Sunday , June 23 2024

Comics graphic novels 2019 – Miracleman to Scrooge McDuck – The Guardian

Depressed? Alone? Feel as though there’s nothing to hope for? Good news: 2019 promises a wealth of exciting new Comics graphic novels 2019 that will serve as both cheap entertainment and a source of convenient, easily stackable heating fuel in the coming dystopian wasteland.

Foremost at the artier end of the spectrum of Comics graphic novels 2019 is Billie the Bee (Fantagraphics, February), the new graphic novel from the remarkable cartoonist Mary Fleener, whose forays into cubism make for some of the coolest-looking comics around. As for the big studios, Marvel has plans to revive Neil Gaiman’s Miracleman, DC has commissioned an all-star lineup for Detective Comics #1000 (March), and Dark Horse has announced it will publish Grunt, a book of never-before-seen comics by the marvellous James Stokoe in May. And those are just a few of the highlights.

Big names with new books for Comics graphic novels 2019…

From Jaime Hernandez’s Is This How You See Me?


From Jaime Hernandez’s Is This How You See Me? Illustration: Fantagraphics

Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez’s Love and Rockets series has been running for nearly 40 years so can we include in an article about Comics graphic novels 2019? As most indies for adults have gone extinct, the pair have focused on packaging the individual stories of their huge cast of characters into standalone books and in 2019 they’ve got a book each on the horizon: Maria M. (Fantagraphics, July), from Gilbert, a long-delayed, surreal and sordid crime narrative; and Is This How You See Me? (Fantagraphics, March), from Jaime, a moving story about the lives of two longtime friends.

Lynda Barry, whose beautiful collage comics look like no one else’s, will publish Making Comics, while Vanessa Davis’s comics column for The Paris Review will be collected into Is There a Rational Adult Anywhere? (both D&Q, autumn).

If you’re into non-fiction, Bill Griffith’s Nobody’s Fool: The Life and Times of Schlitzie the Pinhead (Abrams, March) looks unmissable: the biography of Schlitze Surtees, the real-life sideshow performer who appeared in Tod Browning’s legendary film Freaks.

Creators who found fanbases through superheroes have new projects coming, too, although few of them are conventional. There is X-Men, Doom Patrol, and Superman writer Grant Morrison’s riff on Nazi-era Christianity, Savage Sword of Jesus Christ (Heavy Metal, July) with the Molen brothers for Comics graphic novels 2019, while Preacher and the Boys writer Garth Ennis has teamed up with Keith Burns for Out of the Blue (Aftershock, March), the most recent of Ennis’s intricately researched war comics.

… and the end of some long waits

A panel from Clyde Fans by Seth

A page from Clyde Fans by Seth. Illustration: Drawn and Quarterly

Literary superstar Neil Gaiman has two new Comics graphic novels 2019 : firstly, The Problem of Susan and Other Stories (Dark Horse, February), graphic takes on his short stories by P Craig Russell, Scott Hampton and Paul Chadwick. Dark Horse has already put out 10 of these books; they’re always surprisingly pretty and any new work by Russell is a welcome sight. Gaiman’s other project, this one with artist Mark Buckingham, has been awol for more than 25 years. Miracleman: The Silver Age is finally due to return this year (Marvel, “early 2019”) which has got to be the highlight of Comics graphic novels 2019. The hugely influential series, handed off to Gaiman after an acclaimed run by Alan Moore, ended on a cliffhanger in 1993 when the publisher went under. There’s an entire book devoted to the legal siege that followed and, fingers crossed, it has finally been resolved.

Speaking of long-gestating projects, Kevin Huizenga’s staggeringly inventive Ganges is finally getting a collected edition (Drawn & Quarterly, autumn). Hopefully that means I’ll be able to stop lending out my increasingly threadbare single issues. And Canadian cartoonist Seth’s magnum opus Clyde Fans (Drawn & Quarterly), ongoing since 1991, is finally finished and due out as a (nearly) 500-page box set in April. The saga of three brothers trying to run a fan business as the world switches to air conditioning is intricately detailed, but perhaps not as filled with business-world success as The Complete Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Volume One (Fantagraphics, February) by Don Rosa, the never-quite-correctly reprinted meta-story that weaves every event in Uncle Scrooge’s life together into a single biographical narrative, part of Fantagraphics’ heroic effort to give the great Disney comics masters their due.

Some stalwarts continue …

Catwoman #1 Joelle Jones


From Joelle Jones’s Catwoman. Illustration: DC Comics

Among the weeklies are Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s weird and wonderful take on DC classic Green Lantern (DC Entertainment) and the first volume of Joelle Jones’s meticulous and noirish Catwoman (DC Entertainment, April). We’ll also see the second volume of A Walk Through Hell, Garth Ennis and Goran Sudžuka’s nightmare-provoking monthly horror comic (Aftershock); and Warren Ellis is due to complete his massive, action-packed 24-issue spy-superhero story The Wild Storm (DC Entertainment, ongoing monthly beginning January) with remarkable newcomer Jon-Davis Hunt. We should also finally see the return of Declan Shalvey’s Injection (Image), a unique, genre-hopping ghost story in Comics graphic novels 2019 roster.

Detail from Wild Storm by Warren Ellis.


Detail from The Wild Storm by Warren Ellis. Illustration: DC Entertainment

A few years after reviving David Lapham’s classic crime comic Stray Bullets (Image, ongoing monthly beginning January), the publisher will bring back Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s Criminal, a perfectly filmic noir anthology series. For wilder ongoing fare, there’s Anders Nilsen’s lengthy Central Asian mythology yarn Tongues (ongoing, irregular), and Kevin Huizenga’s new book, Fielder (ongoing irregular) – both are self-published and might be hard to find in shops, but can be found through Sammy Harkham’s What Things Do, which also sells Harkham’s appallingly good Crickets (ongoing, irregular). Harkham is currently serialising a wonderful graphic novel called Blood of the Virgin in that book; he told me at 2018’s Comic Arts Brooklyn show that he plans to finish the story in the next two instalments. The tremendous Eleanor Davis serialises her own work at her website; her most recently completed story, Tomorrow, is due out in autumn (D&Q).

Political cartoon site The Nib (First Look, ongoing quarterly) now publishes a digest-sized, squarebound print edition stuffed with beautiful drawings and long-form takes on traditional journalistic forms such as the Q&A interview. (Disclosure: I contributed to the Nib’s crowdfunding campaign.) Berkeley Breathed’s webcomic resurrection of his political cartoon Bloom County, too, continues apace, with a new annual due out in 2019 (IDW).

… and some draw to a close

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest Vol 4, due January 2019.


The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest Vol 4, due this month. Illustration: Topshelf Comix

Alas, some good things are coming to an end. With issue 69 (geddit!), which apparently follows issue 30, perennial favourite Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, will come to its (ahem) climax. The final collected volume of Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson and Alex Ross’s lovely Astro City, subtitled Aftermaths, will hit shelves in May (DC/Vertigo). Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s swan song The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest is due to finish this year (Top Shelf), while the anthology to which the pair contribute (along with Garth Ennis, Gabriel Andrade and several other notables), Cinema Purgatorio, has only two issues to go (Avatar, irregular). Warren Ellis has said that, once his current projects are finished, “[u]nless something unusual or irresistible happens, that is pretty much it for me and comics for a while” – which would certainly leave the medium poorer as Comics graphic novels 2019.

When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll


When I Arrived at the Castle by Emily Carroll. Illustration: Koyama

But there are new shores on the horizon: John Pham’s neon-tinted J+K is due out in August from Fantagraphics and his precise work is a tremendous pleasure to behold. Ben Passmore and Ezra Claytan Daniels’ BTTM FDRS (July, Fantagraphics) is similarly promising, and Julie Delporte’s beautifully sketchy, introspective This Woman’s Work (D&Q, March) looks timely and cool. Mark Russell, whose inexcusably good reworking of cornball Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Snagglepuss made most best-of lists this year, has a Wonder Twins series coming out (DC, monthly starting February). Finally, Emily Carroll, whose remarkable short-story collection Through the Woods is a recent watershed in horror comics, has a new book called When I Arrived at the Castle (Koyama, April). I’ll be reading it. And everything else here. And probably some other stuff, too.

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