The 2020 ComicBook.com Golden Issue Award for Best Limited Series

Welcome once again to the annual ComicBook.com Golden Issue Awards! Every year, the staff here at ComicBook.com takes a look back at the year as a whole and selects the best of what comics, movies, television, anime, and video games had to offer.

In this specific instance, we're going to take a look at the award for Best Limited Series in 2020, and there were a ton of great books to choose from. Earlier, we narrowed the enormous field down to five series that would vie for the award: Decorum, Kaijumax: Season Five, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, Superman Smashes the Klan, and Wonder Woman: Dead Earth. While all of these titles are certainly deserving of the title, there can only be one winner.

And the winner of the 2020 ComicBook.com Golden Issue Award for Best Limited Series is…

CB-Winner-Golden-Issue-2020-Best-Limited-Series
(Photo: ComicBook.com)

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Steve Lieber, colored by Nathan Fairbairn, lettered by Clayton Cowles, and published by DC Comics!

What's most fascinating about a series featuring alien jewel thieves, centuries-old land deals, failed supervillain sons, and a cat constantly spewing blood on its surroundings is the story's structure. Each of its twelve issues is further divided into a half dozen or more vignettes, each featuring its own title sequence and focus. These small segments can be read independently of one another. Some are obviously chapters from an expansive narrative and others read as a simple one or two-page gag, but every single one functions as a discrete unit packed with humor and idiosyncratic concepts. Yet each one of those units adds something integral to the larger narrative—one that only comes into focus as the series concludes. Like a sprawling puzzle requiring many evenings to complete, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen rewards readers with each step only to reveal something far greater upon completion.

It's easy to discuss the series in the abstract as a puzzle box requiring immense effort by its creators to allow for such a delightful reading experience, but that level of academic discourse might undermine that Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen is simply a joy to read. Lieber may be the greatest humorist working in American comics today as nearly every page delivers at least one genuinely funny original concept. What's even more impressive is Lieber's ability to pivot between comedy and sincerity as themes of family, friendship, and cutthroat capitalism are expounded upon in a nuanced—but never heavy—fashion.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen reflects much of what comics can be because it offers so much to its readers. Pick up the completed miniseries and flip to any page for a laugh and a smile or take your time poring over an epic ode to wonder. Many creators confuse smart or important comics with darkness, but Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen reminds readers that joy is an essential ingredient to any serious message about life.

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Be sure to return to ComicBook.com to see the rest of this year's award winners as they are announced throughout the week, and be sure to share your own favorites with us on social media.

Nominees:

  • Decorum (Image Comics)
  • Kaijumax: Season Five (Oni Press)
  • Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen (DC Comics) -- WINNER
  • Superman Smashes the Klan (DC Comics)
  • Wonder Woman: Dead Earth (DC Comics)