Year-end roundup: My fave comics for 2014

By Rick Olivares

Posted at Jan 04 2015 10:06 PM | Updated as of Jan 06 2015 07:07 PM

For me, 2014 will be the year where I committed more to independent comic books. It is the year where I mostly eschewed the Big Two and found my solace in alternative and indie comics that was more about solid storytelling as opposed to event-driven books.

My problem with the mainstream books is that they are driven with shock value plots and maximum profits in mind.

The independents? No matter if they don’t come out as regularly as you would like, you can still see on a monthly basis the quality that goes into its production and the onus is still on quality storytelling.

There are a lot of indies that I read but the ones I listed are my faves (not in order) and would also like to recommend them to others.

Independents

Image Comics dominated the independent comic book scene and it isn’t just my list. I think the comic book community realized that Image puts out the best number of comic books today bar none.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples – A science fiction fantasy that will remind you of the space epics of the late 1970s and early 1980s yet with a more liberal slant. Written by one of the most original writers in the business today – Brian K. Vaughn – and drawn by this generation’s Warhol – Fiona Staples. It’s a genre and mind-bending masterpiece on display… and monthly too!

Velvet by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting – No more Tom Clancy? Ed Brubaker steps into the breach. The duo of Bru and Epting continue their stellar clack and dagger stories that they famously brought in Captain America (that begat the Winter Soldier storyline) and continues with this excellent period piece that would warm Sean Connery’s heart.

The Mercenary Sea by Kel Symons and Mathew Reynolds – Think Josh Whedon’s "Firefly" set in the pre-World War II South Pacific. You’ll also get that Jonny Quest vibe reading this. One of the most lushly drawn and colored books in the industry today!

Deadly Class by Rick Remender and Wesley Craig – Hogwarts for assassins! Except done in the Quentin Tarantino way!

Manifest Destiny by Chris Dingess and Matthew Roberts – There was a reason why the west coast was called the “new frontier” and “wild.” A revisionist historical fantasy set in that famous Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Vertigo

One of those bastions of quality storytelling. Took a backseat to Image but they still put out some great stuff.

Astro City by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson – An introspective look at the life of superheroes, villains, and ordinary folks in the fictional city of Astro City. Visit and read one of the consistently best written comics and come away with that look of wonder in your eyes.

Fables by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham – Through the decades, we’ve had stories of the mythical gods and characters living in the modern world. The heir to Sandman. A modern classic with new takes on those childhood yarns. And after 12 years, this book looks like it is going out with a bang.

Sandman Overture by Neil Gaiman and JH Williams – Like Gaiman never missed a beat!

  • Dead Boy Detectives by Mark Buckingham, Toby Litt, and Gary
  • Erskine – A wonderful read. There is life in the afterlife!

Marvel

Their best books are unencumbered by those wretched events that have destroyed comics.

Daredevil by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee – Ole Hornhead has always attracted some of the best writers and artists. When this duo wraps up their run in a few issues, it will go down as one of the best in DD’s history.

Thor God of Thunder by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic – If I dare say, this run has just unseated Walt Simonson’s 1980’s tour de force as the character’s best. Compelling and audacious storylines that are pulled off with aplomb. Beautifully drawn and painted art. Incredible battles fit for a god. And if I were to name the best comic book (in terms of story and art) for 2014 – Thor, God of Thunder is it!

Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona – The heir to Hawkeye as the best Marvel book with an indie feel to it. Now if they can only stop having Wolverine as a guest.

Silver Surfer by Dan Slott and Mike Allred – Not since Nexus has there been a fun read about a space-faring hero.

Amazing Spider-Man by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos – Spider-Verse has got to be one of the best storylines in Spidey’s history. And one of the best in comics this 2014

DC

So much for the New 52. They should just have 52 books of Batman.

  • Batman by Scott Snyder, Danny Miki and Greg Capullo
  • Batman Eternal by Scott Snyder and Joe Quinones
  • Earth 2 by Mike Johnson, Nicola Scott, and Andy Smith

Limited series

  • Transformers vs. GI Joe by Tom Scioli
  • Multiversity by Grant Morrison and company
  • The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy
  • Death Vigil by Stjepan Sejic

Filipino Komiks

Some of the best put out by local creators this year! And you should do yourself a favor and pick them up!

  • Tabi Po by Mervin Malonzo
  • Maktan 1521 by Tepai Pascual
  • Ugh by Hulyen
  • Marianing by Nikolo Salazar
  • Rodski Patotski by Gerry Alanguilan and Arnold Arre

Graphic Novels

  • Just So Happens by Fumio Obata
  • Blacksad: Amarillo by Juan Diaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido
  • Fatherland by Nina Bunjevac
  • Jane, the Fox, and me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault