The Raddest, Oddest New Comics of 2014
- by Señor Editor, 14 November 2014
For the sake of being up to date with the latest, greatest comics, I probably read about 50 comics per month. Most of them end up being terrible, a lot of them are decent, and some of them are great. I then drop the terrible ones, usually lose track of the decent ones (there's always too much stuff to read) and just stick with the great ones. And 2014 has been a real good year for comics*, and had some amazing and odd brand new series that really stayed with me. So let’s recap 5 of the raddest and oddest comics out this year.
There are some great comics that didn’t make the cut here, for one reason or another. “Apama” is a really awesome and unusual superhero comic, but its Kickstarter campaign just recently ended, and the comic is not yet all that available for the general public to read [EDIT: We messed up, it's actually available on Comixology. Sorry about that!- Ed.]. “The Humans” had a great first issue and it looks like it’s going to be amazing, but one issue doesn’t seem like enough to qualify for this list yet. The second volume of “Colder” is already good, but it’s the second volume of something older, not a brand new 2014 series. There was a lot of great crime comics, but these don't fit the "oddest" criteria. You should still check those out, obviously, but out of the many memorable and weird comics, I’m sticking with my top 5 here. In random order.
Image Comics’ “Copperhead” is the youngest of the titles on this list, and the only book here that’s a monthly ongoing series. Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski may only have three issues of their comic out as I write this, but these three issues were more than enough to show that they got something special. A sci-fi western that stars a single mom who travels to a backwoods planet to become the new sheriff of a small town and get thrown right into the thick of things. And stopping domestic violence in a family of green blobs. I was hooked from the very first issue.
This book is a seamless mix of several genres (crime, western, science-fiction), and it not only reads well, but also provides a visually stunning world where all these components can work together perfectly. If you haven’t bothered to pick this up, then there’s something really wrong with you. This book is quickly becoming a hit, and rightfully so.
I’ve pointed out all of my favorite things about “Copperhead” #1 & #2 right here, along with some fine panels of Godlewski’s art, so check it out if you’re not yet up to speed.
The story of an egotistic, washed-up movie producer, who hires a serial killer to add some authenticity to his next movie, a slasher horror flick that’s supposed to revive his career. Nathan T. Rex (the producer) may be the most awful human being to ever become a comic’s protagonist, but Rick Spears’ and James Callahan’s comic is so absurd and funny it’s impossible to put it down. This is one of the most entertaining takes on Hollywood in comics, ramping up the levels of absurd situations, the amount of sex, drugs, violence and ego to the point where you can’t look away and just have to laugh. And it kind of has an ending I really wasn’t expecting.
“The Auteur” was a 5 issue miniseries from Oni Press, and it’s well worth your time.
I talk about it some more HERE.
Adam McGovern’s and Paolo Leandri’s “Nightworld” is a mix of European popculture and American Silver Age comics that’s not easy to describe to new readers. It takes everything that made reading comics as a kid so good and puts it into a brand new context. There are melancholy demons! 1950s slang! Kirbytech! Pacts with the devil! On a list of oddball titles, “Nightworld” still manages to stand out as one of the most beautifully freaky books out this year. Though I mentioned that “Copperhead” is the only ongoing series on this list, I really hope “Nightworld” will continue its story in the format of “ongoing string of self-contained miniseries”. Giving a chance to titles like this is one of the reasons why Image Comics completely dominated this year as the best publisher (We’re all on the same page about them being the best this year, right? GOOD.)
This series had 4 great issues, and they are all out right now. A trade will no doubt be coming out soon, too.
I wrote quite a bit about the first issue, and then had the chance to talk with the comic’s creative team, so these should be your next stops on the road to accepting Nightworld as the best 1960s comic of the 2010s.
“Vreckless Vrestlers” is a comic about faces being punched in an intergalactic wrestling tournament. Since this is pretty much what the plot boils down to, that leaves plenty of room for the comic to go all out on style, humor, an insane amount of popculture references and more bonus material any miniseries ever offered. Łukasz Kowalczuk’s comic is self-published (though since it premiered, several publishers from different countries have been in talks to publish “VV”, so I expect the comic to be much more popular next year), 100% DIY and made without any help from the (highly popular among indie comic creators) crowdfunding sites. And it still offered more entertainment value than most of the stuff coming from major publishers. It has the likes of a Sevastopol crab mutant in an old-timey swimsuit, a bearded Valkyrie, a reptillian sergeant from the future and an alien “Vegan Cat” all duking it out for the championship. It's also very clearly a labor of love, so it's easy to see why it’s getting nothing but positive reviews. You will have to experience this yourself, but trust me, these reviews are well deserved.
“Vreckless Vrestlers” is a miniseries that still has one issue left to go, and you can buy the digital versions of all that’s out on Comixology, or go here (if you're in the UK) or here (for the US) and get your physical copies. The physical copies have some really neat extras, so look out for those.
If you need to see more first, we wrote about “Vreckless Vrestlers” #0 & #1 here.
You might be noticing a trend here. Three out of five of my favorite series from 2014 are from Image Comics. If I was doing “Ten of the Best and Oddest…” list, there’d probably be more.
“Revenge” (by Jonathan Ross and Ian Churchill) is INSANE. I know, I said that before already. It’s another comic taking on Hollywood, but it’s much different than “The Auteur” above. “Revenge” tells a story of a way-past-his-prime cheesy action flicks (his name is Griffin), who is making a comeback playing the action hero that made him famous. He’s doing good for himself again… And that’s when his girlfriend arranges a trip to Mexico, where our hero gets the skin of his face cut off and is left for dead. His girlfriend’s new boyfriend will be wearing that famous face, getting the pair enough money to live the rest of their lives in luxury. But Griffin isn’t out of the action yet. He frees himself, stitches a dog’s face to his head, teams up with a dwarf who has been experimented on (the doctor who took Griffin’s face was specializing in “body modification”), and together they head to Hollywood for revenge.
This is a grindhouse movie. A ridiculously over the top one, and a thousand times better throwback to the genre than any of the actual movies that tried to revive the style in recent years.
This was a 4-issue miniseries. It’s available in trade now.
*I know that 2014 is not over yet. I don’t care. There’s, like, less than 50 days left, let’s not go overboard here.
So there you have it! Five of the best and oddest brand new comics out this year, served to you in a digestible list format! If you slept on any of these before, now is the time to track them down. No need to thank me (thank me in the comments!), I’m just doing my job.