We’ve done our look back, so now it’s time to look forward. Of course, we all want more of the same: More Walking Dead shows, more issues of Saga, and more of DC’s two best (and cancelled) series, Omega Men and Prez. But what new stuff have we been promised in 2016, and what looks to offer the most return on the promise?
Here’s my top 10…
10. Doctor Strange (Marvel Studios movie). I’m not a huge fan of the character (although I did quite enjoy Steve Gerber’s run, but the idea of a movie, in my view, has a ton of potential. One thing Marvel has been great at is expanding the superhero movie into genre films. Captain America was a World War II, old-fashioned spy story, and Cap 2 was a cold war espionage tale. Avengers was a huge action flick. Iron Man was a traditional origin tale. Jessica Jones was a modern noir. Ant-Man was a heist movie. This will be the first mystical superhero movie, and I’m very curious to see how it does. (November)
9. Some X-stuff! X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever will arrive soon–Max Bemis and Michael Walsh’s 5-issue out-of-continuity miniseries about a new student at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters promises to be hilarious and nuts. I hope it doesn’t get missed by fans simply because it “doesn’t count” in the overall Marvel universe. Then of course there will be X-Men: Apocalypse in May. I was underwhelmed by the last X-Men movie, but I enjoyed First Class. Plus, I’ve never read the entire Apocalypse epic so I won’t be let down by faint comparisons to the comics.
8. Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Black Widow (Marvel comics). The team that re-branded Daredevil, breaking him away from the shadow of Frank Miller he’d been dwelling in since the late 1970s, and the team that won several Eisner Awards in the doing, will now be telling stories about Marvel’s most famous living spy. There’s no question their take will be fresh and different. (Date TBA)
7. AMC comic book shows. I’m most excited about the impending adaptation of Outcast, Robert Kirkman’s second-best comic series. Based on previews the show will be as disturbing and chilling as the book. Then, in May, AMC and Seth Rogen will do their level best not to f*(! up Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher, one of the most profane and disgusting comics ever created. Even if it’s a train wreck, I can’t wait to see how it all goes down. It’s interesting that AMC is adapting all horror comics: They started with The Walking Dead, then moved to Outcast, and will follow it up with Preacher. Hopefully, they’ll branch out into crime noir and pick up either Kirkman’s Thief of Thieves or the long-promised TV version of Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips’ Criminal comic. (May)
6. Suicide Squad (WB/DC movie). I haven’t really loved a DC movie in a while. I liked Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy, but I didn’t love it. It honestly didn’t feel like Batman to me, even if it was a good series. I hated Man of Steel—that was not my Superman, and it wasn’t anyone’s Superman. Be honest. Look at the creators of Superman throughout history: John Byrne, Geoff John’s first run, Mark Waid, Dan Jurgens, Otto Binder, Curt Swan…You can’t see any of them in Man of Steel. But it looks like DC may finally be getting it right in this one, something they really haven’t done since the days of Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve. (August)
5. Noir Comics! Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have been making Criminal comics via Image for ten years, and to celebrate they’ll be releasing a one-shot (oversized) comic focusing on recurring characters Teeg and Tracy Lawless. It will take place when Tracy, the son of Teeg, is just 12-years old and is running with his dad from the police. We’ll also get a new Shaft miniseries from Dynamite Comics and author David F. Walker, who revived the character last year in a wonderful eponymous limited series. (April)
4. Netflix and Marvel. Two shows in one year! An unexpected treat! I thought Marvel would give us Luke Cage after Jessica Jones, but it turns out we’ll get Season Two of Daredevil in March, and then Cage in April. An embarassment of riches, in a year that promises several long-awaited adaptations. And on Daredevil, we’ll get … Punisher! I don’t hate the Thomas Jayne incarnation as much as many others do, even if its weaknesses were apparent, but after the unflinching, hard-hitting adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ Alias comic, I’m very hopeful we’ll get a Punisher that is all he ought to be. (March/April)
3. Wonder Woman (DC Comics). Most importantly, Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette–an original graphic novel. Morrison has been talking about this book for years, and it is likely to be his last work for DC…Ever. We’ll also get our first live-action movie version of Diana Prince in Batman vs Superman, and while I’m not excited to see the actual film (see above), I am very curious to see how Gal Gadot does in the role. There’s a great opportunity there, and the way they’ve put Supergirl on the small screen shows that there’s a definite market for female heroes. (April)
2. Deadpool, Deadpool, Deadpool! (Marvel) I almost want to see this movie more than Civil War—if it’s anything like the promotional blitz, it’s going to be completely bonkers. Plus, it appears to hew close to the comics—everything from the attitude to the costume to the hero promoting his own movie…I can’t wait for the appearance on Steven Colbert. And on top of that, we’re getting a new miniseries, “Deadpool and the Mercs for Money.” Cullen Bunn’s collection of Deadpool minis have all been terrific, and I have little doubt this will be just as worth reading. Especially since it will mark the return of one of my favorite Steve Gerber creations, Foolkiller, along with a horde of C-list characters like Stingray and Solo. Also worth mentioning is the return of Rob Liefeld to Deadpool, along with the authors of the great Marvel Digital comic X-Men ’92, Chad Bowers and Chris Sims, in an original graphic novel Deadpool: Bad Blood. (All of it arrives in February)
1. Captain America: Civil War (Marvel Studios movie). This looks to be the movie Avengers 2 ought to have been, and will include every single Marvel movie hero we’ve seen so far, plus new ones like Black Panther and (gasp) Spider-Man! This is literally a movie I’ve waited my whole life to see. (May)