CBR's Top 100 Comics of 2014: #100 - 76

Christmas may be over, but another late December occasion worth waiting for all year is just starting: CBR's annual list of the Top 100 Comics of the Year!

Each year, we take stock of the comic book industry's multitude of offerings and poll the passionate and thoughtful CBR staff -- including editors, reporters, reviewers, columnists and bloggers -- for their picks of the top comics of the year. Every publisher putting out new comics material, regardless of genre or format, is fair game; and each individual list is then factored in (thank you, spreadsheets!) to determine the overall Top 100 that will be unveiled on CBR over the next week.

2014 was another record year for the Top 100, with more than 50 contributors to the list, and more than 200 comics nominated. The end result is as diverse of a list as you'd expect, with superhero mainstays standing along creator-owned favorites; publishing giants sharing space with self-published digital works. While no list can be an exhaustive collection of every noteworthy piece of work released in a year, the end result of the CBR Top 100 is a wide smattering of eclectic choices worthy of attention.

On Boxing Day 2014, we start unveiling the list with entries No. 100 to 76. Keep in mind, there were quite a few high-quality comics that just barely missed the cutoff, but Team CBR is confident that the books ranked on the list represent some of the very best comics on the market today. Start perusing the list below, and feel free to take to Twitter and discuss your thoughts using the hashtag #cbrtop100, and check out Part 2, featuring #75-51!

While you're here, feel free to revisit our Top 100 lists from previous years:

100. Everstar

Written by Becky Tinker

Art by Joie Brown

Publisher: Thrillbent

"The story of a young girl who accidentally beams herself and her best friend onto an alien spaceship, and then decides she may as well designate herself captain and go off for some adventures now she's there, 'Everstar' proved that Thrillbent could offer something for everybody. From Becky Tinker and Joie Brown, the comic takes advantage of the digital format to really involve the reader in the story -- and get them cheering on as their protagonist Ainslie takes the helm. Charming and with a pitch-perfect sense of humor, 'Everstar' was a complete surprise to me this year -- but proved to be one of the most purely enjoyable comics of 2014."

-- CBR Contributing Writer Steve Morris

99. The Autumnlands: Tooth & Claw

Written by Kurt Busiek

Art by Benjamin Dewey

Publisher: Image Comics

"This was a title I had initially skipped but agreed to read when my podcast cohost suggested we review the second issue. I'm really glad he suggested it. I loved it and will be continuing with the series."

-- CBR Columnist John Mayo

98. The Sandman: Overture

Written by Neil Gaiman

Art by J.H. Williams III

Publisher: Vertigo

"Jesus Christ. This book. We are all being given a master class by J.H. Williams III. And make no mistake, this is his book. Every page is different, every layout is different, artistic choices and techniques are never repeated. No one issue, no one object, is the ever the same. This is the book that you want to peel the staples out of, so that you can dissect the pages, steal their meanings, and then hang them on the walls of the city like some big sigil for the world to see."

-- CBR Contributing Writer Ryan Burton

97. Trees

Written by Warren Ellis

Art by Jason Howard

Publisher: Image Comics

"A sprawling, leisurely exploration of what a seismic shift to the world's concept of itself will mean 10 years on. This is Warren Ellis and Jason Howard exploring a civilization that doesn't exist, but is what ours could be if only giant alien trees would plant themselves across the globe and do absolutely nothing. These massive objects hang over everything in the series and, yet, do nothing. It's funny how accurate that seems."

-- Comics Should Be Good Writer Chad Nevett

96. The Hospital Suite

Written & Drawn by John Porcellino

Published by Drawn & Quarterly

"John Porcellino has long been writing about his life, but in his new memoir he tells the story of his recent illnesses. With his trademark minimalist style, he manages to capture the sense of helplessness and fear, but also capture some of the joy, those quiet moments and the triumphs he had along the way."

-- CBR Staff Writer Alex Dueben

95. Stumptown

Written by Greg Rucka

Art by Justin Greenwood

Publisher: Oni Press

"A few months back I wrote that the return of 'Stumptown' made me miss James Garner a little less. Garner's 'Rockford Files' (a slight influence on 'Stumptown') always had a central appeal of being about a guy who cared for his friends and family. The core appeal [of 'Stumptown'], when I consider it to any serious degree, is (beyond the crime solving element of course) private investigator Dex Parios' complete love and devotion for her special needs brother Ansel."

-- Robot 6 Columnist Tim O'Shea

94. Fantastic Four

Written by James Robinson

Art by Leonard Kirk, Marc Laming & Various

Published by Marvel Comics

"James Robinson came onboard to write the adventures of Marvel's First Family and instantly blew it all up. With art from Leonard Kirk and Marc Laming, this series tracked the members of the Fantastic Four to personal lows that included the Thing in the slammer, Johnny Storm unable to "Flame On!" and Sue and Reed losing custody of their kids. With all the kerfuffle going on around the upcoming film and the alleged pissing match between 20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment, it's nice to have a solid, reliable, adventure-packed, character-focused 'Fantastic Four' comic that acknowledges the history of the franchise while moving forward in a new direction."

-- CBR Reviewer Doug Zawisza

93. Storm

Written by Greg Pak

Art by Victor Ibáñez, Scott Hepburn, David Baldeon, Al Barrionuevo

Published by Marvel Comics

"After 40 years heading up teams in the X-Men line, Storm finally got the ongoing series she always deserved, and it was actually worth the wait. Greg Pak penned stories that actually felt unique to Ororo and her unique position as headmistress of a mutant school, ex-queen of an African nation, mutant freedom fighter, former goddess and all around super hero. This book questioned what it means to act like a hero by consistently putting Storm in morally gray areas. Few superheroes inspire awe in the way that Storm does, and now she has a series that inspires as well."

-- CBR Assistant Editor Brett White

92. Usagi Yojimbo: Senso

Written & Drawn by Stan Sakai

Published by Dark Horse Comics

"Still setting the gold standard for adventure cartooning."

-- CBR Contributor Michael C Lorah

91. Wonder Woman

Written by Brian Azzarello

Art by Cliff Chiang

Published by DC Comics

"In Azzarello and Chiang's heaven-shattering 'Wonder Woman' conclusion they created a modern masterpiece, updating the hero by leaning on the best themes from past iterations: Perez's mythology, Rucka's stoicism, Marston's feminist ideals. This run will undoubtedly become the gold standard against which all other Wonder Woman stories are measured."

-- CBR Staff Writer Josie Campbell

90. X-Men Legacy

Written by Simon Spurrier

Art by Tan Eng Huat, Khoi Pham & Various

Published by Marvel Comics

"Every day, I take a couple minutes and remind myself of how much I love this book and its beautiful story. Taking me back to the days when I was a kid reading the X-Men books and applying their outsider status to my own teen years, 'X-Men Legacy' was smart and classic.  We never want books like this to end but I think Spurrier gave us about the best ending one could hope for."

-- Robot 6 Columnist Carla Hoffman

89. Fables

Written by Bill Willingham

Art by Mark Buckingham & Various

Published by Vertigo

"Chaucer told that us all good things must come to end, and 'Fables' is really, really good. But still, this hurts more than when Boy Blue died. When Bill Willingham announced last year that his multiple Eisner Award-winning series was coming to an end, the compromise was that we would get one more year of epic storytelling and he and long-time collaborator Mark Buckingham have not disappointed. It's Arthurian legend by way of 'An American Werewolf in London.' 'Can I have a piece of toast?'"

-- CBR Staff Writer Jeffrey Renaud

88. Kick-Ass 3

Written by Mark Millar

Art by John Romita Jr.

Published by Icon

"After two Hollywood movies, two video games and 26 comics, Dave and Mindy embarked on their final mission. Millar packs the same brass-knuckled punch to the skull that he always has while penning the series, but for the finale he digs a little deeper; with a note of introspection. The last issue explores why heroes put their masks on in the first place, and why we -- the reader -- love to read about their adventures."

-- CBR Contributor Blake Northcott

87. Moose Kid Comics

Written & Drawn by Various


"A digital comics anthology masterminded by UK comics hero Jamie Smart, 'Moose Kid Comics' assembled a fine collection of the very best comic makers and invited them to make the very best kids comic they could. And, happily, their work proved to be absolutely up to the challenge -- 'Moose Kid Comics' #1 was masterful. Silly, dippy, subversive and very, very funny, there's an unbelievable consistency between all the stories here. Some of the most wonderful cartoonists in comics today work on all-ages books, and this proved to be a superb showcase that proved comics can still be for kids!"

-- CBR Contributing Writer Steve Morris

86. Supreme: Blue Rose

Written by Warren Ellis

Art by Tula Lotay

Published by Image Comics

"Warren Ellis gets all of the best artists. Big names, names you forgot, names you haven't heard yet, it doesn't matter: he gets all of the best artists. Tula Lotay perfectly expresses the semi-formed, not-quite-right post-crisis type of world that Ellis is writing. It's another superhero relaunch filtered through someone unable to treat it like the same old same old. What does it all mean? That's for 2015. But, for 2014, this was just a damn fine comic that I can't get out of my head."

-- Comics Should Be Good Writer Chad Nevett

85. Hellboy in Hell

Written & Drawn by Mike Mignola

Published by Dark Horse Comics

"Mike Mignola writing and drawing Hellboy journeying through a shadow-drenched Hell. Any questions? No? Didn't think so."

-- CBR Columnist Ron Marz

84. Black Science

Written by Rick Remender

Art by Matteo Scalera

Published by Image Comics

"Rick Remender's best title this year was his creator-owned sci-fi grindhouse thriller about science gone bad. The year's most gripping tale was a simple story about a family's shattered trust set against the backdrop of infinite dimensions and infinite horror."

-- CBR Staff Writer Karl Keily

83. Shutter

Written by Joe Keatinge

Art by Leila del Duca

Published by Image Comics

"In 'Shutter,' writer Joe Keatinge and artist Leila del Duca follow the exploits of a very likable and human protagonist -- Kate Christopher, a photojournalist whose family secrets are coming back haunt her. What makes the book extra special is that Kate's family are heroic explorers and they exist in a beautifully rendered world where the fantastic is a reality. 'Shutter' is one of the most imaginative series around. Where else do you get lion gangsters, ghost ninjas, and a punk samurai fox riding a triceratops? Making 'Shutter' even cooler are the fun, funny, and equally imaginative back up strips, like Ryan Ferrier's 'Tiger Lawyer.'"

-- CBR Staff Writer Dave Richards

82. Sugar Skull

Written & Drawn by Charles Burns

Published by Pantheon Books

"It's not surprising that Charles Burns' conclusion to his nightmare trilogy builds on the disturbing imagery from the previous two books, while adding more nightmare fuel -- the disturbing egg-birth scene, for starters -- but the biggest surprise is the emotional gut-punch delivered in 'Sugar Skull,' as Doug wakes up from his mashed-up Tintin-meets-Burroughs nightmare to finally confront reality."

-- CBR Contributing Writer Ryan Ingram

81. Adventures of Superman

Written & Drawn by Various

Published by DC Comics

"This digital-first comic was absolutely packed with great creators who used the continuity-lite setting to deliver a nice pack of wonderfully fun stories. The freedom came through in the final product, with tales written by comic creators such as Joe Keatinge, Jerry Ordway and Ron Marz and drawn by Doc Shaner, Steve Rude and Jock, among others."

-- CBR Reviewer Doug Zawisza

80. The United States of Murder Inc.

Written by Brian Michael Bendis

Art by Michael Avon Oeming

Published by Icon

"Brian Michael Bendis hooked readers immediately with the mere premise of this series, one where the U.S. Government has ceded part of the country to organized crime families. He then kept them with a comic that's ripe with intrigue, suspense and surprises -- as both the current status quo of the country and how it got there are unveiled. The series' biggest shortcoming is that new issues simply don't come out frequently enough."

-- CBR Reviewer Jim Johnson

79. 2000 AD

Written & Drawn by Various

Published by Rebellion

"The Galaxy's Greatest Comic continued to shine this year, as always, with great work from creators like John Wagner, Ian Edginton, Rob Williams, Al Ewing and more. And 2015 looks to burn just as bright with the hotly anticipated 'Dark Justice' by Wagner and Greg Staples, which kicked off in the last '2000 AD' of 2014."

-- CBR Staff Writer Karl Keily

78. Doctors

Written & Drawn by Dash Shaw

Published by Fantagraphics

"'Doctors' is a philosophical examination about the very nature of life and death through the lenses of a science-fiction drama. Besides being a powerful and poignant story, Dash Shaw's artwork is imaginative and willing to explore new ways of affecting the senses of the reader through the use of colors and iconic artistic tropes."

-- Comics Should Be Good Editor Brian Cronin

77. Nailbiter

Written by Joshua Williamson

Art by Mike Henderson

Published by Image Comics

"Between tales of haunted houses and towns spawning serial killers, Joshua Williamson is swiftly becoming my favorite horror writer. 'Nailbiter' was the book I couldn't wait to get home each week, more often than not reading it in my car, excited  to find out what was happening in creepy little Buckaroo, Oregon."

-- CBR Staff Writer Casey Gilly

76. Life with Archie

Written by Paul Kupperberg

Art by Pat Kennedy, Tim Kennedy, Fernando Ruiz

Published by Archie Comics

"The magazine-sized comic that featured two different futures for a grown-up Archie converged for 'The Death of Archie,' a story that featured his heroic demise. Archie's fate was no secret prior to this issue's publication, so what came as a surprise instead was Paul Kupperberg's uplifting examination of Archie's life prior to that fatal moment, and the softly conveyed inspirational message that life should be appreciated, because it could end without warning. When the time comes for Archie to face his fate, Pat Kennedy and Tim Kennedy emotionally lay out the scene, and when the moment comes, it's a powerful one. Not in that pretty-good-for-an-Archie-comic kind of way, but a scene that's genuinely poignant, and even one of the most memorable death scenes in comics."

-- CBR Reviewer Jim Johnson

Check back with CBR midday Monday for No. 75-51 on the CBR Top 100!

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