Welcome to Comicon.com’s Best of the Year Awards, gathering the best comics and comics talent of 2018. This year we will be awarding in the following categories: Best Original Graphic Novels, Best Comic Series, Best Single Comic Issues, Best Writers, Best Artists, Best Cover Artists, Best Colorists, Best Letterers, Best Digital/Webcomics, Most Progressive Comics, and lastly, Comicon’s People of The Year: 2018.
Contributors to Comicon’s Best of the Year Awards 2018 include: Brendan Allen, Gary Catig, James Ferguson, Oliver MacNamee, Noah Sharma, Rachel Bellwoar, Tito James, Omar Spahi, Tony Thornley, Josh Davison, Richard Bruton, and Hannah Means-Shannon.
The following are Comicon’s 7 Best Digital/Webcomics of 2018.
7. Leary, written and illustrated by Shiv
Leary proves that you don’t have to be a veteran artist working on a legacy character to do what a comic does best: entertain the reader. The story of two booze-fueled superheroines and a bridezilla trying to rescue a groom from Satan made me laugh at every other page. The insane concept and endearing characters made me enjoy the comic from start to finish. I hope that creator Shiv continues to flesh out these characters and their world because it’s the type of comic that would definitely find an audience at indie publishers like Oni Press.
6. Wilde Life, written and illustrated by Pascalle Lepas
Webcomics have sort of fallen from their heyday of a decade ago, just from the sheer volume of them out there making it hard to keep up with them all. However, when one is really good, it jumps out and grabs you by the throat. That’s exactly what Pascalle Lepas has done three times a week with her supernatural drama Wilde Life.
The series is the story of Oscar Wilde (yeah, he knows), and his companions in the strange midwestern town of Podunk, OK. The individual stories have ranged from haunting romance, to magical mystery, to the current story’s skin-crawling horror, but all of them are excellent. Beyond that, her characters remain the heart of the story, whether it’s mundane author Oscar, teenage werewolf Cliff, or powerful witch Eliza.
You may never heard of Wilde Life, but you’ll quickly find yourself hooked by the beautiful art, complex characters, and intriguing mystery that is life in Podunk, Oklahoma.
5. Star Power, written and illustrated by Michael Terracciano and Garth Graham
Every kid that’s ever watched Star Wars has dreamed of going out into the stars. Danica Maris was already living that dream as an astronomer on Space Station Sanctuary Six, but she experiences it in a whole new way when she becomes the last of the Star Powered Sentinels. Given great power that allows her to fly through space and fight off evil aliens, she works to keep the galaxy safe while also exploring and discovering new worlds and races. Danica is like the proxy for every wide-eyed, excitable reader out there who yearned for a galaxy far, far away. Her latest adventures have challenged her in new ways and have forced her to question herself and her place in the universe, while creators Michael Terracciano and Garth Graham continue to expand the mythos of this series.
4. Dark Tropic, written and illustrated by Evan Cagle @TheOddGentleman
A beautiful looking labor of love that appeared out of nowhere, but offers up a very different reading experience for its followers. You get yo chose the next step of our hero’s journey into the heart of darkness that is Dark Tropic. Stunningly illustrated, it’s evocative of the classic silver screen serials of yesteryear. Take part in Dark Tropic by following @TheOddGentleman on Twitter.
3. Outrage, published by Line Webtoon, created by Reilly Brown and Fabian Nicieza, inked by Jay Leisten, colored by Matt Herms, lettered by Pat Brosseau
Longtime Deadpool artist Reilly Brown and Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza team up on Outrage, a comic about the internet that therefore plays very meta-textually when read on the internet via digital platform Webtoon. It’s an active, comedic, mystery-based story that explores the exploits of a vigilante who’s capable of tracking down internet trolls via their online behavior and able to physically materialize via their digital devices in a variety of forms to kick the snot out of them. The only catch is—he’s also very disdainful of people who make themselves easy targets and has some choice words for anything which annoys him (or her, since the vigilante’s identity is unknown and that’s part of the plot), and that pretty much means the whole world could have plenty of outrage for Outrage. With endlessly snappy dialog from Nicieza that continues to bring in-jokes to the surface chapter after chapter, and Brown’s excruciatingly high-quality line art, Outrage should be clocking on a lot more computers, tablets, and phones–if readers dare face their own foibles and weaknesses when it comes to life on the internet.
2. Barrier, published by Panel Syndicate and Image Comics, written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn and lettered by Marcus Martin, and colored by Muntsa Vicente
Originally published on Panel Syndicate, before getting a print release from Image Comics, Barrier is a story that takes full advantage of everything the comics medium has to offer.
Caught on Liddy’s property, after crossing the border from Honduras to Texas, Oscar can say he was staring at a gun the moment the aliens came and took them. If Liddy and Oscar want to survive their abduction, they’re going to need to learn to communicate, but Liddy speaks English and Oscar speaks Spanish. In a comic that challenges people’s reliance on language, Vaughan doesn’t translate any of Oscar’s dialogue, so you only have Martin and Vicente’s visuals to rely on. “Only” is the wrong way of putting it, though, since, besides being breathtaking to look at, in landscape orientation, these two master artists have no problem carrying the story (and have a completely silent third issue to prove it). Revolutionary in its conception and powerful in its message that you don’t need language to talk to a person, Barrier is a full-on comics experience with humanitarian implications that I hope result in this comic being taught in classrooms.
1.Hit Reblog: Comics that Caught Fire, published by comiXology Originals and Bedside Press, edited by Hope Nicholson, written and illustrated by various credited here
This anthology comic tells the stories of the viral comics that influenced the entire world of webcomics and the “true stories” behind their creators in a documentarian style, and is also the first of the comiXology Originals line to presented as digital first with print-on-demand options, opening a new publishing flow for digital to print comics. The contents were perfect for such a step, taking the reader at breakneck speed through some sensational storytelling about comics storytelling, making it a work you can “flip” through or read from start to finish with equal zest. The roll-call of creators is also very impressive, exposing readers to a variety of styles, approaches, and potential in comics, making you even hungrier to discover new creators and new subject matter in the comics medium the more you read. The work also includes biographical entries in comics format for all the twenty artists featured, further blending comic art and real-world relevance. Hats off to Hit Reblog for rocking out about webcomics in a digital format that is now also available in a print collection.