Graphic Novels of the Year 2015


Star Wars: The Force Awakens © LucasFilm/Disney

Every New Year you always pray that it doesn’t get any worse than the previous one. For me, 2015 proved the non-existence of God or that He just didn’t like the virgin comic book readers that were offered up. Plus, the wife and myself must be some of the few remaining humans on the planet who have still not seen (at the time of writing) the new Star Wars film. Having a home alone whippet has played havoc on our social life.
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 2015 (in no order of preference)

Sunstone (Image Comics)
Sunstone Vols 1,2 & 3
Stjepan Sejic (Image Comics)

Life and love in the world of BDSM. Surprisingly tender (as are a few behinds).

Supreme: Blue Rose (Image Comics)
Supreme: Blue Rose
Warren Ellis/Tula Lotay (Image Comics)

Ever wondered what a multiversal collapse is like for ordinary people? Here you go.

Satellite Sam (Image Comics)
Satellite Sam Deluxe Edition
Matt Fraction/Howard Chaykin (Image Comics)

If AMC wanted to know what to do with the sets and costumes left over from Mad Men, they could do no better than making this.

MPH (Image Comics)
Mark Millar/Duncan Fegredo (Image Comics)

Millar’s tales tend to be cynical and mean-spirited, but MPH has a rare warmth and feel-good factor.

Empowered Vol 9 (Dark Horse)
Empowered Vol 9
Adam Warren (Dark Horse)

You don’t want to make a super-hero who already has body and low self-esteem issues mad.

Secret Wars (Marvel Comics)
Secret Wars
Jonathan Hickman/Esad Ribic (Marvel Comics)

Suffers as a standalone by needing to read Hickman’s Avenger stories first, but a worthy successor to the original Secret Wars.

Our Expanding Universe (Top Shelf Productions)
Our Expanding Universe
Alex Robinson (Top Shelf Productions)

Impending fatherhood. Both joyous and scary, trust me, I’ve been there.

Fatale Deluxe Vol 2 (Image Comics)
Fatale Deluxe Vol 2
Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips (Image Comics)

Want to know what a real Femme Fatale would be like? Film Noir was never like this.

Food Wars (Viz LLC)
Food Wars
Yuto Tsukudo/Yuki Morisaki/Shun Saeki (Viz LLC)

You only wish that MasterChef could be as entertaining and funny. The bonus is that you get the recipes to the gorgeous food created.

Girl Genius: Second Journey (Studio Foglio)
Girl Genius: Second Journey Vol 1
Phil Foglio/Kaja Foglio (Studio Foglio)

Agatha finally gets beyond Mechanisburg (only taken 13 years). A rail system that’s become a religion is somehow very British.

Best Reprint

Complete Eightball (Fantagraphics)

The Complete Eightball
Daniel Clowes (Fantagraphics)

It’s weird, seeing as how cool and hip Eightball was supposed to be, that it contains a lot of dick jokes.

Hawkeye Omnibus (Marvel Comics)
Hawkeye Omnibus
Matt Fraction/David Aja (Marvel Comics)

Being a member of the Avengers means people usually forget that Hawkeye is very much a working-class superhero. The book reminds us of this in spades.

Absolute Transmetropolitan
Absolute Transmetropolitan Vol 1
Warren Ellis/Darick Robertson (DC Comics)

As scabrous and funny as ever. Like licking a lollipop that’s laid on the street for a day

Bravo For Adventure (IDW Publishing)
Bravo For Adventure
Alex Toth (IDW Publishing)

Only two issues long, but in those a genius of art and story-telling shines.

Best Art Books

The Art of Mouse Guard (Archaia Press)
The Art of Mouse Guard 2005-2015
David Petersen (Archaia)

Heavy and large. A beautiful journey from the rough, early days to the award winning comic of now.

A must for those who want to be photographers. The subject matter is always debatable, but there is no denying its cultural impact.

Art Of Jose Gonzalez (Dynamite Entertainment)
The Art of Jose Gonzalez
Jose Gonzalez (Dynamite Entertainment)

The Vampirella artist. But full of surprises, like his work for British Girls comics in the 60s and 70s.

Best graphic novel for boys

Lady Mechanika Vol 1
Lady Mechanika Vol 1
Joe Benitez (Benitez Productions)

Tomb Raider with Steampunk. What’s not to like?

Best graphic novel for girls

The Fall of the House of West (First Second)
Battling Boy: The Fall of the House of West
Paul Pope/J.T. Petty (First Second)

The continuing adventures of Aurora West. Still trying to prove herself a good monster hunter despite her father.

Best Continuing Storyline

Knights of the Dinner Table (Kenzer Co.)
Knights of the Dinner Table: Pwn Brian Express
Jolly R. Blackburn (Kenzer Co.)

A great continuing storyline is one where you cannot wait to read the next episode. Over a year long, the Pwn Brian Express story just grew and grew without any loss of quality.

Most Disappointing

Sandman: Overture (DC Comics)
The Sandman: Overture Deluxe Edition
Neil Gaiman/J.H. Williams III (DC Comics)

The art is gorgeous and sublime, but the story… Morpheus goes on a roadtrip… Again.

The Sculptor (SelfMadeHero)
The Sculptor
Scott McCloud (SelfMadeHero)

Arrggghhh… Enough with the whiny artists. If you want to know true suffering, try working in a McDonald’s at rush hour.

Crossed +100 (Avatar)
Crossed +100
Alan Moore/Gabriel Andrade (Avatar Press)

Does language evolve into being incomprehensible in roughly a 100 years? Don’t think so.

Best Publisher

Image Comics

Image Comics
With DC being a convoluted mess and Marvel forgetting the lessons of the last comics implosion, Image is a beacon of solid story-telling and art

Best Artist

Sandman: Overture
J.H. Williams III for The Sandman: Overture (Vertigo Comics)

Best Writer

Jonathan Hickman for Avengers/New Avengers and Secret Wars (Marvel Comics)

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