Top o’ the Lot: New Comics for the First Half of 2015
From time to time Outright Geekery brings you a slanted and biased opinion on some trivially specific topic of geekery. We call it Outright Geekery’s Top o’ the Lot.
It’s already been a banner year for comic books of every variety this year, but, as always, I like to put my focus on the new. New comics; brand spanking #1s; offer readers an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of greatness, or give them a leg up on some really vague geek trivia. I love the mystery, the novelty of something different, and the chance to share the awesomeness with folks who may have missed out. There were a lot of good, new comics that have already dropped this year, but I narrowed it down to a Lot. So, without further ado,
(Note: To qualify for this list a series must have premiered its first issue between January 7th and June 24th according to Previewsworld.com’s Release Schedule Archive.
Honorable Mention: Secret Wars & Secret Wars Tie-Ins
I was very apprehensive about putting an event title on this list. It just doesn’t jive with the overall tone of this Lot. But the high quality of Marvel’s summer 2015 blockbuster event and its associated tie-ins is simply too good to ignore. Marvel has done something truly extraordinary by simultaneously creating something entirely new, made up of pieces of the wildly popular history of the Marvel Universe. Instead of tie-ins that focus on the main story, Secret Wars tie-ins have been bastions of creativity that deviate from the main story and focuses on something completely different. This series and tie-ins could have easily taken every spot on this Lot, but I why take away the chance for a future list of Secret Wars issues?
Valiant Comics has been putting out must-read titles for years now since their re-invention, and with so many great series being put out by this publisher it was difficult for me to not just fill this Lot with Valiant titles. Out of all the titles being published by Valiant, however, nothing comes close to the heart, sci-fi, action, artwork, and story as Ninjak. Valiant appears to hang its hat on every comic it sells, but books like Bloodshot and X-O Manowar tend to take the front seat with fans, but I’m most definitely a Ninjak guy.
I’ve been a fan of Lee Bermejo’s artwork for quite some time, but I have to admit that his move to pick up the pencil and start writing made me worry. I was very excited, however, after reading the new writer’s work on Suiciders from Vertigo Comics. In a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, gladiatorial brawlers are the new superstars, but this title deals with so much more. Cosmetic surgery and enhancement, hero worship, class warfare, seedy underbellies, murder conspiracies, Hollywood, and more are all on this buffet of beautifully drawn, expertly written graphic storytelling.
3. Long Distance
Long Distance was certainly a long-shot when it came to making this list, but the more I thought about it, and the more I whittled down this Lot, the more I was convinced that the slice-of-life love story just had to make this Top o’ the Lot. While writer/artist Thomas Zahler has a distinct art style and the design he’s using is unique and creative, the real meat on this bone is the story. Full of heart, emotion, snappy dialogue, and realism, Long Distance is a gem of a comic. Romance and real life have rarely been so well delivered.
I’m typically not a fan of Mark Millar’s work. He tends to write comic books that are more like movies than graphic fiction. Surprisingly, though, I got wrapped up in the fast-paced, time-traveling craziness that was Chrononauts. Two best buddies, and science geniuses, use the time-stream as their own personal fun house, cause mayhem from the Jurassic Period to the Information Age and beyond, and have one hell of a good time along the way. All’s well that ends well, though, and it appears as though this comic book will ultimately end with a major motion picture.
1. Star Wars
When Marvel announced the return of the Star Wars license to the publisher’s stock, we knew great thing were possible. When they announced the creative team for the main title, I was full of even more promise. When the first issue launched in January to record-breaking sales numbers, it appeared that we may have a phenomenon on our hands. Six months into the series and it’s undeniable: Star Wars is back and better than ever! Jason Aaron is writing these characters perfectly, and the story he’s contributing to the New Star Wars Universe is going to be part of a new history that will expand for decades to come. This is the ground floor of something special, and it’s lived up to the promotional hype Marvel threw at it.