This season brings a crop of bold manga, including alternative classics, historical fiction, LGBTQ stories, and outings from indie creators. Light novels—serialized prose stories with manga-style illustrations—are a growing category.

Top 10

Betwixt: A Horror Manga Anthology

Junji Ito et al. Viz, Oct. 10 ($25, ISBN 978-1-9747-4145-8)

Manga star Ito contributes the cover and introduction for a collection of short horror comics by Japanese and American creators.

The Darwin Incident

Shun Umezawa. Kodansha, Sept. 5 ($12.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64729-316-1)

Charlie, a teenage “humanzee” and the first human-animal hybrid, finds himself at the center of political battles over animal rights and the nature of humanity.


Shima Shinya, trans. by Eleanor Summers. Yen, Sept. 19 ($15 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-975370-27-5)

A nonbinary teen and their younger sister notice inexplicable glitches in reality after they move to a new town in this paranormal mystery.

Gold Kingdom and Water Kingdom

Nao Iwamoto. Seven Seas, Nov. 28 ($16.99 trade paper, ISBN 979-88-88433-07-2)

Two young people from warring kingdoms hatch a plan to forge peace by pretending to be in love in this romance, which was recently adapted into an anime film.

Haruki Murakami Manga Stories

Haruki Murakami, Jean-Christophe Deveney, and PMGL. Tuttle, Oct. 3 ($19.99, ISBN 978-4-8053-1764-8)

Four of the best-loved stories by international bestseller Murakami, including “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo,” are adapted into comics for the first time by a French creative team.


Shin’ichi Sakamoto. Dark Horse, Nov. 21 ($29.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-5067-3824-6)

The cocreator of the Kokou no Hito series fictionalizes the life of Charles-Henri Sanson, the Royal Executioner of Paris, who performed nearly 3,000 executions in 18th-century France.

A Kid’s Guide to Anime & Manga: Exploring the History of Japanese Animation and Comics

Samuel Sattin, Patrick Macias, and Utomaru. Running Press Kids, Nov. 21 ($17.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-7624-8393-8)

Along with a history of Japanese anime and manga, explanations of how artists create their work, and breakdowns of popular series, this introduction includes tips for aspiring artists.


Yoshiharu Tsuge, trans. by Ryan Holmberg. Drawn & Quarterly, Oct. 3 ($29.95, ISBN 978-1-77046-506-0)

This volume gathers short tales from one of the most acclaimed artists of 1960s underground manga, including the surrealistic title story, previously translated as “Screw-Style.”


Susumu Higa, trans. by Jocelyne Allen, Andrew Woodrow Butcher, and Christopher Butcher. Fantagraphics, Aug. 22 ($29.99, ISBN 978-1-68396-118-5)

Okinawa native Higa’s omnibus collection of intertwined stories delves into the island prefecture’s culture and long history of military occupation.

Tengen Hero Wars

Yasu Hiromoto and Kubara Sakanoichi. Titan Manga, Jan. 16 ($12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-78774-128-7)

A teenage history buff and his sister are transported to a world where the great military heroes of history, including Caesar, Napoleon, and the samurai of Japan’s Warring States period, do battle.



Summer Ghost by Otsuichi, illus. by Ioundraw (Aug. 8, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 979-88-88431-91-7). This light novel finds three lonely teenagers connecting over their fascination with an urban legend about a ghost haunting the local airport.


H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Shadow over Innsmouth’ by Gou Tanabe, trans. by Zack Davisson. (Nov. 14, $29.99 trade paper ISBN 978-1-5067-3603-7). Tanabe adapts one of Lovecraft’s most famous tales of the macabre, in which the residents of an isolated coastal village share a dark secret.


Joker: One Operation Joker by Satoshi Miyagawa, illus. by Keisuke Gotou (Sept. 5, $9.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77952-311-2). In this outlandish comedy about parenting, Batman falls into a vat of chemicals during a battle with the Joker and is de-aged to a baby—leaving the Joker to raise the Bat-Baby.

Superman vs. Meshi by Satoshi Miyagawa, illus. by Kai Kitago (Sept. 5, $9.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77952-312-9) follows the Man of Steel as he stops in Japan every day for beef bowls, curry, conveyor-belt sushi, and other hearty cheap eats.


Qualia Under the Snow by Kanna Kii (Dec. 19, $15.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-63442-448-6). Two young adults at a hostel cope with trauma in different ways—one by acting out sexually, the other by retreating into solitude—but still recognize each other as kindred spirits.


Jaj: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Sept. 26, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-77162-353-7) offers a manga-influenced history of first contact between Europeans and the Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest from an artist whose work incorporates the art traditions of the Haida people.


My Picture Diary by Maki Fujiwara, trans. by Ryan Holmberg (Sept. 26, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-77046-662-3). In this underground classic, the wife of alt-manga artist Yoshihiru Tsuge chronicles a fraught period of their marriage in illustrated diary form.

Yokai: The Art of Shigeru Mizuki by Shigeru Mizuki (Oct. 31, $44.95, ISBN 978-1-77046-620-3) showcases the fine art of the creator of Kitaro and Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths, particularly his depictions of Japanese monsters, folklore, and nature.


Mothers by Kusahara Umi (Aug., $25, ISBN 978-1-953629-24-1). This collection of shorts by an up-and-coming indie artist ranges from slice-of-life stories to reworkings of fairy tales.

The Other Side of the Clouds by Yoruno Hitsujigumo (Sept., $20, ISBN 978-1-953629-20-3). A girl with a thirst for adventure moves to a seaside town full of mysteries in this gentle, dreamlike iyashikei (“healing”) manga.


The Girl Who Became a Fish by Osamu Dazai and Nekosuke (Aug. 15, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-64729-181-5). Kodansha’s Maiden’s Bookshelf series adapts classics of 20th-century Japanese literature. In this dark fairy tale installment, a charcoal burner’s daughter undergoes a strange transformation.

King in Limbo by Ai Tanaka (Jan. 16, $21.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64651-923-1). When a deadly pandemic returns, disabled U.S. naval officer Adam Garfield comes out of retirement and teams up with a man code-named “King” who can enter people’s memories.

My Lovesick Life as a ’90s Otaku by Nico Nicholson (Nov. 28, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64651-881-4). A middle-aged divorcée flashes back to her teenage years as an awkward fangirl crushing on a basketball player who can’t stand geeks.

Witch Hat Atelier Kitchen by Hiromi Sato and Kamome Shirahama (Oct. 31, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64651-843-2) contains easy-to-follow recipes set in the magical world of Shirahama’s Witch Hat Atelier series.


Ninja Sarutobi Sasuke by Shigeru Sugiura, trans. by Ryan Holmberg (Nov. 14, $24.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68137-785-8). A classic Japanese literary character is thrust into bizarre modern adventures in this 1960s pop-art manga by a children’s artist turned counterculture icon.


Punch Up! by Zachary Sterling (Aug. 29, $15.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-63715-217-1). Pitch moves to the big city to train for the Wide Plains Fighting Tournament in an upbeat action fantasy from Adventure Time cartoonist Sterling.


Saturday AM Annual 2024: A Celebration of Original Diverse Manga-Inspired Short Stories from Around the World by Saturday AM (Oct. 3, $15.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-7603-8252-3) gathers manga-inspired comics from across the globe, including all-new work from established Saturday AM artists.

Soul Beat by Morganne Walker (Oct. 3, $13.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-7603-8255-4). Up-and-coming boxer Dante Alfonse defends his mentor from the devil himself and gets involved in an ancient feud between heaven and hell.


Anime and Manga Mega Handbook by Scholastic (Sept. 5, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-339-01746-4) features recaps of popular series, character profiles, trivia, and more.


A Cat from Our World and the Forgotten Witch by Hiro Kashiwaba (Jan. 2, $13.99 trade paper, ISBN 979-88-88432-59-4). A cantankerous old witch summons a cat to be her familiar—but in her world, cats are gigantic. Nonetheless, her new pet helps her emerge from loneliness and recall her glory days of saving the world from evil.

Orb: On the Movements of the Earth by Uoto (Nov. 21, $24.99 trade paper, ISBN 979-88-88432-62-4). In the 15th century, child prodigy Rafal learns the heretical truth that Earth revolves around the sun and is forced to flee the Inquisition, with only a mysterious pendant to guide him.

Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura, illus. by Tomo Taketomi (Nov. 21, $13.99 trade paper, ISBN 979-88-88431-93-1). A girl travels through a mirror to a castle inhabited by another girl in a wolf mask who invites her to compete in a strange scavenger hunt.

Soara and the House of Monsters
by Hidenori Yamaji (Sept. 5, $15.99 trade paper, ISBN 979-88-88430-18-7). Soara was trained to slay monsters, but she decides to build cozy homes for them instead as an employee of Monster Architects.


I Can’t Refuse S by Ai Hibiki (Sept. 26, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 979-88-88432-67-9). In this steamy romance, a woman forced to become a rich man’s mistress to save her family takes lessons in the erotic arts from a handsome but demanding butler.

Revenge: Mrs. Wrong by Sayo Momota (Nov. 7, $14.99 trade paper, ISBN 979-88-88432-64-8). Tsukiko is used to playing second fiddle to her sister Mitsuki—but when Mitsuki sends Tsukiko to fill in for her during a meeting with her wedding planner, Tsukiko falls in bed with the groom.


Old-Fashioned Cupcake with Cappuccino by Sagan Sagan (Sept. 12, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-974734-59-7). A middle-aged salaryman bonds with a younger colleague at a pancake shop in this sweet and savory LGBTQ romance.

Pink Heart Jam by Shikke (Dec. 12, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-974741-40-3). On a dare, a college student visits a male brothel, only to find his secret crush working there.


Alpi the Soul Sender by Rona (Oct. 3, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-78774-130-0) centers on Alpi, a young Soul Sender tasked with handling divine spirits that have been corrupted by a curse.

The Poetry of Ran by Yusuke Osawa (Dec. 12, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-78774-164-5). In this fantasy action epic, the bard Torue joins the disgraced monster hunter Ran on his quests, determined to compose a ballad of his deeds.

Witch of Thistle Castle by John Tarachine (Sept. 5, $12.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-78774-141-6). A witch and her apprentice live quietly in Edinburgh, avoiding the scrutiny of the church, until they’re forced out of hiding to save the world.


Disney Manga: Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’: The Battle for Pumpkin King by Dan Conner et al. (Sept. 26, $15.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4278-6843-5). This prequel to the beloved holiday film reveals the origins of the rivalry between Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie.

Undead: Finding Love in the Zombie Apocalypse by Fumi Tsuyushia (Oct. 24, $13.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4278-7422-1). Two young men discover their feelings for one another while fighting for their lives in the zombie apocalypse.


Rose of Versailles Episodes by Riyoko Ikeda (Nov. 7, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-77294-267-5). The “Queen of Shojo Manga” returns to the world of her most famous series, about a courageous swordswoman in the court of Marie Antoinette, for a collection of new stories.

Team Phoenix by Kenny Ruiz (Nov. 21, $13.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77294-276-7). A band of space pirates battles the all-power-
ful Robot Alliance in a crossover adventure that teams up characters from various works by Osamu Tezuka.


Akane-Banashi by Yuki Suenaga, illus. by Takamasa Moue (Aug. 8, $9.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-974736-48-5). A teenage girl follows in her father’s footsteps and enters the world of rakugo, a centuries-old form of stage comedy, to prove that her family’s style is worthy of the top ranking.

Mimi’s Tales of Terror by Junji Ito, Hirokatsu Kihara, and Ichiro Nakayama (Oct. 24, $24, ISBN 978-1-974738-51-9). Horror master Ito adapts a famous collection of real-life urban legends into chilling manga stories.

Neighborhood Story by Ai Yazawa (Dec. 5, $24.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-974740-89-5). Aspiring fashion designer Mikako and her childhood friend Tsutomu enroll in art school together in a series set in the same world as Yazawa’s hit Paradise Kiss.

Takopi’s Original Sin by Taizan5 (Nov. 21, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-974740-34-5) tells a dark story with a deceptively cute gloss about an alien who comes to Earth to spread happiness, only to find that the children he meets have problems that can’t be fixed with his whimsical technology.


Boyfriends by Refrainbow (Nov. 21, $19.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-990259-78-4). A jock, a nerd, a prep, and a goth all live together as boyfriends in this offbeat romantic comedy about navigating a polyamorous relationship.


The Deer King by Nahoko Uehashi and Masaaki Yamamoto, trans. by Cathy Hirano (Sept. 19, $26, ISBN 978-1-975352-33-2). In this light novel, two prisoners of war escape to the countryside, only to find themselves at the center of a deadly plague.

I Don’t Know Which Is Love by Oku Tamamushi (Aug. 22, $13 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-975369-85-9). Mei enters college determined to end her dateless streak and find a girlfriend—but, suddenly surrounded by cute girls, she has trouble telling the difference between crushes and true love.

Touge Oni: Primal Gods in Ancient Times by Kenji Tsurubuchi (Aug. 22, $15 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-975362-57-7). In ancient Japan, a girl chosen to be a human sacrifice is rescued by a monk who can communicate with the gods.

Shaenon K. Garrity is a PW comics reviewer and a writer, editor, and cartoonist best known for Narbonic and Skin Horse.

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Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article was missing the Airship title Summer Ghost.