The Best Comics & Graphic Novels of February 2018

Bingo Love, by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, Joy San, Cardinal Rae, Erica Schultz, and Genevieve FT
One of the month’s most exciting releases doesn’t involve superheroes or explosions, instead telling a charming love story spanning half of a century. Hazel and Mari meet at church bingo in 1963, but their families push them apart before each goes on to marry other people and carve out very different lives for themselves. A heated bingo game 50 years later brings them back together, forcing them to consider what their love for each other means. The queer black love story is challenging and sweet, with gorgeous artwork.

The Three Rooms in Valerie’s Head, by David Gaffney and Dan Berry
Valerie has a unique way of dealing with her wildly unlucky love life: she imagines each of her old boyfriends is dead and that their bodies are stored in her basement. She’s able to bring them upstairs to talk to them about what went wrong. The story proceeds as a series of funny and weird short stories in which Valerie exhumes her love life by hanging out with all of the guys that didn’t work out, and the one that might still.

The Secret Loves of Geeks, by Margaret Atwood, Gerard Way, Hope Nicholson, Dana Simpson, Gabby Rivera, Sana Takeda, and Patrick Rothfuss
Following up editor Hope Nicholson’s The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, this all-star collection of prose stories, art, and comics looks to be at least as good as its bestselling predecessor. The line-up is truly incredible, with the creators the likes of Margaret Atwood, Gerard Way,Sana Takeda, and Patrick Rothfuss telling intimate, funny, and inspiring stories about love and sex among geeks.

Grass Kings, Vol. 1, by Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins
Stunning watercolor art is a highlight of this rural mystery series from Kindt and Jenkins. The titular kingdom is a self-sufficient trailer park offering sanctuary to the lost, homeless, and desperately poor. Three brothers rule the place, including the eldest, Robert, who lost his daughter to an accident. He takes in a stranger named Maria whose identity threatens to overturn their idyllic community.

The Expanse: Origins, by James S. A. Corey, Hallie Lambert, Georgia Lee, Huang Danlan, Triona Farrell, and Juan Useche
As the James S.A. Corey novel series that inspired the Syfy series The Expanse jumps ahead in time, this comic spinoff goes back to tell of the beginnings of the core team before they wound up at the center of future galactic power politics onboard the Rocinante. James Holden, Naomi, Alex, and Amos each get a spotlight story.

Carthago, by Christophe Bec, Eric Henninot, and Milan Jovanovic
The absolutely bonkers book from French writer Bec has incredible art from Henninot and Jovanovic and stars a modern megalodon, ancestor of our own great white shark. An oceanographer named Kim Melville is the one who learns that the ancient predator is back and ready to rule the oceans again. Bloody shark action aside, the thriller is full of twists and turns, slowly revealing creatures of myth and horrific cities of the deep. The book was only recently translated into English, and this new edition is a great way to get in on the action.

Scales & Scoundrels, Vol. 1: Into the Dragon’s Maw, by Sebastian Girner, Galaad, and Jeff Powell
Girner and Galaad introduce a new breed of fantasy adventurer in Luvander, a tough loner who sets out on a quest to find what treasure awaits in “the Dragon’s Maw,” a labyrinth that she hopes will bring an end to her days of penniless wandering. The only problem: she needs a team. The colorful story offers a modern take on medieval-style fantasy with a light touch and a sense of the epic.

Immortal Iron Fists (Marvel Premiere Graphic Novel), by Kaare Andrews, Afu Chan, and Shelly Chen
Just as there were Iron Fists before Danny Rand, the next generation is making itself known: in this case, it’s Pei, a K’un-Lun monk and the youngest person ever to bear the mark. She’s taken in by Danny so that the hero can teach and mentor her. Brining her to New York City, Danny must to prepare her not just for her destiny, but also to attend a modern American high school, and to face a new threat that will challenge them both.

Incognegro: A Graphic Mystery (New Edition), by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece
His brother having been charged with the murder of a white woman in Mississippi. reporter Zane Pinchback travels south in order to investigate. A lynch mob is already gathering, so Zane passes among the whites in order to find out the real story behind the murder. This tenth anniversary edition of the brutal and acclaimed graphic novel includes a new afterword, enhanced artwork, and several other extras.

Shade, the Changing Girl, Vol. 2: Little Runaway, by Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone, Ande Parks, Marguerite Sauvage, and Kelly Fitzpatrick
Shade, which follows Loma, strange visitor from the planet Meta, was the breakout hit among the early titles in DC’s impressive Young Animal imprint. In volume 2, Loma, in the body of mean girl Megan Boyer, sets out on a cross-country road trip from Gotham to Hollywood and beyond in order to figure out exactly what she’s doing on Earth, and how her Madness Coat can help her.

Mother Panic, Vol. 2: Under Her Skin, by Jody Houser, John Paul Leon, Shawn Crystal, Dave Stewart, and Jean-Francis Beaulieu
Seventeen was an experimental subject at Gather House, made into the ultimate fighting machine via cybernetic implants. She turned on her masters and escaped, remaking herself into Gotham’s biggest party girl, and then into Mother Panic, violent vigilante. Now, her implants are breaking down and leaving her vulnerable  just as Batman, Gather House, and the city’s most brutal serial killers are all closing in.

Killing and Dying, by Adrian Tomine
Through a series of vignettes, Tomine explores loss, family, and identity with emotion and intelligence. The original hardcover was an acclaimed bestseller featured on several 2015 best-of-the-year lists, so this new edition, with fresh cover art, is a great way to experience Tomine’s realist masterwork if you missed it the first time.

Joyride, Vol. 3, by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Marcus To, and Irma Kniivila
The story of Uma Akkolyte, who stole a spaceship in order to get away from an oppressive and boring Earth, continues. The crew of the Joyride were separated in the previous volume, and this concluding trade sees the team living new lives before being brought back together by the promise of a return to Earth and a mission to bring down their fascist rulers once and for all.

Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Dog Men, by Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, and Diego Galindo
Butcher’s Dresden Files series continues to expand with the latest graphic novel, with a story exclusive to the comics but set within official continuity. Recent adventures having taken a toll, Dresden travels to Mississippi to investigate a series of murders at the behest of the White Council of Wizards. His actions lead him into conflict with the very people that he’s there to help.

The Michael Moorcock Library: The Chronicles of Corum Vol. 1—The Knight of Swords, by Mike Baron, Mike Mignola, Rick Burchett, and Kelly Jones
Corum Jhaelen Irsei, the Prince in the Scarlet Robe, is the last of his kind, as well as an incarnation of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion. This volume collects the comics adaption of Knight of Swords, the first book to feature the character. He faces the forces of Order and Chaos on his quest for the mystical city of Tenelorn.

The Death of Stalin, by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin
Nury and Robin’s satirical graphic novel was almost immediately snatched up by Armando Iannucci and made into a film, which will premiere in March 2018. Only lightly fictionalized, the story tells of the behind-the-scenes jockeying and power plays that went on following Stalin’s stroke in 1953. It’s very much a stranger-than-fiction type of tale.

Get Naked, by Steven T. Seagle, Mads Ellegard Skovbakke, Emei Olivia Burell, Tina Burholt, and Patricia Amalie Eckerle
Seagle is joined by 19 emerging cartoonists to tell a series of stories about…nudity. Each engages with divergent global attitudes about the naked body; entries range from the funny to the emotional and back. Seagle realized in his travels that American ideas about nakedness are nowhere near the norm in other parts of the world, and this book explores the reasons why.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Vol. 2: Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit, by Kieron Gillen, Kev Walker, and Marc Laming
Doctor Aphra remains the only original character from Marvel’s Star Wars run to rate her own book, and she’s still up to no good in volume 2, which sees her trying to auction off an ancient Jedi artifact while surrounding herself with some of the nastiest villains in the galaxy, none of whom are all that fond of the not-so-good doctor.

Godshaper, by Simon Spurrier and Jonas Goonface
Following the collapse of the laws of physics in 1958, everyone received their own personal deity, whose size, shape, and influence determines your fate. Then there are those women and men like Ennay, who were born without their own gods but with the power to shape the deities of others. Ennay meets up with Bud, a god without a human, and together, they wind up in the heart of a mystery. It’s a unique story with some lovely, colorful artwork.

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