11 Comics That Won 2014

*pull list intensifies*

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This list only includes comics that debuted in 2014.

(Sorry Hawkeye, Sex Crims, Saga, Rat Queens, Federal Bureau of Physics, Letter 44, Red Sonja, and Captain Marvel; please know I'm still deeply in love with all of you.)

1. Deadly Class (Rick Remender, Wesley Craig, Lee Loughridge)

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What It's About: A homeless orphan is recruited into a high school for assassins. Also it's the late '80s and there's a lot of drugs, dismemberment, and surprising friendships.

Why It Won 2014: Other than featuring one of the most gorgeous and terrifying drug trip sequences I've ever seen, Deadly Class works hard at grounding real teenagers and their fears in an extremely surreal and abruptly violent world.

2. The Wicked And The Divine (Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie)

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What It's About: Twelve gods that are resurrected as pop stars every 90 years to live in infamy, scandal, and pure adoration for two years before they die and the cycle starts again.

Why It Won 2014: Like most Gillen/McKelvie projects, this whole comic is an unabashed love letter to pop culture and fandom. It's so aggressively fun and stylish that when you suddenly find yourself contemplating why we love what we love in the specific way we love it, you'll wonder what else you were missing when you were still in your pretentious "true art" phase.

3. Rocket Raccoon (Skottie Young)

Marvel

What It's About: What Rocket (and Groot) do when they're not being Guardians of the Galaxy.

Why It Won 2014: Skottie Young literally made the cutest fucking comic I've ever read. Also there's major Rocket family feels and an entire issue told through Groot's eyes. Definitely a must read if you like Matt Fraction's Hawkeye.

4. Bitch Planet (Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro)

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What It's About: A patriarchy-smashing, trope-bending sci-fi romp through a women's prison correctional facility called Bitch Planet.

Why It Won 2014: Even though the first issue JUST came out, this comic already feels like a culmination of everything Kelly Sue DeConnick's been writing toward for the past few years. It's hilarity of "Hulk, go make me a sandwich," with the pain of "If you've been wronged, say her name, sing this song," and the absolute fucking fury of "It's Captain you little maggot," wrapped into a diverse cast that promises to explore a more intersectional vision of feminism. I really just cannot wait to be challenged by this girl gang.

5. Low (Rick Remender, Greg Tocchini)

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What It's About: A post-apocalyptic world where the human race has been forced to the bottom of Earth's vast oceans after the surface was irradiated. After hundreds of years exploring the galaxy, one probe finally returns with the location of a new habitable planet. But in the broken city of Salus where both time and air are running out, only one woman truly believes there's a future for the human race.

Why It Won 2014: Other then the truly astounding art that takes full advantage of its underwater playground, Low is a lush tale of a family falling apart and the impractically optimistic matriarch who claws them back together as she races to save humanity.

6. Ms. Marvel (G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona)

Marvel

What It’s About: Kamala Khan is just an average Muslim teenager in Jersey City until an * incident * that leaves her with shapeshifting abilities, trippy visions of the Avengers, and the mantle of Ms. Marvel. Bonus points for including a very practical fanny pack in the homemade costume.

Why It Won 2014: Kamala Khan is the type of girl you wished you were in high school and the kind of person you're still hoping you'll grow to be as an adult. Also WOLVERINE SELFIE OMFG.

7. Ghost Rider (Felipe Smith, Tradd Moore)

Marvel

What It's About: After Robbie Reyes dies in an illegal street race he needs to win to care for his little brother with special needs, Reyes gets a second chance at life. The new Ghost Rider's going to need every advantage he can get as he goes up against Dr. Zabo, Mr. Hyde, and a local gang that's responsible for moving some seriously monstrous drugs.

Why It Won 2014: This book is definitely about the high octane and stunningly illustrated adventures of a teenage superhero, but the real star of this story is Robbie's love for his brother. And on the chilling flip side, the real struggle of the story is the immense challenge of being poor and brown in America.

8. She-Hulk (Charles Soule, Javier Pulido)

Marvel

What It’s About: Jennifer Walters juggles the pressures of being an attorney and being an Avenger, but the two sometimes blur together when She-Hulk does whatever’s necessary to defend her clients.

Why It Won 2014: The pure and simple joy you'll get from watching Jennifer Walters be confident, enterprising, and brilliant, as She-Hulk is a cheeky and compelling look into what makes a hero super.

9. Lumberjanes (Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen, Shannon Watters)

BOOM!

What It's About: Five lovely ladies at camp who basically use the power of friendship to defeat supernatural creatures and have the best summer ever.

Why It Won 2014: Because girl power is real, and it feels amazing to revel in strong female friendships that are sincerely supportive and loving. Ban frenemies 2k15.

10. Gotham Academy (Becky Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, Geyser)

DC

What It's About: Behind the scenes of Gotham's premiere prep school where the only thing weirder and more mysterious than the school itself are its students.

Why It Won 2014: A much needed breath of fresh air in DC's New 52, Gotham Academy isn't afraid of having fun, and perfectly balances all those wild teenage emotions with characters that are self-aware enough to learn to grow from their mistakes.

11. ODY-C (Matt Fraction, Christian Ward)

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What It's About: A psychedelic genderbent retelling of The Odyssey set in the vast reaches of space.

Why It Won 2014: Much like Bitch Planet, the first issue just debuted a month ago, but it already feels like it'll be the biggest adventure of 2015. Between the rich, vibrant space vistas and wonderfully lyrical prose, ODY-C promises the grandeur and ambition of this classic adventure framed around the types of people and problems that would have kept you from Sparknote-ing the long, dense novel in high school.