2014 was a quality year in comics, from Marvel and DC diversifying their output to the continued rise of creator-owned comics. Due to this, it has never been a better time to be a reader. With that in mind, I put the word out to the How to Love Comics community to let me know what comics they loved this year. The response was staggering with over 70 different comics receiving votes, with a diverse pool of publishers, creators and genres.
Below you will find the 10 best comics of 2014 according to the voters. The real winners this year have been creator-owned series, which make up 6 of the 10 spots, with many of them being new series. In some instances I have included quotes from those who have voted, letting everyone know why they enjoyed that comic so much.
For the past few years, Mark Waid has been killing it on Daredevil and 2014 was no exception. Waid left the previous series with Daredevil revealing his identity and relaunched it with him relocating the cast to San Francisco. Since this relaunch earlier in the year there has been an exploration of Matt Murdock’s depression, the secret history of his mother and the return of some classic villains.
In the art department, Chris Samnee has been creating pages full of big action and interesting panel layouts. And filling in for Samnee was Javier Rodriquez whose clean pencils and vibrant colours were a great fit for the title.
It appears that this wonderful run will be coming to an end sometime in 2015, but is definitely worth checking out in it’s various collected editions.
In 2014 the self-titled Batman series saw some big storylines from the conclusion of the year-long Zero Year story, which was set in the early days of Batman’s career, to the current arc Endgame, which sees a return to The Joker. Scott Snyder’s big and ambitious ideas have paid off and has allowed the series to be a consistent chart-topper.
Greg Capullo has been on the top of his game this year, drawing big action and great environments – including an overgrown Gotham City. Throughout the year there have been a string of guest artists including Matteo Scalera, Kelley Jones, Graham Nolan and John McCrea.
The best jumping on point for Batman would be the start of the Endgame storyline which started in Batman #35 and will run through until March 2015.
8. Pretty Deadly
Pretty Deadly is a western series that combines elements of horror, mythology and folklore into one cohesive package. An interesting element of this series is that the reader is seeing the events of the story through the eyes of animals. And while the story might be a little confusing at the start, once you get into it’s a very fascinating read. If you are looking for a series that has a strong female focus then Pretty Deadly is a series you should have on your radar.
Emma Rios’ art is beautiful, full of lush environments and interesting characters. There’s a surreal element to the art at times which sucks you into the world of Pretty Deadly.
While only 2 issues were released in 2014 (#4 and #5) Pretty Deadly has had a great response from readers when it was released in trade paperback in earlier in the year. The series is currently on hiatus and is expected to return for a second story arc sometime in 2015.
7. Black Science
Black Science is essentially Sliders on crack. A group of scientists that are stuck travelling through infinite universes attempting to find their way home. Although, throughout 2014 Rick Remender spun the series on its head by changing the reader’s expectations and even their thoughts about who the main character was. By changing the their expectations and thoughts about the series it Black Science has become unpredictable and a wild ride.
This is what one of our voters had to say about Black Science:
“All the issues have been great, but Black Science #7 was definitely my favorite single issue of the year. It completely pulled the rug out from under me, making me question everything I thought I knew about the main characters, and ended on a total gut-punch. This series has been such a great sci-fi adventure so far (with added Feelings), and best of all it seems like the storylines are really just getting started. I can’t wait to see where it goes in 2015.”
-Laura, Poll Voter.
Black Science is available in trade paperback, with the second volume due early 2015. You can see a preview for issue #1 here.
6. New Avengers
New Avengers is the sister book to the current Avengers series. While in Avengers the team is facing big threats in the public eye, the team in New Avengers (featuring some of Marvel’s most powerful and influential characters) are facing threats that concern the whole Multiverse. It’s massive, ambitious and mind-boggling reading full of big science fiction ideas.
Each issue is very much part of a much larger story and due to this New Avengers is a bit of a slow-burn. As a result, I suggest read this series in large chunks at a time for a more satisfying read. New Avengers is currently collected in four trade paperback editions with more to come in 2015.
=5. The Wicked + The Divine
Every 90 years a group of gods come to Earth in human form. They are loved, worshipped and in two years they are dead. This time around they have come back in the form of the world’s most popular pop stars. This is the concept of The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. Along with this interesting concept we are treated to intriguing characters, smart dialogue and plenty of feels.
Jamie McKelive has created characters that, while inspired by different elements of real life pop stars, are interesting in design and burst off the page with personality. His sequential storytelling is great too with each issue featuring an interesting layout that furthers the narrative. One great example of this is through a map of a character’s bedroom which helps explains her emotional state by going through the contents of the room.
The first 5 issues of The Wicked + The Divine have been collected in trade paperback, making it easy to catch up on this series. You can see a preview of issue #1 here.
Lazarus is a series set in a future where the world is on the brink of war due to economic collapse. Resources are scarce and the government is in disarray. Instead, a handful of powerful families control the world. The series follows Forever Carlyle who is a member of one of these families and protects and fights for them.
This is what one voter had to say about Lazarus:
Lazarus has imagined levels of rich detail that make this world a wonder to explore. Engaging characters, terrific artwork, gripping stories.
– Kirk B, Poll Voter.
Lazarus is currently collected in two trade paperback and a nice hardcover that covers the two trade paperback collections.
Do you still miss Firefly? Don’t worry, as Copperhead will be your new favourite science fiction western. The series begins when Clara Bronson becomes the new sheriff in town. The only problem is that her deputy believes that he should have the job. Throw in adventure, mystery, great characterisation and some wonderful art and it’s not hard to see why Copperhead came in 3rd in our poll.
This is what one voters had to say about Copperhead:
Copperhead has it all. Fantastic story by Jay Faerber, amazing art by Scott Godlewski and jaw dropping colours by Ron Riley. Top that off with a fantastic character in Deputy Budroxifinicus. As bizarre as this sounds for a western set on an alien planet it feels authentic. You believe in this world Faerber & Godlewski have created.
– Stevie R, Poll Voter.
Only 4 issues of Copperhead have been released at the moment, but a trade paperback collection should be expected in the first half of 2015. You can see a preview of Copperhead #1 here.
2. Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel was the surprise hit of 2014 for Marvel Comics. Full of fun and great characterisation, Ms. Marvel follows Muslim-American teenager, Kamala Khan, who receives the ability to change her form. While there is plenty of fun superheroics throughout the title, what really makes this series shine is everything else. From the family dynamics to her trying to fit in with other teenagers Ms. Marvel shows depth that many other superhero comics are missing. It also shows that there is still room for new characters at Marvel.
Adrian Alphona is prefect as the artist on this series, with his animated style bringing the characters to life. The way he draws Kamala and her dorky geek out moments are great, with wonderful facial expressions and plenty of humour.
Ms. Marvel has been collected in one trade paperback so far with a second due in March 2015. You can see a preview of Ms. Marvel #1 here.
For many, it is not surprising that Saga is number #1 on this list. From the wonderful art by Fiona Staples to emotional (and often surprising) writing, Saga is a series that is much loved and close to many people’s hearts. In 2014 readers saw the fourth arc, which pushed the story forward a few months into the future and saw the beginning of cracks in Alana and Marko’s relationship. While threads in the plot have a very human aspect everything else around it was full of wild ideas which expanded the world for the reader.
This is what some of the voters had to say about Saga:
“I recently got into comics and I had heard a lot about Saga. I blew through the first 18 issues in a few days and was really blown away at the wonderful story that I just read. Staples and Vaughan really make you care for the characters they’ve created and as I sit here and write, I can’t wait for #25 be released. There is tons of fantastic stuff out there that I did not get to read this year, but for what I did read, Saga is “the” best comic book I read this year.”
– Michael K, Poll Voter.
“It’s rare to find a work of fiction so imaginative yet still so rooted in human(?) emotion. Interesting characters, excellent story-telling, and beautiful art – what’s not to love?”
– Michael H, Poll Voter.
Saga is currently on a break so if you are not up to date with this series you can pick it up in 4 trade paperback collections. Alternatively, if you are looking for a nice edition for your bookshelf the first 3 collections have been put together in a beautiful hardcover with plenty of extras.
With more than 70 different comics voted for in our Best Comics of 2014 poll there were many wonderful comics that narrowly missed out on making it into the top 10. These include some of the following:
- Low – Written by Rick Remender. Art by Greg Tocchini. Published by Image Comics.
- Hawkeye – Written by Matt Fraction. Art by David Aja and Annie Wu. Published by Marvel Comics.
- Multiversity – Written Grant Morrison. Art by Various. Published by DC Comics.
- Secret Avengers – Written by Ales Kot. Art by Michael Walsh. Published by Marvel Comics.
- Velvet – Written by Ed Brubaker. Art by Steve Epting. Published by Image Comics.
- Turok: Dinosaur Hunter – Written by Greg Pak. Art by Takeshi Miyazawa. Published by Dynamite Entertainment.
- Southern Bastards – Written by Jason Aaron. Art by Jason Latour. Published by Image Comics.
- Seconds – Written and art by Bryan Lee O’Mailey. Published by Ballantine Books.