We’re done. For a look at the rest of my picks for some great comics of the year: Top 10 Period Piece comics of 2015; Not Quite the Best of 2015; #50-41; #40-31; #30-21; #20-11. Now, let’s finish this thing!
10. PREZ by Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell (DC)
I wrote about this book extensively here, and rather than reiterate I’ll just say that this was easily the most surprising book of the year—and the best satire comic I’ve read in a long, long time.
Interestingly enough, the best two new DC books of the year were based in politics, and both failed. (The other one was Omega Men, which is lower on this list.)
9. AIRBOY by James Robinson and Greg Hinkle (Image)
Most comic fans will say Grant Morrison has sewn up the market on putting himself in his own comics, but with Airboy, James Robinson takes it to a new level. Much of the discussion about Airboy involved how huge Greg Hinkle drew his own penis and about how it was allegedly homo/transphobic—but that missed the point of the series. Airboy was really a parallel story about two things. The “B” story was about the titular hero, a World War II flying ace, and how the blue-eyed and blonde haired, saintly heroes of the Golden Age could really be dicks sometimes. The “A” story was James Robinson returning to write comics after “failing” in the film industry. Both stories were about myth meeting reality, about ideals and the willingness to compromise on them, and about crushed dreams. And drug use. Lots of drug use. This book was much, much better than anyone gave it credit for—especially since the ending doesn’t involve the redemption of any of the characters; instead, it ends with sad, ambiguous whimper. Will Robinson be able to write “good,” mainstream heroes again? Would Hinkle agree to work with him again after their depressing, drug-fueled adventure? Is there a need for true Airboy comics anymore, or is that war over? None of this gets answered, because in a true autobiography the last chapter isn’t written yet.
8. WHERE MONSTERS DWELL by Garth Ennis and Russ Braun (Marvel)
What if Marvel allowed Garth Ennis to make a Garth Ennis book, and set it in canon continuity? Hilarious, sexist, gross, and awesome sauce.
7. LADY KILLER by Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich (Dark Horse)
The ultraviolent miniseries about a housewife-turned-assassin concluded this year, and blew everyone away.
It’s pretty rare for a short-term series to inspire cosplay and draw thousands of Tumblr shares, but this one did—and I totally get it. Brilliant art and taught writing elevated the somewhat tired concept into something beyond a good comic—it’s ART.
6. KARNAK by Warren Ellis and Gerardo Zaffino (Marvel)
Karnak has always been my favorite Inhuman, and Ellis is my favorite comic writer. Team him up with an incredible artist, and this was a lock to be one of the best titles of the year—even if we only got a few issues in 2015. It’s also a very different kind of book—anti-establishment, at a time when Marvel itself is part of Disney and its heroes seem to be being rebooted as friendlier and less alienated than they’ve ever been. Peter Parker is a socially conscious business man. The Avengers and SHEILD are together again. Even the former Star Lord is now involved in government affairs and his team is more of a legit group of defenders than a rag-tag group of outliers. Against this softer, gentler Marvel Universe comes Karnak: A stoic who has little but contempt for society and whose methods are as dark as anything Greg Rucka ever made Wolverine do. Heck, darker. A terrific breath of fresh air from a publisher who is truly on the brink of becoming stale. More, please.
Click next for the top 5!