We asked our contributors to share the best comic book, graphic novel, or webcomic that they read last month. Read on to see what the Rioters had on their nightstands the past four weeks, and maybe one of these will find its way to your bedside in the coming weeks. Enjoy, and tell us about the best comics of your June 2018 reading in the comments!
Barrier by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente
Told in five floppies (or online), this bilingual work is a brilliant story about immigration, racism, and aliens in an unexpected way. I think it’s from a few years ago, but Vaughan released part one for Free Comic Book Day 2018 because it’s eerily relevant. It’s beautifully drawn on top of it all. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you can still understand what’s going on.
Brave by Svetlana Chmakova
This was my first Chmakova and wow does she get what it’s like being in middle school. None of the high drama of cable teenagers; Chmakova knows that bullying, struggling in class, and family dynamics are dramatic enough. This book follows Jensen, a 12-year-old who is a member of the art club. Jensen spends a lot of time in his imagination where he’s far more heroic and he’s not slogging through difficulties in math class. Jensen joins up with the newspaper crew, and learns a lot about bullying, kindness, and being the change you want to see. Chmakova is a genius.
Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky, Anissa Espinosa
I picked up this comic because the cover was pretty darn cute. Then I flipped it open and learned that it was a ghost love story (!!) and I was sold. In Cast No Shadow, Greg stumbles upon an old, hidden mansion, where he encounters a ghost named Eleanor, and falls in love. It was delightful to read.
Dept. H Vol 1 by Matt Kindt, Sharlene Kindt, Marie Enger
I never say no to a locked-room mystery. That this is set UNDER WATER, with a headstrong daughter determined to find out how her father died, made this a must-read NOW. And it was a totally satisfying read, with gorgeous muddy watercolor art, an awesome main character, and a group of researchers that are all suspects! Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go get my hands on volume two STAT.
Infidel #4 by Pornsak Pichetshote, Aaron Campbell, José Villarrubia, Jeff Powell
I was this close to choosing a different comic this month (hell, there’s a brand new, kick-ass Nancy Drew series that dropped this month!), but then the latest issue of Infidel arrived at my LCS and reminded me that it’s the best damn comic out there. This month, Pichetshote took a break from our main protagonist and used the supporting cast to show us what may be the source of the evil with which they’ve been grappling. The artwork, as always, is stunning.
Kill or Be Killed by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiler
My husband has been recommending Kill or be Killed for over a year. It was in my TRB but…well…we all know how that goes. It jumped ahead because I was scheduled to second chair an interview with Brubaker (which didn’t end up happening) but I can’t say I’m sorry I finally had a chance to get lost in this one. It’s a family saga, horror, a thriller, and a throwback to classic noir all in one with an unreliable narrator who likes to talk to the audience but who may or may not actually think you’re there. Phillips’s art is evocative and classic, gory and gorgeous simultaneously and it suits the story perfectly. Maybe not for when you’re on your own in a thunderstorm. Just in case the power goes out.
Kim Reaper Vol. 1: Grim Beginnings by Sarah Graley
Pure adorableness. There’s just no better way to describe this comic. College student Becka has a major crush on Kim, full-time cutie and—apparently—part-time grim reaper. Becka gets dragged into the world of grim reaping, full of crazy cat dudes willing to fight to the death to protect their favorite kittens from being reaped, angry ghouls haunting sunken ships, and zombie hordes. The artwork is cute and cartoony and the story is just pure fun. It had me smiling the whole way through.
Luisa, Now and Then by Carole Maurel and Mariko Tamaki (Humanoids, Inc.)
When 32-year-old Luisa runs into her 15-year-old self, she’s forced to come to terms with some hard truths about herself—including her sexuality. Luisa, Now and Then is a brilliant, heartwarming graphic novel about self-acceptance. Luisa’s character is brilliant and relatable—both as her 15-year-old and 32-year-old self. The artwork perfectly complements the charming story. It was also the perfect read for Pride month!
March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
This has been on my list for at least three years. It’s an incredible work that does an utterly fantastic job of personalising important pieces of history. Incidentally it was also the first comic I read on my phone through the Libby app and I loved it. Such a great way to kill time on the subway.
Open Earth by Sarah Mirk, Illustrated by Eva Cabrera and Claudia Aguirre
This is an explicit, sexy (teen/adult-rated) comic about a polyamorous group of friends in the first generation of humans who live solely in space. Their parents chose to flee Earth, and as this generation grows up, the two struggle slightly with the wild cultural differences between the humans who knew their planet and the children who grew up in this new, sharing-based society in the stars. It deals with plus-sized Rigo, who needs to be honest about her desire to create a closer bond with one of her partners. It’s fun, sexy, and inclusive. It comes out in September 2018 from Limerence Press.
—Leah Rachel von Essen
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
Everyone I know who’s read this graphic novel loves it, and they’re right! The story is super cute and sweet, and the art is fantastic. In Paris “at the dawn of the modern age”—whenever that is—a seamstress working for an old-fashioned dressmaker catches the eye of a prince with her cutting-edge designs. Soon she’s working as his personal fashion designer and they’re taking the city by storm! A delightful standalone comic about being true to yourself.
Super Sons by Peter J. Tomasi, Jorge Jimenez, Alisson Borges, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Alejandro Sanchez, Jose Luis, and more
I know I’m behind the curve on this one, but the adventures of Jon Kent (son of Superman and Lois Lane) and Damian Wayne (son of Batman and Talia al Ghul) are a delight. Every issue is warm-hearted and funny, and I devoured the entire run in about a day. Luckily this team is coming back for the Adventures of the Super Sons miniseries. I can’t wait!
Supergirl: Being Super by Mariko Tamaki and Joelle Jones
I’ve been waiting for this to come out in trade, and I read it in two sittings. It really is a terrific origin story, the writing draws you in and I really enjoyed the family and social dynamics and conflicts that Kara found herself in. The art is perfect. I finished it and wanted more immediately.
Time Guardian by Daimuro Kishi and Tamao Ichinose
This is a sweet, short manga series about a compassionate school girl who becomes a time pawnshop assistant. Miu by chance sets her watch incorrectly, and ends up in a shop where customers can borrow time. Tokiya, after seeing Miu assist a customer flawlessly, offers her a permanent job making sure that customers use their time well. I’m sad it’s only two volumes, because it’s a perfect fix for those missing XXXholic.