The year 2015 is upon us, but before we can more forward, we have to take the time to look at the past. 2014 brought readers some amazing moments by some amazing talent and the staff of Comic Vine decide to pick their favorites.
Because we all have such different tastes in comics, we all discussed what books, stories, and creators we all loved, between us and voted from there. Let's dive right into what we loved from 2014 and tell you folks why they were our favorites from the past year.
Favorite On-Going Series - BATMAN
Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Greg Capullo
Ink: Danny Miki
Colors: FCO Plascencia
We live in a time filled with some amazing comics and stories featuring the art and writing of some amazing talent. Picking our favorite on-going series was incredibly tough, but there's one series that edged out above the rest: BATMAN.
With the Zero Year story wrapping up and the new Joker-driven Endgame kicking off, BATMAN has been an unbelievable ride in 2014.
Scott Snyder has shown he can tackle both long-form storylines as well as a more traditional, trade-sized one and have both be just as compelling as the other. A big stand-out part of this book is the art, which gives the series a dark and a bit of a horror tone from time to time. Artist Greg Capullo is doing wonders on this book with Danny Miki on inks. They've really helped define the look of Batman for the New 52, but we can't forget colorist FCO Plascencia, who aside from just some solid, consistent work, found time to throw in a few beautiful sunsets.
Runner up: SAGA
Favorite Limited Series - THE WAKE
Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Sean Gordon Murphy
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Scott Snyder and Sean Gordon Murphy spent most of their time with THE WAKE exploring the boundaries of horror, action, and science fiction.
In THE WAKE, the reader is treated to the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean and the creatures that lay beneath. In addition, the origin of man is examined as well as the future. Sound like a lot? It is but it's one heck of a read.
He and Sean Murphy’s miniseries has been quite an interesting read. We’ve seen the story spread over time and get some pretty strange revelations in this issue. Snyder’s concepts and Murphy’s art have made this a gorgeous and exciting story. Of course it’s a bummer that it was always set as a ten-issue series. We can’t help but want more.
Sean Murphy's art, with Hollingsworth's colors were simply awesome during this series. Putting all these creators together was a fantastic idea and as a collaborative team goes, this was one of the best of the year as well.
Sean Murphy won a 2014 Eisner for his work on this series. Also, THE WAKE won an Eisner for Best Limited Series.
Runner Up: AXIS: HOBGOBLIN
Best New Series - MOON KNIGHT
Writers: Warren Ellis (#1-6)
Brian Wood (#7-)
Art: Declan Shalvey (#1-6)
Greg Smallwood (#7-)
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Marvel's Moon Knight has had an up and down solo run since the character's inception. Mainly, each more recent series has dealt with his sanity more than anything else.
The team of Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire took a different approach to the character and series, MOON KNIGHT, offering more of a one-shot feel to it, which was great for anyone who wanted to jump into the series whenever they wanted, but never feel lost. It gave the reader new insight into Marc Spector as well.
After six issues, Ellis and Shalvey left the book, and Brian Wood and Greg Smallwood took over, and while a big creative team change like this could normally kill a book with a C-List hero, Wood and Smallwood have a hit on their hands and the transition was incredibly smooth.
Runner Up: DEADLY CLASS
Best Writer - Scott Snyder
Out of all the categories the staff voted for on this list, this was the closest because there's so much amazing talent from the writing pool in comics today.
Scott Snyder can seemingly do it all. He can take one of comics most iconic characters and reinvigorate him through some pretty fantastic story lines or he can introduce his own creator-owned book and make people a bit more terrified of trees.
While there are some writers out there that are doing a bit more, what sets Snyder apart is that he's doing a phenomenal job on all of his books. He's taking well known characters and developing great new stories around them and also giving readers something new and interesting, especially over at Vertigo comics.
Best Artist - Fiona Staples
We've seen a galaxy full of amazing designs and some fantastic color-work this past year, as well as prior to this year as well. Her panel to panel storytelling is precise, her art is consistent, and those splash pages she does are downright phenomenal. Her art is just as memorable as the stories or the characters that live within it.
Even some of the more disturbing looking pieces of art within each panel become almost walker-cooler talk points online because she has the ability to turn the disturbing into amazing. Sure, that really sounds super-cheesy and all, but SAGA wouldn't be what it is today without Fiona Staples.
Runner Up: Phil Noto (BLACK WIDOW)
Best Cover Artist - Phil Noto
Although most of 2014 saw Phil Noto working on interiors for a newer Marvel series, BLACK WIDOW, he still had time to do an extra cover, here and there, for other series.
Noto's artistic style is one of the most distinctive of any artist working today and one that is a fan favorite. Aside from how he draws Black Widow, which is pretty dang awesome, quite a few of his covers have a tongue and cheek style to them and sometimes, they spoof artists styles from the past, mainly a lot of 60s ad 70s stuff.
Noto is one hell of an interior artist, but this past year, it's all been about his cover work. Here's to seeing more of it in 2015.
Best Colorist - Jordie Bellaire
It really was the year for colorist as they finally started getting a bit more of the recognition they deserved as they're a hugely important part of comic book art.
This was a huge year for Jordie Bellaire because she seemed to be coloring almost everything we were reading. Luckily, she's really awesome at it and has a distinctive style that seemed to sum up 2014 in comics. If you read comics, you're familiar with her work whether you know it or not.
If you're looking to check out some of her work, we highly recommend MOON KNIGHT from Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey and ZERO from Ales Kot and various artists. She's the glue that holds that book together.
She also won a 2014 Eisner for best coloring.
Best Story Arc - Zero Year
Before Batman truly became the vigilante people know him as now, he had his Zero Year: a year where the Riddler held Gotham City hostage and Bruce, with his first time wearing the Batsuit, was put to the test.
It’s almost unheard of to see a big Batman event remain so self contained. There were some Zero Year tie-ins but they didn’t deal directly with the story and were minimal. This has been our chance at seeing a big Batman story in one title without having to worry about what was going on in other titles.
One of the fascinating things about Batman is his villains and how varied they are. Between Batmad and Riddler, this wasn’t a physical battle but one that required quick thinking on Batman’s part. This is still the younger and less experience Batman we’re talking about. That gives the whole story more of an unknown feeling, despite knowing that Batman has to prevail since this is in the past. Knowing that Batman isn’t necessarily at the top of his game and won’t immediately be able to “beat everyone” has made this a fun and exciting story. I can’t wait for it to be collected so I can re-read it all over again.
Runner Up: Robin Rises
Best Event - Armor Hunters
Comic book publishers sure do put out a lot of events and quite a bit of the time, they either fall flat of start off so slow that reading feels more like homework than fun.
However, this year, Valiant's premiere book, X-O MANOWAR spawned one amazing event that crossed over into a few books and never let up on the action or fun. From start to finish, this was the highlight of the month to read. Writer Robert Venditti sure did put together one heck of an event that really changed the dynamic of the main books involved with it.
The main series, ARMOR HUNTERS, was a fantastic read, but in addition, X-O MANOWAR and the other tie-ins were not only just as important to the event, but also just as enjoyable. Valiant really knew what they were doing with this event and we hope to see more like it in the future.
Runner Up: Death of Wolverine
Best OGN/One-Shot - CHEW: WARRIOR CHICKEN POYO
Writer: John Layman
Art: Rob Guillory
Color: Taylor Wells
Although there were quite a few extremely well done, well crafted one-shots and OGNs this year, we went with the one that made us laugh the most.
There are few one-shots from this past year that filled us with more joy than CHEW: WARRIOR CHICKEN POYO did. It's the same sense of humor of CHEW but with the awesomeness turned up to maximum volume.
The issue is pretty insane and thanks to the fantastic art of Rob Guillory and colors of Taylor Wells, the book looks amazing. As always, John Layman adds his unique sense of humor to create the easily most memorable one-shot of 2014.
Runner Up: SPIDER-MAN: FAMILY BUSINESS
We can't wait to see what the world of comics has in store for us for 2015! What were your favorites of this past year? Let us know in the comment section below!