2016 really kicked the popular notion of what comics are in the teeth; high fantasy, history, fashion bloggers, cat loving Cthulu-like aliens, feminists, and voodoo. I woke up one morning (afternoon, actually) in January, and demanded to be taken to the nearest comic book store. It’s mildly intimidating and not an overly welcoming community, but it was so worth it.
While this list is far from a complete list, these were the ones that really slapped me in the face. I know from talking to other people that the DC Rebirth comics really held their own, Bitch Planet slayed the masses, and Marvel made everyone fall in love with a little Squirrel Girl. I just didn’t happen to read any of those (although I do actually own Bitch Planet…it’s on the list).
So with that disclaimer, these are the best of the ones I have read…
Writer: Marjorie Liu | Artist: Sana Takeda
Many-tailed cats, majestic winged animals, otherworldly witches. All of that could make up any high-fantasy drama, but the depth is what makes Monstress a little…different. Like the main character, underneath that fairytale beauty something far darker lies within. While the story is amazing by itself, it’s the artwork that takes your breath away. Cover quality art dominates this book. I can’t say enough how beautiful Monstress is on all levels.
I HATE FAIRYLAND
Artist & Writer: Skottie Young
Skottie Young owns my heart. This comic is pure fun and not to be taken too seriously. We’ve all wished we could go to a fairytale land made of cotton candy, but what if it actually happened? Even worse, what if you couldn’t get back? All of that happens to Gertrude and she’ll break Fairyland before it’s all over. Bad stuff happens, but it’s in such a lighthearted manner that it never upsets. Pure entertainment at it’s finest.
Writer: Fred Van Lente | Artist: Guiu Vilanova
This has been described as Cthulu with cats, and it’s hard to disagree with that. Whether you like hardboiled crime mysteries or sci-fi aliens, this one will appeal to you. The story arc finished up with a pretty tidy little bow, but it does leave it open for more. Fingers crossed it comes back, because I really need more interaction between the main character and “his” cat.
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan | Artist: Cliff Chiang
If you’re obsessed with Stranger Things you have to
check out Paper Girls. It’s 1988 and four girls are trapped in a weird time warp with little to no explanation. Their paper route was the only thing they had to worry about, but now they’re on their own and the adults might actually be the bad guys. This whole thing is way above their pay grade. Very relatable and wonderful characters; not to mention some really beautiful pins available through the CBLDF.
Writer: Jeff Lemire | Artist: Dean Ormston
Former superheroes banished to a simple farm, and one of them went missing. A unique take on the normal superhero hoopla; retired, banished, alone, trying to be normal, trying to get back. Writers have touched about a hero’s inner turmoil before, but never quite like this. Especially Golden Gail, an old lady trapped in the body of a child. It’s kind of like The Incredibles but for really messed up grown-ups. Funny, occasionally sad, and definitely weird.
HOUSE OF PENANCE
Writer: Peter Tomasi | Artist: Ian Bertram
The Winchester House has always mystified and interested me. Doors and stairs to nowhere, rooms without doors, and shrouded in an even creepier mythology. The house was built in San Jose, California by Sarah Winchester to appease the souls lost due to the Winchester rifle. This comic is out to scare and disturb you, and it does just that. The artwork unsettles just as much as the story. No one leaves this house alive.
SEVEN TO ETERNITY
Writer: Rick Remender | Artist: Jerome Opeña
The God of Whispers requires eyes; those that turn to him and listen to his offer will have protection, but he will see everything through their eyes. A spy. One family stood up to him and is now exiled. The broken Osidis clan has a choice; bend to the will of the God of Whispers or fight. Adam Osidis, the last free man, must decide. Set in a sprawling world of fantasy, danger, and lies…Seven To Eternity completely bewitched me right of the bat.
Writer: Dan Watters | Artist: Caspar Wijngaard
Voodoo, music, VHS, neon, Papa Legba. What’s not to love? It’s so immersive that you can feel the heat and smell the liquor when you read this. Magic is at work, but the culprit is hidden in the swamps. My favourite character is a strong witchy woman who talks to her god through mix tapes and wild dances. Music and film hold power in Limbo.
SHADE THE CHANGING GIRL
Writer: Cecil Castellucci | Artist: Marley Zarcone
If I was a comic book, I’d probably be this one. Crazy psychedelic mod imagery and a main character becoming lost in her own madness. Fashion, philosophy, love, and poetry. If you’ve ever done something stupid, fueled by emotion, this will ring true. DC Young Animals went above and beyond in the weird factor this year, but Shade was my favourite of the new releases and reboots.
Writer: Bryan Lee O’Malley | Artist: Leslie Hung
This obviously has to be on a ‘Best Comics of 2016’ list for all fashion bloggers. I hope most of us aren’t as catty and awful as Lottie, but boy is she fun to read. Lottie has a deep dark secret; allergies, snot, runny eyes. A new prescription allergy medicine is having some pretty weird side effects…or is it real life? Fashion, social media, drama. Yup. Sounds about right.
There you have it! My favourites of 2016! They sparked my imagination, tickled my funny bone, had me in awe, and made me think. In 2017, if there’s one resolution to make, it should be to take the dive into comics.
What comics really knocked it outta the park for you this year? I’d love to know what I should add to my list.