I went on a deep dive this weekend and looked at what I had read over the last twelve months. I’ve made my way through an awful lot of comics. Possibly more than any previously year. So this was a difficult task in working out what were favourites. So I set myself some rules.
- It had to be released in English language in 2022.
- No reprints allowed.
- I had to have read the whole comic/volume/graphic novel. Not just a few stories of a larger anthology.
- It could not contain anything by myself or my two ACP fellow hosts Vince and Dan. This counts for larger anthologies or books I have written the introduction for or was otherwise engaged as an Editor or script/dialogue assist.
- I tried for ten – but ended settling for eleven.
We also ran through this list and much, much more on the Christmas show of the Awesome Comics Podcast. You can play it here.
So, here are the results in reverse order (all images are used purely for review purposes only).
11. Day of the Flying Head by Shintaro Kago.
Published in English language by Hollow Press this is a trip and a half. Those with some knowledge of this creator will greet it with open eyes. It’s weird in a Manga meets Metal Hurlant way.
You can buy a copy by visiting the Hollow Press site right here.
10. Strangers Fanzine Presents: Dear Mother and Other Stories created by Bharu Pratap.
What Strangers Fanzine Says – ‘A collection of 5 different short stories, many of which are absolutely unsettling body horror. Bhanu Pratap is a master at creating deformed shapes and beautiful design to create a completely unnerving experience! ‘
This was a real experience and I wrote some thoughts about this volume back earlier in the year that you can have a look at here. Truly original and a creator I can’t wait to see more from.
9. Meddle – by Marc Wagner.
This is the second book on the list that was published by Strangers Publishing. I was lucky enough to grab a copy in the Summer and it scratched all those Charles Burns/Lynchian/Slasher Movie itches I had all at once! It plays cleverly with preconceptions and shuffles the deck of what you might expect from a comic.
You can grab a copy by visiting the Strangers Publishing shop right here.
8. Deadlines by Adam Falp.
Probably the funniest comic I have read this year. Adam is a powerhouse of comics creation and this was one of my favourites. It tells the story of a not totally unfamiliar artist who may also have the ability to pleasure a woman whilst inking a page!
7. Magic Order: Volume 3 by Mark Millar, Gigi Cavenago and others. (Published by Image Comics).
Honestly, you could choose anything from the current Millarworld catalogue and come up with a solid gold winner. This edged ahead due to the evolving plot, the ongoing (albeit in mini-series) style of presentation and the absolutely gob-smacking artwork by Cavenago.
Pop over to Image Comics and have a Butcher’s Hook and some more of this artwork!
6. Department of Truth – James Tynion, Martin Simmonds and others.
This is the real deal. Artwork that will blow your mind along with a plot that makes the X-Files feel like it was written by Enid Blyton. There is a hardback/omnibus coming in the new year that I shall be triple-dipping on for sure. Glorious.
Have a listen to the ACP interview with Martin right here and find out some more. But, be careful, people may be watching…
5. Fantastic Four: Full Circle. Created by Alex Ross. (Published by Marvel & Abrams Comics Arts).
This is the book that finally broke me down and had me enjoying the work of Alex Ross. It’s helped onto the list by referencing one of the greatest Lee/Kirby/Sinnott FF stories of all time.
You can hear myself and Eamonn having a dig into it on a recent NIA podcast right here.
4. Keeping Two by Jordan Crane. (Published by Fantagraphics).
This was twenty years in the making and has rightly so garnered a lot of attention in the comics and mainstream press. I went in feeling the weight of recommendation/expectation on my shoulders but came out the other side a convert. The pacing on this is astounding and Crane allows everything to breathe and slowly, slowly develop. Tense and personal. Highly recommended.
Find more about it over at the Fantagraphics site right here.
3. Days of Sand by Aimée de Jongh. (Published in the UK by Self Made Hero).
A young photographer goes to the Dust Bowl in the southern states of the US in 1937. As he tries to photograph and document the farming communities he learns of the lives they lead and the extreme difficulties they encounter daily. This is a beautifully realised album that exemplifies the possibilities shown us by European BD publishing.
Have a look for yourself right here.
2. Plaza by Yuichi Yokoyama (Edited by Ryan Holmberg).
This book was a revelation in what can be done in the medium. It works through the reader sticking his head into the craziest pinball machine you ever saw. The world makes total and zero sense all at once and acts like a black and white world machine. We were lucky enough to see an early preview copy and the reading experience was like nothing else.
You can buy it through all good bookshops in the UK. Do that.
- Fables (ongoing). Written by Bill Willingham, art by Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha. (Published by DC Comics).
I’m ashamed to say that whilst I read and thoroughly enjoy this book it hasn’t turned up as a recommendation on here or over at the ACP podcast. In fact it feels like very few people are talking about it!
The series has picked up again at issue 151 and is running on. It is both a writing and artistic masterclass. Everything fits and flows and looks amazing! It’s like the glory days of Vertigo are back and everyone is keeping it a secret.
Get on it!
Many thanks for reading. Roll on 2023!!!