2018’s Most Interesting Indy Comics

If there’s one thing that can be said about the best comics of 2018, it’s that there was an awful lot of competition. The playing field was an undoubtedly even one, and making a selection was further complicated by the range of genres that produced strong and compelling content. We had everything from heterosexual grannies rediscovering a lost love affair to horror stories peopled by superheroes and self-published wrestling epics.

Comparing and contrasting so many different and diverse graphic greats was a definite
challenge – but one we were all too happy to embrace. So, without further ado, here’s a
rundown of some of the best and most ground-breaking comics of the year that was.

Klaus and the Crying Snowman 

Recommended by readers, written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Dan Mora, Klaus and the Crying Snowman was undoubtedly one of our favourite titles of 2018. Although we’re absolutely enamored of the Superman epics coming from DC Comics at the minute, BOOM! Studio’s annual release still managed to be better than anything starring the inimitable Man of Steel – and that’s saying something! Embodying the intricate imagination and limitless optimism of Morrison’s finest works, it is an ode to comic book creativity, outclassing the majority of more straightforward superhero stories released this year. To exacerbate the effect, Mora’s artwork has also grown in stature and finesse, so that the finished result offers the warmest and most uplifting of embraces on the cold winter nights it was made for.

Saga 


Source: Facebook via Saga comic book

The brainchild of Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Image Comic’s Saga is an ongoing
series which has managed never to lose its quality. Disconcertingly filled with a heart rending dose of death and destruction, it should arguably come complete with a therapy coupon but, despite its ever-rising body count, you won’t want to put it down. Managing never to feel cheap or exploitative in the often sad endings of its character, it is bloody but also brilliant. Offering a rollercoaster ride for readers, it manages to ensure that its many twists and turns remain forever unpredictable, which is just one of the qualities that will keep you turning its pages. It’s beyond mean that we have to wait an entire 12 months for the next one considering how the last issue ended but we just know that, whatever Saga has in store for us, it’s going to be well worth the wait.

The Dreaming 
The work of writer Simon Spurrier and artist Bilquis Evely, The Dreaming was published by Vertigo/DC Comics. One of four Sandman Universe titles to debut in 2018, it is definitely the best and most brilliant of these Neil Gaiman literary-inspired epics. Those responsible for its creation have worked in the most exquisitely harmonious manner, staying unerringly true to the source material in order to gift Sandman devotees with a new insight into their beloved world – one that is somehow equal parts familiar and changed. Every page of the work feels like an event as opposed to an instalment, lending a much-needed validity to the controversial decision to reanimate Gaiman’s work without his pen to directly guide happenings.


Source: Facebook via Bingo Love
Bingo Love
If there’s one thing you can say for comic Bingo Love, it’s that it works on an entirely original and arguably groundbreaking concept. Described by writer Tee Franklin as Moonlight meets Black Mirror, it tells the tale of star-crossed geriatrics Hazel and Mari, who happen to be both African-American and gay. Grounding their story at a time in their lives when they frequent bingo halls and dote on their grandchildren, it’s like nothing we’ve ever read before, and we absolutely love it. The characters leap off the page, the romance at its core makes our hearts melt, and it’s not all that far removed from reality. Bingo’s popularity is soaring, a surge likely driven by the accessibility of online and mobile bingo rooms. The game now has more regular participants than the sport of tennis in the UK, at least.

Girl Town 
We also have a special affection for Girl Town, which is the impressive work of multi-
talented writer and artist Carolyn Nowak
. Published by Top Shelf/IDW publishing, this
clever collection of short stories is an eclectic and eccentric mix but it’s absolutely
invigorating for it. The common thread is – as one can probably guess – girls: girls who face a breakup by being proactive and buying a robot boyfriend, girls who worry about their gal pals, girls who are weird and wonderful and absolutely relatable. There’s an essence of Scott Pilgrim in the way Nowak weaves her aesthetic into that universal 20-somethings’ malaise but its creator never crosses the line into twee. The character and themes really do seem to stir up something deep inside so that they’ll stick with you long after you’ve finished reading.

Berlin
Last but most certainly not least on our list is Berlin. Both written and drawn by the talented Jason Lutes, this Drawn & Quarterly publication is the latest installment in an epic dating back to 1996 – a time when Bill Clinton led America, the internet had barely begun, and the publishing house behind it was still in its infancy. Times may have changed markedly since but the quality of this particular comic most certainly has not. Now running to 580 pages, Berlin is set in the titular city in the years pre-Hitler. It tries to give readers an insight into how such evil could come about in a place that, at least on the surface, seemed so forward-thinking and cosmopolitan for its era. What it has never done is offer easy answers but what the comic does do is bring to life an array of characters – ones who are sympathetic, relatable, and help to raise that all-important point: ‘there but for the grace of God go I’.

Tell us, if it were up to you, what other titles would you add to this list?

5 thoughts on “2018’s Most Interesting Indy Comics”

  1. Saga gets a lot of praise, but it did not win any 2018 Eisner awards while Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda’s Monstress won the 2018 Eisners for best writing, best continuing series, and best publication for teens. And Takeda won the awards for best cover artist and best painter/multimedia artist.

    1. I think Saga gets undercredited. It has been around for a while now and the spotlight is off it. I liked Monstress a lot when it first came out but lost interest after a while.

      1. I had both Saga and Monstress in my pullbox when they started. I dropped Monstress but Saga is still in my pullbox. I still pre-order each issue of Monstress just so I can have a full run.

  2. I recommend also checking ‘Where Do We Go From Here’ coming out through Image from Matthew Rosenberg & Tyler Boss.

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