Our Best of 2018 series has reached its conclusion, with a focus on the creative forces behind the best comics of the year. Some of these may not come as a surprise, especially if you’ve seen our previous “Best of 2018” posts. Controversial opinions, these are not, but sometimes whoever is “the best” is painfully obvious.
There were a lot of valid contenders for this slot. I considered BOOM! for their outstanding work on their licensed properties. Dark Horse had a really strong year on the strength of their Berger Books line, as well as the continued greatness of the Mignolaverse. Even the Big Two had strong years. However, at the end of the day, there’s no topping Image for the sheer variety and quality of books. Ice Cream Man, Oblivion Song, Blackbird, Saga, and Gideon Falls were all great – and just the tip of the iceberg. This doesn’t even touch the great work that their partner studio, Top Cow Productions pumped out in 2018, from the conclusion of Postal, more Eclipse, and new series Port of Earth and Infinite Dark. Not only that, but allowing creators the opportunity to pursue their passion projects, or even just whatever comes to mind, and actually own their creations automatically vaults them to the top.
Being a good writer is difficult enough. It’s even more difficult being a fantastic artist. In crafting the best webcomic of the year, Stjepan Sejic managed to excel in both facets of the creative process. Yes, the dude paints digitally, but that doesn’t change the fact that everything he does is gorgeous. Part of the draw to Sunstone (or his Aquaman, or Death Vigil, or Witchblade) is how pretty the artwork is, but when you take a second and actually read the story he’s presented in his original works – especially Sunstone – it is downright phenomenal how much talent he possesses. Oh, and his unsanctioned crossover between Wonder Woman and Lara Croft (pictured above) was one of the most beloved fan-projects of the year.
Monstress is not a book I enjoy reading, but it is the book I enjoy looking at more than anything. This is wholly due to the artwork of Sana Takeda. The premise of Monstress demands that the artist be inventive in the design of the book’s various monsters. Furthermore, her page composition breathes life into the script by collaborator Marjorie Liu, immersing the reader into a new world filled with awe-inspiring visuals.
Between Black Hammer and Gideon Falls, 2018 was a great year for Jeff Lemire. Both series were just narrowly edged by Mark Russell’s Exit Stage Left for best series of 2018, but the high quality of both series cannot be discounted. Lemire has been an acclaimed writer since he first came onto the scene with works like Sweet Tooth or Underwater Welder, but the dude has matured into an outright phenom. In addition to the aforementioned titles, Lemire also has the Eisner-nominated Royal City (which he also draws) and Valiant’s Bloodshot: Salvation on his plate. Each of these four titles are worth checking out because, despite their vast differences, Lemire puts equal amount of care and attention to be the best they possibly can be.