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Best of 2013: Top Five Comic Book Series

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The best comics develop and grow as the story progresses. This year was flush with fun, exciting new horror comics. And while many series came and went, a few choice "comic runs" went above and beyond this year. Whether it's thrilling plot lines, in depth character develop, or just bad-ass monsters and action… these are our favorites of the year.

Everything 'Judge Dredd'

This has been a great year for 'Judge Dredd' comics. We've seen him fighting off aliens in 'Mars Attacks Judge Dredd,' learning the ropes in 'Judge Dredd Year One,' and he even gave us flashbacks in 'Judge Dredd Classics!' There's no denying it: the man with big helmet is back! Publisher IDW has really wrangled some mileage out of the licensing rights to Judge Dredd, and we're all the better for it. All the stories revolve around the super cop known as Judge Dredd, in a futuristic city where crime really doesn't pay. I've read at least twenty different Judge Dredd comics this year, and I've loved every one. Don't think the Judge is "horror" enough for you? Put yourself in the shoes of the criminals he pursues. That's some scary shit, I assure you.

'Hellboy in Hell'/'Abe Sapien'

I would give each of these series their own entry in here if I didn't think the other comics on this list would get jealous. Mike Mignola has been a very busy man this year. He keeps producing and producing comics like the very fine 'B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth' series and these two gems. 'Hellboy in Hell' started at the end of last year, and it's been a great read ever since. With the titular hero in the titular "bad place," we get a sense of Mignola's vision of hell. It's… boring (in a good way!). Nothing really happens, no one's flaying the wicked and boiling the sadistic. And to watch our rough and tumble Hellboy navigate the underworld is an extreme treat. 

On the other end of the spectrum, we see everyone's favorite fish-man, Abe Sapien, dealing with a world that's been torn apart by giant monsters. He's on the run, looking for his own mysterious origins. Sapien has always been one of the most interesting characters in the Hellboy universe, and to see him get his own series has been wonderful. These two comics, set in the same world, really stand out.

'The Wake'

A secret oil rig in the middle of the Arctic houses more than just oil. They've found the missing link between humanity and the animal races. Half fish, half man, and all murderer… this creature is not to be trifled with. It's a fast, menacing, and destructive beast. Not only is this predator the perfect killing machine (especially in aquatic surroundings), it can also toy with its prey. By excreting pheromones that create intense hallucinations, the creature can easily disorient and distract its next victim. Those hallucination scenes are the most terrifying. The reader will often realize that the "flashback" he or she's been reading is actually a hallucination the character's currently in the middle of. And when the characters snap back to grim reality moments before their death, it becomes truly "edge of your seat" reading.

'Ghosted'

What do you get when you mix a haunted house, Ocean's 11, and a plot that sparkles with creativity? You get one of the most innovative comics of the year, 'Ghosted.' I have my problems with the first issue, but this series quickly developed into one of the best of the year. Jackson T. Winters is an expert con man rotting away in jail. When he's busted out and led to a rickety old mansion, he begins to suspect he may owe somebody something. And oh boy, does he! His task is simple, he's to assemble a team and go steal a ghost from a haunted house! No problem, right? It's upon the back of that plot that this wonderful comic progresses. If you haven't checked it out yet, it's worth a read.

Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations

This year Edgar Allan Poe received two different mini-series adaptations. The retellings, both by famed, wildly stylized artist and writer Richard Corben, were so full of longing, dread, and moody ambiance that we couldn't look away. In the first of two titles to get a release this year, 'The Fall of the House of Usher' parts 1 and 2, Corben dissected and reconstructed the classic tale of a man who paints and paints and obsesses over the subject of his painting. His obsession grows unchecked until, through dark magic, her life is stolen away from her. The second comic to come out, right before Halloween this year, was 'The Raven and the Red Death,' which retold the famous poem and 'The Masque of the Red Death.' Nobody draws the human figure like Corben. It's always clunky, clumpy, and grotesque. Through the very presence of his artwork, we looked at several Edgar Allan Poe stories in an entirely different light.

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