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Comics/Graphic Novels

Best Comics We Read January–March 2020

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Margaret Kingsbury

Contributing Editor

Margaret Kingsbury grew up in a house so crammed with books she couldn’t open a closet door without a book stack tumbling, and she’s brought that same decorative energy to her adult life. Margaret has an MA in English with a concentration in writing and has worked as a bookseller and adjunct English professor. She’s currently a freelance writer and editor, and in addition to Book Riot, her pieces have appeared in School Library Journal, BuzzFeed News, The Lily, Parents,, and more. She particularly loves children’s books, fantasy, science fiction, horror, graphic novels, and any books with disabled characters. You can read more about her bookish and parenting shenanigans in Book Riot’s twice-weekly The Kids Are All Right newsletter. You can also follow her kidlit bookstagram account @BabyLibrarians, or on Twitter @AReaderlyMom.

We asked our contributors to share the best comic book, graphic novel, or webcomic that they read from January to March, including new, old, and upcoming. So prepare for a great list of comics you’ll also want to read because there’s a cookbook, an unbeatable squirrel, women wrestling, ’90s nostalgia, travelogue/memoir, and more!

Cook Korean! by Robin HaCook Korean!: A Comic Book with Recipes by Robin Ha

This is the first cookbook that I’ve just, like, read cover to cover. The comic format really lends itself to that, as does Ha’s habit of adding cultural context and details to recipes. The recipes are also interspersed with personal stories, like about how popular one dish was for kids to bring to school or how she learned how to cook something from her mom. I love the bright, colorful drawings: cute and emotional for stories and practical and helpful for recipe instructions. Warning: Cook Korean! will make you very hungry.
—Casey Stepaniuk

GLOW vs The Babyface by AJ Mendez, Aimee Garcia, Hannah Templer, Rebecca Nalty, Christa Miesner

GLOW on Netflix is one of my absolute favorite shows and I’m very sad that the upcoming fourth season will be its last, so that’s why I was extra excited to come across these tie-in comics. Scrolling Instagram one day, I discovered that the dynamic duo of actor Aimee Garcia (Lucifer) and former WWE professional wrestling champion AJ Mendez (Crazy is My Superpower) had teamed up to write a new series of GLOW comics. In GLOW vs The Babyface, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are trying to prepare for a big news story by an anchor hellbent on convincing her audience that wrestling is a bad influence on children when they discover a runaway kid hiding (living) under their ring. Sweary chaos with a heart of gold ensues and I was beyond excited to spend some extra heart-eyes time with this strong, diverse cast of women.

—Dana Lee

Go With the Flow by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann

Sasha just moved to town and, because the universe can be cruel, she gets her first period while wearing white pants during the first week of school. Kids call her Bloody Mary, but then she’s swept up in the magical friendship of Christine, Abby, and Brit, who are some of the coolest period-positive people ever. They teach her the ways of menstruation and feminism and just being a high school girl. Throughout the school year, Abby organizes fights against the administration—with her art and her blog—to keep the pad dispensers in the bathrooms stocked. She makes a big statement and some feelings get hurt, but everything ends nicely in the end, at prom. Because friendship is more important. The book includes notes on what’s normal when it comes to periods, extra resources, and how to be a period activist. Go With the Flow is the perfect little comic about friendship, menstruation, and feminism.
—Ashley Holstrom

Heavy Vinyl: Y2K-O! coverHeavy Vinyl Y2K-O! by Carly Usdin, Nina Vakueva, Irene Flores, Natalia Nesterenko, Jim Campbell

The Heavy Vinyl gang is back! This volume has it all—a sweet teenage love story complete with jitters, a new crush, a mystery, and some butt-kicking girl power. There’s a little less ’90s nostalgia in this one, mainly because it’s more story-driven, but it’s well worth it. I already want to read the next volume.

—Jaime Herndon

It’s Your Funeral! by Emily Riesbeck, Ellen Kramer, and Matt Krotzer (Iron Circus Comics, June 2)

After dying in a freak accident, Marnie Winters arrives at the Department of Spectral Affairs, where troubled spirits go to receive help passing on to the next dimension. X’lakthul is the case worker assigned to Marnie, and decides to try an unconventional strategy to help her let go of her ties to earth: hiring her as an intern at the DSA. As you might guess, hijinks ensue as a reluctant Marnie is introduced to a whole cast of hilarious and strange coworkers who she must now learn to work with. This comic is both a fun paranormal workplace comedy, as well as a heartwarming story of healing and acceptance.
—Patricia Thang

Ladycastle by Delilah S. Dawson, Ashley A. Woods, Becca Farrow, Rebecca Nalty, and Jim Campbell

This is practically the perfect confluence of things I love: fairytales, feminism, musicals, and epic fantasy. The basic plot is this: after all the men in a castle die on a disastrous quest, the women take over running the place, protecting their kingdom from all manner of fairytales gone wrong, as they are wont to do. It’s a super fun read; my only complaint is the lack of LGBTQ+ representation.

—Margaret Kingsbury

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With MeLaura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

I’m always on the lookout for books about queer teenagers that are real: queer teenagers that are flawed, that make mistakes and bad choices and generally live the messy lives that teenagers so often live. This book is exactly that. Freddy Riley is a girl stuck in a bad relationship—she just can’t let go of the girl she thinks of as perfect, even when her relationship starts getting in the way of her friendships, not to mention her own life. It’s so relatable and so well done. On top of that, the art is detailed, intricate and gorgeous, and Freddy has a group of diverse queer friends that makes my heart happy. Pick this up if you’re looking for a book that’s complicated and doesn’t shy away from hard truths, but that’s ultimately celebratory and uplifting.
—Laura Sackton

The Prince And The Dressmaker By Jen WangThe Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

I am so late to the party on this one but I finally checked it off my TBR and it was everything I hoped and dreamed. If you haven’t yet encountered it, don’t wait. Frances is a dressmaker in late 19th century Paris who dreams of making fabulously unconventional gowns. Sebastian is a Belgian prince who dreams of wearing fabulously unconventional gowns. Their relationship and the book’s joyful message of love and acceptance made me cry, which was annoying because it made it harder to see the book’s gorgeous fashion and Jen Wang’s peerless character design. And there’s going to be a musical adaptation??? Friends, my cup runneth o’er.
—Jess Plummer

Something is Killing the Children, Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV, Werther Dell’edera, and Miquel Muerto (BOOM! Studios, May 26, 2020)

The title pretty much says it all: something is killing the children in Archer’s Peak, and no one—not even the survivors—quite believes the stories. But where there are monsters, there are monster hunters. In comes Erica Slaughter. (Yes, that’s a real name. No, she’s not telling you if it’s her real name.) This Buffy-esque monster slayer is here to save the day alongside the boy who survived, the befuddled police force, and the brother of a missing girl. Count me on board for this spooky new series.
—Rachel Brittain

Superior Spider-Man (2018) #7 by Christos Gage, Mike Hawthorne, Lan Medina

Fresh off of watching episodes of the show Marvel Rising, I grabbed this The War of the Realms series comic because I spotted Jessica Chavez on the cover. She is totally overrated, considering her Captain Marvel–like powers and badass attitude. Gwenpool on the cover was another hard sell. I hardly know anything about her and have only recently learned about her. The comic treated me to her eccentric puns in bubblegum pink speech balloons! Although Superior Spider-Man turned out to be the original Spider-Man’s former nemesis and current know it all Otto Octavius, this comic was filled with new superheros, cameos, and plenty of action with super scary baddies!
—Shireen Hakim

Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City’s Most Colorful Neighborhoods by Florent Chavouet

This is a delightful travelogue/memoir from an Italian cartoonist’s stint in Tokyo. The drawings are cheerily colorful and whimsical, from the architecturally varied police stations to the sociologically revealing fashion choices. Tokyo on Foot feels like a peek over the shoulder as Chavouet people-watches and draws his way around Tokyo’s neighborhoods. It’s not aiming to be a comprehensive travel guide or an authoritative cultural analysis, but a refreshing, eccentric, thoroughly enjoyable set of comic vignettes.
—Christine Ro

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: To All the Squirrels I’ve Loved Before by Ryan North, Derek Charm, Rico Renzi, Travis Lanham, Erica Henderson, Michael Allred

I had been dreading this moment. The end of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series that I’d fallen in love with when I first got into comics. But if the series was going to end, at least it ended well. As Squirrel Girl is placed into a situation that seems impossible to overcome (though isn’t this where she shines the most?), we get the chance to reconnect with all of the awesome characters we met over the course of the series. And, oh yeah. Galactus makes me cry. Thanks, Squirrel Girl, for making life a little bit brighter.
—Steph Auteri