It feels like the first 6 months of 2020 have taken half a decade to get through, but we’re finally reached the midway point. After this, we have the Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to, along with even more new comic books every week!
And we will hopefully manage to get more new comics than we did in the first half of the year, as the novel coronavirus pandemic shuttered comic book stores and physical distribution venues for close to two months. While digital distribution venues weren’t affected, comic book publishers decided to halt even the digital release of those new print comic books, to ensure that everyone was on a level playing field and brick-and-mortar retailers would hopefully not lose too much business.
Despite the drop in sales over the last few months, 2020 still managed to produce some fun comics that had me excited to buy and download my books every Wednesday.
Today, we’ll look at the first quarter of 2020 – the part that wasn’t as affected by the global pandemic – and then we’ll come back for a stripped-down second part later in the week.
Comic Books Purchased: 25
January is generally a slow month for new comic books, as publishers recover from the holiday season and begin to slowly gear up for the much more lucrative spring and summer months. This year was no different, though I still managed to find things to get excited about.
I’ve frequently discussed how I’ve been a big fan of the IDW GHOSTBUSTERS comics, created by Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening, and thankfully we kicked off the year with another miniseries from them. GHOSTBUSTERS: YEAR ONE is a four-issue miniseries that focuses on how the boys in gray came together. Each issue looks at one of the four members of the team as a writer interviews them for a quickie cash grab book profiling them. The first issue focused on Winston and what led him to the Ghostbusters.
Thanks to the shipping delays, we’re still waiting on the release of the fourth issue (which should be out this coming week). I’ll be sad to see another miniseries come to a close but, as always, I’m excited to see what Burnham and Schoening come up with next.
The biggest news coming out of January, though, came out of SUPERMAN 19, where writer Brian Michael Bendis finally blew the lid off of the Man of Steel’s biggest secret. Clark Kent revealed to the world that he is, in fact, Superman, and we’re still feeling the ramifications of that announcement.
Comic Books Purchased: 27
It was a short month, but it was long on good stuff!
The year of Superman continued in February, as Bendis and a host of other creators expanded on the big reveal of Clark Kent’s big secret. The SUPERMAN: HEROES one-shot was a place for his greatest allies to react to the news, including a mopey Batman, upset that his friend didn’t discuss the decision with him before Superman went public.
Bendis, along with artist and frequent collaborator Alex Maleev, also introduced readers to a new CheckMate in the pages of LEVIATHAN DAWN. The special issue was meant to kick off a new series starring the team – which featured Lois Lane, Green Arrow, Manhunter and more – but some changes to DC’s editorial calendar have forced some books to be either cancelled or delayed. CheckMate, unfortunately, has been delayed “indefinitely.”
I’ve been singing the praises of the new IDW GI JOE series from writer Paul Allor from day one, but the fifth issue, released in February, was probably the best single issue of the series so far. The renegade Joes travel to Indianapolis and confront an enclave of resistors led by Zartan. That means only one thing: Dreadnoks! Allor’s GI Joe has been a constant source of enjoyment for me. Every issue has been great so far.
Coming off the big crossover with BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, the new BOOM! Studios revamp of Angel got a new costar, as the series got renamed ANGEL & SPIKE with issue 9. When the bleached-blond British bloodsucker joined the original TV show, it produced the series’ best SEASON ever, so I have high hopes now that he’s in Los Angeles bugging his vampire with a soul frenemy.
February’s final big hit came from Dark Horse, as writer Matt Kindt introduced us to superspy Thomas Cord, a literary legacy whose latest incarnation begins to remember things he shouldn’t. BANG! kicked off great and then turned it up a notch with the SECOND issue, which focused on a John McClain knockoff. And we all know how much I love DIE HARD.
Comic Books Purchased: 28
Coming as a spiritual successor to his MISTER MIRACLE maxiseries, writer Tom King debuted the first issue of his latest 12-issue opus in March. STRANGE ADVENTURES focuses on galactic war hero Adam Strange as he tries to settle down into a new life on Earth. But accusations of wrongdoings during a war on the planet Rann – which Strange swore to protect – bogs him down as he tries to pinpoint the source. Writing second- and third-tier characters like Adam Strange is where King’s strengths lie, and Strange Adventures should be a new modern classic by the time it’s all done.
Finally, IDW and Dark Horse combined for a crossover event that I can’t believe hasn’t happened before. TRANSFORMERS VS. TERMINATOR features a T-800 unit sent back to the mid-1980s to stop the event that leads to the end of civilization as we know it: the eruption of a volcano that reactivated the Transformers. As all things with time travel, it doesn’t go well. With the second issue finally getting released last week, it’s a good time to revisit how the story got kicked off.
That’s all for part one. What were your favorite comics of 2020’s first three months? Let us know in the comments then be on the lookout for the second half, as we dive into an industry ravaged by a global pandemic!