So, VICE said they couldn’t find 10 comics to put on their list for 2017. I get that 2017 has been a bit of a crap PR year for comics, especially the Big Two, but that is extremely reductive and disingenuous. There are plenty of talented creators who have done some phenomenal work this year in the myopic Big Two space, the alternative publishers, and the thriving indie scene.
So I’m going to meet and exceed VICE’s challenge. Not only am I going to find 10 good comics, I’m going to find 20. Five each for Marvel, DC, the alternative publishers, and the indies.
Here’s the criteria: They can only be comics I’ve reviewed for Bleeding Cool. That’s why there won’t be any of Jim Zub and Jon Malin’s Thunderbolts on the list. That concluded before I joined up with the site.
Secondly, I’m only choosing one issue for each series, so there won’t be any list dominated by a single title. As such, I’m choosing what I felt was the best issue for each book.
Thirdly, while going back and looking through the scores may be a good way to predict what will appear on this list, don’t hold me to them. Feelings change over time, and some books that got an 8.5 may go higher than a 9.0 on the list.
While there were many great indie comics that came out this year, The Trade by Thomas Smith and Katie Whittle stands out for its depth and beauty. While it does have a publishing house connected to it, Frisson Comics was actually set up by Smith and Whittle to put out their comics.
The Trade tells the tale of a young vampire who spends a night with a bartender at a closed zoo. The two share their feelings with one another, and the vampire tells her story to the bartender. The two are quite sweet characters, and the comic plays with the layout and set-dressing a fair amount. The comic is dripping with creativity, and Katie Whittle makes it quite gorgeous.
The comic is emotional and sweet, and it touches on many different subject matters across modern culture. All together, this comic is definitely worthy of your time. That’s why it deserves to be counted as one of the best comics of 2017.
If you are interested in seeking out this comic, it is currently available on the Frisson Comics’s Etsy.