I’ve been doing one of these every year since 2012 on my old tumblr. It’s a new blog on a new website, but rules have stayed the same. These are my favorite books and comics that I read this year, not necessarily books that were released this year. Ongoing series that were mentioned on previous lists (and continue to kick ass) are noted at the bottom.
10. The Woods
by James Tynion IV & Michael Dialynas
I started this series a few years ago; picked it up based on the cover art alone. It’s a bit of a slow builder in the first few volumes but I liked the way they wrapped things up with Volume 9 this year. On top of all that it’s got some gorgeous artwork and some great examples of LGBT representation done right.
9. Blackfish City
by Sam J. Miller
Blackfish City is a cyberpunk influenced post-climate change dystopian narrative that follows a revolving cast of fascinating characters. It’s got some great examples of LGBT representation done right, and it offers some scathing critiques of corrupt wealth and power structures in our current society. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I couldn’t put it down.
8. Space Riders
by Fabian Rangel Jr & Alexis Ziritt
Space Riders is a brightly colored psychedelic trip into a bizarre future galaxy where we have space ships shaped like giant skulls. The artwork immediately reminded me of Jack Kirby’s New Gods, and is reason enough to pick up this series. Thankfully the story is just as tripped out as the wild colors and wacky imagery implies. The first two volumes were super fun to read.
7. The Black Tides of Heaven
by JY Yang
I read The Black Tides of Heaven and its sequel, and wrote reviews of them for Geeks OUT. I really enjoyed the world that JY Yang created, and found Akeha’s story particularly resonant. It covers some 37 years over the course of the short book and subverts all kinds of gender norms along the way. It also manages to create a vivid fantasy world while keeping each of these stories at novella length.
6. My Favorite Thing is Monsters
by Emil Ferris
I was blown away by the artwork in this one. The amount of detail that goes into each page is astounding. Set in 1960’s Chicago and told through the point of view of a young girl who sees herself as a werewolf, My Favorite Thing is Monsters gracefully deals with some incredibly heavy subject matter. I can see why this one cleaned up at the Eisner’s.
5. The Flintstones
by Mark Russell & Steve Pugh
The Flintstones is one of two books from the Hanna Barbera Beyond Universe to make my list this year. Both of them are written by Mark Russell and make use of familiar settings to make some really poignant social commentary. The two volumes of The Flintstones read like a series of interconnected short stories. There’s a great story from the perspective of the animal servants in the Flintstones household and another one that takes on religion’s archaic and contradictory stances on homosexuality.
by: Various Writers & Artists
Mine is an anthology that features a wide variety of stories around sexual identity and reproductive freedom. In an age of political polarization where the concept of body autonomy is constantly under attack, Mine helps to illustrate the history and complexities of the politics surrounding one of the most divisive issues in America and the world. It also features one Eisner nominated story and took home the Ringo Award for Best Anthology.
3. Exit Stage Left
by Mark Russell & Mike Feehan
Yet another entry by Mark Russell (this time with Mike Feehan) and the new Hanna-Barbera Beyond Universe. The Snagglepus Chronicles is a mini-series (now collected into a single volume) that re-imagines the theatrical Snagglepus cartoon as a Tennessee Williams inspired gay playwright living during the hearings of the infamous by the House UnAmerican Activities Panel. The series takes a familiar property from the 1950s and applies it to well-known stories of LGBT struggles during that same pre-civil rights era, and in doing so gives us a blunt assessment of the reality of those times.
2. City of Brass
by S.A. Chakraborty
City of Brass is the first book in a trilogy of Middle Eastern influenced fantasy. I don’t read a ton of Fantasy, but I love a good unreliable narrator and thoroughly enjoyed Nahiri as the protagonist. I also loved Dara as her natural foil. The world that S. A. Chakraborty has created here is a refreshing and different than any other I’ve read in recent memory. I’ve recommended City of Brass to a few different people, and will continue to recommend it for more. I’m looking forward to returning to Daevabad when Kingdom of Copper comes out in 2019.
by Scott Snyder, Jock & Scott Hollingsworth
My top pick for the year is Wytches. Scott Snyder, Jock, and Scott Hollingsworth’s combined efforts here bring creepy new life to some familiar concepts. The artwork is gorgeous and the story kept me engaged from page one to the end. The best horror stories are driven by character and atmosphere, and Wytches delivers on both front. Volume One works as a stand alone, but there is thankfully a new volume coming to collect its pledges in 2019.
Some of the books that just missed the cut.
Stand Still, Stay Silent
by: Minna Sundberg
by: Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera, & Dean White
by: Kieron Gillen, Kev Walker, & Various Artists
by: Greg Pak and Carlo Pagulayan
Kick-Ass Ongoing Series:
Some ongoing and recently completed series that I read new volumes of this year.
by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
by: Kyle Higgins & Various Artists
by: Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen
by: Joe Kelly & Max Fiumara