I'd like to dedicate this post to all the brilliant creative artistic people we have lost to the grim reaper, we were privileged to have lived during their lifetimes and to enjoy their work as they were living. It would take to long to name time all but they will be missed and it's time for us to be the heroes we have lost.
Anyway on with the show. Unlike some of the end of the year lists I'm just going to write a bit about the booksand creators that delivered their promises for me in comics this year, some of them books that ended early this year and some that started just a few months ago. As I have a limited comics budget and make buying decisions based on my own cryptic ideas so I don't have opinions on some of the people that topped the major blogs lists I'm only working with the crop that I read. The titles and creators I'm mentioning all would make my best of list for the year.
For me this was a year that began with the end of a few series I loved. Zodiac Starforce by Paulina Ganucheau and Kevin Panetta which should have ended in 2015 got delayed till 2016 so I can still kind of mention this magical girls in high school miniseries, it was action, friendship and love filled in bright pinkish technicolor and a pretty fun book I still want more of. Angela Queen of Hel by Margueritte Bennett, Kim Jacinto and Stephanie Hans also started in 2015 and came to a brilliant by abrupt end with issue 7 in 2016 and was one of the books I most looked forward to reading. Sera created by Kieron Gilles and Marguerite is one or my favorite recent Marvel creations she is such a joy as a tuned in modern nerd who dropped references liberally throughout the book and had a lovely relationship with Angela and their co star Leah the left hand of Hela. Both of these stories are things I would recconnend picking up and are both collected if you missed them. Another of the books that had my support this year was Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain and Kate Neimsczyk to me it was a great take on Bobbi allowing her to have her own spotlight. It was one of the best looking and overall fun books around. (Chelsea was also so badly treated by comics "fans" in the aftermath of the cancelation comics as a medium may have sadly lost a great writer for good). Again there is a collection of the first Shield centric story arc that you should most definitely buy.
2016 is the year that Marvel recognized the writing skill of David F Walker giving him PoweMan and IronFist to write which he's renewed the friendship and partnership between Like Cage and Danny Rand and returned them to their street level justice seeking socially conscious stories. Sanford Greene has joined David for the majority of the nearly year long run that I'm surprised has not been mentioned much if at all by other lists. David also wrote Nighthawk with Ramon Villalobos and Tamara Bonvillain and though it was short lived at six issues the creative team were allowed to tell a pretty uncompromising story with elements pulled from many of the real ills plagueing us today. David is as I've said a writer that pulls no punches and beginning to end this was his kind of book collected just last week for everyone who missed the single issues again get a copy. Oh and one or two more plugs for Mr Walker he got to do a second Shaft story for Dynamite comics called Shaft Immitation of Life and an odd book for Dark Horse called Tarzan Planet of the Apes along with write Tim Seeley that's gotten som really good word of mouth going.
Margueritte Bennett gets a second mention here as she's been doing some titles other then Angela that are also worth mentioning Insexts with Ariela Kristantina which is a NSFW Victorian body horror book with strong feminist leanings and Animosity with Rafael de Latorre a apocalyptic book about the animals gaining agency and the fallout of their having a voice in the world.
One title that hit a few lists this year and I have to mention for a couple of reasons is Black Panther. Ta Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze, with a few fillins by Chris Sprouse have been taking the world of superheroes into more interesting complex places in the fictional country of Wakanda as revolution and change is afoot and the life of political figure intrudes on the four color existence of T'challa and his people. Also though the companion title World of Wakanda written by the essayist and fiction author Roxane Gay and illustrated by Alethia Martinez is well worth a mention as the backstory of the Midnight Angels is something no one has yet really touched and giving a Roxane the job is a nod in the right direction as is employing Afua Richardson to do the covers.
Farther afield from the big two are where real chances are being taken. Black Mack Comics put out the interdimensional bounty hunter title Kim&Kim that was four issues a storytelling joy for me remiscent of the Post Brothers by way of the Dirty Pair by Magdalene Vissagio, Eva Cabrera, and Claudia Aguirre. It was among many of the titles I lived this year with really features supportive female friendships and all the issues in this short series really right notes for me from its clever fun touching writing to the deceptively cute art for an adult themed title. I've also been a fan of Jade Street Protection Services from Katy Rex and Fabian Lelay a magical girl story about a Hogwarts like school and out heroes are a bit like The Breakfest Club looking into a bit of a conspiracy of teachers possibly.
Image is awash with great books including the best fantasy and thrillers I've read this year in comics. Monstress the gorgeous female centric Asian fantasy from Marjorie Liu who's doing her best writing to date and the art oh the richly layered art of Sana Takada who does both the illustration and colors. In terms of second world fantasy it's among the best I've read and I'm an avid Fanatsy novel reader oh and the first collection is a steal at $9.99.
Postal and Romulus are both written by Bryan Edward Hil who has said in interviews that when someone is paying 4 dollars for a book he does his best to deliver story worth the price and both these books do that and more. Isaac Goodheart who works with him on Postal telling the story of a city full of criminals who are getting a last chance to live free and the asbergers suffeing postman who seeks justice for his people...it's hard to describe but it's subtle, creepy and presents a unique community existing as best it can. Nelson Blake II is Bryan's cocreator on Romulus and between them are telling a female assassin against the world story against the backdrop of secret societies; based on the real world they have all of our twisted history to pull from and their hero Ashlar really won my heart in their first story about her.
I almost didn't mention Pretty Deadly: The Bear but I'm glad I remembered as I loved Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios' s take on what I can only call personifications of the reaper...this series has pages that were so amazingly laid out I had to stop and stare at them and then the story set in WWI made my cry in so the best way.
There are so many more like Amy Reeder and Natasha Bustos on MoonGirl and Devil Dinosar, Becky Cloonan and Andy Belanger one Sothern Cross oh and Tee "Vixen" Franklin and Juan Ferreyra who did a backup story "The Outfit" in Nailbiter that made that issue a must have for the so wrong outright creepy short.
So I know I'm missing some that will make me slap my head. I know I didn't mention many of the current big names and I've enjoyed what of theirs I've read but these are the ones I cast my votes and money for.
And yeah I did miss one I wanted to mention that just started and is a slow seller at my FLCS Mosiac by Geoffrey Thorne and Khary Randolph feels a lot like something new, the voice of Morris the main character is new and not trying to be just a good positive example he comes off as real in a very unreal confusing situation. Geoffrey sounds has some real cool plans for the book I just hope we get to see them.
Next up posts about the books I'm looking forward to, the web comics I love and support and the podcasts I think you all should listen to.
More for me later. Happy New Year go get yourself some great books if you missed them.