It is that time of year where everyone puts out their best of 2014 list and then you think, why do I care what you thought was best. So I am sure you are very excited to read what I thought was best right? I originally set out to tackle the typical top 10 best of list then quickly noticed how fucking amazing 2014 was for comic books. There were so many great on going series, new series, events, one-shots, and graphic novels. So to mix it up and give credit where credit is due here is my Best of 2014 list. It is broken into three categories. First category is Best, which are some of the best books I read this year. The second category is Best of Best, which is a tier above the Best of list and therefore is the Best of the Best. The third category is The Best of The Best of The Best, which hopefully you figured out the pattern so far. Oh hey look at that, Best of The Best of The Best has 10 picks so for all those who only care about a Top 10, there you go, enjoy. That said every book on this list is a stand out book of 2014. I read a lot of comic books, at least 20-25 a week with graphic novels and trades mixed in there as well and these are books that looking back really stood out during the year. Even looking at the list now I want to add more but then I will never get this thing done. Also note I wrote a little short something about each title but since its a list of 30 plus comics I kept it short, I could write pages on pages about each comic listed but in hopes you actually read the whole thing thought I should not make it a piece that takes all of 2015 to read. So enjoy the list and hopefully you enjoyed 2014 in comics as much as I did. 2015 looks to be just as outstanding a year in comics so I might have to get started on next years list now.
Over The Garden Wall
Writern by Pat McHale
Art by Jim Campbell
If I made a list of my favorite things I watched all year Cartoon Networks Over The Garden Wall would top that list. The Boom! one shot that fit into the series was just as enjoyable as the mini series. Filled with humor, great character moments and character designs, and just that touch of dark tones that made the show so different. The story is written by series creator McHale and Campbell's art effectively evokes the style of the animated version.
Writen by Paul Tobin
Art by Joe Querio
Colored by Carlos Badilla
Definitely one of the surprise series of the year was The Witcher. Not always sure how a video game (yes its based off a book) will translate to a comic but Tobin and Querio really hit the right style and tone for The Witcher with a dark and dread filled world. The book looked beautiful and the story kept you guessing and invested till the end.
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Esad Ribic, Russell Dauterman, and others
This pick includes both Jason Aaron Thor titles this year. The end to his epic Thor story arc was...well it was fucking epic. To then follow that up with the new Thor that is as exciting and as beautiful looking. The identity of the new Thor has yet to be revealed but she is wonderfully written by Aaron and already has a great personality and life to her. Both titles features amazing art work from Ribic and Dauterman whose respective styles brought to life the tone of each Thor.
Written by Joshua Williamson
Art by Mike Henderson
A true crime/horror/murder drama. The mystery surrounding the story of Nailbiter is beyond the level of intense you would expect in a comic series. The team of Williamson and Henderson do an amazing job of having you feel like you know exactly what is going on only to find out your a dumb dumb and still have no idea. Perfectly paced and full of some of the coolest panels and layouts that really bring to horror to life in a comic.
Written by Joe Keatinge
Art by Leila del Duca
Colored by Owen Gieni
Shutter is a shit load of fun. Keating creates some of the most original and personable characters in comics. Deep layered story that is slowing unfolding in front of readers eyes. Also unfolding before readers eyes is the gorgeous art work and world design from Duca and Gieni. It is a world that feels like anything can happen at any point and at times some crazy shit has happened.
Written by Curt Pires
Art by Jason Copland
Colored by Pete Toms
Like the subject matter of the book there was far more to POP then what was on the outside. A series that tackled social issues but in a manor that was subtle and thought out. Pires continues to prove to be a writer willing to tackle big issues while still telling an interesting story. Creative and unique art from Copland and Toms mixed sci-fi with violent pop style art.
Written by Ryan Ferrier
Art by Valentin Ramon
D4VE wrapped up this year and did so in a spectacular fashion. A book that knew how to nail everyday humor but also develop a real characters (even tho they were robots) if you wanted it as well. A great concept that was further developed and brought to life by Ramon's art who was able to match Ferrier's weird ideas.
Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Scott Godlewski
Colored by Ron Riley
The genres of Sci-Fi and Western would seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter but not everyone nails it as well as Reese's does. However, Faerber and Godlewski figured out that secret recipe and hit it out of the park with Copperhead. A great blend of the two genres but also with an added flavor of a cop procedural. A great murder mystery mixed with a deeper mystery about the world it takes place in.
By James Harvey
Masterplasty might make the list alone for the fact it could consume other comic books. It is fucking huge. It also makes the list because what is inside is amazing. A great story about self image in the modern world. An art style of modern manga meets European with sick shit in there as well. This is a great example for comics as a true artistic medium.
Written by Jacob Semahn
Art by Jorge Corona
Colored by Gabriel Cassata
A mix of Goonies and Monster Squad but truly a series that is all its own. 4 issues in and the story has not lost an once of intensity. A mystery that gives you little answers that come with bigger questions. I find myself rooting for the characters and dying to now what is going to happen next.
Writen by Donny Cates
Art by Daniel Warren Johnson
Colored by Lauren Affe
A unique twist on an interesting historical fact. Ghost Fleet from the opening pages is a kick in the fucking grill. Intense action, conspiracies, secrets, big rigs, explosions and so much more goodness. Cates drives this impressive introduction fueled by Jonson's continually impressive art.
Written by Van Jensen, Justin Jordan, Robert Venditti, Charles Soule, Cullen Bunn
Art by Ethan Van Sciver, Martin Coccolo, Goran Sudzuka, Chriscross, Pete Woods
If you want an event that surprised the fuck out of me it would be Godhead. I was expecting this to be absolute garbage. Turns out it is absolute fun. I am a huge fan of the New Gods and enjoy the lanterns from time to time. A cool take on the New Gods and an event that actually keeps track of everyone's story in a comprehensive manor. Still can't believe its on my list but I find myself each week dying to read that weeks installment.
By Kyle Starks
A love letter to what made 80's action movies fucking awesome. Sexcastle is goofy and absurd but on point. Pays homage to the genre while telling its own fun story. Full of great moments after great moments. Never drags on, just nails each scene and then hits you with something completely different. Starks has proven he knows how to make fun and exciting comics.
Written by Elliot Blake
Art by Alexis Ziritt
A great revenge themed tale. Blake juggles the narrative of two individuals and their quest for revenge. Not overly complicated which allows Blake to focus on motivations and characters. Ziritt shines again with a more loose striped down art style. The combination of Blake and Ziritt capture a B-Movie revenge story in perfect style and tone.
Best of The Best
The Motherless Oven
by Rob Davis
This is one of those stories you hear people describe as a true experience. As the characters go own their journey of discovery you as the reader feel like you are on the journey with them. Quirky, funny, insightful and sharp. Take your time with this story because you will miss it as soon as you finish it.
By Matt Smith
The title says it all. A straight forward Barbarian story that is rich with Norse culture but maintains a light and fun sensibility to it. Great brutish action and art that works on many levels for many audiences.
Written by Nolan T. Jones
Art by Andrew MacLean
Colored by Pete Toms
This digital release came out of no where. Fun and unique story about two soul collectors trying to rebuild their alien race. Stylish, kinetic, and bright art. Huge world and interesting characters. You wont read anything else like this book.
Written by Alex Grecian
Art by Riley Rossmo
Colored by Ivan Plascencia
A new and smart look at the classic historical figure of Rasputin. Hauntingly beautiful art with limited dialog that allows the story to form effectively from both the art and words. Marks the return of the Proof creative team and Rasputin showcases a duo that have done nothing but grow since Proof. Rossmo's most impressive art to date with breathtaking colors from Plascencia.
By Jimmy Giegerich
A book that I can only describe as fun as shit. For those who grew up in the early 90's with the likes of Battletoads, crazy plots, and the love of hot dogs. Comics in its funnest form.
The Epic of the Technomage
Written by Mike Kirchoff/Mike Romeo
Art by Alexis Ziritt
A superb mini comic that really evokes the indie sci fi feel from Kirchoff and Romeo. Also Alexis Ziritt, the dude is a fucking beast.
Head Lopper #2
By Andrew MacLean
Colored by Mike Spicer
The second issue of Head Lopper really fleshed out the world and characters that inhabit it. Fun, stylish, violent, and a great sense of story telling. Andrew MacLean is one of the best artist in the industry and Head Lopper shows off his skill as a story teller as well.
Written by Ryan Burton
Art by John Bivens
Colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Dark Engine is cryptic and grim. A steady flow of story and mystery. Dark Engine introduced readers to a hopeless world filled with violence and despair. Bivens' and Fitzpatrick's art is visceral and vivid. Burton manages a story that jumps in time and setting but always in a coherent manner. With the first arc wrapped, 2015 is wide open for Dark Engine.
Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Kyle Strahm
Corloed by Felipe Sobreiro
An eerie post apocalyptic Lone Wolf and Cub style adventure. Fast paced and brutal story telling with art that brings to life the awful and disgusting nature of the world Spread inhabits. Strahm absolutely sells Jordan's take on the world. Brilliantly named baby Hope anchors readers to root for her and No in a series that could have them die on the next page.
By Katie Skelly
Agent 8 from Katie Skelly is short but still manages to achieve a level of unique fun that few other comics had this year. It's quirky and adorable. Skelly is able to tackle the 18 plus theme comic in a manner that feels accepting and entertaining. Skelly's art is approachable but still finds a sense of realism in its presentation of sex and the human body.
Edge of the Spider-Verse
Written by David Hine/Fabrice Sapolsky; Jason Latour;Dustin Weaver; Clay McLeod Chapman; Gerad Way
Art by Richard Isanove; Robbi Rodriguez; Dustin Weaver; Elia Bonetti; Jake Wyatt
Spider-Verse has been a really strong event. Personally had dropped off Spider-Man a little after Spock. As someone who can't get enough other world and multiverse stories I jumped back on for the event. However the true star was the Edge of Spider-Verse series. A great collection of one shot other world spider stories. Jason Latour and Robbie Rodriguez's, Dustin Weaver's, and Gerard Way and Jake Wyatt's issues were stand out stories that were easily among some of the best single issues of the year.
Written by Dan Abnett
Art by I.N.J. Culbard
A War of the Worlds with animals. Give a quick glance at the book and it may look like an all ages title but it is dark. Setting the classic story in a world that feels like a children's story book provides an added level of shock and tension. Abnett brings great personality to each character in the story. Culbard's brings an added aesthetic to the tale and is all around beautiful.
Written by Frank Barbiere
Art by Victor Santos
Colored by Adam Metcalfe
A limited series that embraces its four issue format and works every inch of it. Cleverly written and paced by Barbiere with an ending that will have you peeking back through the series for clues. Santos is as beautiful as ever with an increadbile sense of movement, action and layouts.
Written by Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt
Art by Paolo Rivera
Only one issue in but its beautiful and epic and eerie. Valiant has been on the edge of breaking into the larger landscape of comics and The Valiant might be the title that is a book every reader will have to have.
By Farel Dalrymple
The Wrenchies is one of a kind. As fullfilling a comic read as there is to be had. Farel Dalrymple on the top of his game. At times bleak and other times filled with hope, The Wrenchies is an engrossing read with big and wonderful ideas.
Written by Christopher Sebela
Art by Ibrahim Moustafa
High Crimes is as suspenseful an adventure as they come. Whether its the setting, the characters, duel narratives and the conspiracy elements, Sebela has built a story that is bursting at the seems with tension. A lead character who I find myself so invested in a I root for while being so frustrated because she can't get out of her own way. Moustafa makes the bleak landscape of Everest interesting and picturesque. Well progressing panels and fluid action. A series that when it is over I hope I can finally take a breath.
Best of the Best of the Best
Written by John Arcudi
Art by James Harren
Colored by Dave Stewart
Can just a first issue that debuted in December really make it on to a best of 2014 list. When the creative team is John Arcudi, James Harren and Dave Stewart you fucking bet it can. The first issue of Rumble introduced readers to a vast and unique world. Arcudi and Harren built a first issue that was a strong and coherent story in the foreground but was littered with clues, glimpses and nods to a grander background. This was a lesson in first issues filled with nothing but potential.
By Matthew Allison
I have been in love with Cankor since I locked eyes with the first issue and gave my self into its sweet sweet embrace. Allison created a series that is not like anything else you read this year or possibly will read next year. It's odd and abstract but at the same time incredible human. Every page is a poster I would hang on my wall and the story is one I could read over again to find new meaning. Cankor is why I love comics.
Written by Ivan Brandon
Art by Nic Klein
After issue one I knew I was hooked on Drifter but was a bit unsure of the direction and overall tone of the series. After the second issue there is no doubt this is and will be a series to be reckoned with. Brandon and Klein do an immense amount of world building and always in a direct need to know fashion. The story is fascinating, mysterious and engaging. Klein's art is next level and for me gave me feelings reminiscent of seeing Juan Giménez's art on Metabarons. An unbelievably strong open to a series that has me counting down the days till the next issue.
7. And Then Emily Was Gone
Written by John Lees
Art by Iain Laurie
Colored by Megan Wilson
Where is Emily and what's in the fucking box? A surprise series for most readers this year. A truly haunting and disturbing story. John Lees crafted a strong sense of suspense and mystery especially over the five issues. Ian Laurie's art could not be a more perfect fit for a story like And Then Emily Was Gone. Squiggly, scratchy, skin crawling visuals from Laurie bring to life the nightmares that litter this series. A comic that looked and read like no other title on the shelves this year.
6. The Empty Man
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Vanesa R. Del Rey
Colored by Michael Garland
A mix of other world, cult, and crime genres expertly melded into an extremely chilling tale. Bunn paced a story that gave readers questions and some times answers but always made sure the reader felt like they were on the verge of understanding everything or as lost as the protagonists. Del Rey's art gave the series an added sense of dread. Del Rey can draw the most beautiful people you will ever see which helps the pay off when she brings to life some of the most unsettling images of people you will ever see. To top it off The Empty Man had one of the most unique endings of the year that had me revisiting the series one more time to do my own detective work.
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Cameron Stewart; Nathan Fairbairn; Frank Quitely; Ben Oliver; Chris Sprouse; Karl Story; Ivan Reis; Joe Prado; Nei Ruffino
I don't really know what to say about Multiversity that is not already been said or fairly obvious. It's really fucking good. Admittedly I am a huge Grant Morrison fan and often willing to endure some of the more big concept stories because I know it will come together and he is a brilliant writer. Multiveristy gives readers a bit of both Morrisons. Each issue is for the most part a single story and can be enjoyed in that fashion. However, at the same time it's still the grand high concept Morrison that many love as well. Multiversity feels like an evolution of a career and a writer who knows who he is and what he is doing. Oh and Pax Americana could be one of the single greatest comics ever. I have read that issue at least 6 times in different ways and find something new each and every time.
4. The Auteur
Written by Rick Spears
Art by James Callahan
Colored by Luigi Anderson
The funniest comic of 2014 and in the running for the funniest comic all time. A mix of deeply disturbing and obscure humor. Spears dialog is witty and sharp with an absurd story that works from start to finish. Spears' Nathan T. Rex might be the stand out lead character of the year. Callahan is able to bring to portray the violent, off the wall, graphic world of The Auteur with unsettling expertise. Contains the best boner moment in comics in 2014 for sure, or probably ever for that matter.
3. Roche Limit
Written by Michael Moreci
Art by Vic Malhotra
Colored by Jordan Boyd
Roche Limit had as close to perfect first issue, second issue, third issue and now fourth issue as a creative team could have. Every issue is a dense and immerse experience. Moreci juggles multiply plot lines in expert fashion and paces an issues in a way that there is no wasted scenes or dialog. Every second of Roche Limit is important and interesting. Malhotra matches Moreci's intensity with his sci-fi noir styled visuals and quality page layouts. Cinematic in the way Malhotra moves action from panel to panel and then to a gorgeous full page here and there as well. At this pace it is sure to be at the top of everyone's list in 2015.
2. Through The Woods
By Emily Carroll
Carroll has the ability to not only tell a story that is scary but one that sticks with you, that bothers you on a different level. To this day the end of His Face All Red pops up in my head from time to time and I get chills. Carroll mixes a style of story book fairy tales and unnerving dark tones to tell rich and haunting stories. Visual stunning in both the art and way Carroll progresses the story through layouts and text. A book I will look forward to rereading every year.
Written by Ales Kot
Art by Will Tempest; Jordie Bellaire; Vanessa R. Del Rey; Matt Taylor; Jorge Coelho; Tonci Zonjic; Michael Gaydos; Ricardo Lopez Ortiz; Adam Gorham; Alberto Ponticelli
Ales Kot's Zero has been the best series since it's debut. They team has not taken a single issue off. The greatest part of Zero in 2014 is that readers have gotten to see the one shot issues of early on all come together beautifully. Zero is a showcase for outstanding new and established art talent. Ales has a unique ability to craft a script and story that brings to life each artists skill set and really let them breathe and tell a story. Its complex, its deep, its gorgeous, its thought provoking, its everything you could ever want from a comic book.