Best of 2014: Best Series Part 1

Best of 2014: Best TitleWe all love a good one-off or anthology, but it’s the thrill of a series that keeps us coming back to our comic shop week-in, week-out. Whether it’s a decades-spanning ongoing or a short-run miniseries, serialized storytelling allows for bigger casts, bigger worlds, and bigger adventures. Indeed, we’re so enamored of serialization that we decided to split our favorite series list into two installments. Here’s part 1 our top 14 series of 2014 (check back here for part 2 tomorrow).
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Best of 2014: Best Issue

Best of 2014: Best IssueEpisodic storytelling is the name of the game in monthly comics. Month- or even multi-year-long arcs are fine, but a series lives and dies by its individual chapters. From self-contained one-offs to issues that recontextualize their respective series, this year had a ton of great issues. Whittling down those issues to a list was no easy task (and we look forward to hearing how your lists differ in the comments), but we would gladly recommend any (and all) of these issues without hesitation. These are our top 14 issues of 2014.
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Trillium 8

trillium 8Today, Spencer and Shelby are discussing Trillium 8, originally released April 2nd, 2014.

Spencer: A good ending can make or break a story. While there are many stories that are beloved due to endings that managed to respect its themes, satisfactorily tie-up loose ends, or even just provide a thought-provoking twist, there are just as many rotten endings that manage to ruin everything that came before; look at the controversy over the recent finale of How I Met Your Mother?, for example. Going into the final issue of Jeff Lemire’s Trillum, we’re left with more questions than ever and almost no idea how things might wrap up or what a satisfying ending to this series would even entail; will the ending make or break Trillium?

Alright, I won’t keep you in suspense: it makes it. This is one of the best finales I’ve ever experienced. Continue reading

Trillium 7

trillium 7

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Trillium 7, originally released March 9th, 2014.

Time has stopped before us / The sky cannot ignore us / No one can separate us / For we are all that is left

  The Beginning is the End is the Beginning, Smashing Pumpkins

Shelby: While the execution is a little more angsty than I might prefer at my advanced age of 29, the lyrics to The Beginning is the End is the Beginning from the soundtrack of The Movie Which Shall Not Be Named very well match Jeff Lemire’s penultimate issue of Trillium. More than anything else, the song’s title (as well as its partner, The End is the Beginning is the End) seem to capture Lemire’s whole approach to time and the relationship of William and Nika. It’s an interesting love story that finds its beginning at the end of the universe, possibly at the end of time itself.
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Trillium 6

trillium 6

Today, Shelby and Scott are discussing Trillium 6, originally released February 5th, 2014. Shelby: I’ve lived alone for about 3 years. It’s not always the easiest thing to do; sometimes you want more than anything to have some other person around. It doesn’t have to be someone you talk to, or even know. There’s just something about the presence of another person that is comforting. Now, luckily, I have dear friends who live pretty close, so whenever I get that urge to talk to someone other than a houseplant, I can do something about it. Not everyone is so lucky; there are some who, for reasons physical or mental, have no choice but to be alone. Jeff Lemire takes a look at what it is to be alone in his latest installment of Trillium.
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Best of 2013: Best Series

Best of 2013: Best Series

We all love a good one-off or anthology, but it’s the thrill of a series that keeps us coming back to our comic shop week-in, week-out. Whether it’s a decades-spanning ongoing or a short-run miniseries, serialized storytelling allows for bigger casts, bigger worlds, and bigger adventures. We were lucky to read a lot of great series over the past year, but it’s those that pushed the boundaries that we wanted to sing special praises of. These are our top 13 series of 2013.
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Trillium 5

trillium 5

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Trillium 5, originally released December 4th, 2013. Shelby: Like all the issues of Trillium before it, this one has a trick to it. Again, like we’ve seen before, there’s a separation between Nika’s story and William’s; Nika’s story runs along the top half of the page, with a note to “…read upper section of report first.” At the end of the issue, you flip the book upside down, and read back along the bottom to get William’s story. Nika’s end is his beginning, his beginning her end. That in and of itself is beautiful, but being the stubborn fool that I am, I read the whole thing straight through first, flipping the book over and over. Between my correct and incorrect readings of Jeff Lemire’s sci fi/apocalypse/time travel/romance, a beautifully balanced set of parallel stories emerged.
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Trillium 4

trillium 4

Today, Shelby and Greg are discussing Trillium 4, originally released November 6th, 2013. Shelby: There are a lot of things happening in Jeff Lemire’s Trillium. The end of the human race, some sort of super-virus, travel through both time and space, and aliens. With all the science fiction action unfolding, it can be easy to forget this story is, at its heart, a love story. The mysterious temples and potential end of the human race suck me into the story, but the relationship building (Or possibly already built? It’s unclear.) between Nika and William is what sets the hook in my heart and keeps me coming back.
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Trillium 3

Alternating Currents: Trillium 3, Drew and Scott Today, Drew and Scott are discussing Trillium 3, originally released October 2nd, 2013. Drew: I like to think that most people want to know how magic tricks are done, but every so often, I’ll encounter someone who swears they don’t — they don’t want to ruin the illusion. But let’s be honest: we all know there’s a trick — it’s not like anyone is under the impression that the coin actually disappeared, or that the lady was actually sawn in half — we can fully appreciate the effect, but we know that there’s some secret to how it was achieved. It’s only natural to want to know a secret you know you don’t know. I get a similar thrill out of thinking about how illusions in art are created, from film editing techniques to harmonic analysis to pacing and form. Those last two have been a centerpiece of Jeff Lemire’s Trillium from the start, and issue 3 offers a beautiful study of their effects. Continue reading

Trillium 2

trillium 2

Today, Scott and Shelby are discussing Trillium 2, originally released September 4th, 2013.

Scott: We’ve all heard hundreds of love stories. One message that seems to be consistent throughout just about all of them is that love can overcome any obstacle. Differences in culture, race, age, none of these things matter in the face of love. Some stories even explore more unorthodox impediments- love that only exists in dreams, love separated by different time periods. Love always seems to prevail. Well, Jeff Lemire seems intent on providing the most obstacle-laden love story any of us have ever seen. In Trilium 1 he presented two characters who are very far apart (~2000 years, different planets). The second issue shows us how a love could be born, while giving us a better idea of just how much it will have to overcome.

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