THE BEST ONGOING SERIES OF THE YEAR
Astro City. (Vertigo) While most contemporary superhero books attempt to make their champions relatable to audiences by thrusting tech devices into their hands, or having them endure some other equally misguided now-ism, Kurt Busiek and Brent Eric Anderson have kept their seminal Astro City spry by playing it straight. Nestled in their warm, loving home at Vertigo, Astro City has found a new lease on life, telling fantastic superhero stories with a straight-faced, no-nonsense demeanor that would make Gardner Fox brim with pride. And yet Astro City never feels dated. It stays relevant — even subversive — by reminding the world that superheroes were always meant to be larger than life. There’s majesty to be found there. So long as Busiek and Anderson put pen to page, you can bet I’ll keep my roots planted in Astro City. — JJ
Star Wars. (Marvel Comics) Aren’t you just so tired of all these Star Wars? Despite the overexposure the series is currently experiencing, I’m happy to say I’m not. (And neither are most of you, if my Facebook and Twitter feeds are any sort of indication.) And, nearly a year ago, when all this galactic hype had yet to reach its apex, Marvel’s new Star Wars ongoing debuted. And it sold almost a million copies, a feat not achieved in almost twenty years.
The creator roster has been most impressive; Marvel wanted to make sure their new baby was in good hands, so masterful chameleon Jason Aaron was brought on as writer, and his dialogue—for every single character—rings eerily true. The a-list artists involved—John Cassaday, Mike Deodato, and the sublime Stuart Immonen—have all been able to achieve great likeness but still maintain its movement and thrilling action (especially Mr. Immonen, whose likenesses are quite possibly perfect). Each issue moves along effortlessly and joyfully: it undeniably feels the most like Star Wars than any other comic or book published (the close work with Lucasfilm is likely a big part of that). There is a joy, and a love of the original trilogy, that undeniably comes through in this series, making this book an unmissable read every single month. — MJ
Sex Criminals. (Image Comics) For something that started as something that seemed like a joke, Sex Criminals sure has done a ton of socially progressive, paradigm-altering things during its run. There’s never been anything like it before, and likely will be nothing after its’ gone. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky have tapped into a vein of the comic world that has long been mystified, shunned, or just puritanically ignored.
The series addresses issues of sex with aplomb and humor, confirming that many peoples’ divergent sexual habits or kinks aren’t damningly horrible actions or socially unacceptable secrets, but simple expressions of sensuality within a wide array of human beings. Most people have sex and most people do it in many different ways, and that’s all mostly okay. This is untouched territory in comics, and while it might not be a brave act of defiance, it’s certainly a groundbreaking move toward progress.
This is all well and good, but an important note to clarify is that this book is so well made it’s easy to forget about the social advancements at hand. The dream team behind the title is constantly jamming every issue with engaging intrigue and hilariously on-point one-liners. At this point, Sex Criminals is functioning on its own plane. It breaks rules with fun add ons like porno mag wrappers and an insane Tumblr fanbase. It’s Brimper merchandise and cultivated community of ultra-fans is an attestation of the quality of the series and its ability to continuously connect with the audience on a level that few others could ever boast. With every new issue, I’m in awe of so many of the series’ moving parts and the creators’ ability to keep it all so refined, balanced, and enjoyable. — SS
8House. (Image Comics) 8house is an ambitious, sprawling epic, featuring as many worlds as there are creative teams behind its stories. Lady Arclight’s elegant fantasy of androgyne blood magicians. Kiem and her off-planet psychically linked soldier twin. Yorris, the only girl who can see the psychic horrors bound to her clan’s ancient rituals. The uniting thread that ties these strange Houses together is war.
Royalty, soldiers and civilians, each have their own story, a unique and specific individual point of view told in 8house, each a study on how to maintain an intimate relationship during wartime, far in the future. What makes this series the series of the year for me is its potential. All these worlds and characters featured in but a few issues, and nothing is quite near finished yet. The book is thick with mystery and I am eager to follow all the paths it has laid. I can hardly imagine where they’ll go or how they’ll cross. My eyes go to the horizon, to 2016, patiently excited, waiting for answers. What more can you ask of a comic book? — AOK
What’s YOUR choice for Best Ongoing Series of 2015? Let us know in the comments section below.