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Top 100 Comics of 2017

With 2017 coming to an end it is now time to look back at the year that was. Today we look at the world of comics as we countdown the Top 100 Comics of 2017. Somethings to get out of the way before the countdown begins. Unlike other Top 100 lists for GCRN this is my own personal list. No other contributors assisted with putting this list together. I saw that because as one person I do not read every comic. I do read a lot as you’ll see, but if one of your favorite comics does not make the list it may simply be because I did not read it. So if that’s the case comment below and I’ll promise to check it out and give you my thoughts.

The other part of this is the criteria used to create this list. Comics provide a unqiue challenge in end of year list creation due to the many different formats they are released. You have straight graphic novels that are self contained stories, ongoing monthly titles, one shots, mini-series, webcomics, and so many more. To make things simple I included them all in this list. Some may argue rating a graphic novel against an ongoing is like comparing a TV show to a movie, and that is partially true. However, separating them out is also problematic. Do books like Compass South or Nameless City belong with the ongoing’s because they are released in volume format or with the self contained graphic novels? Do mini-series belong with monthly ongoings even though their story is complete? So to make things simple I made one giant list. Here is the criteria I did use when creating this list:

  • For limited series at least 50% of the comic needed to be released in 2017.
  • For ongoing titles at least 3 issues had to be released this year. This is really just a personal choice. For me three issues is what I use to determine if I will continue with a book or not (in most cases). The first issue introduces the concept, second gives you the bulk of the story, and the third shows you how well it will be executed. That’s not always true but more often than not.
  • Foreign language books that were first released in English in 2017 due qualify.

Again this list is based on my personal taste. I am sure many if not all will disagree with a number of my choices and placement. If so feel free to comment and give me your take. As you can obviously tell, especially if you ever heard me on Cinema Geeks or Talking in Circles I do love my lists. I enjoy the process of creating them and even more sharing them. It is a chance to tell the world, or the three people listening, about properties I love. So that to me is the main purpose of a list like this. I get to provide a landscape of the year that was in comics, and moreso recommend some great titles. Now that we got that out of the way the fun of the list can begin.

100. Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger / Go Go Power Rangers

Writer: Kyle Higgins (Mighty),  Ryan Parrott (Go Go)

Artist: Hendry Prasetya (Mighty),  Dan Mora (Go Go)

Publisher: Boom! Studios

If you are a person who was let down by this year’s Power Rangers movie luckily Boom! Studios has you covered in the form of two solid comic book series. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers has the classic lineup many fell in love with during the nineties including everyone’s favorite Tommy, while Go Go Power Rangers takes place directly after the very first episode. Both are able to construct a tone that is fitting for the source material without being overly cheesy. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers has also really expanded upon the mythos of the Rangers including alternate universes that reveal the origin of some major characters.


99. Uncomfortably Happily

Writer/Artist: Yeon-Sik Hong

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Uncomfortably Happily is a book that may overstay its welcome and feel unnecessarily tedious at times, but still showcases the trials and tribulations this writer went through to find peace, quiet, and the motivation to complete his work. As a fan of comics, its a window into the struggles writers and artists have to go through to provide us such great entertainment. People often talk about how money should not matter when it comes to art, but what Uncomfortably Happily shows is that is easy to say when you do not have to worry about the never-ending bills that are at your door as well as the daily grind that does not give much room for creative freedom.

98. The Kamandi Challenge

Writer: Various

Artist: Various

This year DC celebrated Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday in a number of big ways. One of the most creative was The Kamandi Challenge where a different writer and artist would team up and take over an issue. To make things even more exciting each issue ends with a cliffhanger the next team is forced to answer. More often than not that cliffhanger was Kamandi falling off some strucutre, although some creators were truly evil and put the next team in a nearly impossible position.  With that format, each issue will not be at the same level of quality. The flip side being you never ever know what to expect. Easily the best was the issue done by Bill Willingham and Ivan Reis. Not surprising the man who gave us the world of Fables would be able to craft an intriguing tale full of colorful characters. If were ever get a Kamandi onoging that would be the team to take on the title. For those looking for a series that gets as crazy as comics can get this is a great place to start.

97. Faith and the Future Force

Writer: Jody Houser

Artist:  Various

Publisher: Valiant Comics

Faith has grown into one of my favorite comic characters over the last few years especially last year when she finally got her own major series. This year she got her very own team and all the problems that tends to go with superhero teams. Except this team also had the added bonus of  time travel. From the first issue, it was clear The Future Force was not going to be your typical superhero team comic. One of my favorite examples of subverting comic tropes came in the form of this setup. It took the idea of the savior that is destined to save us all and majorly twisting that on its head to create something original an unexpected.

96. Terms and Conditions

Writer/Artist: Robert Sikoryak

Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly

Making a comic out of the Terms and Conditions of the iTunes agreement may come off as a giant gimmick, and that is exactly what it is. That does not make it any less effective. Does it actually make any type of narrative sense? None whatsoever. Does the art on the page match with the words being spoken? Maybe…kind of…jury is still out. What becomes the joy of this book is how it just keeps going. That and seeing how R. Sikoryak keeps finding new ways to put a comic book version of Steve Jobs into different types of famous comic books. Everything from Green Lantern to Charlie Brown to My Little Pony is homaged in some way.  I do not think it is physically possible to read it all in one sitting, and in a way that aspect makes you question how quickly we click ‘I agree’ to things we do not understand.

95. The Unsound

Writer: Cullen Bunn

Artist: Jack Cole

Publisher: Boom! Studios

Cullen Bunn knows how to write horror. The Unsound may not be to the level of Harrow County’s creepiness but it is not far off.  Bunn takes the idea of the haunted mental institution and gives us his unique version of how to tell that story. Jack Cole art is a big reason for that as well. Where something like Harrow County benefits from a shadowy presentation he takes another approach with a varying color palette that adds to all the madness. If there is one thing to explains how much this comic works just take into account it is able to make a paper plant into one of the scariest things I have seen in years.

94. Shattered Warrior

Writer:  Sharon Shinn

Artist: Molly Ostertag

Publisher:  First Second

Shattered Warrior is not necessarily breaking new ground, as it’s overall premise and execution are rather familiar. You basically have your standard story of a rebel force attempting to overcome a powerful occupying army with a more science fiction twist. Where Sharon Shinn excels is in her world building and character work. The central love story leaves something to be desired but overall it is well told and paced. On the art side, Molly Known Ostertag is best with the quieter moments.  One would assume this is the beginning of a new series and there is a lot of ground that is left open, but not enough it does not feel complete on its own.


93. Made Men

Writer:  Paul Tobin

Artist: Arjuna Susini

Publisher:  Oni Press

How many different ways can we see the Frankenstein legend be told? Well, add another idea to that ever-growing list. Made Men takes the Frankenstein myth to the extreme, but not in the bad nineties way. Here a decedent of Frankenstein, who is also a Detroit Special Ops officer, uses her family’s legeacy and gifts to avenge an abmush that whipped out her entire squad in brutal fashion. Part of that revenge involves a man-lion hybrid so that should give you some idea of how far she is willing to go to right this wrong. Concept is one thing, execution another. Made Men works because it finds a way to justify all this insanity and make you care. Also there is a man lion. A man-lion! What more do you need?

92. Dark Ark

Writer:  Cullen Bunn

Artist: Juan Doe

Publisher:  Aftershock

Aftershock is only a couple of years old but in that time has grown into one of the most exciting indie publishers. They have given some of comics best talent the room to tell the stories they want to tell and that apparently includes a story about an evil ark during the time of Noah. Cullen Bunn is just a bucket of creative ideas with this being one of his most out there. Although ultimately this has so far been a well-told murder mystery inside this out there fantasy story. Showing to make a comic book really work you need more than just an effective pitch.

91. I Hate Fairyland

Writer/Artist:  Skottie Young

Publisher:  Image

Every issue I read of I Hate Fairyland! I am amazed that Skottie Young can keep this comic going to the level he is for so long. If you listened to our coverage on the Pull Bag you heard my concern that this was a type of comic that would not be nearly as effective past the first or second volume. Three volumes in and I will fully admit to being flat wrong. It is still just as fun as it has always been, and reminds me of a similar love I had for Loony Toons as a kid, just with a much more violent and chaotic edge to it.

90. The Comic Book Story of Video Games: The Incredible History of the Electronic Gaming Revolution

Writer:   Jonathan Hennessey

Artist:  Jack McGowan 

Publisher:   Ten Speed Press

Jonathan Hennessey put together an impressively researched detailed oriented comic that gets into the nitty-gritty of where the phenomenon of video games came from and how they evolved over time. This could easily work as a general novel, but this format gives it so much more life. Utilizing video game iconography and characters there is much more personality throughout the pages. Even as someone who would not consider himself a character I found the sheer amount of information provided fascinating inside and out. Covers such a large variety yet never gets lost or convoluted. I have seen many video game documentaries that attempted to cover similar territory none were as done well as this comic.

89. Seven to Eternity

Writer:  Rick Remender

Artist: Jerome Opena, James Harren

Publisher:   Image Comics

With Seven to Eternity, Rick Remender went deep into the genre of fantasy and did not look back. If you are the type of person who loves to get lost in the lingo of Lord of the Rings or misses the out-there concepts fantasy films gave us in the 80’s Seven to Eternity brings much of that back. I was somewhat concerned when James Harren stepped in for Jerome Opena on a few issues as Opena’s art was what blew me away when this series first started. Harren did not disappoint and kept much of the same aesthetic Opena created when the book first started. Adam Osidis works so well as a tragic hero that is unable to get out of his own way, or his own destiny.When it is working this is epic storytelling at its peak. 

88. Run For It: Stories Of Slaves Who Fought For Their Freedom

Writer/Artist:  Marcelo d’Salete

Publisher:  Fantagraphics

Marcelo d’Salete’s put together quite the piece of art with Run For It: Stories of Slaves Who Fought For Their Freedom. His panel work takes some time to get used to, especially how he incorporates the passage of time. Once you can settle in you can see the grand emotion that was put on the page. Considering the subject matter it would be easy to exploit the tragedy of these stories but there is an element of celebration of the human will in the worse possible circumstances and the amount of beauty that can come from the smallest taste of victory.

87.  Alexander Hamilton: The Graphic History of an American Founding Father

Writer:  Jonathan Hennessey

Artist: Justin Greenwood

Publisher:  Ten Speed Press

Alexander Hamilton is just so in right now. He’s got the biggest play on Broadway telling his life story and now even the world of comics are getting in on the excitement. Jonathan Hennessey’s Alexander Hamilton graphic novel may not have the catchy tunes but what it does have is an impeccably researched and detailed look at the life and times of Hamilton. Some may be taken back but the rather dry approach of this book. There is not added drama to spice things up to make the story more exciting. If you are not interested in the actual history this may not be the book for you. You could easily take this and use it in a middle school classroom rather than using a bland textbook.

86. Wires and Nerves

Writer:  Scott Snyder

Artist: Greg Capullo

Publisher:  DC Comics

As someone who never read or honestly heard of the Lunar Chronicles before reading this I was actually relieved I never felt lost in the overall arching story. Marssa Meyer penned a script that brought you in bit by bit into this world she has been building in her novels for some time. I do wonder if this story would be stronger if you come in with previous knowledge as this has such a large cast of characters and multiple plots going on you don’t have a great deal of time to get fully invested in everything occurring. This is certainly a fun world with a meshing of science fiction, fantasy, and intergalactic politics so there is a reason to keep engaged with this series in future installments.


85. Dark Knights: Metal

Writer:  Scott Snyder

Artist: Greg Capullo

Publisher:  DC Comics

I know many will scoff at the placement of this massive crossover event and feel it should be much higher. I understand where that is coming from as this has many of the elements you want in a crossover series. Where I find issue is while the parts have been a lot of fun the sum has yet to fully come together for me in a satisfying way. I feel if you are not dialed into DC continuity in a big way much of the major story points are lost or muted, and part of me wonders if having a secret force behind all the events of Batman’s life really diminishes him as a character. Again I can enjoy the fun. (why it ranks on this list) But those issues make it rank lower on the list for me than it does many others.


84. Imagine Wanting Only This

Writer/Artist:  Kristen Radtke

Publisher: Pantheon Books

Imagine Wanting Only This is a title that may turn a number of people away with its constant pontificating on the great question of “Who are we?” and “What are we doing here?”. This is more than the pretensions ramblings you would get in the coffee house at your local Liberal College. Author and artist Kirsten Radtke constructs this melancholic and intimate look into her life and the complex way she views the world. You become one with her story and her life. Her story dives deep into who we are as people, as a culture, and the decay we leave behind. This may not be the type of story that you would expect to see in your everyday comic book, but in a way the medium of comics makes is the best avenue to take this story. Allowing us to see the world through the culmination of all her sense. It is the type of book that will propel you to remove yourself from your comfort zone and by the end of it, you are looking for something chippeyer to lighten the mood. That may seem like a slight at the book but in reality it’s a testament to its effective storytelling.


83. Southern Bastards

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Greg Capullo

Publisher:  DC Comics

Only a few years ago Southern Bastards was my favorite comic of the year. So seeing it this far down the list may lead you to believe it has severely dropped down in quality. That’s not at all the case as the bigger issue is the fact it has come out so infrequently over the last two years. I understand as Jason Aaron is doing so much in the world of Marvel and Jason Latour’s art must take some major time to be as consistently good as it has been. However, when putting this list together I couldn’t help but favor books that came out on a consistent basis with high-level quality every time.   If an issue is out it’s the first thing I go to as I am amazed each time how much storytelling is done in one issue, and it has one of my favorite worlds in all of comics. I just want more of it, which I guess at the end of the day is a very good thing.

82. Mycroft Holmes and the Apocalypse Handbook

Writer: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Raymond Obstfeld,

Artist: Josh Cassara

Publisher:  Titan Books

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not a name I expect to see in relation to a comic book, but hey it’s a crazy world so why not. No this isn’t a basketball story, or a story focused on Abdul-Jabbar more activist causes. No this is a rather fun fictitious romp taking place in a steampunk world full of secret cults and end of the world stakes. To be honest, it took me longer than it should to realize Mycroft Holmes was the old brother of the more infamous Sherlock, but he works as his own character. He is basically a Sherlock with less baggage and a more engaging personality. That is what mainly drives this first volume with a generally engaging story with a blend of classic literary feel with a modern sleekness.

81. Kill Them All

Writer/Artist: Kyle Starks

Publisher:  Oni Press

Kill Them All is an absurd love letter to the insanity of over the top action movies of the 80’s and 90’s and martial arts films. Filled with all the notable cliches like an endless amount of flying bullets, a tough as nails no nothing cop, and a kickass female ninja determined to find revenge. Imagine if you took something in the ilk of Naked Gun, modernized it up the silliness, and majorily upped the body count–you then would have Kill Them All. Starks’s art style ties it all together. What can be overlooked in all the jokes is how well paced his panel work is and key to make much of this action work as well as it does. It is fine to pay homage but if your execution is nowhere near the properties you are homaging it does not work. Luckily Kill Them All lives up to that challenge. One of the books that is perfect to read when you just need something fun in your life.

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Dan Clark

A fan of all things comics, movies, books, and whatever else I can find that pass the time. Twitter: @DXO_Dan Instagram: Comic_concierge
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