At IGN today we posted our nominees for Best of 2015 in a number of different Comic Book categories. We came to these nominees by all submitting our own personal nomination ballots, then using that to calculate our cumulative staff favorite picks. Below I’m going to compare and contrast our overall staff nominations vs. my own, and my personal winner for Comic Book of the Year.
Best Comic Book Series
IGN Nominees – Batman, Saga, Star Wars: Darth Vader, The Omega Men, and Thor
Overall, I think this is a pretty strong lineup. The only book that I also nominated was Saga, which makes it my clear winner of this bunch, but there’s plenty of good to be found here. Batman is a strong choice, the Endgame arc is one of the craziest and most intense Batman stories I’ve read, which is really saying something considering it’s yet another Batman/Joker story. I didn’t groove on the Jim Gordon as Batman stuff as much, which is the only reason it didn’t make my own nominations list, but now that Bruce Wayne has rejoined the cast, I think it’s back to being one of the industry’s strongest books. Thor and Star Wars: Darth Vader are both solid, fun books and usually among my favorites in a given week. They’re just simply at a level of good-great for me as opposed to “Book of the Year” level. The Omega Men is simply a book that I’ll have to give a second read. Tom King is becoming one of my favorite new writers, but this series just didn’t do it for me early on. All the book’s praise assures that I’ll give it a second chance though.
My Nominees – Deadly Class, Saga, Secret Wars, Southern Bastards, and Zero
If I had to number this list, Deadly Class would most likely wind up as the #5 of these 5 books, narrowly beating out a plethora of other strong books this year. But that’s not to diminish from its accomplishments. Deadly Class is a deeply personal tale from Rick Remender that gets me both with Remender’s brutal honesty and Wes Craig’s flashy and stylized art. Saga, I’ve already mentioned. Simply put, I think that Saga will go down as the defining series of this era. It’s incredible and the one comic book you should be reading if you could only read one. Secret Wars is everything I’ve ever wanted from a superhero event series. Jonathan Hickman’s grand and glorious tale swan song truly feels like the last Marvel story you’ll ever need to read. Southern Bastards is impressive because it’s so unlike any other story that you read in comic books. Essentially it’s a small town drama about life in the South, but with plenty of juicy crime and other genre trappings to keep you invested. And finally, Zero, more on Zero in a moment.
My Pick for Best of 2015 – Zero
Zero was criminally under-read and under-appreciated by comic book fans as a whole, including our very site. I think Zero is one of most complex and challenging reads I’ve experienced in my almost two decades of comic book loving. Its themes are powerful, its characters are moving, and its ideas are brilliant. I was blown away by each and every one of the artists who did an issue on the book, and each piece was made whole by Jordie Bellaire’s impeccable coloring. But overall, I was most impressed by Ales Kot’s subtleties and nuances. This series was one for the ages, and one I hope people will discover in the years to come.
Honorable Mentions – Bitch Planet, Invisible Republic, Martian Manhunter, Ms. Marvel, Multiversity, Paper Girls, Sex Criminals, The Walking Dead, The Wicked + The Divine
Bitch Planet would be funny, if its vision of the future wasn’t so terrifyingly realistic. Invisible Republic is a sci-fi journalism story that’s also evocative of classic film, that combination of elements is so incredibly niche that it could only appeal to a handful of people. I am one of those people. Martian Manhunter took split personalities to a new and intriguing extreme. It’s cliffhangers are Lost-ian, I wish this was a TV show so I could binge it in a weekend. Ms. Marvel is one of the most important new superheroes to to be created in over a decade, maybe two. Her stories were still incredibly strong in her second year. Multiversity is everything that’s great about, wacky, unashamed superhero stories. It’s a series of one-shot comics about alternate DC realities, in which the other DC realities all exist as comic books. I love Grant Morrison’s brand of crazy storytelling. Paper Girls debuted late enough in 2015 that it didn’t really have a chance to be in my nominations for best series, but I can almost guarantee that it will be one of my nominations next year. Brian K. Vaughan creates the most compelling and sympathetic of casts. Sex Criminals was one of my favorite books last year, trading off between being the silliest and sweetest/truest of books. Only a handful of issues came out this year, delays hurt what would have surely been one of my nominations. The Walking Dead probably won’t ever be the “best in the industry” type of books that it once was, but this was still a hell of a year for that comic. Finally, The Wicked + The Divine might have been my favorite book of the year had only volume 2 come out. However, volume 3’s use of rotating artists detracted just enough from the series’s brilliance to make it “only” an honorable mention.
So those were my choices for comic book series of the year. There was some incredible stuff in 2015. Tomorrow I’m going to take a less indepth look at a handful of the other IGN nominee categories to wrap things up. Thanks for reading!