The Comics of 2020
2020. That was the year that could’ve been ripped straight from the pages of a comic book. The global pandemic meant big changes for the comics industry not only in the distribution of comics but also that many comic shop is across the UK had to close their doors for a long period of time. But comics still trickled through and I’ve picked out some of my favourite books of the year.
There is no science or critical analytics behind my choices, these are purely the comics that I’ve read that I’ve enjoyed.
Somehow 2000 A.D. maintained its weekly publishing schedule throughout 2020. The beauty of this anthology comic is that there is always something in it for you to enjoy. This year 2000 A.D. has featured many standout series and for me some of my favourites have been Rob Williams, Arthur Wyatt, Colin MacNeil, Henry Flint, Boo Cook and Dan Cornwell’s Judge Dredd epic End of Days. Alec Worley and Leigh Gallagher’s Hook-Jaw revival was huge fun and the excellent cosmic tale The Out by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison was dazzling. The quarterly all-ages Regened issues have also been a great way to making the comic accessible to younger readers and featured some marvelous stories. The traditional end of year hundred page prog was also a spectacular affair including a beautiful farewell to the Survival Geeks strip by Gordon Rennie, Emma Beeby and Neil Googe. It looks like 2000 A.D. will continue its run of great strips well into 2021.
Adventureman by Matt Fraction, Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson was a wonderful retro adventure. Harking back to the likes of Doc Savage and Flash Gordon this excellent miniseries catapulted me back to the time of epic heroes and pulp adventure. The art in this series was fluid, dynamic and absolutely gorgeous. Whilst the regular issues looked fantastic the recently published oversized hardback edition looked even more magnificent. I hope that this series will return with further adventures in 2021.
Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds
2020 brought us the final issue of his excellent series from DC’s Young Animal imprint. Gerard Way, Jeremy Lambert and Nick Derington wrapped up the incredible adventures of this iteration of the Doom Patrol in spectacular fashion. I’ve loved all of the work that has been produced through the DC Young Animal imprint and I hope that this isn’t the end for the Doom Patrol. Gerard has done some incredible things with old characters whilst introducing new characters that we have instantly fallen in love with. At this moment I’m unsure of the future for DC’s Young Animal imprint but I hope the DC doesn’t waste this wonderful opportunity to put out more weird and wonderful comics.
Star Trek: Year Five
While Star Trek has been doing impressive things on TV Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Jim McCann and Jody Houser have been doing something wonderful with this comic series. Set in the gap between the original series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture this comic has captured the wonder and joy of those original episodes. This series has taken on some fan favourite characters like the Tholians, Harry Mudd and Gary Seven an Isis and done something new and interesting with them. Art by Silvia Califano, Angel Hernandez and Stephen Thompson has produced issue after issue of grand sci-fi adventure. If you were a fan of the original Star Trek series then you should pick up this comic straight away as it will take you back to those glorious days of watching the show for the first time on the BBC.
These are the three X books that I am reading at the moment. Since Jonathan Hickman took over there has been a seismic change in the way the X-Men are perceived. Ably assisted by Tini Howard, Marcus To & Wilton Santos on Excalibur and Ed Brisson, Rod Ries, Flaviano & Marco Failla on New Mutants these three books have reignited my interest in the X-Men. The art on all of the books has been consistently great and it’s great to see some of my favourite old characters returning to the fold. Following the events of X of Swords and the reemergence of the Captain Britain Corps it’ll be interesting to see what’s in store for the merry mutants in the next year.
The Dreaming: Waking Hours
Following on from the excellent Si Spurrier run, G. Willow Wilson and Nick Robles have continued to capture the essence of The Sandman. This first story arc has taken us back to Shakespearean times and the notion of stories within stories. This is everything you wanted a Sandman series to be and Neil Gaiman has guided the books in this imprint well, allowing new creators to breath life in to his world. G. Willow Wilsons tenure on the series continues in the New Year and I’m delighted to be able to continue reading fabulous stories about such wonderful characters.
We Only Find Them When They’re Dead
One of the newer comics on my list is excellent series from Al Ewing and Simone Di Meo has delivered on exactly the kind of high concept cosmic wonder they promised. Everything Al writes at the moment has been absolutely stunning and this creator own series has really let him let loose. Simone Di Meo is the perfect compliment to Al’s grand ideas and his art has a very cosmic Jack Kirby vibe about it.
Once and Future
here is something about comic books taking place in England. This fantasy based series set in rural England has been a fantastic read. In such dark times as this we always seem to fall back on myths and legends. Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora have done fantastic work by bringing back the legends of old and reworking them for a new generation.
Rachael Smith is a creator we have been following with great interest. This year through her social media outlets she has consistently published some of the most wonderful comic strips I’ve ever read. Letting us in to her world Rachael has shown us how the pandemic has affected us all. Her open and honest strips show exactly how it’s been for a lot of people during the past year. Often funny and occasionally heartbreaking these strips have been a shining light in the darkness. Rachael aims to collect the strips in a book that will be available in the New Year.
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John Constantine: Hellblazer
My favourite comic of the year has to be John Constantine: help later. This series from Simon Spurrier, Matias Bergara, Aaron Campbell and Marcio Takara has propelled John back to the horror comics highs of the 80s and 90s. Following on from the books written by Alan Moore, Jamie Delano and Mike Carey, Spurrier has used current political issues to make John relevant again. Running for only 12 issues before being cruelly cancelled by DC, Spurrier and his collaborators have made this series the standout book in the Sandman Universe imprint. Tackling issues like racism, cuts to healthcare and white privilege this is a book of our times. This book has proved once again how powerful a character John Constantine is and that he really is a hero for our times. I absolutely loved this book.
And that’s my pick of the comics of 2020 – I hope that 2021 continues to bring us more excellent stories and comics to enjoy.
Your Local Comics Shops
With Covid-19 restrictions in place across the country please check in with your local comic shop to see how it affects them and support them in any way you can.
FORBIDDEN PLANET INTERNATIONAL (VARIOUS) – includes Worlds Apart Birmingham
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FORBIDDEN PLANET (VARIOUS) – includes Birmingham Megastore
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GOSH! COMICS (LONDON)
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OK COMICS (LEEDS)
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PAGE 45 (NOTTINGHAM)
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TRAVELLING MAN (VARIOUS)
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