Just when you thought it was safe to tackle that stack of reading material by your bedside table, along comes another year promising great books ahead. To help mark your calendar and budget your paycheck, here are a few must-read selections from 2016’s already stuffed schedule of comics and graphic novels.
Patience by Daniel Clowes (Fantagraphics, March): Daniel Clowes and publisher Fantagraphics; for most comics fans, I can probably stop there. Just in case: Daniel Clowes is the every-award-winning artist of Ghost World, Wilson, and Eightball, among many other lauded works. Fantagraphics is one of the best comics publishers on the planet [Seattle bias showing!--ed.]. Together, they will produce 180 pages of full-color psychedelic, literary, science fiction suspense. Expect to see this everywhere comics are read.
Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Bosh (Touchstone, October): The webcomic artist’s first collection, Hyperbole and a Half, was so funny that it landed on many Best-of lists in 2013 (including our own), as well as the New York Times bestseller list (and “Parp!” became a part of my family’s vernacular). Her latest collection comes with googly-eyed expectations.
Fight Club 2 by Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart (Dark Horse, May): You can quote the movie, admit it! Original author Chuck Palahniuk returns to Tyler Durden in a sequel that is exclusive to the comics medium. Am I already breaking the first and second rules of Fight Club? Don’t care—I cannot wait for this one.
Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic (Marvel, March): In superhero comics, everything old is always new again. Case in point: Secret Wars (not to be confused with Marvel’s Secret Wars from 1984). The good news is that this event springs from the mind of Jonathan Hickman, whose epic plotlines are known for equally grand payoffs, and it is illustrated by Esad Ribic, whose musclebound artwork recalls Frazetta. The bad news? Worlds will collide, characters will be blown to smithereens, and nothing will ever be the same again, of course. From here, Marvel enters a new era of storytelling, so it’s a must.
Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette (DC, April): Did you cheer when Wonder Woman appeared in the Superman vs Batman trailer? Then this one’s for you: Wonder Woman is introduced in a brand-new comics universe, perfectly timed for her big-screen debut, and penned by super-genius Grant Morrison and illustrated with Yanick Paquette’s evocative style.
Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang (Image, April): It’s 1988, and four young newspaper delivery girls thought their biggest obstacle would be bullies—then everyone disappears, leaving mysterious strangers wandering the suburbs. But who are they, and where (or when) are they from? Eisner Award-winning writer Vaughan (Saga) and the inimitable Chiang (Wonder Woman) form one of the most anticipated creative team-ups of 2016.
Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus by Chester Brown (Drawn & Quarterly, April): And you thought Brown’s previous graphic novel, Paying for It, was controversial. Here, he continues his comics exploration of prostitution by exploring nine stories in the Bible, weaving his own thread through them. Conventional interpretations will be challenged, and plenty of debate is sure to follow.
This is but a fraction of what lies ahead for comics readers in 2016! And don’t forget there’s plenty of 2015 titles left to read--our Best of 2015 list is a great place to look for anything you may have missed.