Top 5 2015 Releases – Graphic Novels

With the 2015 nearly behind us, it’s fun to take a look back at the highlights from what came out of the year and get excited about what 2016 might bring. In regards to my ‘Top 5’ lists, please keep in mind that I am only going to list what I have personally dealt with. I’m not going to write opinions on something I haven’t experienced. Sadly, stupid adult responsibilities prevent me from spending every hour of the day reading comic books, building LEGO, playing Xbox, or watching TV/movies. With that said, there’s a very good chance I’ve missed out on something list worthy. If you think something is missing then PLEASE let me know! If there’s one thing the geeky community is good at, it’s sharing opinions. I want to hear yours!

 

Top 5 2015 Releases – Graphic Novels

 

I have read over 80 different graphic novels thus far in 2015. My wife tells me I have a problem…. she may be right. It is my favorite medium so I personally see it as commitment. But I digress…

 

A few of those 80+ were re-reads of titles that sat on my shelf from years past. Most, however, were ones I’d always wanted to read but never got around to crossing off the list. A surprising few of those graphic novels were actually released in the 2015 calendar year so narrowing it down to a ‘top 5’ list wasn’t all that difficult. Next year I should be able to check out more new releases since I’m in a better place with required reading from comics’ past.

 

Here are my Top 5 favorite graphic novels released this year….

 

#5 – INJECTION: Vol. 1 by Warren Ellis

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Warren Ellis holds a permanent place on my top 3 all-time favorite graphic novel authors. The man has a different view of our world and every page he writes tends to be a window into that view. His latest trade paper release, INJECTION: Volume 1 boasts outside-the-box-styled characters in pieces of an underlying story that is creepily feasible with the proper hints of imagination.

 

INJECTION was enjoyable, yet a tease in many ways. I plan on reading the rest of the story once an omnibus edition or larger collection has been released. I’m sure I would have felt the same about PLANETARY had I not waited for the 864 page beast of an omnibus before reading it – now it is one of my all-time favorite books. A volume with 120 pages doesn’t do justice to the trademark scope Ellis crafts in his stories. I’m confident it’ll be worth the tease of regularly seeing the new issues on the comic book store shelves.

 

#4 – NAILBITER, Vol. 2: Bloody Hands by Joshua Williamson

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NAILBITER is a must for fans of horror comics. It is dark and twisted while still having a backbone of solid dialogue and characters. The concept is very fresh – Buckaroo, Oregon – one town that is the breeding place for some of the world’s most notorious serial killers (16 so far). As the world makes this connection, Buckaroo becomes a media magnet as well as the focal point of serial killer cult followers. It also does a great job at balancing the story focus through key characters like the Edward ‘Nailbiter’ Warren, Nicholas Finch (an often cliche, yet fun protagonist), and the policewoman who is involved on more levels than she would like.

 

I was lucky to find both volume 1 and 2 on the same visit to my favorite used book store. It’s one of the few (non-DC) running comics I’d like to catch up on enough to pick up the new issues when they hit stores. If you haven’t heard of it, and don’t mind some seriously twisted concepts, then NAILBITER should be added to your ‘to read’ list.

 

#3 OUTCAST, Vol 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him by Robert Kirkman

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Robert Kirkman has done something other than The Walking Dead? That’s what I was asking myself when I stumbled across OUTCAST. In reality, he’s done quite a bit outside of the post-apocalyptic adventure he’s so well known for. OUTCAST is an intriguing approach to demonic possession (which I am a total sucker for). It starts off a bit slow but once it finds its footing the story is quite gripping. Although it’s classified with horror, it leans more towards the creepy side rather than shock and gore like other horror-centric comics. I don’t want to go any deeper into the particulars because it’s worth a read. This is definitely a personal priority for me to get current with in 2016.

 

#2 – INJUSTICE: Gods Among Us Vol. 2 by Tom Taylor

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I absolutely loved the first volume. Rather than coming off as a cheap novelization of the video game, both volumes instead give the story much needed depth with engaging characters and dialogue. The second volume started a bit slower than the first, but then quickly got to the elements that have made the storyline fantastic. Everything in the volume culminates quite dramatically. I found myself furiously trying to finish reading before needing to return to work from my lunch break. I’m eager to jump into ‘INJUSTICE: YEAR TWO’ after having my appetite whetted by both halves of year one. You don’t need to be a DC-devotee like I am to enjoy this – it is written in a way to carry equal impact even to those who don’t stick to the comic book cult.

 

#1 – WYTCHES by Scott Snyder & Jock, Volume 1

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READ.THIS.BOOK! I wrote a full review of it after first reading so I won’t rehash anything here. Scott Snyder and Jock are at the top of their game in this unnerving and often emotional journey. It will have you making double takes passing dark, wooded areas. You’ll be suspicious of others when things may not seem quite right. A shudder will go down your spine if there is ever an unexplained clicking noise. WYTCHES belongs in the number 1 spot because it sticks with you long afterwards. The duo of Snyder and Jock is a powerful creative force to be reconned with. Please, PLEASE let volume 2 come out early in 2016!!
Did you read any of the titles I listed here? What are your top 5 graphic novels in 2015? Let me know what you think!

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