Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A year of comics/manga/graphic novels (2014)

This is going to be a post of all of the comics/manga/graphic novels (including single issue comics and trade paperbacks, everything with pictures as a way of storytelling) that I read in 2014, and I'm going to point out my complete favorites of the year. Though, I really loved a large portion of what I read this year for this media, and I'm already at the point of wanting to reread certain ones (or waiting impatiently for the series to continue).

I'm not new to any of these things - except single issues comics, I hadn't gotten into those before I discovered Midpoint Comics - but this year I feel like I really got into all of these things. I read a ton and I loved it, I also reread the first manga series, Fruits Basket, that introduced me to the genre (the anime almost dragged me into anime all those years ago. It's come back with a vengeance, I'm going to have to make a post about that, as well).

I'm going to start at the beginning and with that point - manga. I don't know what it is, but I've found myself really enjoying pretty much all the manga/anime I look into it. Which isn't a lot on the manga at all, but that's going to change in 2015 (hopefully. I might of gotten myself or Ouran High School Host Club boxset for Christmas, be jealous. Also - any recs, let me know).

In 2014 I read a good chunk of the Attack on Titan manga very early in the year. And I'm going to have to go back over it, I remember it, just not the small details and I like small details(I guess I could just watch the anime that looks kick-ass. I've seen the first few episodes. And now it's dubbed. However - does anyone else sometimes just put this on to work?) However, I do remember the kick-ass awesomeness - the gore, the plot twists, the characters. (The seriously ridiculous faces of the titans. If you read them, just look at the background titans, be amused and slightly confused).

Fruits Basket I'm not going to say much on, because it'd end with me just flailing. It's definitely part nostolagia at this point, but also - it's just so good. It's a slightly strange subject (but it's manga/anime. What do you expect?) And it's lovely and heartwarming and heartbreaking and I love it to pieces. And those characters.

Graphic Novels: 
I was going to start with comics, but I have realized how many of those I read, so we're saving that for the end. Graphic novels are a lot of fun and I definitely wish I could read more, more of all of these, honestly. With this one, I'm going to list all the ones I've read and then go from there - pinpointing my favorites and such.
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (5/5)
  • Maus, Vol l by Art Spiegelman (5/5)
  • Maus, Vol ll by Art Spiegelman (5/5)
  • Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony (3/5)
  • Coffin Hill, Vol 1 by Caitlin Kittredgg (4/5)
  • Boxers (Boxers and Saints #1) by Gene Luen Yang (5/5)
  • Saints (Boxers and Saints #2) by Gene Luen Yang (5/5)
  • Zita the Spacegirl (Zita #1) by Ben Hatke (4/5)
  • Legends of Zita the Spacegirl (Zita #2) by Ben Hatke (5/5)
  • Return of Zita the Spacegirl (Zita #3) by Ben Hatke (5/5)
  • Clockwork Angel: Manga (#1) by Cassie Clare, HyeKyung Baek (4/5)
  • Clockwork Prince, Manga (#2) by Cassie Clare, HyeKyung Baek (5/5)
  • Clockwork Princess, Manga (#3) by Cassie Clare, HyeKyung Baek (5/5)
  • Sea of Monsters: Graphic Novel (#2) by Riordan and others (4/5)
  • The Arrival by Shaun Tan (5/5)
  • Through the Woods by Emily Caroll (4/5)
  • In Real Life by Cory Doctorow, Jen Wang (4/5)
Whew, alright. First off, I read three things by Gene Luen Yang and all were fantastic and slightly, if not very, heart-wrenching, and I recommend all of them. Maus was also like that, along with being fantastically told but also horribly real.

I don't have too much to say about most of these, in all honesty, you can see mostly what I thought by my ratings. If I had to pick a favorite graphic novel, though, it'd have to be The Arrival. It's a gorgeous book that has no words in it and is somehow still bittersweet. It's about a man immigrating to another country and then working to make it so his wife and child can follow him. With no words and full or gorgeous, gorgeous artwork.

Let's go into comics now. I really got into comics this year. I'm going to count "comics" as all single issues (of course) and trade paperbacks (collections of the single issues). I think I've separated them correctly, if anythings wrong, let me know. I'm going to talk about how I got so into comics this year first, list all the comics I read (with ratings), and then highlight my favorites.

And when I say I really got into comics this year, I really got into comics. Really, really. (I currently blame MidTown Comics).

I started reading single issues when I found I could not wait for the volumes of Hawkeye or the collection of The Wicked and the Divine. And I'm really glad I did, though I now have way too many unread ones. I highly recommend both series, Hawkeye is now complete and W+D if just barely getting started (and the first trade paperback just came out!)

All comics read:
  • Hawkeye, Vol 1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction, David Aja (5/5)
  • Hawkeye, Vol. 2: Little Hits by Matt Fraction, David Aja (5/5)
  • Young Avengers Vol. 1: Style > Substance by Kieron Gillen (5/5)
  • Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan (5/5)
  • Saga Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan (5/5)
  • Saga, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan (5/5)
  • The Preacher: Book One by Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon (4/5)
  • The Walking Dead: Book One (3/5)
  • The Walking Dead: Book Two (3/5)
  • Locke and Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez (5/5)
  • Locke and Key, Vol 2: Head Games by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez (5/5)
  • Locke and Key, Vol 3: Crown of Shadows by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez (5/5)
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons (4/5)
  • Sex Criminals, Vol 1 by Matt Fraction, Chip Zdarsky (5/5)
  • East of West, Volume 1: The Promise by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta (5/5)
  • East of West, Volume 2: We Are All One by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta (5/5)
  • East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us by Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta (5/5)
  • Sleepy Hollow #1 by Marguerite Bennett (?)
  • Chew, Volume 1: Taster's Choice by John Layman, Rob Guillory (4/5)
  • Captain Marvel, Volume 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue DeConnick, David L√≥pez (4/5)
  • Ms. Marvel, Volume 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson (5/5)
  • Wytches #1 by Scott Snyder (5/5)
  • The Flash #1 by Francis Manapul (3/5)
  • Wayward #1 by Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, John Rauch (4/5)
  • Wayward #2 by Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, John Rauch (4/5)
  • The Wicked and The Divine #1 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson (5/5)
  • Chew, Volume 2: International Flavor by John Layman, Rob Guillory (5/5)
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us #1 by Tom Taylor (3/5)
  • Hawkeye #12, #13, #15, #17. #19 & Volume Three: L.A. Women by Matt Fraction (5/5)
  • The Wicked and The Divine #2, #3, #4, #5 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson (5/5)
  • Chew, Volume 3: Just Desserts by John Layman, Rob Guillory (5/5)
Holy shit, that is a lot of comics and trade paperbacks. As you can see, I only started getting into single issues at the end of the year (and I really enjoy the extra stuff at the back - the letters from fans, them answering things, the random essays sometimes. It's just fun).

If I had to pick one thing to recommend - I'd say Hawkeye. Read Hawkeye. It's complete now, it's Matt Fraction, who is fantastic, I don't know what else you need to know. 

And, of course, I loved Saga, as everyone else and their mother did. And Wicked and the Divine, like I mentioned. Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel were incredible. And also The Preacher, which I have a full review of, which is dark and strange and really good.

And the first three volumes of both Locke and Key and Chew were fantastic. Both dark, but the third volume of Locke and Key was the darkest and the best out of the three, in my opinion, and I'm excited to continue them. Chew is strange and gore-y and funny, and a ton of fun.

However, if I had to pick a favorite of the year, in comics - I'd have to go East of West. I have no idea why, but I still find myself thinking about that series. It's not over yet, but the first three volumes are out (as you can see, I marathoned them). They're fantastic and strange - a kind of western futuristic apocalyptic... adventure mess? I think that's what I'm going to call it, it doesn't really make sense, but it explains it a bit. It's fantastic and incredible and I highly, highly recommend it.

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