Archie Comics – Despite the eternally late Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Afterlife With Archie, Archie Comics have been firing on all cylinders this past year when it comes to their comic line. Archie by Mark Waid and various artists with the recent storyline featuring Betty getting in a car accident has been incredibly engaging while The Archies despite only being a few issues in, has turned out to be a lot of fun as they group tries to get their band off the ground and running. Betty & Veronica: Vixens is a different take on their classic title that sees them starting up a biker gang while Jughead, the various one-shots and Reggie and Me have been surprisingly strong. Now if only the Dark Circle line could keep putting out great series like The Black Hood on a regular basis and keep their horror line on the shelves, Archie Comics could be ruling the roost.
DC Comics – DC Rebirth has been nothing but an unqualified success with very few misses among their line. Superman and Action Comics finally has the Superman that everyone wants to see and read about, Detective Comics is the Bat-family title that one cannot miss; Flash, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman by Rucka, Deathstroke, Titans and more have all been consistently good reads and continue to be so. Aquaman started out a little rough but has been getting better and better with every issue as has Batman by Tom King. The Green Lantern books are always entertaining and with the advent of their new hero-line of titles, 2018 looks like it will be shaping up nicely for the publisher.
Another thing that DC should be congratulated for is their omnibus program which is in full swing, reprinting not only Golden, Silver and Bronze Age books, but modern fare as well which is finally putting them on an even playing field with Marvel in this particular department. All they have to do is get a little more quality control to eliminate the odd mistake being found (JLI, Fourth World) and they might end up reigning the reprint business.
Aspen Comics – The greatest thing that Aspen has done all year, aside from putting a new focus upon Fathom and Soulfire, is making their back catalog available in trade format for all to acquire. It had been years with spotty releases until recently and now in the past year alone, almost every property and title they have ever published is now in book form and they do look utterly fantastic sitting on the shelf.
Marvel Comics – Marvel has had maybe more ups and downs than anyone else in the business this year, but they have still managed to put out some great books that standout from the pack. Patsy Walker, Hellcat was a title that sadly came to an end while the fantastic Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur keeps on trucking with a ton of fun packed into every issue. Old Man Logan continues to be a very thrilling read while Thanos, Thor, Iron Fist and Black Bolt have really popped compared to the rest of the line.
Some of Marvel’s books have not exactly had the best of stories in terms of being exciting or being that must-read book, but they are not far off and with some new talent like Ed Brisson and Donny Cates coming aboard, that could change sooner, rather than later. In terms of what is being collected, they are doing a fantastic job with their Epic Collections and their Complete Collection line and it will not be too long before fans will be able to have the entire Marvel Universe on their shelves. All that is, except for Ghost Rider which continues to avoid publication in any collected format except for four Essential volumes in black and white from many years ago.
Other good stuff includes…
Black Hammer – Superheroes done right.
Black Monday Murders – The perfect mix of money, crime and the supernatural.
East of West – The best post-apocalyptic book on the stands today.
Valiant – From the incredibly fun Faith to the mystery of Generation Zero to the new X-O Manowar book, year after year, Valiant continues to go from strength to strength.
Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie – Dynamite did a great job at rescuing these iconic characters from publishing purgatory.
Project Superpowers: Hero Killers – Quite possibly the funniest title of the year.
Kong – Whether it is Kong of Skull Island or Kong on the Planet of the Apes, Boom Studios does ape books better than anyone else.
ElfQuest – On its way to ending its decades long journey, the Pini’s are wrapping up storylines and plot threads while telling one last tale and making it as good as it ever was.
What did you enjoy this year?