Where do I start? Once again, there have been so many amazing new titles this year and so many first time reads for me, that it’s extremely tough to pick a top five. So… well… I’m not going to. Instead, in no particular order, here are my top comics of 2021.
I guess it will be on a lot of people’s lists, but Department of Truth has been one of the standouts this year for me. A combination of sci-fi thriller and horror with an amazing pedigree of creators behind it, James Tynion IV, Martin Simmonds and Aditya Bidikar have produced a series that grabbed me on so many levels from the first issues and which has consistently got even better with each new issue!
Red Room by Ed Piskor might not be everyone’s cup of tea but if like me you’re a dyed in the wool serial killer/horror fan who isn’t overly disturbed by people being horribly (and inventively) tortured to death for the entertainment of the über rich then this is a superb series that will satisfy even the most bloodthirsty reader.
Part of the expanding “Plasticverse”, Vinyl is a comic series that I absolutely adored. It’s a serial killer, horror, revenge title that has so much heart and features probably my favourite serial killer of all time, Walter, an amiable, music obsessed genius and unstoppable force of nature who makes Hannibal Lecter and Jason Voorhees look like kindergarten characters.
It wouldn’t be a “best of” from me without John Lees and Alex Cormack, and based on just one released issue (although I’ve had the pleasure of reading the first two), I have to add The Crimson Cage to my 2021 list. A reimagining of Macbeth set in the world of professional wrestling is a great concept on its own, but when you add in what I think is the best horror/thriller team out there you absolutely cannot afford to miss this!
Monsters by Barry Windsor-Smith is the culmination of decades worth of work, a rollercoaster of an emotional journey through the horrors of war, intolerance, genetic experimentation, and paranormal horror, and, for me at least, is a genuine masterpiece. Beautifully presented in an oversized HC edition, Monsters ticked every single box for me.
Similarly, Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? ticked every box that I could have possibly hoped for. Featuring one of my top ten artists/creators of all time working with one of the greatest true crime writers of all time to create a graphic novel, this was something I knew I had to have from the moment it was announced. Eric Powell’s adaptation of Harold Schechter’s book “Deviant” is perfect in every way, showcasing Powell’s distinctive flair for the grotesque and horrifying while staying very respectful of Schechter’s work. Deviant is in my top 5 true crime books of all time and this adaptation of it puts it high up my favourite comics of all time list.
Having been blown away by Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, naturally I had to get in on the English Editions of Asadora! when they were released earlier this year. Three volumes in, this charmingly written sci-fi/monster story tells the tale of Asa, a young girl whose town is destroyed by a freak storm. However, Asa sees something else in the storm, a giant creature that will dog her steps her entire life as she seeks to prove its existence and find her missing family.
Gateway City isn’t technically a new series but hey, my list my rules. Set against the backdrop of 1930’s prohibition America, this is a pulp detective series with a twist. Living in a world of gangsters, and crooked cops and politicians, Lindy Lundquist’s job is made much more difficult when aliens come to town, intent on setting up their own crime syndicates. I love this series, it’s so much fun, we’ve had two collected volumes so far and I can’t wait for the next one.
Honestly, there are so many amazing creators out there at the moment, and it’s so wonderful to see that despite everything that’s happened over the last year that the comics community is still thriving and that there are some truly wonderful people within the community. While the continuing pandemic has meant that meeting up with people has been extremely difficult, I am still grateful for all the people I’ve got to know, or know better over the last 12 months, and I’d like to thank everyone who has produced a comic, supported a comic, or put up with my endless rambling and raving about comics.
I wish you all a wonderful time however you celebrate this season, and I hope that the New year brings you health, prosperity, friendship and family.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek