From the beginning, comics have been about one outlandish premise after another (I’m looking at you: man from another world that gets super powers because how yellow Earth’s sun is..!). So you’d think it would be hard to pick the top 5 truly WTF comics of 2016, but you’d be wrong!

For the sake of this article, let’s assume you have no experience with any of the titles, have read nothing about them, and don’t know the creative team behind them.

5. Moon Knight

Moon Knight- 2016 #5There’s a reason the variant cover’s title is The Schizophrenic Moon Knight: the main character awakens in an insane asylum (which is actually one of this writer’s real-life nightmare scenarios) where he is drugged, abused by the staff, and doesn’t know what’s real. Is he just another crazy person that doesn’t know reality from fiction, or is he really the avatar of Khonshu, the god of the moon? Either way, you, the reader will be off-kilter from the very beginning: visions of ancient Egypt mix with modern New York; beautiful art by Greg Smallwood that captivates you. Does the truth lie somewhere between madness and delusion?

 

4. Tank Girl – Two Girls, One Tank

Tank Girl Cover by Black FrogThis title started off as an indie comic in England; became a cult icon; crossed the pond and landed a bevy of series from Dark Horse; became a big-budget Hollywood film; all the while co-created by the founding father of the Gorillaz band. Set in the Australian Outback with various interpretations throughout the decades (hard to believe Tank Girl will be thirty years old in 2018!), this series features a post-apocalyptic punk rock girl who dates a mutated kangaroo, and gets high and/or drunk at the drop of a hat. This series focuses on an ersatz Tank Girl taking the real Tank Girl’s tank. Gorblimey!

 

3. Paper Girls

Another WTF moment in Paper GirlsAs of this writing, with six issues on the shelves, one still mutters, “WTF?!” at the end of each book. Seemingly starting off as a coming-of-age story set in the Totally Radical ’80s, this comic has evolved into an alien-filled, time-traveling, mind-bending magnum opus. The four teenage female characters are totally relatable, which is important because you are quickly thrust into situations that include flying dragon things, technology that is possibly from the future,  and an alien language that is never translated. Brian K. Vaughn doesn’t fail to deliver an engrossing story. So put on your acid-wash jacket and enjoy.

 

2. I Hate Fairyland

I Hate Fairland #05If you’re naughty, you can buy the Mature cover variant which is named F*ck Fairyland. Guess which vowel is missing? What’s contained between the covers is an epic story where a little girl fell through a magical portal, met the denizens of Fairyland, and has been on a mind-shattering quest to get back home. Oh, and it’s been 27 years, so Gert’s mind has aged, but her body has not. Oh, and Queen Cloudia has tried her best to have her murdered at every opportunity. This is a mother-fluffing masterpiece of cute violence, to be sure.

 

1. Wacky Raceland

What do you get when you cross the happy-go-lucky adventures of the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series Wacky Races with the grim and violent hellscape of George Miller’s Mad Max? Why, Wacky Raceland, of course! DC Comics has really done something weird, crazy, and brilliant: Take the characters that some Old-Timers remember, mash them up with concepts of the milieu du jour, slap a $3.99 price tag on it, and see who bites. If this picture of Penelope Pitstop in tight pink bondage gear with a big gun doesn’t sell you, nothing will.

Penelope Pitstop - Wacky Raceland design

Penelope Pitstop

Double-You Tee Eff

And there you have it: the Top 5 WTF Comics of 2016. This list is pretty definitive. No other comics come close. So don’t even try to add your picks in the comments!

(Also, don’t try to research the independent comics of the ’80s or you might find the likes of Space Beaver and Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters in 3D. Just. Don’t.)