The Most Anticipated Comics of 2015

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The Most Anticipated Comics of 2015


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For an overview on what to expect in 2015, we could just copy and paste last year’s intro and say this, but more. More outlets. More publishers. More mergers. More startups. More diversity. More opportunity. Put succinctly, there’s a beautiful libertarian flow to the industry: the creator-owned renaissance has become an ingrained business reality instead of an emerging trend. Meanwhile, major publishers are creating comics for different genders and age groups beyond the adult superhero crowd. From a mainstream perspective (we know you’ve been breaking boundaries for years, indies), comics are more recognized as a medium instead of a genre. In other words, there’s no way this year won’t expand upon the diversity and growth seen in 2014. Here are some of our most anticipated comics coming up. Let us know yours in the comments.

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Archie
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Fiona Staples 
Publisher: Archie Comics
Release Date: 2015

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I’m not exactly sure how a creative team modernizes a property exclusively devoted to the shoe-shine innocence of ‘50s Americana, but Mark Waid, Fiona Staples and, um, Mark Ecko, will try their damndest when they revamp Archie later this year. The appeal here shouldn’t be the potential scandalization of an antiquated title, because that’s just not going to happen. A more realistic prediction would be that Waid and Staples will gift the comic industry with a touching, relevant teen drama with poignant characterization and understated relevancy. Sean Edgar

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The Complete Eightball
Writer & Artist: Daniel Clowes
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Release Date: April 5, 2015

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Fantagraphics  has established a reputation for putting out door-stoppers of comics history; this 2-volume slipcased collection including all 18 issues of Dan Clowes’ influential publication joins some impressive forerunners. It also serves as a look back at 25 years of the artist’s evolution, presenting a chance to revisit his seminal works and singular vision. Hillary Brown

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Fight Club 2
Writers: Chuck Palahniuk, Matt Fraction 
Artist: Cameron Stewart
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: May 27 (and Free Comic Book Day on May 2)

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At present, the notion that the original Fight Club novel is the same crucial literary benchmark my 14-year-old self thought it was seems, at best, highly suspect. But I’m sure I’m not alone in remembering it as the first “real” book I discovered outside the realm of homework assignments. Therefore, Fight Club is forever beloved, even if the harsher critics of author Chuck Palahniuk’s more recent work aren’t always wrong. Could it be that, much like Jack the Narrator, Palahniuk must reconnect with old fremeny Tyler Durden to realize his full potential for chaos and moral ambiguity? If by chance Durden drops the ball in that regard, artists Cameron Stewart and David Mack could very well do the trick. Barry Thompson

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Frankenstein Underground
Writer:   Mike Mignola  
Artist: Ben Stenbeck
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: March 25, 2015

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Mike Mignola has proven to be a one man Villa Diodati throughout his career, channeling the aching sadness, elegance and redemption of gothic pioneers like Mary Shelley and her most famous creation, Frankenstein. So it’s not incredibly surprising to see the Hellboy creator continuing the misunderstood monster’s adventures after his cameo in House of the Living Dead. Underground takes a literal approach, submerging its antihero in the dark to encounter “other monsters and the dark secrets to the universe.” Colorist Dave Stewart brings his sharp contrasts and moody tones while Ben Stenbeck chisels out gritty line work. Hopefully this book keeps its charge going for years to come. Sean Edgar

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Howard the Duck
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Joe Quinones
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: March

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When we talk about Captain America, we don’t usually mention the crummy 1990 straight-to-video film featuring his likeness. Batman has been the subject of countless essays of both critical and philosophical intents that note Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin exactly zero times. So how is it fair that, almost 30 years after the fact, no one talks about Howard the Duck without also bringing up the abominable 1986 George Lucas flop that shares his namesake? It isn’t fair, and it’s because of prejudice against ducks. At long last, Marvel seeks to vindicate the mighty mallard, and has enlisted Sex Criminals co-creator Chip Zdarsky and prolific drawer of imaginary people Joe Quinones to the task. Barry Thompson

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Injection
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Declan Shalvey
Publisher: Image
Release Date: May 13, 2015

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The most disappointing comic of 2014 may have been Warren Ellis’ and Declan Shalvey’s Moon Knight, not because it wasn’t critically satisfying (it was), but because it felt criminally brief at six issues. As soon as it started — and arguably peaked with the second issue’s revalatory therapy session — it glided on a few inspired action issues before segueing to a new writer. Warren Ellis thrives most in his creator-owned projects, so we can at least expect Injection — a dystopian portrait of sci-fi grandeur —to tell a bigger story with more moving parts. Sean Edgar

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Intelligent Sentient?
Writer & Artist: Luke Ramsey
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Release Date: February 10, 2015

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Luke Ramsey is better known as a pure visual artist than a sequential art guy, so it’ll be interesting to see what, exactly, Intelligent Sentient? is. The question mark in the title may be the the first clue that this book doesn’t follow a straightforward trajectory, whatever that may be. The description from publisher Drawn & Quarterly nearly confirms it with this enticing blurb: “This book is meant to be read forward and backward and returned to and treated like a mystical text.” Hillary Brown

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March: Book Two
Writer: John Lewis, Andrew Aydin
Artist: Nate Powell
Publisher: Top Shelf
Release Date: January 20, 2015

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The collaboration among Congressman John Lewis, writer Andrew Aydin and supremely talented artist Nate Powell already produced one near classic in its retelling of the early years in Lewis’ autobiography. The story continues in volume two, as Lewis’ involvement with the Civil Rights Movement ascends to a new level. The narrative remains compelling beyond its invaluable historical context, the writing strong and direct, and the visuals both beautiful and focused on finding new ways to convey the message. Sometimes “more of the same” is exactly the best thing you can ask for. Hillary Brown

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The Nameless
Writer:   Grant Morrison  
Artist: Chris Burnham
Publisher: Image
Release Date: February 4, 2015

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Grant Morrison  doesn’t seem particularly optimistic at the moment. Usually content to peel back realities in search of empowerment and enlightenment, the hallowed post-modern scribe has since erected a middle finger at the cosmos with recent works like Annihilator, a raunchy ode to sci-fi nihilism and Hollywood depravity, and The Multiversity, a mini epic about existential melancholy destroying the concept of fiction (we think). The Nameless comparatively makes these projects sound like a sunbeam wrapped in powdered sugar and baby’s breath. This is what Morrison told Entertainment Weekly: “In my superhero comics, I’ve tended to be a cheerleader for the human spirit, but Nameless gives me a rare opportunity to articulate a long-withheld sneering contempt for our miserable species, with its self-serving, sentimental, suicidal self-delusions and its greedy, willful ignorance.” With The Nameless, expect a cerebral collage of occult philosophies, labyrinth foreshadowing and barbed dialogue wrapped around a near-incomprehensible plot that suddenly elucidates on the second (or third) read. Expect a Grant Morrison comic book. Sean Edgar

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Poetry Is Useless
Writer & Artist: Anders Nilsen
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Release Date: June 16, 2015

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Sketchbooks don’t always offer the most compelling reads, but Anders Nilsen has proven himself reliably interesting as both a writer and artist, pushing himself to experiment in works like Big Questions and Rage of Poseidon. Poetry Is Useless shows the artist working out ideas, documenting travels, playing around and more. It also offers an opportunity to see some of his thought processes in trailblazing the next generation of literary comics. Hillary Brown

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The Sculptor
Writer & Artist: Scott McCloud
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: February 3, 2015
496 pages

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Acclaimed comics ambassador, teacher and devotee Scott McCloud spent five years incubating this massive, 496-page tome about the price and nature of art. Within its narrative, a young man makes a bargain with Death to sculpt anything he can imagine. The catch? He only has 200 days left to weld this new power. Besides the acumen of its creator and its enticing premise, The Sculptor also gains bonus points for unapologetically — even aggressively — embracing the romanticism of the print medium. Sean Edgar

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Star Wars
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: John Cassaday
Release Date: January 14, 2015

Ever wonder what happened to Luke Skywalker between the award ceremony at the end of A New Hope and his arrival at the rebel base on Hoth? If so, there are already dozens of novels, video games, fan fictions, and probably a Dark Horse comic book to quell your curiosity. But now there’s also going to a bona fide Marvel comic. Redundant and unnecessary? Very. But nothing separates nerds from their money more quickly than the word “Star” situated next to the word “Wars.” Snarky posturing aside, we’d be disingenuous to pretend that we aren’t stoked to read this thing. Jason Aaron writes, John Cassaday draws, George Lucas cashes yet another royalty check. Barry Thompson

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Erica Henderson
Release Date: January 7, 2015

Within its desert of real-politic, zero-sum austerity, the Marvel Universe has also planted a few oases that aren’t afraid to bloom with eccentric, self-aware laughter or feature a mutant teenager with the powers of a squirrel, whose best friend is, in fact, a squirrel named Tippy-Toe. In all honestly, we would read just about anything that Ryan (Dinosaur Comics) North penned; this is the same man who turned Hamlet into a choose-your-own adventure epic. But he’s narrating the stories of rodent-powered collegiate Doreen Green as she concocts self-aggrandizing theme songs while foiling leather satchel thieves. Hell…you had us at Tippy-Toe, Marvel. Sean Edgar

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