By now, we’re already a couple days in 2020 (and hopefully completed our respective New Year’s Eve recoveries). While 2020 is looking to be a fine year for comics (a new Thor and Hawkeye in the same week, yo), it’s not too late to look back on the excellence found in 2019.
We’ve already provided the 10 best comics of the year — plus some honorable mentions — and now several of our staff are sharing their favorite issues. These may not be the finest of the year (or maybe they are?), but they do exemplify what inspired and energized the writers and editors of AIPT.
When you’re done reading our selections, we’d love to hear from you in the comments. Happy 2020, y’all!
Dave Brooke, Media and Content Manager
Doctor Strange #18
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Jesus Saiz
Doctor Strange has been a delight ever since Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz took over the book and with issue #18 readers are given an incredible done-in-one treat. The series has been great at capturing Doctor Strange’s personality, which this issue does with Strange playing magical plumber. He enters a host in a nondescript suburban home and resolves a leak that’s monster related. Waid plays around with the silly low-stakes situation by making it entertaining and at times funny.
The visuals by Saiz are astounding (he’s paired with VC’s Cory Petit on letters). Skin tones look realistic, the emotion and body language is spot on and Doctor Strange looks fabulous in his new costume too. Saiz’s style is very realistic from the decor to the family dog which heightens the reality of an otherwise tricky plot to pull off. His work with Charles Soule on Star Wars is going to blow us away. Hilarious at every turn this story succeeds at keeping you guessing as it flirts with chaos.
Chris Coplan, Comics Editor
Pretty Deadly: The Rat #3
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Drawn by Emma Rios
I’m not sure of any other series that has impacted me emotionally in the same way as Pretty Deadly: The Rat. (Save for perhaps early Legends of the Dark Knight.) I certainly enjoyed the previous volumes, but there’s something deeply effective of this latest chapter of Deathface Ginny and company. A lot of those elements are exemplified in the third issue, and writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Emma Rios are in A-1 shape both individually and as a unit. It’s here where a lot of the essential story elements come into fruition, and we understand the emotional and narrative scope at play. At the same time, this is a lethally efficient issue, and all of that legwork is done with so much deft and grace that it actually leaves you feeling winded in its wake.
There’s so much beauty and heartache packed into this issue — it’s the sort of fare that makes you appreciate this medium and what its really capable of. And if that weren’t enough, the issue doesn’t hog all the spotlight, and does such a wonderful job in setting up the final two issues. The Rat is, to a certain extent, all about family and the things we do for our loved ones. In that sense, this issue, and the overarching story, have a lot of love to give its readers.
Nathan Simmons, Writer/Contributor
The Sandman Universe Presents: Hellblazer #1
Written by Si Spurrier
Drawn by Marcio Takara
For my money, there was no contest over which single issue excited me the most in the last year. Though John Constantine has long been one of my favorite characters in fiction, let alone comic books, I’ve been left feeling somewhat indifferent towards his most recent series. I enjoyed what writers like Tim Seeley, Ming Doyle, and James Tynion IV had done with the character, but he never felt quite right. Too clean-cut, perhaps? A little too safe?
Well, that’s all out the window with the latest incarnation of John, because this one-shot reaches back to the big bad wolf in a trenchcoat from his earliest appearances. Acting as a sequel of sorts to a prophetic and horrifying sequence from Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic, this one-shot reintroduces us to a JC at the end of his rope (and his life). It only gets wilder from there, but this one issue restored my faith in the old magician and has me hyped to follow him into the next decade.
Kyle Matz, Writer/Contributor
Immortal Hulk #25
Written by Al Ewing
Drawn by Joe Bennett, German Garcia, and Ruy Jose
I’ve always been a fan of science fiction, since I was very young. 2019 marked a huge resurgence of sci-fi in my life, as I worked to refine my taste in media, articulating what I like and why. Immortal Hulk #25 was a godsend in that regard, with its hard-left turn into deep sci-fi from an already wonderfully crafted book. With every page Ewing, Garcia, O’Halloran, and Petit collaborate seamlessly to build an entire universe (quite literally) and inject a sense of pure cosmic horror and dread into one of Marvel’s longest-standing superhero franchises.
While every piece of Immortal Hulk begs to be absorbed and re-analyzed time and again (the climax of Hulk in Hell being one of my favorite comic moments ever,) the work that the creative team of #25 put into its craft is breathtaking and awe-inspiring, elevating the issue to my favorite single comic of 2019.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!