Top 2020 Comics and Most-Anticipated 2021 Titles
Updated: Feb 26, 2021
There were a lot of great comic titles that came out in 2020. These are some of our staffs' favorites from the previous year and the ones they're most looking forward to coming up in 2021.
Tapper's Favorite of 2020:
"Ascender" by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Ngyuen
My favorite comic title of 2020 was "Ascender," by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen.
The story takes place 10 years after the devastating conclusion of Descender, in which planet-sized robots decimate much of the galaxy. The absence of technology and the fear of another Descender attack causes a resurgence of magic and mysticism. A dying world of technology bathed in fantasy, perfectly illustrated and written by an excellent team of storytellers.
I recommend this story for its excellent use of fantasy elements in a post-science universe, and for its amazing ability to craft heroes and villains.
Tapper's Most-Anticipated 2021 Comic Title:
"Beta Ray Bill," written and drawn by Daniel Warren Johnson
I am most looking forward to the return of Beta Ray Bill in the coming year. The alien from the planet Korbin and the first non-Asgardian to wield the hammer Mjolnir, Beta Ray Bill will now quest to find a new weapon and forge a new story after the destruction of their hammer, Stormbreaker.
Always a fan of the character, I was sold on the title after reading a Marvel article that stated, "this Beta Ray Bill book that Dan has built is special. And beautiful and heartfelt and chainsaw-razorblade-guitar-riff-to-your-bones metal."
Dominick's Favorite of 2020:
"The Immortal Hulk" by Al Ewing and more Marvel creators
My favorite ongoing series in 2020 was "The Immortal Hulk." Despite starting back in 2018, this series is still going strong and just hit issue #40 last month.
While it has always been enjoyable to see Hulk smashing things, I’ve found it more enjoyable when a comic explores WHY a character is smashing things, and thankfully "The Immortal Hulk" has been doing just that. Historically there have been a lot of different Hulk personalities residing in Bruce Banner, and this run keeps almost all of them canon.
We’ve got the classic green skin Savage Hulk that’s most commonly seen, the less common (although original) grey Hulk known as Joe Fixit known for being a somewhat intelligent mob boss, the incredibly intelligent professor Hulk as seen when grey and green hulks were merged, and last but certainly not least is the devil Hulk – the newest Hulk, and focal point of "The Immortal Hulk" comic series. This carnation only comes out at night, with Bruce Banner frequently using the phrase, “the sun is down, this time is his time” and usually when Banner had been hurt during the day.
I won’t say anything more out of fear of spoiling the plot, but I can’t recommend this comic enough. It’s got a dark, character-based story with the visuals to match; it’s easily the best Hulk comic since World War Hulk came out in 2007.
Dominick's Most-Anticipated 2021 Comic Title:
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin" by Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz and more
The first issue of The Last Ronin has already dropped October 28, 2020 and what we’ve gotten so far has me totally invested in this series.
So far we’ve seen a futuristic New York City that looks far darker than the one seen in the television show Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward. The Last Ronin's story arc has focused on one turtle going on a seemingly impossible mission to gain justice for his fallen family and friends, all while talking to himself, but imagining he’s talking to them.
For spoiler’s sake I won’t reveal which turtle is featured, but the reveal of who it was at the end of issue one made my jaw drop. The inking by Andy Kuhn really nails the art style, too; it’s equally beautiful and dark all at the same time.
While this series hasn’t proven to be quite as graphic as "The Immortal Hulk," I find a lot of its implications to be just as dark if not darker, so I can’t recommend it to kids.
I’ve always been a big fan of the more Daredevil-esque classic turtles, so this really feels like a return to form in some ways. I really look forward to whatever direction they decide to take this story in 2021.
Jess's Favorite of 2021:
"Ice Cream Man" by writer W. Maxwell Prince and artist Martin Morazzo
New to Collector's Connection during the pandemic, I was eager to read and learn more about comics. "Ice Cream Man" was one of the first to catch my eye in previews due to the Covid-centric cover art in this issue. While I have been starting to read many other series, this one has stuck with me the most so far.
I wasn't anticipating how dark the humor was going to be, but reading it was a cathartic experience and made me want to check out more horror titles. I loved finding a reference to one of my all-time favorite gaming series, Animal Crossing, which kept so many of me and my friends busy while social distancing. The #20 issue with a Dr. Seuss theme kept me flipping pages... it was like a childhood nightmare, but in a good way?
I'm looking forward to see what the series spins up next. "Ice Cream Man" would appeal to others who enjoy horror, or a dystopian spin on nostalgic images from childhood that make you cringe in the best way. Each issue seems to stand well on its own for those not able to keep up with every chapter, which I appreciate.
Jess's Most- Anticipated 2021 Title:
Girlsplaining by Katja Klengel
BOOM! Studios describes Klengel's graphic novel as one that tackles "subjects that have shaped her life: from body shaming to the exploration of her sexuality, and from the representation of women in the media to the social pressure on women who don’t have children."
If the title "Girlspaining" didn't already capture my attention, I knew that this is a book I will have to pick up in March after reading the description and quotes from the author on BOOM!'s website. Graphic Memoirs have occupied some of my favorite and fastest reads, such as with "Blankets" by Craig Thompson and "Are You My Mother?" by Allison Bechdel. Combating shame is one of my favorite themes to write or read about in poetry (for example, "Life of the Party" by Olivia Gatwood, where she writes odes to things she's ashamed about) and I can't wait to see how Klengel approaches the topic in this medium.