Oh 2020, what an unusual year for the comic book industry.
Sadly, there are less comic book stores, less retail book outlets, and those left are mostly now struggling to survive through the ongoing global pandemic. There’s also the freeze on comic cons, potential book signings, promotions. 2020 was a troublesome year for creators, merchants, publishers, and readers.
Yet, the sequential arts shall survive. Graphic novels sales are up by 29% since 2019! Also, there are many fresh reads throughout the year, and more time among the masses to catch up on these and past work with with the quarantines and lockdowns. Also, buying comics supports the industry, among the struggling creators, publishers, distributers, small business dealers.
So below, are my bestest picks released for 2020, based on what I have checked out.
BEST NEW SERIES of 2020
Writer: Emma Kubert Artist: Rusty Gadd
Publisher: Image Comics (monthly series)
It’s a fun little series about a mischievous magical over-powerful cat. I love the worlds, characters, art, writing, and excited to see where it’s all going!
BEST ONGOING STORYLINE of 2020
Writer: Brandom Thomas Artist: Emilio Lopez, Khary Randolph
Publisher: Image Comics (monthly series)
This series keeps on surprising, with twists and turns while presenting a secret world of Black magic that feels more intricate and responsible than your typical Hogwarts melodrama.
BEST COMIC BOOK COVER of 2020
Amazing Spider-Man #55 (latest series)
Artist: Patrick Gleason
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I don’t know if the story is good, but the cover is just too awesome to ignore!
BEST COLORING of 2020
MTSYRY: Octobriana 1976
Writer/Artist: Jim Rugg
Publisher: AdHouse Books
The black light colors are truly eye-popping, with this modern take on an old Russian superhero from the early Bronze Age. To further the color even more, Jim Rugg also put out a 1970s style coloring issue, and colorless version as well. Masterful stuff!
BEST INSANITY of 2020
Dark Nights: Death Metal
Writer: Scott Snyder and others Artist: Greg Capullo and others
Publisher: DC Comics (monthly mini -eries and crossover one-shots)
Also the best guilty pleasure of 2020. As a big DC fan since the late 1980s, the is the most ridiculous and over-the top crossover event yet. Everything has gone wrong in the DCU as an army evil Batman from the Dark Multiverse take over, and things just get crazier from there.
BEST SUSPENSE SERIES of 2020
Something is Killing the Children
Writer: James Tynion IV Artist: Werther Dell’Edera
Publisher: DC Comics (monthly series
If you enjoy horror, mystery, stronger and darker content than Stranger Things, than Something is Killing the Children is waiting for you to turn its pages. It’s different, not as spoon fed in pacing, full of mystery, and has a unique protagonist.
BEST SCIENCE FICTION of 2020
Writer/Artist: Jesse Lonergan
Publisher: Image Comics (Short graphic novel)
I love this story, which feels like a mix of old fashioned pulp, mixed with grit and light campy elements. Great survival story revolving around adventure, danger, friendship. Also love the alien landscapes, designs, and space tech – simple yet escapist pleasure for sure!
BEST CHARACTER STUDY of 2020
DARTH VADER Vol. 1 – Dark Heart Of The Sith
Writer/Artist: Greg Pack, Raffaele Ienco
Publisher: Marvel Comics (#1-5 of the latest series, collected in trade paperback form)
This is an interesting read as it delves deeper into the inner conflict of Darth Vader since the events of Empire Strikes Back (but before Return of the Jedi), searching his feelings. This leads to a startling revelation, that you should read to find out. The result, gives more sense to his transition and actions in Return of the Jedi, yet also plays upon his cruel, corrupted nature.
BEST WRITTEN SERIES in 2020
John Constantine: Hellblazer
Writer: Simon Spurrier Artist: Matias Bergara, Arron Campbell, Marcio Takara
Publisher: DC Comics (Black Label) (monthly series)
I freakin love Simon Spurrier’s writing from past work and here, also with great respect back to the Vertigo socio-political days of Delano and Ennis!
BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL of 2020
Writer/Artist: Chris Gooch
Publisher: Top Shelf (graphic novel)
This was really, really good, and fitting for a pandemic time for themes of lonliness and isolation turning to friendships and communications through restrictive times. In this case, a prison system in a surreal future or alternate present. The artwork is perfect, with a masterful use of blacks and whites…check it out!
BEST REPRINTING OF CLASSIC COMICS of 2020
Mermaid Saga Collector’s Edition, Vol. 1
Writer/Artist: Rumiko Takahashi
Many fans of Rumiko Takahashi will know her best for the grander Inu-Yasha anime and manga series. But for me in my older days of when manga felt more fresh to comic books stores, Mermaid’s Saga captured my heart way more. Seeing it all complete, but this time better edited and and presented, is a treasure to behold.
BEST COMICS HISTORY BOOK of 2020
Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books
Writer: Ken Quatro
Publisher: Yoe Books
An large book full of lost history detailing the stories and lives of many obscure Black cartoonists and comic creators during comics Golden Age around the Second World War. Full of rare panels, pictures, fascinating facts on multiple genre contributions (some are very surprising!) what would have been lost if not for this book.
And, that’s all my favorites for the 2020 year. I probably missed or overlooked that might have been better. Please if so, let me know in the comments. I don’t want to feel left out on your best books.