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The Wednesday Waffle: Issue Fifteen - The Saucer Awards 2018!!!!!!!!!!!

We asked you, our loyal customers, to tell us what you thought were the best comics of 2018. Take a seat, grab your beverage of choice, and join us for the results of the 2018 Saucer Awards...

You, our loyal and valued customers were invited to vote for who you considered to be the best Ongoing Series, the best Limited Series, the best Character, the best Writer, Artist, Major Publisher, and Minor Publisher was in 2018.

Well, you have spoken, and these are the results.

Drum roll please...

Ladies and Gentlemen...

The 2018 Saucer Award for best "Minor Publisher"

We defined "Minor Publisher" as anyone who wasn't Marvel, DC, Image, or Dark Horse. You voted and decided the following...

In third place we have Vault. The company that gave us the sublime Heathen, the story of a gay Viking girl and her attempts to make her way in the world. Fearscape, perhaps the most meta narrative we've ever read in comics and Submerged, a gloriously strange horror story.

Also the only publisher whose boss has actually 'phoned us to find out what we and our customers think about their comics. We like Vault. To date we haven't read a bad book from them and we absolutely urge you to check out their stuff.

The runner up in this category was Boom! To be fair to the rest of the publishing world we're including Boom!, BoomBox and KaBoom, in this entry, which means we're mashing up the people who brought you new Firefly comics as well as the sports comics Fence, Slam! and Dodge City. There's nothing these folk have done that we didn't like in 2018. If we're honest we would have thought they were a shoe in for the title, were it not for the independent juggernaut that is the company that narrowly took the crown.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the winners of the Saucer Award for "Best Minor Publisher 2018" goes to Aftershock - the publisher responsible for Animosity, Dark Ark, Pestilence, A Walk through Hell, Jimmy's Bastards and so much other amazing work.

This is a well deserved accolade for a publisher that has consistently ticked every box. Great stories, big name creators, including giants lies Garth Ennis and Warren Ellis, and just intelligent stories from the minds of great creators. Any of the three finalists would have been a worthy winner, but Aftershock has reason to claim to be first among equals. We congratulate them!

The 2018 Saucer award for the Best Major Publisher.

This was a hard fought category - and the category in which the greatest number of votes were cast. (Not everyone who voted voted in every category...) Given that this was the only category in which the names of the contenders was restricted (for the sake of the vote we chose to define "Major Publisher" as "Marvel, DC/Vertigo, Image and Dark Horse/Berger Books based on sales at Destination Venus...) we're not going to announce second and third places.

If we were to announce second and third, it would be clear who came last, and some how that doesn't seem fair. So what we are going to say is that the result was very close. The winning publisher was only one vote ahead of the publisher that came second, and the winner and the publisher who finished at the back of the pack were separated by just four votes. All of the major companies have had pretty good years, with more hits than misses.

As we said. It was the hardest fought and closest run category.

But in the end, one major publisher did come out on top, and we are pleased to announce that the Saucer Award for Best Major Publisher goes to Marvel Comics.

It has been a very good year for the House of Ideas - at least in terms of comics. Bright new series like West Coast Avengers have been a positive breath of fresh air, while re-inventions and soft re-boots of characters like The Immortal Hulk, Captain America and Thor have been nothing short of stellar.

Of course, there has been a huge sadness at Marvel this year too, with the loss of Stan Lee, the man who has been the figurehead of the company for so long. We would like to dedicate this years Best Major Publisher award to him, with thanks and reverence.

The 2018 Saucer Award for Best Artist

This was another hard fought contest. The open voting system meant that everyone could vote for their absolute personal favourite (which is why we'll be doing a nominations round for the 2019 awards...) which meant that the votes were spread thinly over a wide area.

The most popular contenders were, in third place, Greg Capullo, who this year did some stirling work on the major Batman series Metal. Whatever you think of the series itself, there's no arguing that Capullo made it look astonishingly good.

Runner up was Ryan Ottley who ended his long run on Robert Kirkman's epic Superhero book Invincible in February 2008 - an achievement which would be worthy of an award in its own right, before moving on to join Nick Spencer and Humberto Ramos on Amazing Spider-Man.

This has to count as a major promotion for Ottley. Invincible was a well thought of book, and if course working with Robert Kirkman is a prestige gig. But moving directly from what was, at the end of the day, a cult indie book to a title that is not just a flagship book for Marvel, but is one of the flagship books for the entire Anglophone comics industry is a serious vote of confidence and a serious responsibility.

But there has to be a winner, and in the end there was no contest. The 2018 Saucer Award goes to Stanley Lau, the artist who draws under the pen name Artgerm.

We trust that this variant cover for Catwoman #3 provides ample justification, but if you're still unsure about the verdict, we invite you to consider this:

The cover to Supergirl #23 looks stunning on screen - if you saw it in its astounding foil-enhanced real life glory, you must surely agree that it was the cover of the year.

The 2018 Saucer Award for Best Writer.

This category had the only run away winner of the whole awards, and I suspect that even so it's going to be controversial.

In third place we have Tom King. King has been consistently knocking it out of the park with his work on Batman this year, and while there were some seriously ruffled feathers in fandom regarding the wedding that never was, the blame for that really lies with the marketing people at DC, not with King himself. His other book this year Heroes in Crisis has also been a bit controversial, and perhaps this is what's kept him off the top spot.

Consider this for a second though - King is writing what many (including Regie, as he'll tell you at great length if you give him half a chance - we recommend you don't...) consider to be the best Batman in thirty years.

And he came third. Third.

That's how good the competition was this year. There has truly been some amazing work out there this year.

To underline this, your runner up is the ever brilliant Gail Simone. It's been a typically busy year for Simone, who finished up her gender swap comedy*/thriller Crosswind early in the year, and has been working on a major project with publisher Lion Forge, about which we'll probably talking more next year.

It's not much of a stretch though, to say that her most popular work in 2018 was the stunning Plastic Man mini-series. Finding exactly the right balance between action and comedy is something that many writers of this character have struggled with in the past, but it's a minefield that Simone navigated with apparent ease.

So. That's two of Regie's very favourite writers in the second and third slots. Who on Earth could have beaten such luminaries to the big prize?

Surely you've guessed by now?

It was Bendis. By a country mile.

With three times the votes of his nearest challenger, the winner of the 2018 Saucer Award for Best Writer is Brian Michael Bendis.

2018 was certainly one heck of a year for Bendis. He ended his seventeen year stint at Marvel by wrapping up his runs on Amazing Spider-Man and Jessica Jones - a character he co-created - before moving to an exclusive deal at DC.

And all of that was after very nearly dying at the end of 2017.

When his move from Marvel to their Distinguished Competition was announced, many fans sort of assumed he would be taking over writing Batman. But the man himself had other ideas - which given how much we love King's work on Batman we are mightily pleased about - and bagsied Superman. Not everyone loves the new direction he's taken the Big Blue Boyscout in, but it's been a fun ride so far.

If that was all he'd done this year, it might still have snagged him the top spot. But he's nothing if not prolific - his new creator owned Jinxworld imprint also launched this year with a plethora of new, exciting titles.

There's organised crime in the shape of Pearl and United States vs. Murder Inc, the return of superhero police drama Powers, creative espionage drama (and pure comics creator wish fulfilment) in Cover and urban political drama with Scarlet.

Looking back, he's had a hell of a year, and is undoubtedly a worthy winner of the inaugural title.

We hope you're enjoying your Boxing Day - we'll be back tomorrow with the remaining awards...

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