16. Ken Pontac and Leonardo Manco, Wacky Raceland. Mad Max meets Cannonball Run in this grim-'n'-gritty reboot of the cutesy old Hanna Barbera cartoon. The characters have the same goofy names and the cars talk, but bloody carnage abounds and now Dick Dastardly has a pitch-black origin rivaling Chris Evans' in Snowpiercer. Maybe it makes sense coming from a former Happy Tree Friends writer, but it might have worked better as a Death Race 2000 sequel without pointlessly repurposing yesteryear's Saturday mornings.
17. Adam Glass and Patrick Olliffe, Rough Riders, vol. 1: Give Them Hell. Harry Houdini! Jack Johnson! Annie Oakley! Thomas Edison! And their leader, man's man Teddy Roosevelt himself, unite to track down the real perpetrators behind the sinking of the USS Maine. This early 20th-century American take on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen remixes real historical figures instead of penny-dreadful heroes, drawing from their combined wealth of true background details to formulate one rousing adventure. Guaranteed 100% less NC-17 than LoEG!
18. Charles Soule, The Oracle Year. An unremarkable NYC bassist wakes up one morning with 108 prophecies mysteriously spoken into his head out of nowhere. When a few innocent examples come true, at first he finds way to profit from the results. As his words are broadcast and his reach expands, the consequences reach farther outward, their ripples slowly intersecting in unforeseen, catastrophic ways. Weird, increasingly suspenseful reminder of the differences even the least among us can make over the extreme long term, the aftershocks they can create on the world stage, and the responsibility inherent in choosing our words and messages carefully.
19. Jeff Lemire, Roughneck. A disgraced hockey player tries to find redemption in protecting his estranged sister from her abusive boyfriend by retreating deep into the Canadian wilderness. Beautiful watercolored art belies occasionally ugly conflict over the poor choices that get us stranded in such situations.
20. Tom King, A Once Crowded Sky. One of DC Comics' hottest writers, a CIA analyst during the second Iraq war, Tom King kicked off his radical career change years ago with this debut novel about a world where all the superheroes (except one) gave up their powers to defeat an evil menace from beyond, only to find themselves helpless years later when a new threat begins murdering them one by one. Definitely influenced by Watchmen, early Brian Michael Bendis, and other post-superhero works of the past thirty years, the book picks up steam as it delves deeper into its deconstructions, but has a few early chapters that are sluggish chores to endure whenever the third-person narration adopts the rambling, repetitive voice of its drunker, more irritating characters.
21. Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr, Voracious, vol. 1: Diners, Dinosaurs and Dives. A hotheaded young chef at a low point in his life inherits a time machine from a long-lost relative, stumbles back into the age of the dinosaurs, and embarks on a new business venture: a restaurant whose dishes are based entirely on the dinosaurs he hunts, kills, butchers, and brings back into the present to serve with finesse. Culinary sci-fi has become a sort of micro-mini-subgenre niche in comics (cf. Starve, Flavor, and more than a few manga), and this one is the weirdest and funniest I've seen to date.
22. Noah van Sciver, The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln. The inspired-by-a-true-story recount of the future President's years in Illinois as a novice lawyer with a run of hard luck and undiagnosed depression inhibiting his demeanor and career. We tend to think of Lincoln in such reverent, deified tones that it's unusual to see him examined from a humbled, humanizing position of weakness. If anything, though, seeing him overcome such trials -- as much as one could in the nineteenth century, at least -- adds a relatable dimension to his legacy without diminishing it.
23. Joe Pantoliano, Asylum: Hollywood Tales from My Great Depression: Brain Dis-Ease, Recovery, and Being My Mother's Son. You may remember him from such films as Memento, The Matrix, The Fugitive, Daredevil, Midnight Run, and TV's The Sopranos. The Emmy-winning character actor's most recent memoir dives into a fair number of weird Hollywood anecdotes -- his friendship with Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood; his fight for more screen time on The Fugitive; that time he ran and hid from a physically violent Rosie Perez during a bad Broadway experience; that other time he snuck into a party Harvey Weinstein threw for new U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton. But the crux of the book is candidly discussing his late-life diagnoses of multiple lifelong conditions (ADHD, dlyslexia, depression) that manifested in a lengthy list of addictions (alcohol, painkillers, sex, shopping), all told in that distinct, inimitable voice of every character he's ever played. Come for the acting backstory and frequent name-checking; stay for the reassurance that others like him aren't alone out there, as expressly stated in the name of the mental-disease awareness charity he founded called No Kidding? Me Too!, which he brings up repeatedly for good reason.