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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: We Live #3

It’s the future and humanity is facing extinction. Only 5,000 children will be saved by an unknown “alien” entity but must make it to an extraction point by a certain time. This is the story of one group of kids trying to do so.

We Live #3 adds a lot of new layers to the world as we dive deeper into the horrors that have destroyed humanity.

Story: Inaki Miranda, Roy Miranda
Art: Inaki Miranda
Color: Eva De La Cruz
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

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.

comiXology
Kindle
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: We Live #3

WE LIVE #3

Writers: Roy and Inaki Miranda 
Artist: Inaki Miranda 
Colorist: Eva de la Cruz 
Letterer: Dave Sharpe 
Cover: Inaki Miranda
$3.99 / 32 pages / Color / On Sale DECEMBER 16th 

Luck has abandoned the group. Humbo and Alice have lost track of their newfound friends, Tala and Hototo. The siblings are being held prisoner and will soon discover that the world hides dark corners, where screams of help are no more than fallen spirits.  

Meanwhile, time runs out for Hototo; the shuttle train to Megalopolis Mother 9 is about to depart. 

WE LIVE #3

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

We Live #3

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.

Black Cat #1 (Marvel) – The previous volume of the series was a lot of fun so that alone has us interested. The fact that it immediately ties into King in Black has us a bit nervous. But, crossing our fingers!

Blade Runner 2029 #1 (Titan Comics) – The cult series gets a new volume.

Canuck Beyond #1 (Chapterhouse Comics) – Captain Canuck has been a bit more of a wholesome superhero series and this new series throws the Canadian hero into another dimension!

The Expanse #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The television series comes to comics. The new limited series takes place between season 4 and 5 of the Amazon series.

Post Americana #1 (Image Comics) – The elite are who have made it to survival bunkers and there’s one person standing in the way of their attempt to subjugate the survivors.

Power Rangers #2 (BOOM! Studios) – If you’re new to the property, it’s still a great time to dive in! The first issue was a lot of fun with some great art.

RAI #10 (Valiant) – One of the best monthly comics coming out right now. It’s never too late to find out why!

Red X-Mas #1 (Scout Comics) – When Mrs. Claus dies in a tragic toy accident, Santa vows to make all those little brats pay!

Sam & His Talking Gun #1 (Scout Comics) – A tale of revenge. Brother vs. brother!

Second Coming: Only Begotten Son #1 (AHOY Comics) – The first volume of the series was fantastic mixing humor with enough to make you think. We’re hoping for more in this new volume.

Sh*tshow #1 (Scout Comics) – A mysterious force destroyed the world’s heroes and when it returns, one of the remaining must get sober to stop it.

Taarna #1 (Heavy Metal) – The classic Heavy Metal property is back!

Taskmaster #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a lot of fun mixing action and humor.

We Live #3 (AfterShock) – One of the best new series of the year continues! Amazing art, great storytelling, this is one to catch up on if you haven’t.

Wolverine: Black, White, & Blood #2 (Marvel) – An anthology series from Marvel, the first issue was fantastic and we’re expecting more of the same.

Exclusive Preview: We Live #3

WE LIVE #3

Writers: Roy and Inaki Miranda 
Artist: Inaki Miranda 
Colorist: Eva de la Cruz 
Letterer: Dave Sharpe 
Cover: Inaki Miranda
$3.99 / 32 pages / Color / On Sale DECEMBER 16th

Luck has abandoned the group. Humbo and Alice have lost track of their newfound friends, Tala and Hototo. The siblings are being held prisoner and will soon discover that the world hides dark corners, where screams of help are no more than fallen spirits.  

Meanwhile, time runs out for Hototo; the shuttle train to Megalopolis Mother 9 is about to depart.

WE LIVE #3

Review: We Live #2

It’s the future and humanity is facing extinction. Only 5,000 children will be saved by an unknown “alien” entity but must make it to an extraction point by a certain time. This is the story of one group of kids trying to do so.

We Live #2 holds up and continues and amazing debut with another issue that’ll get you to gasp.

Story: Inaki Miranda, Roy Miranda
Art: Inaki Miranda
Color: Eva De La Cruz
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

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.

comiXology
Kindle
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!

The Recount #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 Girl Walks Home Alone at Night #1 (Behemoth Comics) – Bad City is an Iranian ghost town filled with prostitutes, junkies, and pimps, and other sordid souls. A lonely vampire, The Girl, stalks the town’s inhabitants. The concept and unique location have us intrigued to find out more.

Children of the Grave #1 (Scout Comics) – Earth has been reset and the populace lives in bliss receiving all they need from “Providers”. One person wants to find out the truth.

Dead Day #5 (AfterShock) – The series has been amazing at building its world where the dead return for a night.

Frank At Home On the Farm #1 (Scout Comics) – Frank returns from World War I to find his family missing and only the animals waiting for him.

Ginseng Roots #7 (Uncivilized Comics) – Craig Thompson’s exploration of his childhood and ginseng continues. Absolutely amazing work.

Legacy of Mandrake the Magician #2 (Red 5 Comics) – The debut really surprised us and has us excited to read more. It’s a great update to the classic character while honoring what has come before.

The Recount #1 (Scout Comics) – A President is assassinated and the conspirators turn their sites into those who helped get him into power… and that includes ordinary citizens who got him elected. The nation is on the brink of chaos and civil war.

Rorschach #2 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – The Watchmen follow up had an intriguing start and works better as a straight-up crime/noir/political mystery than Watchmen. We want to see where it goes from its debut and how it all unravels.

Snowpiercer: The Prequel Part 2: Apocalypse (Titan Comics) – The story of how the world plunged into a frozen tundra is revealed.

We Live #2 (AfterShock) – The debut had us in literal tears and we’re excited to dive into more of this world. It’s the end of humanity and children are heading to a pick up point to get off the planet and hopefully survive.

We Live #1 Gets a Third Printing

We Live is a hit with the first issue going into a third printing. This is only the second time a comic from AfterShock has gone to a third printing.

The year is 2084 and the world has changed. Wracked by calamities and crawling with monsters, the last remaining humans face a dangerous existence.

And now, the Earth has been sent a message from the deepest reaches of space – a dark countdown to the extinction of all humanity. But there is hope! Five thousand children will be rescued by these mysterious message-senders.

This is the journey of Hototo, one of the lucky five thousand – but only if his teenage sister, Tala, can safely deliver him to the nearest Beacon before time runs out.

We Live is written by Inaki Miranda and Roy Miranda with art by Inaki Miranda, color by Eva de la Cruz, and lettering by Dave Sharpe. You can check out our reviews of the first issue here and here.

We Live #1

Comics Deserve Better Episode 11: Interview with Zoe Thorogood (The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott)

After a short hiatus, Comics Deserve Better is back and ready to cover your favorite indie comics! In this episode, Brian and Logan interview talented writer/artist Zoe Thorogood about her debut graphic novel, The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott. They chat about everything from color palettes and character designs to the power of art to inspire and even video games! Later, Darci joins the fun to talk about the indie comics Bang!, The Citric Arc, Getting It Together, We Live, Stillwater, and The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem.

(Episode art by Zoe Thorogood.)

Review: We Live #1

We Live #1

If you’re not choked up or bawling by the end of We Live #1, you have no heart. I don’t think a comic has hit me the way this one has. It’s not an exaggeration, I’m not embarrassed to say it, I was tearing up and crying by the end. Explaining it to my wife… choked up and tears. It’s just a hell of a first issue that hits you where it counts and delivers an emotional punch in it’s amazing sci-fi world and beautiful art.

With a story by Roy and Inaki Miranda, We Live #1 takes us to 2084. Humanity and Earth have been hit by calamity after calamity. Humanity is struggling to survive. The world has been sent a message with a countdown to extinction from space. But, there’s hope. Five thousand children will be rescued by the mysterious beings who sent the message.

We Live #1 follows a group of these children who must make their way to the nearest Beacon before time runs out. Hototo is one of the lucky five thousand and is being helped on his journey by his teenage sister Tala.

The Mirandas knock the issue out of the park. The world-building is entertaining and with great pacing it feels organic but in reality it’s pages of setup. It’s the journey we go on as readers though, that’s the real triumph.

On the surface this debut issue is a simple story. A group of individuals must get to a location by a certain time. There’s no way the journey goes smoothly. Of course it’s going to go sideways and there’ll be threats all over. It’s a given. And that’s the journey and story we get… until it’s so much more and that’s not until the final few pages.

We learn about Hototo and Tala and that’s when the waterworks begins. Expecting a standard sci-fi adventure, and it’d be a hell of a comic with just that, I was totally unprepared and unexpected for what we’d learn, how we’d learn it, and the touching moments shown. As I said, to start, you’ll be fighting back tears.

Part of the magic of the first issue is the art. Inaki Miranda handles that duty as well. Inaki is joined on color by Eva De La Cruz and lettering by Dave Sharpe. The art style is fantastic with a disarming cuteness about the characters and designs that belie the nature of the story. Hototo, Tala, all of the kids are adorable. The design of some of the characters are amazing. The colors pop off of the page. This is a cute comic that disarms you with the art and hits you with an emotional punch. Sharpe packs in a lot of dialogue at times, there’s a lot packed into panels at times and it works.

We Live #1 is the best debut I’ve read this year. I can find no faults and it had me bawling. It’s an entertaining story, an engrossing world, and full of emotions. This is a comic that should be on everyone’s pull list.

Story: Roy Miranda, Inaki Miranda Art: Inaki Miranda
Color: Eva De La Cruz Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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