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Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2019

2019 was an interesting year for me comics-wise as I did not get to read as widely or deeply as I liked because of a variety of factors, including my final two semesters of graduate school, working two library jobs (Where ordering and promoting comics were part of my duties.), and an impending move. Also, I decided to catch up on some “classic” comics like Miracleman, Ghost in the Shell, Junji Ito‘s Tomie, and most of Brian Michael Bendis‘ and Michael Oeming‘s Powers, and Gail Simone‘s run on Secret Six.

However, I did have the opportunity to read some fantastic comics in 2019 as two of my favorite series of all time reached their conclusion. I also branched out a little bit, and this is the first time my year-end list has featured books from Ahoy and Harper Collins as well as a self-published comic.

Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion

10. Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion (Dark Horse)

Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá, and Nick Filardi‘s Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion is as wild and anarchic as the Netflix show was tame and Muggle-friendly. Hotel Oblivion is a love letter to Silver Age supervillains while actually taking time to deal with the relationships between the Hargreaves siblings. Bá and Filardi’s visuals are a chaos magic-shaped bullet to the head and especially sings in the world and city-rending set pieces towards the end of the miniseries that I read in trade paperback format.

Dreamers of the Day

9. Dreamers of the Day (Self-published)

Beth Barnett‘s self-published graphic memoir-meets-historical biography Dreamers of the Day is one of the most unique comics I’ve read in recent years. It chronicles the author’s trip to England as she conducts research on a graphic biography about T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia and is educational while being emotionally compelling. If there’s one word to describe this comic, it is “enthusiastic” as Barnett’s passion for making art, studying history, and making it relevant to contemporary readers shines through in her iconic, Herge-esque art style and accessible prose.

Winter Soldier

8. Winter Soldier #2-5 (Marvel)

Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis create a redemptive narrative for the sidekick-turned assassin-turned superhero and occasional black ops agent, Bucky Barnes in their Winter Soldier miniseries. The comic’s beating heart is the flawed relationship between Bucky and RJ, a child assassin, that Bucky sees a lot of himself in. There is both humor and tragedy in their interactions. Reis’ lush pencils to color art style works for both the emotional breakdowns and action beatdowns.

Steeple

7. Steeple #1-4 (Dark Horse)

The fantastic John Allison (Giant Days) both writes and draws this miniseries about an Anglican priest in training named Billie, who is assigned to a parish in the kooky village of Tredregyn, Cornwall. Steeple has an “anything but the kitchen sink” tone as its plots include fights against sea monsters, a charismatic Christian cult connected to windmills, and an ongoing conflict against the Church of Satan. (Billie also strikes up an unlikely friendship with the Satanic priestess, Maggie.) Allison mines a lot of humor out of the idiosyncrasies of different religions and small town life as well as the melodrama of good versus evil, and his art is expressive as always with the help of colorist Sarah Stern.

Second Coming

6. Second Coming #1-5 (Ahoy)

Speaking of religious satire, Mark Russell, Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk, and Andy Troy do an excellent job of showing how the historical figure Jesus would be received in the modern world with the twist of having an “edgy” superhero named Sunstar as a roommate. Beginning with a retelling of the creation of the world, Russell and Pace walk a tightrope between reverence and irreverence touching on a variety of issues, including megachurches, homophobia, and Pauline theology. Another enjoyable part of Second Coming is Leonard Kirk’s inking when the story decides to be a traditional superhero comic for a second, or there’s a flashback to Satan tempting Jesus as he plays a complex role in the narrative.

Once and Future

5. Once and Future #1-5 (BOOM! Studios)

I knew Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain‘s Once and Future would be my cup of tea when it featured Arthurian legends and the town of Bath where I studied abroad in summer 2014 as plot points as well as having a complicated relationship between a grandmother and grandson at its core. Once and Future is action-packed read steeped in Arthurian lore with dynamic art from Mora and a mystical color palette from Bonvillain. It’s a straightforward adventure/dysfunctional family/romance comic that also plays with the symbols (Excalibur, Holy Grail etc.) and tropes of these kinds of stories, and I’m glad that it’s an ongoing and not just a mini.

Giant Days

4. Giant Days #46-54, As Time Goes By (BOOM! Studios)

Esther, Daisy, and Susan finally go their separate ways in the final issues of John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar‘s Giant Days plus a reunion one-shot where Daisy and Susan tag-team and rescue Esther from the clutches of Type A London publishing types. The final year of Giant Days had a lot of pathos to go with its usual comedy with several issues focusing on the strained relationship between Susan’s boyfriend McGraw and his father and his reaction to his sudden death. There is also all the usual college shenanigans with moments of reflection to show that these women have come a long way from randomly sharing a room back in far off 2015.

House of X and Powers of X

3. House of X #1-6, Powers of X #1-6 (Marvel)

In their ambitious twelve-issue House of X/Powers of X “event”, Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, and Pepe Larraz made the X-Men relevant again thanks to a heavy dose of speculative fiction, geopolitics, and good old fashioned superhero soap opera. Hickman gave B-list characters like Goldballs, Doug Ramsey, and of course, Moira MacTaggert and the sentient island of Krakoa pivotal roles in his story of a rise of a mutant nation as well as the usual suspects like Magneto, Professor X, the Summers family, Jean Grey, and Emma Frost. He created a fantastic sandbox for these fan-favorite characters to play in as well as leaving some intrigue open for the spinoff stories. (The whole Moira X thing, Kitty Pryde being unable to enter Krakoa, Apocalypse and Sinister’s intentions.) I haven’t been this excited to read the X-Books as a line since Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen were writing Wolverine and the X-Men and Uncanny X-Men respectively. Plus the Hickman designed diagrams add great depth to the story and area visual treat.

New Kid

2. New Kid (HarperCollins)

New Kid is a middle-grade graphic novel by cartoonist Jerry Craft that was recommended to me by my supervisor at the public library I worked at. Itis about an African-American teenager named Jordan, who transfers from a diverse public middle school to a less diverse private one. Over the course of the book, Craft fleshes out Jordan and his relationships with his old friends from his neighborhood to his new ones at the private school as he navigates playing soccer, racial microaggressions, crushes, and bonding over art and video games. The comic deftly navigates race and class issues while being an enjoyable slice of life story with Craft adding some fun visual flourishes like making the title page of each chapter a pop culture homage. New Kid‘s clear storytelling and a relatable storyline about not fitting in at a new school make it a book that I would recommend to kids and adults, comics and non-comics readers.

The Wicked + The Divine

1. The Wicked + the Divine #41-45 (Image)

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson really stuck the landing in the final arc of The Wicked + the Divine, which was titled “Okay” and followed the surviving Pantheon members as they gave up divinity and lived normal lives. Basically, they grew up, and so did I. The last issues of WicDiv are peppered with powerful moments as Gillen and McKelvie connect flashbacks of the millennia past to the Pantheon’s reality and let Ananke/Minerva be a manipulator, Luci be wicked, Baal be a protector, and Laura be human one last time. The final issue is an epilogue set in the future and filled with love and emotion with McKelvie and Wilson nailing the look of the elderly, former Pantheon members. It’s sad to see WicDiv go, but it had a beautiful ending and was my favorite comic, both of 2019 and of the decade as a whole.

Discover Your Favorite Memories in The Quotable Giant Days

BOOM! Studios has announced the brand new The Quotable Giant Days, collecting witty and humorous quotes from the Eisner Award-nominated series by creator John Allison and featuring brand new illustrations from acclaimed series artist Max Sarin to guide you through the ups and downs of living your life to its fullest, available in stores July 2020.

Giant Days fans will delight in this charming collection of the very best zingers and scenes from the acclaimed series about a group of eccentric and eclectic students who manage to survive university and become lifelong friends in the process. Let Daisy, Esther, and Susan’s words of relative wisdom and great hilarity provide you with a quote for every occasion. 

The Quotable Giant Days will be available for sale in July 2020.

Giant Days Volume 1

Preview: Giant Days: As Time Goes By #1

Giant Days: As Time Goes By #1

Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: John Allison
Artist: Max Sarin
Colorist: Whitney Cogar
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artists:  
    Main Cover: Max Sarin
    Variant Cover: Max Sarin
Price:
$7.99

One year after their graduation from university, Esther De Groot and Daisy Wooten are back in Sheffield for a reunion with Susan and McGraw.

The year apart has not been easy for all of them, and this reunion will only draw out the secrets they have all been keeping for too long!

The series finale of one of the most acclaimed comics series of the decade reveals the future of everyone’s favorite best friends!

Giant Days: As Time Goes By #1

Preview: Giant Days #54

Giant Days #54

Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: John Allison
Artists: Max Sarin
Colorist: Whitney Cogar
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Max Sarin
Price: $3.99

Summer is ending, and so are Daisy and Esther’s days at university (Susan still needs to finish medical school, of course). These last days together are worth their weight in gold, but soon it will be time for pomp, circumstance, and silly hats, as the girls head out into the world and face their futures!

Giant Days #54

Preview: Giant Days #53

Giant Days #53

Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: John Allison
Artists: Max Sarin
Cover Artist:
Max Sarin
Colorist: Whitney Cogar
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Price: $3.99

Final exams, final friendship times, and some final goodbyes for Daisy, Esther, and Susan before the summer term wraps up, and it’s suddenly time to say goodbye to Sheffield!

Giant Days #53

SDCC 2019: BOOM! Announces the Finale to Giant Days

BOOM! Studios continues The Road to San Diego, a ten-day, ten-announcement spotlight in advance of San Diego Comic-Con 2019 in San Diego (July 17–21), with the announcement today of Giant Days: As Time Goes By #1. The oversized one-shot comic book issue concludes the Eisner Award-nominated series by creator John Allison and artist Max Sarin, giving fans one final adventure with Esther, Daisy, and Susan after they’ve graduated from Sheffield University, and will be available in stores October 30, 2019. 

Where are they now? Well, fourteen months after graduation, Esther, Susan, and Daisy have moved onto different careers, friends, and lives, and it’s safe to say that things aren’t quite the same. Their reunion in Sheffield is their chance to reconnect and rebuild the close-knit best friendships they all had while at university, but Esther’s a publishing muckety muck in London now and not sure she can make time for her old friends. 

Will she be able to escape the time-sucking vortex of her vampiric co-workers, the Cressidas, and their awful influence long enough to make the reunion? Will Susan and Daisy ever forgive Esther if she doesn’t show up? Is this the absolute end for our favorite Sheffielders? And what’s McGraw doing all day at the local key shop? So many questions, so little time As Time Goes By in this double-sized special finale issue.

Giant Days: As Time Goes By #1 features a main cover and variant cover by artist Max Sarin.

Giant Days: As Time Goes By #1 main cover by Max Sarin
Giant Days: As Time Goes By #1 variant cover by Max Sarin

Preview: Giant Days #52

Giant Days #52

Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: John Allison
Artists: Max Sarin 
Colorist: Whitney Cogar
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Max Sarin
Price: $3.99

In a follow-up to Holiday Special 2017, Esther goes for a job interview in London and reunites with her old friend Shelley Winters. While Esther covets Shelley’s metropolitan existence, Shelley is already tired of the rat race and her high pressure civil service job, and longs to publish brain-rotting books. So while Shelly tries to prepare Esther for her interview, Esther steers Shelley towards a glittering future among the literati!

s. So while Shelly tries to prepare Esther for her interview, Esther steers Shelley towards a glittering future among the literati!

Giant Days #52

Preview: Giant Days Vol. 10 SC

Giant Days Vol. 10 SC

Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint BOOM! Studios
Writer:  John Allison
Artist: Max Sarin, Julia Madrigal
Colorist: Whitney Cogar
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Cover Artist: Max Sarin
Price: $14.99

The final year of university is about to start for best mates Daisy, Esther, and Susan, and everything is going completely off the rails. From finding somewhere to live at the last minute, to broken bones, to the looming terror of the adult world, this semester is one you won’t want to miss.

John Allison (Bad Machinery, Scary Go Round) and illustrators Max Sarin and Julia Madrigal are our “resident advisors” for this action-packed fall term!

Collects Issues #37-40 of the Eisner Award-nominated series.

Giant Days Vol. 10 SC

Preview: Giant Days #51

Giant Days #51

Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: John Allison
Artists: Max Sarin
Cover Artist: Max Sarin
Price: $3.99

When McGraw’s father dies unexpectedly, the small friend group is shaken. Susan struggles to be there for McGraw, but his usual stoicism has turned into a solid wall. With McGraw at home and Susan in their empty apartment alone, Esther and Daisy have to help Susan deal with someone who doesn’t seem to be dealing. What do you do for someone you love when you have no idea what they’re going through?

Giant Days #51

Around the Tubes

Giant Days #50

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone excited for? What do you plan on getting? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

WSOC – University of South Carolina gets more than 180,000 rare comic books – That’s a lot of comic books. Our site collection is somewhere between 25,000-30,000 comics. How big is everyone’s collection?

Reviews

Newsarama – Excellence #1
Talking Comics –
Giant Days #50
Talking Comics –
War of the Realms #3

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