January 15, 2018
This past year brought strong continuations in many comic series and new additions to the genre. Here’s a list of comics that I personally enjoyed this past year:
- DC/Young Animal’s Shade the Changing Girl, a new offshoot of Shade the Changing Man brought a new, very adult feeling psychedelic series to readers. Shade, an alien who manifested into the body of a catty, debatably evil popular girl, learns how to live with a family and slowly make human friends—in an albeit roundabout sort of way. It’s a strange, sometimes outright confusing experience, but I’m certainly going to get my hands on the second volume when it comes out.
- Image’s Rat Queens vol 4: High Fantasies came gallivanting back with new artist Owen Gieni and series runner Kurtis J. Wiebe. Although there’s been a whole lot of conflict with the artists of this series thus far, I couldn’t recommend it more. The writing is hilarious and engaging and you can’t help but fall in love with the four girls in the travelling group in this Dungeon’s and Dragons-esque This is a soft reboot of the series, so it would be an excellent place for new readers to start (and check out the old comics after you fall in love)!
- Prolific comics artist Becky Cloonan released a book of her short stories back in August called By Chance or Providence. These stories, medieval and legendary in nature, spring into a modern reader’s hands with due inspiration and intrigue. If you’re a fan of folklore, Arthurian legends, or dark magic, this collection of short comic stories is for you. And the art is phenomenal to boot.
- The Wicked + the Divine vol. 5: Imperial Phase I from Image Comics came out back in the summer. It still has me gripped for the next volume to come out. This series involves the reincarnations of many nations’ gods reconvening every so many years. And they die. They always die. This time around, though, a wrench has been thrown into the cycle, and now these modern gods are trying to figure out their own paths and if they can—and should—survive.
- Image’s Monstress series came back with a second volume. (Can you tell I’m an Image fan?) This series, created by two Eisner-nominated women, furthers the deep fantasy series involving a girl who has a monster inside of her. The art is some of the most stunning comic art out there currently and the story is filled with action, emotion, and a whole lot of suspense. Maika, a character possessed by a one-armed monster, struggles with revealing information about her family and tries to cope with her impending destiny. This series comes out slowly so it would be easy for new readers to pick up the two volumes before the third came out.
- Darkhorse’s Hellboy came back with the short story Krampusnacht right before Christmas. Hellboy meets Krampus and finds out a little bit more about his supposed origins. For any Hellboy fan, this short will feel like home. There’s also a hilarious “Christmas Memory” with a picture of Hellboy, Abe Sapien, and other BPRD members drunk at the end which makes it worth spending $4.
- Darkhorse brought us the gem that is Henchgirl, which is by far the funniest graphic novel I’ve read this year. If you’re a fan of Scott Pilgrim and Superhero comics, you’ll love the tone and the concept of this book. Mary Posa is a henchwoman who gets very little out of her job. Plus, her family is comprised of the city’s most famous superheroes. So she has to deal with that. The graphic novel is comprised of issues 1-11 originally from Scout comics, and whether you’re a big fan of comics or not, this is a great, entertaining read.
- Image’s Motor Crush brought us its first volume this year and it is a lovely addition to a publisher that does no wrong. This series follows Domino, a prolific motorcycle rider, and her uncertain past. There’s also drug use during motorcycle races and gangs vying over said drugs. This comic was overlooked by many comic book stores because it features a WOC lesbian lead, but anyone with half a brain should pick it up. It has great art, great action, and a story that leaves you wanting more.
- The Black Monday Murders vol. 1 is another great addition to Image’s repertoire and definitely stands out on my list. It involves immortality, black magic, the stock market, capitalism—oh and obviously murder. If you’ve had the strength to read Alan Moore’s From Hell, you’ll love the conspiracy and the falling feeling in the pit of your stomach that comes about reading such a perfectly crafted tale as this one. I’d like to think that this story isn’t believable in our world, but if all of this came out, I wouldn’t really be surprised.
The last series on my list I have to mention is Saga. This truly iconic series enters into its seventh volume and I’m still as interested in it as I was from the get-go. Hazel isn’t a baby anymore and her parents are reunited, but obviously, things will never be easy for us readers when it comes to this series. Saga is without hesitation, the most “well duh” recommendation I could give any non-comic reader because you get sci-fi, fantasy, humor, love, and suspense all wrapped into one massive, intergalactic space opera.