2016 was a great year for comics! With the great conclusion of Marvel’s Secret Wars to DC’s fantastic Rebirth to the general quality of many of the comics released this year. Nobody may have had as great a year as Tom King, however, as his stellar solo output ultimately led to him being assigned Batman Rebirth. His three solo books are all in the list below. As with last year, I confined myself to a top ten, but I’ve provided several honorable mentions as well. Check out the Top 10 Comics of 2016 here!
Top 10 Comics of 2016
Archie (Archie Comics)
Mark Waid followed up his stellar first arc on the Archie 2015 reboot with a stronger exploration of Veronica Lodge (and family) and then dialing up the drama even further. If you thought the revelation regarding the Lipstick Incident was a gut punch, wait until issue 10! Waid should also be commended for not being afraid of making the titular character slightly unsympathetic, as he allows other characters to rightfully point out that Archie isn’t completely correct (or wrong) all the time, making the book far more complex than it initially seems. Yet, the book continues to be one of the most fun around, with Waid’s sense of humor balancing out the occasional heaviness of the plot. The various artists have all been great that it’s sad each time they leave after an arc, though Veronica Fish definitely stood out for her fantastic body language.
Dark Night: A True Batman Story (Vertigo Comics)
Inarguably Paul Dini’s most personal work.
Dark Knight: A True Batman Story details how Dini was brutally mugged and his subsequent recovery. While not a Batman story per se, Dini makes fantastic use of the character and his rogues gallery as personifications of his self-doubt and demons, as well as his strength and desire to move forward with his life. Such a personal story requires a deft artist, and Risso is a perfect match, depicting each scene with such raw emotion, and altering his style during the childhood sequences to highlight the isolation Dini felt. Dini and Risso have created a stirring and moving book, and one that serves as the best work from either.
The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye
Sonny Liew’s towering biography of a fictional Singaporean artist is so powerful that it has fooled many, many reviewers into believing that the titular artist actually existed. Yet Liew’s achievement is not confined to telling such a vivid biography but in telling a very powerful account of Singaporean history, thoroughly researched, and, just as important, incredibly interesting. Liew provides one of the most insightful and innovative ways of telling history – by depicting the whole of history through the eyes of an artist, he’s able to show how the Singapore changed because of its politics, and with each change, a new art style. Liew’s adaptability and challenge to himself is a monumental achievement on the scale of Blankets or Asterios Polyp. This is essential reading, and should not be missed.