Favorite Records of 2020 (so far)

I’m no music critic. Far from it actually, but I do have what I like to call: a list of favorites. These helped me get through the first six months of 2020 by making it suck a whole lot less. Here are my favorite 15 records of the year (so far).

15) Suburban Delinquents : Exiles

Apparently these guys have been around for awhile. They started a band back in the nineties, grew up, missed the “fame-train” or something, then found each other again as adults & decided to do the band thing again. Yes. More please. Throaty, dirty punk rock.

Standout tracks include: Lost in the City, Our Delinquency, & New Detroit

14) Pearl Jam : Gigaton

Radio rock n roll is far from dead with Eddie Veder still parading around with these guys. It’s arguable their best since Vs. but that could just be my nostalgia talking.

Standout tracks include: Superblood Wolfmoon, Dance of the Clairvoyants, & Retrograde

13) Ray LaMontagne: Monovision

Classic. Throaty. Easy listening, and with some of the smoothest guitar riffs that John Mayer wished he’d wrote.

Standout tracks include: I Was Born To Love You, Strong Enough, & We’ll Make it Through

12) Norah Jones : Pick Me Up Off The Floor

Yea. I listen to Norah. She’s got one of the best vocals in popular music right now. And that piano. Oh god that piano. Press play. Sit back. Listen. Repeat.

Standout tracks include: How I Weep, I’m Alive, & Say No More

11) Waxahatchee : Saint Cloud

The best Waxahatchee record is also the most vulnerable. This is Katie baring her everything for everyone to hear. I love the lyrics. I adore the simple melodies.

Standout tracks include: Lilacs, Hell, & War

10) Christian Lee Hutson : Beginners

I had no clue of this guy until I heard “Lose This Number” randomly on an outlet I’ve since forgotten. If Elliott Smith were to reincarnate, this’d be it. If you take a chance on a white guy this year make this be him.

Standout tracks include: Atheist, Talk, Unforgivable, & Northsiders

9) Algiers : There Is No Year

Soulful and energetic anthems for.. the year with no number (?). I’ll admit that it took me a few listens to dig into this one, but once I chewed on it for awhile: whoa! So. Damn. Good!

Standout tracks include: Dispossession, Unoccupied, & Nothing Bloomed

8) Spanish Love Songs : Brave Faces Everyone

If there was an album to sum up my pain & anxieties it’d be this one. “In any given day I’m a 6 of 10” & “we throw a pill down our throats or ourselves into the ocean” are just a couple examples of the genius lyricist that Dylan is. Thought emo was dead and gone? Think again.

Standout tracks include: Routine Pain, Kick, & Losers 2

7) Jordan Mackampa : Foreigner

This is my favorite discovery of the year so far, and maybe ever. I can’t not toe tap when listening to this record. So much fun and so much heart. My favorite song of the year is also on this record, and it’s nearly biographical (hint: track 2).

Standout tracks include: Love At First Sight, What Am I, & Parachutes

6) Run the Jewels : RTJ4

Yes. It made my list too. I’m late to the RTJ train, but that won’t make me choose pride over admitting that this is the real deal. Relevant lyrics, hard truths, and the best rap in my rotation in a very very long time.

Standout tracks include: JU$T, never look back, & goonies vs. E.T.

5) The Strokes : The New Normal

Indeed, the rumors ARE true. They are back, and it’s as to be expected. But.. let’s be real. When the chef cooks up a dish that everyone’s trying to replicate.. why do anything different?

Standout tracks include: The Adults Are Talking, Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus, Bad Decisions

4) Gia Margaret : Mia Margaret

If an ambiance of soul settling music is something you’re into then I’d recommend this record highly. It is perfect for that temporary lapse of personal restraint needing overcome. Gia has the gift of peace within her art and creativity. Let her guide your mind.

Standout tracks include: barely there, lakes, lessons

3) Brian Fallon : Local Honey

Growing up and singing about it has kinda become a thing for bands that I’ve listened to for so many years. It seems fitting as they age alongside me being that I recently passed into my fourth decade of life. Brian Fallon’s songwriting has reached a level previously already assumed he’d reached with his band The Gaslight Anthem, but here he is proving to everyone that the best is still yet to come and I urge you all to listen.

Standout tracks include: When You’re Ready, 21 Days, & You Have Stolen My Heart

2) Phoebe Bridgers : Punisher

This will be a classic in the modern indie singer-songwriter genre. Not a threat. More of a promise. Phoebe is still very new to the grand scheme, but with lyrics as vulnerable and melodies so hypnotic I don’t see her star fading any time soon.

Standout tracks include: I Know The End, Kyoto, Chinese Satellite

1) The Cool Greenhouse : Self-Titled

Here it is. My favorite record of 2020 so far: the cleverly snarky & lyrically smart band from London. It’s a debut. It’s dense with social commentary. It’s punk rock for the future. Coming from me (the guy who correctly predicted that IDLES were gonna hit it big), this is a band to watch.

Standout tracks include: The Sticks, Life Advice, & Smile Love!

Favorite Albums of 2019: The Top Ten

Previously I shared ten records that I found impactful or personally important in some way over the last twelve months. Those were my secondary favorites compared to these ten.

Here are what ended up being my favorite ten records of 2019.

10 – Bob Mould

Sunshine Rock

Please forgive me, for I know not what I have been missing. Sunshine Rock is my first taste of Mould and I’m hooked. This really is a perfect showing that old guys can still rock, but if I can’t change your mind then no one will.

Standouts: Lost Faith, Sunshine Rock, & Camp Sunshine

9 – The Devil Makes Three

Live at Red Rocks

I happened to be in Portland, Oregon on a night in December of 2018 that The Devil Makes Three were playing at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom. I eventually found myself at the show alone because I was traveling solo and there was nothing else better to do than seeing a band I was only vaguely familiar. Turned out to be one of my favorite live shows that I’ve ever been to. These songs are bunches of fun, and, truthfully, I’m rather embarrassed that it took a spontaneous whim for me to take notice.

Standouts: Bad Idea, Spinning Like a Top, & Hallelu

8 – Of Monsters and Men


The award for best comeback record for a band that never truly went away goes to Of Monsters and Men. Fever Dream is like if you scrapped an idea you had for yourself nearly ten years in the making and was like “ah, hell.. let’s start over”. I barely even noticed this band until this record, and it is pretty stinkin good. It’s proof that the guy/girl duel vocals are still marketably mainstream.

Standouts: Róróró, Alligator, & Vulture Vulture

7 – blink182


I’m probably gonna catch a lot of heat for this one. Choosing Blink-182 as a top ten is more than slightly cheesy, but I swallowed my own pride with this one and listened to this record with an open mind. After doing so I realized how much depth Matt Skiba has added to the band. If you know me at all then you are aware of my undying Stan for Tom DeLonge, but I’ll say it.. you add Skiba to any band and you‘ll make said band instantly a better one. The future of Blink-182 is finally something more than sex and fart jokes, and I’m more than ok with that.

Standouts: Black Rain, Blame It On My Youth, & Generational Divide

6 – Big Thief


Big Thief was busy this year. UFOF was the first of two records released by them this year as also is the first of two call outs on my favorites list. There’s a whole lotta angst in several of my choices on both of my lists, but none sound so dissimilar to its target audience than this band. Lead singer Adrianne Lenker, and guitarist Buck Meek pair perfectly with James Krivchenia and Max Oleartchik’s drums and bass respectively. Frustration and heartache sung mostly in whispers and soft melodies over melancholic folk love songs, but you won’t notice the resentment unless you look closely because the music is so captivating and beautiful. So many facets of emotion wrapped up neatly in a dozen songs. Now, stay tuned for album 2.

Standouts: Cattails, UFOF, & From

5 – Coldplay

Everyday Life

Coldplay was supposed to be the next U2 or something, and I’m not even sure I know what that means. These guys have stuck around long enough for most people to forget that they were able to still make good music. The title track to Everyday Life is probably my pick for song of the year. “How in the world am I going to see you as my brother and not my enemy”, Martin sings over a very typical, but welcomed Coldplay piano melody, “everyone hurts, everyone cries, and everyone sees the color in each other’s eyes.” Controversial issues are front and center in what will probably be labeled Coldplay’s most daring musical effort. I’d much rather have “daring Coldplay” than a “play-it-safe Coldplay” putting out consecutive radio singles for cash grabs. But for real though, could someone get Chris Martin a new T-shirt?!

Standouts: Everyday Life, Trouble In Town, & Guns

4 – Fontaines D.C.


Post punk rock from geographic regions in or around the U.K. is in its prime right now. Idles are currently peaking and there are several others following close behind. Fontaines D.C. is one of those several and I’m sitting here, chin in palms, taking it all in. I don’t really have much to say about this record other than my request that you don’t skip out on it. These guys need to be recognized for what they’ve managed to put out in LP format on their first go at it.

Standouts: Big, Boys in the Better Land, & Too Real

3 – Petrol Girls

Cut & Stitch

When I want to press play and drift off into elsewhere the Petrol Girls are an easy and immediate no-brainer go-to. Falling somewhere between post hardcore and punk rock this band is throwing well-crafted feminist rock songs all the way from England. The amount of intentional controversy and channeled outrage is blatantly obvious on Cut & Stitch and greets me with an ironic welcomed surprise.

Standouts: Big Mouth, No Love For A Nation & Weather Warning

2 – Big Thief

Two Hands

Here it is. The second of two appearances from a band that I currently cannot get enough from. UFOF had the production value that Two Hands was missing, but the songs on this one literally speak for themselves. They are intimate and emotionally corrosive as Lenker sings alongside her band mates. Just as the album before this did, this one also packs a punch in the lyrics disguised well beneath the composition of the song.

Standouts: Forgotten Eyes, Not, & Shoulders

1 – Better Oblivion Community Center

Better Oblivion Community Center

This record came out all the way back in January and it was in my headphones almost daily. I adore this album. Every song on it is beautifully composed and perfectly placed to create a ride through ten vivid stories in song. Phoebe Bridges and Conor Oberst were meant to sing together, and if there are no more collaborations between these two then at least we are aware that it could.

Standouts: all of them

Favorite Albums of 2019: 20 – 11

It’s been a year that brought me many personal challenges. It was also a year that had tons of great music. I’ll spare the lengthy monologue prefacing the reveal of my favorite records of the year, and instead I will just get on with it.

These were some of the albums that either found themselves in heavy rotation, or were personally impactful in some way. Over the last twelve months here is what ended up being what I’m calling my second favorite top ten records of 2019.

20 – Various Artists covering Frightened Rabbit

Tiny Changes: A Celebration of the Midnight Organ Fight

I’m not sure if this record is justified as a 2019 release for new music being that it is a compilation of covers from one of the best albums that Frightened Rabbit released. Here’s the thing though: I don’t care. This band made music that was real and true down to the depth of an infinitely hyperbolic sadness. Scott Hutchison was a legend in his own right and he unfortunately did not allow himself to be ok with that. This compilation cover album has beautiful renditions of some of my favorite Frightened Rabbit songs. Some voices will be familiar while others will not, but these songs will live on forever in the headphones and speakers of fans like myself all over the world. We all miss you Scott, and may you truly Rest In Peace.

Standouts: tracks by Craig Finn, Ben Gibbard, and Julien Baker

19 – The Mountain Goats

In League With Dragons

This is a strange concept album that was meant to nod due respect toward the tabletop role-playing game of Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve never played D&D let alone any role-playing game of that sort, but this record does not need that sort of familiarity to appreciate it.

Standouts: Passaic 1975, Younger, & Cadaver Sniffing Dog

18 – Vampire Weekend

Father of the Bride

The sound of happiness isn’t supposed to translate to great art. Sure, art made with a happy stroke will bring a smile, but for some reason or another art requires a jagged edge to outlive it’s harmonious gesture at getting you to just tap your toes.

Standouts: Sympathy, Harmony Hall, & Married in a Good Rush

17 – The Menzingers

Hello Exile

Many of the bands I’ve listened to for years are aging into their 40s, and some into their 50s. The Menzingers came after these mentioned and have put together an album about living a life aging into your 30s. As I near my own defining moment approaching 40 a whole lot quicker than I would have liked, I listen to this warm and comforting record knowing that I am not the only one who experiences these momentary periods of self-reflection due to aging.

Standouts: Ana, America (You’re Freaking Me Out), & Farewell Youth

16 – Girl Band

The Talkies

This is a rock record full of angst and energy, and I cannot stop listening. The songs on The Talkies hypnotize your thoughts and transcend your consciousness to places you’ll eventually forget, because listening to this record is the only way you’ll be able to get there. Apparently this album is a deliberate expression of frontman Dara Kiely’s struggles with anxiety. The opening “track” to this record will immediately take you to the place necessary to understand.

Standouts: Couch Combover, Shoulderblades, & Going Norway

15 – The National

I Am Easy To Find

I never won’t like a record by The National. I could probably listen to Matt Berninger sing the ingredients to all the flavors of Glacéau Vitamin Water. You may think I’m joking, but I’m not. With that said, this record gives Berninger’s vocals an unfamiliar periodic backseat to several guest female vocalists throughout, including that of his wife Carin. This isn’t a typical National record, or one that you’d expect in the direction headed from the last one. All the while, it is another solid collection of songs from one of the best bands out there today.

Standouts: Oblivions, Light Years, & Hairpin Turns

14 – Billie Eilish

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

There’s always a surprise, and this year Billie Eilish was that for me. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be playing a goth-pop record from someone like Eilish as much as I have. If you ever catch me tapping toes to one of these songs my immediate and first response to you will be “…and?”

Standouts: I Love You, Xanny, & You Should See Me In A Crown

13 – Cursive

Get Fixed

Tim Kasher is probably the best and most underestimated lyricist in music in the last quarter century. He paints vivid pictures of emotion with his words all while being surrounded by cerebral post punk songs highlighted with the occasional, but beautiful cello interludes and keys. This is yet another album full of tragically painful songs laced with enough hope by the end of each one that you continue listening without realizing the previous song ended allowing for the next one to begin.

Standouts: Marigolds, Barricades, & Black Hole Town

12 – The Get Up Kids


Something To Write Home About finally has a companion album. With that I mean that this new record is nearly as good from start to finish as that one was from exactly twenty years ago. Coming from personal experience, songs always leave a more lasting impression when you are able to witness them in person. When I saw The Get Up Kids late this year with some old friends it did just that. It solidified this record as being what it deserves to be: a phenomenal return to form.

Standouts: Salina, Fairweather Friends, & Satellite

11 – Bad Religion

Age Of Unreason

Obviously, this is the perfect record for the current state of all things American. It’s a collection of fourteen songs meant to do nothing else but bring together a collective Bad Religion chorus in all of us singing along to express our pent up frustration with literally everything happening all around. Forty years into a career that defies organizational establishments of all kinds, this Bad Religion record is among the best of all of them.

Standouts: Lose Your Head, Do The Paranoid Style, & My Sanity

Around the Next Corner

I just so happened to come across a person. They were old-fashioned, in-the-moment, and somehow part of my past; forgotten. I didn’t realize this at first. It was an abrupt sort of meeting that came without warning and left an impression I’d be best left without. Looking back maybe I should have stayed home that day, or walked the dog down Callisch Street instead of the usual Avenue. I had a lot riding on this chance encounter, me and this person whom I cannot remember. This happened, for it is the pairing of a face to a name that comes with most difficulty, especially when intended attention is far more exciting and, of course, around the next corner.

Gone. Where did they go? I didn’t even see myself blink. See myself blink? What am I saying? That wouldn’t happen. Could it? I don’t know. What was in that last drink? My pill… I took it, right? Oh, I can’t remember. What do I do? Where did they go? What was I doing? The span of my attention cannot seem to recall the moment where these questions began. Thank you, reader, for you may soon become player to the resurrected thought.

Remind me again what I am here for.

What? Not taking notes? Oh that’s ok. Walk with me and soon see also what is around that next corner.

It is so far, that corner. It seemed closer before. Ah, well. A change in direction will come soon enough. So it seems that we have some more time. …hmm? time for what? Oh, you remember… about what I said before. These questions and where they began. That person, did you get their name? Ok good. That’s a relief because I’m horrible with names, and on some days I cannot even remember to respond to my own.

Looking back I realized that I forgot to bring the dog. That was the point of it all this morning, to take the dog for a walk. I must have left her in the yard. Now I seem to have found myself alone. Isn’t it such a good idea for every creature to allow specific time for cleansing with proper self-care coupled with what is phrased as me-time? Oh, but not with a couple, for you are to be alone. I am alone. I could have wagered the largest of bets that I was doing something, talking with someone, remembering somewhere. Lost, but there is the corner. I have finally found you. So close I can feel you. If I cut you, this corner, not only would I save a small bit of time, but I would also turn it into two. Corners.

Headed backwards now, so it seems I was wrong. That corner wasn’t a new direction but instead it was a way home. Getting back will be easy, just double back over and follow the trail left from before. In cutting the corner we allowed you to turn two left and somehow make it into something right. Nearly home now, I’ve made it. There’s that person from before. Oh, and what’s this? He’s found my dog. Oh good, pretty sure I was worried. Maybe this time I’ll ask his name, or actually finish what I intended with what was started. Closer now. There he is. My dog looks awfully confused. Wait, what? That person. It is me.

Joker’s iPod: the Ledger Edition

To offset the post viewing excitement surrounding Endgame (..and to satisfy a certain anticipation for the upcoming Joker film..) I have put together a second installment of “what’s joker listening to”. Read More

Joker’s iPod: the Leto Edition

I spend a fair amount of my day staring at a computer screen drawing lines and calc-ing estimated costs for various construction projects. In doing so, in order to maintain a familiar amount of sanity, I often drift to other places in my mind. These lands of the ether can easily become destructive as noted by the constant cluster we call “national news”. Antidotes for this mental derailment include tweeting way, WAY too much about comics.. (sorry, folks) or music. Sometimes I even combine the two and craft together the most outrageously absurd ideas that I just HAVE to share with people. Read More

Weekly Recommends: Pull Date 4/3/19

Here again on my pet project, argyle eater dot com, is a collection of some comic recommendations for your generous consideration as you head out to your chosen comic shop or digital platform. Grab some favorites and maybe take a gamble on an impulse, cuz you never know when you may find that next new hidden favorite.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to today.. but don’t take my word for it. Read some comics and see for yourself.

Paper Girls # 27

story by Brian K Vaughan & art by Cliff Chiang

Image Comics

It is bitter sweet seeing this one come to an end. Been tons of fun following these four through time as they discover things about their whereabouts and their destiny. This issue is the second of a five-part farewell tour de space time continuum and I’m sure we’ve got plenty of more surprises to look forward to.

Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History #2

story by Paul Scheer & Nick Giovanetti

art by Gerardo Sandoval

Marvel Comics

This recommend comes immediately after my solo viewing of Jordan Peele’s Us. Maybe I’m just in the mood for more sabotage. But, so help me, if the twist in the end involves a tethered Marvel past then I may just sleep with the lights on for another week.

Section Zero #1

story & art by Karl Kesel & Tom Grummett

Image Comics

UFOs. Monsters. A fly kid with a name that’ll have you lol-ing even after several pages have been turned since it’s reveal. What more do you need for a comic so bizarre you can’t look away? Nothing, probably, but just in case.. there’s also guns, explosions and a mini-Martian who can walk through walls. Me? I’m sold.

Die #5

story by Kieron Gillen & art by Stephanie Hans

Image Comics

Gillen and Hans have put together a sad and gorgeous rendering of a D&D meets Jumanji epic of sorts. The first chapter comes to a crashing close when our cast of characters meet up at their final destination place. What will happen? Read and see. It’s still early and easy to catch up.

Bronze Age Boogie #1

story by Stuart Moore & Tyrone Finch

art by Alain Mauricet

Ahoy Comics

Wave 2 of Ahoy is here! If you missed wave 1.. how dare you! This time around we see all our favorite comic genres of the 70s collide in crazy comic fashion. Apes, monsters, swords & sorcery, Kung Fu, not to mention adventurous cosmos. What’s not love? Beneath all the crazy is a character study of family and the bond that drives them.. even if that drive is empowered by the bloody sword. In the end, don’t forget to stick around for the post-credit sequences with bonus stories and text stories. No regrets if you follow through. Promise.

Bonus Recommends:

  • Marvel Team Up featuring spider-man & ms. marvel #1

  • The War of the Realms #1

  • Captain America #9

  • The Amazing Spider-Man #18.HU

Weekly Recommends: Pull Date 3/27/19

Thought I’d start a new thing here and share my anticipated comics for the week that are either already on my pull list, or ones that I’ve got my eye on to track down in which I also fee the need to pass on as recommendations. There are zero rules here. Just books and mentions.. a slight nudge from me to you getting you along to your local comic book store. Read More

2018: Best Ongoing Comics

So here it is. My final installment of my favorite things of twenty eighteen. I won’t drift too much from the point and simply carry on with what you’re here for: the list.

Cheers 🍻 

10 | The Amazing Spider-Man

Story by Dan Slott & Nick Spencer
Art by Humberto Ramos & Ryan Ottley
Published by Marvel

I jumped back into reading the Amazing Spider-Man earlier this year because they offered a convenient jumping back in point when they renumbered the issues back to one for the first time in over a decade. Along with the story reset, a new writer and a new artist, they came along to refresh the entire world of the characters while staying true to the core of story. My ten year old, Caleb, has been showing interest in reading comics lately, so I saw this as a perfect opportunity to read one alongside him; some father-son bonding time. I went back and read the closing story arc of Dan Slott’s and it was the best Spider-Man I’ve seen in a long time! And the birth of the Red Goblin is one of my favorite introductions to a new villain. Spider-Man comics are still fun, and I had somehow completely forgotten about them.

9 | Paper Girls

Story by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Cliff Chiang & Matt Wilson
Published by Image

Paper Girls has been around for a few years and is a consistent hyperactive good time. Every issue is intense. So much so, that it puts you at brink of exhaustion to understand how Vaughan and Chiang are able to piece together such dramatic cliffhangers at the end of literally every issue. It’s part Stranger Things, part Goonies, part Excellent Adventure (but without a Bill or a Ted), and all fun all the time. Brian K. Vaughan has some quality titles on his resume; Y: The Last Man, Saga, Ex Machina, Runaways, and the web comic Barriers, and with recent contractual signings of his with Legendary Entertainment I am certain we will be seeing at least some of this work not already brought to mainstream set for production. Be one of the hip kids and read Paper Girls before it was cool.

8 | Wasted Space

Story by Michael Moreci
Art by Hayden Sherman 
Published by Vault

If you have followed my 2018 Best-Of lists at all you would find familiarity with the name Hayden Sherman. He had a mention with Cold War back in my rundown of my favorite limited comic series this year. This time it is for his newly announced ongoing comic, Wasted Space, with Michael Moreci on a fairly new comic publication company: Vault. There hasn’t been much of anything that has been pressed at Vault that I did not enjoy, but this one is definitely a runaway favorite. It’s wild, it’s bizarre, it takes a unique response to social commentary woven throughout it’s twisted story. Some have said that if Phillip K. Dick wrote Preacher then the ending result would be Wasted Space… and I completely agree with that observation. Read this!

7 | Venom

Story by Donny Cates
Art by Ryan Stegman & Iban Coello
Published by Marvel

If  you have seen the Venom movie that came out this year then you are obviously aware at how Marvel is moving forward with the plot that Eddie Brock is mostly good but also bad. Here, with the Donny Cates Marvel comic, it is taken to the next level and illustrates Brock as being even more good surrounded by a premise and a story that is even more evil. Most people who read comics these days (especially mainstream) would be telling you without hesitation that Cates’ comics are something to not ignore; weird yet satisfying. His Thanos Wins, Dr Strange, and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy have become (or will become) massive mainstream hits that have followed alongside some of the more interesting indie stuff in years. Venom hasn’t been any different. My advise:  if you choose to only read one comic from one of the big two (DC/Marvel) I’d quickly tell you that you’ve chosen incorrectly unless you’ve chosen this one

6 | Analog

Story by Gerry Duggan
Art by David O’Sullivan & Jordie Bellaire
Published by Image

Where does a tweet go when it is deleted? 
Do deleted emails go forgotten?
Can I access a photo from my phone once it’s already gone?
How far will a fascist government go to uncover where you’ve been?
Duggan and O’Sullivan bring us Analog, a story beginning when the internet crashes and causes all secrets to be exposed. A life online is one that is forced to be lived in complete transparency. To become free one must unplug, live life in the Analog, and paper push your way through existence. The popular phrasing “don’t tread on me” takes on new context with sharp wit, hard punches (really hard punches!), and take-no-prisoners blood and guts. Everything you’d expect from a satirical take on a future seemingly not too far off.

5 | Gideon Falls

Story by Jeff Lemire
Art by Andrea Sorrentino & Dave Stewart
Published by Image

Lemire makes so many appearances in all of my year end lists that one may be able to piece things together and justify a conspiracy theory of our alliance being something other than what it is. I promise I have nothing to gain from recommending literally everything he has done this year other than the satisfaction of sharing some of my favorite stories with others. This one in particular is his most daunting and horrific yet. Gideon Falls is a story that will stay with you long after you close the book, and for some it is a story that you will wish did not stay with you long after you close the book. A dueling story told simultaneously of a recluse on one hand, and of a washed up priest on the other. It weaves back and forth with the only common thread among the two being a mysterious black barn. After reading this you will never look at a barn the same way again. Be scared. 

4 | The Weatherman

Story by Jody Leheup
Art by Nathan Fox & Dave Stewart
Published by Image

A fantastic read with a fantastic creative team telling a fast-paced, quick-witted story about life on Mars. The inhabitation of Mars is a forced occurrence after the entire population of Earth was purposefully expunged from existence. The purpose of the expungement and the reason and the fault thereof is the entire path of the first story arc of a comic that could easily be around for quite a long time. This is a real fun story that follows the quirky and witty, but dense and conceited weatherman, Nathan Bright. The pacing of this story starts lighthearted and fun and ends with an intensity that I didn’t see coming. I intend to see this comic to be around for a while. 

3 | Ice Cream Man

Story by W. Maxwell Prince
Art by Martín Morazzo & Chris O’Halloran
Published by Image

Don’t let the title fool you, this isn’t a book for the kids bookshelf in the spare bedroom. If there were a comic incarnate of The Twilight Zone then this would be it. Every issue of this comic is a stand alone story, but it seems that they may have a subtle and carefully structured elasticity in the individual stories as they relate to one another and tell a much larger one. Small town horror stories. Individual mishaps in interpersonal traumatic devastation. The ice cream man makes cameos in nearly all the issues and we are still left asking, the “what for” question. The stories alone are reason for me to recommend this comic, but it is the illustrations and the perfection in the art that complements the eeriness of the storytelling that make this a can’t miss. There are two collected volumes out now. If you haven’t Christmas gifted yourself yet this holiday season, by all means.. this is a quality pick up for those that enjoy giving themselves the creeps.

2 | Black Hammer

Story by Jeff Lemire
Art by Dean Ormston, Dave Stewart & Rich Tomasso
Published by Dark Horse

This is a phenomenal read. I cannot stress that enough. If you can stomach in the slightest bit bringing yourself to read a comic then let this one be the one you do. Black Hammer is a beautiful and inventive story told of a group of superheroes lost in a small town that they cannot escape.. or can they? The concept is so simple, the telling of the story is so inspiring, the representation of the characters are so dense, and the creation of the universe that Lemire has done here is something that hasn’t been done in book form since (arguably) Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. Fight me on that. That claim may be a bit premature, but just wait.. I promise you that if you give me a few years or so, you’ll agree with me. In the mean time, go pick up the Black Hammer Library Edition Vol. 1 that just came out this month and read along with me.

1 | Crowded

Story by Christopher Sebela
Art by Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Triona Farrell
Published by Image

Imagine finding yourself being chased by everyone. Imagine those chasing you (a.k.a. everyone) holding loaded shotguns and logging off of a crowdfunding website looking up the latest updates to the online campaign to assassinate you. This is a story set in a future that feels could be a close, and real tomorrow that has an app for literally everything. One of those specific “everything’s” is a legal format to off someone for any reason (or no reason) and get a pay-out, just so long as the funding gets crowded. If you’re looking for an offbeat story teetering on the terrible, but seemingly so relevant and entertaining that it could pass as realistic I’d suggest this as the book to satisfy that urge. Follow along with the rest of us as we attempt to uncover the reason for the crowded campaign to kill. 

2018: Best Comics as a Limited Series

It’s another day in December and another end-of-year best-of 2018 list goes live. This time it is one of mine and it counts down my top ten favorite limited series in comics.

Some of these were previously ongoing but have found an end to their story recently so my consideration for their importance lies with the similar and smaller ones.

I had a lot of fun reading these over the last several months and I hope my recommendations fall on eager ears looking for something new and fresh to read.


Cheers 🍻

10 | Days Of Hate

Story by Aleš Kot

Art by Danijel Žežlj

Published by Image

The year is 2022 and the world has gotten steadily worse; people have become desensitized to it and this controversial story tackles the inevitable pessimistic premise that starts off by saying “America first”.

9 | Punks Not Dead

Story by David Barnett

Art by Martin Simmonds

Published by IDW

Sid Vicious is back.. well, sorta. Not much else needing said other than that his ghost is ferociously attached to a mild mannered misfit outcast named Feargal Ferguson. Read this with your favorite punk LP spinning in the background.

8 | Descender

Story by Jeff Lemire

Art by Dustin Nguyen

Publisher by Image

I really didn’t want this story to end. Descender is that story you read and immediately feel drawn to the characters as you push and pull for the varying pathways that the story takes you. This comic, now a fully completed story, comes with personal high recommendations. Read this before Spielberg attempts his cinematic take on it.

7 | Hungry Ghosts

Story by Anthony Bourdain & Joel Rose

Art by Alberto Ponticelli, Vanessa Del Rey, Mateus Santolouco, Leonardo Manco, Paul Pope, Sebastian Cabrol, Francesco Francavilla & Irene Koh

Published by Dark Horse

One of my favorite fictional haunting stories of the year is paired with something non-fictionally tragic as well. Anthony Bourdain managed to add to his lasting legacy before he departed us with a miniature anthology of food themed stories inspired by classic Japanese tales. What was Anthony not capable of?

Rest In Peace, friend.

6 | Kill or be Killed

Story by Ed Brubaker

Art by Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitwesier

Published by Image

This is an inventive perspective of a story that follows a man on a mission. That mission is murder and, believe me, it is so much more captivating than it sounds. It shares intentional themes of divine right, mental illness and personal demons as the story unfolds itself and leads to an ending that you won’t see coming.

5 | Abbott

Story by Saladin Ahmad

Art by Sami Kivelä

Published by BOOM!

Abbott is a book that is so dense with social commentary that you may forget that you are reading something about supernaturally provoked crime. This is quite an intense read and I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, but if you enjoy stories that involve crimes committed by the divinely intervened.. then this’ll be a total hit.

4 | Cold War

Story by Christopher Sebela

Art by Hayden Sherman

Published by Aftershock

Ok. Full disclosure. I’m a sucker for Hayden Sherman art. His illustrations are raw and organic and are so gritty that it fits this story perfectly. Christopher Sebela is one of the more offbeat writers in the industry right now and this story is no exception.

3 | Batman: White Knight

Story & Art by Sean Murphy

Published by DC

I’m a huge Sean Murphy fanboy. (Is that still ok to call yourself a fanboy at the age of 38?) I’ve recently grown tired of cape and cowl comics, and more specifically with Batman ones. It just seems that they don’t really have much more to offer other than just some more of the same; recreating an already drawn out character design. Hold up! White Knight turned my head, along with so many others and decided to make Joker the protagonist and Batman the antagonist. If this has been done before, someone please share with me the time.. because this version of Batman is one of the best in a very long time.

2 | She Could Fly

Story by Christopher Cantwell

Art by Martin Morazzo

Published by Dark Horse

One of my favorite stories in comics of the year was one so vulnerable, so painful, so descriptive in nature, that it had me gripping the pages so tightly as I read it. Christopher Cantwell tells such a haunting tale in She Could Fly that it comes at much surprise that it’s premise is driven by his own personal struggles with mental illness. I really enjoyed this story, and I think anyone reading my thoughts here would also.

1 | Doctor Star & the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows

Story by Jeff Lemire

Art by Max Fiumara

Published by Dark Horse

It is literally surprise to no one that Jeff Lemire is my favorite comic creator. This story is a spin off to the ongoing, Black Hammer, and is so touching and heartbreaking that it is instantly a classic in my mind. This is a love story of a father and son. If the last page does not bring you a tear.. then you’ve probably ought to seek out a plumber because you’ve got a duct clogged somewhere.