Top 8 Comics of 2016

This year showcased a wide variety of original graphic novels and comics for almost everyone, as the industry witnessed some brilliant storytelling and stunning artwork. There might have been a few blunders along the way, but cynicism towards the industry waned thanks to the release of some truly remarkable titles.

This short list is comprised of some of the best publications of the year, from a number of different publishers. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out some of these comics, then please support the creators by enveloping yourself in their carefully crafted universes. It’s not too late to hop on either, as a few of these titles will are continuing into 2017.



Archie Comics successfully rebooted back in 2015, and since then the publisher has seen a plethora of new talent working on their beloved characters. One of those new creative teams that have achieved something special is the dynamic duo of Ryan North and Derek Charm.

Starting off with issue nine in September, North and Charm built upon the foundations laid by Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson. To continue with a new direction for the title, North introduced everyone’s favourite teenage witch, Sabrina, into the equation.

Her first introduction into this new Riverdale, Sabrina helped take the comic to new heights. Jughead was suddenly funnier than ever before, and there was a new degree of charm to it. Falling head over heels for Sabrina, the burger-loving Jughead unsuccessfully begins to date the mysterious, quirky teen.

Of course, when Sabrina doesn’t get her way with Jughead, her dangerous magic comes into play. Jughead is a delightfully fun and hilarious read, and Charm’s artwork is the perfect choice for the story. It’s a late contender for the year, but it’s one to look out for in 2017.



Another late entry into the year, Gerard Way’s reimagining of Doom Patrol has proved to be successful, entertaining and most importantly, just as bizarre as previous entries. With splendid artwork from Nick Derington, Way has managed to create a title which is accessible to new readers, whilst welcoming the old ones back into the fold.

This new series is part of the Young Animal imprint, which is an attempt to replicate DC’s Vertigo for a new audience. So far, it’s proved to be a hit, and it doesn’t hurt that Way’s 1.5m followers on Twitter have been dedicated to following any of work post-My Chemical Romance.

Doom Patrol embraces the bizarre with fresh faces, in the form of ambulance driver Casey Brinke, and her eccentric singing roommate Terry None. Thrown into a world of weirdness, Casey gets to meet familiar Doom Patrol members, whilst discovering a mysterious past.

It’s a title that doesn’t follow standard storytelling structure, and it should be approached by those who want something wholly different to the usual superhero fare witnessed on the shelves. It’s early days yet, but Doom Patrol is set to be one hell of a ride.



Written and illustrated entirely by Simon Hanselmann, Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam is the sequel to the funniest book of 2015, Megahex. However, despite being sold as a comedy to many, Hanselmann’s second graphic novel touches upon all too familiar subjects; anxiety, depression and cat’s anuses.

To escape the daily struggles of life and to fix their failing relationship, Megg and Mogg decide to travel to Amsterdam to enjoy its many vices. Of course, they can’t go anywhere without their friends, the insufferable Werewolf Jones and the empathetic Owl.

Hanselmann’s work has a beautiful, vibrant colour palette which really adds a nice dynamic to the many stories involving drug binges, sex, and mental health issues. There’s really nothing quite like Megg & Mogg in Amsterdam right now, and it’s almost criminal to miss out on one of the most unusual books of 2016.



DC has offered Batfans plenty of material to read this year, but it was this year’s original graphic novel that really took the spotlight. A True Batman Story is an autobiographical tale, written by Paul Dini with artwork from the hugely talented Eduardo Risso.

During his career as writer and producer of the hugely successful Batman: The Animated Series, Paul Dini’s life was dramatically altered after suffering a brutal assault one evening in Hollywood. This book recounts his recovery process and how his life was changed, with the visual aids of Batman and his loved villains.

A True Batman Story takes a completely different approach to telling a story which fans are used to, but that’s what makes it stand out from the rest. Dini’s narration of this horrible event in his life is an insightful look into his personality, and Risso’s art really helps bring that era of Batman back to life. For fans of the best animated series ever, this is essential reading.



The first season of Kaijumax surprised a few readers last year with its vibrant colour palette, its cutesy monsters and shockingly adult themes. Set up as a serious prison drama involving kaiju, writer and illustrator Zander Cannon continued to impress and astound his readers with Season Two.

The comic continues its focus on the main fugitive Electrogor, who is stuck in a world that doesn’t want anything to do with kaiju. After his escape from prison, Electrogor plans to the cross the Pacific rim in hope of reuniting with his children. However, during his journey, he encounters kaiju parolees, drug addicts and Lovecraftian monstrosities.

It’s a must-read for kaiju lovers, as Zander Cannon infuses his sheer wealth of kaiju knowledge into this book, whilst maintaining a fine balance of humanity within. Readers will be rooting for Electrogor to reach his kids, whilst being fascinated with some of the weird subplots supplied throughout.

Kaijumax is a grand achievement, where Cannon has managed to take a successful first season into entirely new territory. It’s action packed, dramatic and even upsetting in parts. Kaijumax is not to be missed.



Imagine Adventure Time’s colourful visuals, mixed in with some of the elements of the Hellboy universe. Sprinkle some solid storytelling on top, with a side of beheadings, and you have Andrew MacLean’s breakout hit of 2016, Head Lopper.

Fantastical, colourful and downright entertaining from the first page, Head Lopper surprised loads of readers this year. It quickly turned into a critically acclaimed title, and within four issues, MacLean had established a universe that was here to stay.

The story follows the fearless warrior Norgal and the incessant, nagging severed head of Agatha the Blue Witch. Hired to slay the sorcerer that wreaks havoc on the Isle of Barra, Norgal faces a number of dangerous, blood-thirsty beasts.

Head Lopper is unarguably Image’s best title of the year. It’s tight, focused and enjoyable throughout. MacLean’s art is a visual treat for the eyes, all perfectly framed with every page. The graphic novel collecting the first four issues boasts a grand collection of extras, including a new story, sketches and notes from the talented creator.



IDW’s greatest publication to date, Transformers MTMTE wrapped up this year to reboot with the Lost Light. Written by James Roberts with artwork from series regular Alex Milne, More Than Meets the Eye is a title that has never faltered once in telling a rich, compelling and emotional story.

More Than Meets the Eye follows the crew of the Lost Light, a space vessel in search for the legendary ‘Knights of Cybertron’, a mythical group that once existed on the Transformers home planet. Led by the cocksure Rodimus, his merry team of odd, dangerous and sometimes drunk Transformers get involved in madcap adventures in space.

Writer James Roberts throws his characters of MTMTE into uncharted territory throughout, and with his innovative writing and Milne’s highly detailed artwork, the title succeeds where every other Transformers comic has failed.

For some, the prospect of reading a Transformers comic may be daunting, especially considering how meaty Roberts’ dialogue can be, but once that effort is put in, new readers are rewarded with some of the best writing seen in the industry today.

The comic tackles several themes, such as politics, relationships, religion and most importantly for the Transformers, identity. It’s given birth to the first ever gay relationship in the franchise, whilst simultaneously creating a community of fans that like to take the characters into their very own, r-rated adventure…

More Than Meets the Eye is a masterpiece within the comic book industry, and James Roberts should be applauded for his ability to craft such an interesting, thought-provoking and exciting read. Comic book readers, roll out and read it already.



Having established himself as the king of slice-of-life comic books, British creator John Allison treated his devoted readers to BOOM! Studios publication, Giant Days, way back in March 2015. Since then, alongside artists Lissa Treiman and Max Sarin, the series has evolved into one of the best comics on the shelves right now.

The setup is delightfully simple; Esther, Daisy and Susan are three women who are beginning to start the rest of their lives. During their time at university, the three main characters are faced with mystery moulds, complicated relationships, soggy festivals and a surprising amount of carpentry.

Despite not sounding like the most intriguing plot, Giant Days is brought to life with Allison’s technique for sharp, snappy dialogue and perfect characterisation. Every single character in Giant Days feels real, and they’re brought to life with some absolutely solid artwork.

Taking over from Lissa Treiman, Max Sarin has managed to perfectly match the writing talents of Allison. His style is unique, providing exaggerated expressions and dynamic posing throughout the book. Panels are carefully constructed, and it appears that Sarin improves with every issue.

Allison allows a great deal of development for Giant Days, and hopefully the series lasts for many years to come. The artistic goth Esther, the quiet Daisy and the abrasive Susan all go through the motions in the comic, and it would be absolutely criminal to leave their life story after graduation.

It’s a real treat to see a UK based comic thrive, as Giant Days appears to be amassing more readers with every new issue. If you haven’t treated yourself to 2016’s best comic of the year, then do so already. You deserve it.

The Best Comic You’re Not Reading.


When it comes to recommending comics, people appear to show a slight disdain for anything Transformers related. It’s understandable really, as the comics haven’t had the best track record and Michael Bay’s movies are complete drivel. Thankfully, publisher IDW manages to shake off that image of greasy objectified women and dull robots, with their ongoing comic series; Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye.

Nearing its 40th issue, Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye is written by James Roberts, with artwork from series regular Alex Milne. Previously, Roberts caught the attention of Transformers fans when he co-wrote ‘Last Stand of the Wreckers’, which was a harrowing tale of sacrifice and betrayal. This attention led to him taking charge of his own title, which is arguably IDW’s finest publication to date.

The concept is simple, and it feels surprisingly fresh for a Transformers comic. A band of Autobots and Decepticons board the Lost Light, a space vessel in search of the legendary Knights of Cybertron, a mythical group that was believed to have once existed on their home planet. Led by the cocksure Rodimus, his merry team of weird, dangerous and sometimes drunk Transformers get involved with whacky adventures in space.


Of course, not everything goes to plan, even during their departure from Cybertron. Following an unexpected quantum jump, the Lost Light is thrown into the depths of space, where a number of bizarre individuals attempt to overcome a stowaway predator, a fatal zombie plague and one of the deadliest threats in the entire galaxy. Throwing the Transformers into such uncharted territory allows for creative freedom and some innovative storytelling, which reels in the reader with every passing page.

It’s not just the quality of Roberts’ writing, but it’s the sheer quantity of it all. Nowadays, it’s not very common in this industry for comics to be so layered with action and dialogue, but it takes a decent amount of time to finish even a single issue, let alone an entire volume. Readers may even feel obliged to give IDW more money for a single issue, due to how ridiculously dense it always is. If you’re currently reading the title, do not hesitate to reread some panels as you’ll discover some clever foreshadowing throughout.

James Roberts also introduces a selection of fan favourites in More Than Meets the Eye, and he provides character development which hasn’t been witnessed in previous Transformers incarnations. Whilst reading, you’ll witness the hilarious bartender Swerve, the maniacal Whirl, and the Autobot who is almost never amused; Ultra Magnus. There’s a multitude of fantastic and unique characters in this comic and readers are sure to find a favourite amongst them all.


The series is currently in its second run having undergone a refreshing shuffle of characters, after the events of Dark Cybertron. Ex-Decepticon Megatron is now captain of the Lost Light, and not only are fellow travellers questioning his allegiance, but readers too. That’s the beauty of this comic, as Roberts’ manages to develop an already established character for the old and new readers, whilst maintaining interest.

Meanwhile, the comic has recently introduced a mysterious coffin, time travel hijinks and disappearing objects. It fulfils all the needs of a comic book reader, by utilising all of these fantastical science fiction elements. More Than Meets the Eye likes to keep you on your toes by keeping it fresh and this second run is no exception.

Of course, James Roberts’ script is aided by Alex Milne, who is arguably one of the franchise’s best artists to date. It’s a visual look that hasn’t really been approached before; stylishly cartoonish and colourful, whilst retaining a level of detail that is appropriate for a Transformers title. Milne has previously worked for the doomed company Dreamwave, but it is now IDW that benefits from his talent. He was underutilised previously, but now he’s firing on all cylinders.


If you’ve not been won over yet, it must be acknowledged that due to not confining to the strict formula of previous titles, More Than Meets the Eye manages to impress diehard fans, and new readers who are unbeknownst to the concept of transforming robots in space. It’s a grand accomplishment, as the transformers themselves don’t necessarily feel like soulless robots.

It certainly feels like an established universe, and whilst readers may have difficulty in differentiating their ‘bots from their ‘cons, they’ll soon be invested in these characters and that’s when the tears will flow.

It’s also due to the themes that it tackles, which really transcends this comic from every other version of the Transformers. There are in-depth debates about religion, politics and identity which appear all throughout the comic, and it is fascinating how rooted these problems are in their society. These themes are displayed heavily in flashbacks, and concurrent throughout.


More Than Meets the Eye even boasts its first unofficial gay relationship in the Transformers universe, and whilst that might not necessarily feel like new territory for comic readers, it’s worth noting that it’s a first for a franchise, especially for one based on selling toys. It’s a welcome change and yet another reason why this comic is so accessible. Just don’t go visiting some particular 18+ fan sites, unless you’re into that kind of thing.

To put it simply, the characters feel real. They have their own emotions, beliefs and motives. So, be afraid when Roberts’ lulls you into a false sense of security, only to have a horrible twist down the line. It will happen, and it will hurt.

Transformers comics haven’t fared very well in the past, and whilst the Marvel series has a special place in the fan’s hearts, it is More Than Meets the Eye that truly stands as being the finest comic book accomplishment in the Transformers history to date. It succeeds where other series have failed.


It is a sci-fi adventure that takes the reader for one hell of a journey, which never falters in telling a rich, compelling and emotional story. Milne’s artwork is utterly superb and near faultless, providing the reader with an incredible look into such a great universe.

If you’re still put off by the fact that it’s Transformers, then so be it. Just be aware that you’re missing out on of the finest publications on the shelves right now, in an industry that is run down by mind-numbing event, pointless reboots and average storytelling. Also, those other comics don’t have the ex-Wrecker Whirl, and that’s awful.

Framed Recommendations – 29/10/14

There really wasn’t anything worth reviewing last week, as the new comic releases were pretty terrible, save for the final issue of Starlight. The new Deathstroke hit, but that resulted in being typical DC fodder. Arkham Manor showed promise, but that’s about it. Marvel fared even worse last week, as they continued Axis for some reason. It is honestly the worst thing Marvel have put out in a long while, and these new miniseries seem to suffer from Axis‘ poor core concept.

This week however, we’re treated to two magnificent reads; Saga and Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. Vaughan and Staples further their epic with a new direction, which will hopefully prove to be entertaining for the next part of this series. Vaughan’s on top form in this issue, and Staples proves to be incredible as per usual. It’s just a damn shame that they have both confirmed that we won’t see any new Saga until 2015. That’s like, 2 months away. 2 months too long.

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye has started off with a new arc, focusing on Megatron’s life as a writer. It’s real interesting stuff, and it provides a great insight into the Decepticon cause too. There’s no need going into details with this issue though, as Roberts’ comic has some surprising moments throughout. It is easily the best comic out at the moment, and it’s so ridiculously dense. It’s rare to see a comic that is actually worth its cover price, and then some.

Finally, it appears that DC will be losing a few readers once the new creative team starts on Wonder Woman. Azzarello’s Wonder Woman was a great little treat for readers, as it managed to separate itself from DC’s dark and edgy look. Sure, we’ve had Batgirl and Gotham Academy recently, but this was the case for some time. David Finch has taken over the art duties for Wonder Woman now, and he’s already been successful in turning her into a teenager, who resembles the talentless talking airbag, Megan Fox.

Transformers: MTMTE #34 Roberts / Rojo IDW
Transformers: MTMTE #34
Roberts / Rojo
SAGA #24 Vaughan / Staples IMAGE
SAGA #24
Vaughan / Staples
WONDER WOMAN #35 Azzarello / Chiang DC
Azzarello / Chiang

Transformers – Dark of the Moon. Review

The 2007 Transformers film was Michael Bay’s first venture into the vast, imaginative universe of the Autobots and Decepticons and with it came a putrid film, focusing more on the premise of a teenager getting laid by the fairly average looking Megan Fox.  The Transformers were devoid of any personality and the film was rife with continuity errors, awkward humour and action that needed be analysed thoroughly to be understood.  To put it simply, the first Transformers film was a mess.  It ended up being an unpleasant view of the franchise, handed down to fans by the talentless Michael Bay.

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen then came around, promising better choreographed action, less toilet humour and more depth towards the personalities throughout.  It was what fans and critics desired, but oddly enough, Bay delivered moviegoers a Decepticon with gigantic testicles, wooden characters, racist robots and even worse action than the first.  It was amazing how Bay had accomplished such a travesty, which was unsurprisingly slammed by critics all over.

Finally, mention of a third film came about.  Michael Bay promised a much better film this time round, again.  Fans were skeptical.  Megan Fox had left the franchise over some directorial issues.  Soon enough all hope was lost for a faithful adaption.  News of the next film started to pour through.  Bearing a close resemblance to a name of a Pink Floyd album, the third film was entitled The Dark of the Moon and it hit cinemas on the 29th July.

New Autobots and Decepticons were to be introduced and less appealing robots were ditched for another opportunity to get it right finally.  So that meant the cringe worthy Skids and Mudflap were out, disregarding the awful banter which somehow made it into the second film’s script.  Sentinel Prime was introduced to the film franchise with the legendary Leonard Nimoy providing the voice work.  Perhaps this was going to be a faithful addition to the series.

The Dark of the Moon takes place three years after the brain-aching event of Revenge of the Fallen.  Sam Witwicky has now broken up with Mikeala and is currently living with his new partner Carly, played by Rosie Huntington-Whitely.  All seems well for Sam, apart from his job prospects.  Having saved the whole world twice, he is without a job and his trustworthy friends.

Meanwhile, the Autobots are now working publicly for NEST on a regular basis.  A particular secret has been kept from the Autobots, which eventually leads to them to a hidden spacecraft on the moon.  They have to get there before the Decepticons get their hands on the invaluable materials within, as its contents may be too powerful in the wrong hands. It’s a typical, unsurprising Transformers tale, involving a race between to the two warring factions.

Familiar faces turn up throughout, as betrayal and secrecy proves to ultimately be the Autobots’ downfall.  It is then up to Sam and the Autobots to overpower the evil plans of Megatron and his forces, ending up in a massive war to save planet Earth.  Again.

So, what did Dark of the Moon accomplish what the others so failed to do? Surprisingly enough, a lot.  The first two films struggled with the severe lack of character development and depth.  The Autobots were always sidelined for the miserable romance sub-plot, taking away the importance of their presence.  The Decepticons were without a spark of personality and somehow Megatron appeared in the final quarter, losing all importance for the final bout in the film.  Thankfully though, Bay seems to learn from these past mistakes, providing fans and moviegoers with Transformers who surprisingly have their own personality and motives.  Starscream now fully embodies his cowardly, cowering personality, thankfully enough.  It only took Bay three films to get that right.

This isn’t to say that all the focus is shifted towards the robots this time round.  Yes, unfortunately the film is still rife with needless, pointless characters.  Bay doesn’t disappoint the big companies, by adding in shameless product placement throughout.  There is no need for Sam’s parents to be sporting an overly disgusting Adidas tracksuit.  Certain shots showcasing big brands do appear throughout the first quarter of the film, but seem to wither away when the action gets started.  Nonetheless, that makes this film a horrid, despicable example of why product placement should be abolished.

Thankfully, the toilet humour has been flushed away too.  Bay has learnt from his past mistakes, as toilet humour does not benefit towards a story about towering robots.  Neither does banal racism, which is stripped away from most of the characters.  There’s still some, but not as much as this time round.  Different languages are not hilarious just because they’re inherently different than American-English.

Whilst Witwicky’s parents sport the vile product placement, there’s solace thanks to the the other characters.  Lester Speight, known as The Cole Train\Terry Tate, makes for an amusing soldier throughout.  He is a worthy addition to the franchise, as he works well beside Tyrese Gibson.  Patrick Dempsey’s role is also an inspired one, which may not truly be appreciated throughout the film.  However, his part in the story at least adds importance to the pathetic romance subplot.  The departure of Megan Fox works quite well for the film, as Rosie Huntington-Whitely fills the role of the helpless girlfriend nicely.  She’s hardly a good actress, but she’s ahead of Megan Fox in terms of being Sam’s other half.

Frances McDormand, Ken Jeong and even John Malkovich appear throughout as well.  Unfortunately, it seems like Jeong’s shtick is getting old.  His behaviour leads to an unsurprising turn of events, whilst Malkovich’s strange character comes off as being nothing more than an added weight in terms of needless humour,  McDormand works well as the head of the CIA but only to a certain extent.  All in all, they were roles which were forgotten about well into the second half of the film, as they hold no importance towards the end of the film.

Obviously, Carly gets into some sticky situations.  So it’s up to Sam’s keen sense of love and devotion to rescue her from the evil clutches of the Decepticons.  It’s the kind of romance that ends up in big blockbuster films, catering perhaps to the average female moviegoer.  However, it’s still pointless as this of course, departs from the real focus of the film.  The brawling, magnificent Transformers.

Whilst moviegoers may consider the star of the show to be Shia Lebeouf, they may need to remind themselves of the seamless CGI throughout.  ILM manage to finish off scenes with flawless effects, perfecting the portrayal of the Transformers as real-life counterparts.  Most of the credit falls on them, for sequences which greatly maintain the vision of large, mechanical behemoths brawling over a destroyed cityscape.

Now, this is where Bay puts all of his past experience into one explosive package.  Vast set pieces portray the complete decimation of the drones in the ending brawl, followed up with numerous fight scenes resulting in brutal, significant deaths.  Finally, these scenes are choreographed with precision, resulting in impressive scraps which should have been showcased in the earlier films.  Prime’s unnecessary murderous side still crops up throughout, but in some way it’s actually understandable given the reasons.  All in all, Bay leaves us with a spectacular set of scenes which finally showcases his abilities perfectly.

Sentinel Prime is easily the stand-out Transformer of the film, as the respective voice actor Leonard Nimoy helps boost the performance of the legendary Autobot.  Leonard Nimoy is perfect for Sentinel Prime, fitting along nicely amongst the great Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving.  Unfortunately, Bumblebee still converses in an awful, uninspired radio voice.  But you can’t have it all with Michael Bay’s films.

At least he gets it somewhat right this time round.  This is his best Transformers film to date, as he finally irons out a straight-forward story with some credibility.  Sure, the humans still stick around as cannon fodder but this time round, the importance of the Transformers takes charge.  Cityscapes are beautifully destroyed, as ILM’s talent shines throughout.  Whilst some may not take too kindly the hour-long rampage towards the second half of the film, fans of mindless action will rate the set of sequences with high regard.  The fight scenes are finally constructed and edited well, leaving fans with the strange desire to see more.  Characters are memorable for once, as the toilet humour has long gone and the product placement disappears with time.

Before leaving the film with praise, there are still elements which hold the film back from being the perfect Transformers film.  The first half of the film dabbles with history too much, adding in forgettable characters alongside the shameful product placement.  The wooden acting does distract from the film quite often too.

The first scene is something fans may want to see more of, so perhaps Bay may take note.  Obviously it won’t be long until Shia Lebeouf will turn up to save the world again, but as long as Michael Bay improves on his formula even more so then he may even become a credible director.

Transformers – Dark of the Moon surprisingly manages to pull off a convincing, impressive sequel which almost makes you forget about the abomination which was Revenge of the Fallen.

Whether or not Dark of the Moon manages to save the crippling 3D box-office numbers remains to be seen, but news has been positive of it’s reception.