In the second of our year end awards, we're tackling the tough world of the graphic novels that have been coming from the small press / indie world and this year was one of the best by far. The trouble with that is the simple fact that it was next to impossible to narrow it down to less than six so let's get started.
Midnight Man: Bullet Time (Bad Mother Publisher)
Westernoir: Book Five (Accent UK)
The King in Yellow (Self Made Hero)
Fantasmagoria (Self Published)
Both written and illustrated by Stephane Cote, Fantasmagoria is one of the most unique and varied graphic novels that I have read in a very long time.
Taking a story that manages to both excite and to hook you in, Cote manages to tell a story from so many different points of view that you never fully know just what is going to happen until the very last page.
It's the same with the art. Each side of the story is told using a massively different style of illustration, which should make the tale very disjointed yet Cote manages to keep all the plates spinning not only successfully but with a superb sense of style as well.
If you're looking for a unique title in the sea of graphic novels that have come out this year then this is one that should already be in your collection.
The Rabbit (Avery Hill)
Written and illustrated by the insanely talented Rachael Smith, The Rabbit is one of those releases that is really hard to explain to people but is also one that you can't even come close to putting down until you've finished each and every page.
Smith is known as someone that not only illustrates absolutely gorgeous looking stories but tells the reader a story that will both amuse but also stay with you long after you have closed the book and it's the same here.
On the surface you have a tale that looks like it would be too weird to be taken seriously but that is not the case here. Instead, you have a story that is both heartwarming and incredibly touching as well as hilarious.
With each of her releases being even better than the last, I can't wait to see what she is going to come up with next.
Joint Winner: 2015 COASM Best Graphic Novel
The Sculptor (Self Made Hero)
Porcelain: Bone China (Improper Books)
I'm not normally a fan of year end awards that end with a double winner but this year, it was absolutely impossible to choose between these two releases for vastly different reasons entirely.
In The Sculptor by Scott McCloud, we have a rather fantastical but romantic story that both manages to make you smile but also make you weep bucket loads of tears as well. It's a story that is so full of up's and down's that you're never quite sure what McCloud is going to do to your heart next.
A lot of that is down to his brilliant pacing but also his stark black and white art really puts forward the heartbreak and the longing that runs throughout the story and that is why it's one of my favourite releases of the year by far.
The second winner is a follow up to one of my favourite graphic novels of all time in the shape of Porcelain: Bone China.
As a sequel to Porcelain, this one not only keeps the extremely high quality of the original graphic novel but also expands not only on the effective characters but also the world that the pair of Chris Wildgoose and Benjamin Read have created here.
The story itself is extremely well paced but also makes the reader feel like they're going to take the story one route but then takes you in a completely different direction. I loved that about the story. If these two installments in the series are going to be this good then the next one has a hell of a lot to live up to.
Well ladies and gentlemen, that's the best graphic novels for 2015. Have any of your favorites made the list?