2013 Comic Book Round-Up: The Best - Part 1

Welcome to Comic Bastards' yearly "Best of" list. We have so many contributors on the site now that we actually had to break the list up into parts this year. This is part one which will cover "Best issue of the Year", "Best Ongoing Series" and "Best Mini-Series." You can find Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 by clicking on the previous links. Also be sure to check out this week's podcast to hear Kevin and Dustin read and have fun with everyone's list! Thanks for reading! (Hey Creators and Publishers! If you want a champ belt graphic contact us on Twitter or through the site and we'll make you one!)

Best Issue of the Year

1 - Best Issue of the Year

Dustin - Saga #14 (Image Comics)

Last year this category gave me a lot of trouble, but this year there really were only a handful of single issues that stood out. Mind MGMT, Revival, Harbinger, Private Eye and several indie books are all right near the top of my list with standout issues. Issues that are incredible achievements in medium, but then there’s issue fourteen of Saga… what can I possibly add to how powerful and moving this issue was? How can I possibly do justice to Lying Cats simple and yet powerful dialog? How can I top one word that manages to melt hearts and bring forth tears from practically everyone that read it? You can’t. I would love to give this to an indie book, but this issue of Saga wins. I will give an honorable mention to Unfair which was also tremendously moving and was my second pick for the category.

Jeff - Saga #14 (Image Comics)

And even more specifically a single page of Saga #14 which was one of the most beautiful moments I've experienced in my history with comics, involving a conversation between the former child sex slave Sophie and fan-favorite feline Lying Cat. Everybody I know who reads the book describes their reaction the same way, fighting back the well of tears that springs from this singular piece of comic writing.

Jordan - Saga #17 (Image Comics)

It just came out, but issue #17 represents intense storytelling that plays out like comics own version of Breaking Bad’s "Ozymandias"

Kevin - Dead Body Road #1 (Image Comics)

It got me really excited for the series. Must have more! When an idea of revenge is done well there's nothing like! Get'em!

Samantha - Ehmm Theory #3 (Danger Zone)

I can't stop thinking about how much I fell for this comic. It has a kick ass talking cat, just a great introduction to characters, big reveals, and of course slammin' art making all the events come to life.

Carl - Goon #44 (Dark Horse Comics)

This is a musical comic set in Mexico featuring heroes smuggling booze and a lizard monster that loves women and chickens.  Top that shit.  No, you can't.

Erik - The Massive #17 (Dark Horse Comics)

We’re finally seeing the morale of Ninth Wave crumble and Callum Israel’s resolve falter. The reason that this depressing fact is such a good thing, is because it is probably a precursor to one of the best arcs of all time.

Steve - Green Lantern #20 (DC Comics)

Maybe not the "best," but for me, the most memorable issue this year: a solid, emotive wrap-up with a bunch of stuff you've been dying to see in the modern GL mythos.

James - Harley Quinn #0 (DC Comics)

I read tons of other stuff that was deeper, more meaningful, and way more mind-blowing. But, I don't think I read anything all year that was as "fun" to read as this one. Seeing HQ depicted in so many ways and interacting with the staff was… well... fun. May be a wasted vote, but I thought it was fun, so that is the reason it was my best.

Adam - Coffin Hill #2 (Vertigo Comics)

This book just has everything that I love about comics wrapped into one.  I can't wait for more of this story to unfold.

Best Ongoing Series

2 - Best Ongoing Series

Steve – Mind MGMT (Dark Horse Comics)

This is the series you should recommend to those people who don't normally read comic books. In each issue, Kindt shows the versatility and range of comics as its own unique medium.

Dustin - Mind MGMT (Dark Horse Comics)

Mind MGMT is always the hardest category for me. If you’ve read any of my Top Five picks this year then you know that Mind MGMT always bounces around near or on the top. After going through my picks though Mind MGMT was a standout choice for me. What other series has given me as much joy, interest and fucked with my mind as this series has? There isn’t any. By far Mind MGMT manages to cram so much content into each issue that it forces you to pay attention and study every page; and as much content as it gives you on the cover, in the gutters, the pre-story, the post-story and just the main story… it’s still not enough. You want more with each issue. You need more. That’s why it ended up being more choice for best ongoing because there isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t need this series.

James – TMNT (IDW Publishing)

This is some good stuff. Started reading at the tail end of the "City Fall" arc and was hooked. Had to catch up with everything and was real impressed. It is fresh and informed. The Turtles have only gotten better with age.

Erik – TMNT (IDW Publishing)

This series continues to deliver month after month. I never had to worry about whether or not it would be worth keeping in my pull list. That is enough to make it my favorite ongoing series.

Adam – Revival (Image Comics)

I'm so invested into this series it's not even funny.  Literally with real money too, I have a 9.8 CGC rated #1 and am in the process of getting every back issue I don't have.  The writing is so brilliant, this has my favorite cast of characters in any book and the concept behind everything is just incredible.  Watching this story unfold each month and slowly peeling the layers off the proverbial onion is my favorite to do with this series.  I like to think this book as a 'thinking man's (or woman's) comic,' much like Mind MGMT (but probably not as mind-bending as that one is).

Samantha – Fatale (Image Comics)

By far, my favorite comic out right now; I love the jumping of time periods, and the seemingly never-ending troubles that Jo brings.

Jordan – Saga (Image Comics)

K. Vaughn and Staples have what is the most imaginative, beautiful synergetic and simply ingenious project on the market right now.

Jeff – Saga (Image Comics)

Brian K. Vaughan promises his series will be a long one and I look forward to taking that ride. Featuring a shifting fantasy landscape that skips between the beautiful and the ridiculous, Vaughn's series about parenthood and pacifism strikes a beautiful balance, entertaining, thoughtful, and incredibly human.

Kevin - All New X-Men (Marvel Comics)

I'm all aboard the X-Man train.

Best Mini-Series

3 - Best Mini-Series

Adam – Hit (Boom Studios)

When Dustin said that the writer of this book was a fan of the site, I hoped for his sake I'd like it, but either way I wasn't going to sugarcoat anything.  I ended up loving it.  I really enjoyed a few other miniseries, my second favorite being Buzzkill, but I have to go Hit for this one.

Samantha - Next Testament (Boom Studios)

Beautiful and rich art to accompany a great story revolving around this evil God and the blood he will spill in order to gain the people's faith.

Erik – Polarity (Boom Studios)

I’m a sucker for great dialogue, and this book had a ton of it.

Kevin - The Legend of Luther Strode (Image Comics)

Tradd Moore and Justin Jordan create a comic book tag team that set the bar. It's very hard not to like this series or team. Classic stuff.

James - Five Ghosts (Image Comics)

This mini was so good that it got an ongoing, which has been equally as good. I’m hooked with my artifact hunter who has an extreme case of multiple personality disorder with five distinct literary characters working within him. Original and fun with the artwork blending into the writing as a perfect harmony.

Carl - Anything Lord Baltimore (Dark Horse Comics)

He had a couple of mini-series, and they were all top-notch.  The vampire hunter in post WWI deserves a movie adaptation directed by me.

Dustin - Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin (Dark Horse Comics)

To be honest I never saw myself picking a Star Wars title as my best mini, but when you get right down to it this was a great series. Vader is an iconic character and this series not only captured that, but added to it as well. From beginning to end you see just how bad-ass Vader is and that’s especially joyful for anyone that’s grown tired of the Star Wars franchise like me. This series reminded me why Star Wars was cool to begin with and peeled back the jaded layers of adulthood and made me feel like a kid again.

Steve - The Black Beetle: No Way Out (Dark Horse Comics)

I know this is now an ongoing, but at the time it was a mini. BB is the most fun, most gorgeous "super noir" book I've ever seen. (Honorable mentions: Infinity & Zero)

Jordan - The Private Eye (Panel Syndicate)

You can’t beat the imagination of Brian K. Vaughn. His 2076 sci-fi world is one you want to live in. Marcos Martin draws some of the most alive and flavorful stuff out there.

Jeff - The Private Eye (Panel Syndicate)

One of the best new pieces of speculative fiction I've read in a while, tackling the multifaceted issue of our culture of self-surveillance by imagining a culture that has attempted to eliminate it. -- Keep going with our "Best of 2013" list by checking out Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4! Thanks for reading and please leave us a comment below!