Top 10 Comic Book Series of 2013

by Jay Hood on December 16, 2013



Lying Cat Saga

Let’s kick off the end of the year with an obligatory top 10 list.  This one will focus on something a little different.   This list avoids the big Marvel and DC titles and looks in on some of the non-caped crusaders (though Batman ’66 is a super fun read!).  These didn’t necessarily all launch this year, but they are all active titles so you can head down to your local comic book shop and jump right in. So as much as it pains me to leave off Hawkeye from Matt Fraction and the Brian Posehn penned Deadpool,  I present our top 10 comic titles of 2013:

10. Jupiter’s Legacy

Jupiters Legacy Cover

Mark Millar has done his fair share of superhero comics. Everything from the Fantastic Four to Superman. Jupiter’s Legacy takes your typical superhero comic and turns it on its head. It explores the lives of some aging golden age superheroes and their entitled kids who don’t necessarily want to continue the family business. A little dark humor blended with some strong action sequences land this on the list. The bi-monthly release schedule is a bit of a downer, so wait for the first trade edition to come out and enjoy the ride all at once.

9. Nowhere Men

Nowhere Men Cover

The release dates of this title are even more frustrating than the bi-monthly release of Jupiter’s Legacy, but the payoff is even better. And, you are in luck, because the trade collecting issues one through six has just been released. That helps bring some continuity to this very involved story line. The gist is, a group of scientists form a new corporation. Think Cream. Think Power Station. Think Zwan. OK, maybe don’t think Zwan. But this is a super group of epic proportions, the brightest minds of their time who have achieved a Beatles level of notoriety. And they aren’t exactly shy with the Beatles comparisons anywhere in this book. Down to the look of some of the characters, there is a definitely nod to the Beatles throughout. This isn’t your standard comic on any level. Entire pages are devoted to nothing but text. This becomes a totally unique reading experience.  This is as much the story of what happens when the egos of all these super genius collide as much as it is about the very surprising results of their work. This would have ranked higher if the release dates weren’t so bad.

8. The Hollows

The Hollows Cover

Even if you aren’t a fan of reading comic books, this warrants attention if only for the art. Absolutely gorgeous work, almost like an impressionistic painting. Only this is Monet doing post-apocalyptic scenes instead of lillies. This is about a destroyed Tokyo where people live life in giant trees towering over the city and the intersection of the relative safety of the trees and the fight for survival on the ground. While the story by Chris Ryall is touching, its the art by Sam Keith that makes this a true standout. All four issues are now available as a collected hardcover making it worthy of display on a shelf long after the story has been read.

7. The Wake

The Wake Cover

Scott Snyder creates a claustrophobic tale of adventure as a group dives to the bottom of the ocean beneath the polar ice. Adding a touch of horror to the cramped environment makes this even more tense and will make you crazy with anticipation for the next issue. There are definitely some unexpected turns along the way. The less said the better because this seems to be ramping up the story line to a new level.

6. Trillium

Trillium Cover

Billed as a science fiction love story, this story by Jeff Lemire is captivating. It begins with alternating tales of an explorer in the 1920’s, much like Indiana Jones, and a botanist in the far future at the edges of explored space. As these stories begin melding together, the mystery grows. This is slated to be an eight issue mini-series, so get on board now before it is over.

5. East of West

East of West Cover

Jonathan Hickman’s first of two titles on this list and there potentially could have been a third (God is Dead we’ll rank an unofficial number eleven). East of West is a science fiction western set in a dystopian version of the United States. The end of days is near and the four horsemen of the apocalypse are on the move. It is hard to say what direction this story ultimately takes because we’ve only spent a brief time with each faction. There are a number of intriguing characters that things can center around and, up to this point, we’ve just scratched the surface getting to know each of them. That potential coupled with the unknown makes each months issue something to look forward to. The minimal take on the art adds to the bleak tone of the writing. Volume 1 is out now to help get you caught up.

4. Mind MGMT

Mind MGMT Cover

Mind MGMT is a mind bending comic from Matt Kindt that defies description. This one needs to be read several times over to get even a loose grip on what is happening. But that is not a bad thing. Hidden clues are placed throughout to help you along if you can find them. Even if you just read it for the story without thinking too hard, its quite enjoyable. Ridley Scott is now on board to produce a movie version of this. But just because this is being made into a movie, do not expect this comic to be one giant action sequence waiting to be put on the big screen. This is a meandering cerebral dive into secret government agencies, spies and psychic powers. The watercolor artwork is gorgeous. Picking up Volume 1 will be a solid investment so you can refer back to it over and over again each month to try to figure out what you missed the month before or what you’ve forgotten from several issues before.

3. The Manhattan Projects

Manhattan Projects Cover

Here is where this list starts getting really fun. This is another Jonathan Hickman title, but, unlike East of West, this just gets right up in your face from the opening page and does not let up. This is alternate history with a psychotic twist. Regular appearances are made by Albert Einstein, Harry Truman, Joseph Oppenheimer and Laika the cosmonaut dog. The story takes a group of connected characters from history and drops them into a brand new scenario. Instead of working on an atomic bomb, they have other matters to attend to. And, more importantly, they have each other to deal with.

2. Saga

Saga Cover

This easily could have been number one on the list. An epic space opera that has won Eisner awards and a Hugo award. On the surface, it is the story of two warring factions of extraterrestrial races. This conflict is enough to provide some substance to keep the story moving along. Ultimately though, this is a story of two people from either side of the battlefield who come together. Mix in a lot of humor and some fantastic artwork by Fiona Stapes and you have a winner. And that’s no lie.

1. End Times of Bran and Ben

End Times of Bram and Ben Cover

I’m sure this title makes no other top 10 list for 2013. But this four issue series is an unexpected delight. It is the end of times. The rapture has come. But then there is a clerical error and all hell breaks loose. While there are some other post apocalyptic titles on this list, none compare to this. Bram and Ben provides a lighthearted joust with the antichrists. Once this one is over, you’ll be begging for more.

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Jay Hood (Section Chief Shea Garage/Contributing Editor)

Jay Hood has lived in Baltimore, Maryland for the past 25 years.  He likes to travel and is an avid photographer.  His photography has been featured in several obscure and unassuming locations, such as John Ball Zoological Gardens.  He does not eat vegetables and is learning to enjoy seafood.  He strives to keep his DVR no more than 40% full.  Comfort is paramount and he is not above a little slacking.

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