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ComicsAlliance’s Best of 2016: All The Winners

Best_2016

 

We asked you to vote for the best comics, creators, and more in 2016, and over the last few weeks we’ve been sharing the results. Now you can check out all the winners in one place!


Cliff Chiang / Image Comics
Cliff Chiang / Image Comics

Best Comic For Teens: Paper Girls

Brian K. Vaughan & Cliff Chiang / Image Comics

 

 

The preteen years bring a change in perception: as children we’re enamored with the present, but once we cross a certain threshold all thoughts become fixed to the myriad promises of the future. In this retro, time-twisting, coming-of-age sci-fi by four grown men (Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson and Jared K. Fletcher), four teenage girls are confronted with exactly that. In Paper Girls, all the energy and frustration of those chaotic preteen years age is apparent in a YA adventure that also features pterodactyls, giant insects, a war between the generations, and underage smoking. It just gets it, man. [John Parker]

 

Karl Kerschl / DC Comics
Karl Kerschl / DC Comics

Best Comic For Kids: Gotham Academy: Second Semester

Karl Kerschl, Brenden Fletcher, Becky Cloonan, Sandra Hope and More / DC Comics

 

 

If I could bottle and sell the feeling I felt when I found out Gotham Academy was coming back post-Rebirth, I could retire a very wealthy man. What’s amazing, though, is that its return in the hands of Karl Kerschl, Brenden Fletcher, Becky Cloonan, Sandra Hope and pals, was every bit as amazing as I wanted it to be, living up to both the high standard of the original series and taking it to an incredible new level with the debut of Witch Club, which is arguably the most sinister after-school activity of all time. In its second semester, Gotham Academy remains as great as it’s always been. [Chris Sims]

 

Alex Milne / IDW
Alex Milne / IDW

Best Sci-Fi Comic: Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye

James Roberts, Alex Milne, Joana Lafuente and Others / IDW

 

 

It’s monumentally difficult for a story to shift between cosmic space opera, alternate universes, sitcom comedy, heartbreaking romance, 4,000,000 years of wartime anxiety, and the kind of action that makes you afraid to turn the page and risk your favorite characters, without also being a mess of tonal whiplash, but James Roberts, Alex Milne, Joana Lafuente and crew did it every single issue with every single character — and I remind you, many of these characters are talking pickup trucks. [Chris Sims]

 

Kevin Wada / Image Comics
Kevin Wada / Image Comics

Best Fantasy Comic: The Wicked The Divine

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson and Clayton Cowles / Image Comics

 

 

Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s WicDiv continues to be one of the most thoughtful and ambitious titles on the stands, even as it pushes harder on the poppier, more superheroic elements of its premise. “Rising Action” was five issues of fight comic about the inhumanity of violence, followed by a Sandman-esque short set in the 19th Century, and an issue that abandoned the comics form entirely to become a Kevin Wada-illustrated fashion magazine. There’s nothing else out there like it. [Alex Spencer]

 

Mike Mignola / Dark Horse Comics
Mike Mignola / Dark Horse Comics

Best Horror Comic: Hellboy In Hell

Mike Mignola / Dark Horse Comics

 

 

It only makes sense that a series about a hero who constantly lives life on his own terms would have ended on its creator’s own terms. While stories about Hellboy‘s life set in the past will continue, his afterlife is presumably at an end following this beautifully executed series about Hellboy denying his destiny as the Beast of the Apocalypse once and for all. Mignola’s vision of hell adeptly combines visions from classical artists and folk tales with the artist’s own signature moody, minimalist, heavily-blacked style. [Benito Cereno]

 

Erica Henderson / Marvel Comics
Erica Henderson / Marvel Comics

Best Comedy Comic: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Ryan North and Erica Henderson / Marvel Comics

 

 

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is, as the title suggests, pretty much unbeatable. It’s still as warm, big-hearted and — vitally — funny a comic as it was when it launched last year, but in 2016 it also managed its first crossover, a choose-your-own adventure story, an issue told from the point of view of a cat, and a standalone graphic novel. All these accomplishments, and it’s still the funniest book on the stands. [Alex Spencer]

 

Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne
Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne

Best Romance or Erotica Comic: Oglaf

Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne / Self-Published

 

 

Trudy Cooper and Doug Bayne’s webcomic Oglaf is something that could’ve pretty much only happened on the internet: a sex comedy that — be it punchline or setup —typically features explicit sex or prominent nudity. It’s definitely not for everyone, but for those who like raunchy jokes with double the raunch — and a heaping dose of laughs at fantasy clichés into the bargain — this weekly gag comic (updating on Sundays) is right up your alley. Proverbial or otherwise. [Tom Speelman]

 

John Paul Leon / Vertigo Comics
John Paul Leon / Vertigo Comics

Best Crime Comic: Sheriff of Babylon

Tom King and Mitch Gerads / Vertigo Comics

 

 

Tom King and Mitch Gerads had a pretty daunting task in building a comic story around the invasion of Iraq, an event that’s raw and recent enough that it’s still shaping the world that we’re all actually living in. But rather than feeling cheap or disrespectful, Sheriff of Babylon thrives in that rawness, and their blend of multiple viewpoints and some of the best pure craftsmanship in comics make for a story that’s gripping in a way that very few others can match. [Chris Sims]

 

Nate Powell / Top Shelf
Nate Powell / Top Shelf

Best Factual, Historical or Biographical Comic: March Book Three

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell / Top Shelf Productions

 

 

The conclusion to the award-winning March trilogy, March: Book Three documents the civil rights movement from the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, to the infamous 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery. John Lewis’ graphic memoir, co-created with Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, is an arresting and crucial book reminding us of the power of individuals in the struggle against oppression. [Emma Lawson]

 

Mike Del Mundo / Marvel Comics
Mike Del Mundo / Marvel Comics

Best Superhero Comic: The Vision

Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta / Marvel Comics

 

 

Vision is a great superhero book precisely because it doesn’t feel like one. After opening with the most unsettling trip to the suburbs since Blue Velvet, the book mostly eschewed fight scenes in favor of philosophical debates. Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Jordie Bellaire told a quiet story, with deep repercussions for its cast — at least, the ones who survived — and got off the stage after just twelve issues. An absolute tour de force. [Alex Spencer]

 

Phil Jimenez / DC Comics
Phil Jimenez / DC Comics

Beset Anthology Comic: Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special

Edited by Chris Conroy, Rebecca Taylor and Dave Wielgosz / DC Comics

 

 

This beautiful 80-page special is a wonderful treat for longtime Wonder Woman fans, but also a great introduction to the character for newbies. With lovingly told tales from a host of great creators, including Gail Simone, Hope Larson, Fabio Moon, Rafael Albuquerque, and Jill Thompson, the anthology showcases the many different sides of Diana and demonstrate why she’s endured for three quarters of a century as one of comics’ most iconic characters. [Emma Lawson]

 

Greg Capullo / DC Comics
Greg Capullo / DC Comics

Best Character Redesign: Batman

Batman #50

 

 

Redesigning Batman has to be one of the most daunting tasks in comics; it means lending a new look to a character so iconic that a child with crayons could draw him. But the 2016 redesign landing just prior to DC Rebirth hits the spot, with its standout feature being the yellow trim around the bat-insignia, harkening back to the days of the oval without replicating it purely for nostalgic appeal. The costume works, and it’s one of the best redesigns the character has ever had. [Charlotte Finn]

 

Humberto Ramos / Marvel Comics
Humberto Ramos / Marvel Comics

Best New Character: Viv Vision

The Vision

 

 

While Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Jordie Bellaire’s Vision was one of the books of the year, it was still a bit of a surprise when the android Avenger’s daughter stepped out on her own as a member of the new team of Champions. However, in a short space of time across both books Viv has proved herself a worthwhile addition to the Marvel Universe, providing a unique insight into the world around her. [Kieran Shiach]

 

Evan "Doc" Shaner / DC Comics
Evan “Doc” Shaner / DC Comics

Character Most Deserving Of A Solo Series: Shazam

 

 

After a promising start in the New 52 that never materialized into much more than a supporting character role in the Justice League, Shazam should get his due in 2017. DC’s Rebirth initiative has revived and reinvented many classic heroes, and reinvigorated the company as a whole, but there’s still a hole in the comics world in the shape of the hero formerly known as Captain Marvel. There are plenty of young heroes running around, but none who get at the potent wish fulfillment of instantly getting to be a grown up. Now is the time, DC. Just say the word. [Chris Haley]

 

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

Best Screen Adaptation Of A Comic: Captain America: Civil War

Marvel Studios

 

 

Thanks to some fantastic character work by Robert Downey, Jr and Chris Evans, Captain America: Civil War overcomes its “feuding brothers” narrative tropes with ease. The villain may not have been as grand as previous Marvel movies, but the first appearances of Chadwick Boseman’s excellent Black Panther and Tom Holland’s spot-on Spider-Man more than made up for Zemo’s shortcomings. It’s not easy for these ensemble films to continually set up the next series of movies while also serving their own stories, but Civil War does it in a way that doesn’t feel forced, and actually has us looking forward to the changes it initiated in the Marvel Cinemtic Universe. [Luke Brown]

 

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

Best Performer In A Screen Adaptation: Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther

Captain America: Civil War / Marvel Studios

 

 

Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther was the best thing about Captain America: Civil War. From that first trailer that showed him in full costume with his claws extended, it was official: he was our new favorite MCU character. Boseman brings a lot to the table. Not only does he manage to hold his own against established MCU characters, but his portrayal of T’Challa is full of emotion and nuance. After seeing Boseman in the role, I honestly can’t imagine anyone else playing T’Challa, or be more excited about his solo movie in 2018. [Zina H.]

 

Jamie McKelvie / Image Comics
Jamie McKelvie / Image Comics

Outsanding Letterer: Clayton Cowles

 

 

Clayton Cowles is a letterer with a distinctive style; once you know it, you’ll recognize it anywhere. His thin letters stand out from the default style of Western comics, and convey a sense of restraint and dramatic tension, of something being ever-so-slightly “off” — perfect for books like The Wicked + The Divine, and Angela: Queen of Hel, where the intensity of the action benefits hugely from a distinctive look and feel. [Charlotte Finn]

 

Adam Archer / DC Comics
Adam Archer / DC Comics

Outstanding Inker: Sandra Hope

Joint Winner

 

 

Sandra Hope has been working in comics since the ’90s, and the heyday of Gen13, and her work continues to impress. The best recent example comes from her work on the current volume of Batman. Stepping into the middle of the “I Am Gotham” storyline alongside Matt Benning, David Finch, and Scott Hanna, Hope’s cohesiveness and adeptness with the world of Gotham — she’s worked on innumerable Bat-books — helped unify the aesthetic and made Finch’s pencils look the best they have in years. [Tom Speelman]

 

Greg Capullo / DC Comics
Greg Capullo / DC Comics

Outstanding Inker: Danny Miki

Joint Winner

 

 

The amazing thing about Danny Miki‘s work on the Batman books this year isn’t that it’s great — he’s been doing great work for years — but that he’s able to add so much working with so many different styles. Greg Capullo’s heavy shadows, John Romita Jr.’s fine details, and even David Finch’s heavy action never look better than when they’re under Miki’s inks. [Chris Sims]

 

Gabriel Hernandez Walta / Marvel Comics
Gabriel Hernandez Walta / Marvel Comics

Outstanding Colorist: Jordie Bellaire

 

 

As colorist on something like a dozen different books in any given month, odds are you’re reading something colored by Jordie Bellaire. Well, lucky you. Few colorists are able to transform their styles like a chameleon in the way Bellaire has done on projects as diverse as All-Star Batman, Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme, Future Quest, and Deadpool. Bellaire is a rare talent, who elevates not just the original linework, but the narrative as well, crafting palettes that inform readers about the mood, tone, and personality of a book with just a glance. [Luke Brown]

 

George Caltsoudas / IDW
George Caltsoudas / IDW

Outstanding Editor: Sarah Gaydos

 

 

Sarah Gaydos has overseen a lot of big licenses at IDW, bringing great storytellers to work on titles ranging from the superb all-ages Disney books to the acclaimed Hasbro franchises, but she’s perhaps most strongly associated with IDW’s Star Trek comics, which take full advantage of the medium to tell stories you might never see on the screen, from cross-timeline team-ups to extended journeys to the mirror universe. Trek in comics has a deep history, and under Gaydos’ tenure the IDW Trek comics have added greatly to the lore. [Charlotte Finn]

 

Gabriel Hernandez Walta / Marvel Comics
Gabriel Hernandez Walta / Marvel Comics

Outstanding Writer: Tom King

 

 

It’s been Tom King‘s year. All three parts of his Trilogy of Good Intentions — The Vision, Omega Men and Sheriff of Babylon — wrapped up this year, establishing him as an aggressively smart writer who is unusually willing to challenge readers. With Batman he also showed he could do big, fun superhero comics, while staying true to his preoccupation with the opportunities that the form offers — especially that nine-panel grid. [Alex Spencer]

 

Chris Samnee / Marvel Comics
Chris Samnee / Marvel Comics

Outstanding Artist: Chris Samnee

 

 

Chris Samnee is a genuine throwback, a classicist. By any reasonable evaluation he has more in common with Alex Toth, Jim Steranko, and Milt Caniff than trends in modern superhero art, and we should all be thankful. Only a few artists today work with the same kind of cleanliness, simplicity, badass lighting skills, and non-stop ingenuity that seemed readily abundant up through the Silver Age, and Samnee is one of the very best. With deft manipulation of layouts, framing, and eyelines, sharply articulated characters, and an uncanny understanding of mood, Samnee glides through twenty pages in ways that make your head spin. A modern master has emerged. [John R. Parker]

 

Faith Erin Hicks / First Second
Faith Erin Hicks / First Second

Outstanding Cartoonist: Faith Erin Hicks

 

 

Faith Erin Hicks has been one of the leading lights of cartooning for over a decade, and this may be her best year yet with the release of her graphic novel The Nameless City, about a city that continually resists the march of imperialism and the two young people who must protect it from an even more insidious threat. The energy and vibrancy of her linework underlines her strong skill at character and storytelling, and she’s phenomenally adept at every step of the cartooning process, from the worldbuilding to the writing to the pencils and inks. [Charlotte Finn]

 

Erica Henderson / Marvel Comics
Erica Henderson / Marvel Comics

Outstanding Writer/Artist Team: Erica Henderson & Ryan North

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl / Marvel

 

 

Every so often, there comes a creative team that’s so in-sync that it’s almost impossible to truly separate the individual aspects of their contributions to the work. Ryan North and Erica Henderson on Unbeatable Squirrel Girl are one such team, and over the course of two volumes and an original graphic novel they have not only made Squirrel Girl matter to both their readers and the industry; they have created a pocket of the Marvel Universe where empathy and friendship win over punching and killing. [Kieran Shiach]

 

Ibrahim Moustafa / Marvel Comics
Ibrahim Moustafa / Marvel Comics

Breakthrough Talent: Chelsea Cain

 

 

Chelsea Cain is ridiculously awesome. Her take on Mockingbird — starting with a 2015 one-shot and continuing on to the recently-concluded ongoing series — is hilarious, entertaining, and full of adorable Welsh Pembrokeshire corgis. I adore this book, and I adore Chelsea Cain for writing it. Hopefully, Mockingbird won’t be her last ongoing series for Marvel, and we’ll see much more of her in comics generally, because she’s got so much talent, and a wit and a voice that the industry desperately needs. [Zina H.]

 

Babs Tarr / DC Comics
Babs Tarr / DC Comics

Best New Series: Doom Patrol

Gerard Way and Nick Derington / DC Comics

 

 

The flagship of Gerard Way and DC’s exciting new Young Animals imprint, Doom Patrol has, from its first issue, been one of the most exciting new comics around. Rebooting one of the most revered, trippiest and unmatched comics in DC history for a modern audience, while managing to be both respectful to the original but not beholden to it, was an almost Sisyphean task, but the team of Nick Derington, Gerard Way, Tamra Bonvillain, Shelly Bond, and Todd Klein have managed to pull it off with aplomb. [Tara Marie]

 

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