Wow! 2014 has been a great year for new series (especially on the indie circuit). It was hard to pick just 5, but these are the ones that I still find myself picking up and rereading for months afterward.
2014 has come and gone, and it left behind more than a few gems that have been a source of great entertainment for me, and annoyance for many of my friends (Well excuse me for trying to help you develop taste!).
Oh well, more for me. Here are my top 5 favorite comics of 2014.
Written by: Jim Zub, Pencils by: Max Dunbar, Colors by: John Paul Bove
Jim Zub and Max Dunbar’s new action/comedy epic fantasy makes me want to go out and have an adventure (or at least write one). It’s surprisingly modern in it’s delivery, and unlike most medieval fantasies it’s more driven by character personalities instead of plot-points which makes it an ideal fit for tabletop gamers. It’s fast, exciting, and funny, with detailed and expressive art, and colors and characters that pop right off the page. It’s the most fun I’ve had, reading anything with Dungeons and Dragons on it, all year.
Written by: Christina Blanch & Chris Carr, Pencils by: Chee
Charlie Wormwood may seem like a Breaking Bad copy at first glance, but inside there’s so much more about the character and the nature of good and evil in the monotony of everyday life. Charlie is so fantastically complex as a character that you can’t help but empathize with him. There’s a morose tone there that seems to be overpowering, but none of the events in the comic seem to be outside the scope of imagination. It feels real. And that authenticity makes it even more unsettling. It’s a personal favorite that I’d highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in psychology, or a fascination with morality (or a lack thereof)
Written by: Kieron Gillen, Pencils by: Jamie McKelvie, Colors by: Matthew Wilson
If there’s one comic that came at me sideways this year it was The Wicked + The Divine. Of course the art is what drew me in at first. It’s very crisp and detailed, and deliberate. It has the simplicity of a cartoon, with the elements in detail of an portrait. Once I was hooked though, it was the mythology of the story that brought me in, and the personality of the main character reflected by the narrative. It’s a must read that’s just as much about art, sex, and music as it is about gods, with themes ranging from hero worship, bereavement, and maturity. One of the most fascinating and unflinching comic books I’ve ever read.
Written by: Kurt Busiek, Pencils by: Benjamin Dewey, Colors by: Jordie Bellaire
A much more serious approach to fantasy than Legends of Baludur’s gate, it’s hard to believe that Tooth and Claw and all the aspects of it are built completely from scratch. It uses the personification of animals to the fullest, reflecting the personalities inherent in them in the art, dialogue, and plot. It plays with themes of religion, instinct, environmental protection, ownership, and the perception of the wild. It tells it’s story with such honesty by switching tones almost seamlessly. What makes the story so successful as a fantasy epic is it’s level of immersion as each part of the world looks and feels interconnected in a natural way. It’s an ecosystem built up on the page so incredibly that you can see each individual gear turn. It’s sad, brutal, and unapologetic, but it’s also inspiring, colorful, and very elemental. A great read.
Written by: Matt Fraction, Pencils by: Chip Zdarsky, Colors by: Becka Kinzie
The title alone is enough to draw you in. It seems like the latest Dick Wolf produced cop drama, but in all actuality Sex Criminals is equal parts comedy and drama as well as sex. It has a very simple plot that sets up the sci-fi erotica that follows, making sure to keep things light as the narrative switches every so often to reflect the opinions of both Suzie and Jon. The story is obviously very mature in it’s content, but it also deals with themes that reflect that maturity by focusing on love, sex, relationships, growing up, puberty, and even power. It has such a deeply relatable tone, and a flawless narrative that could easily work as a movie or a TV show. It’s a MUST for students of sexuality for it’s psychological value and honesty; as for everyone else it’s a mature look at sex in a modern age with a golden sense of humor, and two of the most instantly relatable characters I’ve ever come across.