We are nearing the end of another year and it’s time once again for some sort of list of the best work out there in comics and graphic novels. I truly find these lists useful. I know that various things often don’t fit neatly into annual recaps and such. Works are generally years in the making, often coming out in different editions, spilling over into more than one year of promotion. That said, lists are a way to pin things down and are fun to go back to and compare what you thought then with what you think now. I gather some choice titles. Sometimes a Top Ten will suffice. January is a good month to take stock and jump back into last year’s pile (so many titles are latecomers). It works this way: November through February bleeds through a mad rush of marketing into a slower season for contemplation and planning for the new year, a good time for reviewers to pull out a few more titles that were hot during the last year. Here is a Top Twenty-Five list of comics that made it onto my radar during 2022.
Ideas Can Be Weapons. A free comic created by Paul Buhle, Dave Wagner and Nick Thorkelson. Find it here.
I need to place this comic at the very top so to emphasize its significance. I don’t keep this blog going just for my health, although I would suggest to you that blogging is indeed good for you. It allows for moments just like this: spreading the word about this unique work. Read my review right here.
Gnartoons by James the Stanton (Silver Sprocket)
James the Stanton masterfully navigates serious craftsmanship with loopy wicked humor. Yes, you can have it all if you’re dedicated to excellent far out comix! Here is my review.
DARK SPACES is your entry point into the new line of IDW Originals. This is a mashup of sorts, lots of great character studies and an intriguing thriller/heist story is set up in the first issue. My review here.
PUBLIC DOMAIN is quite possibly the final word on the comics industry. Well, at least for now. Check out my totally awesome review here.
AS A CARTOONIST should be handed out as required reading for anyone trying to better understand cartooning, cartoonists, and life in general. My review here. And, by the way, I also interviewed Noah. Yeah, no kidding. Check it out here.
THE LAST MECHANICAL MONSTER is one of the most original and stylish works that I have come across in a long time. Here is my review and interview with the book’s creator, Brian Fies.
JOSEPH SMITH AND THE MORMONS is a book about many things, not the least of which is a search for making sense of faith. Great review by Paul Buhle. And, by the way, I also interviewed Noah. Yeah, no kidding. Check it out here.
DOMESTICATED AFTERLIFE started it all, a whole new appreciation of the comics medium, a wake-up call that reminds me of what I’m looking for in comics. I humbly offer to you my review over at The Comics Journal.
G-G-G Ghost Stories by Brandon Lehmann (Birdcage Bottom Books)
Brandon Lehmann is one of our great satirist cartoonists. This collection is definitely one of his best, an excellent entry point into the mad, mad, mad world of Lehmann. Read my review at The Comics Journal.
PINKY is truly something else. As I say, I want more, more, more of this. For now, check out the first book. My review here.
ENDSWELL is a comics series that is too good to pass up. My review here.
LEFTY is quite weird and heartwarming, a rare feat. My review here.
PRETENDING IS LYING is one of the best works in comics on the theme of seeking out the truth. My review here.
SCHAPPI is, by far, a standout work in comics by comics superstar Anna Haifisch. Check out my pretty snazzy review at The Comics Journal right here. And do you realize that I interviewed Anna as well? Check it out here.
DIEGO RIVERA is yet another marvelous book from across the pond at SelfMadeHero. Read my super dope review at The Comics Journal here.
Saga, Volume 10 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
A comic at the epitome of its greatness. Of course, we need to have it on this fickin’ list! You think I’m a Grinch or something?
Ducks by Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly)
Ah, this begs the question, Will I be interviewing Kate Beaton anytime soon? This is it, folks, her magnum opus . . . at least for a good long time.
Queen of Snails by Maureen Burdock (Graphic Mundi)
As I say in my review, this charmed me right away.
Brigadistas! Miguel Ferguson. Paul Buhle. Fraser Ottanelli. Anne Timmons. (Monthly Review Press)
We close out with another delightful gem: the story of three American teenagers fighting in the Spanish Civil War. Here’s my review.
DYING FOR ATTENTION is such a remarkable work in comics on the themes of aging, death and dying. It’s serious stuff and yet cartoonist Susan MacLeod provides not only insight but joy and even humor. My review. My author interview.
SMAHYGUY is one of the damn best comics memoirs you’ll ever read. As we close out this year, let us not forget Eric Orner’s heroic and ebullient biography of Boston’s own, Rep. Barney Frank. My review here.
Alrighty then, I have a plane to catch and turkey with giblets and gravy have been promised to me to the point of distraction. See you later, but hopefully not too much later! Here’s to a great 2023 and beyond! I promise I’ll get to your book if you’ve sent me something–and included candy! Remember to nominate me for an award (Eisner, Ignatz, Harvey, even a Peabody!) And when do I get a key to the city and finally get to shake hands with Jeff Smith? Have I earned my turkey and giblets? God, I hope so!