As we near the end of 2018, it’s time to take a look back at some of favourite creators and titles from the past twelve months.
We’re all about championing great work here at the Big Comic Page, and while these picks are clearly just the tip of the iceberg in what has been one heck of a year for comics, we’d highly recommended checking out any (or all) of these if you get the chance.
However, we’re also aware that a lot of our contributors have vastly different tastes, so rather than trying to reach some sort of site-wide consensus we have decided instead to give each member of the team a chance to share their own picks, starting with Mark, who joined the team midway through the year.
Best Publisher – Image Comics
There has been some serious competition out there this year, especially from Black Mask Studios, Dark Horse and the combined houses of DC/ Vertigo, but for me Image have been most consistent in the quality of their titles and have produced a significant chunk of my top ten titles this year.
Out of a long, long list of excellent titles this year, the highlights for me have been Leviathan, The Weatherman, Cold Spots, Green Monk, Wytches: Bad Egg, and Cemetery Beach. Whilst these are in no particular order I will say that The Weatherman and Leviathan are in my top five comics of the year.
I really wish that Black Mask Studios would get the number of titles they produce up and start delivering their issues on time. When they do get it right they really get it right but they’re still not consistent enough to take the top spot.
Honourable mentions: Black Mask Studios (please, please up your game), Vertigo (so glad to see you back on form), DC (for bringing us the Batwang) and Dark Horse (thank you for bringing us more Umbrella Academy).
Best Writer(s) – Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler
This should have been a really difficult one for me, there have been so many incredible comics out there with some incredibly talented writers this year, but from day one this year my top title has been Black Mask Studio’s COME INTO ME and that has been purely borne on the intensity, the tension and the horror that Thompson and Nadler have produced in just three issues (out of four due this year).
Certainly there are more prolific writers out there that produce a consistently excellent body of work. Jody LeHeup (The Weatherman), Cullen Bunn (The Unsound, Harrow County, Cold Spots, Dark Ark, Bone Parish… all 2018), Eliot Rahal (Hot Lunch Special), John Layman (Leviathan) have all produced incredibly brilliant work this year, in my opinion, but where Thompson and Nadler have stood above the rest is that they’ve had me screaming from the roof tops about their story all year based on a ridiculously small number of issues and each new issue for me has been like Christmas (if Christmas were about a story that’s the bastard child of David Lynch & David Cronenberg)…
Honourable mentions: Jody LeHeup (The Weatherman), Cullen Bunn (Cold Spots), Eliot Rahal (Hot Lunch Special), John Layman (Leviathan), Brandon Dayton (Green Monk).
Best artist – Nick Pitarra
Far and away my favourite artist this year has been Nick Pitarra, specifically for his work on Image Comics’ title LEVIATHAN. Pitarra brings such energy to his work that you can’t help but fall in love with his creations and every single panel is massively over the top and crammed full of an insane amount of detail. Pitarra cites Geoff Darrow as his inspiration but he has his own very definite style that just explodes off the page.
Having followed Pitarra’s process via his twitter account his dedication to what he does is undeniable and the extra mile he goes for his fans, giving them cameo’s and shout outs in the issues just makes me more in love with what he produces. I have got to give a shout out to Alex Garland while I’m here because he provides the icing on the cake that is Pitarra’s art with what would be my vote for the best colourist of 2018!
Honourable mentions: Nathan Fox (The Weatherman), Jason Howard (Cemetery Beach), Bilquis Evely (Sandman Universe: The Dreaming), Wesley St. Claire (The Beyonders)
Top 5 Titles of 2018 (in no particular order)
Come Into Me (Black Mask Studios) – I’ve spent enough time this year bending everybody’s ear about this title. A surreal, mixture of psychological and body horror from the writers behind THE DREGS. Guaranteed to disturb you on levels you didn’t even know you had! My choice for the best series of 2018!
Ok, I mean it this time… in no particular order, sort of…
Leviathan (Image Comics) – Having written reviews for the first two issues of this series you’ve probably already got the gist of my feelings on this one. BUY THIS COMIC! Layman, Pitarra and Garland have produced the single most fun thing I have read in over a decade! Giant kaiju-like monsters, demonic summonings, shadowy military organisations and a really crap house party, what’s not to like!
The Weatherman (Image Comics) – Another one that I have shouted from the rooftops about all year and I can’t find enough superlatives to express my enthusiasm for The Weather Man. Jody LeHeup’s writing is superb, again and again he’s had me laughing, horrified and heartbroken… Nathan Fox does an amazing job of capturing the intensity, the humour and the horror of this story and I keep finding little details that I hadn’t noticed before and that for me, is the mark of a great comic artist, someone who gives me something new to find on re-reads.
A Walk Through Hell (AfterShock Comics) – Garth Ennis & Goran Sudžuka deliver the tense, chilling horror story of two FBI Agents trapped in a nightmare world where their worst fears are made flesh. With the first arc of this story having just finished, this has been a rollercoaster from start to finish and I can’t wait for the next arc to begin.
Cold Spots (Image Comics) – Cullen Bunn & Mark Torres’ disturbing ghost story. If John Carpenter got his hands on Silent Hill you’d get something like Cold Spots, although on balance I’ve got to say there’s so much more to this story than just a comparison with Carpenter. Dark, surreal, creepy and compelling, a brilliant entry from one of my favourite writers of the last few years.
Honourable Mentions: Hot Lunch Special (Aftershock), Mister Miracle (DC), The Beyonders (Aftershock), These Savage Shores (Vault Comics).
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek