Our borg.com Best of 2016 list continues today with the Best in Print and a bonus wrap-up of other year’s bests. If you missed it, check out our review of the Top Picks and Best Movies of 2016 here, the Kick-Ass Heroines of 2016 here, and the Best in Television here.
Without further ado, this year’s Best in Print:
Best Comic Book Series – Old Man Logan (Marvel). With just enough backstory from prior series focused on the future world version of Logan/Wolverine, writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino took us through the struggle of the superhero that survived all his contemporaries, only to be plunged into a parallel world where everything is familiar but nothing is the same.
Best Graphic Novel – Wonder Woman: The True Amazon, Jill Thompson (DC Comics). Writer/artist Jill Thompson is probably the best creator in comics today. Her origin story of Wonder Woman is vibrant, and she presents a flawed, complex, and ultimately strong and fearless heroine. The best Wonder Woman book we’ve ever read.
Best Comic Book Limited Series/Best Crossover Comic Book Series – Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (DC Comics/IDW). James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II pulled together an impossible team-up of characters that ended up working great together. An action-packed, nostalgic fun trip.
Best Comic Book Writing – Matt Kindt, Dept.H (Dark Horse). Kindt pulls together an incredibly nostalgic assemblage of the best action concepts: classic science fiction of the H.G. Wells variety, G.I. Joe Adventure Team-inspired characters, and a fun character study and whodunit that will have you searching out your old game of Sub Search. We just hope he makes a prequel at some point so we get to see a similar quest with an old fashioned copper-helmeted deep sea diver. A fun read month after month and the best writing comics have to offer.
After the cut we continue with the best in comics, books, and more from 2016:
Best Comic Book Humor Writing – Nick Spencer, The Astonishing Ant-Man. Comics shouldn’t be all about drama and action. You’ve got to have your dose of humor, too, and the best laughs this year could be found in Nick Spencer’s dialogue with Ant-Man and his sidekicks.
Best Comic Book Interior Art – Adam Hughes, Betty & Veronica (Archie). Putting Adam Hughes, known for his unique style of drawing beautiful women, on a title featuring the classic young women of Riverdale was an inspired idea. Hughes’ story is fun but his artwork stands out as both loyal to the well-known characters while also fresh and exciting, giving us an enjoyable new look at Archie’s friends.
Best Comic Book Cover Artist – Frank Cho, Wonder Woman, Totally Awesome Hulk, Skybourne, Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys, Reborn, Trinity, Ant-Man, Mae, Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises, Black Panther, Street Fighter: Legends (Various). Frank Cho prompted us to buy comics that weren’t in our pull lists simply because his cover art was so incredible. His classically inspired work continues to be his best.
Best Comic Book Cover Art (Monthly Series) – Greg Smallwood, Moon Knight (Marvel). In only a few years Smallwood has created his own distinctive style, and this year his cover run on Moon Knight was like nothing any other cover artist was doing. Dynamic drawing like the work of the greats of comics’ past and unique ideas that jumped off the comic store shelf and sucked us in. The result was some incredible visuals.
Best Comic Book Cover Art (Limited Series) – Mike Mayhew, Star Wars prequel hardcover editions (Marvel Comics). Mayhew’s series of poster-worthy Star Wars prequel covers may very well be the best thing ever about the Star Wars prequels. Mayhew’s designs and attention to character details made us all want to think again about revisiting those notorious prequels.
Best Comic Book Single Issue – Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In (Dark Horse), Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson. Dorkin and Thompson’s continuing Beasts of Burden series only gets better, and we only wish we could have more issues to read. This year it was the single summer issue story What the Cat Dragged In–another classic supernatural tale featuring our favorite talking animals.
Best Comic Book Limited Series – Mycroft Holmes and The Apocalypse Handbook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Titan Comics). Abdul-Jabbar’s comic book adaptation of his novel was a great move, and the dialogue and mystery was well-suited for a translation into the comic book medium. Yet another great modern interpretation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters, with great artwork by Joshua Cassara. And proof that Abdul-Jabbar is an expert in a myriad of areas.
Best Comic Book Cover – Micronauts #5 variant cover, J.K. Woodward (IDW). Taking Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” and transforming it into a sci-fi masterpiece is more than we can hope for. J.K. Woodward created this masterpiece for a rare variant cover in this year’s Micronauts series. The result is something epic. Now if we could only get our hands on an actual copy. Runner-up: The Astonishing Ant-Man #7, Mark Brooks.
Best Comic Book Event – Betty & Veronica Issue #1 variant covers (Archie Comics). Skip over the DC Comics Rebirth and the latest Marvel Comics Civil War. Publishers land so many events these days that they get exhausting. But it makes us look around to see what other unusual events are taking form. Pairing Adam Hughes with one of the oldest character duos in comics was inspired. Then reaching out to a few dozen comic book artists to create their impressions of the world’s oldest–and longest published–frenemies provided a brilliant and beautiful result, reprinted in a collected volume.
Best Comic Book Homage – Star Trek: Manifest Destiny, variant covers, Tony Shasteen (IDW). This year artist Tony Shasteen did what no artist had done before, taking Bob Peak’s original movie poster art for the classic “Prime” universe of Star Trek and making his own new take on the posters with the new “Kelvin timeline” J.J. Abrams universe cast members. The result was four images posterworthy in their own right.
Best Book About Comics – James Bond Spectre: The Complete Comic Strip Collection (Titan). A smart 300-page collection plucked from years of James Bond in newspaper strips. Readers really get the understanding that Daniel Craig’s Bond films more faithfully follow Ian Fleming’s original vision for the character. This Bond is very different from what many are used to, and it makes for fresh reading.
Best Retro Read – Cut Me In, Ed McBain (Titan Hard Case Crime). The Hard Case Crime imprint continues its devotion to the best of pulp crime novels with this first reprint in 60 years of crime writer McBain’s 1950s novel featuring a J.J. Gittes-mannered, everyman protagonist grinding his way through his work as a literary agent who gets sucked into a murder. Great dialogue and gritty noir that was quite simply a blast to read.
Best Genre Fiction – Warlock Holmes, A Study in Brimstone, G.S. Denning (Titan). A title and concept so brilliant and so obvious you almost can’t believe it hasn’t been done before–but glad it was Denning who did it. A wildly funny, mixed-up mashup, Warlock Holmes gives us everything we love about the Baker Street team… with a twist.
Best Genre Non-fiction – Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space, Marc Cushman (Jacobs Brown Media Group). Cushman offers up the finest in-depth review of the groundbreaking 1960s science fiction series in this 700+ page treatise, with comprehensive notes and citations. The interconnectedness of Hollywood insiders intertwines with the series’ eccentric creator and comes together to provide a thought-provoking take on the industry inasmuch as the book is about a single show.
Best Star Trek Non-fiction – The Star Trek Encyclopedia, Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda (Harper Design). The Okudas have once again taken on a Herculean assignment and delivered. The updated encyclopedia is a two-book volume that will be seen as a staple in every Star Trek fan’s collection for years to come.
Best Star Wars Non-fiction – The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Josh Kushins (Abrams Books). Stunning images of concept art for Rogue One, revealing the ideas that brought together the look and feel of the original trilogy with a new story and characters. Paintings, storyboards and designs for costumes and props make this the must-have companion book for Star Wars fans for 2016.
The Best of the Rest:
Biggest Genre Event of 2016 – Star Trek turns 50. We saw more collectibles and tchotchkes of every size and price range this year leading up to the anniversary of the first episode of the original series. Cable channels offered up dueling documentaries, Seattle’s pop culture museum featured an exhibit of costumes and props, Creation held their annual Las Vegas Star Trek convention, and even the Smithsonian spruced up the original series filming model for display. A new movie hit the theaters with Star Trek Beyond, new comic book series hit the stands, and a volley of tie-in fiction and non-fiction books hit the shelves, along with an update to the classic Star Trek encyclopedia and the Roddenberry family released new Blu-rays of lost 1960s studio footage. And a new TV series was announced for 2017. Quite a year for the franchise!
Best Real Science – The frontier of borg technology is happening at the University of Washington–3D printing is resulting in even better cybernetic hands than ever before crafted. An Australian neurologist backed by DARPA may have found that bridging the gap between thought and bionics may be a matter of using “stentrodes.” Another researcher is studying the use of neuroprosthetics to mimic the natural nervous system. In space science NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered Jupiter’s orbit after a nearly five-year journey. In physics, the Hubbell Space Telescope may have offered up its biggest finding with an update to our knowledge about the Hubbell Constant: scientists learned that the universe may be expanding faster than expected. Finally, in health science we may be looking at a world with an effective Ebola vaccine in the near future.
Best Nerd/FanboyTech – Take your pick of the makes and models, but virtual reality is back again, now easily accessible with your smart phone, plus drones are now affordable so anyone can own them–the modern update to remote control airplanes. You can even buy versions combining both VR and drone tech, like you’re in the cockpit–the modern update to flight simulators.
So that’s it! How did we compare to your view of the best of 2016?
Come back tomorrow as we add some new members for our annual update to the borg.com Borg Hall of Fame.