2024 is a personally exciting year for me in comics. Free Comic Book Day will mark the 5th Anniversary of my entry into the hobby. While there have been highs and lows creatively (plus a pandemic that literally took comics off store shelves), It’s been a great 5 years. Solicitations are out for the first quarter of 2024, and it’s shaping up to be the best year yet. Here’s a look at what I’m most excited about this year.
Dynamite’s All Ages Takeover
Dynamite shook things up in 2022 when it was announced they had taken over the Disney Comics license from IDW. They ended December with a new in-canon Gargoyles title from series creator Greg Weisman, then rebooted fan-favorite franchise Darkwing Duck in January 2023. We also got 3 awesome Disney Villains miniseries focused on Scar, Maleficent & Hades. In 2024, the magic continues with Disney Villains: Cruella De Vil and a brand new Lilo & Stitch comic written by Greg Pak. Not to mention spinoffs from the aforementioned — Justice Ducks by Roger Langridge & Carlo Cid Lauro and Gargoyles: Quest by Greg Weisman & Pasquale Qualano.
But it’s not just Disney magic sprinkled through Dynamite’s publishing slate. In October, Dynamite announced a slate of licensed comics from Warner Bros., including new Thundercats, Powerpuff Girls & Jonny Quest comics (just to name a few). Suddenly, Dynamite is an early front-runner for Publisher of the Year in my book.
If you had told me 5 years ago I’d be racing to pick up Dynamite Comics to read with my kids in 2024, I’d have called you a liar. But it seems publisher/CEO Nick Barrucci is out to prove once and for all that his company is more than cheesecake, and I’m here for it.
The Collapse of Krakoa, and the Rise of the Ultimate Universe
While Free Comic Book Day 2019 brought me into the comic hobby, it was Jonathan Hickman’s House of X/Powers of X that made me a true Wednesday Warrior. Then came the Dawn of X, and its sprawling slate of X-Titles. When Hickman left his Head of X role in 2021, a lot of my excitement for Krakoa left with him. While it hasn’t been all bad — the trio of Gerry Duggan’s X-Men, Kieron Gillen’s Immortal X-Men and Al Ewing’s X-Men: Red are among the best titles on shelves — the line has felt a bit stale and bogged down by events. 2024’s Fall of the House of X/Rise of the Powers of X will hopefully bring a satisfying end to the Krakoa era, as we look toward a simplified X-Men relaunch later this year.
Perhaps the most exciting initiative coming from the House of Ideas is the relaunch of the Ultimate Universe. I was just a wee lad when Joe Quesada & Bill Jemas brought us the original Ultimate Marvel Universe. But 24 years later, fresh entry points for reimagined versions of Marvel fan-favorites sounds like a great idea. Peter Parker & Mary Jane married with a family? Bryan Hill writing T’Challa as King of Wakanda? Peach Momoko giving Storm a sidekick and protégé? Yes, yes, and yes.
DC Continues to Dominate
When I got into comics in 2019, DC Comics seemed to be in a weird transition state. The Batman Who Laughs was fighting Lex Luthor for control of the
universe multiverse. Superman had just revealed his secret identity to the world. The main line was bloated, and no one could clearly articulate what Black Label was supposed to be. The convoluted Dark Knights: Death Metal led us to 5G Future State, and the Infinite Frontier era started to feel like something fresh was finally brewing. [I particularly enjoyed Philip Kennedy Johnson’s epic run on Action Comics — but that’s an editorial for another day.]
All those events culminated in last year’s Dark Crisis [on Infinite Earths], and ushered in the Dawn of DC — a status quo shift for all the main heroes, plus several new miniseries for characters who hadn’t gotten as much shine in recent years. Green Lantern. Wonder Woman. Doom Patrol. Every book was a banger, even as they were interrupted for events like Lazarus Planet and Knight Terrors.
The line as a whole hasn’t felt this cohesive (or this good) since I started reading 5 years ago, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. As I write this, we’re in the middle of Titans: Beast World, where Amanda Waller is getting her time to shine as a villain. But the threat of Braniac has been looming all over DC’s promotional materials, and I’m excited to see what comes next.
Ghost Machine Enters the Chat
‘Groundbreaking’ announcements in the Comic industry come a dime a dozen — but when a who’s who of comic talent including Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Peter Tomasi, Francis Manapul and Jason Fabok announced their creator-owned endeavor Ghost Machine, my ears perked up a bit. At first, I was just sad knowing the creators’ time at DC Comics was winding down. But then I saw the publishing slate and started salivating.
Ghost Machine has been billed as the first creator-owned, fully shared universe in comics; and it appears they’ll have a little something for everyone. Superheroes. Sci-Fi. Horror. Swashbuckling. Family. Adventure! And all indications are that’s just the beginning. I’m probably MOST excited for Geiger, Redcoat, and The Rocketfellers. But it looks like there’s a lot more where those came from. If it holds up, Ghost Machine can be far more than the Image 2.0 moniker it’s been given by comic press.
Bringing it Home
All in all, 2024 looks very promising for comic readers, and the state of the industry appears strong for the first time since COVID-19 shook up the Direct Market. This is probably the most excited I’ve been about comics overall since I started reading them. It truly feels like there’s something here for everyone, and that the publishers at least have an idea of what they want their companies to look like. I’ll check back in around Free Comic Book Day for a ‘Best of 2024 So Far’ post to see which of these initiatives land brilliantly, or which ones fall flat. Happy Reading!