Our look back on the best and brightest comics, comic book movies, news and swag from 2009 continues with today's list of the year's best movies, television and gaming projects and creators outside of the print and digital comics world.
(And just in case you missed it, be sure to check out yesterday's "Best Comics Of 2009" list!)
BEST ANIMATED SERIES
"Batman: The Brave and the Bold"
In the end, this category came down to two potential winners: DC's "The Brave and the Bold" and Marvel's "Super Hero Squad." Both series are great fun, take full advantage of their respective characters' universes, and are equally enjoyable by kids and adult comics fans alike. "Brave and the Bold" gets the nod, however, due to its brilliant voice casting and willingness to pair its eclectic cast of real-life actors with the perfect characters, no matter how obscure. While we applaud the casting of George Takei as Galactus and Mark Hamill as Red Skull in "Super Hero Squad," it's hard to beat the one-two punch of Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Reubens as Bat-Mite and Henry Rollins as Robotman.
- Rick Marshall
BEST MOTION COMIC
Motion comics have been receiving a lot of attention lately, but few publishers have been willing to truly commit to the medium with original material — opting to animate existing material instead of crafting new stories. That's why Marvel deserves a heap of credit for tasking the superstar writer/artist team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev with creating a new, original motion comic that can be appreciated as a standalone series while also tying in with the print series based on its main character. That it chose to do all of this with Spider-Woman — not the most mainstream of their characters — is also a pretty admirable decision. Oh, and the fact that the series was actually darn good, well... that's the best reason of all to heap praise on the "Spider-Woman" motion comic.
- Rick Marshall
BEST COMIC BOOK VIDEO GAME
"Batman: Arkham Asylum"
To paraphrase The Joker, “Batman: Arkham Asylum” changed superhero video games — forever. Utilizing the best of the Batman mythos, “Batman: Arkham Asylum” delivered an incredibly intuitive gameplay experience that pit the player against some of Batman’s greatest foes. “Batman The Animated Series” alumni Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Arleen Sorkin returned to reprise their famous roles in an immensely satisfying story by Paul Dini. This is the bar by which all other comic book video games will be judged and we eagerly await the sequel.
- Blair Marnell
BEST ANIMATED FILM
"Wonder Woman" (Warner Bros. Animation)
The emergence of the DC Universe Original Animated Movies line is one of the greatest comic book film developments in recent times, with this year's "Wonder Woman" being the feather in the cap thanks to Michael Jelenic's brilliant script, phenomenal oversight from director Lauren Montgomery and producer Bruce Timm, and excellent voice acting from the likes of Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion. Honestly, I'd go as far as to say that "Wonder Woman" was the best comic book movie of the year — if nothing else, the eventual live-action adaptation has a lot to measure up against.
- Josh Wigler
Jackie Earle Haley ("Watchmen")
Given its protective fanbase, "Watchmen" is understandably one of the most divisive comic book movies of all time, but even the film's detractors have to applaud Jackie Earle Haley's brilliant turn as the sociopathic vigilante Rorschach. Director Zack Snyder clearly worked tirelessly to create a fully faithful adaptation of the graphic novel, but Haley's take on Walter J. Kovacs felt completely effortless in its authenticity. Squid or no squid, there's simply no argument against Haley's phenomenal performance as one of the most beloved comic book characters of all time.
- Josh Wigler
BEST LIVE-ACTION MOVIE
Sure, Alan Moore wasn't a fan of this live-action adaptation of his work, and comics purists nearly had an aneurism about the new ending director Zack Snyder gave the film, but you have to admire Snyder's willingness to climb the Mt. Everest of comics — and to do so while resisting heavy pressure to "mainstream" the film. Whether it's the brilliant casting of Rorschach and The Comedian, Snyder's refusal to tone down the film's "R" rating, or the "Director's Cut" of the film that best illustrates Snyder's panel-for-panel vision for the project, there's a lot to love about "Watchmen." In the end, the greatest knock against the film could be the pedestal it was placed upon by comics fans. In a year filled with films that strayed far greater distances from their source material (and heck, let's face it — neither "The Dark Knight" nor "Iron Man" was absolutely faithful, either), "Watchmen" celebrated its difference from standard superhero movie fare in all the right ways.
But the best reason yet for naming "Watchmen" the year's best comic book movie? All those people who had never picked up a comic book in the past and now found themselves combing through their local libraries' "graphic novels" sections and comics-savvy friends' bookshelves for post-"Watchmen" reading material.
- Rick Marshall
And be sure to check out the rest of our BEST OF 2009 features:
Agree with our picks? Have some of your own you'd like to share? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!