2014 has been a great year for me for comics and most of the books below have at one time or another been my choice for best of the year so for one reason or another they are all in my opinion worth at least a look...
And I'll start with comics I bought based solely on blogposts I found and if I can credit the source....(but most are left totally in the rabbit hole of Internet limbo but I thank them none the less....)
Best book I bought because of someone's blog post about them...
As both a Lovecraft and urban fantasy fan I have to say that Hexed seems to be the book I didn't know I would love and I so would like to thank the blog that got me to take a look at it.... if only I could recall which it was. This isn't the first time astory following the advetures of a character named Lucifer (Lucy Jennifer) is the one that without fail,is the among the best of my monthly books. Art that is very much of the style and dynamism of manga yet managing to remain hard to pin down who's art it lookes like but its oh so petty. The cast like many of my favorites is mainly feminine and unlike other urban fantasies they aren't so much the "chosen" one but are special because of who they are and what they bring to the table. The story is all caper tale with the stakes being so much more than money. If the description and the art hook you its great stuff and that's why I put it up first.
Superheroes from Dark Horse are an on again off again thing for me, they really are either my bag like last years Caralyst Comics or the pulp story I will have to pick up called Captain Midnight or something like Ghost that I really want to dig but never manages to really hook me. Sundowners is a psychological horror story that features a superhero support group and for did make me wonder if the "heros" were just mentally cracked and there was little other really going on. Tim Seeley has endeared his characters to me no matter their sanity or lack there of and stories like this that make me doubt the reliability of the narrator appeal to both in fiction and in sequential art. The extraordinary extraterrestrial threat in Sundowners is one that only some people can see and to me is reminiscent to me of the old movie They Live! and Slither
This was a title that almost passed me by and been a part of the next category but due to the comments on Multiversity Comics and CBR (Comic Book Resources) I went and grabbed up the second printing of issue one and as happy to have given it a go. Its a story that has a great deal in common with the portal fantasy stories I recall from childhood like Alice in Wonderland, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and the Wizard of Oz but by way of Indiana Jones. Joe Keating who totally charmed me with his take on the iconic female hero in Glory is at it again telling more great stories. Based ion how much I'm enjoying this many layered adult take on fantasy I'm likely to be picking up his book Techjacket next... Oh woe s my budget.... The big bonus now is that the first collected volume just came out and its oh so nice to look at it sould be on your post Christmas list. Joe spends time making all his characters wether walk ons or regulars fully conceived no matter the fates that befall them. Recommend unreservedly.
Best books of 2013 I'm so glad I revisited....
East of West
Honestly I do not know why I stopped this three issues into the series given now that I go back to reread them. Hickman and Dragotta's apocalyptic western future is just the kind of blend of weird and scienc fiction that is right up my alley.min the last year it's been revealed what the emnity between Death and the other three horsemen of the apocalypse; the tensions between the fractured american landscape have grown and through economic collapse, treachery and assassination the stage has been set for next years march towards war. What was wrong with me this is pretty much everything I look for in a comic when its not superheroes also its got two great secondary characters in Crow and Wolf who are undeniably cool. Death has suffered a good deal in the last year and there is like to be hell to pay. Issue 16 hits the stands on Dec 31 and here's hoping my FLCS got some of the alternate covers....
Issue 12 in particular was pretty marvelous in how it presented the Indian nations. I loved the dichotomy presented by the art and the third person text boxes. This is american history as twisted by the existence of weird gates and lesser gods across the countryside, gates the natives avoid for good reason. Manifest Destiny presents characters as very believe able people with all their sloth, greed, arrogance and bloody minded vengence. This one issue I can say hooked me and makes this series a must have so I'm guessing that makes it a winner in more ways then one. This is the story of Lewis and Clark twisted by the influence of Lovecraft like horrors and the like. If anything this is a great companion title to East of West given that both have a skeptical view of western, read white, society and its supremacy. Anyone who is enjoying the show Sleepy Hollow would most like feel at home in with books. I for one have to catch up on Manifest Destiny and want to spread the word its pretty damn good.
Best just started book I expect to top lists next year or even this one....
Yes totally this title, Kelly Sue Deconnick surely is among my favorite authors this last couple years with Captain Marvel and Pretty Deadly and now the very strongly opinionated title Bitch Planet. Kelly Sue's advisors in the story she's telling should get at least part of the credit because they are steering her to the more real choices in the storytelling and will create a more challenging book because of it. The cast of this book looks very little like any of the other female centric books out there and I for one look forward to more from this book and to the back up articles like the one that graced issue one. Great book. Be non compliant.
Matt Fraction is someone I so miss from his marvel titles but I'm ever so happy for titles like this that push boundaries in storytelling. This book takes much from the classical tale of Odysseus including some of the storytelling structure bring them into a different medium and a new audience hopefully or in a new way. Like one of my other favorite books this year the title requires more attention and participation from the reader and that is a great thing because it moved the medium to somewhere new. I'm a fan of classical stories like the Illiad , the odyssey, Grendel and the epic of Gilgamesh and I dare anyone to pick up this and see that crazy gatefold panel and pick this genre mashup up for it. Also love the gender swapping of the characters and the mythology that grew out of that storytelling choice.
Best impulse buy
Weird gods an demons, giant swords and working class heroes in the modern post apocalyptic looking Detroit I have to say what is there not to love about this horror title with a sense of humor. John Arcudi who's been writing BPRD seemingly forever is stretching his legs here and the first issue was possibly my best choice for an impulse buy in the last year other then the odd issue of Nova or Deadpool. Dark alleys, desolate cityscapes, desperate looking people and a sword wielding dark scarecrow god wandering the panels all this and a fun bit of storytelling we seem to be getting here and I have to say what the hell is not to love about it.
Best Laugh of the year
Rocket Racoon 5
This issue, this issue. In particular had me laughing, laughing out loud from about the third page right up till the final panel. I've liked the book well enough because its been giving me Rocket and a few well placed giggles over the year but this issue beat all the laughs I got from Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel, and Secret Avengers over the year. Sure the laughs wee from the gimmick that drove the issue but Scotty Young and crew embraced the one trick pony and rode it for all it was worth, and it still made me laugh the second time around. Totally the best bang for my comic Buck that week. This more then any other Guardians or Rocket Racoon issue captured the joy of the movie for me. Excelsior.
Book that has given me the most chills up my spine
There have been several books that have been thrilling over the last year including several issues of Original Sin which I particularly liked but in terms of physical reaction to a story or in actuality a single panel its by far got to be Thor. The final frame in both issue one and two both drawn by Dauterman written by Aaron left me with a lighting like tingle up my spine and the last time I recall Thor causing that was way back in the Walt Simonson days. Don't get me wrong I loved the last volume its just this one has me hooked and I won't be skipping an issue of it.