2011 will see the release of an impressive crop of new graphic novels across a wide range of genres, including a substantial number of works from some of the most acclaimed cartoonists working today. Besides works from Art Spiegelman, Craig Thompson and Ben Katchor (all from Pantheon), we can expect new works from Dave McKean, Los Bros. Hernandez (both from Fantagraphics) and Carla Speed McNeil (Dark Horse) in addition to adaptations of two of Ray Bradbury’s classic science fiction works.
Pantheon, especially, has a full list this year with Craig Thompson’s long-awaited Habibi; new work from MacArthur “Genius” grant winner, Ben Katchor (the Cardboard Valise); a new Daniel Clowes book (Mr. Wonderful); and 2011 Angouleme Grand Prix winner Art Spiegelman’s Meta Maus, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of his graphic nonfiction classic, Maus. Also, Fantagraphics will publish Dave McKean's first solo graphic novel since Cages (1998), and Drawn and Quarterly is releasing a funny nonfiction work by Adrian Tomine about all the anxiety producing stuff–guest lists, reception halls, musical playlists—leading up to his marriage and wedding day. Dark Horse will publish a new Hernandez brother collaboration by Gilbert with his other brother, Mario, called Citizen Rex.
More comics adaptations of prose books are coming this year, with another of Marvel’s adept adaptations of the classics, including Frank Baum’s Oz books and Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, following on the heels of the successful bestselling adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Following Hill & Wang’s authorized adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, H&W is publishing graphic adaptations of Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked Comes This Way this year. Yen Press, Hachette’s graphic novel and manga imprint, will publish a manga version of James Patterson’s Witch and Wizard, adapted by Dramacon creator Svetlana Chamkova. Dark Horse continues to repackage webcomics in print, with a new edition collecting the previously self-published multi-volume sci-fi epic, Finder by Carla Speed McNeil, which they are launching with an original Finder graphic novel, called Voice.
Even though manga sales have been slowing over the last few years, Viz, Yen Press, and Del Rey and, now Kodansha comics (which has taken over the manga licenses previously published by Del Rey), have strong titles coming out this year, such as a new series, A Bride’s Story, by Kaoru Mori (creator of Emma), coming from Yen Press; the hacker-crime thriller, Bloody Monday by Ryo Ryumon and Megumi Kouji from Kodansha Comics; and the Viz re-release of the controversial series Tenjo Tenge by "Oh Great!" Ogure, set in an over the top brawling high school.
Vertical Inc., the independent New York City house that focuses on manga and contemporary Japanese prose literature, continues to introduce western readers to diverse and mature manga with such titles Velveteen and Mandala by Jiro Matsumoto (a manga-ka with a perverse, alternative sensibility). Indie comics publishers, as well, continue to publish an ever-more mature and diverse lists of manga, including the forthcoming second volume of AX: Alternative Manga from Top Shelf and, from Fantagraphics, Wandering Son by Shimura Takako, a beautiful series about the complex, developing identities and sexualities of a group of young people.
Following is a highly selective listing of graphic novels being published in the coming year.
The Downsized (March) Matt Howarth. At a parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, old friends are given a reason to reunite and take stock of their lives, with some porn, weed, and unrequited love mixed in.
Even the Giants (May) Jesse Jacobs. Jacobs first published work, it captures the isolation of the Great White North, while allowing him to experiment sequentially.
Remake Special (June) Lamar Adams. In this sequel to Remake, Max Guy returns to seek revenge and undertake an epic adventure, with echoes of video games and anime, with his comrades, Magma Boy and Sick Rick.
Welcome to Oddville (May) Jay Stephens. A complete collection of the newspaper comic strips that follow 8-year-old super-kid, Jetcat, in her misadventures throughout the strange city of Oddville.
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Night Powers (May) Chris Hastings, Benito Cereno, and Les McClaine. A print edition of the webcomic that features a unicorn motorcycle, monster gang wars, a tennis match against a god of destruction, and banditos on velociraptors; this volume collects the first three story arcs, as well as a print exclusive story.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales (Jan.) Writers: Joss Whedon, Amber Benson, Jane Espenson, and Drew Goddard; Artists: Gene Colon, Tim Sale, Paul Lee, and Steve Lieber. A collection of short Buffy stories set before Season Eight and new stories set during Season Eight.
Citizen Rex (June) Mario Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez. Gossip blogger Sergio Bauntin catches wind of sightings of a deactivated celebrity robot that disappeared 20 years ago, leading to an anti-robot movement and use of black market prosthetics.
Evelyn Evelyn (May) Amanda Palmer, Jason Webley, and Cynthia von Buhler. Written by musicians Palmer and Webly, this book tells the story of the hardships endured by a pair of conjoined twins, from their bloody birth, encounters with depraved gentleman, life in a circus, and fame on the Internet.
The Finder Library Vol. 1 (March) Carla Speed McNeil. This volume collects the first four story arcs of the sci-fi webcomic that started in 1996.
Finder: Voice (February) Carla Speed McNeil. In this original graphic novel of the webcomic Finder, Rachel Grosvener lives in a world defined by clans, and when she seeks admission to an exclusive clan, she discovers her world’s dark side.
Del Rey/Kodansha Comics
Arisa (Vol. 2, June; Vol. 3, August) Natsumi Ando. After Tsubasa switches places with her popular twin-sister, Arisa, she discovers a dark side to her sister’s school.
Bloody Monday (August) Written by Ryou Ryumon, Illustrated by Kouji Megumi. A young, genius computer hacker becomes aware of a terrorist plot to spread a biological weapon and fights to stop them.
Monster Hunter Orange (Vol. 1, June; Vol. 2, August) Hiro Mashima. By the creator of Fairy Tale, it is based on the Capcom game.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Vol. 1, June; Vol.2, August) Written by Kenji Kuroda, Illustrated by Kazuo Maekawa. A new manga series based on the video game about attorneys. Objection!
Drawn & Quarterly
Big Questions (April) Anders Nilsen. A postmodern fable, collecting ten years of work, it details the metaphysical quandaries of the occupants of an endless plain, which exists between a dream and a Russian steppe.
Onwards Towards Our Noble Deaths (May) Shigeru Mizuki. A semi-autobiographical work set in a Japanese infantry unit at the end of World War II as the soldiers must go into battle and die for their country or face execution, by a preeminent figure in the gekiga movement and a living manga legend in Japan.
Paying for It (May) Chester Brown. A contemporary exploration of sex work, in which Brown lays out how he became a willing participant and vocal proponent of prostitution.
Scenes from an Impending Marriage (February) Adrian Tomine. From the pages of his sketchbook, an intimate and hilarious account of his and his fiancés journey to the Alter told through a series of comic vignettes.
21: The Story of Roberto Clemente (April) Wilfred Santiago. A biography of Puerto Rican baseball legend, Roberto Clemente, this book chronicles his life from his childhood in Puerto Rico, his stunning career with the Pittsburg Pirates where despite his success he faced discrimination, to his death in a plane crash on the way to a relief-mission in Nicaragua.
Celluloid (June) Dave McKean. While waiting for her partner to return from work, a woman finds a scratched and blurry reel of film that shows a couple having sex, when the film burns out, a door is revealed that leads her to a series of fantastical sexual encounters.This is McKean's first solo graphic novel since Cages.
Congress of the Animals (April) Jim Woodring. Woodring’s second full-length graphic novel and his first staring his signature character Frank, in which he escapes The Unifactor, the power that controls everything and keeps Frank uneducatable, and he goes through many trials to find what he is looking for.
Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture: A Career Retrospective (August) Jack Davis. A retrospective collection spanning the career of Jack Davis, MAD contributor, EC artist, and prolific illustrator, that includes comic and illustration work, much of it scanned from the originals.
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death Valley (May) Floyd Gottfredson. The first volume in Fantagrapics collection of the complete classic 1930’s Mickey Mouse strips that formed the foundation for later Disney comics.
Wandering Son: Book 1 (March) Shimura Takako. Shuichi is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. The series follows a group of young people from elementary school into high school as they contend with the complexities of their sexualities and relationships with each other.
Astronaut Academy (June) Dave Roman. Hakata Soy is trying to make a new start as a student at Astronaut Academy; however, his past as the leader of a futuristic superhero team is catching up with him.
Feynman (August) Jim Ottavini and Leland Myrick. A biography about the Nobel-winning physicist, adventurer, musician, and world-class raconteur which follows his life from his childhood in Long Island to his work on the Manhattan project and the Challenger Disaster.
Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists (October). A collection of Nursery Rhymes re-imagined in comics-form by a variety of such acclaimed cartoonists as Mike Mignola, Jules Feifer and many more.
Zahra’s Paradise (September) Amir and Khalil. Set in the aftermath of the fraudulent 2009 Iranian elections, this book tells the story of a fictional young protester who has disappeared into the Iranian gulags. It was first serialized as a webcomic and weaves together both fiction and real people and events.
Zita the Spacegirl (February) Ben Hatke. After discovering a remote control in a crater that zaps away her best friend, Zita ventures after him to save him from aliens bent on apocalypse, and she becomes an intergalactic hero on the way.
Hill and Wang
Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles: The Authorized Adaptation (June) Dennis Calero. Following Hill and Wang’s Authorized Adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, is Bradbury’s collection of fifteen interconnected stories of Earthmen who come to settle on Mars, where there is an ancient, dying civilization.
Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked Comes This Way: The Authorized Adaptation (June) Ron Wimberly. An adaptation of Bradbury’s story of Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show’s stop in Green Town and two boys effort to stop the evil at work in this sideshow.
Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine Premiere (August) Written by Jason Aaron, Illustrated by Adam Kubert. Spider-Man and Wolverine team up in their first major series together as they fight against Marvel villains who are being manipulated by a major Marvel villain.
Oz: The Marvelous Land of Oz (August) Written by Eric Shanower, Illustrated by Skottie Young. The third volume in Marvel’s adaptation of Frank Baum’s Oz series.
Sense and Sensibility (May) Written by Nancy Butler, Illustrated by Sonny Liew. An adaptation of Jane Austen’s book following Marvel’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
Thor/ Iron man: God Complex Premiere (May) Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Illustrated by Scot Eaton. Thor, an heir to an ancient and mythic power, and Iron Man, a product of scientific genius and technology, fight together against a menace that threatens to destroy the pantheons of legend and science.
Ultimate Comics: Captain American Premiere (June) Written by Jason Aaron, Illustrated by Ron Garney. Captain America meets his ultimate nemesis, the Captain America of the Vietnam War; by the creative team from Wolverine: Weapon X.
Ultimate Comics: Thor Premier (March) Written by Jonathan Hickman, Illustrated by Carlos Pacheco. The origins of Thor, Loki, and the rest of the Asgard.
Kinky and Cosy(July) Nix. A dark, subversive collection of comic gags about the wrong doings, on purpose or not, of a pair of twin girls.
The Sky Over the Louvre (April) Bernard Yslaire and Jean-Claude Carriere. The next book in the Louvre Museum collection that explores the origins of the Louvre during the French Revolution to be the museum of the people, during which Robespierre commissions a painting from David, which is never finished.
A Treasury of Murder: The Lives of Sacco And Vanzetti (August) Rick Geary. The controversial case of the Anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti, who were accused of robbery and murder, is presented with the dubious evidence and the human face of the trial which caused protests around the world.
Garfield #1: Fish to Fry (May) Jim Davis, Mark Evanier, Baptiste Heidrich, and Julien Monthiel. A graphic novel series based on the Cartoon Network animated series. In this volume, Garfield is put on trial for his crimes against fish.
Garfield #2: The Curse of the Cat People (May) Jim Davis, Julien Magnat, Mathilde Maraninchi, Antonin Poiree, and Christophe Poujol. The second volume in the Garfield graphic novel series, in which Garfield and Odie are transported to an alternative, ancient Egypt where cats rule the world.
Nancy Drew The New Case Files #3: Together with the Hardy Boys (September) Written by Gerry Conway, Illustrated by Sho Murase. When Nancy Drew is stumped by a series of mysterious events, she recruits the Hardy Boys for help; however, the Hardy Boys no longer want to work together. The first graphic novel team up of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.
The Smurfs #7: The Astrosmurf (August) Peyo. A Smurf who wants to go to outer space builds a rocket, which fails. To cheer him up, Papa Smurf builds a new rocket without windows and moves it to an elaborately staged “planet” populated by other Smurfs pretending to be aliens.
The Cardboard Valise (March) Ben Katchor. Katchor’s first book in more than 10 years, it is set in a fantastical nation Canthus where the lives of three people, a young xenophile, an exiled king, and supranationalist, intertwine in the same tenement.
Habibi (Fall) Craig Thompson. Thompson’s long awaited graphic novel after his memoir, Blankets, Habibi is a love story set amid the divide between the first and third world and the intersections of Christianity and Islam.
Meta Maus (Fall) Art Spiegleman. A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Maus that includes a DVD, notebooks and sketchbooks, and transcripts of interviews with Speigleman’s father.
Mister Wonderful (April) Daniel Clowes. Originally serialized in the New Yorker, this book follows Marshall, a middle-age, un-employed, divorcee, as he waits for a blind date, who turns out to be young woman who is beautiful and intelligent, and the two share a long, emotionally charged night.
Any Empire (July) Nate Powell. In Powell’s next graphic novel after his award-winning book, Swallow Me Whole, three boys in a Southern town are forced to face their privileged suburban fantasies of violence when there is a rash of turtle mutilations, and then meet later as adults.
AX Vol.2: A Collection of Alternative Manga (November) Edited by Sean Michael Wilson. The second collection of underground comics from the Japanese magazine AX.
The Homeland Directive (May) Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston. From the author of The Surrogates, a story set in an Orwellian present, Dr. Laura Regan, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is framed for the murder of her colleague and becomes wrapped up in a dangerous conspiracy.
Lucille (April) Ludovic Debeurme. The English-language debut of this acclaimed European graphic novelist, Lucille follows two teenagers, Lucille and Arthur, who struggle with the legacies inherited from their families of illness, pride, despair, and hope, as they travel together across Europe.
Lychee Light Club (April) Usamaru Furuya. A group of teens build a giant robot to help them pick up girls.
Velveteen and Mandala (August) Jiro Mastumoto. Two high school girls, of opposite backgrounds and personalities, live on the outskirts of Tokyo where they protect the capital as they fight off the zombie apocalypse.
Aaron and Ahmed (April) Jay Cantor and James Romberger. After loosing his wife in 9/11, Aaron Goodman works at Guantanamo Bay to discover the cause of terrorism, searching for a scientific explanation of how jihadists are programming people to become suicide bombers. He is guided by Ahmed, a prisoner who knows how this theory is being used.
American Vampire Vol. 2 (May) Written by Scott Snyder, art by Rafael Albuquerque. Vampires of the American West, Skinner Sweet and Pearl, find trouble in the newly booming Las Vegas where a young police chief strives to solve a string of murders where prominent businessmen are drained of blood.
Daytripper (February) Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon. Each story in this series follows the daily life of Bras de Olivias Dominguez in Brazil; each story starts at various points in his life, however, each story ends the same: with his death.
Delirium’s Party (May) Jill Thompson. A collection of kid-friendly stories about the characters from Sandman.
Demo Vol. 2 (March) Written by Brian Wood, art by Becky Cloonan. In this sequel, six standalone stories take a ground-level approach to superpowers as teens grapple with love, loss, and finding their way.
Joe the Barbarian (September) Written by Grant Morrison, art by Sean Murphy. Joe is an imaginative eleven-year-old boy who suffers from Type 1 diabetes and whose father is fighting in the Iraq War; due to his condition one day he enters a fantasy world where he is the lost savior, and his attempts to leave his bedroom are transformed into a fantastical adventure.
For Kids (All Ages):
Mameshiba on the Loose! Vol.1 (July) Written by James Turner, art by Jorge Monlongo and Gemma Correll. The cute Japanese sensation comes to America in their first comic series, with new characters, Cranberry Bean, Lima Bean, and Black-Eyed Pea.
Panda Man and the Treasure Hunt (January) Written by Sho Makura, art by Haruhi Kato.A story about a roly-poly hero with a bottomless belly who fights evil villains; with interactive puzzles and mazes the reader can join in Panda-Man’s pursuit of a treasure with Pirates hindering his way.
Taro and the Terror of Eat Streets (March) Sango Morimoto. Taro is an ordinary boy who, with the power of a magic pencil, brings his comic book drawings to life and joins his characters as Terry, a terrier, to fight King Crossout, who is rampaging the restaurants of Eat Street.
For Teens and Up:
Blue Exorcist Vol. 1 (April) Kazue Kato. Raised by a famous exorcist, Rin discovers Satan is his father and enters True Cross Academy to become an exorcist himself and defeat Satan.
Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan Vol. 1 (February) Hiroshi Shiibashi. An ordinary teenager most of the time, Rikuo Nura is three-quarters human and the grandson of the commander of the Nura Clan, which rules over the supernatural creatures, Yokai; one day Rikuo transforms into the leader himself and rules hundreds of demons.
Mistress Fortune (February) Arina Tanemura. Kisaki, a fourteen-year-old, has psychic powers and works for a secret government agency that fights aliens. She is in love with her partner, Giniro, however operatives aren’t allowed to get involved; when she is finally getting closer to Giniro, he is transferred to California.
Sakura Hime Vol.1 (April) Arina Tanemura. Granddaughter of a moon princess who slew demons with her Blood Cherry Blossom sword, Sakura, is ignorant of the reason she is forbidden from looking at the full moon, until, unhappy over an impending marriage, she looks at the moon and sees a demon attacking her.
Tenjo Tenge Vol. 1 (June) Oh!great. Knuckle-busting brawls, badass babes, and the toughest student council ever set in Todo High, where the only rule is the strong rule.
A Bride’s Story Vol. 1 (May) Kaoru Mori. From the creator of Emma, this story follows a young nineteenth-century bride who is sent to a neighboring town to marry her new husband, who is eight years younger than her; she develops a deep affection for the boy and his family as she learns about their different customs.
High School of the Dead (Vol. 1, January; Vol. 2, April) Written by Daisuke Sato, Illustrated by Shouji Sato. A mysterious illness spreads through Fujimi High School which turns the students into zombies; Takashi Komuro and his childhood friend, Rei, escape but must continue to survive as the other students and town are overcome by the disease.
Witch and Wizard (Late 2011) Adapted and illustrated by Svetlana Chmakova. Adapted from the novel by James Patterson.