2015 has been a great year for comics and graphic novels. It seems that 2015 was the year publishers finally understood that yes, their readership is diverse and began to reflect that in their releases.
As a result we’ve gotten such a wide variety of books with strong female characters, racial diversity, LGBTQ+ characters and very few costumes with boob windows (WOO!).
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Check out my picks for Best Comics & Graphic Novels of 2015 below:
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
Lord Ballister Blackheart has a point to make, and his point is that the good guys aren’t as good as they seem. He makes a comfortable living as a supervillain, but never really seems to accomplish much – until he takes on a new sidekick, Nimona, a shapeshifter with her own ideas of how things should be done. Unfortunately, most of those ideas involve blowing things up. Now Ballister must teach his young protégé some restraint and try to keep her from destroying everything, while simultaneously attempting to expose the dark dealings of those who claim to be the protectors of the kingdom – including his former best friend turned nemesis, Ambrosius Goldenloin.
Nimona is a must read, it’s funny and quirky and refreshingly different. Also, Nimona’s a shapeshifter…I mean…do I really need to say anything else to win you over? SHAPESHIFTER!
Thor: The Goddess of Thunder – Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman
Mjolnir lies on the moon, unable to be lifted! Something dark has befallen the God of Thunder, leaving him unworthy for the first time ever! But when Frost Giants invade Earth, the hammer will be lifted — and a mysterious woman will be transformed into an all-new version of the mighty Thor! Who is this new Goddess of Thunder? Not even Odin knows, but she may be Earth’s only hope against the Frost Giants! Get ready for a Thor like you’ve never seen before, as this all-new heroine takes Midgard by storm! Plus: The Odinson clearly doesn’t like that someone else is holding his hammer — it’s Thor vs. Thor! And Odin, desperate to see Mjolnir returned, will call on some very dangerous, very unexpected allies. It’s a bold new chapter in the storied history of Thor!
I didn’t know what to expect when Marvel first announced that they would be making Thor a female. I mean, WOO! More strong female characters! but also…you have to admit, this could have went SO wrong. Thankfully, Jason Aaron worked his magic and Thor is really wonderful.
Jem and The Holograms: Showtime – Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell
Meet Jerrica Benton – a girl with a secret. She and her sister Kimber team with two friends to become… JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS! But what does it mean to be JEM today? Fashion, art, action, and style collide in Jem and the Holograms: Showtime!
Excuse me for a moment, I may yell. THIS COMIC IS THE BEST THING TO COME OUT OF 2015…OR MAYBE EVER. Jem and The Holograms is easily one of my favourite comics and perhaps the one I look forward to most each month. It’s cute, colourful, diverse, and witty…it’s everything I didn’t know I wanted in a comic and I LOOOVEEE it. So read it. Please?
Wytches: Volume 1 – Scott Snyder and Jock
When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry.
Wytches was a nice change from what I usually read. It’s haunting and beautiful and the art is just incredible. Whether you’re a fan of horror or not, this comic is worth a read.
Learn the story behind this alternate reality where the Second World War is fought by superpowered women on the front lines and behind the scenes! It all begins with the stories of Batwoman, Wonder Woman and Supergirl.
I was way too excited about this book. Badass pin-up style super women in the 30’s and 40’s? YES PLEASE. This isn’t your typical superhero comic -the story is a really great play on women’s roles in the second world war.
Gotham Academy: Welcome to Gotham Academy – Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher
Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school is a very strange place. It’s got a spooky campus, oddball teachers, and rich benefactors always dropping by…like that weirdo Bruce Wayne. But nothing is as strange as the students! Like, what’s up with Olive Silverlock? Is she crazy or what? Where did she go last summer? And what’s the deal with her creepy mom? And how come that freshman Maps is always following her around? And is she still going out with Kyle? P.S. Did you hear the rumor about the ghost in the North Hall?!
As someone that’s not the biggest DC fan (despite DC titles appearing several times on this list), Gotham Academy is a real exception. It’s not a superhero comic – at least not completely. It’s a really fun look at all the weird that goes on in Gotham from a perspective we don’t often get to see; a perspective that isn’t Batman’s.
Lumberjanes to the Max Edition – Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters and Grace Ellis
At Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams! Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.
I’ve talked about Lumberjanes SO much this year, so I’m simply going to say – it’s amazing, you should read it. That is all.
Wayward: String Theory – Jim Zub and Steven Cummings
Rori Lane is trying to start a new life when she reunites with her mother in Japan, but ancient creatures lurking in the shadows of Tokyo sense something hidden deep within her, threatening everything she holds dear. Can Rori unlock the secrets of her power before it’s too late?
This addition to this list was suggested to me by a few people on twitter (Hi Spunkeydoodle!). I have’t had the opportunity to read it yet, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about it and I will most definitely be adding it to my list.
D4VE – Ryan Ferrier and Fiona Staples
Primetime TV; mortgages; traffic jams. The robots conquered earth, wiping out all life in the galaxy, but nothing changed. Meet D4VE, the greatest robot war hero, now trapped behind a desk at a soul-sucking day job. Can something, somewhere snap him out of this slump? Will a new presence on 34RTH ignite his long-lost spark for battle?
I picked up the first issue of D4VE on a whim this year. It looked funny and I thought I’d give it a try and I’m so happy I did. This book is so out there, and hilarious – if you’re looking for something a little outside the box, pick this up.
Batgirl: Batgirl of Burnside – Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart
Barbara Gordon is no stranger to dusting herself off when disaster strikes, so when a fire destroys everything she owns, she spots the opportunity for a new lease on life – and seizes it! Following the rest of Gotham City’s young adults to the hip border district of Burnside, Barbara sets about building an all-new Batgirl…and discovers new threats preying on her peers! As the new hero of Burnside, Batgirl gets started by facing twin sister assassins on motorcycles!
I love Batgirl (Barbara Gordon Batgirl that is). Batgirl was the first DC title I got into and she is definitely one of my favourite badass women in comics, but I have to admit I was a bit scared about the “redesign”. Oh boy, was I wrong. Batgirl of Burnside is sooo great, and Babs Tarr’s art is PERFECT.
Saga: Volume 5 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
While Gwendolyn and Lying Cat risk everything to find a cure for The Will, Marko makes an uneasy alliance with Prince Robot IV to find their missing children, who are trapped on a strange world with terrifying new enemies.
This is another addition to the list from my twitter followers (namely, Superbang). I haven’t gotten to Volume 5 of Saga yet, but I’m close and I have absolutely no doubt that Volume 5 is as good as all the previous volumes.
Rat Queens: The Far-Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth – Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
This booze-soaked second volume of RAT QUEENS reveals a growing menace within the very walls of Palisade. And while Dee may have run from her past, the bloated, blood-feasting sky god N’rygoth never really lets his children stray too far.
Hi, I’m Stacey and I have a slight obsession with Rat Queens. I mean seriously, did you think I’d make it through a best of… list without having Rat Queens on here? Not a chance!
SuperMutant Magic Academy – Jillian Tamaki
the SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep-school for mutants and witches but their paranormal abilities take a back seat to everyday teen concerns.
Science experiments go awry, bake sales are upstaged, and the new kid at school is a cat who will determine the course of human destiny. In one strip, lizard-headed Trixie frets about her nonexistent modeling career; in another, the immortal Everlasting Boy tries to escape this mortal coil to no avail. Throughout it all, closeted Marsha obsesses about her unrequited crush, the cat-eared Wendy.
I love X-Men AND all things magical, that’s not a secret – SuperMutant Magic Academy is such a cute and fun play on mutants, witches and teen angst. It’s just so weird and wonderful; it’s a book you didn’t know you wanted.
Ms. Marvel: Generation Why – G. Willow Wilson and Jacob Wyatt
Who is the Inventor, and what does he want with the all-new Ms. Marvel and all her friends? Maybe Wolverine can help! If Kamala can stop fan-girling out about meeting her favorite super hero, that is. Then, Kamala crosses paths with Inhumanity – by meeting the royal dog, Lockjaw! But why is Lockjaw really with Kamala? As Ms. Marvel discovers more about her past, the Inventor continues to threaten her future. Kamala bands together with some unlikely heroes to stop the maniacal villain before he does real damage, but has she taken on more than she can handle? And how much longer can Ms. Marvel’s life take over Kamala Khan’s?
Everyone loves Kamala Khan…if you don’t love her I’m seriously questioning our friendship. She’s the perfect coming-of-age/coming-to-terms-with-being-a-superhero story, and she speaks for all of us fangirls and guys. What’s not to love about an awkward, geeky, super-heroine?
Sex Criminals: Two Worlds, One Cop – Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
The second storyline from the Eisner-award winning SEX CRIMINALS finds the honeymoon to be over for Jon and Suzie. Once the thrill of new lust fades, where do you go?
Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky can do no wrong in my eyes, but Sex Criminals remains one of my favourites. Two Worlds, One Cop did not disappoint.
What comics or graphic novels were on your “Best of” list this year? Let me know in the comments below.