YEAR IN REVIEW: Best New Comics of 2020

We have made it to the end of 2020. Congratulations, it has not been an easy task. While I doubt many can say that it was a great year in general, there were some seriously good comic related things that happened.

The world has struggled with the catastrophic economic and health related consequences of pandemic not seen in a century. Despite that and a nearly two month pause in comic book distribution, the industry has survived and moved forward. When preparing for this column, I was looking for new books that came out in late spring and had forgotten that there were no new books in April and May. This year has felt like it has taken forever to get through.

In the year of almost no comic conventions, and massive layoffs and shakeups at major publishers, there managed to be some amazing comics produced. The big two delivered a couple of line wide crossover events, and the independent publishers continued to cultivate quality storytelling in a wide variety of genres.

The list you will find below is a selection of some of the best new series that I read this year. Some are limited series and some are new ongoing titles. This list is by no means exclusive of all the good comic books of the year. It is the books that I read and liked a lot.

In a normal year, I would have read more, but this year hit all of us in unexpected ways. You will find excellent story telling and art in books below. As always, we encourage you to find what you like and support it.

The list below is in alphabetical order. I added some notes to let you know why each book is on the list. Let us know what you think.

Boom! Studios
Written by Simon Spurrier
Art by Chris Wildgoose
Colors by Andre May
Letters by Jim Campbell

Issue #1 released 2/12/20

PCS Notes: We were instantly smitten with this expertly crafted series. The technical maneuvers that were implemented to tell this cohesive story from multiple perspectives are fantastic.

Billionaire Island
Ahoy Comics
Written by Mark Russell
Art by Steve Pugh
Colors by Chris Chuckry
Letters by Rob Steen

Issue #1 Released 3/4/20

PCS Notes: Mark Russell is a master of satire in comic form, and with Steve Pugh they lampoon the capitalist economic structure of the elites with an entertaining front story.

Image Comics
Written by John Layman
Art by Dan Boultwood
Colors by Boultwood
Letters by Layman

Issue #1 Released: 7/22/20

PCS Notes: John Layman returned with three great series this year. This return to a much beloved world was seamless, despite the real world time gap since Chew ended, and it was wildly entertaining, as is expected from this universe.

Image Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Geoff Shaw
Colors by Dee Cunniffe
Letters by John J. Hill

Issue #1 Released 11/4/20

PCS Notes: Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw are exploring every comic fans most extreme fantastical dream in this series, and the reader is quickly invested in the beautiful and rich story being rendered.

Devil’s Highway
AWA/ Upshot Studios
Written by Benjamin Percy
Art by Brent Schoonover
Colors by Nick Filardi
Letters by Sal Cipriano

Issue #1 Released 7/1/20

PCS Notes: What a captivating thriller this book was. AWA/Upshot Studios has done a great job in delivering quality story telling in its first year, and this book was definitely one of the best.

The Dreaming: Waking Hours
DC Comics/ Black Label
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Art by Nick Robles
Colors by Mat Lopes
Letters by Simon Bowland

Issue #1 Released 8/5/20

PCS Notes: This book has just completed it’s first arc, and it was fantastic. G. Willow Wilson and Nick Robles managed to tell a fascinating story and introduce a new character to the Sandman Universe that is an immediate keeper.

Vault Comics
Written by George Mann
Art by Joe Eisma
Colors by Michael Garland
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Issue #1 Released 7/15/20

PCS Notes: I love this book. It is set in a world of scavenged technology whose origin is shrouded in secrets and the story is compelling. Joe Eisma is absolutely killing it on this book. It is a treat to see the new and innovated page layouts that he comes up with each issue.

Vault Comics
Written by Alex Paknadel
Art by John Lê
Colors by Rosh
Letters by Aditya Bidikar

Issue #1 Released 10/28/20

PCS Notes: Alex Paknadel and John Lê are building a fantastic story in the shadows of dormant giant robots. The themes of religious dogma and class structures serve as an interesting background to the plight of the protagonist in this book.

Grumble: Memphis and the Infinite Beyond
Albatross Funnybooks
Written by Rafer Roberts
Art by Mike Norton
Colors by Marissa Louise
Letters by Crank!

Issue #1 Released 3/25/20

PCS Notes: Ok, I may be cheating here. It is the third arc to the Grumble Saga, but they gave it a new #1. Regardless, this is a great book with amazing art and a gripping story. We are sad to see Grumble end, for now… hopefully.

Extra Note: We spoke to writer Rafer Roberts earlier this year. Check out the Squadcast interview.

AWA/ Upshot Studios
Written by John Lees
Art by Dalibor Talijic
Colors by Lee Loughridge
Letters by Sal Cipriano

Issue #1 Release 3/18/20

PCS Notes: This four issue series is disturbingly terrifying in the most glorious ways. The synergy that is revealed in the mostly independent episodes is mind blowing and truly well executed.

The Plunge
DC Comics/Hill House Comics
Written by Joe Hill
Art by Stuart Immonen
Colors by Dave Stewart
Letters by Deron Bennett

Issue #1 Released 2/19/20

PCS Notes: Joe Hill’s Hill House imprint at DC was filled with terrifying comic stories, and this book put suspense first. It is a small cast set in a remote isolated area as they struggle with an invasive alien species pitting their morality against survival. This is a beautiful book illustrated expertly by the remarkable Stuart Immonen.

Strange Adventures
DC Comics/ Black Label
Written by Tom King
Art by Mitch Gerads & Evan Shaner
Letters by Clayton Cowles

Issue #1 Released 2/19/20

PCS Notes: The creative team behind Sheriff of Babylon and Mister Miracle return with Doc Shaner in tow to deliver yet another fantastic psychological dive into the relationship between man and hero. The page layout technique and the intra-issue tag team of Gerads and Shaner’s art is exquisitely done.

Image Comics
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Art by Ramon K. Perez
Colors by Mike Spicer
Letters by Rus Wooton

Issue #1 Released 9/16/20

PCS Notes: Chip Zdarsky is one of the finest writers in comics, and this book presents a unique story set in society that survives in secrecy. It is really well done and we are excited to see how it all plays out.

Marvel Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Art by Nic Klein
Colors by Matthew Wilson
Letters by Joe Sabino

Issue #1 Released 1/1/20

PCS Notes: This is Donny Cates’ second book on the list. That is unsurprising. The fact that he grasps the majesty of the lead character and with Nic Klein delivers a story worthy of a god-king is impressive.

Undone By Blood
Aftershock Comics
Written by Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson
Art by Sami Kivelä
Colors by Jason Wordie
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Issue #1 Released 2/12/20

PCS Notes: Our compatriot Ed Catto already added this book to his Holiday Gift Guide for this year. This book is visually amazing. The story is captivating, and Jason Wordie’s colors are a major highlight to the execution of the book.

Boom! Studios
Written by James Tynion
Art by Michael Dialynas
Letters by Aditya Bidikar

Issue #1 Release 6/17/20

PCS Notes: This book is a fairytale with enough danger and heartwarming moments to go around for everyone. The first arc is complete and we are eagerly waiting for the second installment to start in 2021.


Honorable Mentions:

As we mentioned earlier, this list is by no means the entirety of all the great comics produced in 2020. Find the ones you love, and READ MORE COMICS. If you need some other suggestions, check out these fine books that almost mad the list.

  • Amethyst – DC Comics
  • Artemis & the Assassin – AfterShock Comics
  • Big Girls – Image Comics
  • Bleed Them Dry – Vault Comics
  • Join the Future – AfterShock Comics
  • Seven Secrets – Boom! Studios
  • Rorschach – DC Comics
  • Spider-Woman – Marvel Comics