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Brett’s Favorite Comics of 2020 and a Reflection on the Past Year

The Recount #1

It feels weird writing a “best of” list for the past year since it’s been so difficult for so many. Writer Ron Marz Tweeted something like any comic that helped to get you through it is a favorite, and deep down I agree with that. It’s been a rough year for so many and it’s one where the comic industry was forced to mature and face reality in many ways.

Things shifted for everyone.

Publishers canceled projects, shifted schedules, and looked to go directly to the consumer. Creators looked for new ways to earn money and also go directly to the consumer. Stores were forced to market more taking to video, email, and social media to keep customers aware of the latest offerings and remind them of classics they might have missed. Some stores didn’t make it through the year. Others expanded. New ones joined the industry. Consumers had more choices than ever before that made it easier to escape the world burning around them and find enjoyment in make-believe worlds where justice prevails in the end.

In the end, though 2020 looked bleak, it left the comic industry as a whole stronger than ever before.

It feels weird doing this “best of” but at the same time I feel like I want to “honor” and spotlight the comics that got me through the year and had me excited to read the next issues. This is what I’ve read so if you don’t see something mentioned it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I just might not have read it. Sorry, I can’t read everything (there was a massive glut in webcomics and manga for me).

So, in a bit different spin I’ve split this list into three sections.

  1. Comics where I’ve only read one issue so far, because that’s what’s been released, but am excited to see what comes in the new year.
  2. Comics I enjoyed each month and are kind of a “silver medal” for me. I wanted to acknowledge them but also didn’t want this to be an overwhelming essay. They’ll get more of a nod when I do a video of this.
  3. The ones I was excited to read each month or had an impact on me. These are the ones that go into my regular suggestions of comics to read down the road. The art, the stories, the presentation, they’re all at that “top of the game” level.

All of these are listed in no particular order (hell it’ll probably just be in alphabetical). Enough with the rambling… lets get on with some comics!

2020 gave us one, here’s ones I’m excited to read their second issues in 2021!

  • Batman: Black & White #1 – The first issue had some solid stories but it’s the art that really stood out. It was mind-blowing and one of the best comics visually released this year. Almost every story broke away from standard panels and was just amazing to look at. I have no idea if future issues will be like this but here’s hoping.
  • Black Cat #1 – The last volume was a lot of fun to read and this first issue continued that. Despite being a King in Black tie-in, the issue kept the focus on what Black Cat does best, steal things as everything collapses around her. There’s just a certain style and attitude that the creative team nails with this. It was a fun debut that you could just sit back, laugh while reading, and enjoy.
  • M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #1 – Marvel’s trying to make M.O.D.O.K. a thing. It’s kind of been his year between an upcoming HULU series, a popular miniature in Marvel: Crisis Protocol, and this comic. The first issue had me laughing and I’m hoping that continues.
  • The Other History of the DC Universe #1 – John Ridley is one of my favorite creators out there. His work in film and television have blown me away. It looks like DC has given him the opportunity to deliver a brutally honest take about the DC Universe from the perspective of people of color and the first issue is one of the best things I read all year. I can’t wait until the second and this man should be allowed to do whatever he wants.
  • The Recount #1 – The issue hit a bit close to reality. The President is a crook and assassinated and there’s an uprising to purge the country of everyone who supported him, from the Vice President down to voters. It was a hell of an opening issue and one that was chilling in so many ways.
Shang-Chi #1

Comics to check out…

These were all great reads and should go on your reading pile. These are ones I made sure to read every month and jumped at reading as soon as they crossed my desk. They’ll all get more love in my video version of this.

The comics that really stood out for the year.

All of these comics were ones that kept me thinking well after I read them and I’d be happy to read them again. Many are still ongoing while others have wrapped up their runs. Each stands out in its own special way.

Ginseng Roots #3
  • Black Widow – Kelly Thompson, Elena Casagrande, Jordie Bellaire, and Cory Petit are the main creators on what’s been released so far and every issue has been amazing. Black Widow has been captured and brainwashed into believing a domestic life is real and hers. There’s been a great mix of humor, action, in this spy thriller and it’s sure to ramp up now based on the latest issue’s final moments. This is a great mix of storytelling and visual coolness.
  • Dead Day – Man, I really want this to be done as a television series and absolutely need more comics. Ryan Parrot, Evgeniy Bornyakov, Juancho!, and Charles Pritchett deliver a masterclass in world-building. Not only do they deliver an interesting story but have crafted a bigger world. For one night, the dead return, and while the comic really told the story of one family, each issue fleshed out enough of what this event’s impact would be elsewhere to get you to think and imagine.
  • Far Sector – N.K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell, and Deron Bennett have breathed a breath of fresh air into the Green Lanterns with this series. We’re taken to an alien world where a new Lantern named Jo must solve a murder which takes her deep into a corrupt society. It does what science fiction does best, explore our real world. The visuals are stunning as well in what is a comic that’s timely capturing the current zeitgeist.
  • Ginseng Roots – Craig Thompson explores his childhood in what’s one of the most original comics this year. In a small format and with minimal colors, the comic tells us the history of ginseng and Thompson’s childhood.
  • Harley Quinn Black + White + Red – DC really shook things up this year and one way was a greater focus on digital releases. This series was an anthology that delivered a different creative team with every chapter. We got to see over a dozen different takes on Harley Quinn each of which was entertaining. If you want to see how much the creators matter when it comes to the storytelling, here you go. This is also a perfect example of where digital comics should be going from major publishers.
  • Kill a Man – This story focused on a gay man’s battles within the world of MMA was an updated take on the Rocky formula and done so well. You can come at it as a fan of MMA, as someone who’s LGBTQ, both, or just wanting good storytelling. Emotional with great action, it’s a home run from the team of Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Al Morgan, and Jim Campbell.
  • Superman Smashes the Klan – The miniseries was collected and it’s amazing. Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru, and Janice Chiang deliver a comic that captures the heart of Superman. Based on the groundbreaking radio play where Superman takes on the KKK, this comic is amazing in every aspect, from the story to the visuals. Add in some extra material from Yang about his own experiences and it becomes a comic everyone should read and one that helps define Superman in one of his best depictions ever.
  • Vlad Dracul – Matteo Strukul, Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov, and Joel Rodriguez tell us the story about the very real Vlad, the inspiration for Dracula. I learned a hell of a lot and would love to see more comics like this. It’s a crazy read that can be enjoyed for the history and education and/or the brutal story itself that would fit any fantasy world.
  • We Live – The first issue was perfection and got me to choke up. Each subsequent issue has built upon the world. In this story humanity is almost over but a mysterious entity from space will save 5,000 children but first they must get to extraction points. This is a few kids’ stories and their journey of survival. By Inaki Miranda, Roy Miranda, Eva De La Cruz, and Dave Sharpe each issue is visually amazing plus there’s some awesome bonus music you can listen to while reading.
  • Yasmeen – Talk about an emotional gut-punch with each issue. Saif A. Ahmed, Fabiana Mascolo, and Robin Jones tell the story of Yasmeen who was captured and tortured by Isis and her attempt to deal with the PTSD while settling after in the United States. Just an amazing blend of storytelling and real recent history.

Review: Dead Day #5

Dead Day #5 wraps up the series and continues its amazing world-building at the same time. More please!

Story: Ryan Parrot
Art: Evgeniy Bornyakov
Color: Juancho!
Letterer: Charles Pritchett

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Kindle
comiXology
Zeus Comics

Aftershock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Dead Day #4

Well, that was unexpected! Just when we thought we couldn’t like this series even more, Dead Day #4 throws one hell of a twist into things. This series delivers horror, action, a great concept, and fantastic world-building.

Story: Ryan Parrot
Art: Evgeniy Bornyakov
Color: Juancho!
Letterer: Charles Pritchett

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Kindle
comiXology
Zeus Comics

Aftershock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Batman #101

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Batman #101 (DC Comics) – The first two arcs of James Tynion IV’s run are over and now we’re getting to the meat of his vision and direction for the character. This is the fresh starting point for new readers as Batman lays out his vision of where things should go and faces new challenges in how to do it.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Presents: Madam Satan #1 (Archie Comics/Archie Horror) – Archie gets into the Halloween season with this one-shot comic where the Queen of Hell wants to prove herself to be the most powerful being in the Underworld!

Dark Nights: Death Metal Robin King #1 (DC Comics) – The issue is a lot of fun showing us more about Robin King and continuing the streak that the Death Metal one-shots are more entertaining than the event itself.

Dead Day #4 (AfterShock) – The series has been amazing so far not just telling a story but really creating a whole world for readers to think about and explore the impact of the concept. This issue continues the series’ excellent run really bringing the action and plot points together. And there’s a reveal we were not expecting.

Dune: House Atreides #1 (BOOM! Studios) – With the movie delayed, fans of Dune will just have this prequel comic series to enjoy for a while. We have an early review that loved the story and chess game of the characters.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #1 (AHOY Comics) – It’s more snarky tales of terror with a whole new title from the folks at AHOY! Add some laughs to your Halloween horrors!

Electric Black Presents #1 (Scout Comics/Black Caravan) – Two chilling tales of cosmic horror, madness, and wartime revenge as Scout launches their Black Caravan imprint!

Fantastic Four #25 (Marvel) – This is setting the Fantastic Four up for their next adventure! If you’re looking for a spot to start reading Marvel’s First Family, this is it.

History Comics: Challenger Disaster (First Second) – The first releases for the “History Comics” line-up were fantastic. They’re both entertaining and educational, perfect for young kids who want to learn and adults who want to brush up on history.

Juggernaut #2 (Marvel) – We didn’t know we needed this series. The first issue was fantastic and the second is just as solid. This is not what we thought it’d be and a story of redemption and reflection like this is just a gripping and touching read.

King Tank Girl #1 (Albatross Funnybooks) – Tank Girl moves to Albatross and we’re expecting the usual fun insanity the character and series bring.

Phantom Starkiller #1 (Scout Comics/Black Caravan) – Sci-fi trippy action that has a Kirby vibe about it. We really want to check this out after only really seeing the cover for the series. A very 70s vibe about it, we really want to find out more about one of the launch titles from Scout’s Black Caravan imprint.

Phantom of the Opera (A Wave Blue World) – An adaptation of the classic story. The visuals are amazing. Check out our review and make sure to pick it up!

The Scumbag #1 (Image Comics) – A new series from Rick Remender is always something to check out. With a rotating line of amazing artists, this is a series to check out and is intriguing. We have an early review to check out and decide if it’s for you!

Stillwater by Zdarsky & Perez #2 (Image Comics) – A mystery with horror tinge, the first issue was a solid slow build with one hell of an ending. We’re excited to see where this series goes. The idea is familiar but we’re expecting it to take us in a new and exciting direction.

Werewolf By Night #1 (Marvel) – While the first issue doesn’t hook us as much as we’d hope, there’s a lot here to like and it’s something new and different. It’s sort of tied to the “Outlawed” event impacting Marvel’s younger heroes and has a nice throwback aspect to it in many ways. There’s a lot of potential in this series.

Review: Dead Day #3

Dead Day has been fantastic with intriguing worldbuilding and the ability to pack so much into each issue. Dead Day #3 ups the action while continuing to deliver more about the holiday.

Story: Ryan Parrot
Art: Evgeniy Bornyakov
Color: Juancho!
Letterer: Charles Pritchett

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Kindle
comiXology
Zeus Comics

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Preview: Dead Day #3

Dead Day #3

Writer: Ryan Parrott 
Artists: Evgeniy Bornyakov 
Colorist: JUANCHO 
Letterer: Charles Pritchett 
Cover: Andy Clarke w/ Jose Villarrubia
$3.99 / 32 pages / Color / On Sale 09.16.20

Jeremy attempts to track down the monster responsible for his murder as well as uncover the terrifying secret behind it. Brandon finds himself amongst the dead and at the heart of the Revivalists’ most sacred ritual.  

From writer Ryan Parrott (OBERON, VOLITION, Power Rangers) and artist Evgeniy Bornyakov (DESCENDENT, YOU ARE OBSOLETE) comes an unnerving tale of existential horror with grave consequences.

Dead Day #3

Review: Dead Day #2

Dead Day has been fantastic with intriguing worldbuilding and the ability to pack so much into each issue. Dead Day #2 expands the world even further delivering more motivation and more about how the “Dead Day” works.

Story: Ryan Parrot
Art: Evgeniy Bornyakov
Color: Juancho!
Letterer: Charles Pritchett

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Kindle
comiXology
Zeus Comics

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Power Rangers: Drakkon New Dawn #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

A Man Among Ye #2 (Image Comics) – The semi-factual story about pirates has been interesting in that it includes a lot of little known facts about the subject and delivers an entertaining tale. The first issue was solid so we’re hoping the second continues.

Dead Day #2 (AfterShock) – The first issue wasn’t what we were expecting. The dead come back for one evening and this is the story of a family impacted by a love thought dead.

Decorum #4 (Image Comics) – Stunning art really highlights this sci-fi series.

G.I. Joe #7 (IDW Publishing) – This issue made the news because its exploration of trauma and the military. We’re expecting a possible run on the issue which is flying under the radar.

Maestro #1 (Marvel) – It’s not that we needed to see the origin of the character but we kind of want to see the origin of the character.

Once & Future #10 (BOOM! Studios) – An update to Arthurian legend. The series has been amazing with every issue.

Power Rangers: Drakkon New Dawn #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The Ranger Slayer is now in control and this miniseries will likely have a big impact on whatever is coming for the Power Rangers down the line.

The Shadow Service #1 (Vault Comics) – It’s spy craft meets black magic with Private Investigator Gina Meyers. The concept sounds like a lot of fun to us.

Voyage to the Stars #1 (IDW Publishing) – The comedy podcast comes to comics.

Yasmeen #2 (Scout Comics) – An emotional story of a young girl tortured by ISIS who’s trying to make a new life in the United States.

Exclusive Preview: Dead Day #3

Dead Day #3

Writer: Ryan Parrott 
Artists: Evgeniy Bornyakov 
Colorist: JUANCHO 
Letterer: Charles Pritchett 
Cover: Andy Clarke w/ Jose Villarrubia
$3.99 / 32 pages / Color / On Sale 09.16.20

Jeremy attempts to track down the monster responsible for his murder as well as uncover the terrifying secret behind it. Brandon finds himself amongst the dead and at the heart of the Revivalists’ most sacred ritual.  

From writer Ryan Parrott (OBERON, VOLITION, Power Rangers) and artist Evgeniy Bornyakov (DESCENDENT, YOU ARE OBSOLETE) comes an unnerving tale of existential horror with grave consequences.

Dead Day #3

Preview: Dead Day #1

Dead Day #1

Writer: Ryan Parrott 
Artists: Evgeniy Bornyakov 
Colorist: JUANCHO! 
Letterer: Charles Pritchett 
Cover: Andy Clarke w/ Jose Villarrubia 
Incentive Cover: Francesco Francavilla
$4.99 / 32 pages / Color / On sale 05.27.20

If the dead could come back for just one night, would we want them to?

Meet the Haskins, a seemingly normal suburban family, as they prepare for the annual macabre holiday known as “Dead Day” – when the deceased rise from the grave from sunset to sunrise. Some come back to reunite with family and friends, others for one last night of debauchery, still others with only one thing on their decomposing mind: revenge. 

From writer Ryan Parrott (OBERON, VOLITION, Power Rangers) and artist Evgeniy Bornyakov (DESCENDENT, YOU ARE OBSOLETE) comes an unnerving tale of existential horror with grave consequences.

Dead Day #1
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