Steve Niles has said that he’s not a fan of these year-end “Best of … ” lists. Sorry Steve. While I respect your opinion and all, when you write such amazing series as Breath of Bones, Chin Music, and Criminal Macabre – The Eyes of Frankenstein … I’m gonna put you on my list.
Steve Niles has spent 2013 showing that quality and quantity can come from the same hand. He writes multiple titles for multiple companies, and they are all good. Although he gets pegged as a horror writer, he is actually incredibly versatile. The wry comedy of Criminal Macabre is nothing like the esoteric elegance of Chin Music (of which I would really like to see more! Those two issues were fantastic!) I love how he is able to get inside of his characters and write their dialog appropriately, so that it never comes off as the same person in different costumes like so many other writers I know. Cal MacDonald may drop snarky quips in the face of danger, but that is a trademark of the character, not the writer.
There are few comics professionals out there where I will pick up a new series based on their name alone, and Niles is one of them. I know 100% of everything he writes is going to be worth my time and money. And sometimes I am going to get Breath of Bones.
I have banged the drum for Breath of Bones ever since the first issue appeared on the stands, and now I am going to do so again. If Steve Niles had written nothing more than Breath of Bones he would have earned a spot on this list. The most complicated, heartwarming, and heart-wrenching comic I read this year, Breath has a depth of feeling I don’t see in a lot of comics. For a three-issue mini-series it is incredibly dense—one of those stories where every time I read it I get something new. If you haven’t read it by now, I don’t know what else I can do to convince you to give it a shot, but for one last time—read Breath of Bones. You’ll thank me for it.
And you know what? Steve Niles is also just a heck of a nice guy. His Twitter feed is tons of fun, filled with rare pics from Universal Horrors films and random monster goodness. He gives back to his fans as much as he gets—maybe more. At conventions he is approachable and friendly, and an interesting guy to talk to. He is a huge supporter of creator-owned comics, and constantly strives to bring the industry up as a whole instead of pushing others down to get to the top (thus his dislike for these kinds of lists … he sees them as needless competition when everyone should be supporting each other). In a year where too many comics idols have fallen, it’s nice to know that all of Niles’ talent is coupled with integrity, passion, and kindness.
– Zack Davisson / CB