Calling all space nerds! Comics aren’t all just superheroes anymore — but you probably already knew that, right? There are plenty of great sci-fi comics out there, but among my favorites are the ones that take place in space. I mean, stars, terraforming, faster-than-light travel — what more could you ask for? And these must-read spacefaring comics and graphic novels are the best of the best when it comes to outer space adventures. Flip through pages full of spaceship mysteries and ragtag crews just trying to get by, not to mention a healthy helping of aliens and AI. These comics have it all. So buckle in and get ready for some interstellar adventures in comic book form!
Sentient by by Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Walta, and Steve Wands
A stunningly crafted horror space opera about an AI named Val and the children it must learn to protect. When all the adults on a spaceship are killed in a dead zone with no means of communication, Val must become their caretaker, empowering them with the skills they need to survive in space. I love stories about complicated artificial intelligences, and this one is handled so perfectly. Lemire and Walta really have a masterpiece on their hands.
Vagrant Queen by Magdalene Visaggio, Jason Smith, Harry Saxon, and Zakk Saam
Elida is a queen on the run. Well, former queen, that is. As a child on the throne, she was overthrown by revolutionaries who want to see her dead. Now, she’s wandering the galaxy on her own. But when a frenemy from her past claims to know the whereabout of Elida’s mother, she’s forced to return home to stage a rescue in the very last place in the galaxy she should be.
Cosmoknights by Hannah Templer
A teen girl tired of her boring life planetside stows away on a visiting spaceship. Now she just has to convince two Cosmoknights fighting in mech-suit jousting tournaments that she can help them in their quest to save the princesses being married off to the winners. It’s a medieval-inspired futuristic adventure!
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Saga is the space fantasy comic of our times. I couldn’t not include in on this list, but I’m also guessing most people interested in spaceship sci-fi comics are already reading and loving it. Alana and Marko are lovers from two sides of an opposing planetary war — and now that their love has resulted in a daughter of two enemy species, there are certain parties determined to hunt them down. This one is a Hugo winner for a reason, y’all, but it is definitely graphic in pretty much every sense of the word.
Descender by Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen, and Steve Wands
A young robot, TIM-21, awakens after many years to a whole new galaxy, one in which androids have been outlawed altogether. Along with a host of new friends, he’ll have to learn to survive in a time when robots are not only feared but hated. A sci-fi story full of heart and beautiful, watercolor artwork that immerses you in a dreamy landscape of robots and stars.
Outer Darkness by John Layman and Afu Chan
Space horror and hauntings galore! Outer Darkness follows Captain Joshua Rigg and his crew on the Charon during their interstellar adventures. But even though the galaxy has been colonized, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still secrets out there. Terrible, terrible secrets. Demonic possessions, hauntings, and cosmic horror, oh my! Not to mention a crew not all that thrilled to find out their new caption is a bit of a rogue with his own agenda. Good thing they have a god-engine and a ship full of exorcists to keep them in line.
Sea of Stars by Jason Aaron, Dennis Hopeless, Stephen Green, and Rico Renzi
A long-haul shuttler and his son are separated during an accident that destroys their ship. Both of them should be dead. But the father is determined to find his missing son, and the son, Kadyn, has developed mysterious new powers after touching an ancient museum artifact in the ship’s wreckage. Now, an alien race believes he is the reincarnation of their most powerful god — and they’re willing to do anything to ensure they can get him back.
Invisible Kingdom by by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward
The brilliant writer behind the creation of Ms. Marvel is now bringing us a corporate-fueled space adventure where religious sects and intergalactic businesses control everything and hide terrible secrets. An acolyte fleeing her religious order and a captain going against company orders discover an ongoing conspiracy their groups would do anything to protect. Found family in space and complicated political/corporate/religious dynamics? You just know this is my jam.
Prism Stalker by Sloane Leong
A trippy space adventure about colonization. Vep is an indentured servant, forced to work along with the remains of her dying planet. But when a private military firm steals her away to help colonize a new planet for settlement, she sees it as both a terrible irony and an opportunity to help her people. Settling this planet won’t be easy, though, as the ground itself imbues everyone around it with psychedelic, telekinetic powers that are almost impossible to control.
Joyride by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Marcus To, Irma Kniivila, Jim Campbell, and Scott Newman
Life on Earth sucks for Uma, so when the opportunity arises to steal a spaceship and punch through the atmosphere to leave the World Government Alliance in her retro-burners, you know she takes that chance. Alongside her are her best friend and a girl running from Earth for very different reasons. Turns out there’s a whole galaxy full of aliens out there that’s been kept from them, and Uma is determined to see all of it now that she has the chance.
Rocket Salvage by Yehudi Mercado, Bachan, and Jeremy Lawson
Primo Rocket is a down-on-his-luck rocket racer and dad of two. But when he finds himself mixed up in an intergalactic search for some sort of ultimate weapon, his life suddenly gets a lot more complicated. Especially when you throw some mad scientists and intergalactic gangsters into the mix. But a dad’s got to do what a dad’s got to do. And right now, it looks like Primo’s got to save the world.
Bitch Planet by by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Taki Soma, Valentine De Landro, Robert Wilson IV, Cris Peter, Clayton Cowles, and Lauren Sankovitch
Your compliance is required. That is, if you’re a woman, anyway. And in this near-future dystopia, any woman who doesn’t comply with her patriarchal overlords is shipped off to the nearest penal planet to serve out her sentence. Now they just have to survive corrupt guards, hidden agendas, and the deadliest game on this — or any — planet.
LaGuardia by Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford
When a pregnant Nigerian American doctor, Future Nwafor Chukwuebuka, smuggles an illegal alien plant through security at LaGuardia International and Interstellar Airport, strange things start to happen. A growing population of African and shape-shifting alien immigrants in the South Bronx battle against travel bans and discrimination — and now Future and her plant are among them.
Okay, yes, slightly less space-faring since it’s set on Earth, but since it deals so heavily with aliens, I think LaGuardia still earns its place on this list.
Southern Cross by Becky Cloonan, Andy Belanger, Lee Loughridge, and Serge LaPointe
A murder in space and a sister determined to find answers: Alex Braith is retracing her sister’s steps to Titan, a refinery moon off of Saturn. Mining is a dangerous gig, of course, but Alex’s sister wasn’t a miner. She was an administrator. So how exactly did she die? Aboard the Southern Cross, a tanker flight inbound to Titan, Alex searches for answers. But the closer she get, the more questions arise. And the more horrifying the truth may turn out to be.
Tartarus by Johnnie Christmas and Jack Cole
After learning of her true parentage, the daughter of a vicious warlord must decide whether to continue her mother’s ruthless mission or fight on the side of galactic order. Tartarus’s role as a colony in the ongoing galactic war is vital, and Tilde’s choice may just turn the tides for better or worse.
Far Sector by N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell
One of the best SFF writers of our time teaming up with DC to write a Green Lantern comic? Color me intrigued and totally on board. Despite its size, the mega-metropolis of the City Enduring has an incredibly low rate of violent crime. How? By stripping its citizens of their ability to feel. But that’s all about to change. And as the newly chosen Green Lantern tasked with keeping the peace, Sojourner “Jo” Mullein’s life is about to get a lot more complicated.
Roche Limit by Michael Moreci and Vic Malhotra
A detective story set on a space colony. Roche Limit is a melting pot for crime and secrets. But when young women start to go missing, people take note. Specifically, a former detective who’s given up everything to find her sister, a drug dealer keeping his secrets close to his chest, and a woman determined to protect girls from harm, no matter the cost. It’s a noir space mystery.
Afar by Leila del Duca and Kit Seaton
When a woman suddenly develops the ability to astral project, inhabiting the bodies of people hundreds of lightyears away, she is taken by these incredible new powers. But with power comes responsibility, as the saying goes, and when Boetema and her brother find the trouble they’ve caused on this world and others about to catch up with them, they have to make things right before things get out of hand.
Space Bandits by Mark Millar and Matteo Scalera
Two of the biggest — and most wanted — crime bosses in the universe, Thena Khole and Cody Blue, run heists all across the galaxy. But when they both find themselves betrayed by their crews, there’s only one thing left to do: take their revenge. Now all they have to do is break out of prison and get back at the people who put them behind bars.
Black Star by Eric Glover and Arielle Jovellanos
A crew of scientists takes on a dangerous and daring mission to retrieve a plant on a far-off world that may just hold to key to saving countless lives. But interstellar travel is dangerous, and a terrible accident leaves only Harper North and a ruthless former crew mate alive on a desolate planet and racing for a rescue shuttle built for one.
Release date: May 11, 2021
These 20 must-read spacefaring comics not enough for you? How about some women–centered space comics? Or maybe one of these 9 space comics that will take you to the final frontier?