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 6 Best Writers of 2021.
6. Ram V
Ram V has made horror something of a speciality on his writing. But in a title such as The Swamp Thing, he has incorporated an existentialism that raises the bar of contemporary comic book storytelling, delivering intelligent, and emotive scripts that break with convention. It’s another year in which he has left his indelible mark on DC Comics and he looks to do the same at Marvel next year, too.
— Olly MacNamee
5. David Hazan
David Hazan’s medieval noir reinterpretation of Robin Hood has proved to be one of the most devilishly exciting takes on the character in ages. Hazan explores parallels between the birth of the noir genre in post-WWII America and Nottingham’s world after the Crusades. The tale incorporates true history, horror, and a pulp sensibility that’s perfectly “comics.” Painting the Hood as a serial killer the hard-boiled Sheriff of Nottingham must stop is a brilliant reversal of reader expectations. Now that Nottingham has been confirmed for a second arc, readers can explore more of Hazan’s mad imagination. The comic industry thrives on fresh blood and new talent. Hazan is the kind of new talent who’s ready to spill some blood.
— Tito James
4. James Tynion IV
It’s a testament to James Tynion IV’s versatility as a writer that he’s able to tackle genres of horror, social thriller, pop superhero, and fantasy adventure. Each of his stories is alive with youthful energy, creative ideas, and a fresh perspective. In addition to the comics themselves, Tynion has a unique philosophical approach to comics that he expresses in his writer’s blog. To Tynion, it’s important to create iconic characters that fans want to draw in their notebooks, dress up as, and daydream about. This attitude is one that more indie comic creators should be courageous enough to pursue. Now that Tynion has retired from Batman to focus on his creator- owned projects, one can only imagine the iconic characters he will invent in the coming decade.
— Tito James
3. Gene Leun Yang
Gene Yang has been one of the most interesting storytellers in comics consistently for the last five years. This year, though, he took two titles that could have been the ultimate minimum-effort gig and turned them both into something special. In Batman/Superman, he told the story of two alternate realities that not only had a lot of moving parts on their own, but also had interlock them with each other, and the Prime DCU. In Shang-Chi, he took a Marvel mainstay who was practically a cipher and turned him into an A-list level character. And that’s just scratching the surface of why he’s one of our picks.
— Tony Thornley
2. Vita Ayala
The term “best” is thrown around sometimes very easily — it is a subjective term after all — but there are few out there that embody the term quite like Vita Ayala. Truly, they are hands down one of the best character writers working in comics. No matter which book one mentions, whether full of old/established or new characters, they make sure every character is practically bursting with emotional vibrant life. All while making sure to bring a diversity and level of representation to these books that is sorely needed. It can be hard finding ways to balance the expectations of what corporate comics must present with desires to tackle a lot of relevant and important real-life issues in the same book. Ayala makes it so simple and is leading the way, proving that comics could and should be so much more than they sometimes are.
— Scott Redmond
1. Jed MacKay
There is little doubt that MacKay is among the best writers working in comics right now. Reading through any of the various books bearing his name will show that he can weave a coherent, logical, emotional and entertaining tale as one needs to when creating such works. What catapults him to that best level, though, goes beyond this. It’s the ability to mine emotional depth out of every single character (major or minor), detail, and interaction within a story. There is an intrinsic amount of care showcased for these characters and their world. Being able to go from fun to scenes that make you want to cry and back again faster than you can say Doctor Strange is not an easy task. Yet, MacKay makes it feel like lifting a feather in simplicity.
— Scott Redmond