Tag Archives: mockingbird

Madison’s Favorite Comics of 2016

Last year I prioritized cutting back on cape books and diversifying the publishers and stories that I read. Though many of the comics I read weren’t published in 2016 (especially ones I read during Women’s History Month) I still found it hard to narrow down the list of ongoing series I particularly loved throughout the year.

Here are ten comics I couldn’t put down in 2016:

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10. Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams

This is a series I would have loved as a child. Goldie is the perfect mix of Nancy Drew and Eloise (of Plaza fame). Goldie Vance is great for a younger audience but doesn’t shy away from emotionally complex stories. Goldie and her friends are well-rounded characters with a wide range of interests who readers–young and not-young alike–will be able to relate to.

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9. Elasticator by Alan C. Medina and Kevin Shah

Elasticator is the kind of smart, political superhero comic I wish was more prevalent. The writing is fresh and interesting and Shah’s art is lively and animated with great colors from Ross A. Campbell.

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8. Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung

Lottie Person is just about as far away from Scott Pilgrim as you could get, though they do, at times, share a similar self-absorption. Snotgirl quickly became one of my favorite series of the year, because while not many people can say they’re successful fashion bloggers, they can likely relate to Lottie’s personal problems. Leslie Hung and Mickey Quinn provide gorgeous, vibrant visuals and the best wardrobe in comics, to boot.

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7. We(l)come Back by Christopher Sebela and Claire Roe

Reincarnation? Check. Assassins? Check. Shadowy organizations? Check. A+ fashion choices? Check. Reincarnated assassins in love running from other assassins who are trying to assassinate them? …Also check. What more can you want from a story?

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6. Shutter by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca

Shutter is one of Image’s most underrated titles. The story follows Kate Kristopher, the daughter of legendary explorer Chris Kristopher, and her discovery of some little-known family history. The comic is consistently interesting not only because of its plot, but because del Duca and colorist Owen Gieni are constantly experimenting with narrative structure and using different techniques to influence how the story is read.

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5. Clean Room by Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt

Clean Room is a creepy psychological horror comic about journalist Chloe Pierce’s investigation of self-help master Astrid Mueller, who Pierce suspects is more cult leader than anything else. Or is she? Mueller is a fascinating character, and the unknowable question of which side she’s actually on only adds to the story’s suspense.

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4. The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

What if you could be a god, but you’d die within two years? Consistently equal parts entertaining and heartbreaking with consistently incredible art and color from Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson. You’ve probably heard of this one.

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3. Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Sean Parsons, and Ibrahim Moustafa

One of the few superhero comics I read this year, Mockingbird was one of my absolute favorites. Cain writes Bobbi Morse as confident and smart, and the result was a fun mystery thriller with gorgeous art. The series also featured some of my favorite colors and covers this year, by Rachelle Rosenberg and Joelle Jones.

By the time I write my 2017 list, I might be over Mockingbird’s cancellation.

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2. Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Val DeLandro

2016 was light on Bitch Planet–only four issues were released throughout the year–but continued to provide insightful and relevant commentary in what turned out to be a period of rapid change in the real-life political landscape.

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1. Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

Monstress started strong in 2015 and only got better. The main character, Maika, is a teenage girl living with a monster inside, something she learns to live with and use to her advantage as the plot develops. Monstress is full of unrepentant female characters set in a stunningly rendered fantasy world.

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Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2016

Some amazing comics came out in 2016 from both the Big Two and the indie ranks. This was the year that I had a lot of fun reading the books that came out in the “margins” of Marvel and DC that didn’t feature their top characters, but had idiosyncratic, top notch visuals, or just a good sense of humor. Black Mask continues to be my go-to for hard hitting indie work, and the whole BOOM! Box imprint continues to be as fun as ever.

Without further ado, these are my personal favorite comics of 2016, the ones that stimulated and entertained me the most in this difficult year.

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10. Kim and Kim #1-4 (Black Mask)
Writer: Mags Visaggio Artist: Eva Cabrera Colorist: Claudia Aguirre

Kim and Kim was a super fun sci-fi miniseries with some wild and wacky worldbuilding, rollicking action scenes, and lots of hilarious interactions between the two leads, Kim Q and Kim D. Writer Mags Visaggio put their friendship front and center giving the comic a strong emotional through-line between bounty hunter shenanigans. Also, Eva Cabrera excels at drawing attractive humans as well as strange aliens, and I enjoyed Claudia Aguirre’s pastel-filled color palette. It was also nice to have a story starring two queer women not end in senseless death.

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9. Jonesy #1-8 (BOOM! Studios)
Writer: Sam Humphries Artist: Caitlin Rose Boyle Colorists: Mickey Quinn, Brittany Peer

Every year, the BOOM! Box imprint seems to churn out a new title that captures my heart. Jonesy is a fire cracker of a comic starring a teenage girl, who can make anyone fall in love with anything. Unfortunately, that power doesn’t work on her personally, and it gets her into a lot of trouble. Sam Humphries’ writing has as little chill as his protagonist, and Caitlin Rose-Boyle’s art evokes the zines that Jonesy loves to make about her favorite pop star, Stuff. The hyper-stylized plots and faces that Jonesy pulls kept me laughing while Jonesy’s struggles with finding someone to love her and her strained relationship with her mom in the second arc gave me the feels. Her and her friends’ unabashed passion for life is kind of inspiring too.

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8. Ultimates #3-12, Ultimates 2 #1-2 (Marvel)
Writer: Al Ewing Artists: Kenneth Rocafort, Christian Ward, Djibril Morrisette-Phan, Travel Foreman Colorist: Dan Brown

Ultimates and Ultimates 2 were the gold standard for team superhero book at both Marvel and DC, and not even Civil War II could stop this title’s momentum. The Al Ewing-penned comic was more of a science fiction saga that happened to star a diverse cast of superheroes than a straight up team book as they tried to find productive solutions to problems like Galactus and the Anti-Man instead of just punching things. And like all good team books, there’s some great interpersonal tension like when Black Panther puts Wakanda before the team, Ms. America defies Captain Marvel, and Spectrum and Blue Marvel start smooching. Ultimates also has some wonderful tapestry-style double page spreads from artists Kenneth Rocafort, Christian Ward, and Travel Foreman that match its multiversal scope. It’s an entertaining and esoteric comic.

 

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7. Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1-2 (DC)
Writer: Sarah Vaughn Artist: Lan Medina Colorist: Jose Villarrubia

In 2016, DC really stretched its wings genre-wise with the Young Animal imprint and comics, like a satirical take on the Flintstones. But, the best of this quirky bunch was a Gothic romance take on Deadman from Fresh Romance‘s Sarah Vaughn, Fables‘ Lan Medina, and atmospheric colorist Jose Villarrubia. The main character, Berenice, can see ghosts, including Deadman, who are trapped in a haunted British mansion. There are secret passageways, mysterious backstories, and an epic, bisexual love triangle, but mostly, Deadman is a meditation on mortality and relationships, both platonic and romantic with some jaw-dropping scenery from Medina and Villarrubia.

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6. Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #2-13 (Marvel)
Writer: Kate Leth Artists: Brittney Williams, Natasha Allegri Colorists: Megan Wilson, Rachelle Rosenberg

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat is a comic that acknowledges how annoying getting your life together can be for twenty-somethings, who live in the city. Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, Megan Wilson, and Rachelle Rosenberg also throw injourneys to Hell, guest appearances from Jessica Jones and Jubilee, telekinetic bisexuals quoting Hamilton, and nods to the old Patsy Walker romance comics to a quite relatable comic. Brittney Williams’ Magical Girl and Chibi-inspired art is great for comedy purposes, but she and Leth also had some emotional payoffs throughout Hellcat thanks to the relationships developed between Patsy, Ian Soo, and She-Hulk, especially when she reacts to She-Hulk’s injury in Civil War II. Hellcat is fierce, high energy comic that is the best of both romance and superhero comics with the occasional trippy scene shift from Williams, Wilson, and Rosenberg.

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5. Mockingbird  #1-8 (Marvel)
Writer: Chelsea Cain Artist: Kate Niemczyk, Sean Parsons, Ibrahim Moustafa Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

Mockingbird was experimental, unabashedly feminist, pretty sexy, and just happened to star a former West Coast Avenger and be published by Marvel Comics. Thriller novelist Chelsea Cain plotted a pair of mysteries, involving cosplay cruises, doctor waiting rooms, corgis, and Marvel Universe deep cuts that were engaging thanks to detail filled art from Kate Niemczyk and inker Sean Parsons. Loaded with background gags and subtle foreshadowing for future issues, Mockingbird certainly has “replay” value as a comic and is triumphant, messy, and funny just like its lead character, Bobbi Morse and was a coming out party for Marvel’s next great colorist, Rachelle Rosenberg.

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4. Love is Love (IDW)
Writers: Various Artists: Various

I just reviewed this comics anthology a few days ago, but Love is Love is the 2016 comic that affected me personally the most as it showed the effects of The Pulse shooting on the LGBTQ community in a variety of ways. I latched onto stories about the vibrancy of the queer community in Orlando, the sanctuary effect of gay clubs that provided some of the anthology’s best visuals from Jesus Merino, Alejandra Gutierrez, and Michael Oeming, and the use of superheroes like Batman, Midnighter, and Supergirl as simple analogues of hope in the middle of heartbreak. Love is Love saddened me, but it also inspired me to continue to uplift my LGBTQ siblings as the racist, sexist, homophobes Trump and Pence take the office of president and vice president. It was also cool to see so many talented creators using their gifts to help raise money for Equality Florida.

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3. The Wicked + the Divine #18-24, #1831 (Image)
Writer: Kieron Gillen Artists: Jamie McKelvie, Stephanie Hans, Kevin Wada Colorist: Matthew Wilson

In WicDiv‘s third year, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson went a little blockbuster with big battles, splash pages, and an unexpected character death. But, the comic is still about the journey of Laura (Now Persephone.) from fan to artist, and how it has changed her life and relationships. And, in time honored tradition, WicDiv wasn’t afraid to get experimental with an issue featuring a Pantheon of Romantic poets and writers, like Mary Shelley and Lord Byron with lavish guest art from Journey into Mystery‘s Stephanie Hans, or the magazine issue with professional journalists interviewing Kieron Gillen roleplaying as Fantheon members with beautiful spot illustrations from Kevin Wada. As WicDiv enters its “Imperial Phase”, McKelvie and Wilson’s art is both opulent and disarming while Kieron Gillen has started to expose the personalities behind the explosions and drama of “Rising Action”.

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2. Giant Days #10-21, Holiday Special #1 (BOOM!)
Writer: John Allison Artists: Max Sarin, Liz Fleming Colorist: Whitney Cogar

Giant Days is funny, true, shows the value of a good inker in Liz Fleming to nail a face or gesture, and reminds me of a weekend I spent in its setting of Sheffield over two years ago. John Allison and Max Sarin have developed the personalities and mannerisms of the three leads: Susan, Esther, and Daisy that any situation that they’re plugged into from music festivals to housing selections and even cheating rings is pure entertainment. Allison, Sarin, and the bright colors of Whitney Cogar nail the ups and downs of college life with a touch of the surreal, and the series continues to be more compelling as we get to know Susan, Esther, and Daisy better as people.

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1. Midnighter #8-12, Midnighter and Apollo #1-3 (DC)
Writer: Steve Orlando Artists: David Messina, Gaetano Carlucci, ACO, Hugo Petrus, Fernando Blanco Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Steve Orlando’s run on Midnighter and Midnighter and Apollo has the most bone breaking action, the coolest panel layouts from David Messina, ACO, and Fernando Blanco and yes, the hottest kisses and other sexy stuff as Midnighter and Apollo are back in a relationship. Orlando shows his passion for the DC and Wildstorm universes by bringing in obscure or neglected characters, like Extrano, and making them instantly compelling or frightening in the case of Henry Bendix. Watching Midnighter skillfully take down opponents from the Suicide Squad to subway pirates or demons is an adrenaline rush, and Orlando tempers these action scenes with plenty of romance and personal moments. Midnighter and Midnighter and Apollo aren’t just the best superhero comics of 2016, but the best ones period. Come for the one-liners and shattered limbs and stay for the self-sacrificing love.

The Best Comics Of 2016 – Joe’s List

2016 was a good year for comics. Sure, there was some bad, but overall, it was a good year for the industry. A lot can happen in 365 days, so there is bound to be ups and downs, and this year was no different. As with every year, we saw good series end too soon, bad series go on too long, and new series, whether good or bad, enter the ring.

There were new series like Black Hammer, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank, and Animosity. Even existing characters were given new and fresh takes like The Vision by Tom King. Doom Patrol returned in a very fun and weird way. Both Detective and Action Comics continued their fantastic legacy. Superman, Wonder Woman and more DC books returned to great storytelling and adventures. We got two new characters taking the mantle of Iron Man in Dr. Doom and Riri Williams, and watched as a few more Marvel legends lost their lives.

Like every year, there were also big events. There were the good like fantastic events like DC Rebirth and disappointing ones in Civil War II. Inhumans fought with X-Men. Spider-Man started having a clone conspiracy. There were major controversies that crossed into mainstream media with Hydra-Cap. Sad moments like Chelsea Cain with Mockingbird.  And to close out the year, the release of the beautiful and emotional Love is Love.

We saw more diversity in comics, both in characters and creative teams. Moon Girl, Riri Williams, and Amadeus Cho all shot up the ranks of Marvel’s brightest heroes. New titles like Alters, and Black were released. Gay superheroes Midnighter and Apollo have a six issue run that is still going. Ta-Nahesi Coates joined Marvel to write Black Panther, as did Roxanne Gay on World of Wakanda. It is apparent the industry is changing, and there’s still a lot that needs to be done, but this year was an improvement, and a step forward.

We also lost famed Preacher and The Punisher artist Steve Dillon. 2016 was a year, like any year that saw comics released in it, so let’s give you another unnecessary ranking list based off of my opinions!

Best Superhero Comic – The Vision

 vision__12This could be in best surprises too. Tom King really took the comic world by storm this year, and this was one of the reasons why. He had other fantastic titles released as well, and they will be mentioned in this article, but The Vision was something so refreshing and so different for Marvel. A perfect run that didn’t feel too short, or too long, is something I don’t always say for Marvel books. The Vision truly felt perfect in almost every way.

It wasn’t just King that made this title so great, as Gabriel Hernandez Walta provided some wonderful art that captured some horrific and heartbreaking moments. It is amazing to realize that a book about synths had some of the most human moments of the year. That’s the power of an amazing creative team, and I bow to the both of them, and to Marvel for taking a chance on such an odd and awesome book.

Runners Up:

  • Detective Comics – As good as The Vision is, and as many lists it will sit at the top of, I was almost the guy to pick another title for my top superhero book. That book is Detective Comics. James Tynion IV has created a fantastic and classic run on the long running title. The way he captures the bat family is perfect. There was so many moments. Tim Drake. Batwoman and her father. Clayface being just awesome. Spoiler and her recent moment. Batman and his role as a leader and mentor. We also got some great art from Alvaro Martinez and others. What a fantastic book, and it just keeps getting better.
  • Wonder Woman – This is one of DC’s most consistent comics, and it does so by juggling two alternating storylines in different time periods. Greg Rucka writes a fantastic Diana. I have enjoyed going through the range of emotions she has been put through as we watch her learn of man and our world in one time period, and the lies she is being faced with and the struggle to keep her sanity in the other. Also her relationships with both Steve and Barbara are some of the best I have seen yet in her comic. The art by Nicola Scott, Liam Sharp and others was consistently awesome.
  • Superman – This is one of the other most consistent comics from DC. In my top 5 superhero books, I have three from DC, and there is a good reason. Honestly, Action Comics almost made it’s way into the list as well. Like the other books, this is another return to greatness after Rebirth for DC. Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have proven before they know Supes, Jon, and others as they write them so well. There has been so much great art by talents like Doug Mahnke, and so many good moments throughout the series.  Yes, to one of my good friends, even Krypto being pulled from the chest of The Eradicator counts as one of those moments, that was awesome too.
  • Power Man and Iron Fist – I can say without hesitation that David Walker has done an amazing job on this series. Even when he had to do a Civil War II tie in, he made it work. What amazes me most is that the series just keeps getting better. Sanford Greene has such an incredible and original art style that you instantly recognize, and together these two creative powerhouses have easily made this one of my favorite comics of 2016. The return of that certain Runaways character as the big bad makes it even better!

Best Non-Superhero Comic – Saga

 saga_33-1While I struggled with picking my top comics since I love all of these, Saga takes the cake due to consistency, most memorable moments, and my deep investment Saga takes the cake due to consistency, most memorable moments, and my deep investment to this incredible series. This comic is the one I constantly cannot wait to read, and that is due to the amazing work by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. We all know how good they both are, but they just kept the ball rolling in my opinion this year. Sure we had some slower arcs, but the overall big picture to this book just keeps getting bigger, and crazier.

There were so many moments that made me smile, tear up, and cliffhangers that left me with my mouth hanging open. Not a lot of comics do that to me, and Saga did it countless times. There is a reason this series is so popular, and is still going. It is just fantastic storytelling, with awesome world building. You don’t just care about the mother, father, and daughter, but the prince, his child, the lying cat, and so many others. You truly feel invested in these people, their actions, and their lives. I cannot wait to see where it goes next.

Runners Up:

  • Animosity – This is such a brilliant comic. The premise seems simple. Have animals take over the world and dominate humanity. But it’s the execution and creativeness behind this title by Marguerite Bennett and Rafael de Latorre that blows me away. The art is great, and the storytelling is brilliant. Sandor and Jesse have a fantastic and loving relationship, and each issue packs a ton of suspense. A great title from Aftershock Comics.
  • The Wicked + The Divine – What an original book, with fantastic art. I am a sucker for Jamie McKelvie on art and Kieron Gillen is no slouch on writing either. Together they have crafted a beautifully looking yet chaotic tale of vanity, arroagance, obsession, love, power, and so much more. When you have a book filled with pop star icon gods and godesses, I guess anything is possible.
  • Black Science – It is no secret that I am a big Rick Remender fan. He has done so much great work, and is only getting better in my opinion. This year alone he had so many good books going on at the same time, and delivered on every one. Black Science was the most consistent, and best work in my opinion. This is a crazy book that moves at a fast pace, and you truly never know what happens next. Now that is something you can say for any Remender book, but with the element of time and dimension hopping, he really goes there in this book. Fantastic series.
  • The Sheriff of Babylon – What a refreshing comic, and a reminder to people that no, comics aren’t just superheroes. Tom King had an amazing year this year, and is one of the best writers in general, and like The Vision, this is one of the reasons why. This is a gritty, violent, hard to look at book with some great art by Mitch Gerads. These two creators tell a tale of corruption, war, politics, and much more in a book that feels so deep and something that you’d see on tv or in the movies. This is a definite recommendation of mine.

Best Limited Series or One Shot – 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank

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You know you’ve got something good on your hands when you’ve released three issues in 2016 and you’re making this much of a splash. Matt Rosenberg and Tyler Boss gave us those three issues and they were packed with awesome adventures and incredible nostalgia to my childhood era. This book is already a classic to me, and there’s a few issues still to come.

I have reviewed the comic, and gave it a ten across the board, and I am sure the final issues will earn those scores as well. Hats off to Black Mask Studios, to Matt Rosenberg, and to Tyler Boss for making something so special, so raw, and so damn good. Remember, this is just about 4 kids who catch one of their fathers doing sketchy stuff with sketchy people. This isn’t some deep time travel plot, or fantasy adventure. It is a simple premise executed with brilliant creative fashion. It is in the writing, the panels, and the lettering. I cannot wait for the last few issues!

Runners Up:

  • Civil War II: Kingpin – Yes, another Matt Rosenberg book, and for good reason. He has three Marvel series coming, with one, Rocket Raccoon, already beginning. This book was violent, raw, gritty, over the top, and featured Frank Castle. Every issue was fantastic, and I felt like he really gets Fisk’s character so well. The art by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz was loosely sketched and fit the series violent and chaotic tones so well. I cannot wait to read the ongoing beginning in February written by the man who wrote this miniseries so well.
  • AD: After Death – Two books into this fantastic series, and I am already crowning it one of the best of 2016. There is one book left, but remember, when I say book, I mean just that. The second book comes close to one hundred pages, and they are beautifully written by Scott Snyder and beautifully painted by Jeff Lemire. I still do not know all of the answers to the cure of death, and the world below, but I know enough to say this is one fantastic series, and something truly special for the medium.
  • Minighter and Apollo – Another series that only is halfway done, but that halfway point has been fantastic. Not only is it fantastic that we are getting a different kind of superhero book where the two male protagonists are lovers, but they aren’t cliche, or stereotypical, or offensive. They are three dimensional, like real gay people actually are, except one has a computer in his head and can take on an army, and the other is a god. Steve Orlando has done a fantastic job on this, and so has Fernando Blanco on art. I hope we get an ongoing after this!
  • Superman: American Alien – This was a really fun book. We get different chapters of Superman’s life, from his childhood where he is trying to understand who he is and what these powers are, to him meeting Lois and being a reporter. We get some fantastic moments with him hanging out with his friends, getting drunk, and learning how to live as a god among men. I love the parts with his parents, and seeing not just their stress, but their overwhelming love. Max Landis and a who’s who of amazing artists like Jock, Joelle Jones, Francis Manipul, and more make this one of the best books of the year.

Best Writer – Rick Remender

img_0408I could have gone with Tom King, or the other three excellent writers on my list, and none of them would have been wrong. Even someone like Rosenberg who made two of my favorite limited series could have been here. None of these lists are easy, as you see I keep saying, but if I had to pick just one writer this year, it would be Rick Remender. It isn’t just the quality of the content he made, which is very high, but the volume of it as well.

This year, we saw Black Science, Deadly Class, Low, Seven to Eternity, and Tokyo Ghost. The crazy part, is all of those comics were fantastic. You constantly hear that so many writers are taking on too many titles, and that their writing takes a major hit. I do not think that was the case this year for Remender, and actually, I think it was one his best years, which is saying a lot. The beautiful thing is that all of these series will still be going into 2017, as even Tokyo Ghost which will be returning.

Runners Up:

  • Tom King – What a phenomenal year Tom King had. The Sherrif of Babylon, The Vision, and Batman. Most writers would be proud writing one of those titles, and while his run on Batman isn’t everyone’s favorite, I am enjoying it quite a bit. I enjoy a different take on a character, and he is playing with the caped crusaders weaknesses, and making him human. As mentioned previously, both Sheriff and Vision are absolutely incredible, and I cannot wait to see what we get from him next.
  • Jason Aaron – I feel like Jason Aaron needs more love when it comes to the best writers of 2016. He was a beast this year. Southern Bastards, The Mighty Thor, The Unworthy Thor, Doctor Strange, Star Wars, and The Goddamned. I wish we got more Southern Bastards, but again as this list shows, you can see the guy is busy. He had a fantastic year, and because of that as a reader, so did I.
  • Brian K. Vaughn – There should be no shock that this name is on anyone’s list. He will probably be on most lists until the day he decides to stop writing. Both Saga and Paper Girls continue to be fantastic. I expect big things as these titles move forward, and hopefully we get another book. The more Vaughn, the better.
  • Jeff Lemire – Here is another writer that was a beast in 2016. Moon Knight, Old Man Logan, Descender, Bloodshot Reborn, Bloodshot U.S.A., Black Hammer, AD: After Death, and more. I am amazed at not only Lemire as a writer, but his work as an artist as well. I don’t know how he had time to do anything else this year but write and make art. A truly fantastic year for one of my favorite creators.

Best Artist –  Russel Dauterman

img_0409For the longest time, the background of my phone was The Mighty Thor #1. Now that I am typing this, I will be putting it back to that amazing artwork, because it is that good. Russel Dauterman is one of those artists in comics that you can just stare at his panels and pages for so long and see tiny details that just blow your mind. You will see me say things in reviews like, you are getting some real art here, as in pieces you could hang on your wall, and that is true of Dauterman’s work. The work is that good. Every panel could probably be framed and catch someone’s eye every time.

The way he draws his characters with such emotion is fantastic. Not to mention the way he draws frost giants, or the more modern version of Loki, or Jane, or Odinson, or Odin, or everyone in this comic! His work is fantastic, and he deserves to have it recognized. This is one of those artists, that when they take an issue or two off, you get sad. It’s that good.

Runners Up:

  • Andrew Maclean – Head Lopper was one of my favorite comics this year, and while the fun story was a lot of it, the art by Maclean was what caught my eye. It’s simultaneously violent and graphic, yet beautiful. The colors pop as our hero cuts the heads off of giant beasts.
  • FIona Staples – As I said early, Fiona captures her characters so well. Their emotions pour from the pages in her artwork, and I cannot imagine Saga without her. From Marko to Prince Robot to Hazel, she conveys who they are as people so well, as she always has with this excellent series. Also, her style is so original, that is is recognizable right away.
  • Jamie McKelvie – One of my favorite artists in general, and I would be happy if he drew ten more titles. The way he draws the Pantheon is so damn good. There is so much attitude and personality in The Wicked + The Divine, and McKelvie is a big reason why. Every character is drawn with such detail and life that they feel real, even if they are shallow pop star deities.
  • Andreas Sorrentino – Perhaps more than any artist this year, Sorrentino on Old Man Logan made my jaw hang open at the way he used splash pages. He is one of the most creative artists in the medium, and his work is dark and unique. There were so many breathtaking panels that he used this year on Logan, and it is one of the reasons that comic is as good as it is. Like Dauterman, I get sad when he isn’t on an issue or two.

Best New Series – Animosity

 bookanimosityMarguerite Bennett wrote one hell of a story this year in Animosity. This awesome title from Aftershock had one of the best first issues of the year, and the issues that followed kept that momentum up every time. Sandor is a hound protecting his owner, Jesse, a little girl who is scared when all of the other pets and animals in the world begin killing and targeting humans. We are only four issues in, and I feel like so much has happened. There is no doubt that this is one of the best new series of the year, and in my opinion, the best.

The art by Rafael de Latorre is fantastic, and the scenes in the book are filled with action, and keep you on the edge of your seat. The first issue alone had me yelling expletives in excitement, and the art as well as the storytelling is a big reason why. When a much scarier animal is trying to hurt Jesse, I love how protective Sandor is. He pulls no punches to protector his girl, and has the personality of an old and wise man mentor type. I think this is one everyone should check out, even if you have to wait for the trade, as it is hard to come by in many local comic shops.

Runners Up:

  • Seven to Eternity – What an awesome fantasy story from Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña. Already we’ve seen some fantastic characters, an awesome big bad, an interesting protagonist with a deep legacy to his family name, and a plot that promises some crazy things will happen. Oh, and it’s only getting started.
  • Briggs Land – The comic that AMC wanted optioned as a show before most people had even heard about it. Brian Wood and Mack Chatter have given us a very raw and real look at a family that ran 100 acres of land the way they wanted to for years. Well now that the father is in prison, the mother, Grace, is taking things over, but has to deal with a few of her sons. It has been a realty good slow burn so far, with some intense scenes, and I bet it only gets better from here.
  • Dept. H – Matt Kindt is a very unique storyteller, and artist. His work is some of the most original in the business, and I always get excited when he works on a new title, especially when he does the art as well. This time he brings Sharlene Kindt in on watercolors and the final product is fantastic. They both do an excellent job bring this fantastic underwater claustrophobic adventure to life. This is an awesome whodunit comic and I cannot wait to see where it goes from here.
  • Kill Or Be Killed – This is a comic that is always at the top of my read list when it comes out. It shouldn’t be a shock that Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips made an amazing pulp crime comic, but it is amazing that they make such a different one each time. This one follows a guy who is cursed with having to kill people, or lose his life in a deal he made with a demon who spared his life after an attempted suicide. I love this comic, and cannot wait to see where these creators take us.

Best Graphic Novel or Trade Paperback  – Love is Love

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Moments like these are why I love this medium. Comic books are just a platform. Just like television, books, movies, etc. You can make whatever you’d like, and this is a fantastic example of that. After the horrible Orlando Pulse shootings, getting a book like this where the proceeds are donated to the families of those lost that day won’t fix the horrors, but maybe it can help us grieve and understand a little better. It can put a face not to the evil person who did this to these people just living their lives, but it can be a voice for the people who died that day.

In this anthology book we get so many amazing creators, not just in the comic industry, but from other mediums as well. This book choked me up more than once while reading these beautiful stories, or the powerful images in them. I don’t want to single any of them out, as there are too many to mention that are fabulous, and Logan from our site already did a fantastic job of that in his review, but as a whole, this book is so important, and so incredible, and while it makes me sad it has to exist, it is necessary that it does.

Runners Up:

  • Dark Night: A Batman Story – What a painful yet beautiful telling of such a horrific true event in Paul Dini’s life. We get to see Dini working on Batman: The Animated Series, and help narrate the tale himself with the help from Batman, Harley, Two Face, Joker, and more as we get a very personal look at his life. This was a very sad, very brave, and very good book.
  • The Prince of Cats – Romeo and Juliet in a 1980s block party. That is basically what this book is, and it is a lot of fun. It is filled with hip hop, bright clothing, sword fights, love, and more. It captures the spirit of the Shakespeare classic, as Ronald Wimberly puts his own creative spin on it. This was a very cool retelling of a story most people already know, but told in a new way.
  • Muhammad Ali – This was an enjoyable way to look at the life of an American icon, and sports legend. Sybil Le Titeux and Amazing Ameziane give us Ali as a child, his work with Islam, his fighting techniques, and so much more throughout his life. The art varies as it uses the pages and panels wisely, and we get some fantastic cameos from important people throughout the champs life.
  • Wonder Woman: The True Amazon – We saw a lot of Wonder Woman stories this year, and that is never a bad thing. Jill Thompson does such a beautiful job on art in this book. Everything looks hand painted and we get another origin story, but an enjoyable one. This is a good book to recommend to any fan of Diana, as it does it justice.

Best Genre – Fallen societies

briggs-land-1Now while this may not be defined as a genre, I read many fantastic comics this year that dealt with societies that had fallen to different degrees. There are groups of people that live on their self governed 100 acres in Briggs Land from Dark Horse by Brian Wood and Mack Chatter. The animals took over the world from the humans in Animosity from Aftershock by Marguerite Bennett and Rafael de Latorre.  And there was the land of Zhal that was taken over and run by the God of Whispers in Seven to Eternity from Image Comics by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña. We also saw titles like Shipwreck from Aftershock by Warren Ellis and Phil Hester, and Warlords of Appalachia from BOOM! Studios by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Jonas Scharf.

Maybe I am cynical, but I really enjoyed spending times in worlds that fell in some form. Some of these stories had the people choose to live off the land and govern themselves, saw their animals take their society from them, or saw them rise up against their government as their own militia. Either way, they provided some of my favorite moments in comics this year, and these were just a few of them.

Runners Up:

  • Fantasy – What a great year for fantasy titles. We saw Saga, Seven to Eternity, Lake of Fire, Green Valley, Reborn, The Mighty Thor, Klaus, Head Lopper, Monstress, and so many more. Most important, many of these were fantasy, but not in the traditional sense. We saw the fantasy genre mix with others, and it was a lot of fun. Keep them coming!
  • Crime drama – Another strong genre this year with Kill or Be Killed, Violent Love, Triggerman, and more. I love reading pulp crime stories, and this year brought some very solid entries.
  • MagicSure we got Doctor Strange which has been fantastic, but we also saw Ether, The Wicked + The Divine, Seven to Eternity, and more. Magic is always a fun story element, and we saw some good use of it this year.
  • The 1980s – Everything that was always comes back, and that is true of the 1980s. Whether it was popular properties like He-Man vs Thundercats, IDW’s Revolution event featuring Transformers, GI Joe and more, Escape From NY/Big Trouble in Little China, or The Lost Boys, we saw quite a bit of that generation this year. Even one of my favorite titles, 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank felt so reminiscent of The Goonies or Stand by Me, while still feeling original. 2016 was a great representation of the 1980s.

Biggest Disappointment – Civil War II

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I tried to defend the event after the first few issues, and the art by David Marquez is fantastic, but I can no longer defend this series. I like Brian Michael Bendis, even if I don’t like every series he has written lately. I think that Infamous Iron Man is very promising, and it was odd to me that one of my least favorite comics that released the week of Civil War #8 was written by the same person that wrote one of my favorites in Infamous Iron Man #3. So I don’t want to just make this about Bendis as a writer, because I know he is a good one.

But for whatever reason, be it delays, lack of editorial work or poor planning, this event did not do it for me. The way it ended felt wrong on so many notes, and leaves so much not settled. I also scratch my head at Captain Marvel being loved for what she did, and how they depicted her. I like her as a character, but I felt that this book really messed with who she was, and made her look horrible. While I enjoyed many things Marvel did this year, like Moon Knight, Power Man and Iron Fist, and Old Man Logan, this would be one of my least favorite.

Runners Up:

  • Death of X – If not for the awesome art by Aaron Kuder, this event is mostly forgettable. I didn’t hate the ending, I actually quite liked it, but the event as a whole felt so unnecessary, and a lesser version of the actual event that has had a really good first issue, Inhumans vs. X-Men. This could have been a one shot, but was hyped as something major for a long time.
  • Nighthawk/Mockingbird cancelled – Great books from great creators saw their run end way too soon. At least David Walker got Occupy Avengers and will be bringing Nighthawk into that book. Nighthawk was a gritty and fantastic book with a really interesting character. I look forward to seeing how he is used going forward. For Chelsea Cain, she got to issue 8 with a fun and original take on Bobbi Morse, but then chose to leave Twitter due to everyone getting upset over a comic book cover. Both of these things disappointed me quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I understand this is a business, I just wish there was a better way to support books like these aside from pre-orders at local comic shops.
  • Fanboyism – I know this is an every year thing, but as time goes on, I truly scratch my head over the constant fight between fans of the big two. We got some great comics from both publishers, and many others this year as well. It’s silly, and the growth of social media, clickbait journalism, and memes have only made it worse. It was one thing when it was kids busting each other’s chops as friends, but now it has taken on a whole new level of ridiculousness. Stahp!
  • Marvel legacy characters – While I am happy that Marvel has done a great job on adding diverse characters, I am not sure what they are doing with so many of their legacy characters. We saw three of them fall in eight issues of a comic alone. Another is now a super evil double agent. And more are dead or in some sort of coma. I am all for these new heroes, I just prefer the way DC is doing it with Rebirth. Bring the new characters in under the old ones and have them mentor them. Or at least give some balance. I am hopefully this improves in the new year, or at least soon.

Best Publisher – DC 

 DC_Logo_RGB_031816It is hard to give this award to one publisher, as multiple publishers had so many great books this year. Though I will pick one, and that is DC. From the fantastic launch of DC Rebirth as a title, and then the great books that came out of it, to Young Animal, and Vertigo, their imprints and the books that came out of those, they have had one hell of a year. Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, Wonder Woman, Doom Patrol, The Sheriff of Babylon, and so on were all such fantastic and consistent titles for them, and while they have always been producing get content, it is great to see them get back to such focus.

They signed some amazing talent with writers Tom King, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV, and artists like Liam Sharp, and Mitch Gerads to exclusive contracts. Not that they are the only talented people working on their books, because there are definitely more. Mikel Janin and Riley Rossmo both blew me away with their art this year. I was pleasantly surprised by DC this year, and I hope that trend to continue. I hope Marvel is paying attention to them, and while I do not want them to copy them, I would like to see somewhat of a Rebirth type event that can tie their legacy characters to their newer characters a little better, and give fans the best of both worlds.

Runners Up:

  • Dark Horse – They nearly took my top spot with such fantastic books as Black Hammer, Briggs Land, Dept. H, Ether, Hellboy, Harrow County, Lady Killer, Aliens and so much more. Very impressive year.
  • Image – So many titles, and they just keep adding more. Even Skybound has expanded with a few new titles. Image just keeps getting better with age.
  • Aftershock – With Animosity, Shipwreck, American Monster and more, Aftershock has proven it can hang with the best of them. Even with the start of 2017 we are seeing more promising titles like Blood Blister and The Lifespanners coming from some top talent.
  • BOOM! Studios – This year we saw BOOM! really expand its horizons with titles like Klaus, Warlords of Appalachia, Slam, and more while continuing to release their all ages comics that so many love like Goldie Vance, Adventure Time, and more. I expect we will see more serious titles like the Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins project, Grass Kings coming in 2017, and I am excited.

Around the Tubes

civil_war_ii__6-8It was new comic book day yesterday. What’d everyone get? What’d folks enjoy? Sound off in the comments below! While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Women Write About Comics – Ask Them About Their Feminist Agenda: Marvel & Mockingbird – Go and read this.

CBC – Fredericton’s battle against comic books on display at UNB – Interesting.

ICv2 – ‘The Walking Dead’ Season Premiere Draws Huge Ratings – That’s good to see. Now, lets see how episode two does.

Kotaku – Tokyo Comic-Con Bans Men From Cosplaying As Women Characters – Ummm….

ICv2 – Wizard World Cuts Back on Shows Again in 2017 – Hrm. That’s not good.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Newsarama – Civil War II #6

Newsarama – Deathstroke #5

Newsarama – Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1

Newsarama – Teen Titans #1

Comic Vine – The Vision #12

Newsarama – The Vision #12

Mockingbird is There for Us: Who Will Be there for Her Writer? (UPDATED)

Last week saw the final issue of Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk’s run on Mockingbird. The series combined a well-crafted mystery, super science, attractive men and women flirting, actual humor that you will actually laugh at, mer-corgis, a geek cruise, much #Adulting, the best use of The Hellfire Club since it’s inception and the most relatable adult woman hero in Marvel Comics.

mockingbird-vs-the-hellfire-club

The creative team used the comics medium to its best advantage telling a story that gets even better with multiple readings due to creative page layouts, a puzzle-box story structure and rich visual humor with a Where’s Waldo level of “spot this hidden joke” detail. They draw women and men in clothes that actual women and men wear. Characters are sexy and not objectified. There are paperdolls and a yoga guide in the back.

mockingbird-organic-chemistry

If you are a grown-up-woman reading superhero comics this needs to be at the top of your list.

And Mockingbird is also explicitly feminist.

Because that’s what Mockingbird, scientist and SHIELD agent would OBVIOUSLY be. That’s also why fake fanboys are harassing writer Chelsea Cain.

How dare women, feminists no less, get a say in how one of our superheroes are portrayed?

This entire Mockingbird series has always been explicitly feminist– practically every issue addresses sexism in some way and every issue features Bobbi standing up for women and girls. But I guess the troglodytes didn’t notice that until the cover of issue 8 came out with Mockingbird wearing an “Ask Me About My Feminist Agenda” T-shirt (which had been solicited and shown off since July). Possibly because the bros are bad at context clues. But also because they don’t even read this comic.

mockingbird-8-coverThese “Antisocial Injustice Necromancers” as Sergio Alexis named them, are using the fact that the series has been canceled to claim that there is no audience for feminist superhero comics. Also, that feminism is bad. And they are straight up harassing Chelsea Cain on Twitter. [Note: Cain has officially deleted her Twitter account].

Not only has their always been an audience for superhero feminist comics but that audience is growing and that is scaring the men who’d like to keep comics insular, pale, male and stale.

The fact that Marvel planned to cancel the series before even seeing how well it would sell in a compiled edition, (a trade paperback) also shows a possible misunderstanding of the market. People are reading comics in trade paperback form in greater numbers and entire segments wait for trade release. When you have a comic that’s really going to be a favorite with adult women you know there’s a good chance it’s going to sell best at bookstores.

We’ve seen this all before: last year DC Comics canceled Midnighter, a series starring a gay superhero written by a bisexual author. It’s been widely speculated that the series was canceled due to sales on single monthly issues which could only be bought at comics shops. And then when sales of the trade paperback were strong because more of the people looking for an LGBTQ superhero book read trade paperbacks, DC brought back the series. They even hired the writer, Steve Orlando to write even more DC comics, including the super high-profile Justice League of America series.

Mockingbird, Midnighter, Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Nitehawk, Silk and Luke Cage and Iron Fist are the future of superhero comics. They are embraced by an underserved audience who thought mainstream superhero comic books weren’t for them until more were made with them specifically in mind. The new line of superheroes from Lion Forge Comics sounds a lot like the future too.

In fact, socially relevant superheroes are also at the core of superhero comics’ legacy. Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, William Moulton Marston, Elizabeth Holloway Marston and Olive Byrne where all Social Justice Warriors in their day. Doubt me? The feminism of Kirby’s work can best be seen in the blog Kirby without words. Or read “A People’s History of the Marvel Universe.”

Sexists who are complaining about comics being feminist don’t even know the history of comics. The sad truth though is that there are currently plenty of regressive comics that are made just for them. So even if they don’t want to acknowledge the true power of the medium they still have plenty of sexist, racist, homophobic dreck they can pick up at their local store.

What’s next for the hit novelist Chelsea Cain? When she was on our podcast this summer she said she wanted to write Sue Storm. And lord knows we need a strong woman writer crafting stories about superhero comics #1 mom.

But being subject to online harassment is a harrowing experience and Cain is considering leaving comics. How can we expect talented people to continue working in this environment? Twitter needs to step up. But so do publishers and her peers.

Chelsea Cain herself has tweeted that Marvel didn’t give her any advice on how to respond to online harassment. Publishers need to do more to protect their talent from harassers and arm them with real world steps in how to deal with them.

This can mean stepping in in online conversations to explain why harassment is out of bounds. It can mean using their corporate power to get harassers banned from Twitter.

It can also mean actually supporting excellent work from diverse voices even if it takes a little longer to become a hit and let people who do want to support diverse media know where to find it.

It can also mean telling employees to stop harassing fans online. It can also mean publishers not bragging about being against social justice.

Every single person in comics who circled their wagons to “defend” the creators of sexist and racist comics covers last week need to step up and defend Chelsea Cain from harassers. Harassers may actually listen to them.

The fact that Chelsea Cain was compelled to delete her Twitter account is loss to her and to readers. Twitter has become a major platform for promoting comics and other writing. Cain is a professional writer. Deleting her Twitter account hampers her ability to speak to fans and find new ones.

But she had to delete her’s anyway.  This is a position that no-one should have to be in. But it will keep happening and it will keep hurting the industry’s future if publishers choose to ignore it.

Comics industry legend Gail Simone, who herself has been subject to online harassment, even listed ways that the industry can do more to end harassment and has spoken about talent that the industry lost due to it. The entire industry needs to take this on including corporate leadership.

I want to help Chelsea Cain right now. I want you to buy Mockingbird right now because it will brighten your day as it brightened mine for eight fabulous issues. But we also need to recognize what is happening is part of a bigger systemic problem.

If you yourself want to take action today please tweet with the hashtag #StandWithChelseaCain, if you aren’t boycotting Marvel pick up Mockingbird so it can be a hit, buy her best selling thrillers directly from her, and no matter what, actually write to publishers asking them what they are doing to stop harassment inside their own offices as well as from fans online.

Listen to Chelsea Cain Talk Mockingbird with Graphic Policy Radio on Demand

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

This Monday writer Chelsea Cain joined Graphic Policy Radio to talk about her hit Marvel series Mockingbird! We talked to Cain about the action-packed first solo series for the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Bobbi Morse.

Chelsea Cain is a novelist who moonlights as a comic book writer.  She writes the series, MOCKINGBIRD, for Marvel.  She is the author of The New York Times bestselling Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thriller series (HEARTSICK, SWEETHEART, EVIL AT HEART, THE NIGHT SEASON, KILL YOU TWICE, and LET ME GO), as well as ONE KICK, starring Kick Lannigan.  Her Portland-based thrillers, described by The New York Times as “steamy and perverse,” have been published in over 30 languages, recommended on “The Today Show,” and appeared in episodes of HBO’s “True Blood” and ABC’s “Castle.” Both of Cain’s thriller series are in development as TV shows.  Stephen King included two of her books in his top ten favorite books of the year, and NPR named HEARTSICK one of the best 100 thrillers ever written.  According to Booklist, “Popular entertainment just doesn’t get much better than this.”  Cain has also written a Jessica Jones story for CIVIL WAR: CHOOSING SIDES, and a story for the HELLBOY WINTER SPECIAL.

Chelsea Cain Talks Mockingbird with Graphic Policy Radio, LIVE this Monday

mockingbird-1-1-600x911This Monday writer Chelsea Cain joins Graphic Policy Radio to talk about her hit Marvel series Mockingbird! We talk to Cain about the action-packed first solo series for the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Bobbi Morse.

The show airs at a special time this Monday at 9pm!

Chelsea Cain is a novelist who moonlights as a comic book writer.  She writes the series, MOCKINGBIRD, for Marvel.  She is the author of The New York Times bestselling Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thriller series (HEARTSICK, SWEETHEART, EVIL AT HEART, THE NIGHT SEASON, KILL YOU TWICE, and LET ME GO), as well as ONE KICK, starring Kick Lannigan.  Her Portland-based thrillers, described by The New York Times as “steamy and perverse,” have been published in over 30 languages, recommended on “The Today Show,” and appeared in episodes of HBO’s “True Blood” and ABC’s “Castle.” Both of Cain’s thriller series are in development as TV shows.  Stephen King included two of her books in his top ten favorite books of the year, and NPR named HEARTSICK one of the best 100 thrillers ever written.  According to Booklist, “Popular entertainment just doesn’t get much better than this.”  Cain has also written a Jessica Jones story for CIVIL WAR: CHOOSING SIDES, and a story for the HELLBOY WINTER SPECIAL.

We want to hear your questions! Tweet us to them @graphicpolicy.

Listen to the show live this Monday.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

4 KIDS WALK #2 9Wednesdays 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!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

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

Mr. H

Top Pick: Captain America: Steve Rogers #2 (Marvel Comics) – With all the controversy over the ending of issue one, how could it be anything but? Is Cap really a HYDRA agent? Or is there something much larger at play? I love anything that gets us fans talking and draws attention to our joy. So depending on how this is written it could be a good thing. I remember when Brubaker brought Bucky back as the Winter Soldier and now, he’s absolutely beloved. I refuse to believe this is our Steve but I am looking forward to finding out more.

Dark Knight III: The Master Race # 5 (DC Comics) – Well this comic and I are completely love hate. I hate that it’s always late, but I love the train wreck that unfolds in the pages. I’ve long decided that Miller’s master work is the Dark Knight Returns and he will never top it. These attempts at trying just get even more ridiculous. As a die hard Superman fan, it’s a macabre curiousity at seeing what ol’ Frank is going to do to tear down the Superman legacy even more every time he touches the character since it highlights how out of touch he is. Plus I love cranky Bruce Wayne and Carrie Kelly. After this Frank needs to stay the Hell away from DC Heroes. He just can’t write them, and obviously Azzarello is taking his cues from Miller. If not, it’s a bigger cluster than when Singer made Superman Returns to honor Richard Donner. I know it’s awful but it’s almost satirically bad that I can’t wait to see it even worse. Remember folks, Jersey Shore was popular for a spell there too. Sometimes you just have to enjoy the insanity.

Cryptocracy #1 (Dark Horse) – What’s this? A non DC or Marvel book on my list? That’s right true readers. This one caught my eye. Nine clandestine families that secretly control and manipulate reality? Hmmmm sounds interesting and I’m getting in on the ground floor. Seems cool enough to give it a shot, but I am not expecting anything world bending here.

 

Alex

Top Pick: 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #2 (Black Mask Studios) – The first issue was a brilliant start to a crime caper about four kids walking into a bank. A charmingly intelligent comic that deserves your attention, the first issue was amazing, and if you can find it you should snap it up. I’ve been waiting for the second issue for awhile, and I am so excited for this.

Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters Of Midtown #2 (Dark Horse) – Lobster Johnson is one of those characters that evokes the feel of the pulp heroes from the late 30’s, which is already something I’m a fan of, and then when you add in the fantastic period art work and the steampunkish element of the Metal Monsters and you have a miniseries that is right up my alley.

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #12 (Dynamite Entertainment) – This has been one of the most entertaining series of the last year, hands down. Every week this comic comes out is a good week.

X-O Manowar #47 (Valiant Entertainment) – Pound for pound, Valiant have the best superhero universe out there, but when the premier title in the Valiant universe is coming to a close with an explosive story… I can’t wait to see where this is going. Plus, there’s a bonus print with the physical comic, so that’s also cool.

 

Anthony

Top Pick: 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #2 (Black Mask Studios) – Matthew Rosenberg already knocked it out of the park with We Can Never Go Home and returns with another series for Black Mask Studios with Tyler Boss’s imaginative and playful artwork. The first issue was an amalgamation of so many awesome things (with an array of wonderful movie poster-inspired variants) and proved to be one of the most endearing reads of the year so far. This is a must buy.

East of West #27 (Image Comics) – Jonathan Hickman is a long form, comic book version of a mad scientist. His titles are consistently well crafted and can take their time to manifest, but when they do bloom, it is certainly worth the wait. East of West is Hickman at his best with the striking visuals of Nick Dragotta to put to life this futuristic American backdrop. Things have been really heating up as tensions continue to rise between the numerous factions.

Jupiter’s Legacy Vol. 2 #1 (Image Comics) – Mark Millar and Frank Quitely return to Jupiter’s Legacy! Millar has done a pretty solid job at deconstructing the superhero genre with recent titles like Huck, Jupiter’s Circle and the first volume of Jupiter’s Legacy so it will be interesting to see the direction that the creative team will be taking in this sequel series. Frank Quitely’s art will surely be worth the price of admission alone.

Bloodshot Reborn #14 (Valiant Entertainment) – Jeff Lemire has continued to present a more nuanced, emotional and humanized tale of Bloodshot that proves the character is more than just a government controlled killing machine. The new arc entitled ‘Bloodshot Island’ sounds like a Doctor Moreau-esque storyline that will feature Mico Suayan’s incredibly detailed line work and Valiant’s reliable colourist David Baron.

Jade Street Protection Services #1 (Black Mask Studios) – If Black Mask Studios is releasing a new series, it is an absolute must buy. The publisher has been releasing a steady flow of confident, gritty and fun titles over the last couple of years and Jade Street Protection Services looks to aim to be among those books. Judging by the solicitations, Fabian Lelay’s illustrations with Mara Jayne Carpenter’s colours are going to provide a vibrant, manga-like pop to the words of Katy Rex.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #11 (Marvel) – It’s a throw down with the X-Men fighting in the future against Apocalypse’s horsemen.  The Apocalypse Wars have been a fun read, and I’ve been really enjoying this title exploring another possible future, with the younger students grown into X-Men.  Nothing earth shattering happening, just a fun read.

Captain Marvel #6 (Marvel) – A Civil War II tie in…and Carol is pissed!  She has clearly chosen her side in this new civil war, and the stakes are getting high.  It’s going to be interesting to see how far she’ll go to for what she believes in.

Mockingbird #4 (Marvel) – This is just a guilty indulgence for me, being a long time fan of Bobbi’s.  The missions are exciting, the humor is fun and this issue she’s off to save her ex, Hawkeye.  It’s also interesting to see her check ups and monitoring of her health after receiving the infinity formula and the super soldier serum.  I’m just waiting to see something big happen.  Fun all around.

Uncanny X-Men #9 (Marvel) – Magneto and Psylocke are trying to save Archangel from being taken over by Apocalypse; Sabretooth and M are exploring the Morlock tunnels and come across a ghost from M’s past.  Again, nothing earth shattering happening here, just a fun read with  decent action.  Psylocke and Fantomex meeting up should be good.

 

Javier

Top Pick: 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #2 (Black Mask Studios) – The first issue was amazing, and I wasn’t the only one to think so.  It has a large and well-deserved mass appeal.

Jade East Protection Services #1 (Black Mask Studios) – So far Black Mask’s line of books have failed to disappoint.  There’s already a lot of buzz out there, I hope it lives up to the hype.

Indoctrination #1 (Z2 Comics) – Another indie title with possibilities.  It has all the apocalyptic themes I’m into.

East of West #27 (Image Comics) – Even more end times lore, set in a dystopian alternate timeline.

 

Brett

Top Pick: 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank #2 (Black Mask Studios) – It says something when so many of us have this series as our top pick. The first issue was absolutely amazing and was a damn near perfect set-up with characters that are some of the most relatable in comics. It’s been a bit since that first issue, but that doesn’t diminish my excitement for this second issue.

Chum #3 (ComixTribe) – I’m a sucker for a good noir/crime story and this surf crime comic has been entertaining for the first two issues.

DC Super Hero Girls: Finals Crisis (DC Comics) – Am I the demographic this graphic novel is aiming for? Probably not, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying my advance review copy. It’s a solid debut comic that’s perfect for the audience intended, younger kids.

Indoctrination #1 (Z2 Comics) – I read the first issue some time ago and it’s a weird mix of X-Files and occult story. Really good and can’t wait to check out future issues.

Jade Street Protection Services #1 (Black Mask Studios) – A new series from Black Mask? Yes please! All ages badassness? Yes please!

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1Wednesdays 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!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

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

Paul

Top Pick: DC Universe Rebirth #1 (DC Comics) – Wait, what??? A DC title on my list?  AND the top pick??  Yup…I am really looking forward to this Rebirth thing that’s coming up.  I didn’t get into New 52 (though I did read a few titles) but this looks like a good opportunity to dive into DC again.  I’m sure this will be something that is talked about for a long time, and I don’t want to be left out of the conversation.

Extraordinary X-Men #10 (Marvel) – The Apocalypse Wars are in full swing, and the X-Men are making their away across the different lands of Omega World trying to get back to their time and save their teacher in the process.  I’ve enjoyed reading this latest story arc; it’s been action filled and fun to see the younger X-Men spending their time in this world and growing into X-Men.

Mockingbird #3 (Marvel) – this has been an interesting read; Bobbi having numerous side effects from her exposure to the Super Soldier formula and the Infinity formula has lead to some weird things happening to her.  And not to mention keeping up with SHIELD and her spy duties.  All in a days work for her, and I am looking forward to see where this leads.

Scooby Apocalypse #1 (DC Comics) – Ok so now you’re thinking I’ve just totally lost it.  ANOTHER DC title on my pick list…and it’s Scooby Doo?!  This looks interesting to me; sounds like a great twist on a childhood classic and the redesign of the characters does look pretty cool (though I’m still on the fence about hipster Shaggy).  But this looks like a fun ride.

 

Madison

Monstress #6 (Image Comics) – Monstress is easily and very quickly becoming one of my favorite comics. Marjorie Liu has written an amazing fantasy story with great underlying themes, and Sana Takeda’s gorgeous illustration makes the characters and world feel real.

We(l)come Back #8 (BOOM! Studios) – I’m so sad that this is the final issue of the series! Sebela has taken an awesome concept (time traveling assassins) and fleshed it out into an amazing story with characters you love and root for.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Divinity II #2 (Valiant Entertainment) – A sequel to one of the best miniseries I’ve read in a long time always interests me. When the first issue actually lives up to expectations? I’m in.

Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas #1 (IDW Publishing) – I loved the graphic novel version of this, and having seen a sampling of the special features included in this 48 page comic when I had a chat with Troy Little, I’m super excited to get a chance to read the finished article.

Johnny Red #7 (Titan Comics) – I just love this series. The artwork, the story, the setting…  everything about this comic just works for me.

Judge Dredd #6 (IDW Publishing) – Didn’t the last issue just come out? I could probably find out, but I don’t care enough to find out. I’m just happy to read the next issue.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Tomboy #5 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) – Such a fantastic series that’s a bit horror, a bit action, a bit superhero and all staring a teenage girl into anime. This is a mature title that is grossly overlooked and one that is flying under the radar. Every issue has knocked it out of the park and I expect no less from this.

Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 (Marvel) – Steve Rogers is back as his younger self and donning the mantle of Captain America once again. It’ll be interesting to see how this comic makes itself stand out from the Sam Wilson led one, and also how Steve acts now he’s back to the way he used to be.

East of West #26 (Image Comics) – It feels like forever since the last issue and that’s a shame because this apocalyptic Western is an amazing read with every issue.

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas #1 (IDW Publishing) – I read the full graphic novel, and now broken out in single issues, I’ll read it again. It perfectly captures the frenetic nature of the novel and movie that came out of it.

Nighthawk #1 (Marvel) – The Squadron Supreme character gets his own comic series. The fact David Walker is writing is is what has me really interested and how he makes the character stand on his own as opposed to a certain other big city vigilante from another publisher.

Around the Tubes

jupiterscircle-vol2-04-coverThe weekend is almost here! What will folks be doing? Anything geeky? Sound off in the comments below!

While you contemplate that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

Around the Tubes

Paste Magazine – Michael Keaton To Star In Film Adaptation of American Assassin Graphic Novel – Nice.

The BoomBox – Dr. Dre Is Creating Original Music for Graphic Novel ‘Loaded’ – Very interesting.

ICv2 – B&N Plans ‘Batman v Superman’ Day – Not too surprising. You’d think more would do this.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Action Comics #50

Talking Comics – The Baker Street Peculiars #1

Batman News – General Mills Batman v Superman #2

CBR – Jupiter’s Circle Vol. 2 #4

Talking Comics – Mockingbird #1

Talking Comics – Shadow Glass #1

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