December 19, 2019

Favorite Comic Books of 2019

I was a little off my game in the second half of the year with comics, but I still managed to read a bunch at the end for Cybils. Here are the ten that stood out the most!

Picture books are up tomorrow!


Written and illustrated by Maia Kobabe

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears.



Written by Vera Greentea and illustrated by Yana Bogatch

Bucky Orson is a bit gloomy, but who isn’t at fifteen? His best friend left him to hang out with way cooler friends, his dad is the town sheriff, and wait for it—he lives in Blackwell, a town where all the girls are witches. But when his little sister is kidnapped because of her extraordinary power, Bucky has to get out of his own head and go on a strange journey to investigate the small town that gives him so much grief. And in the process he uncovers the town’s painful history and a conspiracy that will change it forever.



Written and illustrated by Lorena Alvarez

On a school field trip to the river, Sandy wanders away from her classmates and discovers an empty turtle shell. Peeking through the dark hole, she suddenly finds herself within a magical realm. Filled with sculptures, paintings and books, the turtle's shell is a museum of the natural world. But one painting is incomplete, and the turtle needs Sandy's help to finish it.



Written by Ellen T. Crenshaw and illustrated by, Colleen AF Venable

Mads is pretty happy with her life. She goes to church with her family, and minor league baseball games with her dad. She goofs off with her best friend Cat, and has thus far managed to avoid getting kissed by Adam, the boy next door. It's everything she hoped high school would be… until all of a sudden, it's not. Her dad is hiding something big—so big it could tear her family apart. And that’s just the beginning of her problems: Mads is starting to figure out that she doesn't want to kiss Adam… because the only person she wants to kiss is Cat.



Last Pick: Born to Run
Written and illustrated by Jason Walz

Four years ago, aliens kidnapped most of mankind, leaving behind those they deemed unworthy—the “last picked.” The future for Sam is bleak and unthinkable. A galaxy away from her twin brother, she is a pawn in the aliens’ bloody civil war. But with her new friend Mia, Sam has found a way to resist her captors and hold onto her humanity.  Back on Earth, Sam’s twin, Wyatt, is leading a resistance of his own. With a ragtag army of the old, the young, and the disabled, he has a plan to bring the fight to his alien captors. But to defeat the aliens, Wyatt may need to befriend one.



Written by Suzanne Walker and illustrated by Wendy Xu

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft. Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any townhome. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.



Written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler

It's almost the end of middle school, and Charlie has to find her perfect song for a music class assignment. The class learns about a different style of music each day, from hip-hop to metal to disco, but it's hard for Charlie to concentrate when she can't stop noticing her classmate Emile, or wondering about Luka, who hasn't been to school in weeks. On top of everything, she has been talked into participating in an end-of-year performance with her best friends. Then, the class learns about opera, and Charlie discovers the music of Maria Callas. The more she learns about Maria's life, the more Charlie admires her passion for singing and her ability to express herself fully through her music. Can Charlie follow the example of the ultimate diva, Maria Callas, when it comes to her own life?



Queen of the Sea
Written and illustrated by Dylan Meconis

When her sister seizes the throne, Queen Eleanor of Albion is banished to a tiny island off the coast of her kingdom, where the nuns of the convent spend their days peacefully praying, sewing, and gardening. But the island is also home to Margaret, a mysterious young orphan girl whose life is upturned when the cold, regal stranger arrives. As Margaret grows closer to Eleanor, she grapples with the revelation of the island’s sinister true purpose as well as the truth of her own past. When Eleanor’s life is threatened, Margaret is faced with a perilous choice between helping Eleanor and protecting herself.




Surviving the City
Written by Tasha Spillett and illustrated by Natasha Donovan

Miikwan and Dez are best friends. Miikwan is Anishinaabe; Dez is Inninew. Together, the teens navigate the challenges of growing up in an urban landscape - they're so close, they even completed their Berry Fast together. However, when Dez's grandmother becomes too sick, Dez is told she can't stay with her anymore. With the threat of a group home looming, Dez can't bring herself to go home and disappears. Miikwan is devastated, and the wound of her missing mother resurfaces. Will Dez's community find her before it's too late? Will Miikwan be able to cope if they don't?






This Place: 150 Years Retold
by David A. Robertson, Jen Storm, Katherena Vermette, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley, Richard Van Camp, Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, and Sonny Assu

Explore the past 150 years in what is now Canada through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact.




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