Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Best Comics of 2014

Similar to my Best Audiobooks list, this is a collection of some of the best comics I've read this year, not necessarily ones that were released in the last year.  I've tried to note that where appropriate.

In no particular order:

This is making the list based on the strength of the second issue.  Only two issues have come out.  The first issue set up a family trying to start over.  The second unleashed the horror.

Sex Criminals
I read the solicts and thought, "That sounds idiotic."  But the Internet kept talking about how great the first issue was, so I bought a copy the next week.  Far from idiotic, it is deeply personal and honest in a way I've rarely, if ever, seen in comics.

I'm paying Vaughan and Staples to break my heart a little bit each month.  I just hope they can put it back together again next year.

By Chance Or Providence
By Chance or Providence
Three mini comics written and drawn by Becky Cloonan, collected into a hardcover.  If you're familiar with Becky's work, the preceeding sentence should sell the book alone.  If you're not, get this and discover her.

Southern Bastards
Much like Sex Criminals, this book feels so authentic it could be autobiographical.  Except you really don't want that because terrible terrible things happen.

People (frequently me) say very little happens in this book.  Yet it's on my list because the characters are all so brilliant and the art is fantastic.  Oh, and things happened in a big way in the most recent issue.

Does Lone Wolf and Cub meets Walking Dead sound like something you'd be interested in?  A total badass that barely speaks protects a baby from horrifying monsters and humans alike.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
This series takes the best bits from every incarnation of Turtles and throws them all together in a way that makes them more than the sum of their parts.  Any fan of the Turtles should be reading this.

There's a quote on the back of the book from Geeks of Doom! calling this series the third Ghostbusters movie everyone wanted.  I find myself hard pressed to think of a better description.

Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens
Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens
The title should tell you everything you need to know.  It is as awesome as you expect it to be.

The Abominable Charles Christopher
I just discovered this, so it's on the list!  Page one has the titular Charles getting caught in the rain.  Six panels and I fell in love.  Everything after is equally amazing.

I just talked about this a couple weeks ago.  Bryan Lee O'Malley, you know that guy, right?  This is his new book, and it's really good.  One story, one book, no waiting.

Deadly Class
Deadly Class
Saying what this book is about doesn't convey its essence.  Like so many other titles on this list, Deadly Class combines great art and writing with humor and drama to tell a fictional story about characters that could very well be real.

Six Gun Gorilla
The trade came out in June; I'm including it!  I don't recall how or why I picked up the first issue, but I feel like I owe someone thanks.  It could have very easily concluded without me noticing, so I praise it every chance I get in the hope someone else takes notice.

Another series that came out at the tail-end of last year, but the trade came out a few weeks ago, so it's on the list!  1950s, LA, crime fiction.  It was everything I wanted and more.

What if Miss Moneypenny was a better spy than James Bond?  I read issue one and knew I'd been waiting my whole life for this book.

Reign of the Black Flame was off-the-charts awesome.  So far beyond what I expected and thought I wanted.  The series has always been great but this was a new high-water mark.

Moon Knight
I have never cared about Moon Knight.  With Warren Ellis writing, I was interested enough to pick up the first issue.  I'm so glad I did, because this is one of the best superhero books going.

Gotham Academy
Gotham Acadamy
This series has only put out three issues and it's already my new favorite DC book.  Which isn't meant to be a slight on Batman (Capullo and Synder are great), but Zero Year isn't making the list.

Jason Aaron writing the new female Thor is amazing.  She's only had three issues so far, and as of this writing I've only read two of them, and she STILL makes the list.  It's that good.

Ghost Rider
Felipe Smith writes, Tradd Moore draws.  And it was good.  Sales were never great on this title, but seemingly everyone that read it loved it.  I hope Smith is able to roll that into more work because, Robbie Reyes IS Ghost Rider.

Honorable mentions:

The first half of Batgirl 35
Loved it... right up until she put the suit on.  Then I was like, "Oh yeah, this is still fucking heroes."  To get the same feeling for an entire issue, read Gotham Acadmey.

I love it, but am struggling to explain why.  One might think that should disqualify it from the list, but it's my list, so it remains.  See previous posts for details.

Ghost Fleet
Another book with only two issues out.  But they're a strong two issues.

Men of Wrath
Issues one and two were insane, both in terms of content and quality.  Issue three was okay, but didn't meet the same high standard set by the first two.

I read issue one and thought, "Oh, so THIS is how you write a comic!"  Issue two was one long fight, but if it had had more story, this book would have made the Best Of list and not the Honorable Mentions.

Society of Super Heroes surprised the hell out of me, and then Pax Americana blew it out of the water.  The other two issues are okay, which is why this title is down here.

Forever Evil
Black Adam and Sinestro.  Lex and Bizarro.  I will overlook the dumber moments of this miniseries to focus on the ridiculously fun ones.  There, I said it, and I don't care who knows.