The question most often asked of the ComicsAlliance staff is a variation of, “Which comic books should I be reading?” or, “I’m new to comics, what’s a good place to start?” The Wednesday deluge of new comic books, graphic novels and collected editions can be daunting even for the longtime reader, much less for those totally unfamiliar with creators, characters and publishers, and the dark mysteries of comic book shopping like variants, pre-ordering, and formats.

It’s with these challenges in mind that we’ve created Best Comic Books Ever (This Week), an ongoing guide curated by the ComicsAlliance staff. This is where new comics readers and seasoned Wednesday shoppers alike can find our picks of the best books the medium has to offer.



    Single issues are periodicals, usually around 20 pages in length and priced from $2.99 to $4.99, and published in print and digitally. Single issues are typically published monthly, but some titles ship twice a month or even weekly. Single issues are the preferred format for many longtime comic book readers, and ideal if you enjoy serialized stories with cliffhangers.


    Trades: Colloquial term for paperback or hardcover compilations of comic book stories originally published as single issues. The preferred format for readers who enjoy comic book narratives in substantial chunks.

    Graphic Novels: Typically any comic book that is a complete story in a more-or-less novel-length format. The term is sometimes used interchangeably with trades.


    Writer: Brandon Graham
    Artists: Marian Churchland
    Publisher: Image Comics

    The long-awaited 8House project kicks off this week, as storytellers Brandon Graham and Marian Churchland start things with ‘Arclight’, the first story arc. Each subsequent arc of the ongoing will have a different creative team and will explore further elements of the world being created here, so this is an issue with quite the heavy burden to carry. It feels like a while since we’ve seen any work from either Churchland or Graham — and especially long since they worked on something entirely their own. This is a carefully considered and quietly weird story to tell, and the first issue spends much of its time implying what’s happening while focusing on building up a world and society. Customs, fashion, gestures and culture all come across very strongly, as two of the most imaginative people in the comics industry just up and create a new society out of nowhere. It’s an opening issue that feels completely their own, which is a wonderfully promising sign of things to come. [Steve Morris]


    Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
    Artist: Steve Skroce
    Publisher: Image

    You know a truly great science fiction concept when there's no a reservation in your mind that it could actually happen. In Brian K. Vaughan and Steve Skroce's We Stand On Guard, the America of one hundred years from now invades Canada in an attempt to forcefully annex The Great White North, and a handful of freedom fighters take up arms against the technologically superior U.S. That idea is so clever and plausible (admit it!), Vaughan could have wiped away the hundred years, set it in 2017, and it still would have made sense. Besides a fantastic concept from one of comics' greatest writers, We Stand On Guard boasts the return to comics of Steve Skroce, who has somehow been making the Wachowskis' movies look good for the last decade. His thick, confident lines, slick contraptions and just-detailed-enough backgrounds will make We Stand On Guard one of the best-looking books on the stands. And he's a Canadian! And therefore my enemy. (Happy Canada Day, Canadians!) [John Parker]


    Writer: Greg Pak
    Artist: Aaron Kuder
    Publisher: DC Comics

    I had my doubts when the New 52 started, but after almost four years, I'm 100% behind Superman in a t-shirt. Like, if this is the image of Superman that we keep going back to, if Superman in a t-shirt and jeans is the equivalent of Batman wearing a costume without the oval behind the bat, then I'm all for it, because it's given us some of the best images of the character in the past decade. As for the cape, I'd prefer it to be worn as a cape, but, you know, having it wrapped around his knuckles so that he can stop his neighborhood from being razed by violent, corrupt cops is going to work, too. Because that's what this issue is about: In a time when I think we're all in need of stories about heroes who can inspire us, Pak and Kuder are diving right into a comic where an under-powered Superman returns to Metropolis and stands up for the people of his neighborhood against a police force that looks to be bent on violence, and I could not be more excited to read it. [Chris Sims]

  • ZERO #18

    Writer: Ales Kot
    Artists: Tula Lotay, Jordie Bellaire
    Publisher: Image Comics

    Ales Kot concludes his incredibly overambitious, and somehow brilliantly achieved contemporary thriller Zero this week, with issue #18. As the story pulls to an end, there is literally no way of knowing how Kot plans to finish the narrative. The series has been aggressive, harsh, bleakly funny, and emotionally draining at intervals throughout the last few years, as a staggering assortment of storytellers have joined the book to create a thoroughly fractured identity every month. The choices made in the concept of the series have been largely brilliant, a spy story that disassociates itself from anything like a typical narrative. With Tula Lotay joining the book for this finale, things are guaranteed to look sublime — although whether things will turn out quite so rosy as Jordie Bellaire’s lush coloring remains to be seen. [SM]

  • OMEGA MEN #2

    Writer: Tom King
    Artist: Barnaby Bagenda and Jose Marzan
    Publisher: DC Comics

    First of all, Omega Men has some of the best covers on the stand, with. Trevor Hutchison's defaced propaganda posters setting a tone for sci-fi political intrigue and intergalactic insurgency that the story inside more than delivers on. Second, the first issue of Omega Men was awesome. Tom King has quickly become one of my new favorite writers in comics thanks to his work on Grayson alongside Tim Seeley and Mikel Janin, and if you had any doubt that his talent would carry over to a book that wasn't being co-written by a veteran like Seeley, then the first issue of Omega Men should've put that to rest immediately with a thrilling and phenomenally violent story that's opening up an entirely new realm of DC's cosmic side that, until now, has been dominated by the Green Lantern franchise. Also, major spoilers here if you're not caught up, but I think we can all agree that killing off Kyle Rayner in a preview only to reveal that he's still alive in the first issue is exactly the kind of trolling you'd expect from a book edited by former CA editor Andy Khouri. [CS]


    Writer: Rachel Hastings and Various
    Artist: Frank Forte and Various
    Publisher: Dynamite

    Dynamite's Bob's Burgers comic was one of last year's biggest surprises. I mean, really, when you're dealing with a licensed adaptation of an animated sitcom, you kind of expect that the comic is going to follow along the same lines, doing a shorter, slightly less necessary version of the stories that you see on TV. You do not expect it to be greeted with a new installment of Tina Belcher's Erotic Friend Fiction every month, or read a "musical" in a medium that, as you may have noticed, is completely devoid of sound. And that's what makes it great. The creators who worked on the Bob's Burgers comic — the same folks who make the show — realized that we've already got those stories on TV, so why not do something different that might not work on TV? Like, say, multiple stories about the characters as super-powered horses? From what I can tell, the second volume looks like it's following the same format, and it's exactly the kind of fun I like to see. [CS]

  • THE SPIRE #1

    Writer: Si Spurrier
    Artists: Jeff Stokely, Andre May, Steve Wands
    Publisher: Boom Studios

    One of the biggest launches of the week comes from the Six Gun Gorilla team of Si Spurrier and Jeff Stokely, as they reunite for a new series that is in no way related to a certain wonderful comic book blog. The Spire seems like a soaring, sweeping grand fantasy series that builds on previous work by the pair but expands out into a vast new scale. It offers an intense dystopian fantasy serving as introduction to a pointed commentary on class-based society, and it looks completely stunning; Stokely creates a dreamlike and nightmarish clash of futures, which filters down from the top of the highest building to the people straggling in the broken alleyways. It’s a creative team pushing forward in every way imaginable, and already seems set to be one of the most creatively fascinating and grand works put out this year. [SM]


    Writer: Matt Wagner
    Artist: Dan Schkade
    Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment

    I don't know if y'all have been keeping up with what Matt Wagner's been doing at Dynamite over the past few years, but he has been absolutely killing it. Django/Zorro, a crossover that seems like a no-brainer on the surface, was about as perfect as you'd want it to be, and now he's following it up with a relaunch of The Spirit alongside artist Dan Schkade, and it is without question a dream project. For me, that is. I mean, it might be a dream project for him, too, but Wagner's been one of my favorite creators since the first time I read Mage in high school, and seeing him take on a character that was defined by pushing the boundaries of page layouts and building great stories out of simple premises has me the most excited about The Spirit since, well, the last time the book was relaunched with a cartoonist that I really liked at the helm, when DC relaunched it with Darwyn Cooke back in 2007. [CS]


    Writer: Kieron Gillen
    Artists: Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, Clayton Cowles
    Publisher: Image Comics

    For those of us who read The Wicked And The Divine in trade, the last few weeks have been a massive panic. Kieron Gillen has a habit of wrapping a huge twist into the end of his runs — from Journey into Mystery through Uncanny X-Men, he’s become thoroughly adept at the long con. But whereas before he gave you twenty-odd issues before cruelly stabbing you in the face, nowadays he takes only five issues to rip out your heart. I have no idea what happens at the end of this trade, but apparently it’s something huge and heart-breaking once more. So with that in mind, it’s recommended that all trade-waiters get in as soon as possible and find out organically, rather than through an offhand reference on Twitter. [SM]


    Writer/Artist: Hugo Pratt
    Publisher: IDW

    Hugo Pratt's Corto Maltese is one of the greatest comics of all time, an epic adventure crafted by a master of the form. ... I think. I mean, it's hard to tell when most of the series isn't available in your own language. Lucky for me, IDW wants all of my money, and is now two volumes in to their comprehensive collection of English-language printings of all twelve volumes of Pratt's long-running, highly-regarded, and incredibly influential series. From what little I actually have read, I can tell you that it's incredibly beautiful, with Pratt's languid line-work perfectly matching the temperament of his anti-hero and his exotic environs; the off-kilter, unexpected adventures rich in history, character, and romance. These are important comics, and it's great that we'll finally have a chance to read all of them in the only language that actually makes sense.  (To me.) [JP]


    Writer/Artist: Noah Van Sciver
    Publisher: Alternative Comics

    Cartoonist Noah Van Sciver, one of the top two Van Scivers working in modern American comics, returns with a new one-shot, a one-artist comic book-format anthology of the sort that used to be so plentiful among alternative cartoonists, but are now rare enough that when one does appear, it's usually worth noting. If you've read Van Sciver's previous works, particularly last summer's AdHouse collection of his work, Youth Is Wasted, then you'll already have a pretty good idea what to expect here. If you haven't, then prepare to be pleasantly surprised. [Caleb Mozzocco]