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 Creator Owned First Issue

This weekend starts the last month of the year, which also kick starts my annual excursion for looking backwards on things that made the year less sucky.

We all have routines and schedules that get in the way of happiness, and we also have friends and family that assist in moving the pendulum back toward the positive when moments sway too heavy. Read More