Welcome to Comicon.com’s Best of the Year Awards, gathering the best comics and comics talent of the strange year that was 2020. This year we will be awarding in the following categories: Best Comic Series, Best Original Graphic Novels, Best Single Comic Issues, Best Writers, Best Artists, Best Cover Artists, Best Colorists, Best Letterers, Best Digital/Webcomics, and Most Progressive Comics.
Contributors to Comicon’s Best of the Year Awards this year include: James Ferguson, Oliver MacNamee, Cesareo Garasa, Rachel Bellwoar, Scott Redmond, Gary Catig, Tito James, Tony Thornley, Richard Bruton, and Erik Amaya.
The following are Comicon’s 7 Best Comic Series* of 2019. [*Both miniseries and ongoing series qualify in this category.]
7. Wynd, published by Boom! Studios; written by James Tynion IV, drawn and colored by Michael Dialynas, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar
Tynion and Dialynas managed to create an engrossing fantasy series that resonated and engaged with elegant, vivid storytelling. Boom! Studios made the right call in making the title into a monthly mini-series instead of a trade paperback. Doing so let the story breathe on its own merits and helped readers really absorb the perilous coming-of-age story of the titular Wynd with the proper gravity. Dialynas’s detailed art and soft-hued coloring was the perfect complement to Tynion’s compassionate, compelling story of oppression, hope, loss and redemption. Wynd truly soared.
— Cesareo Garasa
6. Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy, published by Dark Horse Comics; written by Jeff Lemire, drawn and colored by Tonci Zonjic, and lettered by Steve Wands
We’re all familiar of the story of Batman and Robin and, on the surface, that’s what you might be in for with Skulldigger and Skeleton Boy. Lemire certainly pulls from that super hero trope for his own version of the Dynamic Duo in the Black Hammer Universe. While it may start with that basic idea, it quickly becomes so much more. Joined by Zonjic and Wands, Lemire explores the concepts of parenthood and family through the lens of the super hero life, all while telling a riveting character-driven story that has come to define the Black Hammer Universe.
— James Ferguson
5. Canopus, published by Scout Comics; written, drawn, colored, and lettered by Dave Chisholm
What waits for us out in the stars? In Helen’s case, it’s her father, her life, and an understanding of her very soul. Canopus takes us out to the far reaches of space for an intriguing journey of the self. Creator Dave Chisholm stretches the boundaries of the comic book medium to tell a wholly unique story unlike anything else on the stands today. It’s an unpredictable adventure that will keep you on your toes through every turn of the page.
— James Ferguson
4. The Department of Truth, published by Image Comics; written by James Tynion IV, drawn and colored by Martin Simmonds, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar
A relatively new series, but one that has had a huge impact, hence its inclusion on this end-of-year list. The Department of Truth has Tynion mix tin-foil hat level conspiracies with good old fashioned down-and-dirty government black ops and espionage. All done in a gritty, dark fantasy art style by Simmonds that is highly evocative of the dark, dangerous story being told in this fantasy-horror title from Image Comics. It’s The X-Files meets The Cabin in the Woods.
— Olly MacNamee
3. Undone by Blood: Or The Shadow of a Wanted Man, published by Aftershock; written by Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson, drawn by Sami Kivelä, colored by Jason Wordie, and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
It’s been a while since Ethel stepped foot in Sweetheart as her family was murdered there. It’s also where she plans to find her family’s killers. Real life isn’t a western, though, and as much as Ethel tries to emulate Solomon Eaton — the cowboy from a book her father gave her — real life refuses to cooperate. Part mystery, part moving drama about a young girl’s search for revenge; by splitting each issue up between Solomon and Ethel’s stories, Nadler and Thompson are able to point out all the discrepancies, while Kivelä, Wordie, and Otsmane-Elhaou give each world a unique look and texture. Undone by Blood returns for a new arc in March, but it’s also being developed for a TV show by Norman Reedus’ production company.
— Rachel Bellwoar
2. Immortal Hulk, published by Marvel Comics; written by Al Ewing, drawn by Joe Bennett and Ruy José, colored by Paul Mounts, and lettered by Cory Petit
Immortal Hulk was my nomination for best series last year, and for many of the same reason as this year. However, one of the things that made it the best in 2020 was how it completely reinvented itself. The horrifying chase story transformed into a fable about gaslighting, the dangers of consumerism, and LGBT+ rights. Then it shifted gears again and transformed one of Marvel’s greatest villains into something new and terrifying — and did it all with a consistency that should have everyone applauding Ewing, Bennett, Jose, Mounts and everyone else that worked on it this year.
— Tony Thornley
1. Once & Future, published by Boom! Studios; written by Kieron Gillen, drawn by Dan Mora, colored by Tamra Bonvillain, and lettered by Ed Dukeshire
This fantasy-based comic book series set in the rural West Country of England has remained a gripping read. Remixing the legend of King Arthur and posing him as a force of evil rather than good was a stunning move to make, but it has really paid off. Reflecting real world issues such as the worrying rise of the Right, as well as taking a deep dive into the literary legends of the past for inspiration, this well-researched comic book is made all the more fantastical thanks to Mora’s artwork and Bonvillain’s ethereal colours.
— Olly MacNamee