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Best Comic Book Series of 2014 Nominees
Publisher: Image Comics
Written by: Brian K. Vaughan
Art: Fiona Staple
Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples' epic, crazy weird space opera/romance is widely loved for good reason. Since 2012, it's featured the best writing of Vaughan's career, complemented perfectly by Staples' beautiful, often awe-inspiring art. Plus, what's not to like about a story of lovers on the run from their enemies, in a universe consumed by war between a magic users and tech users, plus a corrupt royal family consisting of humanoids who have CRT monitors for heads?
It's tempting to avoid honoring one of the most popular and successful comics currently running, but Saga is a rare example of something this huge being exactly as good as everyone says. Touching, vulgar, sexy, ambitious, and weird in way that recalls Nexus or back issues of Heavy Metal, Saga is exhibit B of why comics still matters as an art form.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Written by: Matt Fraction
Art: Annie Wu and Javier Pulido
Volume four of the series focused on the Avenger with the least amount of coolness turns out to be one of the nicest surprises of the last 2 years. Bringing Hawkeye's everyday life to the fore, writer Matt Fraction has managed to take a character often ignored (if not outright mocked) and turn him into one of the most compelling protagonists of recent times.
Not that the series is just a day-by-day trip down off-hours lane - it has plenty of superheroic action to keep you turning the page obsessively. But Marvel has always been notable for titles that explore the intersection between its heroes' personal and (super) professional lives, something that in the last decade or so has become synonymous with Soap Opera excess. Hawkeye is a nice return to form, focused around a hero whose private life feels positively ordinary. Great stuff courtesy of a great writer.
Ms. Marvel (Marvel Comics)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Written by: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Sara Pichelli
Pretty much every person writing for the comics and cosplay channel suggested this series as one of the year's best, and for good reason.
Kamala Khan, a young Muslim of Pakistani descent, suddenly develops super powers and in tribute to her hero, Carol Danvers (now Marvel's current Captain Marvel), Khan adopts Danvers' old nom-de-superhero as her own. "Great, it's a Marvel style story," you say. Sure, but it's more than just that. As I put it in my five favorites, the series strikes "a great balance between telling a coming of age story, exploring the immigrant experience in America, and delivering thrilling superheroic adventure. Better, for people who love lore porn, the series very quickly ties Kamala to Marvel's Inhumans." Not bad.
Written by G. Willow Wilson and drawn by Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel is the perfect gateway drug for people wanting to start reading Marvel comics but don't know where to start. It's also just damn good, period.