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Pharoah Miles’ Favorite Comics of 2018

Vietnamese Memories

Vietnamese Memories – This series by Clement Baloup is not only timely but tells stories that rarely get the time of day, even in comics

Tao Te Ching – The creative team behind this book does more than an adaptation of this important tome, they make it understandable to every reader

The Prince and The Dressmaker – In probably one of the most heartfelt stories I have read this year, Jen Wang, proves to be a master storyteller in story and art, in a story that proves that people are more than meets the eye

X-Men: Grand Design - Second Genesis

X-Men: Grand Design – Ed Piskor has proven himself to be one today’s premiere creators with his Hip Hop Family Tree series, and he shows his love for the X-Men in this series that packs so much in in one panel, it puts most creators to shame.

Old Man Hawkeye – Although this series is meant to be a precursor to Old Man Logan, I found this story to be even more compelling than the story that follows this, as we meet many old faces, as well as new ones, giving fans a dystopian world very much like Walking Dead, but with superheroes.

How To Read Nancy – Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden give comic book fans a treasure trove of information in what really is a textbook but also a graphic novel, as this book both entertains and educates fans on the history of this comic strip and how one should deconstruct a comic strip in the first place.

Abbott

Abbott – In what is part thriller/ supernatural romance, we get a tale of an investigative reporter in Detroit searching for the truth about some ghastly unsolved murders that the police have ignored, one of them being the death of her husband.

Sleepless – As a fan of historical medieval stories, like The Tudors and The Borgias (both series) this series begins with heartbreak as the protagonist, Lady Pyppenia, is the sole heir to the throne, one currently occupied by her uncle, who sees her as a threat, as the series antes up on “ palace intrigue” as she navigates the scary waters of being a royal, as well as romance, as she starts to fall for her guard, the Sleepless Knight, Cyrenic.

Shards Volume 2 – As one of the best upcoming comic studios in the past few years, we get another collection from this talented collective, with their wide array of stories and characters that leave readers engrossed in these worlds, leaving nothing to chance.

Power& Magic: Immortal Souls – In an excellent collection from this small press company out of Oregon, we get a second volume of stories about witches who just so happen to be LGBTQ or POC or both, in what is a pure joy to read from such interesting voices

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation

Destiny, New York Volume 2 – In the continuation of this excellent series, we drop back into the world of Logan and Lilith, and the mysterious magical underworld that lies in plain view, as they face controversy , secrets and ultimately, loss.

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation – In this fantastic adaptation, we finally get to see Anne in all her complexities, as the heartbreak will get the reader even if you know what will happen

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2018

Without further ado, these are my favorite comics of 2018. This was the year I fell back on series that I had been checking out for years and found some new faves in the worlds of newspaper comics, symbiotes, gamma irradiated beasts, and maybe even a choose your own adventure game. Marvel seriously did a 180 this year, and I went from picking zero of their comics on my last year end list to three so well done on their part, and Donny Cates and Al Ewing should receive hefty bonus checks. But, honestly, this list should show you that visual humor, character driven narratives, and weirdness are my things, and I can’t wait to read more comics in that vein in 2019.

Honorable Mentions: Sex Death Revolution (Black Mask), Runaways (Marvel), Assassinistas (IDW/Black Crown), Punks Not Dead (IDW/Black Crown), That one really good issue of Peter Parker, Spider-Man that Chip Zdarsky wrote and drew (Marvel), Gideon Falls (Image)

10.Modern Fantasy  (Dark Horse)

Modern Fantasy is a miniseries about a data entry worker named Sage of the Riverlands, who secretly wants to epic hero or maybe just a curator at a cool museum, and has a penchant for smooching handsome elves. Did Rafer Roberts and Kristen Gudsnuk have access to my most secret thoughts while writing this book? In all seriousness, this comic marries millennial angst and struggles (Dead end jobs, mooching friends, annoying co-workers) with all kinds of fantasy tropes, including urban, high, and good ol’ Lovecraftian. Gudsnuk’s art is both humorous and touching and filled with background details and jokes that reward a close reading. But what makes Modern Fantasy a great comic is the awkward friend group dynamic that Roberts and Gudsnuk craft filled with drama, jokes, a touch of romance, and a final showdown with a fire demon.

9.The Wicked + the Divine (Image)

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson’s story of young gods and fandom hit some dark bits in 2018 and had plenty of surprises to go with the formalism and “glimpse behind the curtain” of the “Mothering Invention” arc. However, at its best, WicDiv is the story of the girl, who thought she wanted something, and then painfully realized that she didn’t really want it. That girl, of course, is Persephone whose personal journey along with McKelvie’s amazing facial expressions, Gillen’s clever quips, and Wilson’s majestic color palette keeps me returning to this series as it is about to hit its fifth year. Also, the specials were spectacularly glorious in 2018 from the illustrated prose story/murder mystery in 1923 to 1373’s dark piety. Then, there was the absolute bonkers nature of The Funnies  where we find out the origin of Laura’s cracked phone and the Pantheon gets to solve a Scooby Doo mystery courtesy of Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris.

8.  Nancy (Go Comics)

I’ve been doing year end comics lists for five years, and this is the first time I’ve put a newspaper strip on one. However, Olivia Jaimes’ work on Nancy is one of the most hilarious things to come out of 2018. There are her “millennial” gags (Even though Nancy and Sluggo are definitely Generation Z.) about Nancy’s overuse of the Internet or swapping streaming service passwords with Sluggo, who is also “lit”. But she also has a firm grasp on meta-gags and the uniqueness of the comics medium like playing with panel layouts, lettering styles, reusing panels, and then having Nancy make a joke about it. Nancy is truly a ray of sunshine in a dark landscape while still being sarcastic and self-deprecating as hell and shows that even the proverbial old dog of the newspaper comic can learn some new tricks.

7.  “Milk Wars” (DC Comics/Young Animal)

“Milk Wars” really brought the best of DC Rebirth and Young Animal together and was the only Big Two crossover I kept up with in 2018. The series brings together the Doom Patrol, Mother Panic, Shade the Changing Girl, and Cave Carson to fight warped versions of DC Comics heroes, who are under the control of the Retconn corporation. The story is a literal metaphor for how corporations sanitize characters and go for the retread instead of taking risks with iconic characters as Wonder Woman becomes a submissive housewife in her tie-in story from Cecil Castelluci and Mirka Andolfo. “Milk Wars” shows that it’s okay to be a little weird as milk goes bad if it’s left in the bridge past its expiration day. It also features some gorgeous layouts from Aco in the crossover’s first chapter, which was co-written by Gerard Way and Steve Orlando, and he and the artists did an excellent job of melding an indie and mainstream sensibility throughout “Milk Wars”. Also, the story had a real effect on Mother Panic, Cave Carson, and Shade in their solo titles and introduced Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew’s wonderful, yet depressed Eternity Girl character.

6.Venom (Marvel)

Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, and Iban Coello’s Venom ongoing series is filled with all the fun excesses of the 1990s (Especially in the Venom Annual where James Stokoe shows him going toe to toe with Juggernaut.) and none of its toxicity. The first arc of the series is about Eddie Brock and his symbiote going to war against Knull, god of the symbiotes and a symbiote dragon. This has a terrible effect on him, and Cates carefully uses the symbiote as a metaphor for PTSD while freeing Stegman to draw unhinged heavy metal battles. And this series wasn’t just a one arc wonder as Cates, Coello, and Stegman explore the after effects of the battle with Knull on Eddie’s symbiote and have him confront his father. Plus one of the most underrated Marvel villains, Ultimate Reed Richards aka the Maker pops up for a little bit. This series work because it explores the psychological effects of the symbiote as well as the oozy, shoot-y violent bits.

5.Crowded (Image)

Crowded is a wicked bit of satire with a side of mismatched buddy adventure from the beautiful minds of Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell. It is about an obnoxious woman named Charlie, who has a $2 million price on her head on an app called Reapr that is basically crowdfunded murder. Luckily, there’s an app called Defendr where Charlie hires a badass, meticulous, and noble woman named Vita to protect her. Stein and Brandt fill each page with oodles of panels, but you are able to follow every action scene, conversation, or Charlie ending up at the club or a bachelorette party even if she has a price on her head. The bounty hunting drives the plot while Sebela uses the quieter moments to develop the personality and relationships of Charlie and Vita as well as some of the “professionals” hunting them. Crowded is a thrill ride, but also looks at the dark, not so altruistic side of human nature through the Internet and constant connectivity.

4. You Are Deadpool (Marvel)

Al Ewing and Salva Espin’s You Are Deadpool was some of the most fun I had reading a comic book in 2018 beginning with Kieron Gillen showing up in the “tutorial” brandishing a sandwich as a weapon. It’s a combination spoof of different eras of Marvel Comics along with a pretty damn fun and addictive Choose Your Own Adventure Game. In some cases, you don’t even read the issues in order. Ewing and Espin also take cues from some not so table top RPGs and have the moral choices that Deadpool makes effect your reading and playing experience. Having Deadpool interact with both heroes and innocent passerbies during the Silver Age, horror/kung fu/blaxploitation, the edgy 80s, and of course, the good ol’ 90s is hilarious and shows Espin’s versatility as a cartoonist.

3. Archival Quality (Oni)

Archival Quality is a spooky graphic novel by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz about a young woman named Cel, who gets a job as an archivist at a medical museum. The comic tenderly explores Cel’s anxiety and depression and unexpected connection with a woman named Celine, who was a patient at the sanatorium that preceded the museum. It isn’t caught up in a fast paced thriller plot, but slowly unveils the mystery while focusing on Cel’s interactions with her boss Abayomi, super rad co-worker Holly, and her declining relationship with her boyfriend Kyle. Archival Quality has real atmosphere, and Steenz creates some fantastic spaces as Cel begins to explore her workplace with its skulls and lack of cellphone service. It is a fantastic story about mental health and relationships through the mystery genre.

2. Giant Days (BOOM! Studios) 

Giant Days continues to be one of life’s true blessings thanks to John Allison, Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, Julia Madrigal, and Whitney Cogar. At this point, we know the characters and their quirks are on fully display, especially when Sarin draws the title because she is a real pro at expressive eyes and touches of surrealism to break up the slice of life. 2018 was full of drama to go with the Giant Days’ comedy as Daisy broke up with her a little too footloose and fancy free girlfriend Ingrid, and Esther missed her shot at being in a relationship with Ed when he begins a romance with Nina, a girl he met while recuperating from a pub related injury. Nina being Australian is the subject of this year holiday’s special, which was a special treat drawn and written by Allison as Ed fends for himself Down Under. Giant Days shows that it’s one of the pre-eminent slice of life comics as it enters its fourth year, and Esther, Daisy, and Susan’s relationships continue to ebb and flow.

1. Immortal Hulk  (Marvel)

I will preface this by saying that the Hulk is one of my least favorite Marvel characters because he’s often used as a simplistic Jekyll/Hyde metaphor. Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Lee Garbett, Martin Simmonds, and Paul Mounts blow that up in Immortal Hulk, which resembles an intelligent horror story rather than a superhero beat ’em up. It’s a road story with Bruce Banner on the run from the monster that comes out, wrecks, and kills when the sun goes down before morphing into a government conspiracy thriller and something more malevolent towards the end. Through cutting narration, Ewing reveals exactly what is going through Banner’s head while Bennett’s art shows the often gruesome effects of his rages. I also like how Ewing humanizes the supporting players from Walter Langkowski, who is struggling with his own monstrous nature to honest reporter Jackie McGee and even his opponent the Absorbing Man.

Immortal Hulk is the best comic of 2018 because it has a compelling plot, is a searing character study of an American pop culture icon, and is an homage to Jack Kirby and Bernie Wrightson while breaking new ground. (See issue 10’s final page.)

The Worst Movies of 2018

One of the things I found most interesting about 2018 was it actually seemed like there were a lot fewer bad movies. Instead, we had a big middle of mediocre, forgettable fare.

So several of these I wouldn’t say are “bad,” but merely disappointing. As with my lists from previous years, I’m trying to keep this away from merely being a slam dunk contest, and to ignore films for whom I am not the intended audience. There’s also a large number of films that were never screened for critics and I had zero interest in seeking them out on my own. So I have no opinion on, for example, Insidious: The Last Key, Holmes and Watson, or The Week Of.

However, I’m going to stray from my principles in a few places here because these film are so egregiously, aggressively awful that I can’t help but say something. But I like to think of this more as an exercise on what went wrong in movies in 2018 and what we can do so much better in the coming year that I hope we can learn from.

10. Pacific Rim: Uprising

Pacific Rim: Uprising

There are, actually, worse films out there than this sequel, but it was just so egregiously bad that I had to start the list here. How do you take such a surefire premise as giant robots fighting monsters and make it bad? Step 1: don’t bring back director Guillermo del Toro or star Idris Elba. Step 2: Make Charlie Day the bad guy for some reason. Step 3: End your film with a snowball fight!

It’s not all bad. There is, in fact, a decent amount of enjoyment to be had here if you don’t pay too close attention. Just turn the sound down and pretend you’re watching a better version of the movie.

9. Take Your Pills

Netflix brought us some great things in 2018. One of them was not this documentary, which premiered at SXSW, which was where I caught it and was immediately enraged. Hey kids, did you know that if you’re being treated for ADHD, you’re basically just doing meth? This film takes the overly complex issues surrounding treatment of attention deficit and basically makes the case that not only are we over-prescribing medication, but it’s being used as a party drug, and drug companies are evil and everyone should just stop taking their medication.

This is a complex subject and this documentary offers no solutions, but shames people for having ADHD and suggests we’re better off not being treated at all. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

8. Rampage

Does The Rock really just say yes to every ridiculous movie they pitch him? This film was not at all based on the 1980’s arcade game involving a giant ape, lizard and wolf attacking the city because that game was fun and this was a tedious mess. This film had a great cast — Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Naomie Harris, Malin Ackerman, Jake Lacy — all of whom are just wasted here. As are a giant effects budget and a premise that might have been interesting if they’d done it properly.

PS- Watch the first five minutes of this movie and the first five minutes of Venom and tell me they aren’t the exact same movie. Mysterious goo on a satellite causes a malfunction and it crashes, infecting people while the evil corporation tries to control their discovery. It’s the same. damn. movie.

7. Gotti

Gotti

I just want to know what the hell was going on with this movie. Who told them to make this movie this way? Not only is John Travolta’s hair and makeup somehow even more ridiculous in every single scene he’s in (begging the question. . . why?) but this movie seems like it was made by someone whose only exposure to organized crime or the mafia was by watching The Godfather and Goodfellas. It’s like that fresco painting of Jesus they tried to restore and it turned out looking like some weird deformed monkey. It’s like the cooking disasters you see on Nailed It or Cake Wrecks. Oh, it was written and directed by Kevin Connolly from Entourage. Nailed it.

For a film with so much voice-over exposition and cutaways to the news to explain what was happening and long car rides explaining the structure of the Gambino crime family, this film doesn’t actually make any sense. There’s also no bigger story or theme. Am I supposed to feel some way about John Gotti other than I please want this movie to be over now please? At least Vice made you feel some things about its characters– and managed to coherently explain recent events.

There’s also this weird soundtrack which tries to remind us we’re in the 80’s and 90’s by playing The Bangles and Duran Duran but also this weird hip hop that samples what sounds like the Nina Rota / Carmine Coppolla scores for The Godfather movies.

This film is also deserving of some special scorn for being financed by MoviePass. At the same time MoviePass was running out of money and limiting the movies you could go see, somehow, you could go see Gotti with your MoviePass. Even for free, this movie was not worth it.

6. Den of Thieves

It’s a testament to what a slog 2018 was that this movie from January feels like it was from eight years ago. Or maybe that’s just because it was so tired and hackneyed it felt like that watching it. Cops and robbers, but maybe we’re rooting for the robbers because the cops are bad guys, too? By the end, I wanted everyone to die and I mostly got my wish. Too bad it took two and a half hours to get there.

5. Sicario: Day of the Soldado

As disappointing a sequel as Pacific Rim: Uprising was, this was far worse. The original Sicario is such a taught, gripping film. And prior to this, I felt like Tayler Sheridan could do no wrong in writing scripts. This, apparently, is what you poop out when the dollar signs are right. The film misses its moral compass in not including Emily Blunt, but it also perpetuates some ridiculous ideas about ISIS terrorists coming across the Mexican border to blow up a Wal-Mart. This is like the fever dream of someone who’s been watching way too much Fox News and doing a lot of cocaine.

And then we get the conflict between Josh Brolin and Benecio Del Toro, and also Brolin bristling at government bureaucrats who won’t let him do his job! (More coke + Fox News)

We deserve better from our movies. We deserve better from our Sicario sequels. (Note: I saw this movie back to back in a double feature with my #1 movie of the year, putting an even better comparison on just how terrible this was.)

4. Midnight Sun

I almost feel sorry for how bad this movie was. A teenage girl is so deathly allergic to sunlight that even a few errant ray can kill her. Spoiler alert: they do. This tragic teen romance is made even more ridiculous by Rob Riggle trying his best as the dad role here.

3. Red Sparrow

Red Sparrow

A movie that glorifies violence against women, has multiple rape scenes, and actually had potential to be the Black Widow movie we all really wanted? It was just terrible, maybe even worse than Jennifer Lawrence’s Boris-and-Natasha Russian accent. In the era of #MeToo, maybe producers would’ve been wise to let this sit on a shelf for a while, instead of explicitly showing on screen how sexual violence is used to subjugate and control women, how their agency is stripped from them in a government-run spy program that is essentially state-sponsored sex slavery where failure to comply means a bullet in your head. It was also incredibly long, which is even more unforgivable, especially given how boring it was.

2. Fifty Shades Freed

Normally I make an exception for the Fifty Shades movies because I’m just not the intended audience. But this year? This abomination came out right in the middle of the #MeToo movement and showed an incredible tonedeafness on the part of the film’s producers. These are a lot of the same problems I had with Red Sparrow, but at least that had a spy storyline going on as well. The best thing I can say about this is I will never have to review another one of these films again.

1. Death of a Nation

Again, I normally wouldn’t include this because I am not the target audience, but convicted felon pardoned under corrupt circumstances by Trump likely in an attempt to suborn perjury or obstruction of justice from his associates Dinesh D’Souza has produced his masterpiece of alt-right agitprop. His major contention is that Donald Trump is basically Abraham Lincoln, and just like Lincoln, those mean ol’ Democrats are going to use violence (including civil war) to overturn a legitimate election.

Death of a Nation

Except a) it wasn’t legitimate, you buffoon, or perhaps you haven’t noticed the increasing number of indictments around Individual 1 (or maybe Dinesh doesn’t think campaign finance law matter, since, after all, that was what he was convicted of breaking) and b) after all of those marches like the Women’s March, March for Our Lives, People’s Climate March, March Against Family Separation we have yet to see any violence from them, but yet we have alt-right violence in Charlottesville (covered in the far better film, Alt-Right Age of Rage) pipe bombs, politically-motivated attacks on synagogues and mosques. If this is a proto-civil war, it is a war of right wing aggression.

And then there’s the weird fascination with Trump being like Lincoln. This is just so baffling on multiple levels.

As a movie, it’s also just garbage. I was not kind to Michael Moore’s latest earlier this year (in fact, if this were a top 13 worst movies list, Fahrenheit 11/9 would be on it), but at least the guy knows how to make a movie. D’Souza loses his narrative so many times, it’s like he’s piecing this together from an underground bunker wearing a tinfoil hat.

But, none of this happens in a vacuum. Whenever I see a movie, I ask myself, “What is this trying to say? How does that add to the cultural conversation we’re having as a society?” This throws gasoline on the worst types of fires, including the beliefs of people who also believe in QAnon and Pizzagate. D’Souza’s films in the past have been terrible and wreckless, but never dangerous. This gives crazy people the fuel they need to commit future acts of violence– in the belief that they are fighting a new civil war.

The First Amendment protects his right to make this movie, and it also protects my right to say this is the worst piece of garbage to be shown in cinemas this last calendar year.

Well, that’s it. That’s the worst. But, I hate being negative, so I’ll come back here in the next day or two with the best of 2018, as well as a look at My Top 5 of Everything and “Who won the year?” If you think it might be the Disney corporation, well. . . you’ll have to read the article.

See you in 2019, where we hopefully avoid these types of awful movies.

President Obama Names His Favorite Books, Movies, and Songs including 2 Comic Films

The end of the year brings numerous “best of” lists and that includes former President Barack Obama who lists his favorites of the past year.

It’s a “favorite” tradition of his that allows him to reflect on the year through books, movies, and music.

Below you can find his full list which includes two films based on comic books.

Black Panther is based on the Marvel Comics character and currently the top grossing domestic film of the year (and most likely will hol that title). The other film is The Death of Stalin which was released as a movie and graphic novel at the same time (the graphic novel was released before the film domestically). It was banned in Russia due to its content and had a limited run domestically. That graphic novel was published by Titan Comics.

Check out his full list.

Favorite books of 2018:
American Prison by Shane Bauer 
Arthur Ashe: A Life by Raymond Arsenault
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday 
Feel Free by Zadie Smith 
Florida by Lauren Groff 
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
Immigrant, Montana by Amitava Kumar
The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson
Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark 
There There by Tommy Orange 
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Favorite movies of 2018:
Annihilation
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Blindspotting
Burning
The Death of Stalin
Eighth Grade
If Beale Street Could Talk
Leave No Trace
Minding the Gap
The Rider
Roma
Shoplifters
Support the Girls
Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Favorite songs of 2018:
Apes••t by The Carters
Bad Bad News by Leon Bridges
Could’ve Been by H.E.R. (feat. Bryson Tiller)
Disco Yes by Tom Misch (feat. Poppy Ajudha)
Ekombe by Jupiter & Okwess 
Every Time I Hear That Song by Brandi Carlile 
Girl Goin’ Nowhere by Ashley McBryde 
Historia De Un Amor by Tonina (feat. Javier Limón and Tali Rubinstein)
I Like It by Cardi B (feat. Bad Bunny and J Balvin) 
Kevin’s Heart by J. Cole
King For A Day by Anderson East
Love Lies by Khalid & Normani 
Make Me Feel by Janelle Monáe 
Mary Don’t You Weep (Piano & A Microphone 1983 Version) by Prince
My Own Thing by Chance the Rapper (feat. Joey Purp) 
Need a Little Time by Courtney Barnett 
Nina Cried Power by Hozier (feat. Mavis Staples)
Nterini by Fatoumata Diawara 
One Trick Ponies by Kurt Vile
Turnin’ Me Up by BJ the Chicago Kid 
Wait by the River by Lord Huron 
Wow Freestyle by Jay Rock (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
And in honor of one of the great jazz singers of all time, who died this year, a classic album: The Great American Songbook by Nancy Wilson

Find Out the Best of 2018 From Across the Web

We’ve launched our “best of” coverage with our annual collection of as many lists from across the web that we can find. This year we’re launching with 50 lists with many more to come.

Already there’s over 400 comics that have made it on to at least one list.

This will be updated daily so come back often!

The Best of 2018 The List of Lists

The Best of 2018 Compiled

We’ll have our “best of” list on January 1!

The Best Comics of 2018

Graphic Policy Radio Talks The Best Comics of 2017. Listen on Demand.

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ BlogTalkRadio ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

The comics team at graphicpolicy.com join a roundtable discussion about our favorite comics of 2017 and what’s on the horizon for 2018. From indie comics to webcomics to superheroes and beyond, listen in and find something to pick up at your comic store today.

2017 saw highs and lows for comics and we’ll be discussing that and more. The best Marvel comics? The best DC comics? Image? Dark Horse? BOOM!? IDW? Lion Forge? Manga? And more! 2017 saw lots of comics both mainstream and indie released and we’ll be covering it all. Find out what we enjoyed reading the most and what you should pick up now and put on your pull list for a great 2018 comic and graphic novel reading list.

Alex’s Best Of 2017

Now that 2017 is in the history books, it’s time to have a look back at some of the comics, movies and events that really stood out for me. These comics were all released this year, and in the case of a limited series if had at least two issues released this year (if a mini series began late this year but is scheduled to end in 2018, then expect to find it on next years list – if it’s any good). Remember that this is all based on what I’ve read, and if your favourite comic isn’t here, it may be because I may not have read it, not because I didn’t like it.

First up there’ll be your standard Best Of categories of Ongoing Series, Mini/One Shot, Single Issue, Writer, Artist, and Colourist. However, you’ll notice that the word “best” isn’t used, and that’s because I didn’t read everything this year – so I’ve gone with my favourites and subsequently awarded each at least one of either a Gold, Silver and Bronze medal.


Favourite Ongoing Series

The reason this is first is because honestly this was the easiest category to decide on as there really wasn’t a choice when it came to my most anticipated comic each month.

BSS_TPB_001_COVER_ROCAFORTGold
Bloodshot Salvation (Valiant) 
An absolutely gorgeously rendered series by Lewi Larosa and Mico Suayan, Bloodshot Salvation follows on from Jeff Lemire’s excellent Bloodshot Reborn series, with the writer being able to continue the story (after a bit of a time jump) while making the first issue very accessible for new readers looking to jump into one of Valiant’s flagship series.  The reason I picked this series is because of how excited I am to read every issue; the themes may be deeper and more intricate in some of the other series I’ve been reading, but there is no other series I look forward to reading as much as this one when it arrives in my inbox (and then once again when I get to pick up the physical copy).

Silver
Aquaman (DC) Had you asked me last year what would be on this list, I’d never have said that Aquaman would even be in consideration… but here we are. A series about inherited obligation, predetermined destiny and the usurpation of a king and his subsequent realization that he wasn’t the best king for Atlantis. So when Arthur Curry finds himself fighting for those far less fortunate than himself it creates a very interesting situation where Arthur Curry refuses to acknowledge his former identity, and has become the Batman of Atlantis; the Aquaman. The king is dead, long live the Aquaman.

Bronze
Ninja-K (Valiant) 
I wasn’t going to include this here because only two issues came out this year, but those two issues were phenomenal. Had there been more to read in 2017, I have no doubt this would have taken the gold. With no real prior knowledge of the character required to enjoy this, there’s no reason for you not to dive right in to this stylish action thriller starring everybody’s favourite British ninja spy.

 

Favourite Limited Series or One Shot 

There were so many great miniseries released this year, that it hurt me to only choose three. Alterna had some wonderful series, as did Image and Valiant, but in the end I had to settle on just three, and so I went with three shining examples of comics in 2017.

SW_HC_001_COVER_ALLENGold
Secret Weapons (Valiant) 
It’s no secret I enjoy Valiant’s comics, or at least it shouldn’t be. So when they put out a series based around a group of super powered rejects with powers that are effectively useless, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it wouldn’t work. And then you’d read it just to see the train wreck only to discover one of the year’s standout offerings. The second issue alone has a Sikh character, also with minor super powers, noticing people pointing at him and speaking in hushed whispers as he is attending class. Worried that people are mistaking him for a Muslim, and by extension a possible terrorist, he keeps his head down and leaves, only to be confronted by three thugs who don’t care about his appearance, only that he has powers. It’s a tense, and incredibly well written sequence that highlights just how much the creative team have to say. It’s a prime example of comics at their very best.

Silver
Voracious: Feeding Time (Action Lab) 
I could tell you so many reasons why you should read this emotional tale about a time traveling chef who hunts dinosaurs, whether it’s Markisan Naso’s fantastic dialogue or the wonderful artwork by Jason Muhr and colourist Andrei Tabacaru. I could tell you that comics like this are the reason you should pay attention to indie comics publishers, because if you don’t you’ll be missing out on some of the best stories  the year. But I won’t; instead, once again, I’ll tell you tell you all the reasons why you shouldn’t  read this:

Bronze
God Country (Image) A man suffering from Alzheimer’s becomes a god when he holds Valofax, the god of swords. The first issue of this series deals with the heartbreaking  reality of watching a loved one suffering with this horrible disease, before adding in a dose of space gods. The familial theme never leaves this series, regardless of the setting, grounding this galaxy spanning story remarkably well.

Favourite Single Issue

The top spot was never in question for me here, but the other two issues could have easily have been different if I was in a different mood when I wrote this. There were so many wonderful comics released this year that choosing only three was, once again, painful.

Voracious FT 3.jpgGold
Voracious: Feeding Time #3 (Action Lab) 
This issue set the bar very early in the year. The series was continually, and consistently, of a high quality in every aspect every issue, but it’s the third that was the high point with a superb interview sequence interspersed with one of the greatest two page spreads of the year, only to culminate in perhaps the most emotional scene in any comic as one character talks to another about  his fears that due to the altered timeline he may forget his wife ever existed. Without the context of the preceding issues, one would that the emotional impact of the scene would be lost. I assure you, it isn’t.

Silver
Batman #36 (DC) When Tom King is good, he’s really good. This issue sees him at his very best as he explores the friendship between Bruce and Clark and the admiration each feels for the other in an oddly touching way with each man talking to his significant other, who also show just how much they understand their husband or fiance. The action is almost secondary to the characterization – and I’m very okay with that.

Bronze
Ninja-K #1 (Valiant)
 What better way to start a new series about the history of MI6’s Ninja Programme than with a brief history taking up half an issue that doesn’t feel like a recapNinja-K #1 immerses you into its world with an effortless grace such as that you’d expect from the title character. As an introduction to the character, this is fantastic. Christos Gage doesn’t try to throw out the previous run, instead he briefly acknowledges that it happened in a way that doesn’t alienate new readers before plunging on with story itself. One of the very best first issues this year.

 

Favourite Writer

Three writers who produced the best comics of 2017, hands down.

Gold
Matt Kindt
Everything that Matt Kindt touched this year was a winner for me. I don’t think he penned anything less than a good issue in 2017, and his output reads like a recommendation list for getting people into comics. If you want to read a good comic, then grab anything by Matt Kindt. He will take you on an incredible journey no matter where you’re going.

Silver
Jeff Lemire
Another writer with a stellar output this year, the only reason Lemire landed in Silver was that I just didn’t click with his run on Moon Knight. But plenty of people did, and the comic was very well received; it just wasn’t for me. That said, the work he did for Valiant this year was second to none, as was Black Hammer for Dark Horse. Honestly, Moon Knight aside, I loved everything Lemire put out this year (that I read).

Bronze
Markisan Naso
He may not have been as prolific as other writers in comics this year, but he wrote the best issue I read all year. Pound for pound, he was the best writer in comics in 2017, and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us for 2018.

Favourite Artist

Art is always subjective, but the following artists were, in my opinion, three of the very best. Next year, I may move away from the gold/silver/bronze because choosing only three sucks.

Gold
Lewis Larosa
I… look I can’t tell you how amazing Larosa’s work has been this year, so I’ll show you a random page as an example. And when I say random, I took the first result of a “Lewis Larosa 2017” google search that was big enough to highlight what I needed.larosa 2017.jpg

Silver
Raul Allen & Patricia Martin
Their work on Secret Weapons alone earns them a spot on this list with a deliciously classic style and some incredible use of the page layout and the pacing of each issue they draw. This style is best experienced within a full comic, but there’s an example below.SW_002_004.jpg

Bronze
Mico Suayan 
Yet another incredible artist to whom words won’t do justice. Another random page, because everything Suayan touches is incredible.

BSRB_014_002.jpg

Publisher Of The Year

Gold
Valiant Entertainment 
In terms of output, there was maybe three comics Valiant VALIANT LOGOpublished this year that I didn’t love; they were still good, but weren’t ever candidates for this list. That’s three issues out of their entire line. On top of giving us the phenomenal Secret WeaponsNinja-K‘s stratospheric debut and two other incredibly solid titles in Bloodshot: Salvation and the relaunched X-O Manowar the publisher also made headlines with their tongue in cheek homage to the mid 90’s with the Quantum & Woody #1 variants, the number of which is mind boggling. Including a single issue second printing that made $1600 or so for the CBLDF. When I asked Valiant CEO Dinesh Shamdasani about that, he said that there were no spares created in case the second printing got damaged – had that happened then Valiant would have incurred costs to print another comic. This is a company run by people who are in it for the comics and the fans (and to make a buck), as is evidenced by the activity of Mr. Shamdasani and the Valiant staff on twitter with fans. Valiant genuinely seems to care about putting out quality over quantity.

Silver
Alterna Comics With a concerted effort to bring comics back to the masses, Alterna launched their newsprint line with prices topping out at $1.50. That’s all well and good, but if the comics aren’t any good, then they’re just selling kindling; fortunately, Alterna’s range of comics and miniseries were some of the most entertaining issues I read all year. You want stuff for an all-ages audience? Check. You want a creepy horror themed story? You’re in luck. Post apocalyptic survival? Yup. If you  committed to Alterna this year then aside from saving your wallet a beating, you would have read some fantastic stories at an amazing price point.

Bronze
Self Publishers No matter who you are, if you’ve decided to self publish your comics this year, then I tip my hat to you. I can only imagine the dedication it takes to ensure your story gets out to the public – whether that’s digitally or in print.

Movie Of The Year*

Logan
Hugh Jackman’s last hurrah as the Canadian mutant was better than I ever could have imagined. Not only was this movie my favourite of the year, but it’s probably my favourite movie of all time. I’m a huge Wolverine fan, and this was a perfect homage to the character without being bogged down by continuity or an attempt to follow a preexisting comic story to the letter. Everything about this movie was excellent; the acting, the story, the action and the finale. I couldn’t have asked for a better movie.

*for a list of my top five movies, check out an upcoming episode of Those Two Geeks.

 

The Moment That Had Me Grinning Ear To Ear

  • The release of Batman & Bill on Hulu. An incredible look at the crusade of Marc Tyler Nobleman to give Bill Finger, the co-creator of Batman, the credit he deserves after Bob Kane screwed him over more than 75 years ago. This heartbreaking documentary is powerful watching, and is a must for any fan of comics.

 


 

Well there we have it; a look back at some of the best comics that I read over the year. Agree, or disagree? Let me know!

The “Best” Comics of 2017 So Far… Mister Miracle Takes the Lead!

We’ve been compiling the “best of” comic lists from around the web and so far have aggregated 78 so far. You can check out the complete list here. While we have many more to add over the next few weeks, so far it’s clear what some of the best of the year are.

With the addition of 18 more lists from the last post, Mister Miracle has taken the top spot appearing on 34 of 78 lists and being #1 on 7 of those lists (that had rankings).

My Favorite Thing is Monsters is currently the top graphic novel on the list appearing on 24 lists so far. The graphic novel was #1 on two lists.

Writer Tom King also takes third with Batman which has appeared on 21 lists so far.

485 different comics have made the list so far and I’m sure there’s more to come.

Check out the full list below and check back often for updates (we still need to add our own site’s lists).

The Best Comics of 2017 – Brett’s List

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means I’m posting my “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2016. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2016, though some are from earlier times and I got around to reading them, or limited series that continued. Keep in mind, this is what I have read (and does not reflect what other contributors to this site might think, they’ll hopefully have their own lists). If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

This was a particularly tough year of choices with some categories easily having their own top ten or twenty-five and some I struggled to even come up with one. 2017 was a year that ongoing, maxi-series, and limited floppies seemed to blend more and more and for me as a reader I found myself shifting away from one publisher to another and as a whole continuing to enjoy graphic novels and indie comics a hell of a lot more than I have in the past.

What stood out to me? Check out below what made the cut!

Best Super Hero Comic – Batman

A comic series which easily has the top four issues of the year as well as sending Batman in new directions. For a a creative team to show growth in a character that’s over 75 years old is impressive.

 

Writer Tom King delivers so many of the best comics of the year, it’s rather embarrassing of how much of what he’s delivered this year that’s so good.

From “The Ballad of Kite Man” to the recent two part story of Batman and Superman dealing with Batman’s engagement, King and the various artists continually entertain and surprise.

Runners Up:

  • COPRA – There’s some arguments to be made that Michel Fiffe‘s indie series about a group of raftag characters should be the top pick, and there was long thought about if it should, it’s that good. Out of all of the series I read this year, this is one that delivered with every single issue. This is a comic that shows that superheroes aren’t the domain of just two companies anymore, especially due to how many issues have been released. I said this exact same thing in 2015 an 2016 and it applies here.
  • Mister Miracle – Tom King again delivers with Mitch Gerads on art. I can’t tell you exactly that’s going on but holy shit is the confusion good.
  • Super Sons – Fun is the name of the game with this series that teams up Superboy and Robin and each issue is just entertaining and puts a smile on my face.
  • Tomboy – This series published by Action Lab: Danger Zone and by M. Goodwin is a comic that’s not on enough people’s radar and wrapped up in 2017. A mix of manga, Japanese horror, western vigilante stories, it’s a strange, creepy, haunting series featuring a teenage girl out for revenge against the people who killed her friend.

 

Best Non-Super Hero Comic – Motor Girl

I’ve dreaded reading the final issue of this series which feels like it was cut off WAY too quickly. Terry Moore, as usual, delivers a story full of characters that are larger than life and is full of heart.

The story is about a Veteran with PTSD who watches over a junk yard, her imaginary gorilla friend, aliens, and a mysterious group. It’s crazy, fun, and I found myself choking up so many times reading the series.

It took me forever to read the final issue because I didn’t want it to end. We got two volumes and for that I’m thankful.

Runners Ups:

  • Centipede – Who’d think a comic based on a video game would be so good? Basically, it’s a “last man on Earth” type story and just nails the concept of the video game but also games us an “Omega Man” type spin on it all.
  • The Flintstones – Written by Mark Russell this series is some of the smartest and subtle political and social commentary in any writing going on today. The comic covered everything from religion to consumerism to the 2017 election. And like his writing in Prez no one is safe, the right and the left are equal fodder. Entertaining, smart, and elevating the classic characters to a whole new level. It wrapped up in 2017 and looks like Russell might already have the best of 2018 with another cartoon, Snagglepuss.
  • Mech Cadet Yu – Greg Pak‘s Pacific Rim with kids is amazing. Takeshi Miyazawa‘s art is always beautiful, the story is fun, full of action, and there’s depth there that few comics have.
  • The Wendy Project – Depressing yet so good. A new spin on the Peter Pan story. It’s Wendy dealing with the death of her little brother and it’ll leave you pondering what’s real and what’s not.

 

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Batman/Elmer Fudd Special

DC did some impressive mash-ups this year mixing their classic superheroes and Looney Tunes characters.

The strangest and best of the DC Comics/Looney Tunes begins with a Will Eisner-esque title page, and writer Tom King, artist Lee Weeks, and colorist Lovern Kindzierski unveil a world more akin to the actually good comics by Frank Miller and not anything on a Saturday Morning cartoon. Batman/Elmer Fudd is a noir tale starring human versions of Looney Tunes and a billionaire who dresses up like a bat.

Again, Tom King magic.

More please!

Runners Up:

  • 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank – The often delayed series wrapped up in 2017 and delivered a final issue that was utterly fantastic. I expected more debate as to what it all meant but the ability to interpret it as you want makes it all the more charming.
  • Barrier – Two humans are kidnapped by aliens. One speaks English, the other Spanish. This digital series is all about their attempt to communicate as they try to escape. For readers who may only speak one of the two languages, it’s an amazing series.
  • Spencer & Locke – What is Calvin and Hobbes were detectives in Sin City? A twisted take on classic characters I loved the first volume and can’t wait for the next. A detective gritty noir tale that has fun with your childhood characters.
  • Heathen – Lesbian vikings kicking ass. The series was an unexpected one for me but the story is fantastic with its focus on love with a style that screams metal.

 

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Bolivar

Sybil knows that there is something off about her next-door neighbor, but she can’t seem to get anyone to believe her. Everyone is so busy going about their days in the busy streets of New York City that they don’t notice Bolivar. They don’t notice his odd height, his tiny arms, or his long tail. No one but Sybil sees that Bolivar is a dinosaur!

I won’t shut up about this graphic novel which is hands down the best art of anything released this year and a story that’s beyond adorable, cute, and entertaining.

This is an instant classic that absolutely is a must have. Sean Rubin nailed it and then some.

Runners Up:

  • A Small Revolution – A country gripped in the middle of a revolution seen through the eyes of a small child. I dare you to read this and not choke up at the end.
  • Hostage – In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, André was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world.Artist and writer Guy Delisle recounts André’s experience in Hostage the new graphic novel from Drawn & Quarterly that’s one of the most fascinating graphic novels I’ve read this year.
  • Roughneck – Jeff Lemire writes and provides art in this new graphic novel which defies expectations and presents a story about family and an abusive past. The story isn’t flashy, it’s about family drama and an individual’s choice as to how they deal with what’s in front of them.At its heart, Roughneck is a story about abuse, and by setting it in Canada, Lemire layers the story on top of the history of abuse faced by people of the First Nations in Canada. Lemire tackled the topic twice this year and cemented himself as one of the best writers currently in comics.

 

Best Genre of the Year – Indie Comics/Small Publishers

Is it a “genre”? We can argue about that, but lets face it, 2017 was a year we saw major creators continue to shrug off the big two, instead launching creator-owned series at other publishers, digitally, or through Kickstarter. We saw more comics, in more varieties, on more subjects and more ways to consume them, than any time before. It really wasn’t the year of the Big Two, this was a year that we as consumers could continue to find something that would fit our varied tastes.

With more channels for distribution and more ways to produce comics, we’re in a golden age where the old ways of publishing no longer hold back the creativity that abounds.

I named Indie Comics “it” in 2013, 2014, and 2015, 2016, and nothing changed in 2017. There’s a massive opening for someone to step in and be a mainstream breakout, maybe 2018 will be the year we see it.

 

Best Surprise of the Year – DC Comics

DC_Logo_RGB_0318162016 was a year that had everyone shaking their head when they heard DC was shaking things up again and “rebooting.” Except, their reboot was anything but.

2017 showed the publisher could maintain the quality as well as blend the old with the new not just in their ongoing line but also with event comics like Dark Nights: Metal and Doomsday Clock. Hope, grimm, gritty, the publisher was able to pull it all off and more.

 

The company continued to expand upon its digital first program, and has continued to look towards expanding its market with its DC Super Hero Girls line.

They also did this as their movie output was mixed and television output strong. Now to get everything to line-up and the DC brand as a whole could be unstoppable.

Finally, the company finally did the right thing firing an employee with history of abuse after serious public pressure. It took a long time, but in some ways it feels like a new era for the publisher (who is still bruised a bit from the situation).

The dots are all there, now we’ll see if the company has the vision to connect them all in 2018 and beyond.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Kickstarter

KickstarterLast year’s disappointment continued to be so, as projects were delayed, vapor ware, or not as advertised. Also add in issues on the creator end of folks pledging high amounts and then disputing the charges, at times getting the goods. Add in the platform’s unwillingness to step in to deal with either situation and you get a tech company showing off it’s greed. What was once the toast of the town has shown its cracks which will only get worse.

The crowdfunding platform became a way for creators to raise funds for projects, only to get picked up by publishers, at times delaying projects and leaving bad tastes in the mouths of fans. If all creators were held to the standards of some of the best users of the system, there’d be no issue, but over 90% of the projects I’ve pledged to have been delayed or non-existent only creating angry backers and fans.

We’ve loosened are unwillingness to promote projects but we still feel responsibility for the delays and utter lies.

Kickstarter continues to be tone-deaf, and it’s only a matter of time before someone stands up and challenges the platform with a system that’s fair to creators, and protects those who pledge.

Oh how the mighty continue to fall.

 

Publisher of the Year – …..

This one I’ve thought about the most out of all of the categories on the list. Again I keep going back and forth between all of the publishers trying to figure out who stands out. For each strength one brings to the table, they also have major weaknesses. Whether it’s a focus on a genre, pigeonholing themselves with adults, failure in digital, a mix of quality of comics, none of them are good everywhere. But, the comic industry has really grown in 2017 with no one breaking out as THE publisher to rival the big two. Partially that’s because so many have stood out with some of what they’ve done, but none have stood out for their whole.

Out of all of that, where’s the standout above everyone else? They’re all good in their own ways, but each have some flaws, with some of those flaws being pretty big. After a lot of deliberation, I couldn’t decide on one, so I chose none.

Each publisher is close to going huge, it’s just taking someone to connect those dots. Or maybe no one will, and it’ll be up to the individual creators to fill up the gap.

So, we’ll be doing something different…. rewarding Gold, Silver, and Bronze ratings. There’s a lot of publishers not on here and it’s not a slam, it’s just I don’t have a hole lot to say about them.

Gold

DC Comics came really close to being named for this. They’ve done some amazing stuff in the year with Rebirth being a smash hit. There’s still something slightly off, but out of every publisher, they continue to be the most improved and stable.

Valiant has one of the best comic lines on the market and there isn’t one series that isn’t a good read. They’ve also mixed things up with superhero genres and have done interesting digital releases and are making moves for live action. Still, the publisher doesn’t have anything beyond superhero and there’s some diversity issues when it comes to writers. It’s quality comics but it’d be nice to see some POC and women tackling some of these characters. One thing to work on for 2018.

Lion Forge Comics‘ Catalyst Prime line has been a pleasant surprise in 2017 and while most of the comics are good there’s few that are amazing for me. Still, out of all of the publishers, this one is backing up it’s words with action, something to be applauded. Beyond Catalyst Prime there’s some fantastic series that aren’t given enough of a spotlight or credit.

First Second – A graphic novel publisher that has something for kids to adults and everyone in between. Tons of different topics, styles, and length, this is the best graphic novel publisher out there with a well rounded line.

Silver

Image has become of the home of amazing indie comics by big name creators, but they generally lack a kids line that gets the next generation of readers and the sales just aren’t their in floppies. There’s also some real stinkers in their releases plus massive gaps and delays that really hurt momentum. The publisher also had issues with some releases and their response (Divided State of Hysteria being an example) attempting to claim “diverse with inclusive” but also “edgy” at the same time. It was a clunker of a reaction.

BOOM! Studios has had a great mix of comics, but they’re missing that ongoing series that goes on for 30 to 50 issues. But, out of every publisher, this one has really embraced the concept of a diverse line and creators and is the publisher everyone else goes to try and steal talent.

AfterShock  has had amazing releases but is just missing a big hit. They should have a bigger market than they do and it’s a headscratcher as to why more hasn’t caught on.

Dark Horse is just a consistently good comic publisher with lots of quality but again nothing that’s a massive hit. Hellboy continues to be one of the best comic universes out there and Black Hammer is amazing but neither are burning up the charts.

Bronze

Action Lab has had entertaining releases but feels like it’s missing a massive hit and has had issues distinguishing between it’s all-ages and adult line.

IDW Publishing has had a weird year with an over reliance on comics from Hasbro and no real breakouts. They’ve stumbled too with their handling of some talent and have gone all in with their Black Crown line that feels like it’s Vertigo-redux when the comic industry has moved on from that.

Participation Prize

Of the big two Marvel has stumbled… a lot and continues to stumble. Entire articles can be written in that department, but the company is not the juggernaut its been in quite some time and I correctly predicted some big shake-ups in 2017. But, what’s it say about the rest of the industry that no one has really stood up to challenge them?

Black Mask Studios, I know everyone shits on Marvel, but to me, Black Mask is the biggest disappointment when it comes to a publisher. Comes that are delayed for crazy amounts of time, books that are hyped and wind up being better concepts than execution, the publisher feels like there’s little to no discipline and unreliable. This is how you take quality and flush it down the toilet. For a publisher that said it was going to disrupt comics, it has wound up being the worst of Image, the quality without the consistency.

 

 

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!

COMICS

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.

 

BOOKS

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.

 

DOCUMENTARIES/DOCU-SERIES

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.

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