Thee Comic Column #114: My Favorite Comics of 2014

a-voice-in-the-dark-04Wow. I read a lot of comics this year. Not just the stuff I’ve been reading, continually from year to year (there’s less and less of that with ‘classic’ titles/characters as reboots continue to constantly re-boot, rejuvenate (?) and re-evaluate the ongoing properties of the big 2) but there was a literal flood of great, new comics that hit the shelves this year. And some old friends of course; not everyone is interesting in covering up old scars. And even with all that I did read it’s clear I didn’t get to them all – reading fellow Joupitter Tommy’s year end blow-out spectacular I was shocked to see his favorite was Spread. Shocked because, well, I don’t remember even hearing about this book! Couple with that quite a few other titles on my radar that I missed out on and you’ll see this isn’t  a list compiled by someone who read everything there was to read in the 2014 world of comics, but by someone who tried really hard to read as much of it as he could. All that said, this list isn’t only for new books, simply the best comic series I read in 2014, continuing or new.

Thee Comic Column #100: The Five Graphic Novels Everyone Should Read

Preacher-59For the 100th entry into this column, a column meant to be a celebration of all things great in comics, I wanted to do something a little special. A host of ideas came to me, most of which would require a heck of a lot more time to write than I currently have in any given week. But there’s one thing that I’ve meant to do since this column began, something that harkens back to every comic shop I’ve ever been in or even my time working at a big box bookstore with a fairly hearty graphic novel section. Inevitably, in either place of employ, the good folks working there are often called upon to act as gatekeepers for the curious – “what’s good?” “Where should I start?” “What do you recommend?” And in no time during my thirty-eight years on planet Earf has this question been more relevant than now, when comic book culture IS pop culture. Everyday more and more people take a tip from AMC’s The Walking Dead or whatever the newest brilliant Marvel movie is and they flit about online and (hopefully) wander into comic book stores looking to find out if comic books/graphic novels are for them. “What should I read if I want to try to get into comics?” Oh, how I love those words. I used to write a column on CHUD.com where I identified myself as “The Opinionated Bastard”, largely because as anyone who knows me will tell you I have a lot of opinions, especially when it comes to great content to consume, and in no other area is that expertise more honed than in comics (well, I’m no slouch with music either, but Joup’s Thomas H. Williams and Chester Whelks have shown me I have a long way to go in that department). And so, I thought for this 100th edition of Thee Comic Column I would give the world the top five Graphic Novels I feel everyone should read, not just because they showcase just how much more graphic fiction is capable of than the uninitiated often consider, and not just because they are by this time mostly all iconic, but because in every sense of the words they are great, life-affirming contemplations on the human experience.

Thee Comic Column #78: Ennis & Cermak’s Red Team Ends

image courtesy of major spoilers.com

I have to confess as I begin this that I am having trouble figuring out where to begin. There are so many great things that I want to say about the conclusion to and overall run of Garth Ennis and Craig Cermak’s Red Team now that issue #7 is out, however I also do not want to give too much away. Because really – and I know I say this a lot but really – you need to read this book.

Thee Comic Column #76: Stray Bullets: Killers

image courtesy of Image Comics

Anyone who reads this column regularly and has caught the two issues thus far of Drinking with Comics (number three coming next week!) has probably realized that I could talk about David Lapham’s Stray Bullets forever. So there is probably little surprise that the topic of this week’s piece is my reaction to the release of the long-awaited Stray Bullets #41 and the first issue of Stray Bullets: Killers. However, instead of just talking about the books what I thought I’d do is personalize this a bit and try to recreate in words just how much the release of these two books meant to me.

Thee Comic Column #65: The Return of Stray Bullets!

image courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com

Last week before the bad news pertaining to one of my favorite books there was some good news. No, scratch that, there was some AMAZING news! David Lapham’s Stray Bullets, formerly published by his own independent El Capitan, is returning after a nine year (NINE YEARS?!?) hiatus and one of the most heart-wrenching cliffhangers since… well, since Twin Peaks season two’s final episode. And in returning, Stray Bullets has been picked up by Image Comics! So before you go any further reading this go to the series’ Image page HERE where the first four issues are FREE! After that you’ll be hooked and 5-40 are available digitally for $1.99 each. Or, if you’re like me and would rather hold the book in your hand after you see how great it is just wait – if you can – until March 12th when 1-41 are collected in the Stray Bullets Uber Allies Edition – which I believe will be priced at a mere $60 for all those great comics!

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