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Top 100 Comics of 2016

60. Sombra

Author: Justin Jordan

Artist: Raul Trevino

Publisher: Boom! Studios

The best way to describe Sombra is the Drug War version of Apocalypse Now. I could not help but think back to last years Sicario that had a very similar character, but Justin Jordan’s story has more of an emotional punch. Raul Trevino’s art was able to depict some rather graphic violence without ever being a gratuitous, which is an underrated skill. If you are at all a fan of the modern crime genre this is a solid read.

59. Faith

Author: Jody Houser

Artist: Pere Perez

Publisher: Valiant

I knew little about the character of Faith before she got her own limited series this past year. While that series got a lot of headlines for being one of the first major comics to star an overweight female hero, that is by no means why it works as a comic. Faith is a fully realized characters that takes a lot of the tropes we have seen time to time in the comic book world and puts her own spin on them. If I would give out an award for breakout character of 2016 it would have to go to her.

58. Starve

Author: Brian Wood

Artist: Danijel Zezelj

Publisher:Image Coimcs

I could care less about cooking shows or cooking competitions. If I am not eating the food why would I care about it being cooked? However, you a comic about a future dystopian like world where world famous chefs are pitting against one another for the pleasure of the uber reach? I’ll eat that right up. In large part because this is really a story about a father and daughter trying to rekindle a trouble relationship in the shadow of intrusive forces.

i am a hero

57. I Am Hero

By: Kengo Hanazawa

Publisher: Dark Horse

As someone who has never read Manga before I have strong feeling there is a great deal of subtext and commentary this book is making that I simply am too unaware to pick up. Having a protagonist who works on Manga comics and is openly critical about them makes that point rather obvious.
Beyond that too I was a little surprised how committed this was to the very slow burn. I went in assuming this would be just a different take on a zombie story, but it gets into much more before even approaching that aspect of the story. The pacing could have been somewhat sped up for my tastes but I was never bored due to the regular craziness that was going on. This actually works well for a first manga because it does a lot to explain the medium and the way it operates.

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56. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Author: Ryan North

Artist: Erica Henderson

Publisher: Marvel

Every time I read an issue of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl I feel like writer Ryan North thought to himself , “what is something that should be impossible to do in a comic or storytelling in general? Okay…I’ll do that”. So far this year he had a love story involving Mole Man, a choose you own adventure comic, and a issue that involved Squirrel Girl fighting superheroes with computer science concepts like binary. None of those should work and all of them did. It is not the type of comic that will work with everyone, but if your sense of humor can handle it this is a great read.

55. Archie

Author: Mark Waid

Artist: Joe Eisma

Publisher: Marvel Coimcs

I never really read Archie before Mark Waid relaunched it last year. It always felt like a relic to me that seemed to exist simply out of habit. What Mark Waid has done is take the tone and style of the classic character and modernized it without rejecting what came before. It is a masterclass on how to properly relaunch or reboot something, and in this case it was a reboot worth doing.

54. Hot Dog Taste Test

By: Lisa Hanawalt

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

If there was ever a category for comic book coffee table books Hot Dog Taste Test would be a great place to start. The artwork is brilliant in its simplicity and goes nicely with its humorous tone. It’s a great book to just pick up and flip through when you need a few laughs. It is hard to perfectly describe what this book is or what it is about. Mostly it is a collection or random thoughts that tend to relate to food in some way. That may sound rather dumb, and maybe that is the point.

53. Jupiter’s Circle/Jupiter’s Legacy

Author: Mark Millar

Artist: Frank Quitely

Publisher: Imagine Comics

With Jupiter’s Legacy and Circle Mark Millar has created one of my favorite new superhero universes. Splitting this story up into two separate series may seem like a cheap ploy. In reality it was just great storytelling telling two separate complete stories that fully compliment each other.  Frank Quitely is also do career work in this book. The amount of emotion he is able to portray is unmatched in the current comic book world.

52. American Monster

Author: Brian Azzarello

Artist: Juan Doe

Publisher: Aftershock Comics

American Monster  was the first comic I read by Aftershock Comics. I am typically hesitant to pick up books from brand new publishers as I worry about getting invested into a story that will quickly be cancelled. Looking at the writers and artist that make up  Aftershock Comics I feel their future is very bright. If I were to award for my favorite use of color it would go to the use of red in this series. It is so striking and wonderfully placed it immediately makes a huge impact.

51. Ghosts

By: Raina Telgemeier

Publisher: Graphic

This was the first book I ever read by Raina Telgemeier, which may be a shock to some based on how many acclaimed graphic novels she has written to this point. It did not take me long to understand where the praise was coming from. The relationship she forms between the two main sister characters is compelling from the start. I know the notion of Teenage Supernatural stories will cause many to pause. No this is not the ghost version of a Twilight book, oddly but not surprisingly it has a much better romantic subplot than the entire franchise. Also as a former teacher this is a type a book I would make sure I would have in my classroom for kids to read. Within this well design story is a lot of cultural exploration cliche tropes we see far too often.

50. Negative Space

Author: Ryan K Lindsay

Artist: Owen Gieni

Publisher: Dark Horse

Negative Space is insane. It is about this world that is secretly run by alien creatures as they use our negative thoughts and feelings to feed. This would basically make an incredible John Carpenter style film. Yes it may be crazy and not afraid to be full of gore, but inside of all those alien guts is some smartly written satirical commentary.

 

49.  Huck

Author: Mark Millar

Artist: Rafael Albuquerque

Publisher: Image Comics

I love the character of Huck. He has the small town charm of Superman meshed with the kind demeanor of Forrest Gump. He just wants to do good and help others no matter how small the task. I love the  character of Huck so much I did not want to read Huck in fear of what Mark Millar might do to him. Huck is not the type of character you would normally associate Mark Millar with, but what 2016 has shown us is that Millar has grown as a writer.

 

48. 4001 A.D.

Author: Matt Kindt

Artist: Clayton Crain

Publisher: Valiant Comics

Other publishers need to take notes from Valiant on how to handle major story events. Valiant knows how to build up these stories without hindering the progress of their entire universe. 4001 A.D. did not have an array of unnecessary tie-in issues, and Clayton Crain was on a phenomenal to the point where the series felt special. Oh, and it also all shipped out on time and did not go on four over half a year. Sometimes it is just the little things that make all the difference.

47. The Mighty Thor

Author: Jason Aaron

Artist: Russell Dauterman

Publisher: Marvel Comic

At this point there is not much more that needs to be said regarding how much of a genius Thor writer Jason Aaron has been these last few years. Now with this series, Gods of Thunder, and the new Unworthy Thor he has begun slowly connecting the dots between all three. The way things are progressing by the time he finishes he may be telling the most epic Thor story of all time, excluding of course the actual mythology that created the character. At least his has better art.

 

 

46. 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank

Author: Matthew Rosenberg

Artist: Tyler Boss

Publisher: Black Mask Studios

2016 was a big year for stories that involve kids in the 80’s playing Dungeons and Dragons at their parents house. Netflix gave us Stranger Things and Black Mask Studios gave us 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank. The similarities between the two end there, well outside the fact that both where great. This suffered from a great deal of delays but was worth the wait.

45.  Midnighter and Apollo

Author: Steve Orlando

Artist:Fernando Blanco

Publisher: DC Comics

First and foremost Midnighter and Apollo is a tightly woven story with two great characters. Midnighter and Apollo is also one of the best examples of how to write homosexual characters. Steve Orlando avoids stereotypes, cliches, and never exploits them for cheap points. Steve Orlando’s name does not get mention much when talking about some of today’s best writers and it really should.

 

44. Bloodshot Reborn

Author: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Mico Suayan, Lewis Larosa

Publisher: Valiant

Jeff Lemire had a lot of fun with Bloodshot this year. No character  went through more than Bloodshot over the last three hundred and sixty-five days. He went to a dystopian Mad Max esc future, traveled to Bloodshot Island where he was forced to fight for his life each day with a group of Bloodshot soldiers, and ended the year fighting a dangerous outbreak.  All of those big events were designed to also push the development of the character of Bloodshot.

43. East of West

Author: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Nick Dragotta

Publisher: Image Comics

East of West has one of my all-time favorite comic book worlds.  Over these last few years Hickman has developed a lot of moving parts and people to expand the scope to a level that would impress the likes of George RR Martin. It is a genre mashup that is seamless as it takes pieces from Westerns, Science Fiction, and political drama. People often talk about what comics they would love to see become movies or TV shows. For me this is a type of story that could only work in the medium of comics. I don’t see anything else being able to craft such a visually striking adventure with this type of dense storytelling and it working this well.

42.  Moon Cop

By: Tom Gauld

Publisher:  Drawn and Quarterly

This book lives in the world of melancholy and revels in it. From the consistent grays to the minimalist art MoonCop depicts a simple life in a dying moon town, which leads to the a great setting for Tom Gauld’s clever humor. Although MoonCop is this deconstruction of the romanticism we have for space travel there is never a cynical attitude. Instead it is more the beauty of the forgotten and mundane.

41.Adulthood is a Myth

By:  Sarah Andersen

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Adulthood Is a Myth is a collection of short comics that depict the awkwardness of life and highlights how adolescents seems to last long and longer. Sarah Andersen’s sense of humor manages to be universal without resorting over used cliches. Her revelations are not necessarily groundbreaking but that are continuously humorous. If you listen close enough you can pick up collective proclamations of “That’s so true” as people read through this book. A light and fun read that offers a lot to relate towards.

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