Second to last post…
20. THEY’RE NOT LIKE US by Eric Stephenson and Simon Gane (Image)
This is not an easy book to read. It’s ostensibly a story about how grown-ups fuck up gifted children by misunderstanding them and oppressing their out-of-the-box thinking. But it’s also a story of “what if Oliver Twist’s band of street criminals had powers?” It’s a challenging read because it breaks most all conventions: We have an entry point, a girl named Syd, but she’s kind of obnoxious—and full of anger. And the other kids she teams up with are … Assholes. Not really, we do come to understand them, but it’s tough to like these people. I actually found myself siding with the establishment a few times in this anti-establishment book. But that’s just a testament to how hard it tries to be balanced, and how well Stephenson understands his characters. A good writer doesn’t write villains—he writes every character with a clear point of view, and he loves them all. I get that feeling from this book. It’s a book for fans of good writing.
But Simon Gane’s art is terrific too, and it’s just offbeat and odd enough to fit a comic that is always trying to keep you off-kilter.
19. BITCH PLANET by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro (Image)
One of the best comics of 2014 continues to be great. Like Nigga and Faggot, “bitch” is a reclamation of a defamation: A strongly pro-female book takes back the girlsploitation “Women’s Prison” genre. I’ve admired DeConnick’s writing for years—it’s very, very good—but it never rose to greatness; by which I mean a book that can be timeless, and belongs in the annals of comic book history alongside such game-changers as Preacher, Frank Miller’s Daredevil and Dark Knight, Watchmen, and the like. The book started late last year, and I was worried it would turn out to be a gimmick that ran out of steam—but it’s still going strong, showing no signs of weakening. Go, bitches, go!
18. SECRET WARS by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic (Marvel)
The biggest Marvel event of all time, and the most “important” corporate book of the year was also (gasp) good!
17. THE LIFE AFTER by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Gabo (Oni Press)
Perhaps the most unusual comic of the year, and sadly one that went on hiatus after ending its first arc, but we’re promised it will return. The story was a deep and meaningful meditation on the meaning of a Christian God, Hell, and Ernest Hemmingway. Also, it had lots of crazy and violent weirdness.
16. OLD MAN LOGAN by Brian Michael Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino (Marvel)
The best-looking Marvel comic of the year.
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