Best Comics of 2016 is just that, our list of books, within each genre of storytelling, that stood out amongst all the others this year.
What’s up everyone, I hope all is going well. As we approach the end of the year I’ve been giving some thought on how best to wrap up 2016 here on the blog. I’ve tossed around a few ideas, but ultimately felt like any one idea wasn’t doing what I wanted. Through this thought process I stumbled upon what bust summarizes this year in comics. Instead of doing a top 10 list, or my favorite books of the year, I’ve decided to combine those ideas. So, for the rest of the year, we’ll be going genre by genre and listing the best books we’ve read. We settled on ten genres, which means, we’re going to be compiling a massive “Best Books of the Year,” list. To start us off we’ll delving into the dark, back alleys of the underbelly: crime drama.
An interesting aspect of this genre is just how many books are considered “crime” books. As I was doing some research on these books, I thought it best to use the genres the publishers, themselves, attached to these books. Let me tell you, a hole bunch of book are considered “crime.” Well, I disagreed, quite often in fact, so I narrowed the list down to these three comics, and let me tell you, these three are legitimately in a league of their own.
Written By: Simon Spurrier
Art By: Dylan Burnett
First Issue Published: May 4, 2016 by Boom! Studios
What can I say about this series that I haven’t already said multiple times throughout this year. Weavers is just a solid comic that delivers issues after issue of fun, engaging, and interesting characters in a story that’s clever and somewhat original. Without fail, I looked forward to this book each and every month. I loved the idea from the beginning, and thought the conflict and tension built in issue one carried throughout without every becoming boring. The art was wonderful, the story was well paced, and overall this book was, without question, one of the best crime books I’ve read this year.
In case you missed it, Weavers is a mobster/crime series wherein the main character has been inducted into a clan/family/gang. Yet, this clan-family isn’t just a group of criminals, each and every member has been melded with a symbiotic spider that grants them special abilities. Basically, they end up swallowing this magic ruby spider that then gives them super powers. We follow, Sid, a newly inducted member of the Weaver clan, who decides that these abilities he’s been granted aren’t being used to their fullest potential. Thus, Sid concocts his own, secret agenda to counter the Weaver’s objectives. Unfortunately, along with super powers, the spider within also forcibly grows Sid’s loyalty to the Weaver clan.
Written By: Jonathan Hickman
Art By: Tomm Coker
First Issue Published: August 10, 2016 by Image Comics
Now, this book might be debatable as to whether it’s considered a “crime” book. However, I’d argue that anything “noir” immediately falls into the crime category, although it admittedly has its own special corner within the genre.
With that said, I have to simply say this series was unbelievable. The premise was hyper engaging, interesting, wildly clever, and frankly it had me hooked from the first issue. The main character is amazingly likable, and within the first few pages of issue one we, the readers, are drawn into his pursuit. We want to follow him, as he follows some rather interesting plot wherein the fantastical world of lay hidden behind the guise of the largest and oldest financial institutions across the world. These magical cartels all work together to keep the world, all those NOT granted entrance into their secret society, in our place.
Our story follows a detective who is thrust into the middle of this power hungry circle as he attempts to solve a mysterious murder. From this one murder we’re lead on a wild chase through which we find ourselves confronted with Russian vampires, enchanted hitmen, religious leaders on the take, and a world wherein one murder leads to the discovery of thousands. What’s a detective supposed to do? I have no clue, but as a comic reader, I threw money at my comic shop until I had this complete four part series.
Written By: Ed Brubaker
Art By: Elizabeth Breutweiser & Sean Phillips
First Issue Published: August 3, 2016 by Image Comics
Holy crap…people…any and all who may be reading these words…please do yourself a favor and read this series. I know, I haven’t given you any information yet. I know, I haven’t said why, or even attempted to explain this book to you. That’s okay, because I got you, and I want you to know that this book…this book right here…UN…FREAKING…BELIEVABLE!
I’m telling you, Kill or be Killed is easily, and I mean without competition, one of the best books of the year. Notice I didn’t say, “One of the best CRIME books of the year.” No, I didn’t say that, even though it absolutely is, but what I said was that Kill or be Killed is one of the best COMICS of 2016, and you really should read this if you like amazing comics.
So, what’s great about this book? Well, first and foremost, this books makes you have emotions. That’s right, if you’re dead and cold on the inside, this book will awaken your spirit and make you feel life once more. Do you want to know why? Because no matter how bad things are in your life, they cannot…CAN…NOT…be as bad as they are for the main character of this series.
We follow a young man who’s life is so bad he decides to kill himself. Why? Well, first off the love of his life…yeah she’s his best friend’s girlfriend. So every night, he has to listen to one woman whom he loves THE MOST, having sex with his best friend, because they’re roommates. He then, because his room and his best friend’s room share a wall, hears this lovely woman talk about how much pity she has on him. She pities him, as though he’s so pathetic that nothing good could ever come from him. His life is basically crap, and so, he decides to kill himself. Unfortunately, he’s so pathetic that even killing himself doesn’t go as planned. In fact, we learn that he’s attempted this once before. I guess pounding pills and waking up alive, albeit in the hospital, isn’t a sign that maybe your life is worth living.
As it goes, on his second attempt, our boy jumps off a building…and guess what…he botches that too. This time however, a demon decides to visit, and basically threatens to give our boy exactly what he wants: death. Now, you might be saying, “Well, isn’t he trying to die…how’s that a threat?” This demon explains that if our boy dies he’s going to end up in hell basically, wherein torture and misery await. Yet, this demon dude isn’t done with our boy. He offers him a deal…the worst deal ever. If our boy murders someone, once a month (every thirty days) he can stay alive. If he doesn’t murder someone…anyone…blammo, down to torture hell demon world. How messed up is that?
We follow our boy as he attempts to figure out if this demon was real, or just a side effect of botching an attempted flying leap off a roof. His first month is quickly ending and the idea of getting his skin peeled off by fire demon guy isn’t the most appealing. What’s a guy supposed to do?