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The must-read comics of the rest of 2022

From superhero tales to indie spectacle, you need to watch out for these books

Various comic book covers including Catwoman, the Fantastic Four, and Superman spread across a black background Graphic: Pete Volk/Polygon

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2022 has already been a stellar year for comics. Gorgeous graphic novels like Wash Day Diaries and Clementine have enchanted us with their thoughtful storytelling. San Diego Comic-Con returned with a slightly subdued, but safely run celebration. This summer we’re getting multiple massive comics events including Marvel characters teaming up to fight gods and DC’s universe going to the dark side (or should that be “seid”?). It’s also arguably the long overdue season of the Sandman as Netflix’s smash-hit show introduces the world of Dream to millions. Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero was a box-office hit and She-Hulk has finally entered the MCU with a fourth-wall-breaking bang.

But the year is not over yet! In fact, there’s still a ton of amazing, exciting, and delightful comic books to enjoy and explore as the year comes to a close. Let’s take a look at a few major themes and specific dates to put on your calendar.

Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths (ongoing)

The Justice League flies together toward a glowing earth-like world with the text “A League Reborn” on the cover Image: Joshua Williamson, Daniel Sampere/DC Comics

After killing the Justice League as a metatextual blow to the DC Universe, Joshua Williamson has been on a roll. He’s currently reshaping the multiverse to his own vision with Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths, an evolution of Dark Crisis. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes and whether it’ll have the massive impact of the original event from which it takes its name. But with the series running until the end of the year, there’s plenty of time to wait to see how Pariah’s plan to end all Crisis events forever could change the DC Universe.

Batman: One Bad Day (ongoing)

Catwoman poses with a purple bird brooch as Batman’s shadow enters frame on the cover of One Bad Day: Catwoman Image: G. Willow Wilson, Jamie McKelvie/DC Comics

Another big DC event this fall throws a roster of top-tier creators into Batman’s worst night ever. Batman: One Bad Day is made up of a series of prestige one-shots each featuring Batman facing down against one of his most famous rogues over the course of 24 hours — and brand new explorations of their origin stories. The series began with One Bad Day: Riddler, and will also include issues focused on Two-Face, the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Clayface, Ra’s al Ghul, and Catwoman. With creative teams as impressive as their villainous casts — including a superhero superstar Selina Kyle team-up from Jamie McKelvie and G. Willow Wilson — One Bad Day is a series to watch. Plus, fall is villain season, so it’s perfect.

The Bat-Family steps into the spotlight (ongoing)

Robin sitting on the top of a building, his cape billowing in the wind Image: Jorge Jiménez/DC Comics

There’s never been a better time to be a Bat-Family fan. Not only are the kids and their “world’s OK-est dad” all over TV, cartoons, and webcomics, but the mainline DC books are serving up your favorites too. In Batman: Gotham Knights – Gilded City, dueling timelines interweave to reveal Batman’s final case before the highly anticipated game. And one of the most beloved but often overlooked Bat-Kids, Tim Drake, will be getting his own series, Tim Drake: Robin!

Gordita: Built Like This (fall)

A Mexican woman describes her body shape and compares herself to famous Mexican celebrities in panels featuring Selena and Thalia Image: Daisy Ruiz/Black Josei Press

Black Josei Press has been putting out nonstop hits this year, and its fall release is Gordita: Built Like This. Cartoonist Daisy “Draizys” Ruiz expands on her six page minicomic Built Like SpongeBob, which was displayed as part of NYU’s ¡Oye! Cuéntame un Cuento. Following a Mexican American teenager in the Bronx, this colorful and dynamic comic explores low self-esteem and body dysmorphia, and how friendship and mentorship helps Gordita begin to see herself as more than just a body and find her own voice.

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (Sept. 13)

A young girl stands on an oil rig looking out at a cliff side in the cover for Kate Beaton’s Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands Image: Kate Beaton/Drawn & Quarterly

Kate Beaton is best known for her wildly popular humor cartoons and delightful kids books. But her newest release published by Drawn & Quarterly is something entirely different. Beaton’s first full-length graphic narrative is an autobiographical tale of her time working in the oil sands. Leaving Nova Scotia aged 21, Katie Beaton needed a job. So she did what many others before her had done: She headed to Alberta looking for work. Soon she was working at the oil camps, and this in-depth and moving story shares her experiences there. Startlingly honest and vital, this is a personal yet universal story about work, exploitation, nature, and their intersections.

Other Ever Afters: New Queer Fairy Tales (Sept. 20)

A royal, a magical creature, a woman holding a goose and a man stabbing an apple with a sword surround the words “Other Ever Afters” Image: Melanie Gillman/Random House Graphic

You’ve probably already read some of Mel Gillman’s stunning fairy tales, as these began life as 24-Hour Comics Day projects. Each of the lovely stories centers on fantastical queer romance and community, imagining bright and radical happily-ever-afters. After HSTHETE (a classic yarn of girl-meets-goat-goddess) went viral, Gillman was approached to create a collection of their tales. Other Ever Afters is that book, and it includes new, never-before-seen fairy tales, expanding on their gorgeous storytelling tradition. If you’re looking for a fairy-tale collection that can be passed down for generations, Other Ever Afters is that book, and it’s nothing short of a joy to read.

Look Back (Sept. 20)

a young person in a green sweatshirt sits at a desk working at a desk in the cover of Tatsuki Fujimoto’s Look Back Image: Tatsuki Fujimoto/Viz Media

Chainsaw Man creator Tatsuki Fujimoto took the internet by storm when he shared this heartbreaking webcomic about two estranged friends and their lifelong relationship. Now that Viz is releasing a print edition of Look Back, Fujimoto is ready to make you weep all over again. Like so many of the greatest manga stories, this one-shot centers around the creation of the art form itself. Ever since she was little, Ayumu Fujino has wanted nothing more than to make manga. And as part of her elementary school magazine, she does just that.

When another, even more talented artist begins to challenge her, the pair become deeply connected. This lovely story follows the girls throughout the ups and downs of their friendship. But as anyone who has read Chainsaw Man will guess, this isn’t a simple yarn. There’s genre-bending tragedy afoot, and Fujino will have to face it to move on with her life and art.

Fantastic Four: Full Circle (Sept. 27)

Final cover art for Fantastic Four: Full Circle in which the Marvel heroes are getting sucked into the Negative Zone Image: Alex Ross/Abrams ComicArts

One of the most anticipated comics of the year, Alex Ross takes inspiration from a couple of classic ’60s Fantastic Four stories penned by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, reimagining them in utterly unique fashion. This is Ross’ first solo graphic novel, and he’s clearly had a blast bringing his famed painting style to Marvel’s first family.

The 64-page book sees Ross revisit Fantastic Four #51 and Fantastic Four Annual #6, both stories that are heavily concerned with the Negative Zone. The first is where the location was originally introduced and the second sees the Fantastic Four venture into the surreal space. That latter issue also sees the debut of Franklin Richards. Ross has a lot of fun stuff to play with here and his technicolor palette looks to add a whole new vibe. Blurring the lines between an art and comic book, the project is the result of an exciting collaboration between Abrams ComicsArt and Marvel Comics.

Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe, Vol. 1 (Sep. 28)

A person who looks just like Anne Hathaway is painted to life by paintbrushes on the cover of Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe, Vol. 1 Image: Hirohiko Araki/Viz Media

Spinning off from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, the hilarious horror anthology series Thus Spoke Rohan Kishibe began life as a collection of one-shots following the eccentric mangaka from Hirohiko Araki’s smash-hit series. While viewers might have already become acquainted with these stories thanks to the very good — but far too short — Netflix adaptation, this is the first time that the comics have been officially translated into English. Set between the JoJo’s entries Diamond Is Unbreakable and Golden Wind, Rohan’s supernatural shenanigans often center around his powerful Stand abilities and his career as an artist. Hilarious, silly, and often really scary, this’ll be a great addition to your manga shelf.

The return of Miracleman to Marvel Comics (October)

A wispy contemplative version of Mircleman sits atop a planet dissolving into black goo Image: Peach Momoko/Marvel Comics

The story of Marvel’s Miracleman is one of comics’ most dramatic publishing sagas. Decades of rights battles over the character invented by British creator Mick Anglo in 1954 mean that the hero has rarely been seen on the page in decades. After a popular transgressive early-’80s reboot by Alan Moore and Alan Davis in Dez Skinn’s Warrior magazine, Marvelman became Miracleman at indie publisher Eclipse. Later, Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham’s run on the hero was cut short by financial issues at Eclipse. Following great success with Spawn in the early ’90s, creator Todd McFarlane bought the rights to Eclipse’s catalog, assuming it came with the Miracleman. Instead, he bought himself a massive headache and a protracted lawsuit with Neil Gaiman.

It seemed too good to be true when Marvel announced in 2013 that it had acquired the rights to Miracleman. Over the years, the company has attempted to bring the character back, but more secretive legal issues stymied that until now. But, starting in October, Gaiman and Buckingham will finally continue their Silver Age arc. And Marvel is planning a number of other Miracleman books to take advantage of one of their newest (and oldest) heroes.

AXE tie-ins galore (October)

Iron Fist snaps his fingers while looking at a green jewel blade reflecting a sinsiter face Image: Alyssa Wong, Michael Yg/Marvel Comics

Kieron Gillen headed back to the X-Office this year with the delightful Immortal X-Men. That much-lauded Quiet Council series led directly into Marvel’s epic AXE: Judgment Day event. That acronym stands for Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals, and the crossover features all three of the famed Marvel teams in cosmic battle for the fate and control of the Marvel Universe. If you’ve been enjoying the god-fighting action then you’ll be very happy this October, as when the final issue drops, Marvel is releasing a trio of AXE one-shots to go along with it. First up is AXE: Eternals #1, which is a story-connected must-read. Then you’ve got AXE: Iron Fist #1, followed by AXE: Starfox #1 featuring that already viral Kevin Wada cover. Plus there’s a couple of tie-in issues, too, with Captain Marvel #42 and Fantastic Four #48. AXE it up, baby!

Earthdivers #1 (Oct. 5)

Image: Rafael Albuquerque/IDW Comics

Bestselling Indigenous author Stephen Graham Jones teams up with artist Davide Gianfelice, colorist Joana Lafuente, and letterer Steve Wands to send a Lakota explorer, Tad, back through time to kill Christopher Columbus and stop the founding of America. This time-travel tale comes from IDW Originals and has already been picked up for adaptation. Transgressive, ambitious sci-fi like this is exactly what we need, and with Jones at the helm it’s sure to be a brilliant read.

The Night Eaters: She Eats the Night (Oct. 11)

Image: Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda/Abrams ComicArts

Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda are the minds behind the multiple Eisner-winning fantasy series Monstress. Now the pair are turning their hands to horror in a brand-new graphic novel. This Abrams ComicsArts release is the first in a trilogy from the creators and looks terrifying in the best way. Milly and Billy are Chinese American twins struggling to keep their family restaurant afloat. When their parents come home to visit, their mother, Ipo, begins to worry that she’s pampered her children, so she enlists them to help clean an empty house next door. What seems like a routine chore becomes a night of gory, hellish, supernatural family bonding, and the children will quickly come to realize there’s a lot about their mother they don’t know.

Where Black Stars Rise (Oct. 18)

Image: Nadia Shammas, Marie Enger/Tor Nightfire

Nadia Shammas and Marie Enger tackle eldritch horror in their new graphic novel from Tor Nightfire. It’s the first graphic novel from the imprint, and it looks like a perfect fit. Set in Brooklyn, the story follows a recently licensed therapist, Dr. Amal Robardin, and her first patient, a young woman called Yasmin, who suffers terrible night terrors. Her struggles seem beyond the grasp of Dr. Robardin, especially after Yasmin becomes obsessed with Robert Chambers’ The King in Yellow and disappears. Desperate to help her patient, Amal heads out to find her, soon finding herself swept up in the nightmarish world of Carcosa, the realm of the King in Yellow.

Black Paradox (Oct. 25)

Image: Junji Ito/Viz Media

It’s been a stellar few years for fans of horror maestro Junji Ito. Thanks to Viz’s expensive and beautiful reprints, readers have gotten to access a ton of previously unreleased or hard-to-find Ito stories. From collections like Deserter and Lovesickness to one-shot stories like Remina and Sensor, Ito lovers have been spoilt for choice. This year Viz released a brand-new anthology of terrifying stories created by the mangaka during the COVID-19 pandemic called The Liminal Zone. But his most highly anticipated release of 2022 doesn’t hit shelves until October: Black Paradox brings his infamous tale of a suicide club to English readers in a stunning hardcover edition. Brought together by a website for people with suicidal ideation, four strangers become obsessed with finding the “perfect” death, but fate has other plans.

I Thought You Loved Me (Nov. 8)

Image: MariNaomi

MariNaomi unravels a personal mystery in this autobiographical graphic novel told through collage, prose, and, of course, comics. Looking back at a close friendship that shaped her teens and early 20s, Mari wants to find closure years after Jodie mysteriously ends their friendship. Though the reason behind the fallout shocked Mari, she’s ready to forgive, so she heads out to find her old friend and recover her lost memories of their life together on this intensely personal journey.

Two Graves (Nov. 9)

Image: Genevieve Valentine, Annie Wu, Ming Doyle/Image Comics

Two Graves comes from a supergroup of creative teams: writer Genevieve Valentine with artists Annie Wu and Ming Doyle alongside colorist Lee Loughridge. The two artists are key to the story taking place from two perspectives. One is Emilia’s, and the other is Death’s. An unexpected series of events sets the two on a noir-drenched undead roadtrip, though Emilia has no idea who her companion really is. This contemporary Persephone reimagining sounds near perfect, and it’ll be total dynamite to see how Wu and Doyle’s collaboration comes together in this ambitious and experimental creator-owned new release.

Kwändǖr (Nov. 15)

Image: Cole Pauls/Conundrum Press

Cole Pauls’ comics Pizza Punks and the Broken Pencil Magazine award-winning Dakwäkãda Warriors have already garnered the Tahltan comic artist, illustrator, and printmaker a passionate reader base. Kwändǖr, his full-length collection of comics from zines, comic fests, and magazines will undoubtedly broaden that audience. This collection promises comics on Southern Tutchone language and cultural practices, racism, Yukon history, how to acknowledge and respect the Indigenous land you live on, and more. It’ll all be tied together by Pauls’ wit, humor, and uniquely cool and accessible style. This is a must-read this fall.

I Hate Fairyland returns (Nov. 16)

A young woman with green curly hair and “Fluff Off” t-shirt gives a giant smile revealing one missing tooth while she holds a bloody axe, which props her evil rat friend Image: Skottie Young/Image Comics

Skottie Young returns to his smash-hit creator-owned comic I Hate Fairyland in November. In case you’ve never checked out the extremely gory and fun fantasy comic, it follows a girl named Gertrude who, like the protagonists of many portal stories before her, is transported to the titular world. But this isn’t your daddy’s fairyland. The series launched in 2015 and became a huge success, but it’s been a few years since the last issue. That’s why fans were very excited to learn I Hate Fairyland would be returning, and the wait is almost over. Young will be writing the comic but is handing art duties over to Brett Parson. Relaunching at #1, you’ll be able to catch up with Gert and see what she’s been up to in the real world, and it looks like a violent riot.

Monica Rambeau: Photon #1 (December)

If you can believe it, Monica Rambeau has never had her own solo series. It’s the kind of travesty that still occurs in Big Two comics, but luckily the best Avenger — go read Roger Stern, John Buscema, and Tom Palmer’s ’80s run on the series if you haven’t yet — is finally getting her due, and she’s bringing one of comics’ brightest lights with her. Ironheart co-creator Eve Ewing will be writing the solo series joined by artist Michael Sta. Maria. This wild adventure will reintroduce the hero known as Photon, and the solicit promises a journey that’ll push the boundaries of her powers and take readers through both time and space. Perfectly timed to bring Monica back to the forefront before The Marvels, this is sure to be a rad addition to the Marvel cosmic canon.

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