Ten Best Comics of 2017

Honorable Mentions: The Fix, Boundless, Doom Patrol, 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, Black Hammer, Outcast, Gotham Academy Second Semester, Descender, Seven to Eternity, Archie, Thanos, Royal City, Rebels, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Aliens Dead Orbit

10. Nightwing by Tim Seeley, Marcus To, Javier Fernandez, Paul Pelletier, Minkyu Jung, Christian Duce, Miguel Mendonça, Vicente Cifuentes, Chris Sotomayor, Diana Conesa, Diana Egea, Andrew Hennessy, Adriano Lucas, Wayne Fauche

Tim Seeley has crafted what may be one of, if not the, definitive run on Nightwing for the modern era. Proving his voice for the character on the previous series ‘Grayson’, Seeley took the reins of Dick’s future solo adventures on the writing side. What followed was twenty eight issues of Dick Grayson renewing his identities as a hero and a man. Facing foes like Raptor, Darkwing, Dr.Hurt, Minos and Spyral, he’s challenged constantly by what his mentor had taught him. The vibrant and frenetic art by Javier Fernandez and Marcus To didn’t hurt either, as Nightwing flew through the air and crawled through the grime to face danger. Although Seeley’s time with the character is over, its been foundational for every story that comes after and there’s quite a benchmark to hit-Josh

9. The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Andre Lima Araujo, Kris Anka, Chynna Clugston Flores, Carla Speed McNeil, Rachael Stott, Emma Vieceli, Jen Bartel

The Wicked + The Divine continued to rock the comics world with it’s epic about pop stars as gods. Even though the title has gotten inherently more complex over the long life of the series, it never skips a beat in terms of its consistently awe inspiring story and visuals. Artist Jamie McKelvie and colorist Mathew Wilson have hit another level this year, creating some of the most jaw-dropping comics pages in their history together, while Gillen’s writing maintains it’s wit and charm while building onto the book’s intricate mythology. In addition, the team continues to jam out with other artists at every chance, inviting the likes Andre Lima Araujo, Carla Speed McNeil, Kris Anka, Jen Bartel and more for their historical one shot and holiday annual respectively. Still full of surprise and intrigue with every new installment, The Wicked + The Divine remains the gold standard in ongoing comics for it’s creativity and consistency in equal measure-Pat

8. Hawkeye by Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, Michael Walsh, Jordie Bellaire, Steffano Raffaele, Digikore

Kelly Thompson, Leonardoo Romero, Jordie Bellaire, and Michael Walsh have been doing fantastic work on Hawkeye this year. Kate Bishop is such a fun character to follow, and under the care of Thompson that enjoyment has only increased. The setting of Venice, CA keeps Kate’s adventures isolated from the rest of the Marvel heroes, and that allows the creative team to really let loose and have fun with her cases. Fisticuffs on the Hollywood sign? Check. Battles atop Mann’s Chinese Theater? You know it. I consistently jump back and forth between laughing and gasping when reading this series. The balance of humor and life or death stakes keeps each issue humming along at a breakneck pace and every time I finish an issue, I’m bummed I have to wait another month for more hijinks and tacos. This is not to say that the book never takes itself seriously, Kate also dealt with the mystery of her Mother’s death, fought off clones, and learned heartbreaking truths about her long absent Father. It’s the way these elements are balanced that makes this book special-Tyler

7. My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris

Emil Ferris crafted one of the most compelling, gorgeous, and imaginative works of fiction this year with her debut graphic novel, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. Told from the perspective of a young girl named Karen growing up in Chicago, the story covers many facets of life; culture, family dynamics, a love of horror films and magazines, and how everyone’s past has dramatic effects on who they become in life. We cover a lot of different genres and books on this site, but if you take a chance on one comic this year, please
make it this one, I promise you will not regret the decision. From the spectacular layouts and style of the art, to the superbly crafted characters, every component of this book will leave you spellbound. It deservedly landed on nearly every “Best of 2017” list I’ve seen, and I won’t be surprised when it starts landing on the “all-time great” lists as well, it really is that good-Tyler

6. Injection by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey & Jordie Bellaire

Already one of comics best ongoing series, Injection by Warren Ellis, Declan Shlavey & Jordie Bellaire kept getting better as it burrowed further into it’s mythology and ramifications. Focusing primarily on computer hacker Brigid Roth in the current arc,  the book masterfully wraps together horror, science fiction, bleeding edge computer science and folklore for an exciting and engrossing story line involving ghosts from another dimension in rural England, and the living computer virus that unearths them. Injection featured dynamic and visceral visual storytelling from artist Declan Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire, featuring epic splash pages contrasted with absorbing character acting combined with Warren Ellis’s distinct voice and sensibility. Injection was one of the years best and most unique titles, and it continues it’s upward trajectory to stunning results -Pat

5. Batman by Tom King, Mikel Janin, Joelle Jones, David Finch, Clay Mann, Mitch Gerads, Lee Weeks, Michael Lark, Jason Fabok, Jordie Bellaire, June Chung, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Danny Miki, Sandra Hope, Seth Mann, Brad Anderson, Trevor Scott, John Livesay, Gale Eltaeb, Hugo Petrus, Lovern Kindzierski

I cannot think of a year in recent memory with as many noteworthy and exceptional issues of Batman. Granted, the book did ship every two weeks giving us twenty five issues in 2017 but, not only was there no drop in quality from it’s accelerated schedule, it also felt fresh every issue. Whether it was a one shot or a longer story arc Tom King never ceased to entertain and challenge the reader. 2017 gave us “The Brave and The Mold” a Swamp Thing and Batman team up; “Every Epilogue is a Prelude” the proposal issue; “The War of Jokes and Riddles” a six issue arc focusing on Joker and Riddler with a two issue Interlude “The Ballad of Kite Man”; The amazing “Annual #2” an incredibly fun back story of Bat and Cat; And we can’t forget the fantastic two issue arc “Superfriends”. There have been many incredible artists on Batman this year including David Finch, Clay Mann, Mitch Gerads, Lee Weeks, Joelle Jones, Jason Fabok, Jordie Bellaire, June Chung, Michael Lark and Mikel Janin. Their varying styles kept Batman looking fresh and sharp from week to week. Through all these interesting story lines and impressive art, Tom King brought a unique feel to the character. It was fresh and new with a lingering cloud of familiarity in every issue. That familiar feeling is from Tom King’s nods to Batman creators before him in every single issue, which constantly reminds the reader that even though the story is fresh, everything Batman has been through guides his decisions; much like every creator before Tom King guides his choices. I could ramble on for paragraphs about this year’s Batman and that is the beauty of this book. Hats off to Tom King and the art team of Batman. After a year of producing twenty five issues that could rival any twenty five issue run of Batman ever, what will 2018 hold for the Caped Crusader?-Dean

4. Saga by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Although Saga was #1 on our list last year and this year has fallen to #4, I personally think 2017 was a much stronger year for Saga than the preious. It’s a testament to the strength of comics this year. Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples have taken us all over the galaxy, telling lessons of life, love, war and family. In 2017 Alana, Marko and the gang head to a Wild West planet where they hope to deal with Alana’s miscarriage in a discrete manner. As a newly married man with no children, who has never had to even think of miscarriages, I really appreciated the approach Vaughan and Staples took to this topic. A number of these issues really broke my heart as the family was able to spend some time with a future vision of their unborn child as an inherent magical side effect to the miscarriage. The sorrow of seeing what might have been was literally killing Alana. While this family has no shortage of problems over the years, they have historically dealt with them alone and in a self destructive fashion, shutting themselves off to each other. In 2017 they came together as a family to not only lean on each other in a time of sorrow, but also to save Alana’s life. After spending so many years with these characters and journeying through the highs and lows, it was really beautiful to see them get closer in a time where it would have been easier just to follow the pattern of shutting down. The intense arc also concluded differently this year, instead of ending with an action packed issue and a final page cliffhanger, Saga came with a lighter story of Ghus hunting in the woods to save Friendo from being eaten. After such an emotional journey, I appreciated the lighter arc conclusion. Fiona Staples has been brilliant as usual, keeping up the anticipation of what could possibly be lingering on the next page. Could it be a savage battle? An interesting new creature? Or will it be the X-rated stuff you don’t want people on the bus seeing over your shoulder? This has been one of my favorite years of Saga, which I have probably said about every year of Saga, so to stay true to my character, I will predict 2018 is even better-Dean

3. East of West by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta & Frank Martin

It comes to my attention that last year I wrote about Saga and East of West in our best series post. I guess there is no question what my personal favorite two Image books have been over the last two years. In 2017, I constantly flip flopped between East of West and Saga as my favorite Image book. It was usually whatever book was most recently released that became my current favorite. Last year East of West was #10 on our list and Saga was #1. This year Saga drops a bit but East of West leap frogs into the #3 spot. So, why the big jump? Hickman and Dragotta have not rushed anything over the years. They took their time and used every page to slowly build this futuristic dystopia. Now that we are on issue #35, we know so many characters and the basic workings of the world that we can pick up an issue about any character and just run with it. East of West has this unique structure to it. While no issues can really be considered a one shot, they can all stand on their own. We have dug so deep into this world at this point, it doesn’t really matter what happened right before the current issue, we just start reading and our sleeping mind fills in the rest. We only got five issues in 2017, but they were five perfect issues. Dragotta’s Manga-esque art stands out as he brings expressive character detail and fast paced action. He can fit so much detail in to such a wide shot that when he draws a close up full page of just one character posing, it’s striking. This year we were able to explore the relationship between Death and his son as their paths finally crossed, which at times was very funny. East of West keeps climbing our rankings year after year, with a couple of spots left for 2018-Dean

2. Kill or Be Killed by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips & Elizabeth Breitweiser

The killer vigilante genre is a well-worn trope, so much so that finding new approaches to it are few and far between. After ‘Dexter’ I was sure that would be the final word. Leave it to Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips to prove me wrong. Where Dexter Morgan was quite literally a sociopath, this series protagonist Dylan is more of an Everyman, with a dose of schizophrenia and/or demon possession. He easily rationalizes his actions by appealing to the readers’ sensibilities. Between Brubaker’s thoughtful time jumping to show Dylan’s progress/descent, with Philips & Breitweisers gorgeously mundane art, ‘Kill or Be Killed’ is a series that slowly draws you in only to yank you further down the rabbit hole. Much like other popular Image series, its one that month in and month out surprises readers and dominates discussion for its quality-Josh

1. Mister Miracle by Tom King  & Mitch Gerads

2017 was a great year for comics. From instant classic My Favorite Thing is Monsters, to an all time great Batman run, to the many legacy titles from Image Comics still going strong, and everything in between; you’d be hard pressed to sum up the year in comics without considering the wide swath of titles and creators that defined the medium. Still, if I can only take one comic with me, without a second thought, it’s Mister Miracle by Tom King & Mitch Gerads. A dizzying and surrealist journey into a war between Jack Kirby’s New Gods; Mister Miracle follows Scott Free and Big Barda as they navigate the complex politics of New Genesis while trying to escape their past, Darksied re-writing reality, the tyranny of Orion, & in multiple instances; death. King and Gerads masterfully tell the story by utilizing the nine panel grid page structure to great effect; bringing up callbacks throughout the series to symbolize different cues for the reader. Mister Miracle is a stunning comic about love, life, death, war, fascism, family, consciousness, sanity; and oh so much more. It’s a book bursting with story and allegory in every page; all beautifully rendered in each square. Only being halfway completed at this point, Mister Miracle feels like a masterpiece in the making; telling a truly timeless story, that feels incredibly appropriate for our time. Bold, distinctive, uncompromising and fresh; Mister Miracle is 2017’s greatest comic, and the comic 2017 needed most-Pat

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