Previously On Comics: Kickstarter Continues to Be the Worst, so Here are the Best Comics of 2021

Hello again from Kate! This will be the last Previously from me in this hellacious year of 2021, and while it still feels like 2020, I cannot wait for this year to be over. I’m not alone, because as you know, December is the time for all of the Year’s Best lists to come out (which, it was recently pointed out to me, makes zero sense unless we’ve all agreed that December Doesn’t Count for anything…although it Does Count for movies if you’re trying to get an Award Nomination).

In fact, pretty much every Best Comics/Graphic Novels of 2021 list is already out, and I’ve been surprised by the disparity between lists–but not really surprised, if you know what I mean.

The New York Times Best of 2021 by Hillary Chute and Ed Park

  1. The Secret to Superhuman Strength, Alison Bechdel
  2. Himiwari House, Harmony Becker
  3. The Trojan Women, Anne Carson and Rosanna Bruno
  4. Factory Summers, Guy Delisle
  5. Crisis Zone, Simon Hanselmann
  6. On Tyranny, Timothy Snyder and Nora Krug
  7. Tunnels, Rutu Modan
  8. I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Mannie Murphy
  9. It’s Life As I See It: Black Cartoonists in Chicago, 1940-1980, Ed. Dan Nadel
  10. Discipline, Dash Shaw

Compare that pretentiousness with this one on Polygon by Susana Polo, Chloe Maveal, Katie Schenkel, and Ritesh Babu.

  1. Super Sentai Himutsu Sentai Gorenger, Shotaro Ishinomori
  2. Cyclopedia Exotica, Aminder Dhaliwal
  3. The Girl from the Sea, Molly Knox Ostertag, Maarta Laiho
  4. The Mystery of the Meanest Teacher: A Johnny Constantine Graphic Novel, Ryan North, Derek Charm, Wes Abbot
  5. Ultramega Vol. 1, James Harren, Dave Stewart
  6. Far Sector, N.K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell
  7. Dreadnoughts: Breaking Ground, John Higgins
  8. Kaiju No. 8 Vol. 1, Naoya Matsumoto
  9. Beta Ray Bill: Argent Star, Daniel Warren Johnson, Mike Spicer
  10. Immortal Hulk, Al Ewing et. al.

Overall, there seems to be a trend in including not just graphic novels but Big Two, Indie, manga, and even digital comics and collections–both recent and historical. Comics lists have diversified, and I feel like we can safely conclude that more people are reading more kinds of comics than ever before. While people have been arguing for a more inclusive definition of the medium, it’s nice to see that actually reflected on these lists. What I like about Polygon’s list is that it includes not only graphic novels, but Big Two, Indie, and manga. And Polygon’s list also has an all-ages appeal, with titles aimed at demographics other than old white men. Since Marvel and DC comics have been announcing things in the NYT for the past couple years, you’d think they’d get a cursory inclusive nod, but no.

For me, the best comic of the year is Batman: Wayne Family Adventures on Webtoon, because when I look back at the comics I’ve read this year–some of which I really enjoyed and some of which I absolutely hated–this is the one comic that not only consistently brought me joy on a weekly basis during these last few months of the pandemic but actually changed the way I think about comics, and webcomics/Webtoon in particular. Also, it’s free–but I would happily pay monies for a physical collected edition. And real money, not cryptocurrency.

Speaking of which, there have been developments in the Kickstarter Going Crypto Debacle and none of them are good. The biggest news is that Jamila Rowser, the former Comics Outreach Consultant resigned in disgust.

Rowser’s now protected tweet reads:

“I’ve resigned as Kickstarter’s Comics Outreach Consultant due to their blockchain decision. It’s been a rewarding experience and I’m grateful to have helped creators fund projects. However, I can no longer advocate for them while staying true to myself and the community I love.”

And with the additional information that has come out debunking Kickstarter’s claims of “carbon neutrality” (like this extremely good Twitter thread) and a continued inability to name one good goddamn reason to even do this, The Great Kickstarter Exodus really seems imminent.

The comics community seems to all be reacting like Keanu, really.

But since this is the last Previously for me for the year, let me leave you with this little gem I saw on Twitter.

WWAC has often called for a revival of the Marvel Swimsuit Issue but I would like to start a campaign for a new series of Comics Creator Trading Cards, because I need to see Chip Zdarsky one-up that Todd Macfarlane photo. Do it for the kids, Chip.

Kate Tanski

Kate Tanski

Recovering academic. Fangirl. Geek knitter.

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