I read a lot this year, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Between textbooks (which, more often than not, were novels) and massive reading binges in July, I plowed through a sizable amount of the stack of unread trades that seems to be a permanent fixture on my bedside table. These were some of my favorites:
5. Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson, Brooke Allen, Grace Ellis, and Shannon Watters
Lumberjanes is my go-to feel good comic. It never fails to make me smile, and while it is aimed toward a younger audience, there’s a lot for the older crowd to enjoy, too. The main characters–Mal, Molly, Jo, April, and Ripley–are diverse in background and personality, and I’d like to think that this comic has something almost everyone can relate to. At the very least, there’s a huge focus on healthy friendships, which can be lessons for younger readers, or good reminders to us older fans.
Buy: Digitally || As a holdable thing
4. Wytches, by Scott Snyder and Jock
Wytches is an ongoing horror comic about that thing that lives in your woods. No, really, those gnarled old trees out back are full of terrors. The story is equal parts compelling and don’t-wanna-read-it-in-the-dark, as all good horror stories are.
Buy: Digitally || For a shelf
3. Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
I’ve told a lot of people to read Sex Criminals, and have since developed the ability to deadpan the phrase, “It’s about people who, when they orgasm, stop time and obviously use this to do what any of us would do, and rob banks.” If that doesn’t convince you to read this comic, please take another gander at Margaret Atwood reading this comic.
Buy: Digitally || The Big Hard version
2. Pretty Deadly, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios
Pretty Deadly came back just in the nick of time. After a year-plus long hiatus, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios have resurrected the vibrant and beautifully told story of Sissy, Deathface Ginny, and Big Alice. Pretty Deadly is a story of vengeance and, of course, death–a beautiful story brought to life by even more beautiful art.
Buy: Digitally || Not Digitally
1. The Wicked + The Divine, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie
I have told everybody and their mother to read The Wicked + The Divine. If you’re not everybody and their mother and haven’t heard of it, the concept is that every ninety years, twelve gods are reincarnated as artists, performers, musicians, etc. In two years, they’re dead. Currently, the issues focus on the most recent Pantheon and the dramatic lives and deaths of its members.
Buy: Digitally || Throwable version for when you read #11
Honorable Mention for comic that I still wouldn’t stop talking about even as it ended early this year:
Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and Annie Wu
Hawkeye could technically count because it ended this year, but that was mostly due to a wildly unpredictable publishing schedule. Hawkeye ending is probably for the better, because I think people are tired of me talking about it, but it’s absolutely one of my forever favorites. Clint Barton is probably the least super Avenger, and it’s perfectly fitting that he’s the central character of this comic. More than anything, it’s a story that focuses deeply on humanity and ordinary people going out of their way to help others, with a little room left over for a happy ending.
Buy: Digitally || Not Digitally