The Best Comics of 2017 – Pharaoh Miles’s List
2017 was one of those years where for most of us in America, it feels like we are living in a really screwed up version of DMZ. As the virtues of Marcus Welby, MD and Hawkeye from MASH, no longer seems too idealistic for us mere mortals but more a goal, because at the end of the day, most of us hope we are on the side of the angels. The only reprieve most people had was entertainment, and I am going to recap some items that should have been on everyone’s “ must get to” list for 2018 categorized into : comic books, books, documentaries, all which are comics related,( I will leave the movies and tv shows to compatriots on the site, as there are too many that I watch to recap, LOL, but please do watch Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, though it lasted only 2 seasons, both were thoroughly and weird and brilliant) some of these things most fans know about but others may have flew under the radar, and I am pretty sure I have left off a few items, but please charge it to my head and not my heart, either way, please read and make your own list!
Mister Miracle: a hero from the bygone era of the New Gods, Tom King and Mitch Gerads has elevated this mostly unknown hero into the same conversation of all-time greats at DC.
My Favorite Thing is Monsters: This particular book form Fantagraphics, is a game changer, part memoir, part biography of a time, part murder mystery and a love letter to monster movies. Emil Ferris proves that she is one to watch, the sequel coming in 2018 is one to watch.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Hack has made this book with too few issues a must read when it does hit your pullbox. The last issue got into the Witch War arc, something I feel the new tv show at Netflix will probably tap into.
Love and Rockets: the Hernandez Brothers are always in top form with this book, their run has proven them to be masters everything sequential art.
The Best We Could Do : Thi Bui tells her heartbreaking story of her family and their trek to America as well as her trials and tribulations of own motherhood.
California Dreamin’: Penelope Bagieu is one my favorite cartoonist right about now, and her story of Mama Cass of the Mamas and the Papas fame, doesn’t disappoint, entailing every detail of her journey, one that is sure to entertain.
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank: what sounds like a tagline more than compelling hard boiled book about a bank robbery, is probably what Mathew Rosenberg and Tyler Bass, what shooting for and this exactly what they have accomplished and more.
Pashmina: Nidhi Chanani tells a harrowing story of secrets surrounding love and loss affecting mothers and daughters and a magical item which transports them.
Is This Guy For Real: Box Brown, an established cartoonist, has a special way to make his sequential art in tune with emotion, and he does it so well with his subject, Andy Kaufman. I suggest people read this book and then go watch the excellent and eccentric documentary, Jim and Andy, on Netflix. (this is being released in 2018 with review copies out in 2017 – ed)
Punisher Platoon: with the popularity of the Punisher tv show on Netflix, it would look like be great timing for this book, but this book far exceeds the TV show in multitudes, as we get a peak into this Frank Castle who commanded a platoon in Vietnam, an exciting book that is part spy thriller and part character exploration.
Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands: Tony Isabella and Clayton Henry, has made this hero contemporary, and his villain as well as relevant issues like Black Lives Matter, up to date as well, which is something the TV show premiering on 1/16, probably will be handling.
Black: Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith III has written a story which raises questions about medical eugenics and racial genocide , a book which is very much on time.
Black Panther and The Crew: In one of the best books to come from the House of Ideas, this book brought new light to a cast of characters, that was at once dated, but became instantly pertinent, with its storyline of government payoffs, gerrymandering and policing, too bad they cancelled it.
In Shards Volume 1: a book which proves that indie comics is where the real talent lies, as every creator at this burgeoning comics house is on their way to prove that they will be the ones to watch in 2018.
Sons of Fate: Revolution: Jean=Paul Deshong masterfully ends his epic tale set in Japan in this supersized finale which will break the hearts of most readers but will more than satisfy every reader, one to check out if you are fan of great stories especially ones involving Samurai, Ronin and some ninjas.
Kindred: John Jennings and Damian Duffy adapt one of the masters (Octavia Butler) of science fiction’s greatest works, and gives the world an equally engrossing work, which visualizes what most thought could not be virtually conscribed and does what good adaptations do, makes the reader want to read to the source material.
Imagine Only Wanting This: A beautiful book about heartbreak and one’s own mortality told through relationships and modern ruins, both allegorical and true to life.
Neverwhere: This re-release of Neil Gaiman’s book, is illustrated by Chris Eidell, and is must for any fan of this Twilight Zone-ish book from the contemporary master of prose.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: The Classic Illustrated Storybook: An interesting retelling of Steven Speilberg’s classic film.
The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia: In an thorough book, that is no mere rehash, Steven Jay Rubin, delves deep into every episode, giving fans and novices alike, mostly unknown facts about the show.
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View: Thirty different tales of some known and unknown characters and events within the Star Wars Universe, which will intrigue every Stars Wars fan, absolutely my favorite book about Star Wars in a while.
Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B-Movie Actor: As a fan of Bruce Campbell, who has watched every thing he has been in, including Burn Notice, it is always nice to read his entertaining thoughts on everything, and this book more than entertains.
A Die Hard Christmas: The Illustrated Holiday Classic: As this is still is the holiday season, as of me writing this, I wanted to give a nod one of my favorite Christmas movies, Die-Hard, which is adorably told by Doogie Horner.
The Refrigerator Monologues: An interesting “point of view” book which gives the reader the view of “usual bystander” or damsel in distress”, as the genesis of Gail Simone’s coinage of the term” refrigerated” as the mere advancing of a storyline by the befalling of tragedy on the leading female character, as in this brilliantly written book, they get their just due.
The Encyclopedia of Black Comics: I incidentally found this book at the 2017 BookCon In New York, and felt instantly as if I found a secret treasure, as this book, though small in size, is quite comprehensive, and should be on every comic reader’s list.
Batman and Bill: A documentary that follows Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of Batman & Bill, as we follow his crusade to restore the name of Bill Finger, co-creator of Batman, and after watching this documentary, you will be giving side-eye to Bob Kane, as we get to find out how everything transpired and what a tragedy Finger’s life ended.
Superheroes Decoded: A different look at comics, as they definitively categorize heroes into two categories, “Legends” and Rebels” and how they relate to the American zeitgeist.
Floyd Norman: Animated Life: although it was released in 2016, many viewers did not get to see these movies until 2017, and what an interesting life, Mr .Norman has lived, being one of the first black cartoonists at Disney, blazing a trail, that has opened doors for countless others.
Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics: Definitely one of the most absorbing series about some of the world’s best-known superheroes and the creators behind them, I certainly knew all of these stories beforehand, but still is pretty cool to see it dramatized.
Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously: Another documentary which came out in 2016, but really became required viewing, once the world got see the Starz adaptation of American Gods and wanted to understand the mind of one of the world’s greatest story weavers.