It’s been another amazing year for digital comics, with new publishers and titles released every week, not to mention some old favourites going from strength to strength too. All this has made picking our top 10 digital comics of 2014 a real challenge, but we’ve finally narrowed it down and we hope you agree with the ones we have picked! You can now vote for one of these 10 great titles to win the prestigious Digital Comic of the Year 2014 and join Aces Weekly and Madefire’s Captain Stone Is Missing in our cavalcade of winners.
1. Aces Weekly (Aces Weekly)
David Lloyd’s award-winning webcomic Aces Weekly (the reigning Digital Comic Of The Year) has gone from strength to strength in 2014. With volume 14 set to debut in the new year it’s subscription based service of weekly instalments available via the Aces Weekly website has continued to push the boundaries of sequential story-telling in the digital medium with stand out stories like Rodulfo Santullo and Jok’s Dungeons and Burglars, Manoel and Osvaldo’s Heritage and comics legend Herb Trimpe’s Firehawks. These have appearing alongside old favourites like Santa Claus vs The Nazis, First Gentlemen of the Apocalypse and more, offering fans the widest possible range of styles and stories – we doubt there is a more varied and consistently high quality digital anthology out there anywhere! Aces Weekly has also debuted on ComiXology in 2014 with the first five volumes now available in collected editions for new and old fans alike to enjoy.
Subscribe to Aces Weekly here
2. Amazing Spider-man: Who Am I? (Marvel Comics)
Marvel have really brought out the big guns this year when it comes to their Marvel Infinite titles and what could be bigger than the return of Peter Parker as Spider-man, as written by super spider-scribe Dan Slott and Ultimates/The Bunker’s Joshua Hale Fialkov. Although Peter had returned properly in the pages of Amazing Spider-man #1, Slott continued to tease the readers with this self-contained tale that saw our hero start the first episodes with no memory of who he was, whilst being in the middle of a bank raid. As he pieced things together and tried to work out which side of good and evil he was on, we were treated to the kind of goofy spider-story that had been sorely missed during the darker Superior Spider-man run. Helping to make ASM: Who Am I? even more inventive was the weird and wonderful artwork of Juan Bobillo who gave Spidey a delightfully quirky edge, while layout artists Geoffo and Mast gave the whole series a sublime Guided View makeover that made the most of Spidey’s Infinite debut.
We talk to Amazing Spider-man Who Am I? writer Joshua Hale Fialkov here
3. Daredevil: Road Warrior (Marvel Comics)
When it comes to big name creative teams in digital comics, few have as much experience as digital comics godfather Mark Waid and his Insufferable/Thrillbent partner in crime, Peter G Krause. These two were brought in to the bring the Man Without Fear to the Infinite party, which they did with one of the most exciting and innovative Infinite titles we have yet seen. Using all their digital tricks (our highlight being the amazing use of Matt’s radar senses in issue #1!) they created a truly stunning story as Matt Murdock travels across country to the west coast after his secret identity gets revealed in New York. Unlike many Infinite titles, Road Warrior tied directly into Daredevil continuity and formed an invaluable part of Waid’s plans for further expanding one of the best-loved titles on the Marvel roster – as well as proving that Infinite titles are much more than just a novelty!
We talk to Daredevil Road Warrior creators Mark Waid and Peter G Krause
4. Failing Sky (Dax Tran Caffee)
We’ve seen some interesting and unique attempts to tell stories in unconventional ways this year, however Failing Sky, the Eisner-nominated webcomic from Dax Tran Caffee may just be the most exciting. Using an Infinite canvas pages scroll left to right, up and down as well as leaping from one point to another in time and space. Traditional narrative goes out the window in favour of a ‘ball of string’ approach that lets you leap from one point to the next and stories intertwine and overlap. All of this is made even more impressive thanks to Dax’s amazing hand drawn pencil and chalk artwork which is then digitally composited into these avant grade story-scapes. Forget the cutting edge of comics, this is beyond even the bleeding edge of what a comic can be in the digital world!
We talk to Failing Sky creator Dax Tran-Caffee about being nominated for an Eisner award
5. Milk For The Ugly (Madefire)
Madefire’s world of motion books have gone from strength to strength in 2014 with new partnerships with major publishers, an improved storefront and more titles now available via their app than ever before. However one of the true highlights of this year has been seeing creatives from around the world embrace the Madefire motion book tool and make their own titles. One such success story is Kate Redesiuk & Anna Podeworna’s Milk For The Ugly, a creepy horror story which became one of the most downloaded titles on Madefire’s DeviantART channel (over 400,000 times!), rivalling big names like Captain Stone and Treatment. This warranted their motion book getting a release on the main storefront as the level of quality on show was up there with the very best motion books Madefire was releasing every month. Milk For The Ugly is a dark-hearted gem of a title that proves that quality will always shine though in the end – even if the subject matter is darker than dark!
Read our full review of Milk for the Ugly here
6. Mono:Pacific (Madefire)
Madefire co-founder Ben Wolstenholme relinquishes the writing reigns of his human-ape hybrid super spy Mono to writer Brian Wood and artist Sergio Sandoval who in turn have given us one of the best motion books the company has ever produced! Not only is it packed full of pulp inspired WWII-based action featuring mutant samurai gorillas and weaponised sea creatures, but because it was released on a fortnightly schedule it meant there was no longer that unspecified wait between instalments. All of which made Mono:Pacific compulsive and explosive reading and established Mono as not only one of Madefire’s leading characters but also the standard by which the other Madefire Originals must now be measured!
Read our full review of Mono:Pacific #1 here
7. Motorcycle Samurai (Top Shelf Comics)
Chris Sheridan’s tale of a motorbike riding bounty hunter called The White Bolt returning her captor to face justice started off as a fairly straight forward exploitation style genre mash-up featuring Evil Knieval jumpsuits and a sheriff who looked a bit like Elvis. However thanks to an mind-blowing twist in the double size issue #3 Sheridan has taken his super cool heroine and made her go full bad-ass and with it the title has followed suit, shifting into high gear and zooming off into the sunset with all guns blazing! With the backstory of White Bolt fleshed out with a series of prequels and spin-offs Motorcycle Samurai has become an ultimate ass-kicker of a comic and with Sheridan’s scratchy artwork and mastery of Guided View story-telling, it is not only the one of best indie Guided View comics on ComiXology it may just be the very best!
Read our full review of Motorcycle Samurai #3 Peripetia here
8. Neomad (Gestalt comics)
Webcomic innovator Stu ‘sutueatsflies’ Campbell’s Antipodean multimedia masterpiece makes it onto the list courtesy of new collected editions being released on ComiXology. Originally released as an app only title, Neomad tells the story of 14 youngsters known as the Love Punks, whose lives are forever changed when a rocket booster lands in their quiet outback town. In the app version, the technicolour comic book pages are interspersed with videos featuring the Aussie kids on who the Love Punks are based, acting out key scenes from the story to create a true unique mix of comics and video. Even without these multimedia extras, Neomad is still one of the most eye-popping series you will read all year thanks to the hyper-colour visuals (coloured by the kids) and an anarchic sense of fun and excitement that fills every panel. One of the most unique and innovative pieces of story-telling around.
We talk to Neomad creator sutueatsflies about his innovative webcomic creations
9. The Private Eye (Panel Syndicate)
Brian K Vaughan may be collecting the industry plaudits and awards for Saga, however in our minds his ‘pay-what-you-want’ Panel Syndicate series The Private Eye is every bit as exciting and innovative. This dystopian crime noir sees paparazzi P.I. investigate the murder of his client Taj with the help of her sister Raveena in a world where secrecy is a paramount after the cloud empties everyone’s dirty secrets on the world. Vaughan’s alternative look at issues of free speech have never been more pertinent in the post-Wikileaks world we now live in, but his take on it is truly unique and original – inverting the traditional angle of the argument by having his characters in favour of increased privacy! Vaughan is more than ably assisted by the wonderful Marcos Martin who creates a surreal technicolour world of masked miscreants and flying cars that gives the world they have created a delightfully surreal and magical setting for such a bleak tale. Forget Saga, this is one of the best kept secrets in comics.
Read our review of Panel Syndicate’ The Private Eye #9 here
10. Valentine (Thrillbent)
One of the most influential digital comics series ever produced, Alex de Campi and Christine Larsen’s tale of a 19th century Russian soldier who is catapulted through time has pretty much established the template for Guided View comics in 2014 – from Marvel Infinite to Thrillbent and beyond, it’s use of long pages, and sequentially appearing text helped define digital comics as we know them. Originally released in 2009, Valentine has been brought back to life courtesy of Mark Waid’s Thrillbent imprint and re-released via ComiXology in complete form for the very first time. Despite it’s age, Valentine is still as fresh and exciting as it was when it debuted. And like a fine wine or a great album, it just keeps getting better with age. Be sure to enjoy this first digital comics masterpiece in all it’s glory!
We talk to Alex de Campi about Valentine returning courtesy of Thrillbent