The big news: Alison Bechdel is back—her much-anticipated return is accompanied by buzzy spring comics including diverse debuts, politically charged nonfiction, and one from a Nobel laureate.
And Now I Spill the Family Secrets: An Illustrated Memoir
Margaret Kimball. HarperOne, Apr. 20 ($18.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-06-300744-4)
Kimball maps unspoken territory, circling around her mother’s suicide attempt, in an ambitious debut memoir sporting “scalpel-sharp writing and tidy drawings,” per PW’s starred review.
Aminder Dhaliwal. Drawn & Quarterly, Apr. 13 ($24.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77046-437-7)
Following Women’s World, Dhaliwal plumbs another satirical thought-experiment, wherein a cyclops community navigates the pressures and prejudice of two-eyed society.
Guy Delisle, trans. by Helge Dascher. Drawn & Quarterly, June 15 ($29.95, ISBN 978-1-77046-459-9)
Known for his keen-eyed comics travelogues, Delisle trains his witty reportage on his hometown, recalling a teenage summer laboring at a Quebec factory simmering in class tensions.
Daniel Chmielewski and Olga Tokarczuk, trans. by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and Kate Webster. Uncivilized, June 22 ($22.95, ISBN 978-1-941250-39-6)
Polish Nobel Prize–winner Tokarczuk’s Anna in the Tombs of the World becomes a graphic novel, adapted by cartoonist Chmielewski, winner of the Polish Comics Prize, now in English.
Save It for Later: Promises, Parenthood, and the Urgency of Protest
Nate Powell. Abrams ComicArts, Apr. 6 ($24.99, ISBN 978-1-4197-4912-4)
Powell (the March series) collects comics essays spanning the 2016 election and the Covid pandemic, promoting civil engagement as a parent passing on the legacy of “good trouble.”
The Secret to Superhuman Strength
Alison Bechdel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May 4 ($24, ISBN 978-0-544-38765-2)
Bechdel’s eagerly anticipated first original memoir in eight years revs up on her fitness obsessions and drives through America’s fascinations with the (often consumerist) commitment to keeping fit. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness
Kristen Radtke. Pantheon, July 6 ($30, ISBN 978-1-5247-4806-7)
Believer comics editor Radtke’s sophomore outing hits poignant, timely topics: loneliness, along with the oddity of solo city life, and cultural and technological hallmarks of isolation.
Smahtguy: The Life and Times of Barney Frank
Eric Orner. Metropolitan, June 1 ($25.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-250-19158-8)
Queer comics fixture Orner also happens to be Barney Frank’s press secretary, and this insider account of the first out congressman’s life leverages uncommon access and Orner’s comics chops. 40,000-copy announced first printing.
Lee Lai. Fantagraphics, May 11 ($24.99, ISBN 978-1-68396-426-1)
Lai’s electric debut centers on a trio (a queer couple and a single mother) who adore the same child, and find their family and romantic ties stretched and transformed, remaking them all.
Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts
Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez. Simon & Schuster, June 1 ($25, ISBN 978-1-9821-1518-0)
Originally crowdfunded, researcher Hall’s hybrid of history, activism, and speculative fiction unearths and honors stories of enslaved women who rose up in rebellion.
Comics & Graphic Novels Listings
Across the Tracks: Remembering Greenwood, Black Wall Street, and the Tulsa Race Massacre by Alverne Ball and Stacey Robinson (May 4, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-4197-5517-0). Featured in the new Megascope line’s 2021 launch, this work uncovers personal stories and explores the history and legacy of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.
Flash Forward: An Illustrated Guide to Possible (and Not So Possible) Tomorrows by Rose Eveleth et al. (Mar. 30, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-4197-4547-8). The eponymous podcast host teams up with Matt Lubchansky, Sophie Goldstein, Ben Passmore, Box Brown, and Julia Gfrörer on comics that speculate on future scenarios, paired with fact-checking essays.
Happy Hour by Peter Milligan and Michael Montenat (July 13, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-952090-05-9). A pair of young people flee a dystopian society seeking the right to wallow in misery, which is illegal in a future where the Joy Police enforce the law that every citizen must be happy, all the time.
My Life in Transition: A Super Late Bloomer Collection by Julia Kaye (Feb. 16, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-5248-6046-2) follows up Kaye’s comics memoir Super Late Bloomer, now sharing her ups and downs of living “out” after gender transition, as she negotiates day-to-day life and relationships with family and friends.
Girlsplaining by Katja Klengel (Mar. 9, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-68415-662-7) takes on big topics around gender and society, with comics questioning women’s restrictive roles, body shaming, and sexual taboos, and the pressure to have children, among other issues, in the German cartoonist’s English-language debut.
Our Work Is Everywhere: An Illustrated Oral History of Queer and Trans Resistance by Syan Rose (Apr. 6, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-55152-815-1) brings together illustrated oral histories and portraits of a diverse group of queer and trans people, spotlighting activists and other community leaders.
Resistance by Val McDermid and Kathryn Briggs (May 4, $27 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-8021-5872-7). Scottish crime writer McDermid partners with artist Briggs on a graphic thriller about chasing contagion. Ground zero is the Solstice Festival in North-umberland, where a journalist tracks an illness’s outbreak as it spirals through England.
We Only Find Them When They’re Dead, Vol. 1, by Al Ewing and Simone Di Meo (May 11, $9.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68415-677-1). Captain Malik stars in this interstellar fantasy as commander of an autopsy ship that scavenges resources from the bodies of deceased alien gods—and his white whale is to land a still-living deity.
Ex-girlfriend of My Ex-girlfriend: Advice on Queer Dating, Love, and Friendship by Maddy Court and Kelsey Wroten (May 18, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-7972-0182-5) compiles and illustrates advice offered to questions posed by anonymous queer women and nonbinary folks on conundrums in their search for love.
The Pleasure of the Text by Sami Alwani (May 1, $20 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77262-052-8). Vice cartoonist Alwani’s debut comics collection features stories with such characters as a pandemic-quarantined ghost indulging in pot-laced cookies and a half-man/half-dog comics artist who becomes infamous in the indie scene.
Harley Quinn Black + White + Red by Stjepan Sejic et al. (March 30, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77950-995-6) collects a series of original Harley Quinn stories drawn only in black, white, and red, from such creators as Saladin Ahmed, Erica Henderson, and Marguerite Sauvage.
Teddy by Laurence Luckinbill and Eryck Tait (Feb. 17, $24.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68247-487-7) relates the life of President Theodore Roosevelt in graphic bio form, via an imagined speech given in 1918 just after Roosevelt hears the news that his son’s plane has been shot down in WWI, as the politician reflects on policy and personal choices.
Drawn & Quarterly
Fictional Father by Joe Ollmann (May 4, $24.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77046-463-6). In Doug Wright Award–winner Ollmann’s graphic novel, artist Caleb’s trying to stay sober, get his life together, and escape the legacy of his famous cartoonist father, who drew comics about family, but neglected his own.
Night Bus by Zuo Ma, trans. by Orion Martin (July 13, $29.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77046-465-0). Chinese indie cartoonist Ma debuts in English with a fantastical collection of stories, with settings such as a bus ride that veers into unexpected landscapes and a school gym that morphs into a creature-infested swamp.
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Mannie Murphy (Mar. 23, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-68396-410-0) opens with a reminiscence of a youthful movie star crush and evolves into a history of racism embedded in the urban planning and politics of Murphy’s childhood hometown of Portland, Ore.
Poison Flowers and Pandemonium by Richard Sala (May 4, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-68396-274-8). This quartet of graphic novellas, completed just before Sala’s death in May 2020, showcases the cartoonist’s brand of artsy watercolor-painted horror and gore in stories including “Monsters Illustrated” and “House of the Blue Dwarf.”
Red Rock Baby Candy by Shira Spector (Mar. 2, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-68396-404-9). Spector debuts with a fragmentary graphic memoir that digs into infertility, the loss of her father to cancer, and tumultuous moments from her relationship with her partner and family.
Bubble by Jordan Morris, Sarah Morgan, and Tony Cliff (July 13, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-250-24556-4), a graphic novel based on the podcast series, employs a fantasy tale set inside a safety bubble in a harsh alien world to satirize the gig economy, where humans kill imps as a side job.
What Unites Us: The Graphic Novel by Elliot Kirschner, Dan Rather, and Tim Foley (Feb. 16, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-23994-5) adapts newscaster Rather’s essays on patriotism, illustrating his arguments about the components of freedom, his vision for a united America, and meditations on shared values and bedrock institutions.
Thirsty Mermaids by Kat Leyh
(Feb. 9, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-9821-3357-3). A trio of mermaids get drunk and cast a spell on themselves to walk on land for a night. They wake up not only hungover but unable to get back to seaworthy forms; misadventures ensue.
Meadowlark: A Graphic Novel by Ethan Hawke and Greg Ruth (July 20, $26, ISBN 978-1-5387-1457-7) reunites the actor/writer and illustrator on their second graphic novel collaboration following Indeh, with a father-son drama set in small-town Texas, as one epically bad day unfolds. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
The Parakeet by Espé, trans. by Hannah Chute (Mar. 1, $21.95, ISBN 978-0-271-08805-1), offers a child’s view into mental illness, as eight-year-old Bastien observes (and longs for) his mother, who falls into schizophrenic fits and is taken away by doctors, as he tries to piece together what it all means.
Historic New Orleans Collection
Monumental: Oscar Dunn and His Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana by Brian K. Mitchell, Barrington S. Edwards, and Nick Weldon (Mar. 6, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-917860-83-6). Set in Reconstruction-era New Orleans, this graphic biography memorializes the dramatic life of Oscar James Dunn, the first elected Black lieutenant governor in the U.S.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
In: A Graphic Novel by Will McPhail (May 4, $28, ISBN 978-0-358-34554-1). New Yorker cartoonist McPhail’s debut graphic novel features lonely, soul-searching millennial Nick, who frequents hipster coffee joints hoping for companionship and begins a relationship with Wren, an oncologist. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Count by Ibrahim Moustafa (Mar. 16, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64337-634-9) retells The Count of Monte Cristo as a sci-fi comic, where a wronged prisoner, Redxan Samud, breaks out of a hovering penitentiary, gets rich, hooks up with a robotic sidekick, and seeks revenge upon his foe, the magistrate.
The Middle Ages: A Graphic History by Eleanor Janega and Neil Max Emmanuel (July 13, $18.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-78578-591-7) frames the medieval period as a transformational era, illustrating hallmarks including the Crusades and the plague, and the particulars of religious life and orders, and their influence on contemporary culture.
Voyage to the Stars by Ryan Copple, James Asmus, and Connie Daidone (Apr. 27, $15.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68405-798-6) adapts the space-faring comedy podcast into a graphic novel. One bumbling crew blasts away from Earth before it’s destroyed, chasing a dark force across the universe and sewing chaos in their wake.
Getting It Together, Vol. 1, by Sina Grace and Omar Spahi (Mar. 30, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-5343-1776-5). Grace updates Friends for the contemporary open-relationship set with this ensemble series set in the Bay Area, featuring indie rocker roommates and the perils of dating one’s best-bud’s sister.
Write It in Blood by Rory McConville and Joe Palmer (Mar. 2, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-5343-1835-9). Cosmo and Arthur Pryce, sibling murderers for hire, are ready to put their careers to rest, after they finish one last job, which takes them on a disastrous road trip with a captive in the trunk of their car.
Mpls Sound by Hannibal Tabu, Meredith Laxton, and Joseph Phillip Illidge (Apr. 13, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64337-840-4) pays homage to Prince through the story of Starchild, a female-led band that was inspired by Prince’s style, sound, and cosmic effect on the Minneapolis musical scene.
1000 Storms by Tony Sandoval (June 9, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-951719-09-8). Sandoval crafts a fantasy starring a girl named Lisa who is shunned by other children due to her odd ways. Lisa only wants a friend—but instead gets dragged into a parallel world and a demonic invasion plot.
The Curie Society by Heather Einhorn, Adam Staffaroni, and Janet Harvey (Apr. 27, $18.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-262-53994-4). Three young women recruited to a society founded by Marie Curie put to work their scientific smarts to thwart rival investigators in this series launch.
Love Me Please! The Story of Janis Joplin by Nicolas Finet and Christopher (July 13, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-68112-276-2). Janis Joplin gets the graphic biography treatment in this celebration of her short life, including her postwar childhood, musical career, addictions, and death in 1970.
The Secrets of Chocolate: A Gourmand’s Trip Through a Top Chef’s Atelier by Franckie Alarcon (June 15, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-68112-278-6) puts the sweet treat in comics spotlight as Alacron journals in comics the year he spent following chocolatier Jacques Genin, and details the culture and process around making and baking with chocolate.
The Vain, Vol. 1, by Eliot Rahal and Emily Pearson (Apr. 6, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-62010-887-1). A coven of vampires who call themselves “the Vain” spend their time perfecting blood-bank heists, evading law enforcement, and observing the shifts in society around them over the course of a century.
Freiheit! The White Rose Graphic Novel by Andrea Grosso Ciponte (Feb. 16, $24, ISBN 978-0-87486-344-4) memorializes a student resistance group in WWII Germany: siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, and Willi Graf disseminated anti-Nazi pamphlets and were executed for their activism.
Princeton Architectural Press
Emotional Robots: A Question of Existence by Alex Zohar, Greg Fass, and Jake Richardson (May 18, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64896-039-0) imagines a future where robots take over the Earth, as humanity colonizes another planet for refuge. Then even more advanced robots emerge, leading to intergenerational robot conflicts.
Turkish Kaleidoscope: Fractured Lives in a Time of Violence by Jenny White and Ergün Gündüz (Apr. 20, $22.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-691-20519-9) digs into the political tensions that erupted in Turkey in the 1970s and culminated in a 1980 coup, through the stories of composite characters based on rightist and leftist extremists.
Feelings: A Story in Seasons by Manjit Thapp (Mar. 2, $21.99, ISBN 978-0-593-12975-3) examines the changing seasons as influential and defining changing emotional states across the course of a year, in drawings that “gorgeously depict the delicate dance between the internal and natural worlds,” per PW’s review.
Dai Dark, Vol. 1, by Q Hayashida (Apr. 27, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64827-116-8). Zaha Sanko, teenage protagonist of this black comedy manga, just wants to kick back—but monsters across the universe desire his magicked bones, so first he’s got to fight them off and kill the source of his curse.
The Knights of Heliopolis by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Jérémy (Apr. 13, $24.99, ISBN 978-1-78773-608-5) recasts the fable of “The Man in the Iron Mask” by adding supernatural elements (including a cadre of immortal alchemists) and twists and turns of secret parentage, all set in an 18th-century French monastery.
I’m a Wild Seed by Sharon Lee De La Cruz (Feb. 14, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-95149-105-5). De La Cruz debuts with a collection of autobiographical comics that touch on, among other things, her “uneventful coming-out story” and her ruminations on Xena the warrior princess, as it delves into how De La Cruz defined her LGBTQ identity as a person of color.
The Comic Book Guide to Growing Food: Step-by-Step Vegetable Gardening for Everyone by Joseph Tychonievich and Liz Anna Kozik (Feb. 2, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-9848-5726-2) features Mia, a novice gardener, and her plant-nurturing neighbor, George, who guides her (and readers) visually along each step in growing
produce at home.
Muhammad Ali, Kinshasa 1974 by Jean-David Morvan, Abbas, and Rafael Ortiz (Feb. 2, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-78773-620-7). This hybrid graphic nonfiction work pairs previously unpublished original photography by Abbas with comics art by Ortiz to illuminate the historic 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.
Onion Skin by Edgar Camacho (Apr. 13, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-60309-489-4), winner of Mexico’s inaugural National Young Graphic Novel Award, follows Rolando, a young man suffering from a traumatic injury, as he finds love and delicious new adventures when he opens a food truck with spirited chef Nera.
Rivers by David Gaffney and Dan Berry (May 4, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-60309-490-0) follows up The Three Rooms in Valerie’s Head with a tale of quirky strangers who share the same repeating dream, and who find each other via a futuristic internet service that taps into dream states.
Univ. of North Carolina
Run Home If You Don’t Want to Be Killed: The Detroit Uprising of 1943 by Rachel Marie-Crane Williams (Mar. 8, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4696-6327-2) draws from on-the-ground accounts recorded by the NAACP, illustrating the 1943 summer uprisings in Detroit, which followed growing racial tensions, in which 34 people (mostly Black) were killed.
Grendel, KY by Jeff McComsey and Tommy Lee Edwards (Feb. 16, $9.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-953165-03-9) retells Beowulf in contemporary rural Kentucky, where a mining town ritually sacrifices its young for good cash crops—until one father refuses to—and the daughter he saves must return to triumph.
The Visitor by Paul Levitz and MJ Kim (June 8, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68215-364-2). From Eisner Hall of Famer Levitz comes the Visitor, a new super-figure in the Valiant universe, who brings mysterious schemes with him to New York City over U.N. week as world leaders convene.
A Wave Blue World
Embodied: An Intersectional Comics Poetry Anthology, edited by Wendy and Tyler Chin-Tanner (May 18, $18.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-949518-13-9) meshes poetic and comics forms in this inclusive and interactive anthology, featuring poets and cartoonists including Rosebud Ben-Oni, Khadijah Queen, Maggie Smith, Paul Tran, Soo Lee, Hazel Newlevant, and Ashley A. Woods.
This article has been updated to include new bibliographic information for one title.