As December continues along its merry way here is another glance back over the past 12 months, this time in the form of comics covers. As in recent years, 2016 saw a variety of talented artists working in a broad range of styles. Whittling down the list, as always, is a bit a difficult, but that is how it should be. Tough choices only serve as a reminder of how much great material is being published these days.
How many stellar comic book covers were there this year? So many that instead of restricting myself to an arbitrary number like 10 or even 20, I have assembled a list of 26 spanning a variety of artists and styles. As in the past, I limited myself to one selection per artist or series.
With the debut of Si Spurrier & Jeff Stokely’s The Spire, Boom has released yet another fantastic debut creator owned series in 2015, cultivating one of the strongest new lines of comics publishing this year. Spurrier & Stockely worked with Boom before on the imaginative Six Gun Gorilla a few years prior but The Spire represents a great evolution in their style, one that she’s them applying their unique voice to a more European style comic with fantastic results.
The Spire is a highly imaginative and densely creative world building exercise about a monolithic society built on a mountain, with the classes segregated by tiers in distance upwards. Non-humans are discriminated against and thus lower on the mountains tier system. The story follows a female detective who is cased with solving a mystery for the new monarch on the death of her former child care provider. She is a bad ass, no shit taking, non human with the ability to grow thin white tentacles out of her back. There is also some weird looking angel things and this:
Which appears to be information related to the monarchy somehow that will reveal more of itself in further issues. It is all profoundly enjoyable and fascinating because of the books superb world and character building.
Spurrier & Stokely construct such a rich texture in the series opening issue and it makes for a series that feels immediately inviting. This is a series where you want to spend all your time exploring it’s world and hanging with it’s character. Sure Spurrier’s plot point may have been done before but look at that pic above again, your going to see that and tell me there isn’t more to this story then what’s been revealed so far? And one more time, look at that illustration above, Jeff Stokely is a fucking monster. His style is reminiscent of Brandon Graham or James Stokoe in it’s detail and playfulness. It’s art that is equal parts immersive and fun in just the right measures.
Spurrier & Stokely make for a great team and this is the best work the two have ever done. The Spire #1 is hugely entertaining debut issue and the beauty of it all is, it’s only just started.