As we have done for the past few years, I gathered choices from the ComicSpectrum crew who had time during the busy holiday season to reflect on their various favorites in comics from the past year. You’ll be able to see from the variety of choices why we feel so strongly about calling them favorites instead of “Best”. They really are a reflection of personal preference and so many creators and projects have merit that one person’s favorite might be something someone else really didn’t care for, which make it no less enjoyable for the person loving it.
As with movies, TV, books, etc… Support the things you love and skip the things that don’t ring your bell. Spending time dwelling on stuff you don’t like is time taken away from enjoying the things you do like.
Favorite Ongoing Series
Bob’s Choice: Giant Days (BOOM!) – John Allison does a wonderful job of character building in this comedic look into the lives of a group of college students in the UK. I look forward to the book every months and it’s always the 1st book I read from whatever shipment it arrives in. The characters have been evolving and I really feel like I know them. Allison also has me invested in caring what happens to them as they navigate their lives which primarily revolves on their time outside of school (there is rarely any classroom drama, it is mostly social/love life and it draws me right in).
Shawn’s Choice: Superman (DC) – It was tougher this year, but for the second year in a row I’m going to pick Superman. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m still so relieved to see “my Superman” back, but Peter Tomasi continues to surprise me with this run on Superman and his family. Not every issue was perfect, but it feels like Superman. Batman was close, but for me, I still looked forward to Superman each and every month!
Adam’s Choice: The Mighty Thor (Marvel) – The Mighty Thor has been on the playing field since 2015, and though it’s end doesn’t completely seem to be here there is much to be determined for the future of the series. With one writer and several artists that have had a hand in this comic, it has been one of the most captivating I have read and I’ve been with it since its beginning. I can’t remember the last time I had intentionally bought a Thor comic before this series.
Favorite Limited Series
Bob’s Choice: 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank (Black Mask) – Writer Matthew Rosenberg (who I also loved on the 5-issue Kingpin series at Marvel this year) really nailed the landing on this 5 issue series about 4 kids (Paige, Berger, Pat, and Walter) who come up with a scheme to get money to pay off some unsavory characters who are menacing Paige’s Dad. The art by Tyler Boss adds a great element to the story keeping up a crisp pace and really nailing nuances of mood with his facial expressions. It’s the kind of quirky story that jumped off the page and gripped me visually as well as with the characters themselves. I could easily see this being made into a really fun movie.
Shawn’s Choice: Dark Nights: Metal (DC) – There were a lot of books that came out under this limited series. Not only did we get four great issues of the main series, but we also got some fantastic one-shots including the Man Who Laughs and Dawnbreaker which I loved. Metal encompasses all the complexities and creativity of the multiverse and I can’t wait to see where this book is headed!
Adam’s Choice: Generations (Marvel) – Marvel’s Generations included 10 issues that were all one shot comics. It took heroes of a specific name/legacy and shot them back in time to have an interaction with the hero of the same name in the past. Though not every one of the comics came across as an amazing success for me, most of them gave a form of closure for the heroes that got sent back and I enjoyed many of them quite a lot.
Favorite Reprint Project
Bob’s Choice: Akira 35th Anniversary Boxed Set (Kodansha) – I seem to be the only one on the team who had a favorite in this category. I’ve watched the Akira animated movie a number of times, plus I read most of the issues of the series printed by Marvel/Epic back in the 1980s (though I missed some issues at the beginning and the end of that run when they came out, which I mostly filled in later as back issues. But here they reprinted the entire run in a beautiful 6 volume hardcover set with all 2500+ pages as well as a 7th volume “Akira Club” focusing on the fan phenomenon surrounding the series. In a year of outstanding archival reprint projects (including a number of truly awesome Artist’s Editions from IDW) this project stood out for me as my favorite of the year.
Bob’s Choice: Robert Kirkman – He has kept me captivated on The Walking Dead and his super-hero epic Invincible (which is about to come to a conclusion) for about 14 years. Every time I get a shipment with one of these 2 books it migrates immediately to the top of the stack to be read as soon as possible. Kirkman builds characters that I’m interested in and tells stories that read as satisfying chunks in each individual issue that also come together and pay off as longer story arcs.
Shawn’s Choice: Jason Aaron – Thor almost made it as my Favorite Ongoing and that’s due in large part to Jason Aaron. Not only does he continue his brilliant run on Thor, but he’s also written some great Star Wars stories, as well as some series at Image that I’m afraid I’m a bit behind on. Nevertheless, if he was just on Thor he’d still be right at the top with Tom King a close second.
Adam’s Choice: Marguerite Bennett – She has provided some of the best comics of this year for me. Animosity is the top of my list. Her dialogue and story has never left me questioning anything, and her ability in expression of detail is always top-notch.
Bob’s Choice: Dustin Nguyen – His watercolor art on Descender, a tale of robots in space written by Jeff Lemire, blows me away each and every month. I love seeing the texture of the watercolor paper he does his work on coming through on the printed page. The delicate and moody work he creates is something I pore over in every issue.
Shawn’s Choice: Jerome Opeña – This is maybe the hardest category for me to choose as I loved Dauterman on Thor, Mitch Gerard on Mr. Miracle, Christian Ward on Black Bolt, but I eagerly await seeing the art of Jerome Opeña more than everyone else. He’s doing something special on Seven to Eternity and each and every issue is a masterpiece. This series always gets a second pass from me after reading just so I can admire the art one more time.
Adam’s Choice: Jerome Opeña – Opeña has provided some of the best work I have seen this year and previous years. His work on “Seven to Eternity” alone has left me craving more of his art, but as I tried to find even more comics to read with his art, I realized that I already had most of the comics he has illustrated to date.
Bob’s Choice: Stuart Immonen (pencils) + Wade Von Grawbadger (inks) – I’ve been loving what these 2 have been doing together on The Amazing Spider-Man for the Secret Empire and Fall of Parker story arcs, and before that on their creator-owned series Empress at Image. They seem to have a very strong working relationship and their work together really leads my eye across each page, driving the visual storytelling. Their facial expressions display a great range of emotion, as does body language, which flows effortless from everyday movement of supporting characters to the dynamics of Spider-Man web-swinging across the city or jumping around during a fight.
Shawn’s Choice: Greg Capullo (pencils) + Jonathan Glapion (inks) – Although people tend to give the pencil artist all the credit, Jonathan Glapion needs equal recognition for his inks on a book that is packed with detail! There’s so much to see in the first four issues of Metal and Glapion takes Capullo’s pencils and gives them a greater depth and clarity. This is my favorite “limited” series of 2017 and Glapion’s rendering on top of Capullo’s pencils plays a major role in its creation.
Favorite Color Artist
Bob’s Choice: June Chung – I’ve been really enjoying Batman since I jumped back on board, in particular the “War of Jokes and Riddles” storyline with art by Mikel Janin enhanced by the color artistry of June Chung, her colors really made the story ‘pop’ for me.
Shawn’s Choice: Matt Hollingsworth – I have to give it to Hollingsworth on this one as I feel that Seven to Eternity is the prettiest book out right now and his colors truly make that book stand out. Hollingsworth has also worked on the arguably underrated Jessica Jones, as well as Infamous Iron Man which I also enjoyed quite a bit!
Adam’s Choice: Andres Mossa – One colorist pops in to mind for 2017, Andres Mossa had such a great run this year and should be recognized for it. Though I didn’t think the Spirit of Vengeance titles were the best comics in my lot, the colors by Mossa in those comics were phenomenal. The color transition from one art style to another was well laid out, and kept my interest.
Favorite Thing added to my collection
My thing is actually “things” plural. In 2017 I discovered the PS Artbooks
series of 1940s/1950s reprints on a deeply discounted sale at Bud Plant’s online shop
. Using Bud’s Art Books and a couple of eBay sellers I was able to amass the entire run of Planet Comics, as well as classic series like Phantom Lady, Rulah, Sheena, The Heap, and many more. I’m still missing some volumes and continue to keep an eye out for previously released out of print volumes. I’m not a big fan of pre-1960s super-hero comics, but I find myself really enjoying the crazy mystery/horror/sci-fi comics re-presented in these snazzy slipcased volumes. They’re also available in regular (non slipcased) hardcovers as well as a softcover format for folks on a budget. They’re well worth it for fans of the genres who are a bit open-minded on enjoying the older storytelling styles for what they are.
I added quite a few keys to my collection this year including Avengers #4, Amazing Spider-Man #14, Fantastic Four #2 and 12 and more, but the one that stands out is my copy of Batman #47. It was a while before Batman’s detailed origin came out and this issue has it. I love the cover and it’s a sharp looking copy except for the tear on the right hand side. It’s also sparked my interest in finding more Golden Age Batman and Superman comics, which until now I’ve focused mostly on Silver and Bronze. I’m now on the hunt for a Superman #53 to place side by side 🙂
As I go through my shelf of comics and collectibles my eyes keep bringing me to my Marvel Select Planet Hulk figure. Though I’m more of a statue kinda collector, the detail, size and ability to pose the Hulk figure in different intense poses leaves it at the top of my mind. I don’t take figures out of their packaging, but when I acquire a figure I find very interesting and well done I purchase a second figure to take out and pose on my shelf. Alas, I was never able to purchase a second figure before it ended up increasing in price online, and was long sold out at my local Disney Store.
And that’s it… Thanks for following ComicSpectrum in 2017. We all look forward to collecting, reading, and reviewing even more comics and collectibles in 2018!
2017 Favorites chosen by: Bob Bretall / Shawn Hoklas /Adam Brunell
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