We can all agree that 2021 had plenty of great stuff for DC fans. From the growth of DC on HBO Max, the emergence of spectacular new characters and a sophomore DC FanDome that was even more spectacular than the first, the DC Multiverse is now bigger than ever. But with so many great comics, movies and TV series in 2021, what we won’t all agree on is what we liked best.
We all have our own unique tastes as fans, even here at DCComics.com, so we asked members of our writing team to share their personal three favorites. Look for a different top three every day this week! Our Wednesday list comes care of our newest contributor, Donovan Morgan Grant.
2021 was a terrific year for DC Comics, where nearly every character had momentous adventures released from month to month. Plenty of wonderful specials from the 80th anniversaries of Aquaman and Green Arrow to the release of the Wayne Family Adventures back in September, as well as lots of new TV and movies that took the stage at DC FanDome. Any number of releases could’ve made my personal top three list, but I’ll settle on what immediately comes to mind and reaches closes to my heart.
The Other History of the DC Universe
From award-winning screenwriter John Ridley with pencils by Giuseppe Camuncoli, The Other History of the DC Universe is a blisteringly honest take on the both the real world and the DC Universe through the eyes of some of DC’s most impactful Heroes of Color. Starting with the 1970s with Black Lightning, moving through the ’80s and ’90s with the Outsiders and Renee Montoya, and finishing off well into the 2000s with Thunder, Ridley and his team posit the DC world as many readers have, full of just as much wonder and excitement, but measured with the lens of meaningful representation. If these heroes from diverse backgrounds truly existed, how would they view the world they fight to protect? How would that world see them?
The best miniseries written in decades, The Other History of the DC Universe is a must have for any fan of DC Comics, both young and old.
DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration
DC also put a spotlight on its pantheon of heroes and characters of Asian descent last spring with the release of the 100-page DC Festival of Heroes comic. DC Festival of Heroes told stories featuring many of DC’s classic and beloved Asian characters such as the Connor Hawke Green Arrow, the affable Super-Man from China, Kong Kenan, sword-wielder Katana, the Ryan Choi Atom, the deeply conflicted Cheshire, and—my personal favorite—Cassandra Cain’s Batgirl.
Sadly, these heroes have not always had the best exposure, despite many of them being well received by the fanbase and creators. DC Festival of Heroes at last provided these characters with the stage they deserve, reminding readers why they matter by presenting them in the best of lights with equally top-level Asian talent including Mariko Tamaki, Dustin Nguyen, Gene Luen Yang, Greg Pak, Alyssa Wong, Marcus To, Francis Manapul and Sean Chen among many others.
Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo’s Nightwing
Tom Taylor takes the hero of Blüdhaven to heights both bold and familiar in an amazing debut as series writer, especially for a writer who himself has admitted that he has a penchant for killing Nightwing off in other books! But with Bruno Redondo’s sublime pencils and Adriano Lucas’ lush colors, Nightwing is a warm, funny and exhilarating title bringing the former Boy Wonder back to basics with twists to his status quo that keeps things fresh and unexpected. Dick Grayson has inherited a fortune from the late Alfred Pennyworth and vows to use it to help the people of Blüdhaven. Not everyone is on board with that plan, least of all the resident mob boss Blockbuster, as well as possibly the freshly minted new mayor.
Fortunately, Dick’s not alone here, receiving ample assistance from his on-again/off-again soul mate, Barbara Gordon a.k.a. Oracle, along with various other members of the Bat-Family such as Tim Drake and the Batgirls. Taylor’s love of the character and his world bursts through with every issue, and as the first storyline has finished, readers get the palpable sense that things are only getting started for DC’s favorite sidekick-turned-superhero.
Donovan Morgan Grant writes about comics, graphic novels and superhero history for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @donoDMG1.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Donovan Morgan Grant and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.