Since I’ve been reading every single year of Marvel Comics in order of publication as part of My Marvelous Year, I haven’t had nearly as much time this year to update “Dave’s Faves.”I enjoyed the everloving daylights out of some new, non-Marvel books this weekend though (thank you, Hoopla Digital!), and the best comics of all time list is updated to include them.
Prior to the new recruits, I made some edits to the list based on the infallible “what would I rather read test?” Every time I look at Jim Starlin’s Star Wars impersonation, I think to myself, “Dreadstar is just the greatest,” and that earned the comic a bump above Locke & Key and Love & Rockets.
Locke & Key likely suffered the most this round of updates, as I realized I had severely outpaced the coverage. It’s still a great comic, but Locke & Key dropped from #40 on the list all the way to #48.
This shifting helped make room for an ascendant Saga of the Swamp Thing. To date I had only read the first volume of Alan Moore’s lengthiest Big 2 “superhero” comic (hint: it’s not a superhero comic), and the series in its entirety was a tough one to place.
On one hand, a book like Saga of the Swamp Thing is more of an achievement than many books I have ranked higher. I don’t know that you’ll find many comic book readers who even have the audacity to compare Alan Moore, Stephen Bisette, and John Totelben’s work on Swamp Thing to a black-and-white kung fu book. In the end, that’s exactly what I did as:
1) I’d rather read Infinite Kung Fu again than the complete Saga of the Swamp Thing and
2) Placing Saga of the Swamp Thing one spot higher than Saga feels too in sync to pass.
New Comics on “Dave’s Faves”
Grendel was the highest new entry on the list, and the only new entrant inside the top 50. I was let down by Matt Wagner’s “Mage: The Hero Discovered,” but Grendel is brilliant, fascinating, and unique.
It’s a challenge to appropriately represent the non-linear composition of modern crime-lord Grendel, blended with the supernatural debt to the legend of Beowulf. Wagner’s creativity and ability to articulate an unpredictable vision make Grendel one of my favorite new reads of 2016.
Revival Vol. 1 to Vol. 3
Tim Seely and Mike Norton’s Revival from Image Comics also entered the top 75, with a captivating Leftovers meets Twin Peaks set inside a place I’ve spent time: Wasau, Wisconsin!
The small-town, mystery and horror of Revival are strong enough through three volumes that I can easily see this book increasing its rank as I read more.
I need to read a whole lot more of Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy, but this first volume was delightful all ages fun.
The first volume of Black Magick was excellent, and my favorite of three Image collections I read this round that were released in 2016. Black Magick snags a spot inside the top 100, although I couldn’t quite bring myself to rank it above another Greg Rucka comic, Stumptown from Oni Press.
There’s an approximately zero percent chance that Paper Girls remains outside my top 100 as the series progresses. The first volume from Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang is wonderful storytelling full of hilarious moments. The venn diagram between “people who liked Stranger Things” and “people who will like Paper Girls” is just a monochromatic circle.
I finally caught up on Negan and the Saviors in the Walking Dead, and after years of meandering an disullision with Kirkman’s Walking Dead, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s no Compendium 1, but it’s nice to be back on the hellish, neverending torment-go-round.
Great concept, mildly grating execution. Skottie Young is one of the most entertaining creators in comics, and I Hate Fairlyand is worth a read.
The New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman and George Perez (volume 1 & 2)
Obviously I’m more of a Marvel nutjob, but this best of list should help prove I love more than my fair share of DC Comics too. The first sixteen issues of The New Teen Titans, though? Meh. It’s fine, I suppose, but for the DC book most often compared to Claremont, Cockrum, and Byrne Uncanny X-Men: How dare you strawmen make such a comparison!
To be fair, I’ve only read the first sixteen issues, and I’m sure New Teen Titans improves as Wolfman and Perez progress towards Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The fact that Kirkman and Adlard were able to sustain the comedown from Compendium 1 as effectively as they did is something of a small miracle. It’s my least favorite stretch of the Dead compendiums, but it’s not like I didn’t read each and every issue with an insatiable hunger.
I love many Rick Remender comics (Fear Agent is the highest on my list in the high 30’s). The Last Days of American Crime did not work for me. It isn’t my least favorite comic on the list (congrats again, Wanted!), but, I’ll be honest, I’d actually rather read Final Crisis again.
What do you think? Rankings way off? Any books you’d recommend I add? Do what feels right to you in the comments.