Friday, December 19, 2014

Image Comics:
The Best of 2014

Independent publishers’ titles dominate
end-of-the-year lists

Image Comics congratulates its creators on the inclusion of their titles on an overwhelming number of taste-making media outlets’ “Best of 2014” lists. After a banner year of sold-out series launches, bestsellers, and awards galore, we are pleased and proud to see the hard work and passion the writers and artists who create ground-breaking comics continues to be recognized.
Here are a few of those best-of lists:

Best Books of 2014 

SEX CRIMINALS VOLUME 1: ONE WEIRD TRICK by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky — “Sex Criminals bubbles over with joyous energy.”
RAT QUEENS VOLUME 1: SASS AND SORCERY by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch — “The Rat Queens are the very best kind of strong female characters. Their flaws are believable, their friendships are solid (if liberally peppered with expletives) and they can rid your town of trolls — for a hefty price, of course.”
FATALE DELUXE EDITION VOLUME 1 by Ed Brubaker and Sean P. Phillips — “Josephine is an irresistible cipher trapped by her own seductive web, and the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired baddies incite real shivers.”
PRETTY DEADLY VOLUME 1: THE SHRIKE by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos —  “The art alternates scratchy chaos and arresting tableaux, and the crisscrossing stories, built on other stories and folded within yet more stories, become a dream-logic commentary on the West's construction of its own mythology.”

The Washington Post
Best of 2014: Top 10 Graphic Novels

SAGA DELUXE HARDCOVER BOOK ONE by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples — “World-class talent teams up to create this galactic adventure that is comics’ best space opus of our time.”

The A.V. Club
The Best Comics of 2014:
Ongoing and special series

ALEX + ADA by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna — “...the patient world-building and careful character exposition—backed by Luna’s confident track record—promise an enjoyable slow burn for however long the series lasts.”
MANIFEST DESTINY by Chris Dingess and Matthew Roberts — “It offers all the ensemble drama of Robert Kirkman’s title with a less claustrophobic atmosphere, exploring the sweeping landscape of the American frontier by detailing Lewis and Clark’s Western expedition.”
SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples — “Saga is truly a title where anything and everything is possible”
SAVAGE DRAGON by Erik Larsen — “Years pass, stories come and go, and even the main characters change, but Larsen’s 22-year epic keeps on rolling.”
SEX CRIMINALS by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky — “this creative team has brought more depth to their high concept by exploring the dark side of this sexy situation.” 
SHUTTER by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca — “Writer Joe Keatinge builds an engaging narrative as he explores Kate’s secret family history and the way it upends her life, but the main attraction of this series is the superb artwork by Leila Del Duca and colorist Owen Gieni, who realize this extraordinary setting in impeccable detail.”
SOUTHERN BASTARDS by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour — “The team does exceptional work creating an atmosphere that combines down-home Southern charm with a pervasive sense of menace, and the juxtaposition of these two elements is what gives Southern Bastards its inimitable attitude.”
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie — “In the year 2014 there is nothing more interesting for the gods and goddesses of ancient myth than to be pop stars, so that’s what they do.”
ZERO by Ales Kot et al — “The book is constantly evolving, and Kot’s decision to work with a new artist every month has brought astounding depth and personality to the series’ visuals as the story ventures deeper into Edward Zero’s psyche.”

Mother Jones
The Best books of 2014

SAGA DELUXE HARDCOVER BOOK ONE by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples — “...readers with fortitude will love Saga for its arch dialogue, exhilarating plot, and, above all, exquisite art: Fiona Staples imagines alien races of soldiers, journalists, bounty hunters, and baby nannies with staggering visual inventiveness. There are nights when I pull Saga off the shelf just to stare at it.”

The 10 Best Comics Series of 2014 

RAT QUEENS by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch (#7) — This “sword-and-sorcery tale about a band of lady adventurers is probably the most gleefully foulmouthed series on stands today, and the world is better for it.”
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (#6) — “Every once in a while, the comics industry produces a series that is truly, effortlessly hip…. The dialogue is as slick as the art, and the tale is as outlandish as it is readable.”
SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (#3) — “Vaughan and Staples really outdid themselves this year. Their story of a family caught in the middle of an intergalactic war has never been funnier or more heartfelt…”
The Best Comic of 2014

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie — “...a jewel of a comic from writer Kieron Gillen, a deeply talented creator of charming, gritty characters and familiar yet intriguing comic book worlds. Artist Jamie McKelvie, Gillen's partner in crime for past comics like Phonogram and Young Avengers, gives Gillen's cutting prose beautiful life.”

Paste Magazine
The 25 Best Comics of 2014

DEADLY CLASS by Rick Remender and Wes Craig (#25) — “Remender’s accounts of homelessness and LSD overload resonate with authenticity.”
PRETTY DEADLY (#22) by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos — “Art and story alike refute our expectations, making Pretty Deadly feel less like a western than a new myth.”
PROPHET (#19) by Brandon Graham, Simon Roy, et al — “...think of the VHS box art to every grindhouse sci-fi movie in the ‘70s and ’80s. If all of those movies accurately reflected the air-brushed, hyper-imaginative splendor hinted at in their cover, and merged into a giant 100-hour epic directed by Moebius, it would probably look something like Prophet.”
BLACK SCIENCE by Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera (#15) — “Black Science is vintage sci-fi wrung through a punk rock meat grinder.”
SOUTHERN BASTARDS by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour (#10) — “Any worthwhile Southern lit gets compared to Faulkner or O’Connor or McCullers, and even though the violence is at the forefront of Southern Bastards, the sadness and the pain of the South lies almost visible just underneath. It’s a story of the South — it’s the story of the South.”
EAST OF WEST by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta  (#8) — “’s equally (and wonderfully) over-the-top and human, with briefly-encountered ideas that could sustain a series on their own.” 
SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (#2) — “...few ongoing comics thoroughly hold readers in such rapt attention, dying to get their hands on the next installment.”
SEX CRIMINALS by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (#1) — “I wouldn’t trust most comic creators to turn a sexual awakening into compelling pulp fiction, but Fraction and Zdarsky pull it off masterfully.”

Mental Floss

The 25 Most Interesting Comics of 2014

ALEX + ADA by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna (#25) — “ engaging examination of what it means to be human and free at a time when true artificial intelligence seems just around the corner.”

STRAY BULLETS: KILLERS by David Lapham (#14) — “When it first started, the crime genre was all but nonexistent in comics, but today there are a lot to choose from (many influenced by Stray Bullets), yet Lapham is proving he’s still the best.”
SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (#8) — “With daring content full of graphic sex (often involving robots) and brutal violence, it’s been one of the most addicting monthly reads out there.” 
SEX CRIMINALS by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (#5) — “There is no other comic out there quite like Sex Criminals. After its strong debut last year, it now qualifies as a phenomenon with sales big enough to make it a career-defining book for its two creators.” 

 What Culture

10 Best Comics of 2014

SEX CRIMINALS by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (#8) — “Despite having such a ludicrous, high concept premise – and the pair definitely go whole hog with that, Zdarsky filling porn shops with dirty punning titles and the first issues list of made up sexual positions being particular highlights – the series frequently touches upon serious issues of sexuality.” 
SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (#5) — “Warmly written and beautifully drawn, Saga is nonetheless a rollercoaster of smart but heartbreaking plot twists, with Vaughan frequently dangling the most monstrous of cliffhangers. Cosmic family drama with ghostly babysitters and gorgeous people – comic books are pretty great.”
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (#1) — “The Wicked + The Divine has more than delivered as a magical thriller that comments on the relationship between art and fandom, features some amazing pop art visuals from McKelvie (not to mention some fierce wardrobe choices), and generally is easily the most engaging comic book of the year.”

Multiversity Comics
Best New Series

SHUTTER by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca (#4) — “By the time you were done with that first issue, you didn’t want to just read about this story and its world. You wanted to live in it.”
DEADLY CLASS by Rick Remender and Wes Craig (#3) — “This is a comic about stray kids who, in the absence of blood relatives, have cobbled together a new family. Deadly Class feels like Remender’s most personal work to date.”
THE WICKED + THE DIVINE by Kieron Gillan and Jamie McKelvie (#2) — “If you can appreciate smart characters, smart design, and just smart comic books, then you can appreciate The Wicked + The Divine.”
SOUTHERN BASTARDS by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour (#1) — “This series creates a new world that uses characters, not flash, to draw readers in, even as they want to avert their eyes.” 

Best Ongoing Series

EAST OF WEST  by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta (#8) — “Within its pages, it contains everything that’s good about the art form.” 
DEADLY CLASS by Rick Remender and Wes Craig (#7) — “ of the most brilliant comics of the year…”
SHUTTER by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca (#4-tie) — “Everyone should be reading this fantastic, manic, imaginative and, most importantly, fun book.”
ALEX + ADA by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna (#4-tie) — “I love this book, and if you’re a fan of character-driven sci-fi that’s inventive and beautiful (and I hope you are), then you just might as well.”
SOUTHERN BASTARDS by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour (#4-tie) — “Southern Bastards doesn’t feel like any other ongoing series…”
SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (#3) — “ Month in and month out Saga is an emotional tidal wave.”

Best Mini Series

SUPREME: BLUE ROSE by Warren Ellis and Tula Lotay (#7) — “ of the year’s most gorgeous books.”
STARLIGHT by Mark Millar and Goran Parlov (#4) — “It’s a emotionally fulfilling tale, and by god is it a beautiful one.” 

Best Issue

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #5 by Kieron Gillan and Jamie McKelvie (#6-tie) — “Though WicDiv had already gained our love with the first four issues, the conclusion to ‘The Faust Act’ showed just how unpredictable this series could be.” 
LAZARUS #9 by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark (#6-tie) — “This issue was its grand finale, finding all of the threads coming together, and it was a beautifully symphony conducted by Rucka and fully realized by Lark, Brian Level and colorist Santi Arcas. This book didn’t just meet its potential here, it surpassed it entirely, and it only continues to build ever since.”
THE FADE OUT #1 by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (#4-tie) — “Brubaker and Philips have created something special, a frequent result of their partnership, and The Fade Out #1 is the tantalizing first glimpse of a world made up of Technicolor fantasies and the secrets they hide.”
SOUTHERN BASTARDS #2 by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour (#2) — “Southern Bastards #4 defied every reader’s expectation of what an ongoing series could be...”

Best Writer 

Greg Rucka, LAZARUS (#8-tie) — “The fact that Rucka, through his skill as a writer, was able to grab the core of my being and shake the shit out of it ensured his place on my shortlist of the year’s best writers.”
Jonathan Hickman, EAST OF WEST and THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS (#8-tie) — “His grandiose ideas and steady plot builds are everything I want from comics.”
Brian K. Vaughan, SAGA (#7) — “After (redacted), I felt like he was the world’s greatest monster, but then I realized the fact he can make me feel that way is why he isn’t that, but the world’s greatest comic writer.”
Warren Ellis, SUPREME: BLUE ROSE and TREES (#6) — “ I suppose you could call 2014 a perfect storm of Warren Ellis’ work in comics, as he made 3 major contributions to the comic stands and each one was just as strong as the next.”
Matt Fraction, ODY-C, SATELLITE SAM, and SEX CRIMINALS (#4) — “...he took what could have easily been a one note concept and developed it into one of the funniest and most heartfelt books in comics.”
Ed Brubaker, THE FADE OUT, FATALE, and VELVET (#3) — “Each of Ed Brubaker’s series creates a new world, and comic fans should keep exploring them for as long as possible.”
Jason Aaron, SOUTHERN BASTARDS (#2) — “... the only way to know it is an Aaron story is to marvel at its excellence.”

Best Artist

Goran Parlov, STARDUST (#10-tie) — “Few artists can take you inside the heart of a character as well as Parlov.”
Tula Lotay, SUPREME: BLUE ROSE (#7-tie) — “...pushes the boundaries of the realism of the medium and enters a very surreal and dream-like state and is, simply, beautiful.”
Wes Craig, DEADLY CLASS (#6) — “Fantastic covers, interesting page designs, unimpeachable cover treatments, Wes Craig’s got a hell of a lot going for him.”
Jamie McKelvie, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE (#5) — “...excellent character design and powerful storytelling...”
Leila del Duca, SHUTTER (#3-tie) — “...her ability to take a situation that’s completely insane – and she’s given many of those – and extract emotional truths from them is already unparalleled.”
Fiona Staples, SAGA (#3-tie) — “Staples is the most imaginative artist working in the industry today. The character designs she’s created are unlike anything that have ever existed before and will never be duplicated. Years from now, artists will use Saga as the standard for what science fiction should look like.”
Frank Quitely, JUPITER’S LEGACY (#2) — “...his intricate line-work and acute attention to the most minor of details sets him apart from most modern artists.”

Best Cover Artist

Fiona Staples, SAGA (#5) — For those of us that consider ourselves cover connoisseurs, Staples’ Saga covers are to be treasured. For those that are new to comics these covers will be remembered fondly later in life as igniting a passion for the art form that are comics and more specifically comic covers.”
Jenny Frison, REVIVAL (#2) —  “‘I want to read this. It looks awesome.’”
Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE (#1) — “...nothing short of a comic book phenomenon.”

Most Overlooked Comic 

TREES by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard (#3-tie) — “This book is science fiction at its best because it enlightens as well as entertains and expresses the joys and fears that colors every human being’s experience.” 
ALEX + ADA by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna (#3-tie) — “Despite its sci-fi trappings, Alex + Ada is a romance book. The characters are well written, and their relationship feels true. If you’ve ever disparaged the lack of diversity in comic genres, you owe it to yourself to support this book.”
The 20 Best Comics of 2014

STARLIGHT by Mark Millar and Goran Parlov (#19) — “ exciting adventure story that has a lot to say about the qualities that make life worth living, offering a cathartic and meaningful conclusion.”
ZERO by Ales Kot et al (#15) — “...a growing story that connects every issue into a larger tale about the cost of violence and importance of empathy.”
STRAY BULLETS: KILLERS by David Lapham (#12) — “The return of Stray Bullets after an almost 10 year hiatus has revealed that is has lost none of its power while away.”
SOUTHERN BASTARDS by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour (#10) — “ of the most brutal and honest reflections of the American South and heartland to be found in any medium.”
DEADLY CLASS by Rick Remender and Wes Craig (#7) — “Craig’s cartooning is absolutely superb. He conveys story, emotion, and impact on each page with striking compositions and layouts.”
SAGA by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (#5) — “There is a good reason that so many readers have responded to these characters and the story they occupy; it's nearly perfect.”
Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit

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