It’s been a big year for comics everywhere. Smaller publishers have come into the spotlight (Boom, Oni Press, IDW, Image) and the Big 2 have come off there high horses for a few more intimate, relatable series. We’ve been keeping up with all the series that we could, and here’s some of our favourites from the year gone by, with a few honourable mentions to go along.
The creative storm of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have been working on Daredevil for the better part of 3 years now, however, they relaunched the series in a rather different setting this year. Set in San Francisco, Daredevil continues to be one of Marvel’s best series being published. We’re given Matt Murdock as a cheerful, colourful, and witty character, as contrast to the bleak setting of every other Daredevil story. And it works, oh so well. With his identity as Daredevil now public, Matt has become something of a showman, and it’s hilarious. Combine this with the awesome, pulp style art of Chris Samnee, who brings charisma and charm to Matt, and lithe action to Daredevil, and we have one of the best superhero books of the year.
Grant Morrison has made a terrific return to form this year with one of his most… well, ‘Morrison-esque’ books in some time, The Multiversity. With a slew of brilliant artists at his beck and call for each issue, Morrison has been pouring years of work into this series, and it’s clear to see, especially in issues like Pax Americana (we gave it a 10). The story revolves around a lethal comic book, and extra-dimensional forces invading the Multiverse, known as the Gentry. It’s worked as a launchpad for Morrison to work with all kinds of stories, such as a real-world, pop-star take on the Justice League, a classic, retro take on the Marvel (Shazam) family, and much more. The best part? It’s only just passed the half way mark. We’ve loved what we’ve seen of The Multiversity this year, and can’t wait for more in 2015.
If there’s any reason to forgive Rick Remender for Avengers + X-Men: Axis, it’s Deadly Class. Remender has crafted a huge world set in the 1980’s, supposedly projecting his own younger self onto character Marcus Lopez, a homeless boy destroyed by Reaganism. With his own deadly vendetta against the President of the USA, Marcus joins a school for young assassins, the Kings Dominion School for the Deadly Arts. Remender writes a troubled youth, with a lot of appeal for readers. We see him trying to fit in at a school where anyone who feels like it could end his life. We see him take a 2 issue-long acid trip, rendered in a beautifully Hunter S. Thompson style by the talented Wes Craig. We ultimately see a rebellious teen just trying to get by in a vicious world, and Remender and Craig make it one of the most appealing books of the year.
Yes, it’s rather overdone to say how amazing Saga is. But seriously guys, it’s for a reason. Saga is easily the most consistently amazing book published, and it’s output in 2014 is nothing less than brilliant. The creative team of Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples create a synergy that is hard to get with other teams. They know what they’re writing. They know what they want to see on the page, and it’s this singular vision that works to get one of the best series right now. Saga is a sci-fi tale radically different from any other, as it combines the element of family, politics, drugs (that’s a new one this year), and a whole bunch of other stuff. If you’re looking to get into comics, there’s no other comic I’ll highly recommend. If you’re into comics, same thing. Saga is just that good.
The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw
A sprawling fantasy epic, from the writer of sprawling fantasy epics. Tooth and Claw puts us in the midst of a world divided by race, religion and politics, with a compelling cast and mythology. Busiek and Dewey have stumbled onto a goldmine of story potential here. The world is populated by anthropomorphic animal people, trying to revitalise their world with magic power. To do so, they need to bring the Great Champion back to life, who originally brought about the magical age. However, the process is devastating, and the Great Champion is not all he seems. The book is excellent, the story telling is epic in scale, everything about The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw is brilliant.
This completely new series is a breath of fresh air in DC’s lineup. The team working on Gotham Academy have created a series with an interesting and light tone, while still involving drama and tension. So far the series is basically about teenage students at a prestigious boarding school looking in to some little mysteries, however I can see it becoming so much more as the characters are expanded on and plot points are explored. My prediction is that this easygoing, well written and amazingly drawn series will become a great part of the DC lineup, and probably only ever a side series with little to do with the core ones, but still one that would leave a big hole if it was ever cancelled.
These are some excellent series that haven’t quite kicked off yet, or left a huge impression on us. However, they still come highly recommended.
Gotham by Midnight
An excellent series start, with a good mix of Supernatural and Crime Noir elements. Top it all off with some delicious art from Ben Templesmith that fits the tone of the series to a T. Plus, who doesn’t want to see a continuing series with Jim Corrigan, the friggin’ Spectre?
An awesome, girl-powered series, Bitch Planet looks to be the dystopian Sci-Fi series to watch. Excellent art, and stellar writing by the always-appreciated Kelly Sue DeConnick, Bitch Planet begs to be read.
The Bigger Bang
The Bigger Bang is one of the most interesting Superman archetypes I’ve seen out there. Combining Kirkbride’s epic story telling, with the expressive sketching of Gogtzilas, this comic is full of tragedy, heart, and mystery all at the same time.
Not unlike Waid’s Daredevil, Silver Surfer has undergone a drastic change from the mopey, loner hero to a mix of a psychedelic space-farer and adventurer. Silver Surfer looks to take inspiration from Doctor Who, and with Mike Allred’s awesome pencils on board, it’s an instant hit.
The new Batgirl, with her streamlined design, pop-culture appeal, and all-round awesome-ness, has been a hit, helmed by the magnificent Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher. She’s inspired a costume-upheaval all across the industry, so it’s safe to say it’s worth checking out Batgirl’s new adventures.
So that was 2014! So many good series started and finished, and it looks to continue the success into 2015! If you guys have any thoughts or personal favourites, comment and discuss!