This month, we’re going to have an elaborate run of looks at the best of 2014 and what we’re excited about for 2015. 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 2015.
Today, everything starts with the big question: “In 2014, what comic or comics stood out as your favorite books of the year?” Here are the creators’ thoughts, and look for more tomorrow.
The comics that came out in 2014? The Love Bunglers. Loverboys. Ms. Marvel, The Wicked and the Divine, anything Julia Gfrörer and Sean T. Collins made, Emily Carrol’s Out of Skin (technically 2013, I guess?). Inio Asano’s Nijigahara Holograph. Zero and Secret Avengers by me. I’m not afraid to put them in here. I love my comics. I write the ones I want to see out there, so when I do it exactly the way I want, I aim to enjoy the feeling. Supreme by Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay feels like a William Gibson riff filtered via superhero worlds that are pretty much exhaling their last breaths. I’m looking forward to Marguerite Van Cook’s and James Romberger’s Late Child and Other Animals. The Wrenchies. Trees. I’m probably forgetting a lot.
Jeremy Haun (Wolf Moon)
2014 was a good year for comics. A very good year. Black Science, Low, Southern Bastards, Spread, God Hates Astronauts, Rasputin, Outcast, Wytches, Stray Bullets… which are a ton of Image books. Hellboy in Hell and BPRD are absolutely fantastic, too. There’s never enough Mignola. It’s a good time for creator owned comics.
Josh Williamson (Birthright, Nailbiter)
Sex Criminals, Chew, Five Ghosts, Rasputin, Wytches, Southern Bastards, Saga, Revival, Pretty Deadly, East of West, Stray Bullets, Shutter… I mean really I should just send you a link to the Image Comics website. LOVE Manifest Destiny. I got caught up on Invincible this year and I have to say it’s my favorite super hero comic right now.
Though the Woods by Emily Carroll was perfect. Warren Ellis and Declan Shavey’s Moon Knight was OUTSTANDING. Life After and the Bunker by Josh Fialkov are awesome. Was really happy with how all of Dark Horse’s Fire and Stone Aliens/Predator/Prometheus/AVP books turned out. Daredevil, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor at Marvel were some of my favs. Mile Morales was on fire this year. I finished Locke and Key this year and that ending was everything I wanted it to be.
Oh and you know what comic messed me up? Starlight by Mark Millar and Goran Parlov…every issue was magic, man! MAGIC!
Maybe I’m listing too much here. When you ask me about comics I go on rant’s y’know?
I read a LOT of comics… stacks…and I’m probably forgetting some books, but it was a good year.
Joshua Hale Fialkov (The Bunker)
I think SAGA is pretty damn hard to beat. Although, the return of STRAY BULLETS is a very, very close second. It’s just about perfect in every way. And, there’s a book called AND EMILY WAS GONE put out by Comixtribe that is just a breathtaking debut. But, I will say the thing I’ve enjoyed the most is the re-release of MIRACLEMAN that Marvel is doing. Month in, month out, the best and most daring comic on the stands is thirty years old.
Ryan Browne (God Hates Astronauts)
I loved Darrow’s return to Shaolin Cowboy. It was exactly what I was hoping it’d be, a bizarre playground from Geof to draw whatever struck his fancy and I think it ended fantastically. The Jasons had the best new ongoing in my opinion with Southern Bastards. Latour draws the best damn trees, and hands that look like trees, I’ve ever seen. Revival and Manhattan Projects continued to be strong as well and Daredevil is damn pretty.
I think the one I keep coming back to is Nailbiter, by Josh Williamson and Mike Henderson. The basic idea is that there’s a town on Oregon that has spawned a whole bunch of brutal serial killers, including the titular Nailbiter, and is being investigated by two FBI agents. And it’s both amazing and gets a lot of mileage out of the concept.Continued below
Frank Barbiere (Five Ghosts, Solar)
My favorite books were D4VE by Ryan Ferrier and Valentin Ramon, Doc Unknown by Fabian Rangel and Ryan Cody, Deadly Class by Remender and Wes Craig, and Menu by Matthew Rosenberg & Patrick Kindlon. And of course THE PRIVATE EYE by BKV and Marcos Martin.
Joe Eisma (Morning Glories)
Robert Wilson IV (Knuckleheads)
I don’t think there’s a better comic than VELVET being released right now. The level of craft put into that book is amazing. I also loved LAZARUS, PRETTY DEADLY, SEX CRIMINALS and a ton of other stuff. It was a great year for me liking comics.
Michael Walsh (Secret Avengers)
Another great year for the medium.. So many books it’s hard to name them all so here are a few. Starlight (Pleasantly surprised by this one), Deadly Class (Wes Craig is a mad genius), Saga (It’s Saga), Seconds (O’Malley has really matured as a creator and it really shows not only in the story but in the way it’s told) , Southern Bastards (This is the Scalped version of Aaron and I love it, Latour draws some amazing craggy ass faces) Moon Knight (Ellis + Shalvey = amazing super hero comics), Daredevil (Waid and Samnee continue redefining the character), Kinski (classic in execution but feels so completely new, Hardman is great), ZERO (cool artist showcase and great stuff from Ales) BPRD (One of the most consistently quality comics on the stands), Outcast (Azaceta is the new king of horror), The Field (I buy everything Ed writes and this may be my favourite. Black comedy/sci fi. Simon Roy), This One Summer (TAMAKI COUSINS!!!!). Guess that is more than a few.
Farel Dalrymple’s Wrenchies from First Second took the top spot for me. It hit me hard and its themes were timely to things I’ve been going through myself, so it could’ve have come at a better time.
I also really enjoyed Roman Muradov’s (In A Sense) Lost and Found from Nobrow. I’ve been saying my favorite ongoing series is Mike Mignola’s Hellboy in Hell, but when I looked up release dates was reminded its actually become an annual event, so I may have to switch that answer to Sean Philips and Ed Brubaker’s The Fade Out. A slow burn thriller set int he golden age of Hollywood is basically tailor made for me. Frank Quitely + Grant Morrison’s Pax Americana was definitely my “single issue of the year”, along with seemingly everyone else’s.
Matthew Rosenberg (12 Reasons to Die)
There are so many good books on shelves that you really need to be doing something amazing to justify asking people to read your book. As for stuff I loved this year? Obviously SAGA is pretty near flawless and I am always in awe of everything Bendis and Brubaker do. THE OTHER GANG by Wyeth Yates reminded me why I love comics again. ALL-STAR WESTERN by Palmiotti and Gray was consistently fun to a level that is astounding. BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS from D&Q was breathtaking in every way. And if there is any justice in the world (which there may not be) STRAY BULLETS will be remembered as one of the high points of the medium. And it’s hard to argue that AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE isn’t everything we wanted and more.
Declan Shalvey (Injection)
There’s been a LOT of great stuff this year, but top of my list is Sheltered, Southern Bastards, Daredevil, Stray Bullets, Deadly Class. Amazing stories and amazing art. Perfect comics.
Chris Ross (Top Shelf’s Director of Digital Publishing)
I quite liked Box Brown’s Andre the Giant comic. Saga always kills it as a fantastic comic, and I absolutely love Oglaf, Moth City, Captain Marvel, and Hawkguy.
Natalie Nourigat (Home is Where the Internet Is)
It Just So Happens by Fumio Obata. The art is unique and absolutely gorgeous, and the storytelling is really effective. Also Archer Coe by Jamie S. Rich and Dan Christensen – Archer is my favorite protagonist of 2014 and I can’t wait for #2!! And I’m going to cheat and throw in one from 2013 – Notes #8, which is Boulet’s collection of his 24-hour comics.Continued below
Sebastian Girner (Editor of Deadly Class, Drifter, Low, and many others)
One-Punch Man remains my go-to for pure unbridled fun. That book is doing so many things right that mostly just get done wrong these days, it’s crazy. Currently one of the best comics on the planet, and definitely the best superhero one. I also loved Andrew MacLean’s Head Lopper: The Wolves of Barra. Really looking forward to his ApocalyptiGirl. From what I’ve seen that book looks tailor-made for me.
I think Mark Waid & Chris Samnee are making DAREDEVIL one of the most entertaining books out there, every single month. And Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ work on SAGA is fantastic. They make it all look so deceptively easy. And Jason Aaron & Jason Latour’s SOUTHERN BASTARDS was a real kick in the teeth, particularly issue #4. Structuring their first arc that way was a real gutsy move and it paid off. And Josh Williamson & Andrei Bressan’s BIRTHRIGHT was pretty much a perfect first issue.
Matthew Wilson (The Wicked + The Divine, Thor)
Tough one. If I had to pick just one, I’d say Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour. Scalped (written by Aaron) was one of my favorite series ever, so I was already highly anticipating this book. On top of that, Latour’s artwork is pitch perfect for this story. I’ve also lived in the southeastern United States for most of my life, so a lot of this small town football stuff rings very true for me.
Brenden Fletcher (Gotham Academy, Batgirl)
SHOPLIFTER by Michael Cho
THIS ONE SUMMER by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
THROUGH THE WOODS by Emily Carroll
Paul Allor (GI Joe, TMNT)
This has been such a cuckoo-bananas great year for comics, that this is really tough to answer. But when I think of the books I looked forward to the most each month, I’d have to go with SATELLITE SAM, KINSKI, D4VE, THOR, the ongoing TMNT series, and the 27 others I’ll think of after I send this. Oh! DOWN SET FIGHT! Man, I absolutely loved that book. Such a complete joy to read. Also (last one), Box Brown’s ANDRE THE GIANT. I’ve never been a pro wrestling fan, but my Dad was, big time, and I was kind of fascinated by Andre the Giant growing up. He loomed large (pun!) in my imagination, and Brown brought him to life with such wonderful warmth, insight and mastery of craft.
Tim Gibson (Moth City)
‘The Magic Pen’ by Dylan Horrocks has proven to be a great combination of veiled biography, throwback space-opera and alien sex. Horrocks has been publishing it online as a webcomic since 2009, but it’s now complete and has just been released in tree-flesh. It’s a multi-threaded little number so it would probably benefit from a one-sitting read-through in paper form.
Curt Pires (POP)
I really loved Warren Ellis coming back to comics. Moon Knight, Supreme: Blue Rose, and Trees all really impressed me. All three books are totally different from one and other, and just a reminder of how goddamn good a writer he is. Pax Americana was undeniably brilliant.
Ed Brisson (Sheltered)
The big thing for me this past year was the return of “Stray Bullets”. It’s one of my all time favourite series and is still just as good as it ever was.