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Book Riot's Best Comics of 2016
Book Riot's Best Comics of 2016

Swapna Krishna

Staff Writer

Swapna is the Comics Editor at Book Riot. She's a Space Columnist for Paste Magazine and writes for Syfy Wire—Fangrrls,, Bustle, and other sites. She co-hosts a podcast called Desi Geek Girls. You can find her incessant ramblings on Twitter at @skrishna. She lives outside Philadelphia.

Are you ready? Presenting the Best Comics of 2016!



Show All Science Fiction Fantasy Superhero Nonfiction Young Adult Graphic Novel

Princeless – Raven: The Pirate Princess

by Jeremy Whitley, Rosy Higgins, and Ted Brandt
Young Adult

Keri Crist-Wagner

Staff Writer

Keri Crist-Wagner spends most of her time thinking about Harry Potter, comic books, and writing. She has a Master’s degree in English, specializing in viewing literature and pop culture through feminist, postmodern, and queer theory lenses, and her graduate thesis was a YA fantasy novella. Originally from Ohio, Keri has lived in Massachusetts, Iowa, and South Carolina, plying her trade at various institutions of higher education. When not contemplating the vast array of available reading options, she enjoys playing roller derby, cycling, and taking her dog Albus for walks. Twitter: @devil_longbtm

My choice for Best Comic of 2016 was an easy one. Princeless – Raven: The Pirate Princess is the comic I pine for every month. Whitley, Higgins, and Brandt have created a cast of characters that speak to the lives of so many women I know. In a political environment where LGBTQ+ representation is literally saving lives, this book should be on everyone’s go-to list. As a teen title, Raven’s message of queer, body-positive, racially diverse, feminism is even more important. It’s also a sweet romance-adventure-revenge story with swords and explosions and science. Go. Now. Read.


by Marguerite Bennett, Rafael de Latorre, Rob Schwager, and Marshall Dillon
Science Fiction

Nicole Brinkley

Staff Writer

Nicole Brinkley has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. She is an independent bookseller and the founder of YA Interrobang. Follow her on Twitter: @nebrinkley.

I knew two things about Animosity when I picked up the first issue: that it was written by Marguerite Bennett, who was fast becoming my favorite comics writer, and that it had a dog and a girl with a gun, both things that I appreciate. With beautiful art by Rafael de Latorre, Animosity is incredible – full of unexpected moments with a plot that will keep you turning pages (and then, inevitably, leave you frustrated when you realize you don’t have the next issue on hand immediately). Laced with moments of humor – the sequence with the hamsters right when the Animals wake up in the beginning of issue #1 still makes me laugh – it’s one of the best comics I’ve read in recent history, and a must for anybody who loves innovative worldbuilding and excellent storytelling.

And dogs and girls with guns.

Vision, Vol. 1: Little Worse Than A Man

by Tom King, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Jordie Bellaire

Brian McNamara

Staff Writer

Brian McNamara lectures about culture and society to Freshmen across NJ and spends way too much time online. Trekkie, Whovian, Punk, Inadvertent Hipster. Follow his madcap, pop culture adventures on Twitter: @PraxJarvin.

The Vision has saved the world 37 times but can he save his family from themselves? That’s the inherent conceit of this tale of suburban horror, androids and superheroes. King plays with the concept of the nuclear family in the superhero world, issues of identity and acceptance, what it means to be alive and the lengths we’ll go to keep our families safe. Walta’s pencils evoke simple home life and over-the-top heroics equally well while Bellaire’s colors pop with visceral reds and pinks and yet feel drained by the creeping terror that is life in the suburbs. It’s Frankenstein meets The Royal Tenenbaums and yet so much more.

Brenna Clarke Gray

Staff Writer

Part muppet and part college faculty member, Brenna Clarke Gray holds a PhD in Canadian Literature while simultaneously holding two cats named Chaucer and Swift. It's a juggling act. Raised in small-town Ontario, Brenna has since been transported by school to the Atlantic provinces and by work to the Vancouver area, where she now lives with her stylish cyclist/webgeek husband and the aforementioned cats. When not posing by day as a forserious academic, she can be found painting her nails and watching Degrassi (through the critical lens of awesomeness). She posts about graphic narratives at Graphixia, and occasionally she remembers to update her own blog, Not That Kind of Doctor. Blog: Not That Kind of Doctor Twitter: @brennacgray

After a year of living the consequences of questionable journalism, it’s refreshing and heartening to read a comic like Rolling Blackouts, which offers an inside look at how a journalism non-profit does its international work. Glidden tags along with her journalist colleagues and records their discussions, interviews, ethical quandaries, arguments, and debates, becoming herself an ever more effective comics journalist. As good as the narrative is, it’s worth noting that Glidden’s watercolour style is exceptional and her subtle, nuanced images are often deeply moving. This ambitious book is a perfect read for fans of Joe Sacco and Guy Delisle.

Always Human

by Ari (walkingnorth)
Science Fiction

Danika Ellis

Associate Editor

Danika spends most of her time talking about queer women books at the Lesbrary. Blog: The Lesbrary Twitter: @DanikaEllis

Every time I see Always Human update, I happy sigh before reading it. It’s so good and pure. It makes me so happy. For one thing, the art style makes everyone look adorable. The colours and lines are soft and comforting. There’s even soothing music playing for every page!  The love story between the two girls is sweet, but there’s also complexity to the story. Besides being a fascinating sci fi future, the girls also have to grapple with the privileges that differ between them—and this can sometimes be uncomfortable. It’s adorable, it’s complex, it’s diverse, and it’s a sci fi love story between two girls! What more could I want?


by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, and Rachelle Rosenberg

Sonja Palmer

Staff Writer

Sonja resides in Asheville, NC where she has a job she loves at a children’s nonprofit.  When she’s not working, she probably has a book or comic in hand as she tries to read her way out of the ever-growing stack in her small apartment.  On weekends, she’s probably clambering through the mountains with her husband and dog or trying to eat too much cake while watching Great British Bake Off.

I will stop being sad about this book being cancelled….oh never probably.  Here’s the thing: Mockingbird is super interesting, funny, feminist, and it is chock full of corgis. What more could you possibly want from your comic? This comic also is a puzzle box, which means you may not always know what is going on at the time, but the journey is so, so worth it. Cain and co. take you on an amazing adventure with a kick-ass, sarcastic heroine who needs to be my new best friend.

A Silent Voice, Vol. 7

by Yoshitoki Oima
Young Adult

Megan Cavitt

Staff Writer

Megan Cavitt is a clerk by day, a writer by night. She currently lives in Illinois but was born and raised in the American South, which explains her occasional use of the word "y'all." She has a bachelor's degree in History and Secondary Education from the University of Illinois, which means that, in an alternate universe, she could be your high school self's history teacher. Her hobbies include reading her way through the public library, researching comics history, and buying vintage copies of Ian Fleming novels. She's currently blogging about her New Year's resolution to watch fifty-two films in 2016. Blog: fiftytwofilms

A Silent Voice was nearly silenced itself – after a one-shot version of the story ran in a Japanese magazine in 2011, Oima had to fight for the full serialization that had been promised. Publishers weren’t sure they wanted a series told from the perspective of a bully who, years later, tries to make amends to the girl he tormented – nor did they want to acknowledge the depiction of Deaf marginalization. But now a gentle, intelligent translation has ensured that readers around the world can see Shoko Nishimiya smile and cringe and sign – the girl who can’t hear, silenced for so many years, finally heard by her friends.

Paul Up North

by Michel Rabagliati

Hattie Kennedy

Staff Writer

Hattie is a comics scholar and obsessive reader from Brighton(ish) but living in Glasgow, Scotland where she is working towards a PhD in Canadian Studies, more specifically about Québécois comics and politics. Mostly she reads comics about other peoples’ lives because she’s nosy like that. She is an enthusiastic, if not experienced, seamstress and could win Olympic Gold Medals if only Procrasti-Sewing and Procrasti-Baking were recognised sports. A not insignificant percentage of her free time is spent worrying about whether her cats like her as much as she likes them. She is resident Quebec Comics Monkey over at Graphixia where she likes to lay claim to being more Canadian than she really is. Twitter: @HattieK

In his latest semi-autobiographical tale, Rabagliati turns his attention to the period surrounding the 1976 Montreal Olympics. We are treated to a teenage Paul and all the bad hair, emotional angst and Prog Rock that we would expect of this age and era. The young Paul’s emotional journey from child to adult mirrors the deep political changes that were happening in Quebec. While Paul drinks his first beer and smokes his first joint, we also see a love letter to Montreal’s urban landscape and Quebec’s countryside and political evolution. The last Paul album for the foreseeable future, this was a touching and funny way in which to bid farewell.

Power Man and Iron Fist

by David Walker, Sanford Greene, and Flaviano Armentaro

Jessica Plummer

Contributing Editor

Jessica Plummer has lived her whole life in New York City, but she prefers to think of it as Metropolis. Her day job is in books, her side hustle is in books, and she writes books on the side (including a short story in Sword Stone Table from Vintage). She loves running, knitting, and thinking about superheroes, and knows an unnecessary amount of things about Donald Duck. Follow her on Twitter at @jess_plummer.

PMIF not only made me giggle helplessly every month, it hit me right between the eyes more than once. It’s not often that something so laugh-out-loud funny also has this much heart, but beneath Danny’s hyperactive shenanigans and Luke’s self-bowderlized swearing lies a genuine friendship between two decent men just trying to live the best lives they can. Greene’s utterly charming takes on the characters leap off the page with a breakneck kineticism that always leaves you wanting more, and Walker’s meanderings down the Marvel Universe’s less-traveled byways are both nostalgic and utterly fresh. I love the fiddle-faddle out of this book.

Princess Princess Ever After

by Katie O'Neill
Young Adult

Amy Diegelman

Staff Writer

Amy Diegelman's fangirl tendencies date all the way back to sneaking into her brother's room to steal his comic books and have never wavered. Amy is a high-school drama nerd from Missouri, who somehow ended up with Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master's Degree in Library Science. She is a Teen Librarian in Chicago, IL where she lives with her computer, video games, and a cat-shaped monster named CJ. Amy reviews books for School Library Journal, tweets at @amydieg, and once breathed the same air as LeVar Burton. Twitter: @amydieg

Princess Sadie is about to be rescued, but the dashing young royal who releases her from her tower is no prince. Princess Amira is brave, bold, and determined to be a hero. The Princesses team up, discovering their individual talents, true friendship, and yes, even love. O’Neill’s art is as charming as her story is touching. Originally a hit webcomic, Princess Princess is known for being a classic fairytale made gay, but it is as much about learning to have faith in your abilities and compassion for others (even giant ogres who are bad dancers). Perfect for every age, this is the queer fairytale we all needed.

Spidey, Vol. 1: First Day

by Robbie Thompson, Nick Bradshaw, and André Lima Araújo

Preeti Chhibber

Staff Writer

Preeti Chhibber is a marketing manager for HarperCollins Children's Books. She usually spends her time reading a ridiculous amount of Young Adult (for work, she swears!), but is also ready to jump into most fandoms at a moment’s notice. Her woefully neglected blog: Hurling Words Twitter: @runwithskizzers

Marvel dropped Spidey #1 in late 2015. Now, I have read and seen Spidey’s origin story a thousand times and I was honestly not that excited for another round. But it’s not an origin story. It’s Peter Parker in high school… just going on missions. There’s an episodic quality to it. Even in the first volume (#1–6), you don’t really have an overarching narrative other than Pete’s life—but it works so well. It’s funny, it’s exciting, it’s Peter at his best—which is to say, he’s sort of a doofus and still figuring things out. It is perfect if you loved the Peter we got in CA: Civil War. And it is perfect if you don’t know Spidey at all!

The Backstagers

by James Tynion IV, Rian Sygh, and Walter Baiamonte

Katie Schenkel

Staff Writer

Katie Schenkel is a digital copywriter and pop culture writer. She started getting into comics in her mid-20s through her lifelong love of superhero cartoons and hasn’t looked back. When she’s not at her day job writing websites for small businesses, she’s writing articles for Panels, The Mary Sue, Quirk Books and other sites. Katie also runs the website Just Plain Something with her partner Mike; they host the JPS podcast and their webseries Driving Home the Movie. Blog: Just Plain Something Twitter: @justplaintweets

Kids need more comics about queer kids. It certainly doesn’t hurt if those comics look absolutely gorgeous. As the theater stage crew at a mysterious all-boys high school, the Backstagers deal with magical obstacles like giant spider, tool-stealing monsters, and ever-changing hallways. Rian Sygh’s backgrounds and Walter Baiamonte’s colorwork really drive home the strange, often eerie elements to the world James Tynion IV is writing. Perhaps best of all, the heroes of the book are sweet teen boys who blush and care about each other and wear their hearts on their sleeves. The Backstagers is a very sincere sort of book, and I love every issue.

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

by Sonny Liew
Graphic Novel

Charlie Chan Hock Chye is a would-be cartoonist Singapore needed but never had. Planted historical documents sprinkled throughout the book further cement the simulation of Chye’s life. His arc as a cartoonist realizing his talent always orbits around the lives and times surrounding him. Just as his trade can be cruel and unforgiving, so are the political movements in Malaysia/Singapore. A hero of the people one day, such as real-world Communist leader Lim Chin Siong, is an exile the next. Today’s best seller is on tomorrow’s discount rack. Hey, at least let Sonny Liew enjoy some of the spotlight if Chye’s never going to get it!

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up the Marvel Universe

by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

María Cristina García lives in New York with her favorite spouse, her favorite toddler, her favorite cat, and her second-favorite cat. When not ranking members of her household, she's catching up on Supergirl, strumming her mandolin, or trying to beat the clock on her library loans. Twitter: @MeowyCristina Blog:

I’m working with a character limit, so let’s call this book TUSGBUTMU. And TUSG really does BUTMU, in ways that are delightfully clever (and all-ages violent) without cramming in unearned cameos. I can’t imagine anyone but Henderson drawing TUSG, and it’s such a treat to see her versions of so many MU characters. There’s one particular page that debuts a USG look that made me cry and cheer in equal measure. That was actually me throughout reading TUSGBUTMU. As in several heroic tales, self-sacrifice is a big part of the resolution. But TUSGBUTMU is ultimately about self-compassion (especially for the side of you in command of a squirrel army).

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening

by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

This is the best way I know how to describe this comic: If like if Saga was crossed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Girl with All the Gifts then given the aesthetics of Time Bandits and Solar Babies. A bananapants horror fantasy set in an alternate 1900s Asia where women rule, Monstress is about a teenager who has survived many horrors of war only to discover there is something special about her. Inside her, really. And it is hungry. With the help of unusual friends, she must find out what it is if she is to control it.  Takeda’s fantastic artwork compliments Liu’s superb storytelling. It is a delight for both the brain and the eyes.


by Colin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Marcus To, and Irma Kniivila
Science Fiction

Emma Lawson

Staff Writer

Emma is a librarian and writer in Vancouver, BC. She writes mostly about comics, crafts, and fandom. Follow her on Twitter for Supernatural gifs, rabbit pictures, and more: @emmalawson.

Joyride is exactly that, a wild ride full of wonder and humor. Join Uma, Dewydd, and Catrin as they escape a sucky Earth and look for a better life. It’s a sci-fi comic, as well written as Saga, but with the heightened emotional tone of teenagerdom. Punk rock space fun! Let’s go for a ride.

Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride

by Lucy Knisley

Swapna Krishna

Staff Writer

Swapna is the Comics Editor at Book Riot. She's a Space Columnist for Paste Magazine and writes for Syfy Wire—Fangrrls,, Bustle, and other sites. She co-hosts a podcast called Desi Geek Girls. You can find her incessant ramblings on Twitter at @skrishna. She lives outside Philadelphia.

Lucy Knisley is a queen of graphic memoirs, and nowhere is that more evident than her latest, Something New. Knisley is skeptical at the idea of marriage, but proceeds with planning her own somewhat unexpected nuptials in this gorgeous memoir full of splashy color. Readers experience everything from Knisley’s attempts to create handmade favors to her anguish over whether committing to a man erases her bisexuality. Every page contains a new delight, a new emotion, a new wonder; Knisley is one of the best creators working in the graphic memoir form today, and this amazing work is proof.

The Legend of Wonder Woman

by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon

C.P. Hoffman

Staff Writer

By day, C.P. Hoffman writes about digital accessibility and the law; by night, they write about comics, pop culture, books, and gender for Book Riot and other sites. They have lived across North America (Indianapolis > Chicago > New York > Montreal > Indianapolis again), but now reside just outside of Washington, DC. C.P. has a particular affinity for Spider-Women, but also loves Wonder Woman, comics about witches, and stories about time travel. For inexplicable reasons, they also tweet a lot about the Fantastic Four. Twitter: @CPHwriter

2016 brought us an unprecedented four “early years of Wonder Woman” tales, but The Legend of Wonder Woman was the clear stand-out. There’s so much to love here, from De Liz and Dillon’s stunningly beautiful art, to their character-focused story, to Diana’s friend and confidante Etta Candy, who steals the show every time she’s on panel. The Legend of Wonder Woman is the perfect starting place for new readers of all ages, as well as a refreshingly original take on Diana for old fans. I can’t wait for volume 2 so that I can keep reading.

Lady of the Shard

by Gigi D.G.

Jon Erik Christianson

Staff Writer

In alternate timelines, Jon Erik Christianson is a beloved children's cartoon, a homme fatale supervillain for the Justice League, a professional krumper, an ambassador from Planet [REDACTED], and a sentient carnival balloon. In this timeline, he is a blogger and ghost(writer) who divides his free time between watching YouTubers play Five Nights at Freddy's and staring longingly at his bachelor's degrees in journalism and international relations. He writes for Book Riot Comics and his blog, Honestly Comics, where he most often discusses comic books, feminism, and queer representation. Feel free to talk to him about Buffy the Vampire Slayer; never bring up Glee. Blog: Honestly Comics Twitter: @HonestlyJon

The pixelated line work in Gigi D.G.’s Lady of the Shard evokes knife carvings across an obsidian canvas. With precise lines and sometimes frenetic slashes, D.G.’s story shares the romance of an acolyte and a goddess. It’s often cute, with rounded expressions and smiley pancakes as plot point. It’s often horrifying, where fearsome gods reign and ordinarily monochromatic lines stab deep and bleed searing shades of red. D.G. hosts the story on indie gaming platform, which grants it a near-infinite vertical scroll and unnerving negative space. It reads like a cosmic tapestry plucked straight from the stars, a legend begging to be read.

Rosalie Lightning

by Tom Hart

Katie McGuire

Staff Writer

Katie McGuire loves nothing more than to talk about superheroes and spies with anyone who will even half-listen. She is currently an editorial assistant at Pegasus Books. She has a BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, and the dozens of half-finished manuscripts that come with it. She currently lives in New York (the state, not the city), following four years in Boston and a brief sojourn to a castle in the Netherlands. She sometimes remembers to post about her self-fashioned reading challenges at her blog, I Have Things to Say, and she's much better at updating everyone on her current likes and dislikes on Twitter @katiemickgee.

I’ve cried over a handful of books in my life, but Rosalie Lightning is the only work that made me bawl for all the right reasons: the beauty Rosalie got to experience while she was alive; the pain her parents experienced—and continue to experience—after her passing; and for the new joy those who loved her have found by holding her in their hearts. The power of this graphic memoir is in its ability to make you feel—grief, sorrow, rage, joy, nostalgia. It will make you want to hold your loved ones close and tell them you love them. It will make you want to work harder and create more. And it all stems from the love of a little girl.

Kim & Kim #1

by Magdalene Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, and Claudia Aguirre
Science Fiction

Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

Kim & Kim are punktastic, intergalactic bounty hunters flying around in a van that would make the Scooby-Doo gang and Spaceballs’ Lone Starr and Barf jealous. And if that wasn’t amazing enough Visaggio has created a comic that fully delivers on being awesome, hilarious, kick-ass, fun, and creative as these two best friends try to bring in bounties amid gorilla robots, sandworms, shape-shifting octopus, and family drama. See, it’s stuffed with awesome fun adventures!

Saga Vol 6 by Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan


by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan

Jenn Northington

Director, Editorial Operations

Jenn Northington has worked in the publishing industry wearing various hats since 2004, including bookseller and events director, and is currently Director of Editorial Operations at Riot New Media Group. You can hear her on the SFF Yeah! podcast nerding out about sci-fi and fantasy. When she’s not working, she’s most likely gardening, running, or (obviously) reading. Find her on Tumblr at jennIRL and Instagram at iamjennIRL.

Saga is the reason I started a pull list. With every new issue I think “I wonder if they can keep pulling this off,” and every time they do. Staples’ art is unparalleled: her lines, her colors, her composition, make every single page a pleasure to look at (even the many gory ones). Vaughan’s control over the plot is astounding; every plot point and every piece of dialogue feels deliberate and purposeful, even 40 issues in. Above all, I can’t stop caring. Saga has broken my heart time and time again: favorite characters are lost, fall behind, fall from grace. But then a new twist comes, and I can’t wait to find out what’s next.


by Mari Crimbo

Priya Sridhar

Staff Writer

A 2016 MBA graduate and published author, Priya Sridhar has been writing fantasy and science fiction for fifteen years, and counting, as well as contributing columns to Chalkpack Magazine and drawing a webcomic for five years. She also enjoys reading, biking, movie-watching, and classical music. One of her stories made the Top Ten Amazon Kindle Download list, and Alban Lake published her novella Carousel. Priya lives in Miami, Florida with her family and posts monthly at her blog A Faceless Author. Website Twitter: @PriyaJSridhar

Periwinkle, unlike most fairies her age, can’t do magic. She can’t even use her wings properly. Other fairies treat her like a joke. Despite that, she still wants to do a Fairytale, earn some respect from her peers.  Eventually she finds a book-loving witch in a tower, who will let her try to create a Happy Ending, in exchange for fairy books. The witch and her cat expect Periwinkle to fail, but plan to enjoy the literature.

Peritale shows a remarkable narrative, with detailed character designs, colorful backgrounds, and a likable protagonist. Peri is like a giant marshmallow and full of positive vibes. No matter what happens, she won’t give up.


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