Somehow, the end of the year is here…or at least it almost is. What does that mean? Well, SKTCHD is going to shift gears for a little bit and focus on what happened in comics in 2015 as well as looking at what might be in store in 2016.
While we’ll eventually get to my own picks for the best and brightest in comics, this week everything kicks off with the people who make the comics – including writers, artists, editors and more – sharing their own picks. And today, it launches with the following question:
What comics (can be monthlies, graphic novels, mini comics, zines, whatever) were amongst your favorites this year?
So we’ll be looking at their favorite comics of the year, of which there are many. It turns out when there’s a really good slate of comics to pick from, there are a wide breadth of choices selected that highlight the diversity of what is being produced today. So without further ado, enjoy the selections the kind contributing creators made, and look for more tomorrow.
Cliff Chiang (artist of Paper Girls)
The Divine by the Hanuka brothers, This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, Beautiful Darkness by Vehlmann & Kerascoet and Beauty by Hubert & Kerascoet, and Southern Bastards by Aaron and Latour.
Charlie Chu (editor of Kaijumax, The Sixth Gun and more)
I loved Sam Bosma’s Fantasy Sports, for it’s perfect blend of manga/shonen storytelling with video game culture touchstones without it being a bunch of hackneyed references.
Even though it’s a superhero book, Squirrel Girl is the kind of project that I want to see more of – inclusive, playful, inventive, and relentlessly hilarious.
I think the best book anybody put out in recent memory is Kyle Starks’ Sexcastle. It’s a book that sits on my desk that I think I pick up and end up re-reading again at least twice a week. It’s the comic book equivalent to seeing Big Trouble In Little China or Goodfellas on cable — no matter what you’re doing, you always end up getting sucked in again.
Finally, Southern Bastards is the best monthly comic anybody is doing right now. Top to bottom, Latour and Aaron are executing the tightest and most ruthlessly efficient book in comics. It’s brilliant in every way and a stellar example of two creators working together utterly in sync.
Leila del Duca (artist of Shutter)
This One Summer By Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, and The Wrenchies by Farel Dalrymple really lingered in my mind over the course of this year as solid, beautifully told stories. I was also blown away by Monstress, a new monthly book by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda for the same reasons. Really excited to see where that series goes.
Sebastian Girner (editor on Deadly Class, The Goddamned and more)
The news that John Arcudi was coming off writing BPRD (for my money one of the consistently best ongoing comics of our time) had me revisiting that universe a bit this year. I got back into Hellboy in Hell and it was just a joy to see Mike and Dave at work in that book. I also really enjoyed Laurence Campbell’s work on Hell on Earth.
Ben Marra’s Terror Assaulter O.M.W.O.T is also high on the list. His comics perfectly replicate that feeling you got when you were a kid and reading a comic you were pretty sure you WEREN’T supposed to be reading. The best kind of comics.
And Ben Sears (@bensears) has been gracing my twitter timeline with some great art all year. He has a lovely, endearingly chunky cartooning style that recalls early Akira Toriyama. He also draws the best birds in comics.
Greg Hinkle (artist of Airboy)
The Head Lopper Quarterly, Paper Girls, Midnighter, Frankenstein Underground, The Savage Sword of Criminal one-shot from Brubaker & Philips, Bravo for Adventure. Injection, Copperhead, The Humans, the Remenderverse (Remenderopolis?). Can I just list all the new Image books this year? There were so many good ones. Bitch Planet. Oh lord, Southern Bastards. I can’t forget Southern Bastards.
Joe Keatinge (writer of Shutter and Ringside)
Hellboy in Hell is my favorite comic book right now, without question. That said, Emma Ríos’ ID (which ran in Island) stands as my favorite single story of 2015.
In terms of monthly books, Fade Out takes the top spot, as Brubaker & Philips have created a slow burn thriller set in an era I’m fascinated with. A very close second is Rich Tommaso’s Dark Corridor, which is his unique alchemy of crime and horror under one cover. This last run of Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba and Matt Fraction’s Casanova was fantastic, with the last issue being particularly heart breaking. The return I was most pleased to see was Marian Churchland drawing 8House: Arclight. She’s one of my favorite artists to emerge during the last several years and I want to see her doing more. Ms. Marvel continues to be a great series. Secret Wars was fun.
Tom Muller (designer on Drifter, Zero and more)
I love the output of Decadence Comics, who have been pushing out amazing zines and comic projects for a while now (Stathis Tsemberlidis, one half of Decadence, illustrated ZERO #16).
Same goes for Mould Map, published by Landfill Editions who released their fourth issue a few months back. Its an amazing tour de force of art, design, and comics. If you’re looking for something different, you need to check out both. On that note, I have to give props to Brandon Graham and his 8House project, which travels along a similar path.
Going a bit more mainstream, the top books for me this year are Injection, Trees, Outcast, ODY-C, Southern Bastards, Birthright, Space Riders, Providence, Nameless and Chrononauts.
Declan Shalvey (artist of Injection)
I’ve personally been reading a lot more Image series and the character-specific Marvel titles. With Image, it’s been books like Southern Bastards, Rumble, Stray Bullets, Airboy, Alex and Ada, Velvet, Paper Girls that have been appointment reading. Marvel-wise I’ve been loving Daredevil, Howard The Duck, Moon Knight, and by god, that Star Wars book has been great. Graphic novel wise, I was left speechless after reading Russian Olive to Red King by Katharyn and Stuart Immonen.
Joshua Williamson (writer of Nailbiter, Birthright and more)
I’m always a bit behind on what is hip and cool in comics. But here are a few that I liked and read: The Goddamned. Bitch Planet, Thor. Southern Bastards, Outcast by Kirkman and Azaceta, Autumnlands, Five Ghosts, Shutter, We Can Never Go Home, all the Star Wars comics have been amazing, Waid and Samnee’s Daredevil, Paper Girls, Manifest Destiny, the new Archie, The Walking Dead is the best it’s ever been, Batman, I Hate Fairyland, Iron Man, All-New Wolverine, Invincible, Saga…
I know I’m forgetting a bunch. Dude, I read a lot of comics, so this list could go on for days.
Also the Flash TV show. Love that damn thing.