My 10 Favourite Comics of 2014

Everything Else

I’ve been reading comics for about 3 years now but only got in to them in a big way last year. I’m far from an expert but the sheer amount of fantastic stuff coming out at the moment has me excited, so I wanted to share some of the series that I’ve read. The following are a few of my favourite trades that came out last year (I generally don’t read single issues). I hope you enjoy reading about them and maybe discover something new.

The Auteur – Oni Press

Writer: Rick Spears

Artist: James Callahan

One of the stranger comics I read in 2014, The Auteur follows a washed up film maker as he attempts to regain the critical acclaim he once had. It’s a fun story as our protagonist overloads his brain with hallucinogenic drugs to find inspiration and attempts to give his movies an edge with ridiculous ideas, like hiring a real murderer as a consultant on a slasher film. It’s the artwork that really shines in this series, it’s so colourful and gruesomely psychedelic, a perfect match for the bizarre plot.

The Bunker – Oni Press

Writer: Joshua Hale Fialkov

Artist: Joe Infunari

A group of friends go in to the woods to bury a time capsule but discover a bunker containing a letter to each of them. These letters are written by themselves in the future as a warning of the terrible things that will happen if they don’t do something to stop it. The writing is the right kind of complicated were you have to think about what is happening but it doesn’t leave you completely lost. The dynamic between the characters is fantastic as they all have their own motives and secrets that they must hide. Really exciting idea off to a great start.

Deadly Class – Image

Writer: Rick Remender

Artist: Wesley Craig and Lee Loughridge

Deadly Class is probably the most stylish comic I read last year with some of the best panelling I have ever seen. The plot follows a homeless teenager who gets taken to a secret school where children of organised crime families are trained to become assassins. Like every high school this one is full of cliques, fashion, gossip and crushes, but instead of the usual harmless teenage feuds, here it might end it murder. Packed with flawless artwork and a fast paced writing style, this first volume was an absolute joy to read.

East of West – Image

Writer: Jonathon Hickman

Artist: Nick Dragotta

The epic sci-fi fantasy Western that is East of West continued its amazing run this year as the story became deeper and more intense. It’s difficult to explain the premise as it has so many layers and sub plots that are all intricately connected. I will just say that it is an incredibly interesting story and it’s a real feather in the hat of Hickman who has truly proven himself to be one of, if not the best comic book writer of recent years.

Manhattan Projects – Image

Writer: Jonathon Hickman

Artist: Nick Pitarra

In 2014 Manhattan Projects not only smashed its way in to the spot for my favourite comic of the year but also barged itself in there with my favourite comics ever. With such a superb idea for a story and writing that keeps you enthralled I really couldn’t put this series down. It depicts an alternate reality based around the Manhattan Project just after World War 2. The Manhattan Project was the research and development project behind the first atomic bomb but in Hickman’s retelling of the events this was just a cover up for other experiments taking place. As the story continued this year the team became more adventurous in their aggressive scientific progression and ran in to some conflict along the way. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed history this much.

Rover Red Charlie – Avatar

Writer: Garth Ennis

Artist: Michael Dipascale

An odd concept for a comic pulled off with perfection. Rover Red Charlie follows 3 dogs living through an apocalyptic event were all the humans kill themselves. Gath Ennis brings us right in to the mind of a dog as we see how they manage without their masters to tell them what to do. The artwork throughout is fantastic, using an innocent style, almost like you would see in a children’s book. This style along with having dogs as protagonists lures you in to a false sense of security and makes the brutality depicted that much more shocking. This is a great, fresh take on stories about man’s best friend, full of laughs, love and sadness.

Saga – Image

Writer: Brian K. Vaughn

Artist: Fiona Staples

If you’re a fan of comics you will no doubt be familiar with Saga, if you’re not a fan of comics then Saga is a great way to get in to them. Fast paced and accessible yet still well written with enough complexity to keep things interesting, it’s easy to see why Saga is so popular. It’s the classic Romeo and Juliet set up but taken in to space, two lovers from civilisations that are at war with each other and on the run from those who would want to split them up. A simple premise really brought to life by the brilliance of Brian K. Vaughn.

Sheltered – Image

Writer: Ed Bisson

Artist: Johnnie Christmas

With so many post-apocalyptic comics on the market it’s refreshing to read a pre-apocalyptic story. Sheltered is about a community that cut themselves off from society in preparation for an event they predict will wipe out most of the world’s population. After a brutal plan is executed for what is thought to be the greater good, the community is split and we are left with a Lord of the Flies-esque situation. The writing is very fast paced and exciting, packed full of action that keeps you on edge. The focus of the series is on paranoia, greed and how power corrupts, all presented through deep and varied cast of characters.

Southern Bastards – Image

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: Jason Latour

Southern Bastards is the gritty tale of a man going back to his home town in Southern America to pick up some old things but quickly gets himself in trouble with the wrong people. One of the driving forces is the very likable main character, incredibly cool with a desire to be peaceful but not afraid to get violent when it’s needed. The setting of a small Southern town really adds to the atmosphere with the quaint little rib shack and the whole town turning out to watch the high school football game masking the viscous underbelly of the place. Jason Aaron has a skill for creating detailed and engrossing environments in which to set his stories and Southern Bastards is a great example of that.

The Woods – BOOM!

Writer: James Tynion IV

Artist: Michael Dialynas

A vibrant and thrilling sci-fi about a school full of students and teachers that is suddenly transported to an alien moon. As the teachers try to get everything under control a small group of pupils leave to explore, led by an arrogant teenager who had a strange vision when they arrived. On their journey they come across strange creatures and ancient architecture, creating more questions about the nature of the place. The vivid colours and action sequences really bring the story to life and together with the alluring plot this is an exceptional start to what promises to a spectacular series.

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