We decided to not do the “best of 2013” list because 1) who cares what we think and 2) it is a very weird and arbitrary thing to do. Things that I loved in January now mean nothing to me. How one experiences and interacts with things should constantly change and evolve. A year end recap is just false sentimentality.
With that said I have seen the comics press make a lot of “talent to watch in 2014” lists that are complete bullshit. I am well aware that comics is a medium where even the people at the top only have a tenuous grip on either career or financial security. With that said, I think we can all agree that folks who are putting out 2-5 books a month at Marvel and/or DC are not “talent to watch”. They may be great comic creators but they pretty much have already “arrived” before now. With that in mind I made a short list of comic folks I think will be doing amazing things this year who you may not already be following. Every one of these creators is making the kind of books that will change and push the industry forward and they deserve to be household names. And if they get all the fame and credit they deserve then maybe comics press will put them on the “creators to watch in 2017” list.
I urge you to think about what new talent you are excited for in 2014 and try and spread the word about them. Comics is a small world and every little push helps keep the people you like in it. So, without further ado-
10. Gus Storms. Gus was one of our key artists on 12 REASONS TO DIE and is the artist on the new Image book EGOS. His work feels truly fresh while owing obviously to folks like Darrow and Moebius. It isn’t hard to imagine Gus as a very important artist in 2014 and beyond.
9. Curt Pires. Curt does what other writers either don’t bother to try or can’t do. He makes surreal and trippy books that read like real, human stories. His books THEREMIN and LP are both far better reads than they need to be.
8. Duffy Boudreau. BLACKACRE was a criminally under read book this year. Brimming with more heart, more smarts, and more story than most books ever even think about attempting. After you finish it you can just tell that the guy behind it has many more important stories to tell.
7. Sloane Leong. For a while I thought Sloane was the best kept secret in comics. Amazing artist, brilliant colorist, great mind for storytelling, and super funny and nice. Between her own prints, various mini-comics and shorts, and some high-profile coloring gigs I think she isn’t so much of a secret anymore. There are very few creators who continue to blow my mind and Sloane is definitely one of them.
6. Charles Forsman. This one may be a stretch. Charles Forsman has been doing some pretty awesome stuff in comics for a while now and should probably be in your library, but this year was unreal. As the head of OILY COMICS he obviously has my love for running one of the best publishers going right now. But his books THE END OF THE FUCKING WORLD and CELEBRATED SUMMER were amazingly good comics that manage to cut out all the bullshit and just tell great stories. TEEN CREEPS looks to be more of the same brilliance.
5. Jen Hickman. I just got into Jen’s stuff at HeroesCon thanks to a buddy telling me to check her table out. Immediately I asked her to draw a MENU story I was having trouble finding the perfect artist for. Saying that she absolutely nailed it is an understatement. I don’t know what Jen is working on next but I am sure you should read it.
4. Michael Moreci. Mike may be the nicest guy in comics but that isn’t what puts him on this list. Even if he was a huge dick I would still have nothing but respect for his work. His book Hoax Hunters is one of those premises that you just fall in love with and he completely nails it, even with a brutally handsome bit of dead weight dragging him down in the co-writing department (what!? You got something to say, Seeley?). His name keeps popping up on exciting projects and he has some great stuff coming soon (CURSE from Boom! for one). If this guy isn’t brought in to reinvigorate a book at Marvel or DC this year then their editors are asleep at the wheel.
3. Jason Copland. Jason is the artist that every writer wants to make famous. Ask upcoming writers in comics and they probably have all approached Jason about doing a book. Landing firmly between Chris Samnee and Sean Phillips, Jason’s style is just classic enough to appeal to outsiders while stylized enough to make the savviest comic art snob drool. He gained some much needed attention by covering for Samnee on an issue of DAREDEVIL late last year. Here’s to hoping he doesn’t forget us little guys in 2014.
2. Ed Brisson. It is un-fucking-believable that Ed isn’t already a big shot in comics. His self published MURDER BOOK is one of the great crime comics OF ALL TIME! COMEBACK was brilliant sci-fi noir. SHELTERED is one of the most original comic ideas I have seen in years. He works with some of the best artists in the business, he comes up with amazing ideas and executes them even better, and he has a great Canadian accent. Stop sleeping on the dude and grab these books.
1. Frank Barbiere. Clearly one of the worst dudes in comics, so his meteoric rise to stardom in 2014 will only be that much more impressive. 2013 saw FIVE GHOSTS become a breakout hit that THE ONION and the NY TIMES named one of the best books of the year. 2014 will see his upcoming book THE WHITE SUITS make any respectable best of list. He has demonstrated that he is a master of smart, simple storytelling that does everything right. Add to that a plethora of really interesting looking Work For Hire projects and Frank is clearly going to be a creator to watch in 2014 despite being an awful person. Good for him. The world needs more good comics and Frank is on the forefront making that happen.
Other folks who have me really excited for comics in 2014- Chris Miskiewicz, Jeremy Holt, Johnnie Christmas, Ariela Kristantina, Ryan Lee, Chris Hunt, James Asmus, Ryan Ferrier, Barnaby Bagenda, Tyler Boss, Colin Lorimer, Ben Passmore, Nolan T. Jones, Matt Miner, Michel Fiffe, and Josh Bayer. GOOGLE THEM.