This month, we’re going to have an elaborate run of looks at the best of 2013 and what we’re excited about for 2014. To kick that all off, we’ll have a week of some of our favorite creators sharing their thoughts on the year to date as well as what they’re looking forward to in 2014.
Today, we kicked it off with the big question: “In 2013, what comic or comics stood out as your favorite books of the year?” Here are the creators’ thoughts, and look for more tomorrow.
I have been a big reader of a lot of the Marvel Now books. FF, the core X-Men titles, Mark Waid’s Hulk, Jason Aaron’s Thor. I need to get caught up on my Captain America, the first Remender/Romita Jr. arc was weird and wonderful.
Nowhwere Men by Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde, and Jordie Bellaire has been one of the more challenging, fascinating reads of recent memory. There is nothing else quite like it. I’ve also really been digging East of West by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta. Both are books that demand your attention when reading them.
Meredith McClaren’s first Hinges collection is a beautifully drawn delight. I read it digitally after backing her Kickstarter. I really like Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s Private Eye, too. That’s a real game changer in terms of creators delivering their own material to the audience.
Sina Grace (Burn the Orphanage)
I loved The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy; I vibed hard on Battling Boy by Paul Pope, and I kind of really dug where the X-Men went this year. Drumhellar by Riley Rossmo and Alex Link is the bomb.com, too. Also: The Mysterious Strangers from Oni was ill.
Gina Gagliano (Associate Marketing & Publicity Manager, First Second Books)
Let me start off by saying that I love the books that First Second does the most – that’s why I work at this company! Our books are all amazing – we’re so lucky to be able to work with such great authors (and such great editors and such a great designer). But you probably want to hear me talk about some other graphic novels than the ones I talk about every day….
In the category of books that First Second didn’t publish, my favorite was John Allison’s The Case of the Team Spirit, which I think is just hilarious and wonderful, with exactly the right amount of the supernatural. Also, I love his art!
I think that what Rutu Modan is doing is fascinating. The Property is maybe the closest thing graphic novels have to something that’ll fit into the category of ‘women’s fiction.’ She’s going to open up whole new audiences for graphic novels with her work. I know that her young readers book from Toon, Maya Made a Mess, came out last year, but I just got the chance to read it and I wholeheartedly recommend it. It is extremely funny and contains the Queen of England!
Michael Moreci (Hoax Hunters, Prime-8’s)
2013 was a tremendous year for comics. We saw strong works from across the board—superhero, horror, crime, sci-fi, you name it. We’ve had some of the industry’s biggest names return to telling their own stories via creator-owned outlets. The books that stood out to me in 2013, and will always stand out to me, are the ones that have great characters, that have a consistent theme, that have well-executed plots, that have something to say. I’m tired of clever; I can care less about an outrageous concept. Give me a story well told, and I’m with you every day of the week and twice on Sunday. The Unwritten, The Massive, The Wake, Hit, Revival, Five Ghosts, and The Sixth Gun are all books that shined the brightest in 2013. Also, from a superhero standpoint, Daredevil, Archer and Armstrong, Charles Soule’s Swamp Thing, and Thor: God of Thunder were books that demanded to be read.
Tim Daniel (Curse, Enormous)
Lazarus and Drumhellar. Manhattan Projects and Saga continue their impressive runs. There is so much more I only wished I had the time to read.Continued below
Joe Keatinge (Marvel Knights Hulk)
The first one to stun me above any other was Blutch’s So Long, Silver Screen, published by PictureBox. As a movie nerd, I couldn’t help but be enthralled with Blutch’s somewhat dreamlike meditation on movies, storytelling, their power, their effects and so on. Seeing that done in a medium I love even more, by a master at it — well, yeah, great book. Extremely impressed.
My stack of monthly comics was pretty damn Image heavy this year. Savage Dragon, Pretty Deadly, Prophet, Velvet, Fatale, Five Ghosts, Nowhere Men, Satellite Sam, Sex Criminals, Zero, Age of Bronze — I could keep going on for a while. They do a lot of great books over there, in a very diverse lineup of genres, from an unparalleled lineup of creators.
Fred Van Lente (Archer & Armstrong)
Busy, busy, busy, so not a lot of time for comics reading. I am halfway through the first book of Gene Yang’s BOXERS & SAINTS and love it. I really enjoyed my buddy Gabe Hardman’s digital comic KINSKI.
The comics that stood out for me in 2013 and in no particular order were TEOTFW by Charles Forsman, Rat Queens by Kurtis Wiebe & John ‘Roc’ Upchurch, Punk Rock Jesus by Sean Murphy, and Sheltered by Ed Brisson and Johnnie Christmas. I would have included Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples but I think it’s safe to assume that’s everyone’s favorite.
Joe Eisma (Morning Glories)
Sheltered from Ed Brisson and Johnnie Christmas really struck a chord with me. Really a gripping, brutal read. Just when I thought Nick and I had the market cornered on how terrifying the youth can be!
Chris Roberson (Monkeybrain honcho, Edison Rex)
There were a LOT of great comics put out this year, but my favorites were probably Michel Fiffe COPRA, Tom Scioli’s SATAN’S SOLDIER, Matt Fraction and David Aja’s HAWKEYE, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s YOUNG AVENGERS, Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson’s ASTRO CITY, Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin’s BANDETTE, anything by Kate Beaton, and now I’m just listing all of the comics I read on a regular basis, it appears. So, I have a LOT of favorites, I guess?
Paul Allor (G.I. Joe, Strange Nation)
Charles Forsman’s The End of the Fucking World was just amazing. With the book’s subject matter, it could so easily have come off as trite or overwrought, but Forsman just absolutely nailed it. First Second had an extraordinary streak this year, between Battling Boy, Templar, Boxers & Saints, Red Handed, Primates, Delilah Dirk, and on and on. Books I look forward to each month include Wild Blue Yonder, Six-Gun Gorilla, Hit, Captain Marvel, Five Ghosts, High Crimes, Mind MGMT, FBP and a whole bunch more that I’m sure I’ll kick myself for forgetting.
I also wanted to call out the Betty and Veronica take-offs that Brandon Graham and Emily Carroll did. It was just a quick experimental thing, but man, both of those just absolutely haunted me. What a cool experimentation from two of my favorite creators.
Oh, and that reminds me: only one issue of Afterlife with Archie has come out, but… wow.
That’s a really tough one. There have been so many good series either launch or hit their stride this year. PRETTY DEADLY, REVIVAL, HAWKEYE, EAST OF WEST, SHELTERED, VELVET, SAGA, SNAPSHOT, YOUNG AVENGERS, HALF PAST DANGER…
But overall I’m going to go with THE PRIVATE EYE, Brian K Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s digital-exclusive comic. Having two creators of such standing take on the serial digital model, and compose specifically
for the screen, has really helped legitimise digital comics to many, many readers who simply wouldn’t have looked twice at them before. And anything that widens the audience for non-traditional comics like that
is great for the industry. It doesn’t hurt that THE PRIVATE EYE is also just a really bloody good comic, of course.
Curt Pires (Theremin)
I really loved Ales Kot/Morgan Jeske’s CHANGE, which technically started in Dec 2012 but hey that’s basically 2013 right? Other comics I liked — let’s think. I liked Gillen and Mckelvie and Wilson and Cowles on YOUNG AVENGERS doing really hardcore pop superhero comics. Copra of course. Sex. Sex Criminals. Satellite Sam. Pleasantly surprised and delighted by Ballistic over at Black Mask. Many more.Continued below
Ryan Browne (God Hates Astronauts, Bedlam, The Manhattan Projects)
Heck by Zander Cannon was easily the best book of the year. I also really enjoyed the Sin Titulo collection.
Mike Allred (FF)
I could make an incredibly long list with so much excellent work being done. Off the top of my head I really dig Battle Boy and Sabertooth Swordsman.
Franco (Itty Bitty Hellboy)
I want to start off by saying that comics are my life! I love them but I am sooooo far behind the ball on being current and up to date as I am always busy working so my answers my be a bit skewed or out of date.
I’ve only read the first issue of Pretty Deadly so it has me intrigued so I’ll hold off on the story so far but I loved the artwork, I also really like the Dream Thief by Jai Nitz.
Chris Sebela (High Crimes, Ghost, Alien vs Predator)
Blackacre, Sheltered, Colder, Copra, Ghosted, The Mire, Sex Criminals, Pretty Deadly, Theremin, Kinski, Revival.
Michael Walsh (Zero, the upcoming Secret Avengers)
This was a damn good year for comics. Off the top of my head some of my favourites were:
Battling Boy, Hellboy: Midnight Circus, Saga, Hawkeye, Thor: God of Thunder, Lost Cat, Daredevil, East of West, Kinski, Fatale, Locke and Key, Demeter, just read Marvel Knights: X-Men today and am loving what Brahm Revel is doing with that book, looking forward to more. This is hard, I read a lot of books and could go on forever.
Ales Kot (Zero, Change, Wild Children)
If we’re talking just the newly released, first-time-ever-stuff, I very much enjoyed The End of the Fucking World, Saga, Hawkeye, Multiple Warheads, Sex Criminals, Jupiter’s Children, Prophet, Fury MAX, Young Avengers. Battling Boy, New School, Fran and Very Casual are four I haven’t gotten around to yet and I believe they will all be worth the wait.
Justin Jordan (Luther Strode, Dead Body Road)
Hmmm, shit. Can I say shit? I always have problems with these because I tend to fixate on the last thing I read. In that spirit, I really like Sex Criminals and, for that matter, Hawkeye. Both are obvious Fraction joints, and while their plots are different, their way of unspooling in expected and not necessarily plotplotplot style feel similar to me.
I think I’m probably most excited to read East of West each month. That’s a definite top of the pile book. So…those three?
Robert Wilson IV (Knuckleheads, Like a Virus)
Becky Cloonan’s DEMETER, Paul Pope’s BATTLING BOY, and PROPHET are the books that immediately come to mind. PRETTY DEADLY just started, but I am really excited and curious about the book, I have no idea what to expect and that’s really great.
Charles Paul Wilson III (Stuff of Legend, Wraith)
from Manhattan Projects turned me onto this book called And Then Emily Was Gone by John Lees and Iain Laurie (and Megan Wilson on the colored issue). I met John at New York Comic Con and he gave me both the black and white and colored copies and its a very nice book. I’m currently reading and enjoying Wild Blue yonder by Mike Raicht, Zach Howard and Nelson Daniel as well as Great Pacific by Joe Harris and Martin Morazzo. And there was a really, really cool story by Rafael Grampa in Batman Black and White #2.
And I’m still very much enjoying ongoing books that are always on my “must get” list: Locke & Key, Mouse Guard, Morning Glories and Manhattan Projects. And please don’t let me forget the tenth season of The X Files!