Best Ongoing Title
The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie Mckelvie (Image Comics)
I’ve loved this book from issue one, but this year is when things really kicked into high gear. The latter half of the second arc was devastating in all the right ways and the bold choice to turn the entire third arc into an experimental anthology of deep dives into the minds and motivations of each character was brilliantly executed. Choosing to use a rotating artist on each issue in the third arc set the tone perfectly and helped to furhter highlight just how special this book is.
Giant Days by John Allison and Lissa Treiman (Boom Studios)
I’m hard-pressed to think of a book whose characters I enjoy spending time with more than the quirky university freshmen of Giant Days. Each issue packs in so much humor and heart that it’s impossible not to leave without a huge grin on your face. Lissa Treilman’s expressive, Saturday Morning Cartoon-esque style creates a world that feels alive and vibrant unlike many low-concept comics and sucks you in to the point where you’ll never want to leave.
Best New Series
Ant-Man/Astonishing Ant-Man by Nick Spencer and Mark Brooks (Marvel Comics)
I’m a sucker for a good story about a sad sack just trying to get by in the world, which is probably why Scott Lang is my favorite of the Ant-Men. This book’s story of Scott moving to Miami in order to be close to his newly returned daughter packs so much heart and humor that it’d be hard not to fall in love with. Nick Spencer brings to this the same wit and pathos that made his Superior Foes of Spider-Man so special and Mark Brook’s bold, clean lines and expressive faces and poses really make this book pop. Fans of hapless heroes bumbling their way through trying to have a “normal life” only to keep being pulled back in by the endless battle between good and evil, this is a book you don’t want to miss.
Chip Zdarsky (Howard the Duck, Jughead, Kaptara, Sex Criminals)
I think that Chip Zdarsky might be an idiot… The Sex Criminals artist and co-writer seems to have spent 2015 saying “yes” to literally everyone who offered him a project. While this sounds like a questionable life decision, it’s left us with lineup of projects each with an insane amount of variety, inventiveness, and quality. Not only has he helped to put out four incredible issues of Sex Criminals, but he started writing a trippy space opera saturated in 80’s nostalgia (Kaptara), a revamped-for-the-modern-age Jughead book, and now one, but TWO (volumes of a) hilariously irreverent Howard the Duck solo series. The man’s a work horse and is probably just using comics to document his slow descent into insanity but if these books are what we get in exchange for this man’s mental well-being, I’ll take it!
Chris Bachalo (Uncanny X-Men, Doctor Strange)
There are so many phenomenal artists working in comics right nowbut I can’t think of one who has had as much of an impact on the quality of a book as Chris Bachalo has on Jason Arron’s new Doctor Strange solo series. Bachalo’s rough lines, off-kilter panes and page layouts, and knack for drawing weird and wild creatures so perfectly suits the Sorcerer Supreme and his world that it’s shocking he hadn’t worked with the character sooner. Add to that his continued stellar work on finishing up Brian Michael Bendis’s run on Uncanny X-Men and you have one of the best, most consistent artists working in comics this year.