Best of 2014: Comic Books

It was a large transitional year for comic books in 2014. It’s been three years since the launch of the DC New 52 (we still calling it “new?”), Marvel gave us a number of reboots and re-imaginings of familiar characters and creator-owned books kind stepped up as more than just a small market annoyance to the big two. The crew came up with their favorites in addition to some reader votes as well.

Best Teenage Hero:

Kamala Khan (G. Willow Wilson)

Hey, 2014 couldn’t be everyone’s year to shine and that’s okay because this year Kamala Khan took the spotlight and made all of us believers. Seriously, one of her nicknames happens to be “BNP’s adopted little sister” and we should probably put that on a t-shirt. She not only used those  amazing Embiggen hands to crush racist dudebros AND sexist dudebros, she proved that, in regards to comics– digital media is most certainly not going anywhere. Kamala Khan rose to be a face of diversity and a change in growing positive representation of women in comics, which is always something needed. There are several teenage superheroes that are worth noting but Ms Marvel, our dear rising star Kamala, shone the brightest this year and we look forward to seeing her for a long time to come. – Carrie

Reader’s Vote: Kamala Khan

Best Single Issue:

Moon Knight #5

Listen, what hero you know in the game rolling up into a trap house in an Armani suit personally putting pink slips in folks ass? Marc “The voices in my head are my hype man” Spector, that’s who. This issue was a clear nod to The Raid as well as beat’em up video games like Streets of Rage. Warren Ellis gave Moon Knight a make over this issue. This isn’t a typical ass whooping this is the Marvel Director’s Cut we been waiting to see. Declan Shalvey gave us the most gritty fight sequences through hallways & stairwells. This was the issue that reminds you why you fuck with comics and how a hero like Moon Knight can go from C-list to “DID YOU READ THAT MOON KNIGHT ISSUE?!?!” in the hands of a capable team. – Omar

Reader’s Vote: Saga #19

Best Writer:

Brian Michael Bendis

Honestly, it shouldn’t even come as a shock that Brian Michael Bendis is our top dog in the writers category. It’s been a great year for the guy. From the X-books chronicling the feud between the mutant schools to Guardians of the Galaxy to the shady crime drama of The United States of Murder Inc., Bendis pushes paper left and right like he’s using the Force. Not only has he kept a consistent Spider Man book in winning form for almost 15 years, but he’s the mind behind Black Nerd Problems’ adopted son and successor to Ultimate Peter Parker, Miles Morales. His penchant for character development and witty dialogue is unmistakable whether it’s in the panels or in the upcoming television show based on his hit comic, Powers. It’s going to be fun to see how much more awesomeness he can juggle in 2015. – Oz

Reader’s Vote: Brian K. Vaughan

Best Artist:

Fiona Staples

2014 was the Year of Fiona Staples. With beautiful landscapes, amazing character design, and remarkable creativity, Fiona has become one of the most well-respected illustrators in the comic book industry and BNP’s winner for Best Artist. Coupled with writer Brian K. Vaughan, each Saga issue can leave you debating which you enjoy more — the story or the artwork. Fortunately for readers, the answer is a win-win. – Jordan

Reader’s Vote: Fiona Staples

Best Single Cover Art:

Ms. Marvel #7 (Jamie McKelvie)

And you say Kamala Kahn! Kamala is a fangirl that became a hero who kicked down the doors to our hearts and said, “Yall see all these feels in here? They mine now”. Hers is a series that wasn’t supposed to make it to the double digits but she isn’t being denied. Kamala has also had some of the best comic covers in the game. This one in particular by Jamie Mckelvie truly captures the new trend of today’s youth. We got Kamala with one of the most iconic Marvel characters taking a selfie together. We could go so far as to say this comic cover represents a passing of the torch and growing with the times on Marvel’s behalf as well. Kamala represents so much as a woman of color and a herald for a new age and wave of comic readers moving forward. – Omar

Best Story Arc:

Batman: Zero Year (Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo)

Look, I know, you’re sick of Christian Bale’s growling, Batfleck speculation and DC’s 34 different books that originate from Gotham in some fashion. Comic books can still be underground, indies are where the real writing and innovation is happening and yada yada yada. So here’s some bad news, pure comics guy: Batman, the most popular comic book hero since before Nolan made everything grim and depressing, is still one of the best comic books around. Period. And no book had a better story arc in 2014 than Batman Zero Year. We saw Batman fail. FAIL HUGE. And still pick himself up and save Gotham, eventually. With spotlights put on villains (The Riddler of course) and heroes (Fox and Gordon), Snyder and Capullo did what we around here call, the Lawd’s Work.William

Best Continuous Series:

Saga (Brian K. Vaughan / Fiona Staples)

Saga changed the game. So when the beloved comic returned it like was reuniting with a old friend or a precious play toy from childhood. Hell even a cherished mixtape…or mix cd, first generation mp3 player? (Whatever your generation identifies with) An incredible story set it’s foundation down and we followed it. When it returned to us, it did NOT let us down: we were breaking bread with old characters and looking at a slew of new problems. Many forget that Hazel, formerly baby Hazel, now toddler Hazel is the true narrator of this story. We knew this first issue in many, many moons ago. Along the way we fell in step with different characters, followed them into danger and even had to mourn the ones that left us. All the many lives that are intersecting are apart of the much bigger story that is Hazel’s story and we were glad to have it back. Give us the world building. Give us the iconic characters. Give us the chaos. Give us the heart break. We’re ready for the next story arc. We’re ever ready in our hearts for the next chapter. Saga: Bring it. – Carrie

Reader’s Vote: Saga

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