It’s been a pretty great year for comic book readers, there’s been a lot of brilliant new titles hitting the shelves and just as many amazing continuations. Here’s a list of ten trades released in 2016 that struck a chord with us here at the Extended Universe – in no particular order.

Paper Girls – Volume 1 & 2 (Brian K. Vaughan & Cliff Chiang)

With two volumes gracing the shelves this year Paper Girls more than cements itself as an intriguing ongoing series, balancing science fiction and mystery every step of the way. An essential for an Brian K. Vaughan fan that with time may easily rival Saga and Y: The Last Man as Vaughans best work.

Dark Night – A True Batman Story (Paul Dini & Eduardo Risso)

“A True Batman Story” honestly from my point of view that’s really more of a marketing ploy than a fair representation of Paul Dini’s heartfelt and powerful story. After a brutal mugging Dini had his life thrown into disarray and the autobiographical tale of how he dealt with that is a special one for sure.

We Stand On Guard (Brian K. Vaughan, Steve Skroce & Matt Hollingsworth)

Perhaps WSOG had a shorter lifespan than most of Vaughans work but this single volume tells an excellent story that seems to have been overlooked by a lot of readers. In a nutshell, 100 years in the future a group of Canadian freedom fighters band together to defend their country from the invasion of a technologically superior opponent, the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Archie – Volume 1, The New Riverdale (Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Annie Wu & Veronica Fish)

Essentially any Archie-verse title could be filling this spot, Jughead and Chilling Tales of Sabrina have both seen their initial volumes hit the shelves this year and although they’ve both been incredibly strong Archie is the origin of these and the many other titles currently in print, and this first volume does a great job of establishing the world needed for the future of Archie with great writing and art throughout, despite the six issues being split between three artists. They’ve even been kind enough to release Volume 2 just before the years end.

Faith – Volume 1, Hollywood & Vine/Volume 2, California Scheming (Jody Houser, Francis Portela, Marguerite Sauvage & Pere Perez)

There are times when Faith feels like Valiants answer to Squirrel Girl, and by no means is that an insult. Two books in and the balance of superhero action and comedy is enough to keep any reader coming back for more, it’s light hearted and just a fun read through and through.

The Fix – Volume 1, Where Beagles Dare (Nick Spencer & Steve Lieber)

It’s two crooked L.A. cops against the world! Or more accurately against the story of them working for a lunatic mobster to try and work off their debt to him, in a pretty bizarre, albeit hysterical tale.

Oh and the Beagle is named Pretzels.

Doctor Strange – Volume 1, The Way Of The Weird (Jason Aaron & Chris Bachalo)

With Doctor Strange featuring among this years calendar of Marvel films it was somewhat inevitable that there would be a new Strange title to accompany it, and frankly this might be some of the best Doctor Strange I’ve come across, there’s an amped up sense of humour which seems to come with much of Aaron’s writing, that in the process makes Stephen all the more likable.

Art Ops – Volume 1, How To Start A Riot (Shaun Simon & Mike Allred)

Is it suspicious that Shaun Simon is writing a book that seems like a Doom Patrol spin-off when his friend Gerard Way has just taken over Doom Patrol? Who can say? What is suspicious is the fact that Art Ops seems to be falling under the radar when it’s a series that deserves praise for its quirky oddness, heralding back to Morrison’s Doom Patrol firmly setting itself apart with its unique cast of characters. Oh and again Volume 2 managed to hit the shelves just before the years over.

Mockingbird – I Can Explain (Chelsea Cain & Kate Niemczyk)

Mockingbird is a book that’s not afraid to tell it like it is, as Marvel gives Bobbi Morse the spotlight she deserves and a platform to show how female heroes should be represented. It’s a quirky and entertaining series with a great sense of humour and action throughout. With this being Chelsea Cain’s first Marvel title it will be interesting to see what comes next.

Black Magick (Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott)

After being personally invited to a hostage situation, Rowan Black – Portsmouth Police Detective by day and Witch by night – finds herself investigating a series of suspicious deaths whilst simultaneously attempting to uncover who’s behind the magical aspects of these deaths as someone seems to be gunning for her and her fellow witches from behind the scenes.

Ongoing

Now I’m willing to admit along side some great new series that have been collected in 2016 there’s also been a lot of amazing new volumes in long running series, so here’s a few honourable mentions.

Injection (Warren Ellis & Declan Shalvey)

If the names on the cover aren’t enough to sell you on this series already, Shalvey’s passion towards the book should be, declaring that he’s working on more well known titles just to get people’s interest for Injection speaks volumes (pun entirely intended).

Saga – Volume 6 (Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples)

Six volumes in and Saga is still going strong, each trade leaves readers wanting more, followed by the withdrawal of having to wait another half year for more or to give in and start buying the single issues.

Sex Criminals – Volume 3, Three The Hard Way (Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky)

Though it would seem that Sex Criminals isn’t for everyone I guarantee that those who do like it are having a whale of a time. It’s comedy gold, from the self proclaimed “Bad Boys of Comics” and the way they play off of each other shows in every issue. In the weirdest way Sex Criminals feels very real and relatable, whilst remaining entirely ludicrous not to mention hilarious. Dare I say it’s Fraction’s best work…yeah I guess so.

Chew – Volume 11 (John Layman & Rob Guillory)

For me Chew is one of the best series Image has ever released, for those willing to get past the somewhat bizarre premise of food-based superpowers there’s the reward of brilliantly bizarre comedy scenes and genuine emotional moments, I just can’t praise Chew enough.

The Death Defying Doctor Mirage – Second Lives (Jen Van Meter, Roberto De La Torre & David Baron)

Although Volume 1 is a great introduction to Doctor Mirage and her supporting characters, Second Lives is definitely the story to get readers hooked. Supernatural from start to finish and impossible to put down, it’s easy to see why there’s talk of an adaptation coming to the small screen.
Bloodshot Reborn – Volume 2, The Hunt & Volume 3, The Analogue Man (Jeff Lemire, Butch Guice & David Baron)

Speaking of coming to the small screen, Jason David Frank will be bringing Bloodshot to life in Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe, and if you want an introduction to Bloodshot this is definitely the series for it, following on from the Valiant miniseries Bloodshot Reborn is an excellent series showing the Valiant mainstay in a new, more human light.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl – Volume 4, I Kissed A Squirrel And I Liked It (Ryan North & Erica Henderson)

As Marvel’s answer to Faith, Squirrel Girl is still going strong with Ryan North’s great sense of humour and Erica Henderson’s cartoon art style maintaining the titles unique feel, and keeping readers coming back for more.

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