03rd Jan2015

Ten Best: Comics of 2014

by Dan Clark

This marks the first time I have ever done a Top 10 Comics list. I will have to preface this list by saying I do not read a great deal of comics. In order to keep up with movies the way I do, my time to read comics is rather limited. However, thanks in large part to starting Talking In Circles I found my way back to reading a number of series this year. So with that said here are my choices for Top 10 Comics of 2014.

10. New Avengers


Company: Marvel
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Various

During my height of comic fandom the New Avengers debuted. I remember all the speculation over who would be on the team, and the craziness that occurred when people found out Wolverine and Spider-Man would be apart of The Avengers. Since then the team and the comic has gone though a number of changes, and I must say Jonathan Hickman may have created the best version yet. His stories have much more weight than previous incarnations, and the interplay between characters like Black Panther and Namor have serious implications.

9. Rocket Racoon


Company: Marvel
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Skottie Young

Rocket Racoon’s popularity has been increasing since the revamp of Guardians of the Galaxy, and with the success of the movie this year he has become a household name. So it is fitting that he got his own series. My enjoyment of the series begins and ends with Skottie Youngs creative art style. Taking his abstract mind and placing it into a cosmic story was the perfect mix. It strikes just the right amount of quirky with the crazy designs he can come up with.

8. The Private Eye


Company: The Panel Syndicate
Writer: Brian K. Vaugn
Artist: Marcos Martin

The Private Eye holds a special place in my heart, because it was a big reason I got into digital comics this year. With the comic being released exclusively online and the name your price format it was an easy choice to make. Marcos Martin’s art really took advantage of the medium with its open landscape design, and Brian K. Vaugn continues to show the world he is one of the most creative minds working in comics today.

7. Hawkeye


Company: Marvel
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: David Aja, Annie Wu

I have a strong belief that you can make great stories around pretty much any comic book character. It was not long ago that many considered Hawkeye a joke. Matt Fraction used that mindsight to his advantage. Hawkeye works perfectly as the distraught and down on his luck classic Noir character that can’t seemingly catch a break. It all comes together with David Aja and Annie Wu throwback art style. They have mastered the talent of telling us so much while using so little.

6. East of West


Company: Image
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Nick Dragotta

Jonathan Hickman has created quite the odd world with East of West. A story that takes place an alternate dystopian future that has a mixture of both Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Western elements. The plot line is thick, and I must say may take a read or three to fully comprehend. Still, it is great to see a comic that holds nothing back and is so willing to challenge its readers with complicated storylines.

5. Thor: God of Thunder


Company: Marvel
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: R.M. Guera, Simon Bisley, Esad Ribic

There was a lot of talk this year about Thor due to the controversial decision to take the character in a drastic new direction, but what was lost in all of that was the fact that the best Thor comic had nothing to do with that controversial decision. Thor: God of Thunder is the type of Thor series that does not hide its Asgardian routes with storylines that are full of the fantastical. One of my favorite moments was seeing Thor face off with the legend himself Galactus. A comic beat down in all the best ways.

4. Deadly Class


Company: Image
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Wesley Craig

Deadly Class is a book set in the past that has a lot to say about where we are. It takes a great look at some serious issue like mental health, immigration, and of course the all important youth culture. Never does it appear preachy because it its commentary fits nicely in a wonderfully told story. I personally love stories that follow strong anti-heroes and Deadly Class is full of them. They are a new type of anti-hero that doesn’t really bother with the hero part.

3. Sex Criminals


Company: Image
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky

Who says today’s comics lack new ideas. Matt Fraction has been one of my favorite writers, but I never would have pegged him for this type of comic. His dialog has had some wit to it just has never been this comedic. When your storyline centers on people who are able to slow time when reaching sexual organism you need your comedy to work in order to break the awkwardness. There is just the right amount of quirk to make the story work.

2. Southern Bastards


Company: Image
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Jason Latour

I became a huge fan of Southern Bastards within the first few issues. Sure the story was a little conventional, like a comic book version of Walking Tall. I was able to overlook that because the characters were interesting, the art was fantastic, and the story while conventional was still brilliantly told. Then in one of my favorite twists of the year everything changed quickly and drastically. My one issue with the series quickly became a benefit as it was clear Jason Aaron was setting us up from the beginning.

1. Saga


Company: Image
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Fiona Staples

If you listened to any recent episodes of Talking in Circles (And if you haven’t you should) this choice probably does not come as much of a surprise. I was rather late to get on the Saga train, but once I finally got on I could not get off. It is such a vibrant world that Fiona Staples beautifully depicts. Of all the comics on this list her art is by far my favorite. I love everything she does from her character designs to her choice of color. I love how the story lacks a true villain and true heroes. It is the situation they are faced with that is the actual antagonist. Saga has quickly become one of my favorite comic book series of all time.


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