With her friendship to Go-Go Space Baby—and connection to the Seijin gang—irrevocably destroyed, Zhang finds herself alone and unprotected amongst the world’s most dangerous metaphors. Jeong’s smog smuggling side hustle takes a dark turn as the power structure of the prison is upended. And Warden Miss Bao starts the wheels slowly turning to deal with a serious discipline problem. Also: Black milk! Interdimensional adoption! Interrupted rampages! And…Grand Theft Chicken-House?
Diamond Comic Distributors has announced the top selling comics and graphic novels of 2018. Marvel was the top publisher of the year with The Infinity Gauntlet taking the slot for bestselling graphic novel of the year. That’s not surprising due to all of the excitement and success around Avengers: Infinity War in theaters. DC Comics came in second place for publishers and had the bestselling comic of the year with Action Comics #1000. Image Comics ranked third for publishers and lead the graphic novel chart with six out of the top ten titles.
Annual comic book sales to the comic book specialty market increased in 2018, up +3.3% for the year, while graphic novel sales dipped -6.6% from 2017. Combined, annual sales of comic book and graphic novels to comic book shops were up slightly in 2018, by .6%.
Marvel Comics finished the year as the comic book specialty market’s top publisher, leading in both Dollar and Unit Market Shares, with a 38.24% Dollar Market Share and a 40.4% Unit Market Share. Marvel Comics top comic book, Amazing Spider-Man #800, the ten-year landmark issue led by Dan Slott and Stuart Immomen, charted at #2 for the year. Overall, Marvel had seven titles in the top ten comics of the year, including the preceding Amazing Spider-Man #798 and #799, as well as Fantastic Four #1, Amazing Spider-Man #1, Return of Wolverine #1, and Venom #1. That’s four comics written by Dan Slott in the top ten. Marvel Comics also had the top graphic novel of the year with The Infinity Gauntlet, the epic crossover event from Jim Starlin, George Pérez, and Rom Lim.
DC Entertainment was the comic book specialty market’s number two publisher in 2018 with a 30.04% Dollar Market Share and a 33.82% Unit Market Share. DC Entertainment had three of the year’s top ten comics; in addition to Action Comics #1000, Batman #50, and The Batman Who Laughs #1 were among the top ten.
Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ award-winning science fiction epic, Saga from Image Comics once again dominated the top ten graphic novels chart and solidified Image Comics as the year’s third largest comic book publisher, with a 9.93% Dollar Market Share and a 9.9% Unit Market Share. Image Comics took six of the top ten graphic novel spots, with Saga Volume 9 charting as the #2 best-selling graphic novel for 2018. Saga Volumes 1 and 8 also placed in the top ten, along with The Walking Dead Volume 29 Lines We Cross (#6), Paper Girls Volume 1 (#7), and Monstress Volume 1 (#10). The best-selling comic book for the year from Image was Mark Millar’s The Magic Order #1 at #18.
IDW Publishing was the comic book specialty market’s fourth largest publisher, propelled by its licensed titles from Hasbro, Disney, and Lucasfilm. The company’s Dollar Market Share was 3.83% for the year. Marvel Action: Spider-Man #1, was IDW’s top-selling comic book, landing at #460 for the year.
Dark Horse Comics‘ mix of creator-owned and licensed titles helped the company to be the fifth-ranked publisher in the comic book specialty market in 2018 with a 2.92% Dollar Market Share. Dark Horse’s top comic book for the year Stranger Things #1, based upon the popular Netflix series, at #184.
BOOM! Studios was the sixth ranked publisher at 2.24%, and Dynamite Entertainment was seventh at 1.86%. Viz Media, Titan Comics, and Oni Press rounded out the top ten comic book publishers for 2018.
Oni Press has announced that Editorial Director of Licensed Publishing, Sarah Gaydos, has been promoted to Editor in Chief. Gaydos, the Eisner Award, Ringo Award, and Diamond Gem winner for Love is Love, joined Oni Press in April 2018 following her role as Group Editor at IDW. In her former position, she championed such licensed comic titles as Star Trek and Jem and the Holograms, as well as oversaw original content like Infinite Loop.
In her time at Oni Press, Gaydos has taken on licensed properties such as Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty, as well as acquired exciting new original and licensed content in development. In her new role, she will oversee and guide the editorial department, develop further licensed partnerships, and continue the company’s long-time emphasis on groundbreaking creator-owned work.
Gaydos began her comics career at WildStorm, an imprint of DC Comics, in 2006. She began in the administration department, and worked her way into editorial, cutting her teeth on licensed titles like World of Warcraft and titles for younger readers like Batman: Li’l Gotham. After joining IDW Publishing and eventually being promoted to Group Editor, Gaydos has found success editing a wide variety of content, with a special focus on comics for kids. In 2016, Gaydos won the “Best of San Diego People” award for her work in lifting up women in comics, and also received the ComicsAlliance Outstanding Editor award. She has traveled extensively, speaking on licensing, women in comics, and the importance of comics for kids and new readers.
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 – 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 – 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
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
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 1923to 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.
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.
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.)
This Free Comic Book Day (FCBD), Oni Press is excited to announce a 2019 Silver Offering from Eisner-nominated cartoonist Joey Weiser featuring two all-new stories about Truff, the main character in his upcoming all-ages graphic novel, Ghost Hog!
Truff is the ghost of a young boar. With her friends Claude and Stanley, she helps other denizens of the forest—especially if they’re spirits like her! Of course, sometimes the others don’t want her help….
Free Comic Book Day is a single day in the first week of May when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops.
The Ghost Hog Silver Offering is available at participating comic shops on May 5, 2019, and the full 168-page graphic novel will be available everywhere on May 7, 2019.
(W) Sam Logan, (A), Maddie C., (C) Fred C. Stresing, (CA) A: Warren Wucinich with Fred C. Stresing, B: Maddie C. with Fred C. Stresing
Age Rating: All Ages
Genre: Sci-Fi/Humor—Price: $3.99—Page Count: 32
ZIM’s latest insidious plan for world domination has dire consequences for GIR, and now everyone thinks the poor dog is dead. Not only that, they seem to think he’s some kind of… hero? Which is definitely a word that ZIM has never heard before.
(W) Kyle Starks, Tini Howard,
(A), Marc Ellerby and Jarrett Williams, (C) Sarah Stern,
(CA) A: Marc Ellerby with Sarah Stern, B: James Harvey
Age Rating: Teen, 16+
Genre: Sci-Fi/Humor—Price: $3.99—Page Count: 32
Did you ever wonder “man, I wonder what happened on that Cronenberg dimension?” The one where Rick and Morty turned everyone into Cronenbergs and then Jerry and Summer and Beth like survived a terrible body-horror apocalypse? Did you wonder that? You did? Bruh, this is the issue for you then.
(W) Josh Trujillo, (A) D.J. Kirkland, (C) Matt Herms,
(CA) A: Kris Anka, B: D.J. Kirkland with Matt Herms
Age Rating: Young Adult Audiences
Genre: Video Games, LGBTQ, Romance —Price: $2.99—Page Count: 23
“Dungeons & Daddies”
Hugo has been preparing for this moment for months, and it’s finally here. He’s wrangled all of the Dads to play an extremely popular but non-descript tabletop role playing game together! And with his carefully laid plans, Hugo is sure he’ll be the best Dungeon Master they’ve ever seen… as long as they all take the game as seriously as he does.
The renowned one-shot quarterly series, Rick and Morty Presents is back for a second volume, with four new, oversized single issues on the horizon including Jerry, Mr. Meeseeks, The Flesh Curtains, andUnity. The comic series tells four standalone stories, each focused on a different Rick and Mortycharacter from the critically-acclaimed Adult Swim show that follows sociopathic genius scientist, Rick Sanchez, who drags his inherently timid grandson on insanely dangerous adventures across the universe.
Rick and Morty Presents: Jerry #1
(W) Ryan Ferrier, (A) CJ Cannon, (C) Joshua Perez, (CA) A: CJ Cannon and Joshua Perez, B: Sina Grace
Rick and Morty™ Presents is back by popular demand! This very special issue focuses on everyone’s favorite character, Jerry. Jerry’s wisely blaming all his marital issues on his Dad-bod. When he goes to Rick for a quick fix, things go so poorly, it’s… demonic. Written by Ryan Ferrier (Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Regular Show, D4VE, and more!), with series artists CJ Cannon and Joshua Perez! Features a variant cover by Sina Grace.
Rick and Morty Presents: Mr. Meeseeks #1
(W) James Asmus and Jim Festante, (A) CJ Cannon, (C) Joshua Perez, (CA) A: CJ Cannon and Joshua Perez, B: Sarah Stern
A message from Mr. Meeseeks: You ASKED for it, and we’re obligated to deliver! That’s what Meeseeks DO, after all! But WAIT… who the heck asked us to find the MEANING OF LIFE?!? THIS IS ONLY A 30 PAGE STAND-ALONE STORY!! I’m Mr. Meeseeks and this will not end well!
Rick and Morty Presents: The Flesh Curtains #1
(W) Lilah Sturges, (A) CJ Cannon, (C) Joshua Perez, (CA) A: CJ Cannon and Joshua Perez, B: Marie Enger
Learn the true origins of THE FLESH CURTAINS, Rick’s rock band with BirdPerson and Squanchy! Booed off of every stage, they consider giving up… until Rick invents a machine capable of writing songs people can’t resist. But when their multi-dimensional concert goes awry, Rick suddenly finds himself in massive debt to a ruthless alien loan shark. Will Rick do the safe thing and play the music guaranteed to make the band a success, or do the insane thing and play the music guaranteed to alienate almost everyone in order to impress his favorite musician?
Rick and Morty Presents: Unity #1
(W) Tini Howard, (A) CJ Cannon, (C) Joshua Perez, (CA) A: CJ Cannon and Joshua Perez, B: Sina Grace
It takes a special kind of madness to capture and imprison Rick Sanchez — the kind of madness only an ex can deliver.Unity wants to make a play to take over the galaxy, and she’ll need the best (and worst) of her exes in her clutches to do it. And Rick wants his Party Naked t-shirt back, she stole it when they broke up.
The first issue of the second series of Rick and Morty™ Presents is scheduled for release March 13, 2019, with the subsequent issues releasing in June, September, and November.