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.
In our continued effort to discuss the top, or at least my top comics of 2016, today we discuss one of my favorite genres in all of storytelling: fantasy. This genre really has so many dynamic features in it. On top of which there are about a bajillion different ways to explore the fantasy genre. Really, at the end of the day, there isn’t a story that isn’t better with a dragon in it. I mean seriously, can you name one story that wouldn’t be enhanced with the edition of a dragon? Nope, didn’t think you could. Let’s get into it.
Written By: Brian Wood
Art By: Garry Brown & Dave McCaig
First Issue Published: August 13, 2016 by Image Comics
Starting us off in the fantasy genre is easily one of the best comics of the year, not just in fantasy but in all of comics. This series surprised the heck out of me with its first issue, then kept the adventure going throughout the arc. One of the best parts of this book is that its based more on realism than high fantasy. There’s no magic, and sadly no dragons, yet where the typical tropes of the genre are lacking the depth and intrigue of the story and characters more than delivers. On top of that, there’s a religious tone to the series, but not in a particular slant. There’s no agenda to discount or promote anything, instead it simply allows the story to play out and the reader can make up their own mind.
We follow a gentlemen named Magnus the Black, a man of true indifference. He’s loyal to no one, believes in nothing, yet there may be no greater man to be true to his word. Unfortunately for Magus, a rather high ranking official is killed under his care, and Magnus’ oath to protect leads him into a gritty religious war zone to atone. Fortunately, Magnus is no stranger to slaughter and all kinds of badass’ery, thus those who stand in his way may find loss of limb or life quickly dispatched. Overall, this book carried an awesome story set in an awesome world, with characters I quickly fell in love with.
Written : Mark Millar
Art By: Greg Capullo
First Issue Published: October 12, 2016 by Image Comics
Wow, who would’ve guessed that a comic written by Millar and illustrated by Capullo would be amazing? I mean, c’mon, who’s ever hard of those to legends, am I right? Seriously, I’ve pondered whether two powerhouses like Capullo and Millar are even capable of crapping out something bad. I mean, the combined experience and reputation of greatness between these two is off the charts. I’m not putting this book here just because of their names either. No, this book is hands down amazing, but when you stop and thinking about its creators, there wasn’t a chance it wouldn’t be. I’m not sure if you can tell, but I may or may not be a huge Millar and Capullo fan. I know, I hide it well.
Reborn follows an old lady who dies. Sounds great right? Well, it turns out that her dying is sort of a lie because dying in Reborn means not dying, instead it’s just living but not in the way you were living before. Anyone else notice that I love awkward sentences? So this old lady dies, then immediately wakes up, young and spry, and wearing a sweet looking set of sci-fi armor standing in the middle of a war-zone wherein all manner of beast and warrior people are fighting. Who are these people you ask? Well, it turns out its her family and they’ve been waiting for her. Yup, her dead not-dead family, even her dead dog from when she was a kid. Except now her not-dead childhood dog is this battle beast of a monstrosity, and for our poor old lady who isn’t old anymore, things just get weirder and more awesome.
Written By: Matt Kindt
Art By: David Rubin
First Issue Published: November 16, 2016
What’s this, a book that’s only been out for two months making it onto the best books of 2016 list? Yup, because this book was all kinds of amaze-balls. This book was so good that on the Reverse Meltdown Show we named it our #1 Number One book of November. Yup, that’s what we called it because we love awkward names for things. This book was so good, that after describing to a couple people, they went out and bought it, then came back and thanked me because it made their life better. That’s how good it is folks…it’s changing lives.
Ether follows Boone Dias, an interdimensional explorer who literally gets punted into the world of Ether by a giant monkey man. Basically, from what I’ve gathered, there are two dimensions: ours, which is exactly what you think, and Ether, a world where magic is normal and you buy shiny things from goblins and elves and stuff. Boone Dias is super famous in Ether, like really super famous. Why? Because he has a way of seeing things that no one else does in Ether. You see, Boone grew up in our reality. Our boring reality where magic and fantasy don’t exist. So, when Boone explores Ether, he never excepts the way things are, he always looks for a logical explanation other than, “Magic did it.” It is because of his scientific way of thinking that Boone has become a Ether famous detective.
Yet, being in Ether takes its tole on Boone, and when he returns to our dimension the biggest shift ever is revealed. While Boone is super famous in Ether, in our reality he’s a homeless man. Dirty, grungy, moldy bread eating, sleeping under a overpass using a box as a blanket level homeless. Even the people who see him walking the streets in our world are disgusted by him, but, it wasn’t always this way. We catch a glimpse of Boone’s past and that at one point he was a scholar and teacher. What happened? We don’t know yet, but what I do know is that this book was ten kinds of awesome and you should read it.