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 #4 picks for Best of 2017.
Click here to read #5 on the list!
Dustin - Park Bench
Park Bench was released initially in Europe, but I couldn’t tell you when. It saw its American release this year which is the only reason I found it. The story is wordless. There’s not a single line of dialogue. Instead, it’s told entirely with the artwork. All of the emotion, all of the feelings that the multiple characters have, it’s conveyed through the art.
The story is about a park bench. There is a cast of characters that interact with the bench over and over as the years go on and we see their story as much as we see the bench’s story. Park Bench is very circular in that everything comes back around. There’s a conclusion to everyone’s story including the bench. A lesser talent would have delivered a comic that was unreadable. Which would be hilarious considering there’s nothing to read, but in Chabouté’s hands it’s a masterful piece of storytelling that highlights the biggest strength of comic books, the artwork.
Ben - 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank
4 Kids Walk Into a Bank has to be one of the most delightful comics in recent memory. Mathew Rosenberg’s script is equal parts funny, endearing, and thrilling. Perhaps the greatest thing 4 Kids has given us is it’s main protagonist Paige. She is one of the most tragic and funniest characters in recent memory. While it would normally be depressing to read about a 7th graders life spiraling out of control, Rosenberg does such a good job making the script funny enough to distract us from the drama. Truly one of the best-limited series books this year.
Oliver - WHISPER WILDS
The best indie book I read all year. This is a brightly colored and exciting story about a woman trying to prevent extradimensional monsters from invading earth during WWII. Sounds interesting? Well, in addition to this, it looks like a visual hybrid of Steven Universe and Mad Max. Oh, and one of the protagonists is an extradimensional dinosaur person.
This is genuinely delightful on every single level, and I can’t wait to see more. It’s one of the most instantly engaging books I’ve read in a while, charming me from the very first page. The characters are immediately likable, the world is unique and visually stunning, and the whole package just oozes charm.
Jonathan - Go Go Power Rangers
I said this in a review for at least one of the issues of this series, but I think it bears repeating here. I am not a Power Rangers fan. I watched the show and a couple of the movies, as well as bought a ton of the toys as a kid, but it wasn’t one of the series that stuck with me into adulthood. I love Go Go Power Rangers. It’s probably the most fun I’ve had reading a comic all year. What makes Ryan Parrott’s nonlinear take on the early days of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers so damn accessible is the intense focus on characterization and, more importantly, relationships. We get to see the unfortunate circumstances under which Kimberly and Zack first met next to them working as a team, Billy and Skull as childhood friends calling themselves “Skull and Bones” next to Bulk and Skull bullying Billy at school, and Zack being “everyone’s best friend” next to him questioning why he isn’t good enough to lead the Rangers. It goes to show how powerful a tool juxtaposition can be and how skilled Parrott is at using it as such.
Of course, I can’t forget to mention artists Dan Mora. He’s the reason I started reading this book because I absolutely adore his artwork, and he’s par for the course of excellence every single issue. It still amazes me how incredibly clean his pencils, and sharp his inks are. Not to mention how well he understands the ways personality influences and is influenced by physicality. As it stands, Mora only has a handful of titles (all from BOOM!) under his belt, but I sincerely hope we see him get plenty of more work and soon.