Before you say it let me. This list is wrong. Let’s be honest all lists are wrong because the process is one of the most subjective things you do no matter how hard you try to remain objective. So I am sure there will be comics that I am missing, ones you think are too high, too low, or ones you believe do not belong. If you are inclined you can check out past year’s lists here:
With this list, I attempt to be as objective as possible but ultimately there is no denying this list is bias as it is based on my opinion. Feel free to disagree. I should note that although I read a lot of books I do not read everything. This year especially was a challenge to get a number of books I was hoping to read before doing this list.
To qualify for this list an ongoing series just needs to have one issue released in 2022 or for original graphic novels they must be released this year in the US as well.
My hope with this list is to encapsulate the year that was in comics and hope those that read it may find a book or two to catch up with that they would have otherwise missed. I know many if not all with disagree with this list in some way. Something is too high, too low, missing, or should never have been on here. All I can say is I am trying to be as honest as possible and represent the medium I love in the best way possible.
So feel free to comment below if something you believe deserved to be on the list did not make it.
Writer: Greg Weisman
Artist: George Kambadais
Synopsis: All-new ongoing series, in continuity with the epic GARGOYLES television classic!
One thousand years ago, superstition and the sword ruled. It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear. It was THE AGE OF GARGOYLES. Stone by day, Warriors by night, they were betrayed by the humans they had sworn to protect…frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years. Now, here in Manhattan, the spell is broken, and they live again! They are Defenders of the Night! THEY ARE GARGOYLES!
Why it Made the List: I am always hesitant the include comics on this list that have only had an issue or two. Hard to rank that against books that have had multiple arcs this year. However, considering the major point of this list is to recommend books why not include comics that are easy to get into because they just started? Like many 90’s kids, I grew up a huge fan of Gargoyles. It felt like the first adult show I ever watched even though it was a cartoon designed for children. This comic captured everything about the original cartoon.
99. The Rocketeer: The Great Race
Writer/Artist: Stephen Mooney
Colorist: Len O’Grady
Synopsis: Ace stunt pilot Cliff Secord has returned from his New York adventure to a West Coast steeped in paranoia over the looming war in Europe. Having finally had enough of his near-death scrapes as the high-flying Rocketeer, the only thing in Cliff’s crosshairs is the Great Race: a prestigious, winner-take-all air race that runs from California to France! Maybe it’s finally time to smarten up and fly straight, by taking his best girl, Betty, to Paris! But other parties want to win the race for their own nefarious ends, and Cliff will need to decide which prize is truly the most valuable.
Why it Made the List: Earlier this year I made a video regarding how we needed some more Rocketeer content. Shortly after this comic was announced. Coincidence? Very much so. (I am delusional but not that delusional) But I am happy to have it because we can never get enough Rocketeer action. Stephen Mooney clearly feels the same way about the iconic hero and put together a story fitting his legacy. Mooney both wrote and drew this and having full control gave him the ability to control this story the same way The Rocketeer’s helmet allows him to control his flight. It looked cool and it was a lot of fun.
Writer: David Kirke, Nicholas McCarthy
Artist: Benjamin Marra
Synopsis: Marin County, 1978. In this graphic novel, Clara and Wendy are two teens getting high one night alone at home. Before the night ends, they’ve disappeared – until five months later, when Clara is found, disheveled, in Death Valley National Park. From Clara’s mysterious reappearance in Death Valley, Disciples cuts to the present day, where stories of ‘The California Cult’ and its enigmatic – and never-caught – leader, Billy Joe, are as much a part of the popular culture as the Manson Family. Clara, the lone survivor of the cult, has adopted a new identity to protect her and her daughter, Wren. And she mostly does, until one night when the past and present horrifically collide. Disciples is a seamless collaboration between cartoonist Ben Marra and filmmakers David Birke and Nicholas McCarthy. Birke and McCarthy’s script celebrates and reinvents a cult film ethos. It combines the best of 1970s era eerie-thriller-terror movies in a fresh and revelatory way, similar to how Marra has continued/reinvented the work of Abel Ferrara and George Cosmatos in graphic novels like Night Business.
Why it Made the List: This is not the type of story that will make you feel better about the world. Knowing Nicholas McCarthy, who cowrites, is coming from the world of film the execution of this story does make a good deal of sense because I could see how this would fit even better on film.
Still, what you have is this chilling tale of a person who escaped hell and never really left. Feels very inspired by true life events akin to the cult surrounding figures like Charles Manson. Although this ends quite differently than the recent Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
It pushes the boundaries of violence and sexuality at times to an almost uncomfortable degree so if you are at all squeamish skip this one. If that is your thing dive right in.
97. Bloodshot: Unleashed
Writer: Deniz Camp
Artist: Jon Davis-Hunt
Synopsis: Dangerous super soldiers and bloodthirsty living weapons have mysteriously escaped into the world to wreak havoc across the dying towns and forgotten farms of America. Now, Bloodshot must take up arms again to travel across the country hunting down these violent monsters, battling his own demons, and defending the most defenseless. Deniz Camp (Agent of W.O.R.L.D.E.) and Jon Davis-Hunt (SHADOWMAN) join forces to unleash Valiant Entertainment’s first Mature Readers title that puts the BLOOD in BLOODSHOT.
Why it Made the List: 2022 was not a banner year for Valiant comics. Series were cut short and they are now down to only one comic a month. Sad considering the number of great comics they have put out since their rebirth. Who knows what the future holds for the publisher but Bloodshot Unleashed is an example of why the world of comics is better with Valiant characters. As a story, Bloodshot Unleashed is not rocket science and keeps true the character. Tons of violence with an artist like Jon Davis-Hunt who can make that chaos look glorious. I just hope the lackluster movie did not turn off to many to the character, because as we see with this series he is capable of yielding good stories with the right talent.
96. Rooster Fighter
Writer/Artist: Shu Sakuratani
Publisher: VIZ Media
Synopsis: Giant demonic monsters wreak havoc and level Japanese cities! While the citizens flee in terror, it’s up to one brave rooster to stand his ground!
In a world where terrifying monsters walk the earth, one heroic rooster is destined for greatness. If anyone or anything threatens his territory, he’s going to show them who’s boss!
The neighborhood cock of the walk is more than just an ordinary rooster—he’s humanity’s greatest defender! His opponents may be ten stories tall, but nothing is bigger than his stout heart and his fearsome, earth-shattering cry—cock-a-doodle-do!
Why it Made the List: One of the most popular things in the comic book community is those Vs battles. Where people ask the extremely important question, “Who would win in a fight”. Personally, I could not care less about those debates, but one of the biggest reasons I enjoyed Rooster Fighter so much is because it shows the silliness of those arguments by making its mighty warrior an actual Rooster. It’s never in on the joke either and plays it extremely straight, which makes it that much more enjoyable. It is also gorgeous. It’s like having Roger Deakins as the cinematographer of a Naked Gun film. Everything may be silly but the artistry is as good as ever.
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Artist: Marco Finnegan
Synopsis: OO7 is back in action! After a high-stakes rescue mission is mysteriously, violently sabotaged, Bond’s future at MI6 hangs in the balance. As he awaits his fate, James Bond is urgently contacted by an old flame and mentor: Gwendolyn Gann, formerly Agent OO3, who warns Bond of an existential threat to England and the global balance of power. But before they can meet, OO3 turns up dead, sending Bond on the most personal mission of his career: find Gwendolyn Gann’s killers, and expose the shadowy organization known only as “Myrmidon.”
Why it Made the List: One of the best-kept secrets in all of comics is how consistently good the James Bond comics have been for Dynamite Entertainment. Almost every year one of their mini-series ends up on my end-of-year list. James Bond fans know the franchise has its staples but it can come in many different flavors. The same can be said with the comics. If you are a person who has enjoyed the Daniel Craig era of Bond I definitely think this installment will work for you as well. It feels very classic Bond with the right touch of modern style.
94. Parker Girls
Writer/Artist: Terry Moore
Publisher: Abstract Studio
Synopsis: When Annie Graham’s lifeless body washes up Venice beach, the nation mourns the loss of a popular actress. Police suspect her death was no accident but Graham’s husband-billionaire Zachary Lot-has the best lawyers money can buy and the investigation stalls. That’s when Tambi Baker decides to take matters into her own hands and enlist three of her finest Parker Girl operatives to bring the Lot Empire down, one shocking scandal at a time.
Why it Made the List: The world takes Terry Moore for granted. Since the 90’s he has been putting out some of the best indie comics, and he is still on top of his game to this day. (Also he’s one of the nicest creators you can meet at Comic Cons) He has created this massive universe of characters with series like Strangers in Paradise, Motor Girl, Five Years, and now Parker Girls which cover so many great characters and even genres. I am not sure if the narrative of Parker Girls will make sense for people new to his universe, but even if you don’t understand what is going on the pages are beautiful to look at. If you are an artist and want to learn how to draw women study Terry Moore’s art. Similar to his other stories Parker Girls is not restricted by genre. It’s like Moore looks at the entire landscape of storytelling as his avenue to move these characters along, and because there are no restrictions you never fully know what will be next.
93. Box of Light
Writer/Artist: Seiko Erisawa
Publisher: SEVEN SEAS ENTERTAINMENT
Synopsis: The spooky tale of a haunted convenience store. A quiet convenience store at the crossroads between life and death. Its faint glow in the darkness draws in transient souls, pulling them closer to the final purchase they’ll ever make. Prepare for shadowy creatures, strange employees, and an air of dread in this delightfully creepy supernatural tale. This beloved self-contained tale was awarded a top spot in both the Kono Manga wo Yome! and Kono Manga ga Sugoi! rankings in Japan.
Why it Made the List: The best way I could explain Box of Light is to imagine if David Lynch was to direct the Clerks animated series. Instead of a Convenience store in New Jersey, it exists between the place between life and death. So your normal part-time job nowadays. Even though this story is dealing with actual life and death the stakes are not massively high and I appreciated that. Part of it was dealing with an annoying boss, but this boss was maybe processed by an evil energy spirit. Again, some may say that is the norm in our reality too depending on their work history. A really strong cast of characters that has me extremely excited for the new volume that is due out in March.
Writer: Daniel Freedman
Artist: Robert Sammelin
Publisher: Dark Horse
Synopsis: From Daniel Freedman (Raiders) and Mondo and DICE artist Robert Sammelin comes an original graphic novel that’s a nonstop, high-octane existential action spectacle that perfect for Mad Max: Fury Road fans.
Stabbed in the back, poisoned, and left for dead by her own biker gang; Kali sets off on a one-way road of vengeance across a war-torn desert battlefield. With impending death coursing through her veins and a fascist army hot on her tail, Kali will stop at nothing to get her revenge, even if it’s the last thing she ever does.
Why it Made the List: Kali is like Mad Max meets that classic Jason Statham vehicle Crank. It is a race against time as the main character is attempting to enact revenge inside this post-apologetic wasteland. To complicate matters she ends up getting poinsed in the process. Does she try to save herself or kill those that wronged her? What makes it work though is the art of Robert Sammelin. If you ever wonder what a cinematic experience felt like while reading a comic then you should check this out. Great use of the medium with massive panels and constant use of the wide lens. One of my favorite sequences includes multiple full-page splash pages that show the steady progression of a battle sequence. I usually do not think there is a difference if you read a comic in the physical or digital format, but with its oversized design, this is a comic you want to hold in your hands.
Writer/Artist: Asuka Miyazaki
Publisher: Seven Seas
Synopsis: At 33 years old, Asuka Miyazaki realizes that they like women! Asuka, however, is neither a woman nor a man–instead, they’re X-gender, which is a non-binary identity. Follow Asuka through the pages of this autobiographical manga as they record the ins and outs of their journey to finding love with a woman.
Why it Made the List: One of the best things about comics is seeing the world from another point of view in a way no other medium can. Not only do you get the intimacy of a creator’s own words but also a visual representation of how they see the world. In this graphic memoir, Asuka Miyakzki recounts their journey to discover who they are and the challenges that were presented along the way. As someone who loves graphic memoirs, one defining aspect determining how engaging they can be is how honest the creator is with the material. If it seems like you are being kept at a distance emotionally it is harder to get invested. Not an issue here as Miyakzi is an open book as their struggles and confusion regarding how to function in society are never shied away from.
As a comic creator, Miyakzki is entertaining and engaging with the way they see the world. Matching honesty with self-deprecating humor is a good receipt for eliciting laughs. Their art style is animated with characters that have these overside heads so emotion is vivid and clear.
90. One Beautiful Spring Day
Writer/Artist: Jim Woodring
Synopsis: Jim Woodring has been chronicling the adventures of his cartoon Everyman, Frank, for almost 30 years. These stories are a singular rarity in the comics form — both bone-chillingly physical in their depictions of Frank’s travails and profoundly metaphysical at the same time. Not since George Herriman’s Krazy Kat has the comics language been so exquisitely distilled into pure, revelatory aesthetic expression.
Designed as a luxe paperback with vellum jacket, One Beautiful Spring Day combines three previously published volumes —Congress of the Animals, where Frank embarked upon a life-changing voyage of discovery, Fran, where he learned, then forgot, that things are not always what they seem, and Poochytown in which Frank demonstrated his dizzying capacity for both nobility and ignominy — along with 100 dazzling new pages conceived and drawn by the author. The result is a seamless, 400 page graphic narrative that forges a new and even more poignantly realized single story that takes readers deep into the hidden meanings of the previous stories and offers the most full, complete, astonishing exposition of Frank and his supercharged world to date.
Why it Made the List: Wordless comics may not be for everyone, and not all artists can make it work. This was my first time reading any of Jim Woodring’s work, and I was transfixed by his world. Did I understand every major detail that was trying to be told? Probably not, but part of the book is letting go of those preconceived notions of storytelling. You don’t need to know everything or pick up every reference. Just sit back and appreciate the imagination, and let it fall over you. It will be worth it. I promise you.
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist: Germán García
Publisher: Boom Studios
Synopsis: What if Sleeping Beauty never got her happily ever after… and instead had to save herself?
Set in a brutal fantasy world that time forgot, this isn’t the fairy tale you know!
Eisner Award-nominated writer, producer, and director Christopher Cantwell (Iron Man, The United States of Captain America, Halt and Catch Fire) and rising artist Germán Garcia (Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Land) reimagine the classic tale as an epic dark fantasy adventure.
Why it Made the List: There is a lot about this book that intrigues me. For one I am typically not the biggest fan of the, “let’s do our spin on a classic fairy tale” because those stories are often all concepts with a little story. Being a fan of Christopher Cantwell’s work though I had to give this a shot and I am glad I did.
People often confuse tone with sophistication. Something being darker does not mean it is more sophisticated. For Briar that is the case in how it completely reshapes the Sleeping Beauty legend. Showcasing how women are often just treated as means to an end in those stories, and flipping that on its head.
This was the first time I experienced the art of Germán García and I have been impressed with each issue. The world of Briar is lush with violence and dread.
88. Keeping Two
Writer/Artist: Jordan Crane
Synopsis: A young couple is stuck in traffic, reading a book aloud to each other to pass the time. The relationship is already strained, but between the encroaching road rage, and a novel that hits way too close to home, tensions are running especially high by the time they arrive back at their apartment. When one of them leaves to get takeout and a movie, each of the young lovers is individually forced to confront loss, grief, fear, and insecurities in unexpected and shocking ways.
Crane’s formal use of the comics medium — threading several timelines and the interior and exterior lives of its protagonists together to create an increasing, almost Hitchcockian sense of dread and paranoia — is masterful. But as the title hints, there are dualities at its core that make it one of the most exciting works of graphic literary fiction in recent memory, a brilliant adult drama that showcases a deep empathy and compassion for its characters as well as a visually arresting showcase of Crane’s considerable talents. Keeping Two is ostensibly a story about loss, but by the end, it just might also be about finding something along the way — something that had seemed irredeemable up to that point. In that way, it’s also a deeply romantic book.
Cartoonist Jordan Crane has been one of the most quietly influential comics-makers of the past quarter-century – in multiple senses of the word: as a cartoonist, a designer, an editor, a publisher, a printmaker, an advocate, an archivist, and more. But Keeping Two is his biggest project in close to two decades and will be one of the most anticipated graphic novels of 2022.
Why it Made the List: This is defiantly one of the more unique reading experiences of the year. The narrative is made up of two separate stories, one about a couple going through a challenging time and the other is a story within the story as we see this same couple experiencing the same novel together. Although I do not know if the text makes that perfectly clear.
Part of the confusion was due to how the timeline was constructed as this is not a storyline done in a linear fashion. We start at the end of an argument that occurred while stuck in traffic and slowly learn where this tension is coming from.
That description may make it seem like this is a relationship drama and it is…but also not really. It is an exercise in paranoia and dread as the anxiety from everyday life is built up because of one simple fact–the unknown. An effective look at how our minds can be our own worst enemies at times causing us to imagine the worst things possible just because someone isn’t picking up their phone or not arriving when we thought.
In a way having a narrative that made you pay close attention to the details brought you in to experience this exercise in paranoia. The choice of this heavy green color palette is one I am still wrestling with because it did give the book a distinct look but it also came close to being bland.
87. Crazy Food Truck
Writer/Artist: Rokurou Ogaki
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Synopsis: Zero customers, a naked young lady, and an armed militia—it’s just another postapocalyptic day for this food truck owner!
The owner of a food truck in a postapocalyptic world nearly runs over a naked girl sleeping in the middle of the desert. When he gives her a lift, he inadvertently takes on her baggage too—an armed militia hot on her trail…and her even more problematic appetite. If one doesn’t take him out, the other surely will!
Why it Made the List: Have you ever been standing in an endlessly long food truck line and wondered, “I’ll be here until the world ends” I wonder if that is what inspired the new Manga series Crazy Food Truck.
Reading through the first volume we appear to be in a Mad Max esc dystopian future but it doesn’t mean people should go hungry. Gordon runs his food truck with love and care as awaits customers that seemingly will never come. When he does finally run into someone he nearly runs them over as a young girl rests in a sleeping bag in the middle of the road.
They strike up an unlikely partnership as she may hold secrets other powerful people want for themselves. As a story, Crazy Food Truck is breezy and fun. It is an absurd concept and it leans into it, and also has some fantastic scenes of cooking that make a snack by your side a must while reading.
86. Animal Stories
Writer/Artist: Peter Hoey, Maria Hoey
Publisher: Top Shelf
Synopsis: What separates us from animals? What connects us? Award-winning cartoonists Peter and Maria Hoey probe these mysteries across six surreal and interconnected stories. After tremendous acclaim for their series Coin-Op Comics, two brilliant creators present their first graphic novel: a menagerie of wild tales. Pushing the boundaries of their dazzling and unique narrative style, Animal Stories weaves together six short stories exploring the mysterious relationships between humans and other animals. Drawing inspiration from Aesop’s Fables, film noir, and the Old Testament, Peter and Maria Hoey apply their singular and sophisticated visual storytelling to create a new set of modern animal tales for modern times.
Why it Made the List: As a kid always loved Aesop’s Fables as they were these great stories with fascinating endings that taught an important morale but never in a sappy way like most kid’s programs or family sitcoms. I am looking at you Full House. So seeing that Animal Stories was inspired by similar tales I got excited.
What becomes apparent quickly is that despite that inspiration this is not meant for children, not that it is crass rather the sense of humor and style is definitely more geared towards adults. Honestly, with how bizarre it gets at times, there may be some adults who don’t mesh with it as well. If you are the type of person that loves the weird and surreal you should jive with this. Humans and animals have quite a unique relationship and that has never better been expressed than with this collection of short stories.
85. But I Live: Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust
Creators: Miriam Libicki, Gilad Seliktar, Charlotte Schallie, Barbara Yelin, David Schaffer, Nico Kamp, Rolf Kamp, Emmie Arbel
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Synopsis: An intimate co-creation of three graphic novelists and four Holocaust survivors, But I Live consists of three illustrated stories based on the experiences of each survivor during and after the Holocaust.
David Schaffer and his family survived in Romania due to their refusal to obey Nazi collaborators. In the Netherlands, brothers Nico and Rolf Kamp were separated from their parents and hidden by the Dutch resistance in thirteen different places. Through the story of Emmie Arbel, a child survivor of the Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps, we see the lifelong trauma inflicted by the Holocaust.
To complement these hauntingly beautiful and unforgettable visual stories, But I Live includes historical essays, an illustrated postscript from the artists, and personal words from each of the survivors.
Why it Made the List: It is sad to label a book like But I Live: Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust timely, but considering the rise of Anti-Semtistm including hateful remarks from high-profile celebrities teaching people what this line of thinking can lead to is more important than ever.
This is not new for the medium of comics as master works like Maus have been used to teach many the horrors of the Holocaust so But I Live looks to continue that legacy. Made up of three stories as well as historical illustrations there is a lot to absorb in this one piece of work. Fittingly each story gets its own specific art style, which was the right choice to allow the art to speak specifically to each situation.
Humans are capable of some awful things as But I Live demonstrates, but also the will to survive and resist is just as if not stronger. It has to be in order to ensure stories like this are told, and why it is as important as ever to listen.
Writer/Artist: Osamu Tezuka
Synopsis: Thematically rich yet instinctively relatable, Bomba! deftly weaves an exploration of the complex nature of friendship and the lasting psychological ravages of war into its tale of love, jealousy, revenge, and redemption.
Why it Made the List: Reading a Manga like Osamu Tezuka’s Bomba! is like opening a time capsule. This was written over forty years ago but we are now getting to read it in English for the first time. Tezuka is a legend in the manga industry being the mind behind Astro Boy so getting to experience any work by him is a treat, especially one that was written so long ago. Based on my limited knowledge of Astro Boy this was nothing like I was expecting. To be honest I am not sure who could expect this story.
One where a dream of a white horse comes alive to kill those who wrong a young boy. Is the boy innocent of these crimes or are they fulfillment of his true wishes? That answer becomes very clear by the end. You could see how a story like this would influence a fan-favorite story like Death Note as their concepts have a multitude of parallels. So if you are a person who likes to dissect the influences of famous works this is worth a read.
83. Alfred HITCHCOCK: Master of Suspense
Writer: Noël Simsolo
Artist: Dominique Hé
Publisher: NBM Publishing
Synopsis: “Psycho” traumatized viewers around the world. Never before had the angst or the suspense been so well presented in cinema. But where does the talent of this Alfred Hitchcock come from, the one nicknamed the “Master of Suspense”? To find out, we must first go back to his youth, in England, during the first half of the 20th century. Having grown up in a Catholic family – a religious originality that will be felt in a large part of his cinema – “Hitch” is an atypical Englishman who, very early on, has a taste for telling chilling stories. The temptation to work for the cinema will not be long in coming, first as a graphic designer where his visual talent will lead him to make his debut behind the camera, as an assistant and then as a full director. It is also here that he will meet Alma Reville, his assistant and wife who will accompany him throughout his storied career, including the jump to the big time in Hollywood.
Why it Made the List: There has to be a lot of pressure in telling the story of one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th century. This kept it simple by looking at who the man was behind all the myths. The structure is pretty straightforward as much of The story is framed by a conversation Hitchcock was having with legendary actor Cary Grant about his life and what brought him into the movie business.
Starting with his early childhood memories with plenty of focus on his relationship with his mother. Fitting considering his career.
Writer/Artist: Salvador Sanz
Publisher: Red 5
Synopsis: A gigantic creature has been awaken from its eternal sleep in Antarctica. The destructive monster, only known as “The Salamander”, has started a journey of chaos and destruction. The only thing that could stop this menace is another sleeping giant; a creature from under the ocean known as “Mega”.
Why it Made the List: You know what we can never get enough of? Kaiju stories. Something about giant monsters fighting in cities does not get old for me. Mega by Salvador Sanz does not try to rewrite the rules of the genre, but rather just plays in them really well.
That is mostly due to the art that uses spacious panels and a muted color palette to give this world a pristine look. The monster designs were a bit bland and how to distinguish between each other. However, Sanz used shadows quite well to make these massive creators feel eerie beyond just being massive beasts.
Most importantly the human characters didn’t ruin the entire experience! That happens so often with stories like this, but I liked how they did not force them into the actual action. Their connection to the events had more of a supernatural angle to help distinguish it from other classic tales.
81. A Righteous Thirst For Vengeance
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: André Lima Araújo
Publisher: Image Comics
Synopsis: When an unassuming man stumbles upon a dark-web contract assassin’s vicious plot to kill an innocent target, he turns himself into one.The Professional meets Road to Perdition in this story of a family’s unlikely guardian being hunted by rich and powerful men who are used to getting away with everything.
Sonny and Xavier’s life continues to be shattered by violence. They find friends in unlikely places, but there is no hiding from those who want them dead. What hope does a normal man have when going up against the will of the rich and powerful?
Why it Made the List: Rick Remender is one of my all-time favorite comic book creators. (This will not be the only book of his on this list) Yet if I did not know he wrote this book going in I would never have guessed. When I think Remender I think of great dialog and everything has a bit of an edge. A Righteous Thirst For Vengeance has a bit of an edge but very little actual dialog. A lot was put on the shoulders André Lima Araújo and he succeeded. Pure comic book storytelling in its best form. Everything flows so well from panel to panel with ease. It is the type of comic to give someone who never read a comic before because Araújo takes care of the audience always pointing you in the right direction.
80. Cat Gamer
Writer/Artist: Wataru Nadatani
Translator: Zack Davisson
Publisher: Dark Horse Manga
Synopsis: Riko, a twenty-nine-year-old office worker with an obsession for video games, finds her quiet life upended when she takes in a stray cat!
Her coworkers can’t quite figure her out—she never talks about her personal life, she never works overtime, and she never joins them for happy hour. Is she antisocial? Nope, she’s rushing home to play video games! One day, a stray cat is found in the office parking lot, and before Riko knows it, the cat has moved in with her! Having no experience with pets, Riko uses lessons drawn from video games to guide her in cat care, while her cute companion tries to understand her behavior through a cat’s worldview.
Why it Made the List: Cat + Gamer may seem like a title created by an AI system that searched for popular social media trends but it’s quite an enjoyable read. Riko is a hard worker but a bit of a social outcast at work because instead of hanging out with her coworkers she heads straight home to do her favorite thing–play video games. The regular world was basically just created to provide her an opportunity to experience the RPG realms she prefers.
This changes a bit when based solely on impulse she agrees to take a young stray kitten home. Having little experience taking care of anything besides herself there are some trials and tribulations to start but she finds her grove when she uses the same problem-solving techniques she mastered for video games on her cat.
Now every gain is an accomplishment and an opportunity to level up her cat and their relationship. As someone who enjoys pure human stories, this was a pleasant read. So far the stakes here aren’t huge and that’s okay, nor does the story try to vilify Riko for her way of life. If anything you’ll begin to envy how at peace she is with her everything. To top everything off we even get to see life from the perspective of the cat from time to time. So if the title Cat + Gamer sounds like something you would enjoy I promise you will.
79. Suzanne: The Jazz Age Goddess of Tennis
Writer/Artist: Tom Humberstone
Publisher: Avery Hill Publishing
Synopsis: One of the greatest tennis players the world has ever seen was a woman few even remember. A championship player by the age of fifteen in a Europe overshadowed by impending war, Suzanne Lenglen broke records for ticket sales and match winning streaks, scandalised and entranced the public with her playing outfits, and became a pioneer, making friends and enemies throughout restrictive tennis society in the trailblazing jazz age.
With stunning art and an astute eye, ‘Suzanne’ explores how a figure both enormously influential and too-often overlooked battled her father’s ambition, bias in sporting journalism, and her own divisive personality, to forge a new path — and to change sport forever.
Why it Made the List: I know very little about tennis and nearly everything I do know is about more recent tennis stars. It is easy to forget how popular of a sport it has been for such a long time. This dives into one of the first major sports stars of the twentieth century. Do you know what I also learned from this? Comics are a great way to display the beauty of the game of tennis. With the unique use of panels and page designs, each match is played out in epic fashion. It is easy to follow the action from each serve and backhand. So much movement is displayed within a limited frame.
78. Immortal X-Men
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Michele Bandini, Lucas Werneck, Mark Brooks
Synopsis: The Quiet Council are the rulers of the Krakoan age, for better or worse. But now, shaken by INFERNO, they strive to hold their nation together—no matter how much they want to tear each other apart! And IMMORTAL X-MEN brings you inside the room where it all happens! As Magneto leaves the Council, his big shoes need to be filled. Selene demonstrating her foot size by crushing the whole island beneath it is unorthodox yet compelling. Can the Quiet Council resist? Meanwhile, the resurrected mutant seer called Destiny wrote her books of prophecy over one hundred years ago—and a sequel is long overdue! As the Council’s machinations grow desperate and Emma Frost prepares another Hellfire Gala, sinister secrets are laid bare—but some secrets are more sinister than others!
Why it Made the List: I have jumped in and out of the X-Men world these last few years. Loved this new era when it first started but some of the crossovers became too much for me at times. Immortal X-Men brought me back because I wanted to see what Kieron Gillen could do with this X-Men universe, and he along with an impressive group of artists did not disappoint. This had drama with a capital D with everyone trying to outsmart and outlast everyone else. Especially loved the direction they took the character of Sinister and the creepy plans he had brewing. If you are like me and dropped off the X-Men world this provides a chance to jump back onto the island.
77. The Greatest Thing
Writer/Artist: Sarah Winifred Searle
Publisher: First Second
Synopsis: It’s the first day of sophomore year, and now that Winifred’s two best (and only) friends have transferred to a private school, she must navigate high school on her own.
But she isn’t alone for long. In art class, she meets two offbeat students, Oscar and April. The three bond through clandestine sleepovers, thrift store shopping, and zine publishing. Winifred is finally breaking out of her shell, but there’s one secret she can’t bear to admit to April and Oscar, or even to herself—and this lie is threatening to destroy her newfound friendships.
With breathtaking art and honest storytelling, rising star Sarah Winifred Searle delivers a heartfelt story about love, friendship, and self-acceptance.
Why it Made the List: This book brought me back to the days of high school and how it is a time in your life when it seems impossible to be happy with the person you are. Sometimes the best thing you can do is find kindred spirits that feel the same way and that is exactly what this story explores. Shame can cause a lot of harm and seem impossible to overcome, and if you ever felt that way this gives you something to relate towards. There is also something about seeing friendships form and grow that gives you hope.
This is a type of YA comic any kid in middle school would benefit from reading. While everyone’s issues are different there is a universal aspect to this storytelling that can make you feel seen as a person.
76. Golden Boy: Beethoven’s Youth
Writer/Artist: Mikaël Ross
Translator: Nika Knight
Synopsis: Master cartoonist Mikael Ross (The Thud) tells the story of Beethoven from 1778 to his first major public appearance in Vienna in 1795. It begins when the family is living a difficult life in Bonn. Father Johann battles with alcoholism and is deep in debt. Only young Ludwig and his talent at the piano offer any hope for the future — if only he would stop composing his own pieces and just play what’s expected of him.
Author Ross was asked to do a small comic for the Beethoven Society. Through this opportunity, he discovered the diaries of the baker’s son that lived downstairs from Beethoven’s family, the content of which inspired Golden Boy. As in his previous book, The Thud, Ross skillfully mixes humor with empathy and pure social drama, crafting a coming-of-age story that transcends its biographical subject matter. His colorful, expressive style and mastery of the language of comics are perfectly suited to the tall task of capturing Beethoven’s timeless music visually.
Why it Made the List: Want to read a story that humanizes Beethoven in a very effective way? This is it. Mikaël Ross’s has a bit of a cartoony art style and you might not think it would work with material like this but it does. What really surprised me with this read was the sense of humor. A lot of that came from the relationship between Beethoven and his brothers. It almost had Peanuts vibes with the way people would pick on him and how we would express his frustration and anger. I waited for him to shout, “Good grief”.
That humor turns though and things do get more serious as Beethoven’s relationship with his father becomes more and more hostile. So much gets put on his shoulders at such an early age. This told the story of Beethoven the person, not just Beethoven the legend.