These are my ten favourite comics of the year. Naturally they don’t include anything I haven’t read. Or those that I am waiting to read. And “favourite” isn’t exactly objective. But in no particular order…
I had rapidly gone of Matt Fraction’s comics. I couldn’t get into any of his Marvel work of late with any gusto, and even my reaction to Casanova was suffering. But this launch was sensational, with David Aja, creating a brand new look at the character and doing some amazing thing with the form on their way. Initially appearing to be modelled on David Mazzuchelli’s work, the most recent issue bears more in common with Chris Ware’s work as objects jump from panel to panel as icons in a computer game. Talking of which
It feels as if Chris Ware’s work was building up to this forever. One story told in a variety of ways, formats, media, in separate comics, leaflet, pamphlets, literally allowing you to build a story as much as be told a story of a building. If I had to pick a comic book of the year, this would be it. I’m going to go and read it again as soon as I’ve finished this.
A collection of the British smll press comic More Tales From Sleaze Castle and its sequels and spinoffs Tales From Sleaze Castle, Sleaze Castle and Petra Etcetera. A mixture of slice of life, surreal comedy, science fiction derring do, crime noir, and sitcom. As much PG Wodehouse as it is Michael Moorcock, this is one to obsess over very, very easily.
The Crossed franchise has been running for a while now, a take on George Romero’s Crazies, a zombiefied world in which the infected exhibit the very worst behaviour of humanity upon each other. One cannot cure, one cannot survive, one can only hide temporarily. This web series focusses on one such group hiding, and what they’ve had to do to keep themselves secure… so far. Psychologically complex, grippingly serial, and… free.
A comic creatively compromised from the start, beginning in one crossover, continuing into another, losing artists to more successful books, hitting another crossover, then another, as Marvel continuity whirls around it… yet at its heart telling one of the most emotionally shattering tales in comics, a boy with the expctations of nine worlds on his shoulders, his dog that has his own very different interpretation of the world, a spectre of his past as a bird constantly haunting him, and a girl who may be everuything he wants in life, or may be nothing at all. Incredibly exploitative, horribly melodramatic and completely, completely wonderful. The best Marvel comic since Unstable Molecules, bar none.
A book I had very little expectations of when launched has grown into one of superheroes’ best, dredging up memories of the Lobdell/Bachalo Generation X, while seizing the lessons learned by Harry Potter. And just like Potter, it is always at its best when set in the confines of school, with mutants mixing lessons and lectures with impending threats and the Hellfire Creche running rings around all the adults. A joy.
Once upon a time, a Hollywood executive bet me that someone was going to launch a legal suit over copyright against Alan Moore. I bet him that they wouldn’t. And if they were ever going to, this would have been the year. The publisher’s were very worried, especially considering the rather obvious links with this book to Harry Potter. But no one did, the parody was clear, but also rather genius with it. Possibly one of the finest pieces of fan fiction concocted, this book gave us a very dark present of storytelling, with modern media receiving Moore and O’Neill’s harshest criticism. But at the end of it all, love, nostalgia and fondess,
There are those who demand more strong women in comics. There are little quite as strong as the lead from this fantasy graphic novel, she just also happens to be a deeply unpleasant person with few redeeming features, before and after she receives a large crab-like appendage. A very entertaining take on Franz Kafka over exactly what does and does not get Metamorphosised.
JH Williams III drew Promethea, with its stylistic choice of making every page a double spread. It’s an approach he’s brought over to Batwoman. And his stylistic choices, portraying different characters with different pens, paint, brushes, carried over to other artistic collaborators along the way.
And there I was thinking we’ve reached the peak of vampire/zombie inventiveness. But this Edwardian tale of class structure and colonialism with supernatural states stepping in for an allegory here and there was devastatingly clever and utterly convincing in the reality it had conjured up. Add to that a murder mystery that gets at the core of why the world is the way it is and you have a detective against impossible odds.
From a vampire detetcive to one of the badger persuasion. This third volume of the adventures of Brock is its pinaccle to date. It would have been so tempting to junk this for Talbot’s more serious and literary collaboration with his wife, Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes which I also thoroughly enjoyed, but dammit this is a list of favourites and I’m sorry but I enjoyed the grandious derring do of animalistic steampunk even more than the juxtaposition of the relationship between Joyce and his daughter and a scholar of Joyce and his. I am weak.
An exquisite corpse of a comic, the story of one woman’s life from birth to middle age, each chapter from a new creative team telling the story of one day from each year of her life. With a slate of comic creators using every conceivable style, in scope and execution, it’s a moving, involving, affecting graphic novel that turns a gimmick into an emotionally affecting experience. If you ever wept a tear at that John Lewis ad, this will have you filling buckets.
I know, how predictable. How boring. How going-with-the-flow. Don;t care, this sci-fi/fantasy epic of a couple and their baby on the run from, well, pretty much everyone is just so, so special. It will be celebrated for years to come, couple’s will meet due to their love of this book and have their own children, this comic book will actually create life. A smattering of wonderfully bizarre people and creatures that illuminate what is at heart a very simple story. If you haven’t yet read this comic, I envy what you have to come.