With superheroes dominating Hollywood, it’s no wonder that more and more people are talking about comics these days. Some still call it a dying art, but the medium is definitely gaining new fans. Not every comic is made by Marvel or DC, nor are they all focused on superheroes. Frankly, there’s something for everyone in the world of comics.
Let’s take a look back at comics in 2014, to highlight what we think of as the biggest and most exciting events of the year.
New Faces Taking Up Familiar Mantles
Marvel changed the game for some of their biggest and most popular superheroes this year. Steve Rogers is no longer Captain America, after he lost his super soldier serum in a fight against the Iron Nail. He aged rapidly, but kept his sharp mind, therefore causing Steve to help coordinate missions, rather than be out in the field.
Someone had to take on his shield, and that person is Sam Wilson. This was the perfect time to do this, given the emerging popularity of the character after his film appearance in Captain America: The Winter Soldier earlier this year.
In 2012, Carol Danvers left her role as Ms. Marvel to become Captain Marvel instead, headlining her own comics run written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. We didn’t find out who the new Ms. Marvel would be until this year when we officially met Kamala Khan in February. Ms. Marvel has been one of the most popular and well reviewed runs of the year and it’s exciting to have our first headlining Middle Eastern and Muslim superhero.
There’s also a new character wielding the mighty Mjolnir aka Thor’s hammer. Now that Thor himself is unworthy, we saw a new hero take up the title of Thor… and she’s a woman. While her identity is still unknown, the Thor Odinson we’ve come to know is still around, and we look forward to the two of them meeting and all our questions being answered.
Noelle Stevenson is the comic artist/writer to look out for, between her popularity on Tumblr and her original webcomic Nimona which was first published in 2012.
This year she took part in BOOM! Studios’ brand new comic The Lumberjanes. First published in February of this year, Stevenson is contributing as a writer, alongside co-writer Grace Ellis and artist Brooke Allen. There’s a lot to love about this series which chronicles the adventures of five best friends battling the supernatural at Lumberjane scout camp. It’s heartfelt, funny, and full of wonderful characters.
DC Comics’ The New 52 has certainly earned its share of attention, both good and bad, but this year saw one of our favorite events from the universe. The Multiversity is a set of interrelated one-shots set in the Multiverse and written by Grant Morrison. Each one-shot has a different artist.
The Multiverse is being attacked be demonic destroyers known as the Gentry, starting a battle for all creation. The most popular issue was perhaps Pax Americana: In Which We Burn which focuses on international terrorism and conspiracy set in a world of superheroes. So think Watchmen for the 21st century. It features characters from Charlton Comics.
Undoubtedly one of the best comic writers we have right now, Fraction’s work both for Marvel and independently has consistently been great. Marvel NOW!’s Hawkeye, which first began in 2012, has been one of the best new runs from Marvel in recent years. Fraction’s split focus on both Clint Barton and Kate Bishop, both independently and their relationship with each other, has been very satisfying, funny, and heartfelt.
Sex Criminals, from Image Comics, is one of the best comic runs this year. It was nominated for two 2014 Eisner Awards and won Best New Series. It’s a dark comedy about sex, relationships, and robbing banks and couldn’t be more fun or reflective. Films like The 40-Year-Old Virign and Bridesmaids were inspirations, and Fraction himself says Billy Wilder was a big influence for him.
This run began in 2012, but it’s still going strong today and is absolutely one of the most popular and well-liked series. It’s described as an epic space opera/fantasy and what more could you want?
Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, the series has been compared to Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones, as well as classic works like Romeo & Juliet. The story follows lovers Alana and Marko, who are from different worlds that are warring with one another.
This year, it won the Eisner Awards for Best Painter/Multimedia Artist, Best Writer, and Best Continuing Series.
Plenty more happened this year in comics, some good (Jessica Drew’s new costume design and solo series!), some bad (Batwoman and She-Hulk cancellations), but these were some of the highlights for us.
What were some of your favorite runs and events and characters from the year? Let us know in the comments!