Comics 2018

Should the comics roundup be an annual thing? Why not.

A bunch of Marvel books are being canceled early this year. Needless to say, not the established money makers but more offbeat, quirky ones, which are the ones I tend to like. Dammit.

These are comics I’m following, or used to follow but have stopped in the past year. The ones that I’ve heard have been canceled, or that have gone missing for a long time, and the ones I’ve stopped reading, I’m putting in red.

Web comics

  • Alice Grove, by Jeph Jacques. This was a limited duration story which wrapped up this year. Good stuff! Fun characters.
  • Atomic Robo, by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener. Sort of both a web comic and a book: it’s structured like a book, and eventually printed and electronically distributed as one, but first it’s published one page per day as a free web comic. I feel like it’s not quite up to what it was a couple years ago, with some stories that haven’t really gelled for me and some guest art I didn’t go for, but it’s still good most of the time. Currently Robo is in trouble with Richard Branson and I love that.
  • Bad Machinery, by John Allison. This was Allison’s third web comic featuring more or less the same cast of characters from the fictional Yorkshire village of Tackleford, and is near the top of my list of favorite comics. This year he announced he’d be winding it up by the end of the year and moving on to a new, entirely different, non Tackleford comic. And then he announced that due to some Exciting New Things to be announced, alongside which he didn’t think he could also develop a new comic, Bad Machinery would be un-cancelled for now. I’m confident whatever Allison does I’ll enjoy it, but I’m glad it’ll be Bad Machinery for a while longer. I’ll miss the Winters sisters when they’re gone.
  • Blindsprings, by Kadi Fedoruk. Magic wars in an alternate universe. Updating regularly. Well, was before Christmas; now the RSS feed is broken or missing and there’s an error message on the front page. Uh oh. Still great art. The story’s sort of meandering slowly but it’s getting there.
  • The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo, by Drew Weing. A boy and his friend the monster hunter. This sort of comes and goes. Lately kind of sporadic, but a new chapter splash page just went up. Fun when it happens.
  • Dresden Codak, by Aaron Diaz. Still updating more or less regularly but no more than a page every several weeks, the story’s just getting better and better and weirder. It’s about… uh… there’s this young woman and this city and… cyborgs… rogue science… look, just read it.
  • Drive, by Dave Kellett. Comic space opera with serious undertones. One of my favorites, alternating pages of Kellett’s main story with other writers’ and artists’ guest stories, and they’re all fun.
  • Dumbing of Age, by David M. Willis. Slices of college life, but more interesting than my college life was. Strips of this new comic are appearing daily.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court, by Tom Siddell. Seems to be the only web comic I’ve picked up this year. I’d seen it recommended several times, and started reading it once but decided I didn’t go for it. Last year I looked at it again, and this time it took hold. I think part of my problem was I didn’t like the art at first, but it’s evolved and I think improved since the start of the story. A girl in a mysterious school with ghosts, robots, talking animals, immortal teachers, stuff like that.
  • It’s Walky!, by David M. Willis. College comic turned SF adventure. Reruns of this old comic are appearing daily.
  • Iverly, by Jeffrey J. Rowland. Adventures in a hollow Earth. Finally a few pages popped up a couple months ago ending this story. But the main characters have turned up in new installments of his (interrupted in 2015) Overcompensating comic.
  • Johnny Wander, by Yuko Ota and Ananth Panagariya. They finished up two chapters of Is This What You Wanted by Ananth and  Tessa & Sarah Stone, also published on its own site here, and have gotten back to their Barbarous story. Which is getting going slower than I like, but I’m following. Young woman gets job maintaining apartments. Oh, and her partner isn’t human. And she uses magic, but badly. Meanwhile I don’t know if Is This What You Wanted has any future — nothing past Chapter 2 has appeared since March.
  • Lovelace and Babbage, by Sydney Padua. What it says on the box. Unfortunately that one update in October 2016 has never been followed up.
  • The Meek, by Der-shing Helmer. Updating but pretty slow going — I feel like the story’s still just getting started after several years. I’m not even sure I know quite what it’s about yet.
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, by Justin Pierce. World’s most sarcastic superheroine aside from Jessica Jones. No longer running regularly but pops up now and again.
  • The Otherknown, by Lora Merriman. Still going, and definitely time travel. Which has made for some confusing story lines when read a couple pages a week, but it all made sense when I went back and reread all at once.
  • Questionable Content, by Jeph Jacques. One of the first web comics I ever started following and I still am. Every few years it evolves into something almost unrecognizable, though most of the old characters are still around. Currently there’s a lot of Faye and Bubbles’ robot repair shop. Also Winslow has a boy body now. When was Roko Basilisk introduced, last year or this? Well, she’s fairly new and one of my favorite characters. And then there’s Melon.
  • Real Science Adventures, written by Brian Clevinger. An Atomic Robo spinoff. No updates since June. I’d been less than entranced by this one in the preceding year or so.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, by Zach Weinersmith. Still daily and one of the nerdiest comics around.
  • Scenes From a Multiverse, by Jonathan Rosenberg. Gag comic in suspiciously familiar alternate universes. On hiatus while Jon deals with family health issues. His Goats strip started to come back but there were only three new strips this year.
  • Spacetrawler, by Christopher Baldwin. SF comedy. I lost interest and stopped following.
  • Sufficiently Remarkable, by Maki Naro. A young artist in the city. Still frustrating: there have been some updates this year, but not many and none since September.
  • Wondermark, by David Malki. Still going and still great.
  • XKCD, by Randall Munroe. Likewise.

Comic books

I’m still following a bunch of Marvel comics, none from DC, and a few others. The Marvel ones I not only wait for the (e-book) trades, I wait for the trades to go on sale, so I’m several months behind the current story lines. What can I say, I’m cheap. Fortunately, one of those sales just happened for eight books on my to-buy list (mostly $2.25 or $2.75 at Amazon, huzzah), so I’m not as far behind as I was.

  • All-New Guardians Of The Galaxy (Marvel) follows on from Guardians of the Galaxy: New Guard. Not great but I like it. Word is, though, this iteration is ending this month (at #150, new/old Legacy numbering).
  • Black Widow (Marvel) has ended.
  • Captain America: Sam Wilson (Marvel) has ended. It was interesting seeing a black Captain America but honestly not that compelling. But I think I’ll follow his return to the Falcon role for a while at least. You know what Captain America I’d really want to read? The Earth-65 one from Spider-Gwen. She seems like she could have a great series.
  • Daredevil (Marvel) I started reading after I watched the Netflix series. (I watched Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist too, but didn’t pick up those books.) Caught up through Vol. 5 and I think I’ll stop there. It’s just not holding my interest enough. It’s also one of the least diverse comics on this list — Vol. 5 had almost no women or, except for the story that takes place in China, people of color in significant roles.
  • Defenders (Marvel) And I did pick up the first Defenders trade after watching the Netflix show. Interesting to compare with Daredevil Vol. 5: More action, more gags, more diversity, more characters I care about. And they didn’t wrap up the story line, so I’m in for Vol. 2. But this was written by Brian Michael Bendis, who’s leaving Marvel, so.
  • Doctor Strange (Marvel) spawned Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme, a limited series; pretty weird, but probably not very memorable. Still following the main one. Liking Zelma. I’m still reading the Jason Aaron books but there’s a new writer currently.
  • Giant Days (BOOM! Box) is still great. Three girls go to college, hilarity ensues. John Allison’s a fine, funny writer and Max Sarin’s art is wonderful. Put a gun to my head and tell me I can only read one comic for the next six months, and this is probably what I’d pick.
  • Hawkeye (Marvel) is the Kate Bishop Hawkeye, and the first volume was… pretty good. We’ll see. But we won’t see much, because it’s ending in March.
  • Hulk (Marvel) is Jennifer Walters, She-Hulk — Bruce Banner being dead (for now), he can’t complain. Weirdly, issues 1 through 11 say “Hulk” on the cover but the corresponding trades say “She-Hulk”. After issue 11 is issue 159, because of the Legacy renumbering, and beginning there the single issues say “She-Hulk”. Anyway, whatever the title is, I’m reading. For now. But it’s canceled too, after about March.
  • Infamous Iron Man (Marvel), starring Victor Von Doom, was another limited series. Interesting. I can’t muster much more enthusiasm than that… but interesting enough to have been worth buying.
  • Invincible Iron Man (Marvel). I’m just getting into the early days of Riri Williams at this point. Another Bendis book, currently, so we’ll see what happens.
  • Lumberjanes (BOOM! Box) I dropped. Obviously I’m not the book’s target audience, but I enjoyed the first couple dozen issues anyway. But by that time I felt like there was nothing really new being brought to the table.
  • Mighty Captain Marvel (Marvel) is still on my reading list. Never been my favorite book, but good enough to grab the trades on sale.
  • Mighty Thor (Marvel) is, I think, pretty great. I’ve really been liking Jason Aaron’s writing lately, and I love Russell Dauterman’s art. Now … hang on, do I still have to give spoiler warnings before talking about Thor’s secret identity? OK, you’ve been warned. Anyway,
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    Jane Foster is of course dying of cancer, and the current story line is called “The Death of the Mighty Thor”, so presumably either Aaron is complicit in the mother of all red herrings or Foster’s hammer-slinging time will be coming to an end soon. And if so, I’ll miss her. I was never much interested in the original Thor (I did recently pick up Aaron’s Thor issues from before Foster, and they were all right, but I’ve liked the recent writing and art better) but maybe the series will still be compelling when she’s gone; I’ll give it a chance. [Update: Apparently this story line will be the end of Aaron’s run on the title, as well (presumably) as the end of Jane, so… not sure how much of a chance I’ll give it beyond this.] Of course death for a Marvel main character is generally temporary, so I expect we’ll see Foster again someday, and if she gets some more smiting in then, so much the better.
  • Monstress (Image) features some truly gorgeous art, and an interesting story about a half-wolf woman and her inner monster. Like Vol. 1 better than 2, but I plan on picking up 3.
  • Motor Crush (Image) started up late last year and I thought it was pretty good to start with. Lately I’ve been thinking it better than pretty good. The main character, Domino Swift, is a motorcycle racer in an alternate/near future world, legitimate races by day and more violent races by night. The title refers to an illegal “machine narcotic” that enhances motorcycle performance… but it turns out it’s also something Domino needs herself, and lately its effects have been getting very weird. I’m liking the story and the art. One of my favorite books right now.
  • Ms Marvel (Marvel) is where I started with Marvel, and I’m still there. G. Willow Wilson writes well, and the art is excellent (though I miss Adrian Alphona).
  • Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat (Marvel) is done. It was good.
  • Princeless (Action Lab) is back from a lengthy hiatus with a new volume, but I haven’t read it yet. [Update: as of a few days later, yes I have, and she’s still out there evading her father’s goons and rescuing her sisters, and Vol. 7 is teased at the end but who knows when?]
  • Rocket (Marvel), a 6-issue series, succeeded Rocket Raccoon. Fun times with a wistful ending.
  • Silk (Marvel) has ended. I liked it. She’s a quippy cocky superhero with an interesting backstory.
  • Spider-Gwen (Marvel) is the one spider-female still going, and I’m still following. Not sure I’m altogether liking the story line I’m on, with Matt Murdock as an alternate universe supervillain, but I’m aboard.
  • Spider-Woman (Marvel) has ended too. I had little interest in her until she ditched her awful Spandex costume in favor of something more practical and less objectifying, and took up private investigating with a reformed porcupine super villain, and that I liked.
  • Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Marvel) seems to be a lot of people’s favorite Marvel book. I’m not quite as enthusiastic, but it’s up there.
  • Unbelievable Gwenpool (Marvel) is one I ignored for a while but finally picked up. Contrary to what one might think, knowledge and appreciation of Deadpool are not required. In fact Gwen herself doesn’t read Deadpool. I’m liking it more than I expected. It’s very meta and silly and I will follow it to the end. Which will be in February. Dammit.

Graphic novels

I think the only graphic novel I’ve read this past year was

  • Cleopatra in Spaaaace! (Book 4) by Mike Maihack. It’s about Cleopatra. In space. Again, I’m not the target audience, but I enjoy it.

 

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