Enjoy Alex’s rambly take on 2016’s comics, because he totally enjoyed the pressure of getting this out before 2017 (and still failed at doing so). Anyway, here’s what he liked!
Best Ongoing Series: Giant Days by
It feels very strange to put a silly book like Giant Days over fantastic and aclaimed books like Southern Bastards and Paper Girls, and it was a hard fight with another slice of life book like Archie.
But honestly Giant Days is one of the books I look forward to the most each month. With all of the intensity and suspense that some other books bring, along with all the stress that has surrounded 2016, it can be really refreshing to just check in with my favorite girls at their British university.
(Runner-up: Southern Bastards, Paper Girls, Archie)
Best Mini Series: Worst X-Man Ever by Max Bemis and Michael Walsh (Marvel)
A recurring theme of comic books of the year is the coming-of-age story. We have a hero who is different and might not fit in. He has special abilities (and of course responsibilities) and he wrestles with how to help people. But what if you really weren’t really all that special afterall? What if your “power” was that you could explode…once, and then you die. What if your name was Bailey and you were the Worst X-Man Ever?
This series answered that question in a fun, hilarious, and somewhat dark way. And of course Michael Walsh’s art is quirky and fantastic for the whole ride.
(Runner Up: The Fade Out, Headlopper)
Best New Series: Shade the Changing Girl by Cecil Castelluci (Young Animal)
This was a very tough pick for me. Even the Runners Up were difficult to narrow down. When Gerard Way’s Young Animal imprint was announced, I was cautiously optimistic about this new wing of DC, but mostly just excited for a new Doom Patrol book. I never expected to latch on this hard to Shade the Changing Girl. But it’s no surprise, considering the book is a bit like Mark Waid’s Archie by way of LSD. If you are even slightly into the brands of trippy and psychadelic art that look like Steve Ditko Doctor Strange and Sandman married and went neon, check out this book.
(Runner Up: She-Wolf, Snotgirl, Black Monday Murders)
Best Writer: Greg Rucka (Wonder Woman, Black Magick, Lazarus)
Greg Rucka has truly killed it this year. After reading volume one of his reprinted original run on Wonder Woman, I was hooked on his version of Diana. I knew it would be my favorite rebirth series. But not settling for just one, he also continued to wow me with every issue of Black Magick.
And without getting too political, Greg Rucka is uncompromising about writing self-possessed, 3-dimensional women, and is unafraid of standing up for his vision in the face of hacks like Frank Cho.
(Runner Up: Ed Brubaker, Rick Remender, Jeff Lemire, Mark Waid)
Best Artist: Veronica Fish (Archie, Slam)
(Sean Philips, Michael Cho, Nicola Scott)
Veronica Fish is my favorite artist of 2106. Certainly I am biased, as I have nearly as much of a crush on her as a person as I do an appreciation of her art, but also just look at her work. She was a perfect choice to take over for Fiona Staples on Archie in early 2016, and after her run she earned my most improved when she tackled the fantastic new roller derby Slam! Not that her work on Archie wasn’t up to snuff, but it became clear that she was born to draw spunky women on wheels.
Best Original Graphic Novel – Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini (Vertigo)
(Runner Up: March Vol 3, Private Eye)
Dark Night was a gripping book. After being attacked and nearly killed while walking alone one night, Paul Dini had to relearn how to live his life not constantly in fear. He recovered with the help of the same Batman that he used to write. Somehow in the same year that delivered solid Batman fiction from Scott Snyder and Tom King, the best caped crusader story may have been this autobiographical true story.
Best Cover: Literally Every Hip-Hop Cover by Various
So this collection of hip-hop covers is mostly from 2015, but the covers have been consistently great. Nearly every cover has been a must-buy for me, regardless of whether I intended to continue buying the book.
I think Marvel made a solid move in acknowledging the creative elements of hip-hop album covers, including the fact that more than a few were comic inspired already.
Best Single Issue: Flinstones #4 by Mark Russell and Steve Pugh (DC)
The Flinstones surprised me like no other book this year. Mark Russell packages social-commentary with the thin veil of the hokey Stone Age Hanna-Barbera tv series from decades ago. And he uses the format well to discuss feminism, gay marriage, politics, and more.
Issue #4 took on “traditional marriage” from the angle of the even more traditional wild and spontaneous polyamory that was the natural order of the community. In Bedrock, marriage was an insult to that culture. What makes this issue shine is just how well Russell blends his satire with the tone of the original show.
Best Panel/Page: Secret Wars #9 – “Doom vs. Richard” by Johnathan Hickman and Esad Ribic (Marvel)
Secret Wars was a tough read. It might have been a solid event without the huge inconsistencies in release schedules. But for me, issue #9 made it all worthwhile. In particular, this page hit like a brick. It not only capped off years of Hickman’s Marvel work, but a lifetime of struggle between Richard and Doom.
Most Anticipated for 2017: Curse Words by Charles Soule and Ryan Browne (Image)
And last but far from least, Curse Words. A demented book from Charles Soule illustrated by the depraved Ryan Browne who brought us God Hates Astronauts and Beardevil from Secret Wars Too. I am very excited for whatever mystical, foul-mouthed, biker shenanigans they bring.