I can honestly say I won’t be looking back at 2016 with a great deal of fondness. Between the death of so many beloved celebrities to the Cubs winning the World Series, 2016 has been a bit of a dumpster fire. Except, however, when it comes to the world of comic books.
Scores of talented men and women have teamed up to make us laugh, cry, smile and flat out entertain us with their four-colour worlds over the past 12 months, and below is my list of the cream of the crop. Onwards!
Favourite Series: The Vision (Marvel)
A B-level Avenger creates a family and moves to the burbs. What could possibly go wrong? With this book, the answer is everything and nothing. The series was filled with moments of gut-wrenching sadness (read issue #7 for confirmation) and moments of riotous laughter (also see issue #7). Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta and Jordie Bellarie crafted a series that only comes along once-in-a-generation, one that for my money wasn’t nearly long enough. If you haven’t read Vision, you’re missing out on an absolute classic.
The rest of my top 10 includes Reborn (Image), Sheriff of Babylon (DC/Vertigo), The Wicked and The Divine (Image), Batman (DC), Star Wars (Marvel), Doom Patrol (DC), Motor Crush (Image), Saga (Image) and Future Quest (DC).
Favourite Writer: Tom King
The man behind three of my five favourite books of the year, Tom King took the comic world by storm in 2016. In addition to Vision, King’s triumphs this year include the sensational Sheriff of Babylon and a run on Batman that has to be read to be believed. He made Psycho Pirate, one of my all-time favourite villains, a serious bad-ass…for that reason alone, he’d have been in the best writer mix. It’s now officially Tom’s world…we just live in it.
Favourite Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta
To the surprise of nobody, my favourite artist of the year is the one who drew my favourite book of the year. Walta’s art is sublime, spectacular and stunning all at once. He was the perfect choice to do a book like Vision.
Favourite Publisher: DC Comics/Image Comics
I went back and forth over this one. Both publishers had four books in my top ten, and both publishers produced books that were 10 kinds of awesome this year. DC was reborn, while Image continued to debut new, exciting books to complement their already impressive line of titles. In the end, I couldn’t decide between them.
Favourite Individual Issue: Vision #7
Are you starting to realize how much I love this series is yet? King and guest artist Michael Walsh spent the issue delving into the relationship between Vision and Scarlet Witch, with all its poignant and heart-rending moments. It also contains one of the best Dad jokes I’ve ever read, so it gets extra marks for that.
Favourite Moment: Marko, Alana and Hazel’s family reunion in Saga
Read Saga #36 and see if you can get through the reunion scene without getting emotional…I know I couldn’t. I’m not a father myself, but the scene resonated with me like few did throughout the year.
Favourite New Character: Domino Swift
The Motor Crush creative team of Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr have outdone themselves. After bringing Batgirl to new heights of popularity, the talented trio have created a character who’s even more of a badass than Batgirl. Domino is a blast to read, and I can’t wait to delve further into her adventures in 2017.
Favourite/Most Interesting Comic Related News Story: Warren Ellis bringing back Wildstorm
The incomparable Ellis is bringing back one of comic’s best imprints early next year, and I cannot wait. In addition to the core title, plans call for three more titles to follow: Michael Cray (aka Deathblow), Zealot and WildC.A.T.S. Oh, it’s going to be great to see Jenny Sparks again.
Biggest Surprise: Future Quest
I shouldn’t be surprised that Jeff Parker and Evan Shaner hit a home run with this series. The real surprise is that it took so long to put Space Ghost. Jonny Quest et al in one book. Kudos to all involved on this title for making me feel like a kid again.
Book to Watch: Fathom
Author Blake Northcott is moving from novel to comics on two different titles in 2017, including Agents of PACT with Kalman Andrasofszky for Chapterhouse Comics. However, it’s her solo run on the classic Michael Turner that has me most excited.
So there we go. Enjoy the rest of 2016!