Best comics and graphic novels of 2022

“A Righteous Thirst for Revenge” | Picture Comics

“A Righteous Thirst for Revenge” | Picture Comics

Heroes with severed arms, real-life dictators, sensitive whoops, a man posing as an assassin. It’s early 2022, but these characters are already claiming to be among the best in comics and graphic novels this year. Of course, any Best of the Year list has subjectivity baked in the gutters, and the expansive nature of comics means subjectivity is inevitable. There are webcomics, Substack comics, floppy disks, miniseries, crafts, graphic novels, YA novels, one-shots, Kickstarter-funded indies, and much more. Still, whether you like stories about groups of kids navigating an apocalypse, people with super strength, voyeuristic peeks into a blood-soaked underworld, memoirs, or graphic essays, there’s plenty of new work out there. to do. Here are some of the great works released in 2022.

READ ALSO : The best comics and graphic novels of 2021 and the best movies of 2022 (so far)

black widow best of the year
Marvel Comics

Black Widow

Screenwriter: Kelly Thompson; Pencils: Elena Casagrande; Inks: Elisabetta D’Amico; Colorist: Jordie Bellaire; Letterer: Cory Petit of VC

The series of 15 issues of Thompson and Casagrande Black Widow ended in April, and it might be one of the best series Marvel has made in recent memory, belonging in conversation with can’t-miss races like the Krakoa era. x-men and The Immortal Hulk. The 2022 issues end Natasha Romanov’s stay in San Francisco, “for now.” The final arc, “Die by the Blade”, has Natasha confronting The Living Blade even as the team around her continues to grow. At her base in San Francisco, she’s joined by White Widow (Yelena Belova), Hawkeye (Clint Barton), the Winter Soldier, Spider-Girl, and a mysterious girl named Lucy Nguyen who has recently gained powers. Together they hunt down several mysteries as some of those mysteries pursue them. The ending sticks on the landing, thanks in part to the exceptional artistry of Casagrande and Bellaire, who can use a single panel to communicate a cascade of motion across a room or take eight small panels to less than half a page. to slow down the moments before a bomb explodes. There is a mastery of the reader’s attention in each issue.

nd stevenson comics best of the year
Sub-stack

It’s alright, it’s alright, just understand

By ND Stevenson

It was inevitable that something from Substack would end up on this list. The newsletter service caused a stir last year when it announced a roster of high-profile creators who would be leading subscription comics. through its platform, including Molly Knox Ostertag, Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Jeff Lemire, Saladin Ahmed and others. But ND Stevenson (Lumberjacks, Runaways) runs one of the most exciting series on the platform. Its good is everywhere in the best possible way. The largely autobiographical comics are the most important email in your inbox twice a week, whether he writes about the transition experience, mental health, self-proclaimed slack comics, how many babies like Jimmy Buffet, or even just rocks. (No seriously, “Rocks” might be my favorite comic so far.) Some are sincere; others are clunky and read like a scrap of Sunday paper. It’s a delicate but natural balance.

the forest best graphic novels of the year
fantagraphies

The forest

By Thomas Ott

Theoretically, you could read without words from Ott The forest in a few minutes. But I don’t know if it’s possible to open the book and not get lost in Ott’s intricate art of scratching. The detail, the texture, the depth of the imagery feels like an illusion that draws you deeper into the world of this moody, nameless boy at the heart of the story as he faces the unfathomable power of nature. In The forest, both dark and hopeful, a boy wanders from a funeral in a forest. He physically and emotionally finds his way in a world where it’s easy to choose fear over heartache. There is healing in the embrace of something as massive and mysterious as a forest – Ott needs no words to communicate that power here.

best graphic novels of the year
Drawn and quarterly

Putin’s Russia: The Rise of a Dictator

By Darryl Cunningham

I read this before Russia invaded Ukraine and was struck by how enlightening this book seemed at the time. It has become more pressing reading ever since. Putin’s Russia is a graphic depiction of Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, starting in his childhood. As a graphic novel, space dictates it’ll never be as deep of a dive as you’ll get from something like Masha Gessen The faceless manbut it feeds on his desire to communicate our knowledge gaps about the Russian leader and where his motivations might lie. Putin’s Russia follows the style of similar books by Cunningham, such as Billionaires. The art is sparse, taking you quickly from place to place. At best, it connects the country’s history and the motivations of its leader to what we see in the news. He uses reference images – Boris Yeltsin standing on a tank or dancing, the fall of the Berlin Wall, Putin on a jet ski, Putin shirtless on horseback, Pussy Riot in a balaclava – to connect the dots between Putin’s time in the KGB and the leader who ordered an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, interfered in foreign elections and refused to let go of power in Russia.

a righteous thirst for revenge best comics
Picture Comics

A righteous thirst for revenge

Screenwriter: Rick Remender; Artist: André Lima Araujo; Colors: Chris O’Halloran; Letters: Rous Wooten

Everything that explains the story of A righteous thirst for revenge does little to understand exactly why it’s so great. The first issue barely uses words, and the anonymous protagonist speaks only once in the last 11 pages. Yet you see a man who clearly carries secrets, making his way out of a city into the countryside before entering a house that is not his own. It’s a life-changing moment. At least we think so. What follows is the story of a ring of assassins, a hitman who may not be a hitman, and many people who are confusing collateral damage. Hitmen, secret identities, code names, crimes, murders, fugitives. It’s bloody but calm, chaotic but contemplative. Part of why the story works is the masterful collaboration between Remender, Araújo, and O’Halloran, using minimal dialogue, unexpected panel structures, creative lettering, and great emotion to tell the story.

soul plumber best comics of the year
CC black label

soul plumber

Written by Marcus Parks and Henry Zebrowski; Pencils by John McCrea and PJ Holden; Inks by John McCrea; Colors by Mike Spicer; Letters from Becca Carey

If you only have one word to explain what is happening in soul plumber, you can use layman. Or blasphemous, or chaotic. Basically, it’s a weird race. Gas station attendant Edgar believes he is destined for something more, that the Lord has more in store for him than he has now. Enter a group of genuinely religious individuals who also work with peddlers to sell the Soul Plumber, a device that can extract demons from your soul. It may or may not be a scam, but either way, Edgar can’t afford it. So he steals blueprints to build his own, and… it kind of works. The rest of the journey is filled with an alien cloud being who cuts off pieces of other bodies to make themselves into human forms to talk to others, religious fanatics, a noseless best friend, a sex cult run by the Fuckmother and an era- covering demon in a jar. It’s everywhere, but that’s the fun. The story holds through pure absurdity, but every moment is delightful. It’s funny, quietly epic, and so silly that you can’t resist every number just to see what’s possible in Edgar’s world.

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Dustin Nelson is a senior writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.

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