It’s that time of year when sitting down and reading a book feels like a luxury. I haven’t had as much time for reading as usual, but these four comics below made me stop in my tracks and keep reading. They’re engrossing, engaging, and downright entertaining—the perfect antidote to an overly busy autumn. —Alison Walker
Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal
In Woman World, Aminder Dhaliwal imagines a quiet apocalypse. The reader is lulled into a world of bold and simple lines, of stark black-and-white against pastels. In the world of Woman World, men have slowly died out and the generations that knew of men firsthand are dying as well. This is a society where women are refocused at the center of life and the comic is at its absolute best when it delves into the personal, intimate lives of these women, truly living to their fullest at the end of days. Surprisingly, this comic is full of happiness and humor, of intimate moments and quiet reverence. It’s deeply philosophical, but at the same time eminently enjoyable throughout.
Check, Please!: # Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu
Ngozi Ukazu’s comic is impossible to read without secretly smiling to yourself. In Check Please!, Eric Bittle is a gay, figure-skating, vlogging, amateur-baking dynamo who is recruited to play hockey at Samwell University. Eric’s razor-sharp wit and his affinity for baking delectable desserts wins over even the most annoying of hockey bros in this coming-of-age story. Ukazu has done something really special with this comic—in it, she’s created a character who is bright, funny, and silly but who also feels incredibly real and honest. It’s the type of story that you can’t help but love and recommend to everyone around you.
My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
This comic is as addictive as its subject matter. From the hazy pastels to its introspective protagonist, Ellie, this graphic novel will have you hooked. Ellie is a disillusioned teenager stuck in an upscale rehab clinic. She doesn’t want to get clean—Ellie is in love with her own self destruction and the generations of junkie artists who have come before her. And somehow, in the middle of all this honestly and grit, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies is also a love story that is engaging and real. Ellie is brave, flawed, and irresistible as a character in large part due to Phillips’ deftly-maneuvered pen and soft-focused coloring. (October 16)
Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts by Anthony Bourdain & Joel Rose
It’s hard to read this horror anthology without reflecting on Bourdain’s recent passing. His legacy, insofar as this collection puts forth, is that culture and food are inexorably tied together. This comic seems a fitting last meal for Bourdain fans—it’s a collection of traditional Japanese ghost stories, each interpreted by a different artist, and paired with recipes prepared by Bourdain. The stories are never meant to be served alone, but should be read in tandem recipes. By the collection’s end, there is a deep conversation between Bourdain, the artists, and the folktales that inspired this collection. (October 2)
Alison Walker is the comics curator at Amazon Books—Amazon’s chain of brick-and-mortar bookstores.
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