A debut issue is a difficult conundrum. How do you introduce your characters, their motivations, and the larger world around them in an interesting and dynamic way?
Often first issues can be clunky and sometimes hard to read, only to morph into incredible series down the line. However, this year there were ten books that killed it right out of the gate. They are tight, incredible debuts filled with action, intrigue, and dynamic worlds. Each of them is distinctly different, but share one common thread: they are a hell of a lot of fun to read.
So here are the ten best debuts of the year in comics. These first issues will own you like nothing else, and have you committing to the series as if your life depended on it. If you missed any of them, get out to your local shop and pick them up right now. You won’t be disappointed.
Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera pull you into a world of anarchistic science without remorse. Black Science is the story of a dimension-hopping hero has only just begun but the incredible detail in the art, and the insanely fast paced script will capture anyone who opens the book. This debut issue makes you believe that this series has limitless potential.
Menton3 likes to push the limits of conventional comic books. This book is a blend of prose, comic book dialogue, and beautifully painted panels. The world is depicted with an alluring ruin that will burrow into your skull and gestate into something haunting. The story is told with a casual confidence that won’t let you go.
Jeff Lemire is no stranger to an incredible story. So it should come as no surprise that Trillium is a riveting debut issue. The script is super tight. The paneling is unlike anything else you’ll find in comics, and the structure of the narrative is a departure from the norm. The entire thing culminates in the middle, creating a beautiful and rousing experience from start to second finish.
Riley Rossmo and Alex Link throw you head first into the rural surreal. Steeped in mystery, weirdness, and incredible artwork Drumhellar will have you scratching your head… in a good way. The uncanny is all too common here, and it’s an insane amount of fun to get lost in.
How do you tell a story about a superhero that derives their power from drug and alcohol abuse? You steep it in the real world issues associated with the addiction and bring it to life with Geoff Shaw’s raw sketchy art. Donny Cates’ writing is razor sharp and his understanding of the larger implications of his themes makes the book both entertaining and thought provoking.
Ed Brisson and Johnnie Christmas create an environment steeped in paranoia, and isolation. The conflict created in this debut issue will cause readers to theorize why the characters are acting the way they are, what are they so scared of, and who is in the right? It all boils over to a shocking twist that will compel you to read on.
Frank Barberie and Chris Mooneyham don’t waste any time with their debut of Five Ghosts. Instead they throw the reader into the deep end and raise a series of interesting and alluring questions amidst the backdrop of an incredible adventure. The characterization is spot on. Fabian Grey is endearing and entertaining. There is never a dull moment, and the fun only continues with subsequent issues.
Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky spin an original tale drowning in sexuality. What may seem disingenuous at first is actually pretty heartfelt. The book is a hilarious romp through teenage sexual discovery and is accompanied by tremendous paneling and art. A smile won’t leave your face until you finish the last page.
Joshua Williamson sets himself up for an impossible task: introduce the conventions of a heist in one issue of a comic. He succeeds with flying colors, and entrenches the entire thing in horror. The result is a thoroughly refreshing take on the crime genre that is brought to life by Goran Sudzuka’s visceral art that never backs down. Plus it ends with one hell of a last page.
Adam Egypt Mortimer and Darick Robertson’s Ballistic blew me away this year. I’ve read the debut issue too many times to count, and I learn new things with every read. This is a deep book, which has an overwhelming amount to offer. It’s also filled with razor sharp dialogue. The story is insanely original and well thought out. Robertson’s art is unparalleled in its mastery. If you missed this book, do yourself a favor and get it immediately. It’s a Cronenbergian love letter to the intellectual science fiction of the past and its damn near perfect.
– Liberator (Black Mask Studios)
– The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys (Dark Horse Comics)
– Grindhouse: Doors Open At Midnight (Dark Horse Comics)