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The Best Comic Books Of 2014

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The last twelve months offered comic book readers a wide variety of work ranging from the most crowd-pleasing superhero epics to the most idiosyncratic of indies, and the return of old favorites to the emergence of exciting new talent. It was a busy and productive year for the industry, and one we’re pleased to celebrate with what we’re certain will be an uncontroversial, unenumerated list of awards that will prompt only resounding agreement and unbroken fellowship amongst our readers in the comments below.

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Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month): December 2014

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A great comic book cover is an advertisement, a work of art, a statement, and an invitation. A great comic book cover is a glimpse of another world through a canvas no bigger than a window pane. In Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month), we look back over some of the most eye-catching, original and exceptional covers of the past month

For the final covers of 2014, we showcase excellent work by some of the year's most reliable talents, including Kris Anka, Michael Del Mundo, and Riley Rossmo; some truly standout work by R.M. Guera and Jay Shaw; and the very best 'theme month' of the year.

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Exclusive Preview: Hickman & Bodenheim’s ‘The Dying & The Dead’

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Debuting later this month from Image Comics, The Dying & The Dead is the latest collaboration between Jonathan Hickman and Ryan Bodenheim, following A Red Mass For Mars and Secret. I was able to read issue #1 in advance, in the form of a lettered "first draft," and it is immediately notable for three reasons in particular: The Dying & The Dead takes a decidedly more personal approach to the theme of mortality that Hickman's been exploring in epic fashion in his New Avengers and East of West projects; the artwork by Bodenheim is his career best, not just in terms of technical drawing ability, but in the sense of pure graphic storytelling; and the huge page count makes a compelling case for big first issues.

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Long Live The Queens: Rising Star Stjepan Šejic Takes Over As ‘Rat Queens’ Artist

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Stjepan Šejic is an artist who's been on the verge of a breakthrough for a while now -- and he's apparently just had two of them back-to-back. Šejic is an excellent artist, remarkably fast, and by all reports very easy to work with, which means he delivers the trifecta for promising talent.

That talent will be put to excellent use on a book in dire need of a great artist; Šejic has been named as the new permanent artist on Rat Queens, the hit fantasy series from writer Kurtis J. Wiebe and Image's Shadowline imprint. This news comes just a couple of weeks after reports that Šejic's creator-owned erotic graphic novel Sunstone received the highest ever advance orders for any book published by Image's Top Cow imprint.

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A Seething Hell Of Steel And Stone And Women Behind Bars: ‘Bitch Planet’ #1 [Review]

Bitch Planet #1, Image Comics

Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro's Bitch Planet has the single best comic book title of the year. It's the kind of title where I stopped in my tracks when the book was announced months ago, and just from hearing those two words, thought "that's perfect" -- and that's before I heard that the premise backing it up was a modern feminist sci-fi take on women-in-prison flicks. From the moment I heard about it, I knew this comic was going to be amazing. Until I actually sat down and read it, though, I had no idea just how amazing it was going to be.

That's the thing about the first issue of Bitch Planet. It doesn't hit the ground running; it kicks off by blasting you into space and setting up a story of a world where the penalty for not knowing your place is a life sentence in a violent, neon-pink hell, juggling multiple points of view for a story of just how cruel that world can be. It's thrilling, it's violent, and it's one of the best first issues of the year.

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Ken Niimura’s ‘Henshin’ Contains The Phrase ‘Magic Poop From The Future,’ So You Should Read It

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Like pretty much everyone else who read it, I loved Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura's I Kill Giants, and ever since I read it, I've been wondering when I'd see more from Niimura. Now, I know, and it's pretty good news! It turns out we'll be getting a whole dang graphic novel of Niimura's work on January 17, when a collection of short stories called Henshin hits the stands at comic book stores everywhere.

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Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month): November 2014

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A great comic book cover is an advertisement, a work of art, a statement, and an invitation. A great comic book cover is a glimpse of another world through a canvas no bigger than a window pane. In Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month), we look back over some of the most eye-catching, original and exceptional covers of the past month

November's covers include some superb compositions, some new twists on familiar iconography, a Catwoman, a Batgirl, and an enormous killer whale. Check out some excellent comic covers from familiar names like Michael Del Mundo and David Nakayama, and some new names for this column, like Butch Guice and David Rapoza.

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Hickman And Pitarra’s ‘Manhattan Projects’ To Go On Hiatus Until March 2015, Returning With A New Format

Manhattan Projects, Image Comics

It seems that even super-science is bound to its limitations, no matter how bizarre they may be. As sharp-eyed readers may have noticed -- and as reported by Multiversity -- the latest issue of Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra's Manhattan Projects revealed that the series will be taking a hiatus over the next few months while the creators tinker with the book's format, presumably with the goal of delivering even more horrifying and Earth-shattering mad science in the months to come.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Deluxe Edition Comics And Art Books

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If you’re like some of the ComicsAlliance staff, you have a great affection for deluxe edition books that offer historical overviews of various pop culture topics, reprint the great works of the comics medium, and/or collect classic storylines (and supplement them with all kinds of bonus material)… And with the gift-giving season now in full swing, you're likely looking for the perfect gifts for your follow geeks (or possibly, wanting to give your relations some suggestions for things you'd like this year, in lieu of another ill-fitting sweater). So as a public service, we've compiled this list of some of the best expensive, large, and mind-blowingly ornate titles that you can find at your local comic shop or from online booksellers.

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ODY-C #1: Fraction & Ward Sabotage Future High School Term Papers With Gender-Swapped Sci-Fi ‘Odyssey’

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I would give literally anything to read the high school term papers that kids who read Matt Fraction and Christian Ward's ODY-C instead of the original Odyssey are going to be turning in to their teachers in a few years.

The first issue is out this week from Image, and as you might expect from the title, it recasts the classic Greek epic by Homer as a star-spanning adventure through space that Fraction calls "our Barbarella," and flipping the genders around so that the story focuses on women is probably the smallest change. Captain Odyssia's journey on a shift-ship powered by a crew of women whose thoughts have been synchronized, tossed by vengeful space-titans, might follow the big beats of Homer's original, but it's definitely something all its own.

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