10 of the Sweetest Comics I read in 2014!

I tried, I really did. I wanted to do top 10 counting down the 10 best comics I read in 2014. The truth is I couldn’t rank them in order simply because it was too hard for me, so what follows is a list of 10 comics (and a couple more) that make a big impression on me in 2014. Some are fairly well known and about half are small press/self published, either way each of these books are worth checking out. Also keep in mind this is just a tiny spec of all the amazing work that came out in 2014. Okay let’s get a move on! In no particular order:

TOMBOY by Liz Prince

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I’ve always been a huge fan journal comics, anything from Jeffrey Brown was a huge influence on my travelogue series. I guess maybe in the same way some people love to read biographies itgives you a window into someone else’s life and experiences and you leave feeling you’ve walked in someone else’s shoes. This is especially true for Liz Prince’s TOMBOY in which the book details what it was like for Liz growing up, going to school, forming friendships and relationships all whilst going against gender norms.  I found this book greatly entertaining, relatable and at the same time informative and inspirational at points. Available via Amazon. 

 

 THE LAST DAYS OF NOBODYS: WHEATFIELDS AFTER THE RAIN  by Mike Medaglia

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I remember reading a short preview of this earlier in the year and being totally taken by the flow, the dialogue and the whole ‘vibe’ of it. Mike Medaglia’s book details the last days of Vincent Van Gogh. It’s funny, although it is about the last days of someone’s life it never felt sombre to me. It does have a haunting quality to it but mostly, to me, it felt bright and poetic, even dreamy. Available via Avery Hill site.

THIS ONE SUMMER by Jill and Mariko Tamaki

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Back when I was in college I first came across ‘Skim’ by the same creators and it totally sucked me in. Something to do with the beautiful and graceful artwork and the breezy, floaty words made the perfect match. This story about 2 families sharing a summer holiday was wonderful and brought that all back. It does deal with some fairly adult issues and at bits is heartbreaking but on the whole is hopeful and perfectly encapsulates the feeling of being out for a summer holiday in your early teens.  Also I feel I need the emphasise exactly how amazing the artwork in this book is. Available via Amazon.

LONG LOST LEMPI by Adam Vian

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I first came across this at this years Lakes Comic Art Festival in Kendal and wondered how this managed to slip my radar beforehand. Long Lost Lempi is a series that mixes fantasy adventure, comedy and a somewhat daydream quality. It’s a fairly warmhearted and gentle read about a little girl going on adventures with her friends. If you liked Dungeon Fun I have no doubt you’ll enjoy these books. (p.s please keep reading Dungeon Fun) Available via the Lempi site.

NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN by Ryan Andrews

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I have a little confession to make. ‘The Amateur Astronomer’s Journal’ was massively influenced by Ryan’s work. Although I technically would never be able to match it, I aimed for that dark, richly textured feel of the artwork. NOTHING IS FORGOTTEN is a collection of Ryan’s short stories, some are dark, some are a bit weird and funny but they’re all as memorable as each other. The stories here also really play around with the comic format. For example one story is completely wordless (see below) and others have some of the most inventive panel layouts I’ve ever seen.  Definitely worth checking out! (a digital copy from his store is only $5). Available via Ryan’s shop.

TUK TUK by William Kirkby 

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This is a prime example of why you should take a punt when going past stalls at comic cons/marts. You might just find a total gem like I did with TUK TUK. This is the story of two merchant brothers Slade and Kingston as they get into some mishaps due to their wheeling and dealing. The book is outright fun, a standout feature is just how well Kirkby has built the world around his characters. The cities and backgrounds as almost like living characters themselves and as you can see the artwork is insane (in a good way). Available via emailing Will (chamonkee@aol.com).

AXOLOTL #2 by Jack Fallows

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Like I said before, I am a big fan of journal comics and Jack Fallows’ AXOLOTL books have that right balance of brutal honestly, self-deprication and humour that I just can’t help but find captivating. You can probably already tell by the condition of it that I took it around with me quite a bit. As well as some short stories Jacks book centres around diary comics about love, growing up and dealing with asexuality, which up until now I hadn’t read about before. This is totally and literally (in) my bag. Available via Etsy.

A MEASURE OF SPACE by Kristyna Baczynski

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Just look at it! This is a beautiful little story of an introvert during a post apocalyptic catastrophe. It reads very sweetly and the art both intriguing and pretty mesmerising, all down to Kristyna’s unique style. It’s also worth mentioning that the book is very beautifully printed (possibly risograph?) Available via Etsy. 

POKEMON ONLINE by Jake Lava

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Much like TUK TUK this was a book I picked up at con (I buy tons) not really knowing much about it or it’s creator but ended up totally loving it.  POKEMON ONLINE is the story of what happens when Nintendo releases an online Pokemon game which ends up getting billions of people hooked to the point of addiction. As a big Nintendo fan I found this book absolutely hilarious, and without spoiling anything it totally hits home on why I fell in love with video games in the first place. Available via Jake’s Shop.

BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Fabien Kehlmann and Kerascoet

IMG_0177IMG_0178The title really sums it up. Beautiful and Dark. The first thing you’ll notice about this book is how beautiful the artwork in this book is, the watercolours are just incredible. This is also a very dark book, it is pretty gorey, deals with a lot of grim themes based around survival. Think something between a Ghibli film and Lord of the Flies. Definitely worth checking out.

Well that wraps up my 10 sweetest comics of 2014, I hope you enjoyed it and ,if you haven’t already, check out some of these books. If you agree/disagree let me know in the comments or give me a tweet at @osmart and likewise if you know of any books that might be up my street. Available via Amazon.

Also as a wee footnote, aside from those 10 comics, below are a handful you should also definitely get onto if you haven’t read them already.

IMG_0200AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE by John Lees and Iain Laurie

RANDOM TRIALS by Dean Beattie

MULP by Matt Gibbs and Sara Dunkerton

REEL LOVE by Owen Johnson

CORPSE TALK by Adam Murphy

SPACE CAPTAIN by Chris Baldie

Hope everyone has a great new year!

Neil

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