Welcome to the Comic Bastards end of the year list. Similar to our group reviews, each of the participating writers will be giving their picks for their best and also worst comics of 2017. Without further ado, here are our #1 picks for Best of 2017.
Dustin - SINK
Sink isn’t just the best comic book to release this year, but it’s one of the best in the last ten years. It’s a title that defines the era in which its created and one that will undoubtedly grow in popularity in years to come. It’s a comic that when you find it and read it, you’ll wonder why it wasn’t in your life sooner. Sink gives me the same feeling that Sin City gave me when I first found it and read it, in that I have this insatiable desire to track down every story and read it. Simply put, I need more.
Each issue of Sink takes place in the same city but follows different characters. What’s brilliant about it, is that the setting and elements are the same, but the range of stories that the creators tell are absolutely brilliant. A transgender brawler that comes back to town to avenge her dead friend and destroys a bar full of men while wearing heels? It’s got that. A guy in a fox mask that hunts the hunters? It’s got that as well. The amazing thing about Sink is that we’re reading stories about a city, the city is our character. We can pretend that Gotham is still a character, but that shit has been as gentrified as New York has. When Sink follows a character, it’s the blood flowing in the cities veins, because the city is the character we’re reading about. All of this comes to life with gorgeous art, that is so underrated it’s a goddamn shame to the industry. Sink is the best comic of the year, and if you don’t think so, it’s probably because you haven’t read it.
Ben - BLACK HAMMER
Few writers have such a firm grasp of the melancholy of being human than Jeff Lemire and his style still translates even in his most amazing of stories. Black Hammer’s cast of characters definitely qualifies as some of Lemire’s most creative, but they all feel undeniably human and most importantly incredibly well written. It also doesn’t hurt that Lemire’s overreaching story and the universe is consistently amazing and expanding.
Dean Ormston’s art is no slouch as well. His style emulates the golden era heroes that Lemire is so obviously inspired by, while still adding his own personal twist on it. These two creators compliment each other so well, and their combined creation is one of the most inventive and amazing ongoing series right now.
Oliver - KID LOBOTOMY
Have you ever felt like you really miss classic-style Vertigo comics? I know I often have. Fortunately, Peter Milligan, Tess Fowler, and Shelly Bond are here to fill that void. Kid Lobotomy is unquestionably the freshest and most exciting debut of 2017, bringing that classic Vertigo feel back with a more modern look and some of the best art in the industry. Every issue is dripping with atmosphere, insanity, and cockroaches, and every month I get more and more excited to be stuck in this insane rabbit hole.
If you haven’t heard about Kid Lobotomy, think of it as King Lear rewritten by Franz Kafka. It’s a delightfully insane story of madness, murder, and manipulation, all set inside an impossible hotel. This is Milligan at his finest and most accessible, while still functioning on the levels of madness we’ve come to expect from him. Tess Fowler’s art, aided by Lee Loughridge’s unearthly colors, is beautiful and atmospheric, and somehow manages to get better every single issue. That Vertigo feeling is back, and it’s better than ever. There hasn’t been a book this good in a while.
Jonathan - 4 Kids Walk into a Bank
Yes, the first three issues of 4 Kids Walk into a Bank came out it in 2016. But the last two, as well as the trade, came out this year, and the latter is how I read it. I checked it out after hearing incredibly good things about it, and I have to say, it lived up to the hype in a big way. And even though Batman: Creature of the Night #1 was the best issue I read this year, this stands out as the best usage of the medium I read this year. It is constantly finding innovative ways to use the likes of lettering and layouts to help tell the story better. Tyler Boss plays with color, mixes aesthetics, homages other comics, incorporates visual humor, and frames his panels in interesting and exciting ways. And, it’s all in service of a fantastic premise with an even better execution.
Matthew Rosenberg’s storytelling is rich with humor, drama, action, a slice of life, irony, and pathos blended so well that every moment flows seamlessly into the next. Rosenberg, Boss, and the rest of the creative team knew exactly what they were setting out to do, and there’s no question as to how flawlessly they pulled it off. The word “cinema” is sometimes used to distinguish those films that really explore the artistry of the medium. Well, 4 Kids Walk into a Bank is cinema for comics.