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 #2 picks for Best of 2017.
Dustin - Spinning
Spinning was a close second for me because I’ve never read an autobiographical story that was so amazing. What so many creators forget when doing autobiographical work, is that it’s still a visual medium. Spinning never once forgot that as it drew your eye in with the strong visuals. Never once is the art sacrificed for exposition.
The story follows Tillie, a figure skater that has moved from New Jersey to Texas. Her one constant is completely uprooted, and she’s left almost constantly wondering why she’s figure skating. It’s not just a story about fitting in, but finding yourself and who you want to be as well. Calling it a brave work doesn’t do it justice, but it’s the best I can muster to get my point across. This four-hundred-page book is captivating, and if this were a graphic novel only list, it would be in my top spot.
Ben - Royal City
It definitely is no coincidence that two of Jeff Lemire’s comics are on this list being that Lemire has put out a lot of comics this year. However, Royal City stands head and shoulders above most of the competition. Most closely resembling Lemire’s Essex County era, Royal City encapsulates so much of what it means to be human. It’s consistently heart wrenching and thought-provoking and well worth a read on the script alone.
However, Jeff Lemire also illustrates Royal City. his sketchy lines and watercolors perfectly compliment the frenzy of emotions his script presents.
Oliver - THE WILD STORM
Warren Ellis rebooting the Wildstorm universe? There’s no way this was ever going to go badly. This is the promise of Wildstorm, finally fulfilled properly. Now, I’m a huge fan of the original Wildstorm universe, but I’ll happily admit that it was never coherent and rarely actually any good. There was so much potential in that world of shadowy government agencies, conspiracies, aliens, and superheroes, but most of the time it was just shouting guns, and unending J. Scott Campbell legs. This, though, is all of the good ideas from the Wildstorm universe of the ‘90s, distilled down to a single book and expertly realized by the best writer Wildstorm ever had, aided by one of the best new artists of the last few years.
This is a book that shows off what comics can do, with Jon Davis-Hunt somehow managing to render large-scale violent action and small-scale emotion equally well. There are huge, cinematic pages of widescreen panels and no sounds whatsoever, and pages of tiny granular inset panels highlighting the smallest of details. This is a book that does everything, and if you ever even wanted to like a Wildstorm book, let alone actually liked one, there’s something in here for you.
Jonathan - Batman: Creature of the Night
I feel comfortable calling Batman: Creature of the Night #1 the single best issue I’ve read all year. Evocative, brooding, and gothic in all of the very best ways, Kurt Busiek’s spiritual successor to Superman: Secret Identity explores the concept of Batman in a way that’s both never been done before and is perhaps the most relatable to date. Bruce Wainwright is a kid that loves Batman, and then his parents are murdered during a robbery. The first issue alone sets the tone and starts down an unexpected rabbit hole, all the while firing on all cylinders. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re only going to read one Batman book, hell one DC book, in 2017 and/or 2018, Batman: Creature of the Night is the one to read. And even though I haven’t yet read the second issue as of my writing of this list, it still almost took the top spot.