COMIC OF THE YEAR
Yeah, I know Graeme used the exact same header. Bite me.
However, in my case, I have decided to take the the POV of what comic provided the most entertainment value, thought-provoking moments, and general brilliance in 2004. And much to my surprise, it wasn't a comic book.
It was a comic strip.
For my money, no comic was as relevant, shocking, or well-executed this year as DOONESBURY. It wasn't even close. In producing the "B.D. loses a leg in Iraq storyline, Garry Trudeau brought the war home to readers in a way that they never expected or anticipated. And taking such an enormously risky step with his amputation and the removal of his helmet! for the very first time demonstrated a willingness to move forward and change that comic books seem to lack. And taking the time to explore B.D.'s emotions and reactions to his new status quo allowed Trudeau to mine some razor sharp humor from a dark situation. The strip where his daughter discusses his injury in class and leaves her schoolmates frustrated because their parents seem lame next to hers is a classic, both in its truth and its bravery in presenting a point of view that isn't exactly P.C.
Of course, there was plenty of other good stuff in the strip this year, as Trudeau did one of the better jobs of detailing the crimes and stupidity of the Bush administration and he did so in an efficiently fun manner. Late in the year he amusingly took a poke at the rush of cabinet members who abandoned ship, bringing back one of his sleazier characters as "Secretary of Toady Affairs," someone who would be the "yes" man that men like Colin Powell were not. Awesome stuff.
There were some terrific comic books this year, without a doubt. But when it boils down to it, the thing I looked forward to reading most, day in and day out, was the next installment of DOONESBURY. I can't offer much higher praise than that.