The 2014 Occult Detective Awards: Comics
Welcome to the 5th Annual Occult Detective Awards in which I share a few of my favorite things and hopefully turn you on to something you might have missed. I could bore you with a lot of flavorful text, but that’s not why you’re here. You want to know what struck my fancy this year and I want to cough up the goods. So let’s get down to it, shall we…
This year we’re starting off in the world of four colours and I’ve got a lucky little list of thirteen for you.
13. Adventure Time — Boom! Studios, written by Ryan North and illustrated by Shelli Paroline & Braden Lam
I could wax poetical about how mathmatical Adventure Time is, but c’mon… it’s Adventure Time. Do I really need to say more than that?
12. The Devilers — Dynamite Studios, written by Joshua Hale Fialkov and illustrated by Matt Triano
Seven exorcists versus the armies of Hell in seven issues? Doesn’t get much better than this…
11. Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw — Image Comics, written by Kurt Busiek and illustrated by Ben Dewey
Being equal parts Kamandi and Conan, with a bit of Game of Thrones for good measure, Autumnlands is a thrilling anthropomorphic fantasy that’s got everything a sword and sorcery fan could want.
10. The Sixth Gun — Oni Press, written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Brian Hurtt
There are few things cooler than a weird western, and this one packs one helluva supernatural punch.
9. The October Faction — IDW Publishing, written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Damien Worm
What do you get when you toss a retired monster hunter, a thrill-killer, a warlock, and a witch under one roof? Deliciously macabre mayhem, courtesy of the Allan Family.
8. Wytches — Image Comics, written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by JOCK
Thousands have died protecting their secret. Even more have died for having discovered it. Yeah… this is a damn good one.
7. Fatale — Image Comics, written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Phillips
Supernatural Noir. Those two words are description enough. If you passed over this series, you should be ashamed of yourself.
6. Ragnarok — IDW Publishing, written and drawn by Walt Simonson
It’s three hundred years after the Twilight of the Gods and guess who’s coming to dinner. Look, this book had me at Walt Simonson.
5. Thor: God of Thunder — Marvel Comics, written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic
An epic run by a creative team that understood all too well the majesty and otherworldy nature of the Thunder God and brought the Realm Eternal to life like few others.
4. Afterlife with Archie — Archie Comics, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrated by Francesco Francavilla
Having grown up with the Riverdale Gang, to see this fresh, zombie-infused take on Archie and Company was just what this occult detective needed to satisfy two thirsts — nostalgia and blood.
3. King Conan: The Conqueror — Dark Horse Comics, written by Tim Truman and illustrated by Tomas Giorello
Wrapping up their brilliant adaptation of Robert E. Howard’s Hour of the Dragon, Truman and Giorello cemented themselves as the 21st century’s premiere storytellers of the Hyborian Age.
2. The Sandman: Overture — Vertigo Comics, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by JH Williams III
Surreal and hypnagogic, Williams’ psychedelic images are the perfect compliment to the fantastical prose of the mythweaving Gaiman. A sublime treasure to revisit a world I feared had been tucked away forever.
1. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina — Archie Comics, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrated by Robert Hack
Aguirre-Sacasa and Archie Comics strike again, this time breathing horrific life into Sabrina the Teenage Witch by conjuring up a little of that old black eldritch magic courtesy of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. It’s a match made in… well, Hell, I suppose.
With that being said, it should come as no surprise that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa gets my vote for writer of the year and I’ve got to tip my hat to Archie Comics as publisher of the year as well. What they’ve done with their Horror Line is nothing short of miraculous. I’m not sure if Archie was ever cool, but I read the hell out of them as a kid. If they weren’t cool then, well they are now… and then some.
As for artists, I still can’t get enough of Francesco Francavilla and his old school, pulp-influenced draftsmanship. He’s the real freaking deal and I bow before his immaculate artistry.
More Occult Detective Awards tomorrow…
oh, and Happy New Year!