Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2023 header

The Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2023

It’s been a banner year for comics and graphic novels, with hundreds of new-release titles hitting shelves from the Big Two (DC and Marvel Comics), indie publishers, and even creators themselves. It’s also been a year of significant change for the comics industry, as the loss of a beloved artist led to the viral #ComicsBrokeMe hashtag, exposing how the industry as a whole overworks, underpays, and otherwise mistreats even its most prolific creators. 2023 also saw the launch of the Cartoonist Cooperative, which seeks to disrupt the industry for positive change.

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The Mary Sue’s list of the best comics and graphic novels of 2023 represents a wide range of works published this year, with a focus on the books we believe should be added to your library immediately. Each of the listed titles is available in print, digitally, or both (unless otherwise noted). Read on to see our picks.

30. Blue Beetle: Graduation Day

Blue Beetle: Graduation Day

Jaime Reyes stars in Blue Beetle: Graduation Day, which follows the titular hero as he starts to move on from high school to “the real world” and all that comes with it. Navigating his future and his responsibility with his Scarab is one thing, but when communication from the Reach, an alien civilization, interrupts graduation, things get complicated, fast. Jaime is grounded by the Justice League as he faces new pressure from his loved ones to step into adulthood, making for a particularly volatile cocktail of emotions as he determines how to both be a hero and maintain a sense of normalcy.

Written by Josh Trujillo, illustrated by Adrian Gutiérrez, and colored by Wil Quintana, Blue Beetle: Graduation Day is a high-speed story that isn’t afraid to take risks. It also introduces a new villain to the DC Universe, the terrifying Yellow Beetle, whose powers are bigger than Jaime could have dreamt.

29. Love Everlasting

Love Everlasting Vol 1
(Image Comics)

Love Everlasting, written by Tom King, illustrated by Elsa Charretier, colored by Matt Hollingsworth, and lettered by Clayton Cowles, is an ongoing Image Comics series that follows time traveler Joan Peterson. Every time Joan jumps to a new year and hopes to find true love, she ends up getting her heart broken, and although at first it seems like she might someday break this cycle, it’s also apparent that she won’t. It isn’t always her lover’s fault—often, it’s just a doomed timeline, and there’s very little Joan can do but get out of dodge and try to move on.

When she eventually does find “the one,” things aren’t as they seem … but is that just her? Or is everyone experiencing the same thing? Love Everlasting Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, collecting issues #1-5 and #6-10, respectively, are available now.

28. Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy

Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy cover
(First Second)

Hockey Girl Loves Drama Boy is Faith Erin Hicks’s first solo romance comic. It follows aloof hockey jock Alix, whose abuse at the hands of her team captain is ignored by the coach until Alix physically lashes out. Alix is frightened by her anger and seeks out cool, calm theater kid Ezra, who seems to let homophobic bullying roll off his back with ease, to help her manage her emotions. Their friendship eventually leads to something more in a sweet spin on a classic high school romance that explores queerness, emotional safety, and hard decisions.

27. Moon Knight

Moon Knight Vol. 3: Halfway to Sanity
(Marvel Comics)

Moon Knight, a.k.a. Marc Spector, has had a wildly inconsistent run since he debuted in Werewolf by Night #32 in 1975. Created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin as a mercenary hired to assassinate Jack Russell, he’s since gone after any number of supernatural entities ranging from vampires to serial killers.

In writer Jed MacKay’s run, which kicked off in 2021, he and artists Federico Sabbatini, Alessandro Cappuccio, colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, and letterer Cory Petit have taken on the Herculean task of not just creating a new and engaging series of arcs for the character, but taking the more problematic elements of past portrayals and making them fit the new narrative, rather than fully retconning them. Somehow, they absolutely nail it at every turn, marking perhaps the best Moon Knight run in Marvel history—and at an ideal time, now that he’s an MCU star to boot.

Moon Knight Volumes 1-4 are available now, and Vol. 5 is available for pre-order.

26. Giga: The Complete Series

Giga: The Complete Series
(Vault Comics)

Giga: The Complete Series takes place in a post-war world where huge, dormant mecha called Giga are both revered as gods and used as shelter by surviving humans. When a disgraced engineer named Evan finds a murdered Giga, it rocks society to its core, including the tech-focused religious order that rules over everything in the wake of the mech war.

Written by Alex Paknadel, illustrated by John Lê, colored by Rosh, and lettered by Aditya Bidikar, this short series is visceral and poignant in its depiction of humanity’s relationship to technology and how deep that fear reaches in the face of the unknown. The world-building is tight, its edges bursting with detail, and the end will only leave you wanting more.

25. Once Upon a Time at the End of the World

Once Upon a Time At the End of the World Book 1
(BOOM! Studios)

The Once Upon a Time at the End of the World trilogy follows Maceo and Mezzy through a post-apocalyptic dystopia as they attempt to survive together, whatever the cost. Written by Jason Aaron, the first volume is drawn by Alexandre Tefenkgi, colored by Lee Loughridge, and lettered by AndWorld Design, with featured pages drawn by Nick Dragotta and colored by Rico Renzi. Volumes 2 and 3 will feature different artists, offering more depth and a firmer sense of time and place as the story spans its main characters’ entire lives.

Earth is destroyed and making connections feels more difficult than ever, but Maceo and Mezzy’s differences somehow work together, and they live dynamic and full existences in spite of the environmental horrors surrounding them. This series is beautiful and surprisingly delightful even when things look bleak.

24. Begin Again

Begin Again by Oliver Jeffers
(Philomel Books)

Beloved children’s book author and artist Oliver Jeffers pens his first all-ages story in Begin Again: How We Got Here and Where We Might Go—Our Human Story. So Far., an illustrated exploration of human history and potential guide for a better future written in his signature prose. Encouraging readers to look at humanity as an overall “we,” rather than a species divided, Jeffers argues that to create a stronger, more vibrant future for ourselves, we must start by telling better, more creative stories. This is a common thread in Jeffers’s works, and while it might not be anything new, the flow of his art is so breathtaking that Begin Again is still a great read.

23. Stories of the Islands

Page of "Stories of The Island" by Clar Angkasa.
(Holiday House)

Debut graphic novelist Clar Angkasa’s Indonesian folktale collection, Stories of the Islands, puts a new spin on three folk tales she learned as a child and “gives them back to the girl characters” by focusing on their desires as they pursue freedom for themselves and their dreams, rather than employing tired tropes. The three stories included in this collection follow a princess cursed to live as a snail; a pair of sisters trapped by their father’s explosive anger; and a mother and daughter who must face a hungry giant with their own wits, as they don’t have a savior.

Angkasa’s writing underscores the absurdity of these women’s punishments as she reimagines their stories to be something better. Her thick linework and bright colors create a classic feeling that perfectly conveys these stories’ roots and their potential futures. It’s a beautiful book.

22. Haruki Murakami Manga Stories 1

Haruki Murakami Manga Stories 1
(Tuttle Publishing)

Haruki Murakami Manga Stories 1 adapts the seminal author’s short stories into an English-language graphic novel anthology by French comics creator JC Deveney and French artist PMGL (Pierre-Marie Grille-Liou).

These stories are dreamy and bizarre, with a sense of distortion that’s hard to escape even after you’ve finished reading. Included are “Super Frog Saves Tokyo Girl,” in which a bank manager is visited by a giant frog who loves Tolstoy and needs help stopping an earthquake; “Where I’m Likely to Find It,” a noir-style story in which a woman hires a private detective to find her missing husband; “Birthday Girl,” in which a waitress gets her birthday wish—with strings attached; and “The Seventh Man,” in which the eponymous character is haunted by childhood recollections of a fatal typhoon.

If you want something ephemeral and somewhat haunting, this unique adaptation of Murakami’s short stories is the way to go. Haruki Murakami Manga Stories 2, which includes three stories, is available for pre-order.

21. Bonding

Bonding cover art
(Vault Comics)

A successful first date ends in the hospital when Marcus’s parasite un-bonds with him, which nearly ends his life. Laura, his date, not only calls emergency services, but sticks around while Marcus and his parasite are rebonded, then agrees to go on a second date. While that may seem weird, in the world of Bonded, it isn’t. Everyone wears their emotions on their chest in the form of a visible, slug-like parasite to which they’re bonded. If ever their parasite rejects them, they’ll die unless they rebond with it or bond with another. Marcus is still grieving the abrupt loss of his sister after her un-bonding, and Laura is still recovering from attempting to die by suicide as a teenager.

These characters’ flaws bring them closer as the bizarre, sci-fi romance in Bonded: A Love Story About People and Their Parasites progresses. Writer Matthew Erman, artist Emily Pearson, colorist Kaylee Davis, and letterer Justin Birch lean into absurdity and still manage to balance it with the true horror of what’s happening without ever straying too far from the comic’s overall bounciness. This one is weird, but in a good way.

20. Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy Vol 1.: The Virtuous Cycle

Writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Marcio Takara’s Poison Ivy debuted in 2022 as a six-issue limited series, and it has since been expanded into an ongoing exploration of the character as former Batman villain Pamela Isley both strives to save the world (by ending humanity) and to face her personal demons—including the man whose powers she stole. Wilson and Takara embrace Isley’s complexities as a blessing, rather than a curse, and their version of the character is worth rooting for even if her approach to changing the world is deeply flawed. It’s hard not to love this story at every twist, turn, and highly emotional moment.

The first trade paperback is currently available for pre-order, and individual Poison Ivy issues are available from your local comic book shop or digitally from DC.

19. The Sea in You

The Sea in You by Jessi Sheron
(Iron Circus Comics)

Jessi Sheron’s The Sea in You puts a sapphic twist on The Little Mermaid as goth high schooler Corinth, whose boyfriend is emotionally abusive, is swept out to sea by a hungry mermaid as she is picking up trash on the local beach. However, that same mermaid immediately regrets her choice and returns Corinth to shore, then sticks around. Eventually deciding on the name Skylla, her fascination with humans is centered in her instant adoration of and quick-tempered protectiveness toward Corinth, who teaches Skylla sign language and brings her human food and jewelry. As their friendship develops into something more, Corinth struggles against her boyfriend’s gaslighting and isolation tactics while Skylla figures out a way to trade her tail for legs and join Corinth in the human world.

Sheron’s dark-edged portrayal of mermaids is a highlight in The Sea in You, and the way she deftly navigates relationship toxicity and queerness makes for an emotionally satisfying, impactful read with stunningly detailed illustrations and vibrant colors to keep readers’ eyes glued to every page.

18. Do a Powerbomb!

Do a Powerbomb!
(Image Comics)

Daniel Warren Johnson’s Do a Powerbomb!, colored by Mike Spicer and lettered by Rus Wooton, puts a powerful spin on the concept of legacy through the lens of the pro wrestling world. Lona Steelrose wants to get into the industry, but her late mother was an absolute legend. Lona doesn’t want to insult her memory. Then she’s invited to join a supernatural wrestling tournament by a fanatical necromancer, who offers Lona the best prize of all: her mother’s resurrection. The price? Tag-teaming with the person who accidentally killed her mom in the ring. I won’t give away the twists to come, but let’s just say Lona’s love of wrestling is challenged by family ties and a literal fight with God.

This is one of Johnson’s best works to date, and his love of both comics and professional wrestling shines through every action-packed panel.

17. Under Kingdom

Under Kingdom
(Dark Horse Books)

High schooler Shay Williams just wants to avoid his bullies and not look silly in front of his crush, but his aunt Isabelle—who’s secretly a changeling named Sa’belle—has other plans for him. When Shay’s mother goes missing, he learns she is the Under Warden, a human caretaker of the monster realm whose job is to balance it and the human realm lest all hell break loose (literally). As if this news isn’t jarring enough, Shay has to fill his mom’s shoes now that she’s missing, which is a huge increase in responsibility—and he can’t screw it up.

Under Kingdom is a delightfully fast-paced exploration of monsterism, family, and friendship, featuring sharp dialogue by writer Christof Bogacs and absurdist, brightly-colored illustrations by Marie Enger. If you’re looking for a little light horror, look no further than this graphic novel.

16. Cosmoknights Book 2

Cosmoknights Book 2
(Top Shelf Productions)

In a sapphic take on Pacific Rim set in space, Hannah Templer’s Cosmoknights puts queer heroes at the forefront as they attempt to dismantle the patriarchy one mech fight at a time. When Pan’s best friend, a princess named Tara, runs away from their home planet to avoid being married to a suitor after a barbaric one-on-one duel determines her future partner, it shrinks Pan’s world significantly. Then she meets a couple named Bee and Cass, who travel from planet to planet winning as many duels as they can to rescue the princesses and give them new lives free of their royal shackles.

Cosmoknights Book 2 follows Pan, Bee, Cass, and a hacktivist named Kate deeper into space alongside a rescued princess who isn’t stoked about being yanked from the life she knows. This rag-tag group has to sort their personal and political feelings on the eve of a major heist, lest everything blow up in their faces—perhaps literally. You can read all of Cosmoknights online in addition to purchasing the trade paperbacks.

15. Somna

Somna cover

Somna: A Bedtime Story is co-written and co-illustrated by Becky Cloonan and Tula Lotay, two hugely impactful comics creators whose talent and flair for storytelling shine in this terrifying, indulgent tale of a woman’s descent into eroticism during the witch hunts of the 1600s. Ingrid’s husband, Roland, is the town’s bailiff and chief witch hunter, determined to burn every last one at the stake lest they corrupt the entire village. His zealotry increases when a town leader is murdered, but as accusations fly, Ingrid is determined to prove the identity of the true culprit.

All the while, she’s haunted by a shadowy figure who entices her into leaving the path of righteousness. After all, she hates being married to Roland. Could the grass be greener on the other side? Somna is available from your local comic book shop and through DSTLRY’s new digital comics reader.

14. Hungry Ghost

Hungry Ghost by Victoria Ying
(First Second)

For Valerie Chu, being the perfect daughter for her over-critical mother means staying thin—which, as these stories often go, results in her developing an eating disorder. Valerie’s bulimia begins to rule her life, which is made more difficult by situations where she can’t purge after her meals. A class trip to Paris brings this into stark relief, and when Valerie leaves early for a family emergency, she struggles to balance her grief, her broken relationship with food, and her toxic relationship with her mother. The future looms large, and to forge her own path, Valerie will have to make big and sometimes heartbreaking choices.

Victoria Ying’s young adult graphic novel Hungry Ghost is intense, especially in how candidly it portrays bulimia. Fine-lined, expressive art accompanies cutting dialogue and a deep sense of yearning that permeates the entire story.

13. Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant

Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1
(Marvel Comics)

When Kamala Khan first entered the Marvel Universe in 2014, she encountered Terrigen Mist, which activated her latent superhero abilities, leading her to discover her Inhuman genes. However, after sacrificing herself for the greater good, the X-Men resurrected her—and now she has a whole new aspect of her identity to explore and reconcile.

Co-written by Ms. Marvel star Iman Vellani and Sabir Pirzada, Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant is a fresh and fun reintroduction to the character. It’s a great jumping-on point for new readers and a smart, savvy new adventure for long-time readers and fans with excellent art by Carlos Gomez and Adam Gorham, gorgeous coloring by Erick Arciniega, and solid lettering by Joe Caramagna. Do not sleep on this series.

12. Mimi’s Tales of Terror

Mimi's Tales of Terror by Junji Ito
(VIZ Media)

Horror master Junji Ito returns with Mimi’s Tales of Terror, a collection of stories adapted from Shin Mimibukuro (New Earmuffs) by Hirokatsu Kihara and Ichiro Nakayama. Originally printed in monthly installments in Flapper between 2002 and 2003, this new reprint collects all of Ito’s stories starring university student Mimi and her boyfriend Naoto, as well as an original story, “Monster Prop,” which is a bonus tale not involving either character.

Everywhere Mimi goes, she encounters spirits and bizarre, supernatural entities, from a metal woman with adjustable limbs to a bodybuilder obsessed with moving gravestones at night and a shadow spirit clinging to a child who’s overwhelmed with grief. Rendered primarily in Ito’s iconic black and gray illustration, Mimi’s Tales of Terror is a horror manga with teeth, and it leaves a lasting impression.

11. Sí, Se Puede: The Latino Heroes Who Changed the United States

Sí, Se Puede: The Latino Heroes Who Changed the United States
(Ten Speed Graphic)

Sí, Se Puede: The Latino Heroes Who Changed the United States, written by Julio Anta and illustrated by Yasmín Flores Montañez, follows a group of Latin Americans as they partake in an interactive museum tour to learn about Latino heroes dating as far back as the early Aztec and Mayan empires. Named for the United Farm Workers motto—which translates to “Yes, We Can”—the comic profiles figures including UFW organizers César Chávez and Dolores Huerta; astronaut Ellen Ochoa; Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; actor, musician, and bandleader Desi Arnaz; and civil rights activist and nurse Sylvia Mendez, among others.

Although Anta and Montañez do not delve super deep into any of the included stories, Sí, Se Puede still offers a cohesive look at Latin American history that highlights how many of these individuals are unknown to a large part of the population thanks to the whitewashing of U.S. education. It’s an engaging read that offers further resources at its conclusion, establishing both a want to learn more and a way to go about it.

10. Confetti Realms

Confetti Realms cover
(Maverick / Mad Cave Studios)

Causing a little chaos in the local graveyard on Halloween is something many people have done in their youth, but few of them can claim they were transported into another dimension by a sentient automaton who demands teeth as payment for a return to Earth. That’s the premise of Confetti Realms, written by Nadia Shammas, drawn by Karnessa, colored by Hackto Oshiro, and lettered by Micah Myers. This spooky fantasy story explores what it means to leave home in a seemingly permanent way, for a world where magic is real. Who do you become? More importantly, who are you right now? And is going home worth the price when staying could potentially mean fulfilling your wildest dreams?

Radwa, Marissa, Garrett, and Ty have to answer these questions and more as they begin their tooth hunt. Through Karnessa’s deft rendering of facial expressions and Shammas’s layered, but still natural-feeling dialogue, accompanied by rich colors from Oshiro and finely-tuned letters from Myers, this coming-of-age horror story examines trauma, fear, and friendship without missing a beat.

9. Queenie: Godmother of Harlem

Queenie: Godmother of Harlem
(Abrams ComicArts)

Queenie: Godmother of Harlem, written by Aurélie Lévy and illustrated by Elizabeth Colomba, takes a deep dive into the life of Stephanie Saint-Clair, a racketeer and bootlegger who left behind her birthplace of Martinique in 1912 and traveled to New York City to make a life. A Black woman born into poverty on a plantation, who was assaulted by the KKK during her travels, Saint-Clair also had a propensity for working with numbers and a willingness to get her hands dirty.

This biographic is incredibly detailed thanks to Colomba and Lévy’s research, and the art and writing are unparalleled. There are a handful of fictional characters created to add more depth and stakes to the narrative, seeing as there isn’t enough information available about Saint-Clair to otherwise avoid holes in the story, but the creative team deftly navigates the world they’ve expounded upon for a cohesive, memorable read.

8. In Limbo

In Limbo by Deb JJ Lee
(First Second)

Deb JJ Lee’s graphic memoir, In Limbo, follows a younger version of themself through high school as they navigate new friendships, parental abuse, a newfound passion for art, and the loss of belonging they once felt as a dedicated violinist whose “home base” at school was the orchestra room. Rendered in stunning black and gray art that is both photorealistic and cartoonish, In Limbo examines Lee’s mental health as an adolescent and refuses to shy away from the fallout of attempting to die by suicide not just once, but many times.

This book is a hard but beautiful read. Rather than mistake sharing with catharsis, it demonstrates how healing is never linear and trauma is a burden that may be lighter some days than others, but never entirely disappears.

7. Blackward

The book cover for Lawrence Lindell's Blackward
(Drawn & Quarterly)

Lawrence Lindell’s Blackward follows four young, Black, queer friends named Lika, Tony, Lala, and Amor as they attempt to form a safe space for Black folks to connect at their local community center. Although this kind of space is missing in their community and they feel that emptiness acutely, it’s hard to get a solid turnout, which makes all four of them question who they are and whether they’re “enough,” in all senses of the word. If they’re going to pull off their upcoming inaugural Blackward Zine Fest, they’ll have to overcome their insecurities and step into their roles as community leaders. Smart, funny, radical, and incredibly warm, Blackward is a book worth reading more than once.

6. A Guest in the House

A Guest in the House by Emily Carroll
(First Second)

Emily Carroll is a master of twisting familiar stories into new, even more haunting narratives that creep under your skin and refuse to leave, especially when night comes and you’re trying not to freak yourself out before you fall asleep. A Guest in the House follows newlywed Abby, whose dentist husband and young stepdaughter seem perfect on the surface … until the ghost of his first wife begins to dog Abby’s every step. Her death is a mystery and her memory is a force too powerful for Abby to ignore. Surreal color splashes add breathtaking terror to this black-and-white tale, which pulls you in and reluctantly lets you go after a wild rollercoaster of terror.

5. I Thought You Loved Me

I Thought You Loved Me
(Fieldmouse Press)

MariNaomi, founder of the Cartoonists of Color, Queer Cartoonists, and Disabled Cartoonists databases, released both their epistolary memoir I Thought You Loved Me, and an expanded edition of their seminal graphic memoir, Turning Japanese. I Thought You Loved Me examines a former friendship between Mari and Jodie, who were closer than close in their teenage years and early 20s. They even explored queerness together as young feminists, and then one day, Jodie simply ended their friendship. When Mari learns why, they begin to unpack what happened through letters, journal entries, conversations with friends, and even travel, all of which are contained in this graphic memoir.

This is a complicated, evocative, surprisingly well-balanced narrative that finds strength in its oddity. Memory and its absence are overarching themes alongside friendship, grief, and forgiveness. Who earns lasting space in our hearts and minds? Who do we encounter, then eventually let fade into the background, not realizing their impact on our lives? These questions and more will arise as you read.

4. Earthdivers Vol. 1: Kill Columbus

Earthdivers Vol. 1: Kill Columbus
(IDW Publishing)

Earthdivers Vol. 1: Kill Columbus collects the first six issues of this post-apocalyptic time travel story written by Native American horror and sci-fi author Stephen Graham Jones, illustrated by Davide Gianfelice, colored by Joana Lafuente, and lettered by Steve Wands. Tad of the Lakota People leaves the near future (2112) for 1492, with the intent to kill Christopher Columbus and stop the creation of the United States of America altogether.

Whether Tad is successful will depend on whether his wife, Sosh of the Iñupiat people, and their two companions—Emily of the Seminole tribe and Yellow Kidney, who, like Jones, is Blackfeet—see changes in the future. This group fully understands that changing the past means altering the future, which could be to their detriment—and still, they believe it’s the best course of action. Sharp, timely, and cohesive, this story is as shocking as it is powerful. Earthdivers Vol. 2: Ice Age, collecting issues #7-10, is available for pre-order.

3. Mimosa

Mimosa by Archie Bongiovanni
(Abrams ComicArts)

Brunch is what will keep us together! At least, that’s how queer best friends and chosen family Alex, Elise, Jo, and Chris attempt to keep something in their lives afloat in Mimosa. Chris is a single parent following a messy divorce, and they feel especially isolated from their queer community; Jo both wants to support her friends and prioritize her needs; Alex has a surprising, troubling secret; and Elise is crushing on “hot boss Drew” while also attempting not to burn her career down. In short: everything is a mess, and no one is particularly surprised about it, but they’re doing what they can.

To combat their growing malaise, Chris, Alex, Jo, and Elise decide to put on a dance party exclusively for mature queers, which they aptly name “Grind.” This could be everything they’re looking for in one neat package, but of course, that would be a little too easy. Cartoonist Archie Bongiovanni has once again created a unique and engaging—yet completely relatable—tale of queer angst and the power of community in Mimosa, a standalone graphic novel featuring new, original characters. Snappy dialogue accompanies a simple color palette and long, beautifully rambling pages of queer platonic love in between more traditional panel layouts for a slice-of-life story that’s also so, so much more.

2. Roaming

Roaming by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
(Drawn & Quarterly)

Childhood friends Dani and Zoe reunite during their freshman year of college (2009) with a spring trip break to New York City, somewhere neither of them has been before. Dani brings along her art school classmate Fiona, whose blase attitude toward the city and its tourist traps impact the mood from the jump. When Fiona and Zoe start flirting, and then hooking up, it makes their cramped hostel room and bunk beds seem even smaller, especially since all three are from Canada and unwilling to use “roaming” on their cell phones. And although Zoe likes Fiona, Fiona’s impulsiveness and refusal to follow the rules ultimately forces Zoe to examine who she’s becoming and why Dani is so upset about how she’s changed.

In a masterful display of power as a creative team, cousins Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki have once again raised the bar for graphic novels with Roaming. At turns sweet and hopeful, dramatic and frightening, and even, at times, a little gross, Roaming provides a glimpse into the lives of three individuals at significant turning points, whose interpersonal relationships become unwitting basins for their emotional fallout and fears about the future.

1. The Talk

The Talk by Darrin Bell
(Henry Holt and Co.)

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Darrin Bell pens a stunning series of memories in The Talk, which explores how, when his mother explained why he couldn’t have a realistic water gun at six years old—because he was at risk of police violence just by existing—it didn’t mean much until he experienced her warning in real-time and, terrified, realized this would guide the rest of his life.

Drawn in his signature style of thick, black lines and color splashes for impact, The Talk examines the anti-Blackness of white authority figures and adults and how deeply ingrained racism shapes the lives of Black boys who are seen as violent adults before they’ve even hit puberty. Longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction 2024, this timely and impactful graphic memoir and social commentary is a must-read.

(featured image: Image Comics / Fieldmouse Press / Abrams ComicArts / First Second / DSTLRY / Henry Holt and Co. / Dark Horse Books / Top Shelf Productions / Vault Comics / VIZ Media / Marvel / Maverick / Mad Cave Studios / IDW Publishing / BOOM! Studios / The Mary Sue )

Correction: This story has been updated to correct Deb JJ Lee’s pronouns.

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Samantha Puc
Samantha Puc (she/they) is a fat, disabled, lesbian writer and editor who has been working in digital and print media since 2010. Their work focuses primarily on LGBTQ+ and fat representation in pop culture and their writing has been featured on Refinery29, Bitch Media, them., and elsewhere. Samantha is the co-creator of Fatventure Mag and she contributed to the award-winning Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. They are an original cast member of Death2Divinity, and they are currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction at The New School. When Samantha is not working or writing, she loves spending time with her cats, reading, and perfecting her grilled cheese recipe.