December 30th, 2020
Continuing my theme of naming the greatest things of the year (as opposed to the most depressing or most defeating), I have to put my stamp on the medium closest to my heart: comic books.
I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it a million more: comic books have saved my life. On countless occasions. This year was no different, and there was a book for everyone.
With no further ado, here’s my list of the work that touched my heart, tickled my funny bone, got me hot and/or bothered (hello, Faithless!), expanded my mind and gave me hope, in the way only comics can. I’ve expanded my thoughts on select books.
*Amazing Spider-Man: This does not earn a place simply by having one of the best characters in existence; Nick Spencer clearly knows Peter Parker, and this book does an excellent job of juggling the facets of his life.
*Black Hammer/Justice League: This is your reminder to read Black Hammer.
*Daredevil: Chip’s run has been an instant classic, issue after issue.
*Decorum: After a “wtf?” start, Hickman pulls out the stops and ties the threads together in the last pair of issues of the volume. Worth the build.
*The Devil’s Red Bride: I bought the first issue because I’m a big fan of John Bivens. I’m still on this ride because this is masterful storytelling and I am hooked by her bloody blade.
*Empyre: Crossover events are tricky. You get sucked (or suckered) into them without knowing their overall quality, and we’ve been blessed with both Empyre and Death Metal this year.
*Faithless II: The artsiest, oddest, horniest book on the shelves. Always a dark pleasure.
*The Immortal Hulk
*King of Nowhere: So unbelievably trippy and believably real.
*All Marvels-Related Series (Marvel, Marvels: X, Marvels: Snapshots): These are just a delight, every time. It’s always something different and unexpected and, due to the talent involved, consistently great or better.
*Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The most fun I had reading anything this year; far better than it had any right to be. I will recommend this to any and every fan of a certain age.
*TMNT: The Last Ronin
*Monstress: One of my favorite books just keeps getting deeper and darker — and better and richer for it.
*Olympia: A love letter to comics and one of the freshest breaths of air I took this year.
*The Other History of the DC Universe: I continue my education in a medium too few suspect of genuine things to teach.
*The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage
*Second Coming: What do Jesus and Superman have to teach one another? The brilliant Mark Russell is one of the best writers in any universe.
*Stillwater: The best TV show not on TV.
*Strange Adventures: I will follow Tom King anywhere.
*True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: Anthem
*Vampire: The Masquerade
*The Weirdos Volume I: A masterpiece. All kidding aside, I am very proud of this book and the years-long journey it’s taken me on.
*All X-Titles: I have read every. single. issue. since Dawn of X and enjoyed every. single. one. No joke. They are all good. This is my list. I don’t have to explain myself to you.
*The Returns of American Vampire & Sweet Tooth: Welcome back.
You can read one of these, but really, just go read any book. Right now. Put down your phone.