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Brett’s Favorite Comics of 2022 and a Reflection on the Past Year

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands

Much like 2021 and 2022, It feels weird writing a “best of” list for the past year since it’s been so difficult and so strange for so many. Comics, and entertainment as a whole, continued to be an escape from the rough reality of the previous year that was. Things struggled to get back to normal, whether you think it was too soon or not. There was some return to normality as comic conventions returned and movie blockbusters begin to populate screens. For me, I mostly stayed at home again venturing out very little, attending no conventions, and my one trip resulted in the exact result I expected… COVID. Maybe I explore things a bit more in 2023 but the reality is, things won’t ever be back to normal and enjoyment like conventions and movie theaters come with a risk. But, there’s still the escape of comics.

Comics have been exactly that for me as I myself remained mostly holed up at home, forgoing movie theaters and generally the public as a whole. 2022 saw me writing over 613 reviews and I read far more comics (probably closer to 700).

To pick one that stood out above all the rest doesn’t quite feel right as there was so much that was fun and entertaining.

The comic industry continued to shift in massive ways as creators continued to figured out new ways to become independent or were lured by the promise of big paydays by flashy new technology like NFTs. The end of the year looked so much different as numerous publishers revealed their financial struggles and the grift that is NFTs collapsed. Publishers got bought out and some struggled to stay open. Stores opened. Stores closed. Distribution continues to shift. The government even stepped in at one point in what would have had seismic repercussions for the comic and boo industry. The industry continues to be disrupted in many ways. Some ways for the better. Some for the worse. 2023 will likely continue to see this as more creators look to go directly to consumers.

Things shifted for everyone.

Publishers canceled projects, shifted schedules, and continued to look to go directly to the consumer themselves. Publishers faced distribution issues as ports backed up and then cleared up. The cost of doing business increased across the board. Creators looked for new ways to earn money and also go directly to the consumer.

Consumers and readers had more choices than ever before that made it easier to escape the world that at times felt like it was burning around them and find enjoyment in make-believe worlds where justice prevails in the end. It felt like there were more choices in comics to read and more choices in the types of comics to read.

In the end, 2022 looked like a mix of bleak and hope. There’s many challenges for the industry but also many more options for it to succeed. It feels so close to cracking a new model.

It feels weird doing this “best of” but at the same time I feel like I want to “honor” and spotlight the comics that got me through the year and had me excited to read the next issues. This is what I’ve read so if you don’t see something mentioned it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I just might not have read it. Sorry, I can’t read everything (there was a massive glut in webcomics but more manga for me).

All of these are listed in no particular order (hell it’ll probably just be in alphabetical). Enough with the rambling… lets get on with some comics!

The comics that had me excited in 2022 and have me excited for 2023. There’s so many more I could probably add to the list that I enjoyed but this is what really stood out as the ones that stuck with me through the year and beyond.

  • 007 (Dynamite Entertainment) – James Bond returned with a brand new series that felt like a solid return of the character. A straight forward story that leaves readers not knowing who to trust, it’s a Bond story fans will appreciate it and enjoy.
  • Accidental Czar: The Life and Lies of Vladimir Putin (First Second) – The graphic novel is a fantastic exploration of Putin’s rise to power. But, it’s the admission of failures of those who engaged him that makes it feel like an honest recounting of history.
  • Blue, Barry & Pancakes (First Second) – We got multiple volumes of this graphic novel series for kids and each was a lot of fun. It’s hard to not read these and walk away with a smile if you’re kid or an adult.
  • The Boxer (Yen Press) – The first volume was an interesting one that left us questioning who the real center of the story was as it bounced around three kids and their boxing ability.
  • Bunnicula: The Graphic Novel (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) – A graphic novel adaptation of the classic book. It took us right back to our childhood. We hope we get more in the series. Nostalgia for adults and fun for kids.
  • A Calculated Man (AfterShock) – A man brilliant at math as turned witness against the mob and uses his ability in math to take out the mobsters who are after him. There’s a Rube Goldberg aspect to the series that keeps it entertaining.
  • DC vs. Vampires (DC Comics) – Each issue and its spin-offs kept us on our toes guessing who was next to get turned, who was going to die, and how the heroes might win. By the end, we want more in this world.
  • Devil’s Reign (Marvel) – One of Marvel’s best events in some time. The story kept things focused and tight as the heroes had to deal with Wilson Fisk’s reelection attempt and his tightening grip on New York City. This was an example of less is more.
  • Do a Powerbomb (Image Comics) – Wrestling in comics is back in vogue but this series stands out for it’s amazing art as well as the fantastic family drama.
  • Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (Drawn & Quarterly) – Kate Beaton shines a light on her difficult time working in the Alberta tar sands. At times a tough read, it’s educational in so many ways.
  • Eight Billion Genies (Image Comics) – The series has succeeded by keeping things focused. With a concept where everyone on the planet gets a wish, the series has generally kept it tight on a small group of survivors and how they deal with the insanity that spins out of it all.
  • Fist of the North Star (VIZ Media) – The classic series continued its reprints in a beautiful hardcover. If you’ve never read this “kung-fu Mad Max”, this is a perfect edition to pick up.
  • GCPD: The Blue Wall (DC Comics) – John Ridley delivers an interesting take on the Gotham police department with a focus on three rookies as Commissioner Montoya. There’s been highs and lows as Ridley continues to show how muddied reality is.
  • Ginseng Roots (Uncivilized Books) – The release schedule was erratic but Craig Thompson’s autobiography about his growing up around ginseng and the world of its farming has been eye opening and education. Add in beautiful art and Thompson continued to show off his talents.
  • Hakim’s Odyssey (Dead Reckoning) – What does it mean to be a refugee? This series wrapped up its final two volumes in 2022 chronicling Hakim’s journey from Syria to safety. It’s hard to read this series and not come away with wanting to see how we treat refugees and immigration changed.
  • I’m a Terminal Cancer Patient But I’m Fine (Seven Seas Entertainment) – Hilnama’s autobiography about her struggle with colon cancer. The graphic novel is not as sad and ominous as the title would seem, instead it’s full of humor and tips. Sadly, Hilnama passed away not long after the manga’s release.
  • Justice Warriors (AHOY Comics) – Fantastic satire that skewers policing, politicians, celebrity, consumerism, and society as a whole.
  • Let’s Go Karaoke (Yen Press) – A mobster needs a kid’s help to get good at karaoke. It’s such a bizarre concept but a lot of fun.
  • Maniac of New York: The Bronx is Burning (AfterShock) – I’m not the biggest horror fan but love this series. In between all of the kills, there’s some smart commentary within, just like horror should.
  • Metal Society (Image Comics) – In this future, robots rule. Humans are grown to do menial tasks for them but eventually the want of choice and freedom rises leading to a mixed martial arts battle between two warriors. The action packed comic had solid themes underneath and interesting discussions within.
  • Neverlanders (Razorbill) – A new take on the story of Peter Pan, the graphic novel took us the Neverland and by the end I wanted to see what other adventures awaited. Great art, solid action, colors that popped, and fantastic characters and twists. I want more adventures in the magical world.
  • Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball (First Second) – I’m a big fan of pinball and this graphic novel not only goes through the history of the game but also some of the nuances about the game itself showing it’s far more than just pushing buttons to hit a ball.
  • Plush (Image Comics) – Two issues were released in 2022 and they were bonkers. Cannibal furries. Nuff said.
  • Radical: My Year With a Socialist Senator (IDW Publishing/Top Shelf) – The graphic novel followed an election and first year of a “radical” elected official in New York State. It’s an eye-opening look at the reality of politics.
  • Rooster Fighter (VIZ Media) – The concept might seem silly, a rooster fighting kaiju/demons, but it works so well. The series is a solid ronin/western type story with hero of little words attempting to defeat villains and save the locals. By playing it straight and serious, the series nails it.
  • Smahtguy: The Life and Times of Barney Frank (Metropolitan Books) – The biography of Barney Frank is touching and at times heartbreaking as it focuses on the firebrand politician who had no problem taking on the establishment while he struggled with his sexuality.
  • So What’s Wrong With Getting Reborn as a Goblin? Vol. 1 (Yen Press) – The debut volume was a nice take on the “reincarnation in a different world genre”. What stood out was it’s spin that focused on using intelligence to build society instead of the usual leveling up through battle we see.
  • Solo Leveling (Yen Press) – The series keeps getting better with some fantastic action, nice ominous teasing, and amazing art with colors that pop. It’s such a fun spin on the dungeon crawler genre and the series feels like it has spun out it’s own imitators.
  • A Vicious Circle (BOOM! Studios) – While we only got the debut issue, the time travel story kept things entertaining but it was the art that made our jaw drop. We immediately wanted more and can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store.
  • Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons (DC Comics) – The first issue debuted at the end of 2021 and made the list and we got the final two issues in 2022. While it was a four month, then eight month gap, it was well worth it as each featured an engaging story and career defining artwork.

Review: Ginseng Roots #11

Ginseng Roots #11 continues Craig Thompson’s journey in China in the penultimate issue.

It continues to focus on Thompson’s creation of the comic itself and more research in Korea and China. At the same time, it focuses on Thompson’s own family and his relationship with his brother.

Story: Craig Thompson
Art: Craig Thompson

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Zeus Comics
Uncivilized Books


This post 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 this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

THE BOXER GN VOL 01

Wednesdays (and 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.

Batman/Spawn #1 (DC Comics) – It’s Batman and Spawn, together again. Do we really need to say why we’re excited for this? It’s the 90s, back again!

Blade Runner 2039 #1 (Titan Comics) – It has been three years since Niander Wallace introduced his brand of ‘perfectly obedient’ Replicants, and the ban on synthetic humans has been lifted, at least for the new Wallace models?

The Boxer Vol. 1 (Yen Press/Ize Press) – A story about a young man with superhuman athletic abilities who heads into the ring. But, what compels Yu to keep entering it?

Dark Ride #3 (Image Comics) – This twisted take on an amusement park has been fantastic so far delivering some family drama and horror mixed together.

Darkland #1 (Scout Comics) – A new apocalyptic tale focused on a young girl being thrust in the remnants of America.

Ginseng Roots #11 (Uncivilized Comics) – Craig Thompson’s comic series about growing up around ginseng farmers has been eye opening and educational and matched by its beautiful art.

Monica Rambeau: Photon #1 (Marvel) – The character is going to have a pretty big few years with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and the character gets the spotlight further in comics here.

Night Club #1 (Image Comics) – Part of Millarworld, there’s a big event coming next year involving all of the various series and we’re interested in seeing how it all comes together.

Savage Avengers #8 (Marvel) – For those who haven’t been reading, the team has been thrust into the world of Marvel 2099 which has been a fun revisit with the classic characters.

A Vicious Circle #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A trained assassin from the future seeks revenge against someone with the same affliction. They’re forced to travel between the past and future.

Review: Ginseng Roots #10

After close to a year break, Ginseng Roots is back with Ginseng Roots #10.

The series again pivots a bit, now focusing on Craig Thompson‘s creation of the comic itself and more research in Korea and China. At the same time, it focuses on Thompson’s own family and his relationship with his brother.

Story: Craig Thompson
Art: Craig Thompson

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Zeus Comics
Uncivilized Books


This post 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 this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Weekly Preview! 3 from AfterShock plus horses and film history!

There are a lot of comics coming out this week to be covered. Check out some of what we’ll be reviewing and this is only the beginning!

This week’s reviews include:

  • Alice Guy: First Lady of Film (SelfMadeHero)
  • Brother of All Men #2 (AfterShock)
  • Jimmy’s Little Bastards #1 (AfterShock)
  • Ride On (First Second)
  • Where Starships Go to Die #3 (AfterShock)

Not shown:

  • Ginseng Roots #10 (Uncivilized Comics)
  • The Walking Dead Deluxe #45 (Image Comics)

AfterShock, First Second, and SelfMadeHero provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review: Ginseng Roots #9

Ginseng Roots #9 pivots a bit focusing on two major ginseng farms in Wisconsin and the political decisions that impact them.

Story: Craig Thompson
Art: Craig Thompson

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Zeus Comics
Uncivilized Books


This post 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 this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Venom #1

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.

Amazing Spider-Man #78 (Marvel) – “Beyond” has been a fantastic new storyline that has put Ben Reilly front and center and taken the series in an interesting direction.

Eternals #7 (Marvel) – Thanos is now in charge of the Eternals in this jumping-on point.

Ginseng Roots #9 (Uncivilized Comics) – Craig Thompson returns after a break to further dive into his childhood and growing up in the world of ginseng.

Mazebook #3 (Dark Horse) – This series follows a father who lost his daughter but is convinced she’s still out there, at the end of the maze in front of him.

My Date With Monsters #1 (AfterShock) – Dreams are now stalking the real world and Risa Harumi finds herself fighting monsters and finding true love.

Phenomx #1 (Image Comics) – A new comic series from John Leguizamo, we’re intrigued where this former prisoner who undergoes an experiment story goes.

The Recount (Scout Comics) – A controversial election. A nation split. An armed uprising. The series is collected and hits a bit too close to home.

Regarding the Matter of Oswald’s Body #1 (BOOM! Studios) – We’re always up for a solid conspiracy.

Robin & Batman #1 (DC Comics) – The early years of Batman and Robin from the perspective of Dick Grayson. It’s amazing.

The Thing #1 (Marvel) – We’re a sucker for stories staring The Thing.

Undiscovered Country #17 (Image Comics) – This series has kept us on our toes with every issue and we seriously have no idea where it’s going with each issue.

Venom #1 (Marvel) – Coming off an epic run, a new creative team is no onboard the series and we want to see what else can be done with this character who has become a pretty big player in the Marvel Universe.

What’s the Furthest Place From Here #1 (Image Comics) – This one is fantastic and the less we say, the better. Go out and get it, but hurry as we’re expecting it to sell out quickly.

Review: Ginseng Roots #8

Ginseng Roots #8

When it come sot fulfilling your promise, it is never more ingrained than in immigrant families. My own family, came with their own set of challenges, and those pressures transferred to their children, me and my cousins. We were often told to either go to medicine or law. Like many families but it feels as though they had the pressures of the “old country” on us. The audacity of hoping for a better life for you, your family and maybe, being part of this “American dream”, is what pushes so many of us to do better.

It is often in that push to do better than those who came before, that the struggle of living within the “hyphen” becomes suddenly apparent. As it is usually the generation who is born into the new country, who finds themselves often conflicted. They are both a child of immigrants and someone born to this nation they have always known as their home. In Ginseng Roots #8, Craig Thompson takes a look at a particular Hmong family and find out just how important legacy is.

Within this issue we find about Chua and Chua’s family, as we soon find out how the cultural differences lead to his father being named Abraham, because the Mennonites who lived there, never anyone who was not white, but eventually adopted the name for religious reasons and also, to assimilate. Chua would work the fields with his Dad every day after school, but after Junior year, he would drop out,  and he would eventually take over the family business, as that became all he knew. By the issue’s end, we get a full exploration of who Chua is and just how important his Dad, Abraham, was to him and to this community.

Overall, Ginseng Roots #8 is an issue which will remind many Minari, but is much more heartfelt, because this true story. The story by Thompson is authentic. The art by Thompson is incredible. Altogether, Chua’s journey shows sometimes legacy finds its way to you.

Story: Craig Thompson Art: Craig Thompson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy


Purchase: Zeus ComicsUncivilized Books

Review: Ginseng Roots #7

Ginseng Roots #7

The journey of immigrants across the world and their contributions to society are far-ranging and prolific. The need to emphasize this point is one that seems to need to be reinforced during the pandemic. In America, xenophobia and nativism have suddenly become synonymous with what it means to be part of the national identity. This, of course, is not isolated to the United States, but seemingly everywhere, making BIPOC understandably cautious.

As people who were once welcome to shores worldwide were now being looked at as burdens. What is strangely true is that no country on earth would thrive without outside influence. Just about every modern innovation has its ties back to immigrants or people of color. In Ginseng Roots #7, Craig Thompson gives readers another reveal, of the first family to harvest ginseng in America, who just so happens to be Hmong.

We find the Thompson siblings who come to the realization that their Saturday’s watching cartoons were no more and they would have to spend their weekends working the ginseng gardens with 30-50 other workers, of whom half were Hmong immigrants. One of those workers, Chua, we find out that his family was one of the first to harvest ginseng in America and definitely the first to harvest in Wisconsin. As Thompson regales the reader on the long and arduous journey the Hmong people have had to face, being displaced everywhere they settled from China to eventually aid to America in their fight in Vietnam.  We also find a bit of back-story about Chua’s family, how they never felt at home wherever they went and how it took a family in Tennessee to sponsor his, for their journey to come to America. By the issue’s end, Thompson gains an appreciation of his friend, Chua but ultimately, the immigrant journey.

Overall, Ginseng Roots #7 is an issue which shows just how many people this one root affects. The story by Thompson is genuine. The art by Thompson is amazing. Altogether, Thompson imbues Chua to the reader and gives an utterly compelling look at refugees.

Story: Craig Thompson Art: Craig Thompson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy


Purchase: Uncivilized Books

Review: Ginseng Roots #6

Ginseng Roots #6

The older I get, the more I appreciate my surroundings. When I say surroundings, I especially mean working in my garden. When I see my neighbors work in their gardens as well, I often ponder the meaning of life in my solace. This is usually where I come up with some great ideas for stories and even books, as I frequently find something I truly come to endear, peace.

As I watch my plants and grass grow, the fruits and vegetables come to bear. Often in writing, we like to compare the seasons to growing up. As cliché as it is, it’s so very true. You can even compare it to raising children as time is all you have in abundance and in short supply. In Ginseng Roots #6, Craig Thompson gives readers a fascinating parallel, where we see the ginseng grow, as he grows up.

We find the Thompson siblings working the ginseng gardens, as we get a quick and dirty lesson in the stratification process, one that resembles their eagerness for the school year to end. As Thompson guides the reader through their home life, and how each individual Thompson sibling was treated, where they endured strict discipline from their father and they had one on one time with their mother and their collective love of books. He also goes onto giving the reader a lesson in how the sterilization procedure and interestingly compares it to when he and his siblings being baptized, as the family becomes even more tethered to the church, Craig starts seeing just how they demonize things they don’t understand. By the issue’s end, Thompson’s parents because of the church’s influence, make the decision that secular education is sinful, dividing the siblings for the first time in their lives.

Overall, Ginseng Roots #6 is a very personal issue that gives the reader more insight into the dynamics of the Thompson family. The story by Thompson is authentic. The art by Thompson is spectacular. Altogether, Thompson makes you feel like you are eavesdropping but makes you feel right at home with the Thompsons.

Story: Craig Thompson Art: Craig Thompson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy


Purchase: Uncivilized BooksZeus Comics

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