Captain America: Civil War © Marvel Films/Disney
2016. Jesus, where even to start. If it was not everyone dying (so much that you began to feel left out), it was people making weird and strange decisions. My political radar totally failed. I didn’t see Brexit and Trump succeeding, but can understand why they did and the same goes for my cultural outlook. I looked forward to it, but Hell; who’d thought that Deadpool would become one of the biggest box-office successes of the year?
On the whole, I’ll be glad to see the back of a bad year. That’s not to say 2017 could be any better, but it couldn’t be a whole lot worse (hopefully).
All the selected are graphic novels, whether collected or standalone. There is no point in giving an award to a single issue comic, that’s like going for a three-course meal and eating only the starter.
Best 10 of the Year 2016 (in no order of preference)
Doctor Strange Vols 1 & 2
Aaron & Bachalo (Marvel Comics)
Magic on its deathbed? Time to call the Doctor who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty.
The World of Edena
Moebius (Dark Horse)
It’s still got the European obsession with mysticism and meta-physics, but the artwork is just gorgeous.
Founding Fathers Funnies
Peter Bagge (Dark Horse)
Think Trump will be bad? How about the slave owners, womanisers, braggarts and egotists that created the Republic. Funny and scurrilous.
The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia
Mary and Bryan Talbot (Jonathan Cape)
Compelling tale of what real socialism and revolution looks like.
Monstress Vol 1
Majorie Liu/Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
The dense plotline means the work is better read as a whole rather than piecemeal. But a very different look at a world full of magic and political intrigue.
Oh Joy, Sex Toy Vols 1,2 & 3
Erika Moen/Matthew Nolan (Limerence Press)
Funny, irreverent and informative. Should be in every school library and used in every sex-ed course.
Minimum Wage Vol 2
Bob Fingerman (Image Comics)
Sometimes, you wish that one of your favourite pastimes would stop reflecting your life so much.
Wonder Woman: Earth One
Grant Morrison/Yanick Paquette (DC Comics)
A love or hate book, but at least Morrison and Paquette remind the reader that Diana is an Amazon.
The Complete Neat Stuff
Peter Bagge (Fantagraphics)
Back to the early days. Even in a pre-digital age, Buddy Bradley’s problems and moaning are very familiar.
The Eltingville Club
Evan Dorkin (Dark Horse)
Perhaps the only book I’ve read that actually seethes.
Prince Valiant Vol 14
Hal Foster (Fantagraphics)
I’ve not given enough praise to the Valiant vols, but they are a masterclass in story-telling with gorgeous art.
Carlos Giménez (IDW Publishing)
Spain’s civil war was brutal. For those on losing side, life after was even worse.
Best Art Books
Cerebus Cover Art Treasury
Dave Sim/Gerhard (IDW Publishing)
Back to the days when comicbook covers meant something. Forget what you think of Dave Sim and just marvel at it.
Art of Tomorrow Kings
Ashley Wood (IDW Publishing)
Some videogame studio should make a game out of Wood’s art and stories. I’d play it.
Trump: The Complete Collection
Harvey Kurtzman (Dark Horse)
The humour and satire has become out of date now, but the art is still superb and you could see Trump rivalling MAD if Hefner hadn’t pulled the plug.
Best graphic novel for boys
Star Wars Vol 1
Aaron/Immonen/Cassaday (Marvel Comics)
Cassaday’s Han Solo looks a little odd, but this is just perfect on every level.
Best graphic novel for girls
Starfire Vols 1 & 2
Palmiotti/Conner/Luppachino (DC Comics)
Good riddance to the sex kitten of the New 52 and a welcome return to a stranger in the very strange land that is Florida.
Best Discovered Comic of 2016
Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites
Dorkin/Thompson (Dark Horse)
Like everything else in life, your pets will handle anything better than you do. In this case, the supernatural.
The world doesn’t owe you a living. It’s not against you. It doesn’t even hear you. It’s a planet with over seven billion souls, so yes, your voice (even attached to the megaphone that is called the internet) is going to get lost. The world of comics is not your bitch and doesn’t have to represent you. All it needs to do is tell good stories. If you feel it doesn’t, then go out and create your own and get enough people to read your tales for you to make a living. The sun will set today, it will rise tomorrow and will continue to do so for many more thousands of years when you will be dust and forgotten. And if there is one thing I can guarantee, it’s that the human race will still be bitching about what is going on in the same way we are now.
Stop letting others – who have no idea how publishing works – dictate what you can or cannot print or publish. One Twitterstorm or boycott (mostly from one website forum the vast majority of people have never heard of) is not enough for you to stop doing what you have been for years longer than most of your detractors have been alive. Grow a pair and tell most of Twitter to fuck off.
DC finally got its act together in 2016. Rebirth neatly threading together why the New 52 just felt wrong.
Frank Cho for the Wonder Woman Variant Covers (DC Comics)
Forget what you think about Cho – and the “OUTRAGE!” covers – and just marvel at the art. A shame office politics got involved.
Evan Dorkin for Eltingville Club #4
Look at it. I mean seriously… This is what gives artists carpal tunnel syndrome.