Welcome to Comicon.com’s Best of the Year Awards, gathering the best comics and comics talent of the strange year that was 2021. 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: Oliver MacNamee, Brendan M. Allen, Rachel Bellwoar, Scott Redmond, Benjamin Hall, Tito James, Tony Thornley, and Richard Bruton.
The following are Comicon’s 5 Best Comic Series of 2021.
5. The Immortal Hulk, published by Marvel Comics; written by Al Ewing, drawn by Joe Bennet and Ruy José, colored by Paul Mounts, and lettered by Cory Petit
There’s perhaps only one other run in the long history of Marvel’s Jade Giant that anyone would classify as must-read. Not only was Immortal Hulk a must-read book, though, it was perhaps the best series published by Marvel in the last decade. Despite some severe issues stemming from the lead artist’s personal views, Ewing crafted an emotionally resonant story about one of Marvel’s greatest heroes that also didn’t shy away from the horror or violence of its earlier issues.
— Tony Thornley
4. Scout’s Honor, published by AfterShock; written David Pepose, drawn by Luca Casalanguida, colored by Matt Milla and lettered by Carlos M. Mangual
The first New Comic Book Day in 2021 brought us Scout’s Honor from writer David Pepose, line artist Luca Casalanguida, color artist Matt Milla, and letterer Carlos M. Mangual.
The series is described by AfterShock as Fallout meets Mulan, by way of The Handmaid’s Tale. In the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse, a new society rose up, using an old Scout manual as their bible. Years later, a young Ranger Scout named Kit discovers a terrible secret lost to history, and risks everything to uncover the truth behind the Ranger Scouts doctrine.
There’s a hell of a lot to unpack in this series, and the hits keep coming, right up to the final sequence of the five-issue mini. Scout’s Honor exposes the cracks in government and organized religion, but in Pepose’s own words, “Scout’s Honor is ultimately a book about losing your religion — and figuring out what you’ll put in its place.”
— Brendan M. Allen
3. Batman, published by DC Comics; written by James Tynion IV, drawn by Jorege Jimenez, colored by Tomeu Morey, and lettered by Clayton Cowles
Batman always sells, and sells well. Sometimes in the comics industry that translates in a low-effort series that doesn’t rise above “fine.” This year, though, that’s far from the case. This was the year where Tynion, Jimenez, and Morey stepped up to the challenge of crafting a new sort of Gotham and succeeded. They built a different Batman — a Bruce Wayne that is both more human and more super than we’ve seen before — splitting the difference between BatMan and BatGod in a way that clicked. They added to the supporting cast, and brought back others. It was perhaps the best year on record for the Dark Knight, even with a few missteps in the “Fear State” arc, and we can’t wait to sit down and read it all again.
— Tony Thornley
2. Static: Season One, published by Milestone Media (DC Comics); written by Vita Ayala, drawn by Chriscross and Nikolas Draper-Ivey, colored by Draper-Ivey and Wil Quintana, and lettered by Andworld Design
There are a variety of reasons to consider this the one of the best series of the year. One is how progressive the series is in terms of conveying topics, such as police brutality. Another reason is that the visuals and writing are helping create strong single issues. This means that one can read each issue without feeling like they have to read every Milestone title. At the same time, the series strategically hints at the wider Milestone universe. A final reason is the changes to Static show respect for prior incarnations while updating the characters, and this should please most fans.
— Benjamin Hall
1. Once and Future, published by Boom! Studios; written by Kieron Gillen, drawn by Dan Mora, colored by Tamra Bonvillain, and lettered by Ed Dukeshire
Once and Future goes from strength to strength as Gillen, Mora, Bonvillain and Dukeshire merge the supernatural and malevolent realm of Otherworld with the more mundane reality of our own existence. It is a series that delves into the many renditions of the Arthurian legend to explore the very nature of stories and their ever-changing nature to suit a particular purpose or cause. It has given readers food for thought where particular characters are concerned too, with the likes of Bridgette’s own daughter, Mary, given a tragic backstory that is designed for readers to reassess her as a character. A lot of twist and turns with more still to come, no doubt.
— Olly MacNamee