12 New Comics To Try In 2014

I tried this feature for the first time last year and I did pretty well. Of my ten picks, eight turned out to be wonderful books that I love so far (and really only one horribly disappointed me – Uncanny X-Force I’m looking at you, kid). One is also a book I am woefully behind on, but hope I will love when I finally catch up (Killjoys), and another is just not my cup of tea, but not a bad book all in all. So, with such happy success in my hands, I decided to press my luck and take another crack at it this year. I hope you find something you might like.

01. Black Widow/She-Hulk/Elektra Lady-Led Trifecta! (Marvel) by Nathan Edmonson/Phil Noto, Charles Soule/Javier Pulido, and Haden Blackman/Mike Del Mundo, respectively

Black Widow’s first issue actually released already, and it was a great first issue. Strong and beautiful (albeit a bit safe, which makes sense given the trouble the big two have had with lady-led superhero comics). It has set itself up for huge potential, and the art by Phil Noto is not to be missed. Two other lady led books — She-Hulk and Elektra — also debut this year (She-Hulk in February and Elektra in April) and I expect neither to be safe given the personalities of the characters involved. She-Hulk has an interesting creative team: Charles Soule, most recently known for Swamp Thing, and artist Javier Pulido, most recently seen on Hawkeye. Pulido has a fairly cartoonish style, which should be a nice fit for the humorous, free-wheeling She-Hulk. Elektra is my pick for the most interesting “dark horse” of the three books, what with visionary artist Mike Del Mundo on interiors. I will expect only the unexpected. All three books are certainly worth a look.

Black Widow #1 released on January 8th, 2014. She-Hulk #1 is scheduled for February 2014 and Elektra #1 is scheduled for April 2014.

 

02. The Wicked and The Divine (Image) by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

Hot off their fantastic Young Avengers run, Gillen and McKelvie are teaming up for something called The Wicked and The Divine, which sounds a little bit like Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (in the best of ways). The concept — one of Gods being reincarnated every 90 years and becoming the ultimate celebrity superheroes — is rife with potential, and I’m sure in Gillen and McKelvie’s hands it will be both smart and uber stylish. One thing that Gillen and McKelvie do better than almost anyone working in comics today is conceive of an idea from tip to tail and execute it with unbelievable consistency. The potential for reimagining myths is always interesting, and with creators like these at the helm fans are likely to get their money’s worth and then some. Gillen and McKelvie also promise some creator guest stars and lots of surprises. But I’m an easy sell — I’d follow these gents just about anywhere. You should too.

The Wicked and the Divine was just announced and does not have a firm release date, beyond “2014.”

 

03. Veil (Dark Horse) by Greg Rucka and Toni Fejzula

Anything new by Greg Rucka is worth a look, hence my anticipation for his mysterious new series with artist Toni Fejzula called Veil. Hesitant to pigeonhole the book as one specific genre, Rucka claims the story of “a woman whose identity can prove deadly” is a mystery with elements of horror, the supernatural and gender issues, among other things. Rucka claims the story is a bit outside the box for him and is excited (and nervous) to see if readers will come along for the ride. I know I will, because what I can always be sure I'll get with Rucka, regardless of genre, is a well-told story. Bring it on!

Veil #1 arrives in stores on March 5th, 2014.

 

04. Wytches (Image) by Scott Snyder and Jock

Pitched as a new ongoing fantasy horror story, the creators on this one are an exceptional team with a proven track record. Scott Snyder, who has created hit after hit with his work on Batman, American Vampire, and The Wake, paired up with renowned artist Jock alone is worth the price of admission. Add to that the fact that Snyder and Jock’s collaboration on Detective Comics in 2010 was one of the best Batman stories ever published, and that make this a slam-dunk. But the premise, though vague, sounds interesting as well. Snyder promises Witches as you have never seen them before, or rather, “everything you thought you knew about Witches is wrong," and promises to take the mythology to a far creepier and bone-chilling place. Of all Snyder’s strengths, his heart is in horror, so I have no doubt he can deliver on these promises, and Jock is a perfect match to bring his creepy stories to life.

No hard release date on Wytches #1 yet, just a general “2014.”

 

05. The Wake – Part II (Vertigo) by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy

Speaking of Scott Snyder, if you didn’t read part one of The Wake (issues #1 – 5) you should get on that right now, as it was one of the best reads of 2013. And if you read it now you can be prepared for the sure to be epic conclusion when part two begins with issue #6 in February. Snyder’s The Wake spanned millions of years, and yet never overreached. It was smart and cool, and frequently jigged when I thought it was going to jag, which is always a delight. Sean Murphy’s visuals were a constant gift. He created stunningly beautiful pages with bonkers creative world building and flawless storytelling. The end of The Wake left me more excited for what’s coming than anything I had read up until that point. This book is easily the top of my most anticipated reads of 2014.

The Wake #6 drops on February 26th, 2014

 

06. Bitch Planet (Image) by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro

Promising to be both campy and kick ass, DeConnick and De Landro’s story set on an all female penal planet might be the most intriguing book you try out this year. Focusing on five ladies ready to bust out of their prison cells and pitched as a science fiction take on the women in prison exploitation feature, I cannot wait to see how DeConnick pulls this off. An outspoken feminist, DeConnick admits to her deep love for exploitation films despite their problematic nature, but also admits that “mixed feelings are the perfect soil composition for fiction,” and I couldn’t agree with that more. DeConnick’s complicated and passionate feelings about the subject matter combined with that first cover and the title of the book are more than enough to draw me in for a peek – I can’t even imagine who could resist!

There is no specific release date on Bitch Planet, but I’d guess fall of 2014 at the earliest.

 

07. Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Ten (Dark Horse) by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs

This will be the third comic book “season” for Buffy since it left the air (in "Season Seven"), but this is the first season to be drawn by someone other than Georges Jeanty. And though Jeanty has been a rock in delivering the series all this time, the change is good. The series is being taken over by the creators of the beloved Angel & Faith series — writer Christos Gage and artist Rebekah Isaacs — and I expect them to breathe new life into Buffy as she heads into her tenth “season.” Any fans of the characters are urged to check out this new run as new “seasons” are generally pretty easy to jump on to, so long as you’re familiar with the characters. And given what Gage and Isaacs brought to Angel & Faith, I expect great things!

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Ten #1 is in stores March 19th, 2014.

 

08. Stumptown (Oni) by Greg Rucka

Oni Press has teased fans of Greg Rucka’s Stumptown (previously two self-contained volumes) that the series will become an ongoing in 2014. There’s little information available beyond that, including who the artist might be, but even a tease of more Stumptown is enough to get it on this list. One of the best comics to come out in the last few years, each volume of Stumptown has been excellent, and the idea that we’ll get more adventures starring the brilliant P.I. Dex Parios, who also happens to be a loveable and classic screw up, set in Rucka’s own Portland, is most certainly news worth celebrating. Oni hinted that there should be more information coming at the end of March during Emerald City Comicon, which suggests the earliest we might be seeing more Stumptown is mid to late summer.

Stumptown ongoing estimated projection for mid to late 2014.

 

09. Moon Knight (Marvel) by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey

I’m not a particularly big fan of Moon Knight, but then, I haven’t read much of Moon Knight, either. What I am a big fan of is Warren Ellis. I like a lot of what Warren Ellis writes, but when it comes to superhero comics I can’t think of an Ellis book I haven’t loved. In fact, he wrote one of my all-time favorite superhero books, Nextwave Agents of H.A.T.E., and his recent Secret Avengers run (at least one story of which featured Moon Knight) was fantastic as well. So add Declan Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire on art duties to Warren Ellis and Moon Knight and we are there, kids. This book sounds like a hell of a romp, and that’s even before Ellis starts talking about it. When he does start talking about it, he says stuff like: “Moon Knight’s cape is actually a crescent moon and he goes out only at night and dresses in reflective white so you can see him coming. Now that’s nuts…I like that.”  Yup. This sounds SUPER fun. I’m in.

Moon Knight #1 drops in March 2014.

 

10. Deadly Class (Image) by Rick Remender and Wes Craig

Described as “Breakfast Club if the kids were highly trained assassins” by Robot 6, Rick Remender and Wes Craig’s story of deadly teenagers at “the most brutal high school on Earth,” where top crime families send their assassins-in-training, has got a high concept worth its weight in gold. Paired with gorgeous high-style 80’s visuals by Wes Craig and colorist Lee Loughridge, there’s definitely something worth a look here. The preview pages (available at the Robot 6 link above) are impressive and there’s always something really cool about a great high school story. There’s a universal aspect to high school that makes stories based there highly relatable, even when the twist is that they’re 80’s assassins in training.

Deadly Class debuts on January 22, 2014 so get thee to a comic book store this month!

 

11. Vertigo Quarterly: CMYK (Vertigo) Various Contributors

Just announced this week, Vertigo is debuting a fantastic sounding quarterly - Vertigo Quarterly: CMYK - which, given Vertigo’s reputation, will be packed with talent. The quarterly’s theme is CMYK, and will see each issue focusing on a different color (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black for the uninitiated). Cyan, the first volume, already has creators Jock, Fabio Moon, Joe Keatinge, and James Tynion IV on board. Dark Horse Presents, a monthly collection of serial short stories is regularly great, and one of the only publications like that still being produced in comics, so if this new Vertigo Quarterly: CMYK can deliver similar high-end content, we’re all in for a treat.

Vertigo Quarterly: Cyan is scheduled to hit stories April 30th, 2014.

 

12. Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel Combo Pack! (Marvel) by G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona and Kelly Sue DeConnick/David Lopez, respectively

We opened with a lady-tastic trifecta from Marvel, so it’s only fitting to close up with a lady-tastic combo pack from Marvel. Marvel is doubling down on…well, Marvel, with two Marvel-based titles. First up, let’s talk about the relaunch of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel with a new artist – the fantastic David Lopez. Though Captain Marvel as a title struggled to find its voice over the last year, Marvel putting Lopez on art duties and “relaunching” is a good sign that they both get how important this book is and that they’re committed to getting it right. A big struggle for the book last year was inconsistent art, as they shifted from artist to artist looking for the right fit. Right out of the gate, Lopez is a strong choice, so I hope they've figured out that part of the equation. It’s rare for a book to get a relaunch and still retain a creator, but I for one have fallen in love with DeConnick’s Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, so I’m glad they’ve kept her on board. Equally as important as Captain Marvel, but in different ways, is Marvel’s relaunch of the Ms. Marvel character, with a YA lead of color, no less – Kamala Khan. Introduced subtly in the last pages of Captain Marvel, the stage has been set for the young heroine to take on the mantle Ms. Marvel has vacated. Khan possesses shape-shifting powers which will make for a very different Ms. Marvel than we have seen before. Should be interesting!

Ms. Marvel #1 hits stores February 5th 2014, with Captain Marvel #1 debuting in March.


I didn’t give it a bullet point, because there’s so little information on it — short of a cover image — but when Grant Morrison announces a new project, it’s always worth a mention. So keep an eye out for his new horror book, Nameless, coming from Image sometime this year, with art by the super talented Chris Burnham.


So, anything I missed that you’re really looking forward to in 2014? Anything on this list catch your eye? And did anything from last year’s list turn out to be something you love? Let me know!

Image of Stumptown, Vol. 1
Author: Greg Rucka
Price: $19.69
Publisher: Oni Press (2011)
Binding: Hardcover, 144 pages
Image of Young Avengers, Vol. 1
Author: Kieron Gillen
Price:
Publisher: Marvel (2013)
Binding: Paperback, 128 pages
Image of Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. Ultimate Collection
Author: Warren Ellis
Price: $28.64
Publisher: Marvel (2010)
Binding: Paperback, 304 pages
Kelly Thompson

Column by Kelly Thompson

Kelly Thompson lives in Manhattan and writes the column She Has No Head! for Comics Should Be Good, reviews for Comic Book Resources, and runs the 3 Chicks Review Comics Podcast. Her first novel THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE KING was a Kindle best seller and her new novel STORYKILLER is out now. She's represented by the Irene Goodman Agency and managed by Principato Young.

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Comments

Sanbai's picture
Sanbai from the Midwest is reading The War of Art January 18, 2014 - 2:54am

Not a bad column - but honestly, I hated "The Girl who would be King" with a passion. Guess I'll take the recommendations with a spoon of salt...

1979semifinalist's picture
1979semifinalist from California but living in NYC is reading Joe Hill's NOS4A2 January 18, 2014 - 3:19am

I'm certainly sorry you didn't enjoy the book, it's definitely not for everyone.

That said, I am seriously curious as to why anyone (short of haters and trolls) would leave a comment directly to an author saying they hated their book with a passion. What do you get out of that? I'm honestly curious.

Vonnegut Check's picture
Vonnegut Check from Baltimore January 18, 2014 - 7:29pm

... haters and trolls ...

or option three, the bored asshole.

Nick Marino's picture
Nick Marino from Long Beach, CA, USA, Earth, Sol, Milky Way January 19, 2014 - 1:39am

Oooooo I haven't read anything about Bitch Planet yet. I didn't know it was a riff on the women-in-prisons explotation genre!!! I'm a huge fan of some 70s and 80s women-in-prisons flicks (especially the Pam Grier stuff filmed in the Phillipines in the 70s).

At the same time, just like DeConnick, I have mixed feelings about a lot of the themes and plots in women-in-prisons films because they're in direct conflict with my values. I appreciate the inherent satire of the stories and I love how extreme they can get, but they're in stark contrast with what I actually believe in.

Dave Cummins's picture
Dave Cummins from Ireland is reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest January 19, 2014 - 2:11pm

I'm such a Snyder fanboy, 'Wytches' sounds like it's going to be one of the best comics this year..

Thanks for the recommendations :)

Murasaki_Ducky's picture
Murasaki_Ducky from Texas is reading The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan January 21, 2014 - 12:51pm

There are some really promising titles here! I will also be on the look out for The Wicked and The Divine as well as Wytches and Veil.

Here's hoping you have some kind of insider knowledge Kelly: have you heard anything about Jonathan Hickman's Feel Better Now? I know it was supposed to release back in 2012 but every time I ask my comic shop about it they tell me it looks like it's been pushed back. =(