Welcome to our end of the year list! Unlike other sites, we give all of our writers the opportunity to make their own picks. What you'll read below and on the rest of the site is a list of each individual writer's picks. As much as we like making our choices, we love hearing yours so let us know what you'd pick for the "Best Original Graphic Novel or Trade" below in the comments.
STEVE: Sexcastle (Image Comics)
Nunchuck guns and sound effects like "FUCKED!" make this loving ode to the ridiculousness of 1980s action movies a one-of-a-kind, unmissable experience.
JAMES: Ultraman Vol. 1 (Viz Media)
The title states that "This is the beginning of a new age". Damn straight!!! When I was a child before I could even sing my ABCs, I new the title song to the Ultraman tv show. I relished in it. Flash forward many, many (way too many) years later and this wonderful volume from Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi has rekindled the flame in me that once burned with the intensity of a thousand suns. From top to bottom this TBP is amazing. The artwork is second to none. And though the story has the elements you might expect in a "next generation" tale, Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi work the story in unique and intersting ways to make it not your typical retread. As for the ending, Oh Yeah! I can dig on this Ultraman for sure.
CHRIS: The Private Eye (Panel Syndicate/Image)
Finally getting the hardcover edition that Vaughn said would never come, The Private Eye arrived in a beautifully bound deluxe version this December. Originally designed to be read on computer screens, it is a bit of an awkward shaped book, but worth it nonetheless. Vaughn, in his usual fashion, writes a prophetic tale of a not-too-distant future and does it in such a poignant manner. I’ve been recommending this to everyone I know since its first issue back in 2013. A must read for anyone with even a remote interest in noir or sci-fi.
KEVIN: The Abaddon (Z2 Comics)
Hear Kevin's reason on this week's podcast!
ASA: The Divine (First Second)
I'd say this came out of nowhere, but frankly, trades often do that. Asaf and Tomer Hanuka with Boaz Lavie created a graphic short story that dabbles in the mystic while approaching the terribly real issue of child soldiers. 2015 proved to be the year of politically and socially minded comics, but the Divine excels through a light touch, broaching important subjects but never forgetting its central adventure story premise.
DUSTIN: Hopeless Savages: Break! (Oni Press)
This was a tough pick. Considering how much I loved Sexcastle and The Abaddon, both already being on this list. At the end of the day though, I really loved this graphic novel. It reminded me of my early days of getting into comics, but then it was also amazing to see how improved the story and art had gotten. It wasn't a throwback, but rather the same world and story advancing. I couldn't help but really enjoy it and felt it deserved my spot on this list more than anything else.