* Standouts from the year in graphic storytelling
* The best comics to head into 2019 with
* From memoirs of childhood to superheroes to… inter-species romance
Even if we’re all a little relieved to have 2018 behind us, there were some bright moments in the past year that we might have overlooked. Here are some of the best of these moments from the world of graphic novels. From Marvel superhero epics to lyrical memoirs and surrealist imaginings, these are some of the best graphic novels you might not have seen yet from 2018.
1. My Boyfriend Bear
Don’t let the title fool you, the eponymous Bear in Pamela Ribbon’s graphic novel isn’t a leather daddy or a “furry,” but, well, a literal bear. Ribby’s sly, seemingly effortless drawings go perfectly with this tale that’s at once so wholesome and yet so strange, proving once again that the graphic novel can do what no other medium can.
Skyward takes an out-of-this world premise and really soars with it, thanks to a well-crafted plot, surprisingly layered characterization and, of course Lee Garbet’s airy, nostalgic art.
Painter Alex Ross brings his unique bombast to the Marvel Universe with this elaborate and richly archival collection.
4. Bingo Love
A story of intersecting histories and rekindling love, Bingo Love has won praise far beyond the usual graphic novel fandom, from outlets including Teen Vogue and Library Journal. Tee Franklin’s tale of a queer romance spanning decades moves beyond the tropes of “coming of age,” and examines how issues of race, family, tradition, society and memory echo across generations.
5. Von Spatz
Anna Haifisch’s spellbinding nervous breakdown narrative features spare, cartoonish yet haunting visuals, and a story that any artist, or just about anyone employed or trying to be, in our age of “Generation Burnout,” will be able to relate with easily.
6. The Prince and the Dressmaker
Set in Paris sometime between the decade of Les Miserables and that of Moulin Rouge, this beautifully-written and drawn tale takes the framework of the “Cinderella” type, and gives it an elegant, transgressive twist.
7. X-Men: Grand Design
The New Yorker recently pointed out that superhero stories have taken on the role of a modern, secular mythology, so it’s perhaps fitting that these franchises are now putting out anthologies in a format like the one many of us encountered ancient mythologies in. Ed Pisker’s thoughtfully laid out, gorgeously designed volume includes a remastered version of 1963’s X-Men #1, plus decades of narrative, back story and trivia.
8. Hey Kiddo
Chosen as A National Book Award Finalist– which is still a very rare honor for graphic storytelling– the memoir Hey, Kiddo does a brilliant job evoking what it’s like to grow up surrounded by the mystery of adult’s choices, structural calamities and abandonment.
9. Saga Volume 9
Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Eisner award-winning Saga has been called a mix of Star Wars and Game of Thrones, and compared to what Hollywood blockbusters wish they were. Saga is a galaxy-spanning epic of love, parenting and resistance, set against a back drop of massive, warring societies.