Since yesterday was the first new comic day of 2015, it’s time to freshen up your pull lists. There are titles that came out last year that you may not have discovered yet and they are well worth discovering. Twenty fourteen was definitely the year I moved away from Marvel and DC and more to the Indie publishers. Boom Studios had an amazing year with some really good books. They seem to have focused a great deal on strong storytelling and it drew me like a moth to a flame. Image has also found it’s niche with a wide palette of titles. Many featuring the once mythical “strong female protagonists”. Books like Lazarus, Velvet and Rat Queens were turning tropes on their heads and finding all kinds of great stories pouring out. Dynamite and IDW came more into my sphere and I enjoyed a larger variety of comics and rediscovered some old characters reinvented.
So expand your comic horizons a bit this year and try some of these:
Dead Letters (Boom! Studios)
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Chris Visions
When I read the first issue of Dead Letters, I was completely blown away. This was the best first issue of any comic I’ve read in years. Beautifully structured, it unfolded smoothly as the issue continued so you arrived at the destination it set out for you at the same time the comic did. The subsequent issues, while nowhere near as perfect, have been just as good story wise and the first arc was completely satisfying. We’re only a couple issues into the latest arc but so far it’s just as good as the first. Not quite a redemption tale but more along the lines of, once we die maybe we still struggle to find out who we really are. Grab the trade paper collecting the first issues and then pick it up monthly. It’s a hell of a ride.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Jamie McElvie, Matt Wilson
Americans have a knack for deifying their celebrities, well in the Wicked and the Divine it goes a step further with deities as celebrities. The gods come to earth for a limited amount of time and have a grand old time, usually at someone’s expense. A dark and mesmerizing series, it is always the first one I read the week it comes out and then I wait impatiently for the next issue. The first arc of this is also available as trade paper but we’re about to start the next arc so we’re at a great jumping on point.
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Cover Artist: Sara Pichelli
This is a title that one of the big guys did right. I admit I only picked up the first issue of Ms. Marvel to support the idea of a young, Muslim, female protagonist, but I stayed for the fantastic storytelling. This is easily the best superhero origin book in decades. Kamala has the feel of a young Spider-Man just starting out. She’s wonderfully normal in extremely abnormal circumstances and now she has Lockjaw as her sidekick. What could be better than that? This didn’t get bogged down in statement making or gender or religious politics, it made it’s own statement in finding the similarities that bind us all. Kamala is a hero for this generation but she feels like many of the great heroes who’ve come before her, even while being uniquely herself. This also has a trade if you want to catch up but is easy to jump on at the moment.
Writer: Jim Zub
Artists: Steve Cummings, John Rauch, Tamra Bonvillain
Every month I enjoy this book more and more. It’s definitely got a Buffy-esque feel but Rori is very much her own woman. Vulnerable and strong all at once she rings true as a teenage girl with more than her share of problems. Divorced parents, moving to a new country and the ability to see demons all of a sudden. She faces all her challenges as best she can and keeps moving. The art is particularly striking in Wayward and it’s honoring of Japanese culture and mythology is entertaining and educational. The trade of the first arc is due in March but we’re about to start a new arc so jump on in!
Authors: Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson
Artist: Brooke Allen
Lumberjanes started as an eight issue miniseries but was such a success that it became an ongoing very quickly. Aimed at the tween set, it is still extremely entertaining for adults. It was overheard at NYCC described as being “a PG version of Rat Queens” and as a fan of both books I think the description is apt. The girls are charming, fun and familiar. The adventures they get into at camp are the kind that make me wish this camp really existed. Full of girl power with just enough mystical stuff it’s a blast every month. You can pretty much jump in at any time.
Notable titles to check out:
Bitch Planet (Image Comics) – I didn’t add Bitch Planet to my list even though it started in December because it’s only had one issue so far but I suspect it will continue to be a great read.
Secret Identities (Image Comics) – this is a new title coming in February from the creator of Noble Causes. I’ve read the first issue (my review is coming shortly) and it looks like another winner. Superheroes with families and complications, just how I like them!
Orphan Black (IDW) – I have been dying for this since it was first announced last Summer. In March we will get to see even more of our favorite clones. Which will help us survive until season three starts in April.