We asked Rioters what comics they read and loved at the end of 2018 and they included nonfiction, sweet stories, gut-wrenching stories, and color thieves! There are some old and new on this list and we welcome you to share your favorite comic reads from December in the comments section.
Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin, Jill Thompson
A series of interconnected stories about neighborhood dogs investigating and fighting supernatural occurrences. It gets a bit gruesome at times, so if you can’t abide death or injury of dogs and other animals, this might be a pass. But it’s a delightful take on the supernatural mystery genre.
First Hand Graphic Narratives from India by Vidyun Sabhaney and Orijit Sen
This comics compilation, from the small Indian publisher Yoda Press, tackles a variety of topics related to Indian society and politics. The stories can be hit-or-miss, and some of the drawing styles are very basic. But First Hand also contains a number of memorable, beautifully drawn gut-punchers, including graphic reportage about a trafficked woman, a political-personal narrative about the legacy of Muslim-Hindu riots, and a sci-fi-ish tale of ambiguous technological progress. This is a great introduction to contemporary Indian comics.
Heavy Vinyl: Riot on the Radio by Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva, Irene Flores, Rebecca Nalty, and Jim Campbell
This delightful comic brings together two things I really dig: groups of girls kicking butt and Empire Records-esque nostalgia. Chris joins the staff of a local record shop—a group of people she both admires and envies—in the hopes of figuring out who she is. But the kick-ass ladies she works for are more than meets the eye. They’re actually a secret fight club taking down crime/the patriarchy! If you didn’t follow along issue-by-issue, this TPB will make for a satisfying and fun read.
The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg
I’m pretty sure this graphic novel is based on a real story and that in a past life I was in the women’s storyteller’s league. Actually, can we make that happen today? In other words, I loved this creative retelling of One Thousand and One Nights set in a fantastical puritan era. But instead of Scheherazade telling stories to her sister and the sultan, Hero the maid tells stories to Cherry, her lover, and the evil man trying to seduce Cherry. The art is simple and bold, colored in black and white and red, yet displays emotion and subtlety so well.
Rainbow Brite #2 by Jeremy Whitley, Brittney Williams, Valentina Pinto, Taylor Esposito, Kevin Ketner, and Paulina Ganucheau
This delightful comic is feeding my nostalgia and just making me so very happy in the process. I was obsessed with Rainbow Brite as a kid—it’s the first Halloween costume I vividly recall requesting and never wanting to ever take off. Add in that I love Williams’s art and Whitley’s characters it’s like this comic was made for me! If you need an escape from *gestures wildly at world* and loved ‘80s cartoons, do yourself a kindness and pick up this new series.
Sweaterweather: & Other Short Stories by Sara Varon
We need sweet comics and creative challenges sometimes. Sara Varon shows stories about friendship, navigating life, and knitting.
Saga Vol 7 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
Yes, yes, I know I am a few volumes behind on Saga. I have finally got back into it with volume 7 and what a glorious re-introduction. I’m excited we met Gwendolyn’s wife, saw Petrichor being a grumpy badass, and met some sweet new characters like Kurti! But there were also some sad character deaths, like usual! 😭 Fiona Staples’s art continues to be majestic. I’m still thinking about this quotation: “I’ve had lots of relationships in my time, but the ones I think about most are those that never quite made it to term…I guess I’m just haunted by all that potential energy. One moment the universe presents you with this amazing opportunity for new possibilities…and then…”