My favorite OGNs and TPBs that came out in 2017. Capsule reviews, art samples, good gifts, good grief.
by Kristen Gudsnuk
Dark Horse Comics
Work sucks, especially when your boss is evil. Like, truly evil. Empire Records meets Mystery Men. The characters are funny and weird and relatable, the story goes from wistful to epic and back again, beautifully constructed, overstuffed with gags. A good time book.
by Andi Watson
Dark Horse Comics
Sweet and silly stories about a girl who leads a low key fairytale life. Ghosts in the teapot, a house that won’t stay put, abductions, and relatives who turn out to be a lot more than bargained for. A mega twee and ultra charming all-ages zine feeling sundry.
Motor Crush vol. 1
by Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, Heather Danforth, Aditya Bidikar, and Tom Muller
Murphy’s Law is a girl on a motorbike. She needs a drug that was designed to make cars go faster to survive, leads a double life to get it. The coolest book on the shelves, a hint of manga, a ton of (beautifully planned) action, some serious gear head tendencies. This book is fun, heartfelt, and has unexpected twists you won’t find elsewhere.
Shade: The Changing Girl vol. 1
by Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Sadia Temofonte
DC’s Young Animal
If Jim Henson did Virgin Suicides. Alien possession wakes up a girl in a coma- the worst sadist the suburbs has ever seen. Problem is, the alien has no idea about the past, the drama, or how Earth works at all outside of what she’s seen on TV. The struggle to find identity when the body you always dreamed of turns out to be unrecognizable to you.
Mother Panic vol. 1
by Jody Houser, Tommy Lee Edwards, Shawn Crystal, Jean-Francoise Beaulieu, and John Workman
DC’s Young Animal
Imagine a wealthy heiress whose family is struck by tragedy. She goes into training as a child to become a living weapon. She stalks the streets of Gotham City in cape and cowl. But it wasn’t criminals who did daddy in. It wasn’t her choice to become a warrior of the night. She doesn’t want to save the city. She wants revenge. A vision in white. Suffers no fools. Family, power, and anger.
by Aline Brosh McKenna, Ramón Pérez, Irma Kniivila, Deron Bennett, and Charlotte Brontë
A marvelously crafted love letter to the life of the working artist and the relatable side of the romance genre. The characters feel real despite soap opera circumstance. The way the book is put together shows a deep understanding of how to tell a graphic tale. Surprisingly fantastic, unless you know McKenna, and then it’s the top shelf quality you’d expect.
by Declan Shalvey, Philip Barrett, Jordie Bellaire, and Clayton Cowles
Oh boy. Jim Thompson grit meets Snatch plot weaving in this small town crime yarn. A boss too low on the totem pole to make a difference uses a variety of calamities to shake up his seedy little world. Set in Ireland a few years back and has it got the craic. This is practically a Palomar story but with 500% more trainers and tracksuits. Flavor, spirit, and some hairpin turns that are sure to leave you gobsmacked.
by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët
NBM Graphic Novels
Journey to the center of the Earth to rescue a lost sibling uncovers a Hell populated with an alternative branch of evolution. Rendered with the sweet sensibilities of a storybook, the Moomin look gives way to Sam Shepard character duplicity and an underworld that resembles psychedelic Swamp Thing pages more than it does Dante. Subtle, challenging, lush, bizarre, not to be missed.
Cloudia & Rex
by Ulises Fariñas, Erick Freitas, and Daniel Irizarri
Buño/Lion Forge Comics
A book Neil Gaiman wishes he could write. Some serious Pratchett vibes, too. Monotheism is coming for all the other gods, so Death and Dream organize an escape party. Unfortunately for them, they skip out on the overworld to become trapped in the bodies (and cell phone) of two school-aged young ladies on a road trip with their mom. Epic powers and a damn good fresh take on time travel are both a big draw for this book, as is the beautiful artwork and magnificent coloring. What is this book really about? The value of life and the time you’ve got.
The Smell of Starving Boys
by Loo Hui Phang and Frederik Peeters
A lusciously drawn Western period piece where nothing is as it seems. A spirit photographer on the run, a mad entrepreneur, a child with remarkable skills, a bounty hunter more shade than man, a First Nation shaman, forbidden passion, dark magic, unpredictable consequences. This book is simply mind-bending. Stands on a plateau above its peers. Easily the best thing I’ve read this year. You might think you know books like this but you don’t, as there are none.