July may be almost over, and most of the Best Books of the Year (So Far) lists may have come and gone (including our own), but we have some more recommending to do. If you’re new here, welcome to Riot Roundup: Comics edition, where we ask our contributors to share the best comics that they read in the last few months. These might be new comics, forthcoming releases, or backlist favorites and include graphic novels and memoirs, manga, standalones, and series entries. We just want to know what comics content kept our people glued to those panels.
This edition of Riot Roundup includes a princess story with a hair-gnawing possum; a surprisingly sweet post-apocalyptic sci-fi story; a powerful YA graphic memoir about a Korean American teen; a queer, magical, broom-racing version of A League of Their Own; and more. There’s something here for all comics readers! Go forth and discover your next favorite comic.
Brooms by Jasmine Walls and Teo Duvall (Levine Querido, October 10)
This is the queer, magical, broom-racing version of A League of Their Own that I didn’t know I was missing. In 1930s Mississippi, only certain people are allowed to practice magic without consequence, but illicit nighttime boom races offer people like Billie Mae, captain of the Night Storms, a chance to do what they love. It’s also a way out — if you can make enough money and manage not to get caught. The representation in this graphic novel is so diverse and among the best I think I’ve ever seen. It’s clear that Walls and Duvall put equal parts passion and research into this beautiful story. If you don’t read it, you’re missing out.
Cursed Princess Club Vol 1 by LambCat
Graphic novels, comics, and manga have been at the top of my reading list for the last few years. There is just a wealth of stories to discover. And this one is absolutely hilarious and fun, a perfect escape from the world. It is a princess story, sure but one that sends a hair-gnawing possum to upend all the tropes you grew up with in the best possible way. The second volume releases in July, and you can follow along with the webtoon if you prefer that format.
In Limbo by Deb JJ Lee
This gorgeously illustrated YA graphic memoir chronicles the author’s experiences as a Korean American teenager experiencing microaggressions at home and school. Because of the constant bullying and gaslighting, Lee develops anxiety that turns into depression and despair and a suicide attempt. Lee finds solace in turning to art, and a trip to South Korea also has them reevaluating their life. It’s a powerful memoir with some of the best illustrations I’ve seen in comic form. I would love to read more graphic memoirs and/or comics by Lee.
Miles Morales: Straight out of Brooklyn by Saladin Ahmed, Javier Garrón, Brian Stelfreeze
The first in the Saldin Ahmed Morales run, this is a comic that is just plain fun from beginning to end. We get to see Miles a few months after he became Spider-Man and has started to fully accept the role of superhero. What I love about this comic, and the rest in this run, is that we get to see Miles go toe-to-toe with some classic Spider-Man villains, as well as some that are brand new. Reading these made me feel like a kid again, and I just had fun! It was also wonderful to read leading up to the release of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. I can’t recommend this comic enough!
Once Upon a Time at the End of the World by Jason Aaron, Alexandre Tefenkgi, and Lee Loughridge
I’ve been in a bit of a comic rut, but the first arc of this post-apocalyptic sci-fi story was surprisingly sweet. In this initial arc, we follow two young people who stumble upon each other and — despite themselves — fall in love as the world falls apart around them. These two knuckleheads are so different from each other but, together, they may just be unstoppable. I loved watching them inspire growth and change in each other, and I’m eager to see where they travel next across the barren landscape ahead of them.
Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed
Don’t let the heft of this 500-page chonker fool you: I flew through it in one sitting. It’s set in a world very much like ours, except that genie-made wishes, which come in three classes (from least powerful to most powerful), are real: they’re mined, refined, and sold. The wish market, like most markets, is rife with corruption and exploitation. The story follows three very different Egyptians, each of whom comes into possession of a first-class wish and must decide how to use it. It’s a creative, beautiful, and impactful story about choice, autonomy, power, happiness, history, and more.
Tegan and Sara: Junior High by Tegan Quin and Sara Quin, illustrated by Tillie Walden
This is a charming, sincere graphic novel about twin sisters finding their voices together and individually through music in junior high. If you’re a fan of Tegan and Sara’s music, you’ll appreciate how the story is inspired by their relationship with each other and their family during their junior high years. But it’s got a lot for middle grade readers to explore as well, like navigating complicated friendships, balancing family and school responsibilities, and speaking up for yourself. The illustration style is sweet and colorful, and I love that it’s done by Tillie Walden, who is also a twin!