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Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2021

Even though it was a shitty year overall, I found some great comics to enjoy in 2021, both old and new. Beginning with its “Future State” event, DC easily shot up to become my favorite mainstream publisher thanks to its renewed focus on different visual styles instead of a Jim Lee-esque art style and its emphasis on LGBTQ+ characters even after Pride Month. Vault and Image continued to be the homes of both my favorite creators and SF stories, and AWA, Dark Horse and even Black Mask and Archie had titles that surprised me even if they didn’t make the cut on this list. Finally, continuing a trend that I jumped on in 2020, I continued to read or revisit classic comics (Both old and new) in 2021, like Copra, Invincible, The Umbrella Academy, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Wonder Woman: True Amazon, The Invisibles, Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Force, Hawkeye, and Black Bolt among others.

So, without further ado, here are my ten favorite comics of 2021

10. Alice in Leatherland (Black Mask)

Alice in Leatherland is a wholesome, sexy, and hyper-stylized slice of life romance comic from the creative team of Iolanda Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli. The book is about Alice, a children’s book writer, who leaves her small town for San Francisco when her girlfriend cheats on her and captures the fear and adrenaline of taking a big step in your life. The series explores sex and love through an expansive cast of LGBTQ+ characters that I wanted to spend more than five issues with. Romboli uses fairy tale style visuals as a metaphor to examine Alice’s feelings and self-growth throughout the series, and she excels at depicting both the hilarious and erotic. Alice in Leatherland is an emotional, funny read with well-developed queer characters and made me immediately add Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli to the list of creators I’ll read anything by.

9. The Autumnal (Vault)

The Autumnal by Daniel Kraus, Chris Shehan, and Jason Wordie was the most unsettling comic I read in 2021. The book follows Kat Somerville and her daughter Sybil as they leave Chicago for the town of Comfort Notch, New Hampshire. However, this town isn’t a rural oasis, but incredibly creepy. Kraus’ script unravels the foundation of blood that the town is built on while Shehan and Wordie create tension with the fall of the leaf or a crackle of a branch. I also love how fleshed out Kat is as she deals with being an outsider in what turns out to be an unfriendly space with her parenting style and approach to life being critiqued by her neighbors. Finally, The Autumnal is the finest of slow burns beginning with NIMBY/Karen-like behavior and then going full-on death cult. It’s a must read for anyone who has lived or experienced a place where time seems to stand still, or who thinks a NextDoor app post could be the basis of a good horror story.

8. The Joker (DC)

Contrary to its title, James Tynion, Guillem March, Steffano Rafaele, Arif Prianto, and others’ The Joker isn’t a comic looking at the Clown Prince of Crime’s inner psyche, but is a globe-trotting P.I. type story featuring Jim Gordon trying to capture the Joker for some folks that looks shadier and shadier as the story progresses. Tynion and (predominantly) March show the effect Joker has had on Gordon’s life and his family while also showing him discover himself outside the bounds of Gotham and its police department. As the series progresses, The Joker shows the impact that Batman and his rogue’s gallery have had on the rest of the world, and the ways governments, intelligence agencies, and more nefarious organizations deal with threats of their ilk. Along with a crime novel set in present time, James Tynion, Matthew Rosenberg, and the virtuosic Francesco Francavilla created several flashback comics showing the development of Jim Gordon’s relationship with the Joker over the years, and how it effected his family life and career almost acting as a “Year One” for Gordon as Francavilla’s art style shifts based on the era the story is set in. Plus most issues of Joker feature colorful backup stories with Harper Row trying to bring Joker’s newest ally Punchline to justice in and out of prison from Tynion, Sam Johns, Sweeney Boo, Rosi Kampe, and others.

7. Kane and Able (Image)

Kane and Able is a dual-cartoonist anthology featuring work by British cartoonists Shaky Kane and Krent Able. Kane’s stories flow together in a Jack Kirby-meets-David Lynch kind of way blurring the lines between fiction and metafiction, reality and unreality while also acting as an opportunity for him to draw cool things like dinosaurs, space women, aliens, the King of Comics, and even himself. Able’s stories have more of a grindhouse, body horror quality to him as a chainsaw-wielding Bear Fur battles a boom box wielding cockroach woman, who flesh bonds everyone in a listless, major city. Both creators have delightful, distinctive styles and put their own spin on genres like sci-fi, exploitation, and superhero. Kane and Able is free-flowing, clever, and most of all, fun and is tailor made for the larger page format of treasury editions.

6. Static Season One (DC/Milestone)

As far as pure visuals go, Static Season One by Vita Ayala, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, and ChrisCross was easily one of the best looking books on the stands in 2021. This was in addition to reinventing the iconic Black superhero through the lens of contemporary social movements, like Black Lives Matter and protests against police brutality in summer of 2020. Static Season One doesn’t merely pay homage to the classic Milestone series, but brings it into 2021 with fight sequences straight out of the best shonen manga and a three dimensional supporting cast that holistically explore the Black experience in the United States while also being a coming of age and superhero origin tale. Draper-Ivey’s character designs are sleek as hell, and his high energy approach to color palette adds intensity to fight and chase scenes. I’m excited to see what the talented creative duo of Ayala and Nikolas Draper-Ivey bring to Static’s journey as Season One wraps up and Season Two (hopefully) begins in 2022.

5. Renegade Rule (Dark Horse)

Renegade Rule is an original graphic novel from Ben Kahn, Rachel Silverstein, and Sam Beck that is a perfect fusion of a sports manga and a queer romance story set in the world of competitive video games. Even if you’re like me and have only attempted to play Overwatch a single time, Renegade Rule and its world are quite accessible via things like hypercompetitiveness, sexual tension, and breathtaking fight choreography. The in-game sequences are almost like musical numbers and use shooting, sniping, and various acrobatics to make characters’ unspoken thoughts real. Renegade Rule is like if your favorite sports movie and romantic comedy had a gay baby who loved kicking ass at video games, and I pumped my fist every time the Manhattan Mist overcame adversity or overwhelming odds and smiled when certain characters ended up with each other…

4. Echolands (Image)

After a four year absence from interior art, co-writer/artist J.H. Williams III didn’t mess around with Echolands, a love letter to both genre fiction and double page spreads. Done in collaboration with co-writer Haden Blackman and colorist Dave Stewart, Echolands is an epic fantasy quest loaded up with all kinds of genres and art styles leaking off the page and was one of the most immersive comics I read in 2021. It has a sprawling cast and world, but Blackman and Williams know when to slow down and dig into Hope Redhood and her allies and antagonists’ motivations and when to drop in a multi-page underwater or underground chase sequence. With its unique landscape layouts and all the details in J.H. Williams and Stewart’s visuals, Echolands is definitely a book worth picking up in physical format and has backmatter that both humorously and seriously adds to the worldbuilding.

3. DC Pride (DC)

In honor of Pride Month, DC Comics put some of its most talented LGBTQ+ creators on its most iconic LGBTQ+ characters in a super-sized celebration of overcoming adversity, being yourself, and loving whoever you want to love. DC Pride covered a spectrum of sexual and gender identities from a fast-paced date night story featuring the non-binary Flash, Jess Chambers, to James Tynion and Trung Le Nguyen’s fairy tale influenced story of Batwoman’s younger days and even the first appearance of transgender superhero Dreamer (From the Supergirl TV show) in the comics. Depending on the character or creative team, the different stories could be adventurous and flirtatious, heartfelt and emotional, or a bit of both. This book shows that superhero comics have come a long way since the stereotypes of the 1980s and 1990s, but there’s still room for improvement as many of the characters featured in this anthology are relegated to backup stories or are supporting cast members of cisgender, heterosexual heroes.

2. Barbalien: Red Planet (Dark Horse)

Barbalien: Red Planet is a masterfully crafted, queer rage infused superhero/sci-fi comic from Jeff Lemire, Tate Brombal, Gabriel Walta, and Jordie Bellaire. It understands subtext is for cowards and draws parallels between Barbalien coming out as gay and a Martian with his new friend/potential lover Miguel, who is a Latino activist fighting for the US government to do something about the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Barbalien: Red Planet pays homage to the Black and Latinx activists who fought for queer liberation and is also an emotionally honest character study for Barbalien, who is easily my favorite character in the Black Hammer universe. Lemire, Brombal, and Walta use the superhero and sword and planet genres to explore the conflict between queer folks and power structures as Barbalien struggles with trying to fit into Spiral City as a white cop or being his true, gay Martian self. And to get personal for a second, Barbalien: Red Planet inspired me to speak out against my city’s Pride organization’s open support of police even though it led to me resigning as chairperson of my work’s LGBTQ+ employee affinity group. It’s both a damn good superhero book and a story that had a huge impact on my life in 2020-2021.

1. Die (Image)

My favorite comic of 2021 was Die by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans that wrapped up with the mother of all quest arcs. But beyond having cool fantasy landscapes and wrapping up each party member’s arc, Die nailed the importance of stories, whether games, comics, films, prose, TV shows etc., to change how we view and interact with the world in both a heightened and realistic manner. Most of the realism came in Die #20 where the main characters escape the world of the game into our reality with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing and have emotional reunions with loved ones or just hang out by themselves. However, the final arc of Die also is full of existential nightmares courtesy of Hans’ visuals as well as awakenings and self-realization, especially in Die #19 where Ash comes out as non-binary and discusses how games and fiction shaped their identity. The final issues of Die is a double-edged look at the power of narrative and games to shape us done in both glorious and surprisingly intimate fashion, and I felt I really knew Ash, Matt, Angela, Isabelle, Matt, Chuck, and Sol in the end.

Honorable Mentions: Casual Fling (AWA), Nightwing (DC), Made in Korea (Image), Barbaric (Vault), Superman and the Authority (DC), Catwoman: Lonely City (DC/Black Label)

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Robin & Batman #2

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

BRZRKR #6 (BOOM! Studios) – The comic from launch has felt like a script for a film or show but it’s also been really good mixing action with a focus on its main character B and the weight of what he is.

By the Horns #8 (Scout Comics) – The series has a been a hell of a lot of fun delivering an interesting fantasy adventure that delivers action and humor.

Cloaked #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – An investigator is hired to find a masked hero who disappeared.

Download #1 (Red 5 Comics) – When Eric is hit by a mysterious blast of light from space, he suddenly finds his mind filled with designs for strange devices. The pitch promised 80s adventure and we want to see if it delivers!

Robin & Batman #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue was absolutely amazing and we’re expecting more of that same quality.

Hecate’s Will #1 (Black Mask Studios) – Written and art by Iolanda Zanfardino, the comic follows a NYC graffiti artist who decides to quit but wants to create one last street art experience before she’s done.

Hulk #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a bit out there in its concepts but we still want to see where it goes in this horror/comedy/sci-fi take on the classic character.

Just Roll With It (Random House Graphic) – Starting middle school is hard enough when you don’t know anyone; it’s even harder when you’re shy. The graphic novel features a character dealing with anxiety and OCD while growing up.

Third Wave 99 #1 (Scout Comics) – The story behind the controversial late 1990’s Florida surf brand.

Wastelanders: Wolverine #1 (Marvel) – Lets held back to the “Old Man Logan” world of Marvel!

Godkiller Returns for a Fifth Volume

After last week’s launch of Godkiller: Spiderland #1 sold out at the distributor level in 24 hours, Black Mask has renewed the series for a fifth volume Godkiller: For Those I Love I Will Sacrifice scheduled for Spring 2022, continuing its streak as Black Mask’s all-time longest running and bestselling series.

Fan-favorite painters Nen Chang and Liz Tecca return with an evocative handpainted cover featuring the sardonic bounty hunter Soledad. Series artist Anna Muckcracker channels Tommy’s psychotic descent into madness in cover-B. And Maria LLovet scorches the series with a sizzling NSFW wraparound to finish off her triptych of Godkiller covers.

In Godkiller: For Those I Love I Will Sacrifice, Halfpipe begins to master her newfound sorcery just as her relationship with Soledad becomes even more complicated. Meanwhile, Tommy struggles to break free of the vivisection table as the spider eggs in his blood are ready to hatch… for better or worse, we’ll finally reach the end of The Metarachnoid Larvae story arc.

Death and gore await some of our characters, rebirth awaits others… as the wildest comic on shelves thunders on in 2022. Godkiller is written by Matteo Pizzolo.

ComiXology Features a Trio of Releases from Yen Press, Harlequin, and Black Mask Studios

There’s three new releases available now on comiXology. You can get new comics from Yen Press, Harlequin, and Black Mask Studios. Start shopping now or check out the individual releases below.

Goblin Slayer Side Story: Year One #62

Written by Kumo Kagyu
Art by Shingo Adachi, Noboru Kannatuki, Kento Sakaeda
Purchase

This series is rated Adults Only
DISCLAIMER: graphic sexuality gore
As they sneak deeper and deeper into the cave, Goblin Slayer sees that he has much to learn from his companion—but also gets ready to show her a trick of his own… Read the next chapter of Goblin Slayer Side Story: Year One the same day as Japan!

Goblin Slayer Side Story: Year One #62

Back In Fortune’s Bed

Written by Bronwyn Jameson
Art by Miyako Fujiomi
Purchase

Diana cannot believe her eyes when meets Max Fortune, her love interest from ten years ago, at a celebrity party. Her heart immediately goes back to the time when she was an exchange student in Australia, who met young Max and had a passionate romance with. However, their relationship did not last long, as Diana realized they belong in different worlds that do not intertwine. Even after ten years and much has changed about them, their feelings for each other remain the same… but Diana is far too scared of loving Max, again. Max, on the other hand, is still trapped under his family’s control and cannot be honest with his feelings for Diana…

Back In Fortune's Bed

White #4

Written by Kwanza Osajyefo
Art by Jamal Igle, Khary Randolph, Tim Smith
Inks Jamal Igle
Colored by Derwin Roberson
Purchase

After the battle between First Son and X derails his plans, President Mann changes course and makes a surprising alliance. Despite their recent victory, Juncture knows their win is temporary and asks X to help him with a dangerous experiment.

White #4

This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Marvel, Image, IDW, and More is Available Now on comiXology

Amazing Spider-Man #76

It’s new comic book day and comiXology has you covered for your digital comic needs. Start shopping now or check out the individual releases below.

A Wave Blue World

Ablaze

Archie Comics

AWA Studios

Behemoth

Black Mask Studios

BOOM! Studios

comiXology Submit

Dark Horse Comics

DC Thomson

Drawn & Quarterly

Dynamite Entertainment

Harlequin

Humanoids

IDW Publishing

Image Comics

Marvel

Oni Press

Papercutz

Scout Comics

Tidalwave Productions

Titan Comics

Valiant

Vault Comics

Zenescope


This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Destiny, NY Returns with Rosi Kämpe taking over art and Jenn St-Onge illustrating the cover!

Destiny, NY, the beloved tale of magical crime and queer romance, will return this week for Volume 2 with the new art team of interior artist Rosi Kämpe and cover artist Jenn St-Onge joining writer Pat Shand, letterer Jim Campbell, and editor Shannon Lee for this next installment in the heartfelt adventure series about star-crossed heroines Logan and Lilith.

What if there was a magical prophecy that you were destined to save the world, and you fulfilled it so young you don’t know what to do with the rest of your life? That’s the problem facing Logan McBride in this grounded story about the magic of young adulthood, star-crossed modern romance, delayed coming of age, and finding your place in a world too busy to notice you.

The second arc of the ongoing series about what happens after a prophecy is completed begins with Destiny, NY #6. 

Logan McBride has been living with Lilith Aberdine, the last surviving daughter of a mystical crime family, for a year.

Now, ghosts from their past are beginning to push in, threatening to tear them apart. 

New Marvel, AfterShock, Image, and More are Available Now Digitally

Amazing Spider-Man #75

It’s new comic book day and comiXology has your digital comic needs covered. You can start shopping now or check out the new releases below by the publisher.

A Wave Blue World

Ablaze

AfterShock

American Mythology Produtions

Archie Comics

AWA Studios

Black Mask Studios

BOOM! Studios

comiXology Submit

Dark Horse Comics

DC Comics

Drawn & Quarterly

Dynamite Entertainment

Harlequin

IDW Publishing

Image Comics

Iron Circus Comics

Marvel

Oni Press

Scout Comics

Tidalwave Productions

Titan Comics

Vault Comics

Zenescope


This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Alice in Leatherland’s Iolanda Zanfardino Returns with Hecate’s Will

Hecate devoted her life to changing the world through art, but she despairs that it’s all for nothing. When she commits to one last try with her most ambitious and heartfelt street-art experiment yet, its impact may change everything.

Written and illustrated by Alice in Leatherland’s Iolanda Zanfardino, Hecate’s Will is a new comic book mini-series launching in November 2021 from Black Mask Studios. Iolanda sets her sights on a street-smart adventure that celebrates outsider-art, diverse found family, and never giving up on your dreams.

In Hecate’s Will, we meet legendary NYC graffiti artist Hecate, who has decided to retire and abandon her mission of changing the world through art–but, before she quits, she’s going to create one final street-art experience: a graffiti scavenger hunt through the streets of Manhattan that will lead her fans to a final message and artistic testament.

As her street-art experiment catches fire with young NYC artists and activists, Hecate’s best friend ropes her into working on a revival of the musical ‘RENT’ by a joyous ensemble of LGBTQIA+ artists who remind her how art brings people together, challenging all of Hecate’s expectations and assumptions. But will it be enough to inspire Hecate to renew her convictions and remain true to her artistic self?

Marvel, AfterShock, Image, and More are New on comiXology

Kang the Conqueror #2

Today is one of two new comic book days and comiXology has your digital comic releases covered. Check out all of the new releases you can get below by the publisher and start shopping now!

AAM-Markosia

Ablaze

AfterShock

Antarctic Press

Archie Comics

AWA Studios

Behemoth

Black Mask Studios

BOOM! Studios

Comicraft

comiXology Submit

Dark Horse Comics

DC Thomson

Dynamite Entertainment

IDW Publishing

Image Comics

Marvel

Oni Press

Scout Comics

Tidalwave Productions

Titan Comics

Valiant

Zenescope


This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Check Out Today’s New Digital Comic Releases

Echolands #1

It’s new comic book day! ComiXology has your digital comic needs covered. You can start shopping now or check out the releases by the publisher below!

A Wave Blue World

Ablaze

AfterShock

American Mythology Productions

Archie Comics

AWA Studios

Behemoth

Black Mask Studios

BOOM! Studios

Clover Press

comiXology Submit

Dark Horse Comics

Drawn & Quarterly

Dynamite Entertainment

Harlequin

Heavy Metal

IDW Publishing

Image Comics

Marvel

Oni Press

Papercutz

Tidalwave Productions

Titan Comics

Valiant Entertainment

Vault Comics

Yen Press


This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

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