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The Most Anticipated Comics of 2019, Part 2

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You know, we considered 2018 a pretty good year for comics—but we’ve already got a hunch that 2019 is going to do its best to top it in epic fashion. When we started working on our list of the Most Anticipated Comics of 2019, we expected it to top out around 40, 50 comics max, but the more we dug into what publishers like Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Lion Forge, Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, First Second and more have planned for the year, we knew we were going to have an impossible task narrowing it down. Rather than leave off dozens of notable new releases, we’ve chopped our list in half. You can find the first half of the list, which covers releases through mid-March, here. Scroll on down for titles hitting shelves through the rest of March and onward until the end of 2019. Get your reading glasses ready—it’s going to be a hell of a year for sequential art.


Lazarus: Risen
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Michael Lark
Publisher: Image Comics 
Release Date: March 20, 2019
One of the most reliable Image Comics on stands is back this year—fitting for a title called Lazarus: Risen. Writer Greg Rucka and artist Michael Lark’s saga of power-hungry families and the genetically engineered soldiers who fight their battles went on hiatus throughout most of 2018. Risen picks up two years after the Carlyle Family was betrayed in battle, with the Conclave War encroaching on every side. Johanna Carlyle and Forever present a united front to save the family, but the cracks are starting to show. Lazarus: Risen #1 is a massive 64-page, perfect-bound debut, with a 44-page main story from Rucka and Lark, a short story from writer Lilah Sturges and oodles of supplemental material. Steve Foxe


Marvel’s Spider-Man: City at War
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Michele Bandini
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Release Date: March 20, 2019
At the end of 2018, Marvel announced that it’s bringing the Spider-Man of Sony’s hit PS4 game to comics in a new series coming this March. Marvel’s Spider-Man: City of War will be a six-issue mini-series that tells the game’s story with new beats and behind-the-scenes details. Just like in the game, City of War starts off with the incarceration of Wilson Fisk and the backlash of taking out one of New York’s biggest crime lords. The creative team is more than ready for the task: Dennis Hopeless, who wrote the acclaimed X-Men Season One, Avengers Arena and the most recent Cloak & Dagger series serves as writer alongside X-Men Gold artist Michele Bandini. Together, they’re penning the first in what will be a series of comics Marvel is calling… the Gamerverse. That title could use some work, but this comic is in good hands. Also coming to Spider-shelves in 2019: Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley’s Spider-Man: Life Story, which follows a version of Spider-Man who ages in real time from his fateful 1962 radioactive spider bite. Josh Hilgenberg & Steve Foxe


Detective Comics #1000
Writers: Peter Tomasi, Brian Michael Bendis, Warren Ellis, Others
Artists: Doug Mahnke, Greg Capullo, Becky Cloonan, Others
Publisher: DC Comics 
Release Date: March 27, 2019
Just before the holidays,, DC Comics announced details on the 1,000th issue of Detective Comics, including creative teams and a first look at the Arkham Knight. The milestone will represent 80 years of Batman history, featuring a wrap-around cover from Jim Lee and a main story from current Detective Comics collaborators Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke, who will introduce a version of the Arkham Knight to mainstream continuity for the first time. Alongside Tomasi and Mahnke, DC has announced a slew of Gotham veterans who’ll be contributing stories to the anthology, including Paul Dini, Brian Michael Bendis, Neal Adams, Alex Maleev, Becky Cloonan, Geoff Johns and more, with variant covers lined up from Steve Rude, Michael Cho, Jim Steranko, Bernie Wrightson, Frank Miller, Tim Sale, Jock, Greg Capullo and Bruce Timm. Josh Hilgenberg


Dial H for Hero
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Joe Quinones
Publisher: Wonder Comics/ DC Comics 
Release Date: March 27, 2019
The last time the Hero Dial had its own series, readers were treated to a delirious acid trip from weird-fiction megastar China Mieville and artists including Mateus Santolouco. It’s an easy bet that Sam Humphries and Joe Quinones’ Dial H for Hero will take a different, but no less exciting approach. Teased in Brian Michael Bendis’ Action Comics and published under Bendis’ Wonder Comics teen-focused imprint, Dial H for Hero introduces Miguel, a teen daredevil and the newest wielder of the Hero Dial, capable of becoming a different weird hero every time he spins the rotary-phone-like contraption. Humphries has recently found success at DC as the new Harley Quinn writer, and Quinones has been a fan-favorite cartoonist since he piloted Hal Jordan through the skies in the pages of Wednesday Comics. Humphries and Quinones have six issues full of dialing to entice readers with coming March. Steve Foxe


GLOW
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Hannah Templer
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: March 27, 2019
Get ready for the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling! Hailing from Netflix and appearing this March in your local comic shop, GLOW is an absolute must-buy for viewers of the Netflix series and wrestling fans in general. WWE comic alum Tini Howard is teaming up with artist Hannah Templer on this four-issue IDW miniseries, which will follow Ruth, Debbie and the rest of the GLOW roster as they unexpectedly find themselves scheduled to step into the ring with veteran women wrestlers for a charity event. Howard’s done exceptional work on the WWE comic writing the likes of Asuka and Finn Balor, and Templer’s Jem and the Holograms: Dimensions run is a perfect fit for this peak ‘80s experience. Frankly, this comic will also be a refreshing and welcome change of pace from a wrestling comics landscape dominated by works centering male wrestlers (and frequently male creators). Get ready to rumble, folks: you’re gonna pay for the whole seat, and knowing Tini Howard, you’ll only need the edge. C.K. Stewart


Is This How You See Me?
Writer/Artist: Jaime Hernandez
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Release Date: March 27, 2019
If you haven’t kept up with the Maggie and Hopey stories that have been strewn throughout Love and Rockets over the past few years, here they all are for you in a single hardcover volume, ready to squeeze your heart like one of those Squishies that are so popular with the kids these days. Hernandez knows your emotions will recover so that he can do it all over again, and his work continues to become deeper and stronger as a result. July will bring Tonta (also Fantagraphics), an examination of a side character who’s on her way to holding the spotlight. Hillary Brown


Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Veronica Fish
Publisher: Archie Comics
Release Date: March 27, 2019
Archie’s announcement of writer Kelly Thompson and artist Veronica Fish on a new Sabrina the Teenage Witch series was bittersweet—with the successful launch of Netflix’s horror-focused Sabrina series, many readers are eager for Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to resume some sort of regular schedule—or, barring that, for a new creative team to continue the devil-worshipping antics of the Spellman clan. While a more consistent Chilling Adventure still seems out of reach, Sabrina fans have Thompson and Fish’s more lighthearted take to look forward to—perhaps a welcome balance to the darkness, after all. Steve Foxe


Mera: Tidebreaker
Writer: Danielle Paige
Artist: Stephen Byrne
Publisher: DC Ink/ DC Comics 
Release Date: April 2, 2019
One of the first DC Ink books to become available for YA readers in 2019, Mera: Tidebreaker has the benefit of not only excellent post-movie timing but also an amazing creative team. Danielle Paige is the New York Times-bestselling author of books including Dorothy Must Die, the start of a series that offers a twist on familiar Wizard of Oz stories. While Stephen Byrne has found success as an artist for DC Comics’ main line, he also has a substantial following online for several fan comics he made that subsequently went viral; a series called “After the Snap” that he drew after Avengers: Infinity War took the internet by storm earlier this year. Paige and Byrne are an ideal team to tackle a character like Mera, powerful but often overlooked or overshadowed by her association with Aquaman. In Tidebreaker, Mera isn’t just fighting for herself, but for her people who have been persecuted under the rule of the Atlantean king. It’s gratifying to see DC Ink and Zoom embracing a mix of veteran creators and fresh faces, giving creators from underrepresented groups an opportunity to make something special for a new audience and draw them into the DC universe. Caitlin Rosberg


Hotel Dare
Writer: Terry Blas
Artist: Claudia Aguirre
Publisher: KaBOOM!/ BOOM! Studios
Release Date: April 10, 2019
In the grand tradition of books like Chronicles of Narnia, Hotel Dare follows siblings who uncover hidden worlds and grand secrets behind the doors of familiar places. Staying with their grandmother in Mexico over the summer, three kids are transported on fantastic adventures that quickly turn dangerous as Olive, Darwin and Charlotte realize that everything they know is poised on the brink of ruin. The story is written by Terry Blas, who has worked on several Cartoon Network comic adaptations like Steven Universe and Adventure Time, which gives some hints at how wild and sweet Hotel Dare may be. The book also features art by Claudia Aguirre, the artist on the fan-favorite Kim & Kim series at Black Mask with writer Mags Visaggio. Aguirre’s skills have grown by leaps and bounds and she’s particularly good at expressive and emotional characters, so seeing what she does with an all-ages graphic novel will be exciting. Caitlin Rosberg


War of the Realms: Journey Into Mystery
Writers: Griffin McElroy, Travis McElroy, Justin McElroy & Clint McElroy
Artist: André Lima Araújo
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Release Date: April 10, 2019
What’s up, cool Thor baby? The McElroys net their one of two mentions on this list with War of the Realms: Journey Into Mystery, their first work for Marvel Comics and their first foray into cape comics as a family (dad Clint already has a few Green Hornet credits under his belt). A throwback to Thor’s Journey Into Mystery roots with an ensemble cast is probably a great fit for the McElroys, who will team up with artist André Lima Araújo for the five-issue miniseries. The McElroys and Araújo will take us to an Earth at war, again, but this time with all manner of creatures from the Nine Realms. With Thor mysteriously absent (again), his baby sister may be the only one who can put an end to the war—and in true superhero fashion, it’s going to take a ragtag band of heroes to find her. The series will feature an interesting cast of characters—Miles Morales and Kate Bishop will be joined by Sebastian Druid, Wonder Man, Thori the Hellhound, Balder the Brave and Deathlocket, last seen in the Avengers Arena and Avengers Undercover series. Whether the McElroys’ humor will translate to a Marvel-directed series versus their Adventure Zone work is a journey into mystery itself, but either way this will be a wild ride. C.K. Stewart


Pilu of the Woods
Writer/Artist: Mai K. Nguyen
Publisher: Oni Press
Release Date: April 17, 2019
A few years ago, Oni Press opened their submissions portal to any and all aspiring creators. Webcomic creator Mai K. Nguyen submitted a pitch, and this April, Pilu of the Woods hits shelves. Pilu is a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way home, and decides to join up with Willow, a young girl who has just run away from home. Oni Press has a diverse publishing slate, from erotica to Rick & Morty comics to all-ages delights like The Tea Dragon Society, and Pilu of the Woods looks to fall decidedly into the last camp—a lovely, heartwarming release to be shared between readers young and old. Steve Foxe


Ascender
Writer:   Jeff Lemire  
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Publisher: Image Comics 
Release Date: April 2019
It has to be a pleasant surprise for any creator to learn that what they’ve made resonates with their audience. When Descender wrapped earlier this year, writer Jeff Lemire put words to paper in the back of the final issue, sharing with readers that not only had he been blown away by the response to the world he and artist Dustin Nguyen had created, but that fans had actually prompted him to change the ending. This shift allowed Lemire and Nguyen to make plans for a follow-up series, exploring the magic and mystery that stood waiting in the wings as technology and robots took main stage in Descender. Lemire and Nguyen proved with their collaboration that they could make an emotionally evocative, imaginative and utterly original book together, and fans are justifiably eager to see what happens to Tim-21’s brother Andy and Andy’s descendants once all the technology that defined the previous age is gone and the era of Ascender begins. Caitlin Rosberg


Eve Stranger
Writer: David Barnett
Artist: Phillip Bond
Publisher: Black Crown/ IDW Publishing
Release Date: April 2019
It seemed only a matter of time before Phillip Bond launched a full series under Shelly Bond’s Black Crown imprint (the shared surname isn’t a coincidence, after all), and Eve Stranger sounds perfectly in line with the punchy, fast-moving Vertigo series on which Bond first made his name. Written by English journalist and fiction writer David Barnett, Eve Stranger introduces the “ultimate amnesiac-for-hire,” who can be anything from a babysitter to an international assassin for the right price—and who forgets it all as soon as the gig is over. Like a British super-spy take on Dollhouse, Eve Stranger should fit right in with Black Crown’s collection of oddities when it hits shelves this April. Steve Foxe


r(ender);
Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: Lenka Šimecková
Publisher: Lion Forge
Release Date: April 2019
The cyberpunk neo-noir r(ender); (yes, that semi-colon is part of the title) combines a world of technology and fantasy. In this society, those who can’t afford to augment themselves with tech turn to magic, and that’s just what the series’ lead does. Protagonist Emie Ocampo has the power to make the dead speak, and she’s using that to augment her photography show. When r(ender); opens, Emie is taking photographs of the last thing a person saw before they died. Just when her idea starts catching fire, though, she’s accused of magical fraud and arrested. After Emie explains herself to the arresting officer, Detective Natalie Bixel, she’s offered a deal: she can go to jail or she can help crack a homicide case with her power. The two women spend a lot of time together, and X-Men Black: Emma Frost writer Leah Williams isn’t shy about joking that the series is “X-Files, but lesbians and magic,” in a statement. Joining Williams for this 10-issue series is new artist Lenka Šimecková. Josh Hilgenberg


Thanos
Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Publisher: Marvel Comics 
Release Date: April 2019
Thanos has come a long way from a somewhat obvious Darkseid knockoff piloting an itty-bitty helicopter. The purple-hued Mad Titan is a household name thanks to a decade of Marvel Cinematic Universe build-up and a commanding performance from Josh Brolin, and this MONTH, Marvel Comics is exploring a little more of what makes Thanos tick in a new series from breakout writer Tini Howard and Death of the Inhumans artist Ariel Olivetti. Thanos has two defining relationships: to his adopted daughter, Gamora, and to his one true love, Death. Howard is adept at navigating both complicated families (Assassinistas) and mortality (Euthanauts), which puts her in a great position to reveal new levels to the imposing character. Olivetti is typically best known for the digital paints he applies over most of his work, but Deathn of the Inhumans saw him working with a more traditional colorist, and the result was a gorgeous, highly European sci-fi style. With Avengers: Endgame on the horizon, we couldn’t be more excited to see a Thanos series in this vein. Steve Foxe


Ghost Hog
Writer/Artist: Joey Weiser
Publisher:Oni Press
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Miss Mermin? Yeah, me too, but Joey Weiser has new things in store with this book about a boar struck down before her time who’s learning about the afterlife and trying to make up her mind about vengeance. Weiser’s proved himself gifted at spinning out a narrative and cast of characters more complex than most folks produce for kids, and his work is a sort of gateway to manga, with Japanese influence running strong behind much of what he does. Not convinced? Already want more? You’ll be able to find some stories not in the book but featuring the same characters on Free Comic Book Day this year. Hillary Brown

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Mariko Tamaki is taking over corners of the YA and middl- grade graphic novel market, and it’s something a lot of readers, young and old alike, should be happy about. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is the perfect next read for fans of Love, Simon and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, a book about young love and struggling to figure out what it means. What makes Laura Dean particularly special isn’t just that the titular character is in a relationship with another girl, Frederica, but also that Rosemary Valero-O’Connell is providing the art. Valero-O’Connell has worked on Lumberjanes and has a bright, detailed style that’s soft enough to suit a romance story but unflinching enough to handle the less-fun parts of being a teenager in love. Freddy struggles not just with Laura Dean and their constant breaking up, but also with trying to unravel why everything else is falling apart around her, and who is to blame. It’s exactly the sort of book that a lot of teens need to read to feel a little less alone, a good gateway graphic novel for fans of Netflix’s new glut of romances or a stepping-stone for readers ready to graduate from graphic novels like The Baby-Sitters Club adaptations to more complicated, nuanced stories. Caitlin Rosberg


Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale
Writer: Lauren Myracle
Artist: Isaac Goodhart
Publisher: DC Ink/ DC Comics 
Release Date: May 7, 2019
No pressure, Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart, but Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale is one of the first DC Ink titles to be made available to readers. Catwoman has been enjoying a resurgence in attention and popularity in the last few years thanks in part to two subsequent solo titles defined by Genevieve Valentine and Joëlle Jones, and her role as fiancée and foil in Tom King’s Batman. Under the Moon turns back the clock to Selina Kyle’s past, taking a look at the way a 14-year-old girl might grow into the woman she becomes. Writer Lauren Myracle has enjoyed prose success with, among other projects, the Internet Girls series, written in a format to mimic the texts and messages shared between three close friends. She has a handle on what it takes to write a compelling story about young women struggling to find and define themselves under external pressure, which is an exciting prospect for a Catwoman book in particular. Isaac Goodhart’s art has been featured in the DC New Talent Showcase and Top Cow’s Postal series, and it should be intriguing to see him work on something a little less gruesome and a little more teen-friendly. Caitlin Rosberg


Island Book
Writer/Artist: Evan Dahm
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Evan Dahm’s Rice Boy was one of the most unique and enjoyable books of 2018, but his work flies under the radar for a lot of readers. He has several long-running webcomics to his name, most of them a bit unfamiliar to even regular webcomic readers. His characters are only sometimes humanoid, but the stories he tells are deeply emotional and sympathetic, linked by overarching themes of acceptance, friendship and hard work. Island Book starts when a monster arrives at the titular Island, and after Sola bravely stands in the creature’s way, she is shunned by the rest of her community. Upset and afraid, she takes to the ocean to try to find answers and comfort that is no longer available to her at home. Island Book is aimed at middle-grade readers and will hopefully unlock new worlds and exciting adventures. With a rich bibliography already available, Dham is an ideal author for young readers to get hooked on. Caitlin Rosberg


The Grand Abyss Hotel
Writer: Marcos Prior
Artist: David Rubin
Publisher:Archaia/ BOOM! Studios
Release Date: May 29, 2019
The biggest draw of The Grand Abyss Hotel is David Rubin’s art. Rubin’s rough, gritty, electric style in books like Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil and Ether: The Copper Golems is enough to get the books into readers’ hands and instill trust that the story will keep them there. Writer Marcos Prior and Rubin worked together to build a world that’s not so different from our own, a satire of what western democracy has turned into in the era of social media and 24-hour news cycles. Satire is infamously difficult to nail, especially in the absurdist modern way, where it’s all too easy to mistake satire for endorsement. But Prior and Rubin have some interesting ideas about what kind of hero it will take to fight corruption, and the impact individuals can have on systemic problems. As long as they don’t fall into the trap of both-sides-ism, The Grand Abyss Hotel could be a provocative read; regardless, it will be damn pretty. Caitlin Rosberg


How I Tried to Be a Good Person
Writer/Artist: Ulli Lust
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Lust’s Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life was a speedy rush of 400-plus pages that laid out the wild years of her youth. It didn’t need a sequel because it was complete in and of itself, but How I Tried to Be a Good Person is the part two you didn’t know you wanted. There was always danger lurking in the first book, and it was a real coin flip as to whether it would jump out when you passed a corner; Lust presented it with impressive neutrality, neither regretting nor celebrating her past decisions, and we can likely expect more of the same flaying without flagellation in the next volume. Hillary Brown


When I Arrived at the Castle
Writer/Artist: Emily Carroll
Publisher: Koyama Press
Release Date: June 19, 2019
Emily Carroll has an ability to put things alongside one another that make your skin crawl, which is why she’s so successful in the horror genre. Something that seems traditional has weirdly modern, somewhat ugly lettering, and the way those things rub against one another creates a tectonic plate effect. Her full-bleed pages and limited palette, her incongruous close-ups, her weird shading and her unexpected teeth all surgically peel back your skin. It’s exciting to imagine the possibilities for this sexy vampire story from Koyama. Hillary Brown


Plate Tectonics: an Illustrated Memoir
Writer/Artist: Margaux Motin
Publisher: Archaia/ BOOM! Studios
Release Date: June 2019
Margaux Motin’s name may not be familiar on this side of the Atlantic, but she’s a well-known French comic artist with a list of successful books as well as accessories like calendars and diaries that feature her designs. Plate Tectonics is the story of Motin’s divorce and her attempts to balance newly single motherhood with the demands of her work, not to mention her return to the world of dating. More and more American publishers are recognizing the wealth of talent available in France, and Motin’s newest book continues the tradition of funny, honest, sometimes difficult autobiographies by women. Fans of Lucy Knisley or Pénélope Bagieu should pick up this book, either for themselves or for a friend who might need a laugh and some reassurance that they’re not alone in the struggle to get through a big change. Hopefully this book will herald even more of Motin’s work becoming available in the U.S. Caitlin Rosberg


Teen Titans: Raven
Writer: Kami Garcia
Artist: Gabriel Picolo
Publisher: DC Ink/ DC Comics 
Release Date: July 2, 2019
A staple of many iterations of the Teen Titans and Titans, Raven is a character who can be difficult to get right. Her flat affect and initially standoffish nature can lead her to seem cold and unsympathetic, but she’s also exactly the kind of superhero that young women especially can relate to. Her difficult relationship with her father and her struggle to define herself are nearly universally understandable, even if your average teenager doesn’t have to deal with a demon dad. Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo are both uniquely suited to work on this book. Garcia co-created the Beautiful Creatures series along with Margaret Stohl, who wrote the YA Black Widow novels and a two volumes of the Captain Marvel comic, so Garcia has a close collaborator on hand to help her navigate the shift to comics. Picolo’s Teen Titans fanart went viral several times in recent memory and he had a clear connection to these characters even before he was hired to work on this book. It’s hard to imagine a better character to attract new YA readers, or a better team to do it. Caitlin Rosberg


Kramers Ergot 10
Writers/Artists: Various
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Sammy Harkham’s occasional anthology is set to arrive again this year, after a three-year gap. Slimmer than its predecessor by a good bit, it promises 18 different contributors, including Harkham, Anna Haifich, Noel Frieberg, Adam Buttrick, Archer Prewitt, Andy Burkholder, Lale Westvind, Will Sweeney, Dash Shaw, James Turek, Rick Altergott, CF, Aisha Franz, Kim Deitch, Ron Regé Jr. and John Pham. Does that sound intriguing? Or mystifying? Or both? It’s likely the latter. Hillary Brown


The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited!
Writer: Griffin McElroy, Travis McElroy, Justin McElroy & Clint McElroy
Artist: Carey Pietsch
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: July 16, 2019
Tres Horny Boys are back and ready for even more mayhem in the second volume of First Second’s graphic novel adaptation of the popular “The Adventure Zone” podcast from Maximum Fun. Written once more by the McElroy family—oldest brother Justin, middlest brother Travis and babiest brother Griffin, along with their dad Clint McElroy— and illustrated by Carey Pietsch, Murder on the Rockport Limited! adapts the second arc of “The Adventure Zone: Balance” and follows Taako, Magnus and Merle on an Agatha Christie-inspired train heist. It’s tough to adapt anything into a comic, but especially to go from an audio-only medium to a visual-only one, but Pietsch in particular knocks it out of the park. Her work on the first volume, Here There Be Gerblins, demonstrated a knack for translating the McElroys’ particular brand of humor into visual goofs that are just as funny, and personally I cannot wait to see Pietsch’s take on Rockport Limited!’s climactic heavy bean battle royale. C.K. Stewart


Bad Gateway
Writer/Artist: Simon Hanselmann
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Release Date: July 16, 2019
The year 2018 passed without a Megg and Mogg book from Hanselmann and, as a result, felt a bit incomplete. How else are we to get through these trying and deeply messed up times without the mirror that Hanselmann sneakily holds up in the guise of stoner comedy? Bad Gateway promises the inevitable darkness that the books have been slowly drifting toward, which doesn’t sound like much fun but probably somehow will be. Hillary Brown


The Magicians: Alice’s Story
Writer: Lilah Sturges & Lev Grossman
Artist: Pius Bak
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: July 16, 2019
Lev Grossman’s 2009 novel The Magicians makes its comics premiere under the BOOM! Studios banner this year, with Lilah Sturges, author of Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass taking up writing duties with Grossman and Adventure Time veteran Pius Bak on art. The team won’t be retelling any old stories from the novels or Syfy show; this first graphic novel, aptly titled The Magicians: Alice’s Story, puts a new character in the spotlight. Sturges, who’s followed the series in all its iterations, said in the initial announcement statement that she sees Alice as a quiet main character whose decisions resonate throughout the rest of the universe. Even though she doesn’t get a lot of attention, Sturges considers Alice hugely important for the world of The Magicians, and this graphic novel should help readers understand just how important. Josh Hilgenberg


The Black Mage
Writer: Daniel Barnes
Artist: D.J. Kirkland
Publisher: Oni Press
Release Date: August 13, 2019
The Black Mage was one of six Oni Press open submissions titles to be picked up by the publisher in 2016, and just based on the premise and D.J. Kirkland’s involvement alone, I have been itching for the chance to read it since the announcement. Written by Daniel Barnes and illustrated by Kirkland, Black Mage follows young wizard
Tom Token, the first black student ever to be admitted to an all-white wizarding school. If you’ve been less than impressed by the lack of diversity in some other notable wizarding-adjacent works as of late, Black Mage is a graphic novel that’s absolutely worth checking out. Kirkland’s colors in particular are sure to impress—he has a buoyant, vivid style that’s amazingly well suited to a story of young magicians. C.K. Stewart


Empress Cixtisis
Writer/Artist: Anne Simon
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Release Date: August 13, 2019
Simon’s fierce, dangerous Song of Aglaia was one of the finest and subtlest works of 2018. How nice it is to see her expanding that universe of weird critters in this new book, based on the reign of the Chinese empress Cixi (who appears briefly in the film The Last Emperor). Ruthless despot? Effective reformer? We likely won’t get a tidy answer, but we will get to hang out in Simon’s world some more. Hillary Brown


Pumpkinheads
Writer: Rainbow Rowell
Artist: Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: August 27, 2019
When YA favorite Rainbow Rowell began her foray into comics with Runaways, it wasn’t a big surprise to her fans that she knocked it out of the park. Pumpkinheads is Rowell’s next adventure, an original graphic novel with artist Faith Erin Hicks, and it’s bound to be a must-read for fans of either creator. Hicks is probably best known for Adventures of Superhero Girl and the recently concluded The Nameless City trilogy which she both wrote and illustrated, but she has worked with other writers before to great success. Due out just at the end of summer, Pumpkinheads is the story of two friends who have spent the last four years working at the best pumpkin patch in the world, deep in the middle of Nebraska. Deja and Josiah have spent two months together every year, but as their senior year of high school starts up, they both have a lot of decisions to make about how they’ll spend their last fall together. Knowing both Rowell and Hicks, the characters’ plans will probably go out the window almost immediately, and both adventure and shenanigans will ensue. Caitlin Rosberg

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Steve Pugh
Publisher: DC Ink/ DC Comics 
Release Date: September 3, 2019
One of a dozen titles announced as the first books for DC’s new YA imprint, DC Ink, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass stands poised to introduce the character’s more nuanced and interesting side to a new generation of readers. It’s exciting to see a veteran artist like Steve Pugh of Animal Man fame on a book like this, mixing the appeal of a fresh new story aimed at younger readers with an old-school visual style. It’s especially interesting to see Pugh working with writer Mariko Tamaki, a creator perhaps best known for her work on graphic novels like This One Summer and Skim. Tamaki will definitely bring a fresh perspective to Harley, a character who’s often written as purely manic and without a lot of substance beyond her relationship with the Joker. In all of her previous work, Tamaki has displayed a skill at confronting difficult and uncomfortable subjects in sympathetic ways, and that’s worth looking forward to, for Harley herself and for budding comics readers who will discover the book. Caitlin Rosberg


Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl
Writer/Artist: Ben Hatke
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: September 3, 2019
In hindsight, it’s not surprising at all that a devoted nerd like Ben Hatke (don’t let the cool fire-breathing and circus tricks fool you) would create a universe of YA/kids books destined to produce a crossover/team-up. But that doesn’t make it less anticipated! Hatke’s books are action-packed, narrative-driven and always beautifully drawn. The idea of his two strongest characters joining forces is a delightful one. Hillary Brown


My Favorite Thing Is Monsters Vol. 2
Writer/Artist: Emil Ferris
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Considering the labor-intensive nature of Emil Ferris’ heavily crosshatched ballpoint-pen drawings, it makes sense that the second volume of her highly acclaimed portrait of Chicago is taking a little longer to arrive than promised. Let’s all say a prayer for her hands and hope that September is a realistic goal to experience the conclusion of one of the best and most complex comics works produced so far. Hillary Brown


Stargazing
Writer/Artist: Jen Wang
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: September 10, 2019
The Prince and the Dressmaker took the world by storm in 2018, earning well deserved accolades and a gaggle of new fans for creator Jen Wang. The book was bright and emotional without being cloying, tender and gentle when it needed to be but brave enough to confront big questions about identity, love and family. Hearing that Wang has another book on the horizon, this one for middle-grade readers, brings a lot of high expectations and excitement. Rather than starring a prince, Stargazing is about two Chinese-American girls who grow up together, becoming fast friends through shared experiences and secrets they hide from their parents. Christine is the quieter of the two, but Moon is not only wilder and creative, she’s also convinced that there are celestial beings who talk to her. An external threat puts Christine in the position of needing to be the one Moon can rely on, and a story of affection and friendship unfolds. Wang is a skilled storyteller with an eye for character design and emotional beats, so Stargazing is set to be a must-read not just for kids but anyone who’s struggled to help a dear friend. Caitlin Rosberg


R.L. Stine’s Just Beyond: The Scare School
Writer: R.L. Stine
Artists: Kelly & Nichole Matthews
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: September 2019
Goosebumps mega-author R.L. Stine wrote a Man-Thing series for Marvel Comics, and this year he’s returning to comics in an exclusive deal with BOOM! Studios. According to Stine, his comics line will focus on the same audience his popular Goosebumps novels do: middle-grade readers. The flagship book, Just Beyond: The Scare School, follows three 12-year-olds as they run through time, escaping a cyborg creature called a Drogg. To Stine, this book outlines his strategy for writing in the genre: scaring the reader requires grounding the story in something relatable, in this case middle school. Once that’s settled, he can play with the fantastical twists—looking at you, Drogg. The Scare School sports gorgeous art by siblings Kelly and Nichole Matthews—the twins have worked together on series including as Pandora’s Legacy and Toil and Trouble—and a cover by Julian Totino Tedesco. Josh Hilgenberg


Tomorrow
Writer/Artist: Eleanor Davis
Publisher: Drawn + Quarterly
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Davis has focused more on short works in her career. How to Be Happy is a compilation of them. You & a bike & a road is a sort of collection of smaller thoughts that turns into a single narrative in the reader’s mind. Even Why Art?, from last year, has a first half that’s more an examination of different ideas before the second half morphs into a story. Tomorrow is something different, and as it’s been unfurling on Gumroad, where you can buy chapters one through three currently, it feels like a complete long work, a book in which the author has full control of her capabilities as she dissects how humans are busy relating to one another in the very interesting present. Hillary Brown


Black Canary: Ignite
Writer: Meg Cabot
Artist: Cara McGee
Publisher: DC Zoom/ DC Comics 
Release Date: October 2019
The announcement that DC would be creating two new imprints aimed at kids was met with resounding enthusiasm by parents, librarians and teachers alike. Most monthly comics have been the realm of adult readers for a long time, and the prospect of having an effective way to offer stories starring familiar characters to younger readers is an exciting one. Though Black Canary: Ignite isn’t one of the first titles hitting stands, the creative team alone has fans buzzing with excitement. Meg Cabot is best known as the writer of The Princess Diaries, along with a slew of other middle grade, YA and romance titles. Artist Cara McGee is a perfect fit for Cabot’s bright, blunt storytelling style, with a sweet and character-driven style that’s been featured in Over the Garden Wall and the excellent sports comic Dodge City. Fittingly, Cabot has confessed that she was once told by her principal she was the loudest girl in her school, and she’s set to take Dinah on an all-new adventure, discovering her powers and contending with all the drama that middle school entails. Caitlin Rosberg


What’s the Furthest Place From Here
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Tyler Boss
Publisher: Image Comics 
Release Date: November 2019
For a series with such a long title, there’s very little we currently know about Matt Rosenberg and Tyler Boss’s follow-up to 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, except that the duo has moved from former publisher Black Mask Studios to Image Comics, a first for either creator. Set seemingly after some sort of worldwide disaster, What’s the Furthest Place From Here follows a group of punks trying to find their missing youngest member across dangerous terrain filled with roving gangs. Rosenberg and Boss earned a lot of goodwill with 4 Kids, which entitles them to keep their cards close at hand in the buildup to What’s the Furthest Place From Here. Steve Foxe


Making Comics
Writer/Artist: Lynda Barry
Publisher: Drawn + Quarterly
Release Date: Fall 2019
Jealous of the folks who have gotten to take a class of the same title with one of comics’ foremost prophets at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Discovery? D+Q has you covered, with a book version that should cover some of the same content. Sure, there are any number of books out there that want to teach you how to make comics (Drawing the Marvel Way, Scott McCloud’s Making Comics, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden’s work), but Barry always has a deceptively simple way of approaching complex problems that doesn’t fetishize materials and leads even the unpracticed into actual making. Hillary Brown


Is There a Rational Adult Anywhere?
Writer/Artist: Vanessa Davis
Publisher: Drawn + Quarterly
Release Date: Fall 2019
Describing Vanessa Davis’s work as “frothy” feels unfair and dismissive, but only if you have no appreciation for a fancy Starbucks drink or the beauty of the white stuff on the waves as it evaporates slowly on the shore. It doesn’t equate to shallow. It’s just okay with some silliness existing in the world, with the pleasure of small things and with a visual style that’s not committed to an absolute minimum in terms of lines on the page. This book collects her comics for the Paris Review plus some others, all open, sweet and occasionally fluffy. Hillary Brown


Mooncakes
Writer: Suzanne Walker
Artist: Wendy Xu
Publisher: Lion Forge
Release Date: Fall 2019
I’ve been following bits of Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu’s Mooncakes through artist Xu’s Twitter for a while, and was pumped when it was announced that Lion Forge would be publishing it in fall of this year. Mooncakes is a supernatural queer romance, following teen witch Nova and werewolf Tam through the trials and tribulations of being a little bit spooky in a sleepy New England town. If you love sweet stories with a paranormal twist, Mooncakes is the book for you. Xu’s art has an irresistible charm and warmth to it, particularly the earthy colors, and her character work is always fantastically emotive; it will be so much fun to get to experience the Tam and Nova’s story from start to finish through Xu’s work. There’s no firm release date yet, but Mooncakes will be available from Lion Forge this fall. C.K. Stewart


Superman Smashes the Klan
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Gurihiru Studios
Publisher: DC Zoom/ DC Comics 
Release Date: TBD 2019
Set in 1946, Superman Smashes the Klan is a fairly self-explanatory comic coming sometime this year, presumably, from DC Zoom. Superman, and probably his alter ego Clark Kent, along with a couple of friends including Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, are set to confront the Ku Klux Klan in this middle-grade book. This isn’t the first time that the Man of Steel has taken on the Klan: after World War II, a Superman radio drama aired 16 episodes which used real-life secrets of the Klan to make them a new villain for the titular hero to fight. It helped to sway public opinion against the Klan, and Superman got to deal a blow not just to fictional racists but real-life ones, too. Gene Luen Yang, who wrote the incredible New Super-Man starring a Chinese Superman and his allies as well as American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints, is probably the best DC veteran for this book. He has a steady hand for sensitive topics including race and racism, and a great sense for what makes Superman so special. The art is by Gurihiru Studios, and the collective is probably best known for its five-year run on Avatar: The Last Airbender, which they worked on with Yang. It’s always good to see former collaborators team up again, and this young-readers book seems poised to be a must-read for all ages. Caitlin Rosberg


The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo
Writer/Artist: Drew Weing
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: TBD 2019
Volumes 1 and 2 of this delightful all-ages webcomic are available in physical form thanks to First Second, but creator Drew Weing has been hard at work on Volume 3, which should start running online in 2019 at https://www.drewweing.com/ and through Patreon if you’re truly impatient (I am). Weing has left enough things unresolved or breadcrumbed throughout the first two volumes to make devoted readers itchy for more time in Echo City, discovering different kinds of monsters alongside Maloo’s faithful assistant (and noob) Thompson. Hillary Brown


Wrassle Castle
Writers: Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover
Artist: TBD
Publisher: Myriad/ Vault Comics
Release Date: TBD 2019
2019 is going to be a great year for wrestling comics, it seems. Banana Sunday and Bandette collaborators Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover are teaming up once more to tell the story of Lydia Riverthane, an aspiring Grand Wrasslin Tournament contender who has been forced to train in secret with her brother, John Gator-Chomp. When John is arrested for a crime he did, in fact, commit, Lydia decides diving headlong into the tournament is the only way to discover the truth of his actions. Tobin and Coover recently shared concept art from the graphic novel (no artist has been announced yet) with Paste, and their light-hearted take on pro wrestling for a young adult audience is another exciting addition to the wrestling comics landscape for both young readers and adults alike. Wrassle Castle’s final release date isn’t set yet, but is tentatively scheduled for 2019. C.K. Stewart

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