Comics Are Trying to Break Your Heart #51 by Drew Barth
Another New Year.
It is another new year. Oh god, it is a new decade. And, as always, there’s new comics to get excited about and a new decade of comics to see come into existence. The comics releasing this year are the ones that might establish just how interesting this new comic decade will become. Is all of this positivity about upcoming books a coping mechanism for the rest of the year? Yes.
Umma’s Table by Yeon-sik Hong—The next graphic novel from the author of Uncomfortably, Happily is a meditation on family and food. After moving to the countryside and learning of his parent’s situation—living in a basement apartment, suffering from illness and alcoholism—Madang’s life is split in half. Pulled between his new life and worrying for his parent’s, Madang frequently remembers the meals of his childhood, notably his mother’s kimchi. Told in a black and white, anthropomorphized style, Hong’s newest story is something that promises a story of heartbreak and home that will resonate well into the next decade.
The Sky is Blue with a Single Cloud by Kuniko Tsurita—After over fifty years, the short work of Kuniko Tsurita is finally going to be made available in English. As a collection of short works throughout her life, The Sky is Blue is essential reading that spotlights a creator often overlooked in literary manga circles of the time. Showcasing her work chronologically, readers will be able to see the development and shifts of Tsurita’s work throughout her lifetime.
An Embarrassment of Witches by Sophie Goldstein and Jenn Jordan—A fantasy Bildungsroman that feels hauntingly familiar in its examination of the magical and mundane. Centered around two friends, Rory and Angela, as they navigate the rest of their lives. Goldstein and Jordan craft a fantastic world filled to bursting with color and character that parallels the real world in all its everyday annoyances and anxieties. An Embarrassment of Witches looks like it is going to be one of the most fun books of the next year.
Rascal by Jean-Luc Deglin—We can all enjoy an adorable cat and that is what Rascal promises us. A collection of the original Crapule comics in Spirou magazine, Rascal is naps, scratches, and everything a cat promises in-between. Told in a two-tone style, Deglin is able to capture all of the odd frustrations of cat ownership and the love cat owners still extend to their pets even after all of the bites and blood.
November, Vol. II by Matt Fraction and Elsa Charretier—The second volume of Fraction and Charretier’s graphic novel trilogy, this volume promises a continuation of the mysterious crime story we had talked about previously. Anticipation for this particular graphic novel is high as the first volume set the bar so high, so to see what Fraction and Charretier can accomplish here is already getting me excited to get more of their story.
Tartarus by Johnnie Christmas and Jack T. Cole—From the writer of Excellence and the artist of The Unsoundis a new space epic from Image. Centered on Tilde and her framing as a war criminal due to her mother’s warlord past, this new series is one of the most interesting coming out next year. With a fascinating aesthetic and a plot that draws a reader in just from the synopsis alone, Christmas and Cole have created a new series to really look forward to.
Pulp by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips—How much do I have to say here? It’s Brubaker and Phillips! The team returns with a new graphic novel, this time delving deeper into the past after their previous work on The Fade Out, Pulp centers on a pulp writer in the 30s and the stories he has become drawn into. Anticipation is high, but the quality always matches what Brubaker and Phillips bring us.
The Flapper Queens: Women Cartoonists of the Jazz Age edited by Trina Robbins—There is always an era of comics we are missing, artists unknown to us, and stories that we simply don’t see. Thanks to Trina Robbins, the stories told by the women cartoonists of the 20s are finally available in one, full-color volume for readers to enjoy. From Ethel Hays to Nell Brinkley to Eleanor Schorer, this volume is expansive in its scope and complete in its content. As far as historical compilations go, The Flapper Queens already promises to be one of the best of the year already.
Ghost Writer by Rayco Pulido—Available in English for the first time, Pulido’s noir dark comedy already looks like one of the most interesting, and stylish, graphic novels to release this year. Set in 40s Barcelona, the story revolves around Laia, her husband’s disappearance, and the hypnosis she undergoes to deal with her life suddenly shattering. Pulido’s linework is one of the most immediate things to jump out just from looking at the cover, the cross-hatched shadows especially give off a menacing aura, and only heightens the anticipation for this superb graphic novel.
Cowboy by Rikke Villadsen—The best westerns always have that tinge of the surreal to them, and with Rikke Villadsen’s Cowboy, that surreality goes further than ever before. From flight to fading from reality, Villadsen’s western pays tribute to the spaghetti westerns of old while examining the masculinity that has come to define them. Releasing this March from Fantagraphics, it already looks like it is going to be a full-color splendor that will resonate well into the decade.
Get excited. We’re in the future.
Drew Barth (Episode 331) is a writer residing in Winter Park, FL. He received his MFA from the University of Central Florida. Right now, he’s worrying about his cat.