This is the last regular review episode of 2016, and as the Two Guys with PhDs do annually, they use their final show of the year to share their favorite comics from the past twelve months. Both Andy and Derek have each chosen what he considers the 10 best of 2016 -- and in no particular order -- but neither has shared his list with the other until the recording of this episode. So there are some surprises along the way. There is not much overlap between the guys' lists, and only two titles are mentioned by both. Taken together, this is a wide-ranging selection that includes everything from mainstream superhero comics to small-press selections, from webcomics to manga, from comics in translation to works that are sure to become part of many readers' canon.
However, before they plunge into their lists the guys share some year-end statistics. By the end of 2016 The Comics Alternative will have produced 162 episodes (including this episode and the December manga review). Among those shows, 278 print titles will have been discussed along with 36 webcomics. Derek also crunched the numbers in terms of the most reviewed publishers. The one whose titles were discussed most frequently was Image Comics, with the guys focusing on 25 of their titles. Next is Fantagraphics and Dark Horse Comics with 21 reviewed titles each. After that it's IDW with 19, DC/Vertigo with 17, First Second with 13, and BOOM! Studios with 11. Other publishers whose titles have been reviewed at least 5 times over the past year include Kilgore Books (9), Kodansha Comics (8), Alternative Comics (7), Aftershock (7), Floating World (6), Drawn and Quarterly (5), Retrofit/Big Planet (5), and Avery Hill Publishing (5).
After that numerical rundown, the Two Guys get into their 10 favorite titles of 2016:
It's the last regular review episode of the year, so that means that the Two Guys with PhDs are here to share what they consider to be the best comics of 2015! In this extra-long episode, Andy and Derek discuss their 10 favorite titles of the year. Neither knows what the other has chosen before the recording, giving the episode a sense of freshness, spontaneousness, and surprise. And there are indeed several surprises in this year's picks, including the fact that there is only one title that appears on both guys' lists. Also, noticeably absent from their selections are the titles that have been populating many of the mainstream press' "Best of" lists (e.g., Killing and Dying, The Sculptor, Lumberjanes, and The Sandman: Overture: Deluxe Edition). And each of the guys notes some trends that appear in his list this year. For Andy, it's the prominence of autobiographical comics, and for Derek, it's a an emphasis on realistic novel-like narratives. Before they get to their favorites, though, they go over some year-end statistics regarding the podcast. For example, over the past year the guys have published 139 episodes (as of last week), which is roughly 42% of all of the episodes they've put out since the podcast began in 2012. They have also conducted 39 interviews in 2015, published 8 publisher spotlight episodes, and began two new monthly series (one for manga and another for young adult/children's comics). Needless to say, it's been a productive year for the guys.
But the heart of this week's episode is the Two Guys' discussion of their ten favorite titles of 2015: