry disguised as a Lovecraft pastiche, Neonomicon is, at turns, horrific, disturbing, and terribly terribly funny (in a pitch-black ugly sorta way). It’s far from Moore’s best work, but it is good enough to land him a nomination.
And the winner is…
Was there ever any doubt, faithful readers? I’ve spilled countless pixels discussing the finer points of Morrison’s work this year already, so I won’t belabor the point any further here. But no other writer in the industry this year turned in work of such thematic depth, intricacy of plot, strongly-defined character, and sheer fun pop comics goodness. It’s my perfect reading experience. So of course Morrison takes home the Best Writer Dorky. Of course!