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 Original Graphic Novels, Best Comic Series, 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, Tito James, Gary Catig, Tony Thornley, Richard Bruton, and Erik Amaya.
The following are Comicon’s 7 Best Single Issues of 2020.
7. X-Men: Marvel Snapshots #1, published by Marvel Comics; written by Jay Edidin, drawn by Tom Reilly, colored by Chris O’Halloran, and lettered by Tom Orzechowski
If there is one tough-to-crack X-Men character, it is Scott “Slim” Summers. Destined to be a true-blue superhero, he can often come off as a humorless stick-in-the-mud — particularly when he must tut-tut the impulses of Marvel’s more romantic mutants. But in X-Men: Marvel Snapshots, Edidin and the rest of the creative team offer a compelling window into Scott’s brand of heroism. In re-framing the true onset of his powers with the rising fame of the Fantastic Four, the story gains a lived-in dimension. Scott had a role model and he does not miss the opportunity to pay it back to Reed Richards. But even before the two ever meet, we see a Scott Summers trying his best to be a true hero in a world too mundane for one like him.
— Erik Amaya
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #105, published by IDW; written and drawn by Sophie Campbell, colored by Ronda Pattinson, and lettered by Shawn Lee
Establishing a new status quo is daunting work in ongoing franchise titles, but Sophie Campbell, Ronda Pattinson, Shawn Lee & the rest of the creative team have hit it out of the park with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and issue #105 is a perfect showcase of this. After dealing with grief, depression, rage and the rebuilding/forging of a family for some time, this issue is a beautifully rendered slice of life style story focusing on the Turtles and their allies doing “normal” stuff from concerts, building their new home, openly living in a world now full of mutated figures like themselves, and even finding a few romantic moments. The emotion is bold & colorful with great stylistic color choices highlighting the loud and quieter moments. It is a perfect ending to the new creative team introductory arc, but it also serves wonderfully as a perfect stand-alone story for new readers.
— Scott Redmond
5. X-Men #7, published by Marvel Comics; written by Jonathan Hickman, drawn by Leinil Francis Yu, colored by Sunny Gho, and lettered by Clayton Cowles
“It’s distasteful I know, this business of running a nation.” Those are the words of Professor Charles Xavier in the final issue of 2019’s redefining epic House of X, and nowhere is that distasteful business on display more than this year’s X-Men #07. The focus on the process known as the Crucible — a means to spur on resurrection and re-powering of mutants still de-powered form 2005’s House of M — is a tough, emotional read, but it makes the issue all around one of the best of the series. Utopias are far from perfect because human beings, or in this case mutants, are far from perfect and by showing this side of the cracks beginning to form in Krakoa’s foundations, Hickman showcases this concept beautifully. Yu’s art can be a bit static at times, but some of the panels along with Gho’s colors are truly remarkable. It is not an issue most will crack open to read repeatedly for fun, but sometimes the hardest stories are the best.
— Scott Redmond
4. The Terrifics #25, published by DC Comics; written by Gene Luen Yang, drawn by Dan Mora, colored by FCO and Ivan Plascencia, and lettered by Tom Napolitano
The Terrifics #25 packs a ton of action in one issue. The team find Gateway City facing a dangerous threat and Mr. Terrific uses his latest invention to develop a strategy. The device allows the Terrifics to reset time and run through different approaches to successfully counteract the danger; playing into the “choose your own adventure” quality of the book.
The various paths to take lead to the high reread value and it’s fun figuring out the puzzle to determine the best solution. The premise could easily be gimmicky, but Yang takes full advantage of the innovative means of storytelling. Though not every road may lead to a desired outcome, they do at least provide more layers to the characters and the overall story. In addition, Mora’s dynamic style and the Plascencias’ bold colors make the artwork pop off the page.
— Gary Catig
3. Giga #1, published by Vault Comics; written by Alex Paknadel, drawn by John Lê, colored by Rosh, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar
It takes a lot to stand out in a market as dense as today’s comics industry. However, Paknadel, Lê, and the entire Giga team did it so quickly and ably in the first issue of their science fiction murder mystery that it was impossible not to get hooked. It was a mixture of rich world building, strong character development, stunning designs and, of course, giant $#%ing robots, and it all came together into a complete package that’s worth coming back for immediately.
— Tony Thornley
2. Detective Comics #1027, published by DC Comics; written by Peter J. Tomasi, Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, Greg Rucka, James Tynion IV, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mariko Tamaki, Marv Wolfman, Grant Morrison, Tom King, Scott Snyder, and Dan Jurgens, drawn and colored by Brad Walker, Andrew Hennessy, Nathan Fairbain, David Marquez, Alejandro Sanchez, Chip Zdarsky, Eduardo Risso, Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia, John Romita, Jr, Klaus Janson, Arif Prianto, Dan Mora, Tamra Bonvillian, Emanuela Luppchino, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jordie Bellaire, Chris Burnham, Walter Simonson, Laura Martin, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Marcelo Maiolo, Dan Jurgens, Kevin Nowlan, and Hi-Fi, and lettered by Rob Leigh, Joshua Reed, Aditya Bidikar, Tom Napolitano, Andworld Design, Troy Peteri, Carlos Mangual, Steve Wands, and John Workman
Celebrating Batman’s 1000th appearance (well, more or less), Detective Comics #1027 was another one-off, stand-alone comic book which manages to celebrate all that fans love about Batman — past, present and future. A chance to read strips by some of DC Comics’ world finest creators, each bringing something different to their Batman stories. Fun, thrilling, and a reminder to the lighter side of the Dark Knight, too.
— Olly MacNamee
1. Department of Truth #1, published by Image Comics; written by James Tynion IV, drawn and colored by Martin Simmonds, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar
Department of Truth is perhaps the most timely horror comic released in the past decade. As conspiracy theorists infiltrated the mainstream more by the day, Tynion, Simmonds, and rest of the team created a fantasy/horror espionage book that explored the effect of lies and conspiracy in the real world. Though all three issues out as of this writing have been excellent so far, the debut issue stands out. It’s tense, scary, mind-bending, and, best of all, forces the reader to take a step back and reevaluate their world.
— Tony Thornley