Every year, we send out a survey to some of our favorite creators and ask them questions about the year in comics. We had an incredible response this year, and got creators from all corners of the comics world to weigh in one what they loved about comics in 2015. Every day this week, we will be sharing a different question from our questionnaire.
Hopefully these inspire you to check out some new books, and to give some other books a second look.
Our first question: in 2015, what comic or comics stood out as your favorite books of the year?
Caught up on “Southern Bastards” as well. It’s every bit as good as the hype says it is.
Marguerite Bennett (Writer: DC Comics Bombshells, A Force): Jock, Scott Synder, and Matt Hollingsworth’s “Wytches,” of course, gave me even more cause to fear other people. That is one of the strongest opening issues–open pages!–I’ve ever seen. Damn. “Lumberjanes” and “The Wicked + The Divine” are both joys. And though it’s a 2014 publication, I only read it recently, so I’m gonna say that Ray Fawkes’ “The People Inside” absolutely slit my throat.
Steve Orlando (Writer: Midnighter, Batman and Robin Eternal): 2015 had a wealth of exciting books, in my opinion. My favorites were probably “Rasputin” from Grecian/Rossmo at Image, “D4VE”/”D4VE2” from Ferrier/Ramon at IDW, “The Vision” from King/Hernandez Walta at Marvel, “Klaus” from Morrison/Mora at BOOM!, and “Martian Manhunter” from Williams/Barrows at DC. AND Jennie Wood’s 2nd volume of “Flutter” from 215 Ink. And also the latest volume of Mike Kingston’s self published “Headlocked.” And you can see inside these books I love me some folklore, I love me some pop culture, but most of all I love inventive takes on iconic concepts. These are books that revitalize genre and take characters and settings in new and daring directions. And the worlds feel lived in. They feel textured and beautifully realized.
Chris Ryall (Editor in Chief, IDW Publishing): Scott McCloud’s “The Sculptor” blew my mind this year. As did Adrian Tomine’s “Killing and Dying.” Jason Aaron had an amazing year, balancing crowd-pleasing fare like “Star Wars” with more Aaronish books like “The Goddamned.” Owen King, Mark Jude Poirier and Nancy Ahn released a really fun, funny and smarty graphic novel, “Intro to Alien Invasion.” And while I won’t name all the IDW books I loved that we were able to put out this year, I’ll single out Troy Little’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” as a perfect fit of creator and material. But there were so, so many good comics this year, I’d never be able to mention them all. But I will mention one more: “Paper Girls” really hits me in my sweet spot, too.
Andrea Sorrentino (Artist: Old Man Logan, Green Arrow): I’ve got a bit of a problem in identifying ‘2015’ beacuse for some series I’ve waited for the Italian edition, and we’ve like a 6-7 months gap.
But have to say, 2015 was a GREAT year for comics. Both from the ‘Big Two’ and from the independent side. Should I pick only some, among the ones I most enjoyed, I’d say “The Multiversity,” “Descender,” “Southern Bastards,” and “Sandman Overture” (still have to read Ellis’s “Injection)”. Also the whole “Secret Wars” thing has been a lot of fun, especially the main title with that mind-blowing Ribic art.
Sanford Greene (Artist: Power Man and Iron Fist, Ame-Comi Girls): I’m digging “Southern Bastards” right about now. That story is all about where I grew up!
James Tynion IV (Writer: Batman and Robin Eternal, The Woods): Dang, it’s been a year. It feels like every year the industry steps up and pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in the medium. It’s still crazy to think of just ten years ago, how different the shelves in our Local Comic Shops looked… There’s been a lot of incredible work put out this year. “We Can Never Go Home” by Matt Rosenberg and Josh Hood has been particularly revelatory, and I think it announced both Rosenberg and Black Mask Studios as people who demand to be watched in the next few years. “Nimona” by Noelle Stevenson is a work of worldbuilding genius by one of the best storytellers in the industry, a story that can be enjoyed by anyone of any age in a way I can only really compare to Jeff Smith’s Bone. Both “Star Wars” and “Darth Vader” are tapping into my fanboy id in a way that I haven’t felt in years, when I first heard the description of the ‘Vader Down’ crossover, I couldn’t stop smiling. It feels amazing to me how well Aaron and Gillen have nailed the feel of exactly what I love best about Star Wars. “Archie” has blown me away every single month it’s come out… I never expected to fall back in love with those characters, but it’s a must read for me every month now. Steve Orlando and ACO are doing incredible things with action pacing and bad-ass character moments in every issue of “Midnighter,” which is just phenomenal. And it’s just started, but Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s “The Vision” is the strangest, most unique new superhero comic from the Big Two in years.Continued below
Like I said. It’s been a year!
Laurence Campbell (Artist: B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, Punisher MAX): Well, I’m a bit behind in my reading but I’ve really been enjoying “Harrow County,” “Rumble” and “They’re Not Like Us” to name a few.
Obviously “Hellboy in Hell” is always a treat but ‘The Hounds of Pluto’ was stunning.
Michael Walsh (Artist: Secret Avengers, Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra): I read a lot of books so I’ll try and keep this short. “The Vision,” “Paper Girls,” “Rumble,” “Descender,” “Midnighter,” “Hellboy in Hell,” “Invisible Republic,” “Birthright,” “Daredevil,” “Deadly Class.” I also just read “Safari Honeymoon” by Jessie Jacobs which was a great indie book released by Koyama Press. It is what would happen if David Cronenburg wrote a book for Chris Ware.
And lastly “The Divine.” Probably the best looking book I read this year. It hit all the right notes for me and I gobbled it up in one delightful sitting.
Sebastian Girner (Editor: Tokyo Ghost, The Goddamned): “Paper Girls” #1 is one of the finest first issues I’ve read, just a really sleek package soup-to-nuts. And I’ve only recently started dipping into the books that Black Mask is publishing, but both “Space Riders” and “We Can Never Go Home Again” made great first impressions, so I’m looking forward to what they get up to in 2016.
Kieron Gillen (Writer: The Wicked + The Divine, Phonogram): “Becoming Unbecoming” by Una was a fantastic graphic novel. Very British, very precisely writing about a specific time. The denouement is just astounding.
Once again, it’s Image’s year. Every month something comes out which makes me want to up my game. I almost don’t want to name names, as there’s so many. I mean, I read the Asexual issue of “Sex Criminals” back-to-back with the religion issue of “Southern Bastards,” and just wanted to get all of them on the phone and ask what was going on. I feel lucky I know any of these people.
Oh, what an age we live in, etc.
There’s still so much I have to catch up with as well. I haven’t read any of John Allison’s “Giant Days” yet, y’know? Also, I always forget what I’ve actually read.
Skottie Young (Artist: I Hate Fairyland, Rocket Raccoon): “Rumble.” Great monster mythology being built with funny characters and some of the best art in the business.
“Invader Zim.” I’m a super fan of the cartoon and this the return to that world from creators of the show. It’s perfect if your a Zim fan.
Rebekah Isaacs (Artist: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10, Angel and Faith): I rarely have time to read anything new, but as a Star Wars fanatic I had to make time for the new main “Star Wars” title, and it’s been well worth it. Amy Reeder improves so much with every book, which seems impossible because her art was so mind-glowingly gorgeous to begin with. Her art on “Rocket Girl” is just totally next-level crazy goodness. Ryan Browne’s “God Hates Astronauts” made me laugh so much and his con commissions are bonkers.
Ryan Browne (Writer/Artist: God Hates Astronauts, Blast Furnace): “Kaijumax” by Zander Cannon. It’s a genius idea that was executed with the utmost love for the source material. Simply perfect!
Erik Burnham (Writer: Ghostbusters: Get Real, Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues): I have several!
As far as straight up comic books, I appreciated the bright and shiny fun found in DC’s “Convergence: Shazam
and Marvel’s “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl;” the full-tilt insanity of “Mythic” from Image comics, and IDW’s pun-filled “Monster Motors.” They all entertained in different ways.
For graphic novels: the Immonens’ “Russian Olive to Red King” was a gut-punch of a story that stuck with me for quite some time after reading… I also dug the madcap adaptation of “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas” pulled off by Troy Little.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Ben Dewey’s “Complete Tragedy” series collection… no matter what the truth actually is, I still want to believe that Dewey created this comic solely to appeal to my own sense of humor.
Ryan K. Lindsay (Writer: Negative Space, Headspace): “Deadly Class” was sitting at the head of the class for me. A high concept hiding a fantastically brutal character deconstruction with art from Wes Craig that schools in you in what comics are and how they do what they do best.Continued below
“Pisces” is a book I cannot get enough from. Johnnie Christmas and Kurtis J Wiebe are dropping this weird Hannibal-style sci fi/war gonzo funk trip that’s as much about tone as it is the fractured narrative. Love the class and reach on this one.
“We Can Never Go Home” from Josh Hood, Patrick Kindlon, and Matt Rosenberg always made me pause and hover on the weeks it came out. I also fell really hard for the “Dr. Strange,” “All-New Wolverine,” and “The Vision” reups, as well as “Sex Criminals,” “Southern Bastards,” “Airboy,” “Rumble,” “Tet.” And “East of West” might be one of the best damn books of all time, while at the start of the year “Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952” rocked strong and “Elektra” closed its run as one of the best Marvel books of the decade.
Kate Leth (Writer: Power Up, Fresh Romance): I’m a huge fan of Emily Carroll, and I loved her collab with Marika McCoola on “Baba Yaga’s Assistant.” It’s a really awesome take on a classic style of folktale, and it’s fun to see Emily work on a book for kids! I will say that every time I picked up my pull list, “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” was the first thing I’d read. As for new books, I think “Paper Girls” is the best of 2015.
Robin Herrera (Editor: The Bunker, Letter 44): Oh so many. This was a good year for comics. I really enjoyed “Nimona” by Noelle Stevenson, “Fantasy Sports” by Sam Bosma, and “Food Wars!” by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki. “The Last of the Sandwalkers” by Jay Hosler was one I didn’t think I’d like but then really got sucked into. For monthlies, “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” and the new “Archie.” And of course now I’m back on the “Saga” train.
Rob Williams (Writer: Martian Manhunter, Unfollow): Too many. “Barrier” by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and his killer colourist knocked my socks off last week. I’m hugely enjoying “Johnny Red” by Garth Ennis & Keith Burns – that’s a passion project by two creators who know that world inside out. “Saga.” “Southern Bastards.” Been really enjoying “Justice League: Darkseid War” by Geoff Johns & Jason Fabok. “Trees” by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard. “B.P.R.D.” by John Arcudi & Laurence Campbell. “Rumble” by Arcudi & Jason Harren. How long have you got? Oh, “Wild’s End” by Dan Abnett & Ian Culbard. Been loving that. “The Multiversity” by Morrison and all his collaborators. The Quitely issue…wow.
Robert Hack (Artist: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Archie Vs. Predator): I’ve been digging “Silver Surfer,” “Airboy,” “Southern Bastards,” “Jupiter’s Circle,” “Jughead,” “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl,” and “Hellboy in Hell” an awful lot. Two of my absolute favorites from this year have been collections of classic Alex Toth comics: “Bravo For Adventure” and “Creepy Presents: Alex Toth.”
Frank Barbiere (Writer: Five Ghosts, Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.): 2015 was a really great year for comics. As someone who reads as much as they write, I was really delighted to be enjoying so many books as much as I did. The big standouts were from some of my peers, and pretty late in the game, but I immensely enjoyed “Midnigher,” “We Can Never Go Home,” “Space Riders,” “The Sheriff of Babylon,” “The Omega Men,” “The Vision” (the holy Tom King trilogy), “The Private Eye,” “Batman,” “They’re Not Like Us,” and “Welcome Back.” Many more, but these ones stood out in my memory as favorites. Oh, and everything and anything written by Rick Remender. He’s just been on another level lately.
Michael Moreci (Writer: Roche Limit, Burning Fields): I continue to enjoy “Deadly Class,” which might be the best book on the stands. I thought “Rebels” was really interesting and good, and “The Tomorrows” continues to do some really cool, challenging things—which comics needs much, much more of. “Shutter” is really cool and fun, and I enjoy the hell out of “Invisible Republic.” And “They’re Not Like Us” — I love the treatment of superheroes like a messed up cult. Oh, and “And Then Emily Was Gone.” That’s probably 2014, but screw it, I read it this year, so it’s 2015 to me.
Chad Bowers (Writer: X-Men ‘92, Deadpool: Bad Blood): So many good comics this year, but for me, the books that stand out most are “Transformers vs. G.I. Joe,” “Kaijumax,” “Martian Manhunter,” and “Southern Bastards.”
“Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe” is why I love comics, and everybody should be reading it. Scioli and Barber are absolute madmen. “Kaijumax” is currently my favorite emotional wrecking ball. “Martian Manhunter” is DC Comics filtered through the lens of 2000 AD. And “Southern Bastards,” well… I’m from South Carolina, so it’s basically my life (with slightly less barbecue).
Paul Allor (Writer: Tet, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles): Just a couple off the top of my head: “Revenger.” “D4VE2.” “Negative Space.” “The Violent” only had one issue out this year, but damn, what an issue. “Hellboy and the BPRD.” “Nanjing: The Burning City.” “Two Brothers.” “The New Deal”… shit, Dark Horse had a good year.
Chris Ross (Digital Director for Top Shelf): “Descender,” “Plutona,” “Junction True,” “Intersect,” “Kaijumax,” “Poorcraft,” “Smutpeddler,” “Bitch Planet.”
Fabian Rangel Jr (Writer: Space Riders, The Storyteller: Dragons): Hands down my favorite comic every month is “Rumble” from John Arcudi, James Harren, Dave Stewart, and Chris Eliopoulos. “Southern Bastards” and “Hellboy in Hell” are two other books that make me feel like I need to try harder in my own work. Right now my vote for best graphic novel goes to “Nanjing: The Burning City” by Ethan Young. Just a fantastic piece of storytelling. Loved it.
Jacob Semahn (Writer: Goners, Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider Man): On two completely opposite ends of the spectrum: “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” by Ryan North & Erica Henderson is just a blast to read. Fun and refreshing. And then we have the dark and depraved, “Stray Bullets: Sunshine & Roses” by David Lapham. I find nearly everything written by Lapham to be a masterful execution of the form.
Kyle Strahm (Artist: Spread, We Will Bury You): Only two issues have been released so far, but in 2015 I’ve had the most fun reading “The Goddamned” by Jason Aaron, R.M. Guera and Giulia Brusco. Some others I enjoy are “Rumble,” “Spider-Woman,” “Airboy” and “Space Riders.”
Curt Pires (Writer: The Tomorrows, The Fiction): Tough question, lots of great stuff coming out and I know I’m going to forget something. I loved Brian K Vaughan’s stuff (“Paper Girls,” “Saga,” “We Stand on Guard”). All this stuff was top notch, and he picks/has brilliant collaborators. I love looking at how he constructs his issues/pacing because in a lot of way it’s completely different to what my impulses are as a creator but it’s so brilliant. “Injection” was excellent. “We Can Never Go Home.” “Art Ops” is brilliant. Tom King is doing some good work, liking “The Omega Men” and “The Sheriff Of Baghdad” in particular. Brisson/Gorham’s “The Violent.” “Southern Bastards” and “The Goddamned” continue to be amazing. “The Goddamned” is so amazing in particular. I’d love to see more people taking risks and making weird shit bold shit like “The Goddamned.” Comics feel too safe sometimes. Also really loved Jeff Lemire and company’s “Bloodshot: Reborn,” because it feels/moves like an 80’s action movie and the commentary on violence/mass shootings doesn’t hurt it either. Lapham’s return to “Stray Bullets.” Alright, think I talked enough already.