Happiest of holidays, comic fans! Welcome to this week’s issue of your RVA Comics X-Change, and the final issue of 2019, featuring our End of the Year review, where we take a quick snapshot of the year in comics that was 2019.
For today’s issue, we decided to reach out to some of our friends in comics who were kind enough to help us out with recommendations throughout this year. These are some of their favorite reads from the year that was 2019, and what we were digging as we trudged along.
Our friends at Alpha Comics and Games in Willow Lawn have been there with us since the start, and have recommended quite a few of our own personal favorites. Not only do they themselves have great taste, but they always know just what to recommend you, even when you can’t tell what you’re in the mood for.
Something is Killing the Children, by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’edera
“It reminds me a little of some storylines in Hellboy, so it’s definitely a good read while you wait for The Return of Effie Kolb,” said Co-Owner Alex Smith. “It’s really really hard to sum up the ‘book of the year’ when there are always so many awesome things out, but Something Is Killing The Children was one of the few releases this year that actively caters to things I like.”
Canto, by David M. Booher and Drew Zucker
Smith also passed along a recommendation from her partner in Alpha Comics, Co-Owner Brianna Beebe. “Brianna’s comic of the year would be the delightful fantasy comic Canto,” Smith said. “While it has lots of references to existing fantasy works like The Wizard of Oz, it takes them and builds them into a fascinating and rich world completely of it’s own. The story is emotionally resonant, if a little sad at times — but the whole experience of the comic is wonderful.”
Josh Wright has been another recurring face with us this year, helping us find the balance between indie comics and tried and true mainstream. When Josh hasn’t been researching the next comic to talk about with us, he can be seen doing improv comedy with his two-person team, Sweet Sweet Angel Babies, or slinging some solid jams with his band, Lovely Dove (also a duo, because Wright is nothing if not consistent).
Sentient, by Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta
“The humanity Lemire brings to his sci fi books is always a joy!” said Wright. “The oversized format from TKO really showcases Walta’s artwork. Can a spaceship’s A.I. take care of children who suddenly find themselves all alone? If you love The Vision or Descender, check out Sentient.”
Our own Editor-In-Chief, Marilyn Drew Necci, also helped us out this year by taking the time to give us the low down on her favorites as well. When she isn’t reminding me I need to read Paper Girls, she is also telling you the best shows you need to keep on your radar every week in her weekly show column.
Bad Weekend, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
“It’s a dark crime story that takes place at and around a comic book convention, featuring main characters who are washed-up, struggling industry vets trying to survive any way they can,” said Necci. “It’s not only a great crime story but a great look at the darker side of the comics world, where work-for-hire policies continue to rip off many of our best creators. ”
I decided to break my own rules and offer two favorites for the year instead of just one (it’s so hard to narrow it down!). However, I went against the very foundation of my comics fandom in my recommendations – neither are pop culture-based or remotely related to Betty or her frenemy for life, Veronica.
Fearless, by Seanan McGuire, Kelly Thompson, and Leah Williams
I will go anywhere and do anything for the women of Marvel’s Avengers. When I found out that there was an anthology series coming out this year that not only featured them, but less-covered characters like Jessica Jones? I couldn’t have been more excited – except then I discovered that it is also incredible. This four-part series is out now, with a trade paperback collection more than likely to be released sometime in 2020.
Snotgirl, by Bryan Lee O’Malley & Leslie Hung
This series is so divisive, and I get it, but it still bums me out. A lot of people criticize O’Malley’s approach to twenty-something women as being similarly empty as that of YA Author John Green’s approach to teenage girls, which is a shame. I of course disagree, and I think that this is honestly some of O’Malley’s best writing to date. Some of the later issues of this series are stronger and more thought-out than his iconic Scott Pilgrim series, which only goes to show that when he takes more time to go above and beyond vapid slacker humor, he really hits the mark.
Thank you again for getting us through yet another year, comic fans. With so much going on both in print and on the film side of things, such as the release of a little-known film called Avengers: Endgame, it’s been a pretty big year. What have your favorites been? What are you looking forward to in 2020?
As always, until next time, comic fans.
Top Image via Superman’s Christmas Adventure, Vol. 2, #1 (1944)