9:06am PT by Graeme McMillan
5 Comics to Look Out for in 2015
There’s a lot to look forward to in the world of comic books in 2015. From the big superhero companies alone, there’re Secret Wars and Convergences, not to mention whatever relaunch both Marvel and DC have planned for the second half of the year. Image Comics also has a raft of new releases planned, with even more to be announced at the next Image Expo on Jan. 8.
With so many new launches to come, you might be wondering what to look for online or in the comic book store over the next few months. Here are five titles that are particularly worth looking out for. No matter your tastes, there’s something here for everyone.
After surprising many with the success of its zombie horror series Afterlife with Archie — almost the very definition of a series that, by rights, shouldn’t be as good as it is — Archie announced not only a reboot of its superhero properties with next year’s Dark Circle imprint, but also a relaunch of its core Archie Andrews line by two creators not known for their all-ages, high-school high jinks work: Mark Waid, whose superhero work includes the fan-beloved Kingdom Come and award-winning Daredevil, and Fiona Staples, whose work has been a highlight of the brilliant Saga every issue. Together, they’re set to bring a different energy and aesthetic to a line that’s essentially stayed the same for decades. It’s a bold move, and hopefully one that will bring both new and lapsed readers into the fold. (March, Archie Comics)
The launch issue of Marvel’s new Star Wars line is already likely to be the best-selling comic of 2015 — a month ahead of release it has over a million preorders from retailers, making it the most successful comic book in over a decade — but it’s the long-term performance of this property for the Disney subsidiary that’ll prove interesting. Under previous license-holders Dark Horse Comics, Star Wars had a core, if not overwhelming, audience that returned month after month. Combining the Marvel brand with the increased excitement around Star Wars in general thanks to the new movie could result in an entry point into comics for a whole new audience. (With creators including Kieron Gillen, Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, it’s almost a given that the comics themselves will be worth picking up in terms of quality.) (January, Marvel Entertainment)
Harbinger was one of the core titles for upstart superhero publisher Valiant Entertainment over the past three years: an updated take on teen superhero tropes familiar to audiences through titles like X-Men that felt more contemporary and urgent than anyone else had managed for years. That series ended in October, but writer Joshua Dysart is replacing it with Imperium, which takes its central character in a whole new direction — one that involves alien invasions and killer robots. If this series can manage even half of what Harbinger did, it’ll be a must-read every month — and a sign of how flexible a smaller publisher like Valiant can be with its core properties. (February, Valiant Entertainment)
American audiences might only have really discovered Dredd in the last few years, thanks to the Karl Urban vehicle from 2012, but the character’s been in continuous publication in the U.K. since 1977, making it even more impressive that 2015 looks like it might be his best year yet. What makes that pronouncement so likely are three writers, each handling special stories featuring the lawman from a dystopian future America across the year. First up is John Wagner, Dredd’s co-creator who pits the character against the supernatural “Dark Judges” for the first time in decades in current issues of British anthology title 2000AD. Al Ewing, known to American readers for his Marvel work including Mighty Avengers and Loki, has returned to the character for a six-part serial in the monthly Judge Dredd Megazine called “The Cop,” and later this year, Rob Williams will re-team with artist Henry Flint for a follow-up to their 2014 triumph Judge Dredd: Titan. Each story shows off different sides to one of sci-fi comics’ most complex characters, and promises to be unlike anything else you’ll read this year. Hunt up digital editions for the easiest, and cheapest, access to this material; you won’t regret it. (January, 2000AD/Rebellion)
Fight Club 2
If Star Wars isn’t the gateway comic for new readers of 2015, then perhaps Fight Club 2 — author Chuck Palahniuk’s return to the 1996 novel that inspired David Fincher’s 1999 movie — will take the crown. Opening a decade after the end of the original book, Palahniuk and artist Cameron Stewart reveal what happens after Tyler has left the scene (Not that anyone really believes that’s really the case), with the unnamed protagonist from the first story married with a kid and wondering just how he got there. Middle-aged ennui might not seem like the most dynamic subject matter for a comic book, but just wait until you see what happens next. Would you believe the unexpected mythological origins of Tyler Durden? (May, Dark Horse Comics)
Read more 5 Comic Creators to Watch in 2015