2014 was a year that brought me back to comics. I had been reading some of the staples before, but I made a conscious effort to branch out and try new titles. I’m so glad I did, because I found some new favorites. My top 10 for the year has quite a few Image Comics titles. I found the most interesting stories in Image’s comics. They have been killing it with new, unique ideas by letting the creators really spread their wings and have the freedom needed to imagine.
You will also notice that only one Marvel book is on my top 10. This is not a reflection on their quality, just that I cannot read everything and I grew up a DC kid. I’ve started branching out to some Marvel titles but I only really read a few.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 comics of 2014:
10) Wicked and the Devine - Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved and they are hated. In two years, they are dead. Gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. This was one of the most unique books I read this year and it kept me guessing each issue. Written by Kieron Gillen and art by Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson, there truly was nothing like this book.
9) Gotham Academy – Last fall, a few new titles launched in the Batman universe and Gotham Academy was my favorite. Set in Gotham’s prep school, it feels like Harry Potter meets Batman, which is as great together as peanut butter and chocolate.
8) Fade Out – Written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Sean Phillips, Fade Out is a noir set in Hollywood during the end of the Golden Era. The book’s strength is its sense of place and time through beautiful art by Phillips. The first arc isn’t complete yet; however it’s one of the books I look forward to reading the most each month.
7) Detective Comics – With the creative team from Flash (Buccellato and Manapul) moving over to Detective this year, this book has now made my top 10. Manapul’s art is second to none and I enjoy how the team is using the book to tell true crime stories, and using Batman’s ability to solve crimes and track down criminals as the strength.
6) Rocket Raccoon – As the lone Marvel book on my list, Skottie Young has captured the essence of Rocket and made a funny, entertaining book with Groot as his right hand tree. Young’s art style fits the character perfectly. I know when I sit down to read this book I’m in for a fun ride.
5) Wytches – From the fantastic writer Scott Snyder and artist Jock, comes this twisted tale of witches that live among us in modern day society. They are rarely seen and even more rarely survived when encountered. Jock’s art matches the eerie storytelling of Snyder perfectly. I’m looking forward to seeing where they take us.
4) Outcast – The newest book by Robert Kirkman, Outcast, explores demonic possession. Dark and haunting, Paul Azaceta matches his art style to the creepy storytelling well. I look forward to seeing where it goes as the creators just wrapped up the first arc in 2014.
3) Batman – Snyder and Capullo continue their great run on the most iconic book in comics and live up to the hype. 2014 saw the return of the Riddler for Zero Year, who brought Gotham to its knees. It was fun seeing Capullo’s art in an apocalyptic Gotham with overgrown foliage and bright colors by colorist Fco Plascencia. Snyder took a big gamble going back to the origin on Batman and ultimately, in my opinion, succeeded.
2) Nailbiter – Buckaroo, Oregon is the home to 16 of the worst serial killers in the world. Why this town? An NSA Agent comes to Buckaroo to solve this mystery and will have to team up with one of the serial killers to find out the answers. Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson knock it out the park with this book.
1) Southern Bastards – Set in Craw County Alabama, Southern Bastards takes a look at small towns, Southern ways, and how old grudges die hard. Home to Boss BBQ, sweet tea, and the state champion Runnin’ Rebs football team; this book bleeds character and Southern setting. The first arc, Here Was a Man, was not only my favorite books this the year, but also one of my favorite story lines I’ve ever read in comics. Craw County feels like a real place that I’ve been, and Jason Aaron and Jason Latour do a fantastic job creating the setting. This is the book I recommend to people that think comics are just superheroes.
Looking back on the books of 2014, comics provided me some of the best stories in any media. If you are looking for new, original stories, don’t look to film, read comics.
Look for my other top 10 lists (TV, Games, and Movies) later this month.