50. Wonder Twins
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Stephen Byrne
Publisher: Wonder Comics
Description: Exiled from their home planet, shape-changing alien heroes Jayna and Zan (she can morph into any animal, and he can turn into any form of water) must navigate life as students at Morris High School, where they’re even bigger outsiders than the normal awkward teens they try to befriend. Under the watchful eye of Superman, the brother-and-sister duo pull monitor duty at the Hall of Justice as interns, where they face Superman’s impish foe Mr. Mxyzptlk as well as the deadlier-than-they-sound villains known as the League of Annoyance. They also learn some lessons from the Teen Titans’ resident shape-shifter, Beast Boy, and struggle to overcome the pitfalls of Zan’s brash confidence and Jayna’s shyness. And, of course, there’s a space monkey. There’s always a space monkey.
Why It Made the List: When Mark Russell wrote The Flintstones comic he made a bowling ball and vacuum cleaner into two of the most compelling and heartbreaking characters. So, of course, he will do something similar with the Wonder Twins and even their pet sidekick Gleek who got a backstory that makes him so much more than just a generic monkey mascot. Oddly though the breakout character from this run may have been Superman. Russell and artist Stephen Byrne crafted some of my favorite Superman moments of the year. They were scenes where you can tell they both understand why the character still works today. Bryne cartooning style was an ideal choice for this series and this was the best meshing of Russell’s writing style with superheroes I have read so far. I have long had the opinion that there is no such thing as a bad character. Having one of the best books of the year about the Wonder Twins proves that.
Writer/Artist: Molly Mendoza
Description: In this epic tale of friendship, compassion and growth, Molly Mendoza’s stunning art and gripping storytelling immerses you in alternate worlds filled with mystical creatures and dazzling landscapes.
When Bloom is thrown from their world, and Gloopy is exiled from their own, the two youngsters find in each other a much-needed kindred spirit. But as they skip through dimensions and encounter weeping giants, alligator islands and topsy-turvy 2D worlds, they find that their greatest challenge will be facing their own fears back home.
Why It Made the List: When this book opens two things came to mind. One was how stunningly gorgeous Molly Mendoza’s art is and the other was the concern it was being waisted for yet another dystopian future story. Clearly not only should you not judge a book by its cover but also its concept because things progress into one of the more inventive narratives I read this year. Seeing two characters from literally two separate worlds bonding and forming a friendship as they hop from dimension to dimension trying to get home is something the world needs right now. From the abstract art style to the complete absence of any type of exposition there is an endless amount of allegorical implications that can be made. Ultimately it comes down to facing our inner fears as well as the benefit of having someone alongside you in that journey.
48. Little Bird
Writer: Darcy Van Poelgeest
Artist: Ian Bertram
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: With the limitless scope of Star Wars and EAST OF WEST paired with the sociopolitical explorations of A Handmaid’s Tale and MONSTRESS, LITTLE BIRD tells the story of a young resistance fighter battling against an oppressive American Empire while searching for her own identity in a world on fire.
A gorgeously illustrated epic from Award-winning filmmaker DARCY VAN POELGEEST and Angoulême-nominated artist IAN BERTRAM in which one girl risks everything to save her people, their land, and the freedom they so desperately deserve.
Why It Made the List: I feel like before I talk about Little Bird I have to explain why it is not higher since I see it near the top of so many lists this year. Of course, I liked it but I did not have the emotional connection to it that other books on this list gave me. Still, I can see how it demonstrated how to utilize visual storytelling to build the world of your comic. Instead of forcing in a lot of exposition to slow the pace of the story writer Darcy Van Poelgeest allows Ian Bertram’s visuals tell convey many of the finer universe details. By giving that freedom there is more left for interpretation which could lead to some confusion, but if you sit back and examine what is on the page there is a great story being told. With the oversized format, each issue has felt like a near-complete trade paperback. Even if it did not have the emotional impact I was hoping the craft needs to be appreciated.
47. Hot Comb
Writer/Artist: Ebony Flowers
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
Description: Hot Comb offers a poignant glimpse into black women’s lives and coming of age stories as seen across a crowded, ammonia-scented hair salon. The titular story “Hot Comb” is about a young girl’s first perm – a doomed ploy to look cool and to stop seeming “too white” in the all-black neighborhood her family has just moved to. Realizations about race, class, and the imperfections of identity swirl through these stories, which are by turns sweet, insightful, and heartbreaking.
Why It Made the List: There is that infamous saying that you cannot understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes. One thing I love about comics is how for a brief window in time you can see into a world you know so little about. So while you may not be walking into someone’s shoes it can still help expand your worldview. Ebony Flowers puts together a collection of short stories that all center on hair and how it ties to her personal story along with cultural differences that exist. Having that central theme enabled each story to feel even more connected. Short stories are hard enough to write well when you add in an additional connecting theme Flowers was not making things easy on herself. She has a strong sense for putting you into a specific time and place. Songs on the radio, style of dress, or general fashion place you into a time to add to the authenticity to this life you get to briefly exerpience.
46. Paper Girls
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: THE END IS HERE! After surviving adventures in their past, present, and future, the Paper Girls of 1988 embark on one last journey—a five-part epic that includes the emotional double-sized series finale. Featuring a new wraparound cover from Eisner Award-winning co-creator CLIFF CHIANG, which can be combined with the covers of all five previous volumes to form one complete mega-image!
Why It Made the List: As I am writing this list I realize just how much I already miss Paper Girls. This year the title came to an end and I am still amazed how Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang were able to actually bring this story to a close. With all the different timelines and storylines going at once I thought it could only end in a giant ball of confusion. Instead, it was an emotional ending that makes the enter series better in retrospect. Matt Wilson also deserves so much credit as this may have the most striking color palette of any comic this decade.
45. Five Years
Writer/Artist: Terry Moore
Publisher: Abstract Studio
Description: Five Years weaves the many strands of the “Terryverse” into one epic saga, years in the making! A dangerous paper written by Lilith has been leaked to the nations of the world containing a formula for the ultimate weapon, and now labs around the globe are attempting to build and test the Phi Bomb. Tambi, in an all-out effort to find the labs and stop them, has enlisted the help of Ivy Raven, Julie Martin, Rachel and Zoe. Meanwhile, Katchoo and Francine have moved their household – including the kid’s new bodyguard, Samantha Locklear – to the beach where Katchoo devises her own solution to the problem…
Why It Made the List: Terry Moore is a breed of a comic creator that simply does not exist anymore. Not only does he do everything from the art to the story, but also publishes this series as well. This series is bringing together stories and characters from the “Terryverse” that has been building for years. This demonstrates the beauty of Terry Moore’s art. How he can capture the tender and the extreme. Much has evolved since this series first started as now this major world-ending threat looms in the background. Still what has made Moore’s work so remarkable is the tender way he builds characters and relationships. Despite the massive stakes that still remains. Brand new readers may not be able to fully comprehend all the nuances to what is occurring but the general premise is strong enough that you can still enjoy what works here.
Writer: Kevin Panetta
Artist: Savanna Ganucheau
Publisher: First Second
Description: Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band―if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything.
Why It Made the List: Comics are filled with an abundance of coming of age stories so it is a challenge to stand out. Bloom by no means is rewriting the script on how to tell a story of a young man finding himself but the execution is much better than most. For one it never chases its drama.
From the start, it is clear where the conflicts lay and where things are eventually heading but the willingness to hold back and let the story and characters settle in first was refreshing. Looking at something like the conflict within the family and wanting to break away from the family business has just the right sense of nuance.
How people seem to simply understand the point of view of others was shockingly refreshing. In the end, it took a story we have seen and just step things back a few steps to make it a much more engaging experience
Writer/Artist: Jeff Lemire
Publisher: Gallery 13
Description: A man wakes up alone in a strange room with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. The padlocked doors and barren lobby reinforce the strangeness of this place. This is—as he reads from an old-fashioned keychain beside his bed—the Edgewater Hotel. Even worse, something ominous seems to be lurking in one of the rooms.
Why It Made the List: Memory is this tricky thing where the importance of an event is not a guarantee of remembrance. What Jeff Lemire appears to be doing with Frogcatchers is to ask the ultimate why question to find comfort in the realization of human mortality. It is an intimate look a momentous question and continues Jeff Lemire’s streak of being one of the most thought-provoking creators in comics today. What makes it work though is Lemire’s approach and how he finds ways to consistently misdirect you. Starting as early as the title. Being called Frogcatchers and opening on a scene of a young boy doing just that settles the reader in to think that action will have a major purpose moving forward, and it does but not in the specific sense of the moment. In a way, it represents life in how you think you have a handle on things only for something new to come along and rethink your viewpoint.
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artist: Kano, Scott Koblish, Raúl Allén, Patricia Martin, Tana Ford
Description: Accomplice. Mentor. Savior. And now, Enemy of the State. Seeking to protect other vulnerable superpowered psiots like herself, Livewire plunged the United States into a nationwide blackout, causing untold devastation.
With the whole world hunting her, what kind of hero will Livewire be…or will she be one at all?
Why It Made the List: I always admire a writer who has the guts to look at a major aspect of a character and take it away. Reminds me of when Jason Aaron took away magic from Doctor Strange and now Vita Ayala is putting Livewire on the run without the use of her psiot powers. You make the character rely more on their ingenuity to see who they are outside of the very thing that has defined them up to this point. Right away Livewire is faced with an unwinnable challenge causing tensions to skyrocket. As the story progressed and those powers returned the act of Livewires redemption still was a battle. If you like stories that put a lot into their narrative for the characters to overcome this would be like an endless buffet.
41. Swimming in Darkness
Writer/Artist: Lucas Harari
Translator: David Homel
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Description: Pierre is a young man at a crossroads. He drops out of architecture school and decides to travel to Vals in the Swiss Alps, home to a thermal springs complex located deep inside a mountain. The complex, designed by architect Peter Zumthor, had been the subject of Pierre’s thesis. The mountain holds many mysteries; it was said to have a mouth that periodically swallowed people up. Pierre, sketchbook in hand, is drawn to the enigmatic powers of the mountain and its springs, and attempts to uncover the truth behind them in the secret rooms he discovers deep within the complex. But he finds his match in a man named Valeret who is similarly obsessed, and who’d like nothing more than to eliminate his competitor.
Why It Made the List: A man lost within his own life tries to find answers by traveling to and studying the Vals in the Swiss Alps. One of the best-looking books I have read all year in regards to the sheer beauty and page composition and storytelling. I was impressed by how each scene carries with it a distinct look especially with the use of color. The story itself is this self mediation on purpose but also incorporates elements of classic noir mystery and even a touch of fantasy. It is an eclectic grouping of features that work well in tandem with each other.
Writer/Artist: Raina Telgemeier
Description: Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it’s probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away… and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What’s going on?
Why It Made the List: While reading this I kept thinking what is it about Raina Telgemeier books that strike such a chord with young readers. Perhaps a dude in his mid-thirties isn’t the right guy to answer that but I do read a lot of YA and kids comics so I bring a tidbit of knowledge
One thing that Guts continued is how her books deal with issues kids face and treated them with a level of seriousness and respect. Often YA Comics are written with more of a retrospective voice so issues are downplayed because through the lens of an adult they are no big deal.
With Guts something that may be silly like dealing with digesting issues has a serious impact because it can ostracize you from the only world you know. Plus, you get the sense there is a level of personal experience that gives more credence to the general story. Honesty and respect with the right mix of humor] makes one successful comic both in terms of books sold and overall quality.
Writer: Ingrid Chabbert
Artist: Carole Maurel
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Description: After years of difficulty trying to have children, a young couple finally announces their pregnancy, only to have the most joyous day of their lives replaced with one of unexpected heartbreak. Their relationship is put to the test as they forge ahead, working together to rebuild themselves amidst the churning tumult of devastating loss, and ultimately facing the soul-crushing reality that they may never conceive a child of their own. Based on author Ingrid Chabbert’s own experience, coupled with soft, sometimes dreamlike illustrations by Carole Maurel, Waves is a deeply moving story that poignantly captures a woman’s exploration of her pain in order to rediscover hope.
Why It Made the List: This covers the emotional struggle of losing a child and the fluidity of that journey. Despite the obvious heavy material, there is an underlying sense of hope found within the bond formed within communities and relationships along with our ability to cope. When you see someone put their entire heart and soul into an artistic peace the natural reaction is to empathize with that struggle. When that piece is as well crafted and as beautiful to look at as this it ends up being one of the best books of the year.
38. Doctor Mirage
Writer: Magdalene Visaggio
Artist: Nick Robles
Description: How do you solve the case of your own death?
Paranormal detective Doctor Shan Fong Mirage had the ability to see and talk to the dead. Except the dead have gone silent, their spirits mysteriously vanished, including Hwen, her deceased husband. Now, Doctor Mirage must face the most challenging question of her life: Is she dead but doesn’t know it?
From Eisner Award-nominated writer Magdalene “Mags” Visaggio (Eternity Girl) and artist Nick Robles (Euthanauts) comes a gripping supernatural mystery to penetrate the veil between here and the hereafter.
Why It Made the List: If I were to make a list of the biggest surprises this series would certainly be near the top. Although, I should have known better based on the past work of both Magdalene Visaggio and Nick Robles. Robles is impressing me more and more the amount of imagination he puts into his pages. With this series as well as Euthanauts he takes abstract concepts and uses that freedom to render breathtaking pages full of life. Typically, the what is real/what is not concept drives me a bit mad. Why it works here is due to how everything is anchored to specific relationships. Doctor Shan Fong Mirage’s relationship to her husband along with the evolving relationships between her and Grace are a strong enough story on their own without the supernatural elements added to them. As crazy as things may get having that as a foundation ads a level of stakes no matter what is real.
Writer: David M. Booher
Artist: Drew Zucker
Description: Canto’s adventure begins! Enslaved for generations, Canto’s people once had hearts. Now they have clocks. When slavers damage a little tin girl’s clock beyond repair, Canto must brave his strange and fantastic world to bring back her heart. Can he overcome the dangers that await to save the one he loves?
Why It Made the List: Just look at the character design of Canto. That alone has me ready to jump into this series and explore its world. The cover looks like the greatest Nitendo adventure game never invented. I know some are scared by the term all-ages and assume that means it is only for kids. That is a silly notion but this tonally more reminds me of those kid properties from the 80’s like Dark Crystal or Return to Oz that had a bit of creepiness to them that clearly adults today have yet to get over. Canto also had one of the best first issues of the year. One that was able to build the world without taking away from the heart of the story or the characters.
36. The Man Who Came Down Attic Stairs
Writer/Artist: Celine Loup
Description: After moving into a new home and giving birth to her first child, a woman worries that a supernatural force is haunting her child’s nursery, and has corrupted her husband into a creature intent on harming them both.
Emma is excited to start a family in her new home, but after her child’s birth she finds her world turning upside-down. The infant cries like it’s scared of something, or someone, and Emma’s sleepless nights quickly drive a wedge between her and her husband, who seems uncharacteristically detached. When Emma begins to see strange things in the house, the line between reality and fantasy blurs and her grasp of what’s real and what’s not becomes even more clouded. Is something unnatural haunting the nursery? And what if it also affected her husband, who ventured up into the attic when they first arrived…
Why It Made the List: A haunting look at the overbearing emotional tole of postpartum depression. I was somewhat concerned about this going in as it is essentially a horror story about such a delicate topic. A lot can quickly go wrong very quickly if mishandled. There was a deeper fear here than you ever day horror story. With this coming from a personal place there is a clear level of care and that perspective. That knowledge even makes what occurs that more devastating. Aided by striking lettering there is a consistent claustrophobic feel making you long for escape.
Writer: Bryan Edward Hill
Artist: Juan Ferreyra
Description: The brutal tale of a man who will stop at nothing…for freedom! One day, years from now, Erik Killmonger will rise up and attempt to steal the throne of Wakanda – the throne he believes he is owed. But long before he became “Killmonger,” he was a boy known as N’Jadaka, a boy who was stolen from his home and taught only the world’s cruelties. A boy who knew the Black Panther only as a fairy tale, a whisper from strangers. This is the story of a young man driven by revenge – this is where Killmonger’s legend begins! But what role does Wilson Fisk, New York’s Kingpin of Crime, play? And who will feel the sting of the Black Widow?
Why It Made the List: For those who think this is nothing but a book trying to cash in on the box office success of Black Panther please know it is so much more. Easily one of the strongest character studies Marvel has done in some time. Juan Ferreyra’s work is transcendent. Such as a page that depicts the showdown between Bullseye and Killmonger that made me a forever fan of his work. If Marvel ever came to me and asked what types of books they should do more of this series would be my answer. This is barely a superhero story and more akin to a Michael Mann film than it is the MCU. So even if you are someone who typically skips the cape books this might actually work for you.
34. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Publisher: First Second
Description: Laura Dean, the most popular girl in high school, was Frederica Riley’s dream girl: charming, confident, and SO cute. There’s just one problem: Laura Dean is maybe not the greatest girlfriend.
Reeling from her latest break up, Freddy’s best friend, Doodle, introduces her to the Seek-Her, a mysterious medium, who leaves Freddy some cryptic parting words: break up with her. But Laura Dean keeps coming back, and as their relationship spirals further out of her control, Freddy has to wonder if it’s really Laura Dean that’s the problem. Maybe it’s Freddy, who is rapidly losing her friends, including Doodle, who needs her now more than ever. Fortunately for Freddy, there are new friends, and the insight of advice columnists like Anna Vice to help her through being a teenager in love.
Why It Made the List: A modernization of the classic teen angst story and the struggle to understand who you are and what you want in the process of finding love. As someone that is long away from my teenage years, I cannot speak to how well this represents the now, but I can say it worked on me completely.
As an outsider looking in this felt authentic in every way. How it can deal with what seems like trivial issues but there is importance to those struggles especially when life becomes a lot more complicated really quickly. Teenage drama with stakes on every level. And the sue of color in this was superb in setting the mood and adding drama and frustration when necessary.
33. Ghost Tree
Writer: Bobby Curnow
Artist: Simon Gane
Description: A touching graphic novel about love, loss, and how the past never truly stays dead.
Seeking a refuge from an unhappy life, Brandt returns to his ancestral home in Japan to find a haunted tree and the departed souls that are drawn to it, including his grandfather. Getting more involved with the tree’s inhabitants, he attempts to heal some of history’s wounds but will he be able to find a measure of peace for himself when someone special from his past returns?
Why It Made the List: Every year IDW tends to surprise me with an original character based series that seemingly comes out of nowhere. Last year it was The Highest House and this year Ghost Tree took up that mantle. This reminded me of watching the opening of a Hayao Miyazaki as we enter this magical world that takes place in what otherwise seems mundane. It was able to introduce its concept without getting caught up in the minute details instead it focused on the characters which allowed for a stronger emotional anchor. Simon Gane’s artwork also adds a unique feel with such well-expressed textures and expressive characters. Such a patient story from beginning to end.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Trevor Hairsine, Stefano Gaudiano, James Harren
Publisher: DC Comics
Description: THE END IS HERE! Six hundred million people. That’s how many fall victim when a mysterious techno-organic virus is unleased on Earth. Six hundred million infected. Six hundred million turned into mindless, rampaging killers bend on death and destruction.
And that’s just the beginning.
Why It Made the List: It is good to admit when you are wrong. I like many saw advertisements for DCeased and thought we were just getting DC’s version of Marvel Zombies, but that was not the case whatsoever. I should have known better considering Tom Taylor was leading writing duties. What this had that Marvel Zombies never did was a huge amount of heart. Character lead the way not the silly concept. Similar to what Taylor did with his Injustice series he took the fact this was taking place in its own world and added stakes that you would never see in an in-continuity story. There were a lot of small moments to that took things to another level. For example, how Superman tried to avoid this techno virus by using his x-ray vision. Smart characters making smart decisions but still finding ways to fail makes for the best type of stories.
31. Gideon Falls
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: After the mind-blowing events of the second arc, our story heads right through the looking glass. Father Burke tracks a vicious killer named… Norton Sinclair? And when that killer can travel through time (and space!), readers are in for a wild ride.
Why It Made the List: There was a moment in time when I thought I had a sense of where exactly Gideon Falls was going. Then this year happened and the entire scope of the series rapidly expanded in both time and space. Despite the lack of clarity, the keys to the book’s success so far have remained–the ability to build atmosphere and the downright insane art of Andrea Sorrentino and colorist Dave Stewart. When you need a book to look moody and full of dread Stewart is the exact person you call. His use of red and black within this series has been some of his best work. As this story has become more and more abstract Sorrentino’s art has expanded in its creative design and layouts. This story would not work without an artist of his ilk that can create stories within the art itself by the way he lays a page or designs his panels.
30. Once & Future
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Dan Mora
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Description: The King is Undead. Long live the King. When a group of Nationalists use an ancient artifact to bring a villain from Arthurian myth back from the dead to gain power, ex-monster hunter Bridgette McGuire escapes her retirement home and pulls her unsuspecting grandson Duncan, a museum curator, into a world of magic and mysticism to defeat a legendary threat.
Why It Made the List: When your book starts with a kick-ass grandmother who hunts monsters you are making it pretty much impossible for me not to list your book on this list. I do love how this entire series is a thinly veiled Brexit allegory yet no one seems to either mind or be aware of to a great extent. I know many people really enjoyed Die this year, but I thought this was a much tighter story and simply more fun. Ultimately you could not go wrong with either one. What worked for me more here was the dynamic of the main characters, which also allows for more of a fish out of water scenario. Learning the world along with a character a classic way to make a story more palatable, and an evil King Arthur in present-day is a concept I am here for.
29. Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame
Writer/Artist: Erin Williams
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Description: In Commute, we follow author and illustrator Erin Williams on her daily commute to and from work, punctuated by recollections of sexual encounters as well as memories of her battle with alcoholism, addiction, and recovery. As she moves through the world navigating banal, familiar, and sometimes uncomfortable interactions with the familiar-faced strangers she sees daily, Williams weaves together a riveting collection of flashbacks. Her recollections highlight the indefinable moments when lines are crossed and a woman must ask herself if the only way to avoid being objectified is to simply cease to draw any attention to her physical being. She delves into the gray space that lives between consent and assault and tenderly explores the complexity of the shame, guilt, vulnerability, and responsibility attached to both.
Why It Made the List: A comic centered on someone recounting their commute to work may sound like an avant-garde project gone wrong but that is just a loose framework to this memoir that was an enlightening read as well as a devastating one.
Erin Williams is open and honest to the point her venerability speaks to you on a deep level. An example of how art can be a powerful tool to evoke empathy. She speaks of her past and the way men have imprisoned her and women within a confined society with a twisted understanding of sexuality. Her faults are there as well as she shares the mistakes she has made as well.
And it all leads to a rather uncomfortable read but a necessary one to experience. A work that puts into perspective what privilege is and can lead to. One of those books that make you rethink the way you see the world and act within it.
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Gabriel Walta
Description: From Eisner Award-winners Jeff Lemire (Black Hammer) and Gabriel Walta (The Vision). When an attack kills the adults on a colony ship, the on-board A.I. VALERIE must help the ship’s children survive the perils of space. Can Valerie rise to the task?
Why It Made the List: TKO looked to shake up the comic world by trying something new with their distribution. Going more of a binge/order on-demand model where you can order an entire series in trade or issue form all that once. The comic industry is in desperate need of innovation but it will only work if the quality of their books are there. When you put a team together like Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta you are more than halfway there. Sentient approaches the idea of artificial intelligence and the role of motherhood in an eerily constructed but emotional educated science fiction adventure. Gabriel Walta’s art is pitch-perfect for this books tone. He has a way of drawing characters with the aura of dread around them. One where nothing seems exactly like it should.
27. Bitter Root
Writer: Chuck Brown, David F. Walker
Artist: Sandford Greene
Publisher: Image Comics
Description: Once known as the greatest monster hunters of all time, the Sangerye family specialized in curing the souls of those infected by hate. But those days are fading. A terrible tragedy has claimed most of the family, leaving the surviving cousins divided between by the desire to cure monsters or to kill them. Now, though, there’s a new breed of monster loose on the streets of Harlem, and the Sangerye family must either come together or watch the human race fall to untold evil.
Why It Made the List: I have to assume that Sanford Greene is having the time of his life with this comic. He is taking the 1920’s Harlem setting and this massive influx of mythological beings and making this comic his own. This is the type of book that should make him into a massive star. I am amazed at how this book has refused to slow down. Despite the frantic pace, it has been able to juggle a cavalcade of characters in a very short time. It is simply unlike any other comic out currently, while there are plenty of other science fiction and fantasy stories none have this mixture of place, personality, and story.
Writer/Artist: Hannah Templer
Publisher: Top Shelf
Description: Pan’s life used to be very small. Work in her dad’s body shop, sneak out with her friend Tara to go dancing, and watch the skies for freighter ships. It didn’t even matter that Tara was a princess… until one day it very much did matter, and Pan had to say goodbye forever. Years later, when a charismatic pair of off-world gladiators show up on her doorstep, she finds that life may not be as small as she thought. On the run and off the galactic grid, Pan discovers the astonishing secrets of her neo-medieval world… and the intoxicating possibility of burning it all down.
Why It Made the List: My biggest takeaway from this book was how much I adored the color palette. With so many space stories existing within a muted Earth tone world so I loved that this went the complete opposite direction. A story about literally fighting the patriarchy in space duels to show that women should be used for more than pawns in some outdated game of misogyny. It as fun, as it sounds but of course within that concept, was some well developed emotional stakes and characters that have so much room to grow so we are lucky this was only the first volume.