There are so many amazing comics and so many wonderful ways to find them. In 2016 we had great superhero comics, great monthlies from smaller publishers, great webcomics, great graphic novels and great comics from indie presses and self publishers. Comics are one of my favorite things, they can cheer me up, make me think about life, make me cry, fill me with righteous anger, make me laugh and make me learn new things about myself. And that happened with so many terrific comics this year that I had to leave many of my favorites off this list. While the world was burning down, there was still some light in the world, and these comics provided a lot of that light.
These comics aren’t listed in any ranking order.
Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat by Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, Megan Wilson and Clayton Cowles
This is by far the best superhero comic I’ve read since Matt Fraction stopped writing Hawkeye. It’s fun, funny, the action is great, it’s clever and sweet and it’s queer as hell(cat). If you only read one superhero comic that came out in 2016, make it this one.
On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden
I’ve written about the amazing Tillie Walden several times this year and deservedly so. She’s making incredibly lush, vivid and beautiful comics that cut deep into the truth of emotions, motivations and relationships. This science fiction webcomic that updates in batches is a genius work of art that will remind you just how high the art of comics can reach.
Greasebats by Archie Bongiovanni
The characters in this Autostraddle comic are just so freaking perfect, and the situations Bongiovanni puts them in are ones that at first seem so ridiculous, but once you think about it are situations you’ve totally been in a thousand times. This is my favorite depiction of queer life in all of fiction.
Lady of the Shard and Cucumber Quest by Gigi D.G
Lady of the Shard was one of the most gorgeous stories of any kind that I’ve seen in a while, and when you put it up with D.G’s beautifully colorful, funny and adorably tender webcomic Cucumber Quest, you can’t help but see her as one of the best cartoonists today. Whether you’re looking for an intergalactic queer romance with some very dark themes or you’re looking for a fun video game style fairy tale, Gigi D.G has something you’ll love.
Frontier #11: BDSM by Eleanor Davis
The previously mentioned Archie Bongiovanni introduced this comic to me and I am so thankful they did. The art is wonderful and the story is right up my alley. This is one of the sexiest, most intelligent comics I’ve read in my life.
This is the best fantasy I’ve seen in a long, long, long time. The storytelling and worldbuilding are amazing, the art is just awe inspiring. This comic makes me proud that I get called a furry on twitter.
Agents of the Realm by Mildred Louis
Mildred Louis is one of my favorite artists ever, she works magic with colors, faces, hair and outfits. Plus she’s a damn great writer who knows how to craft beautiful and realistic friendships that juxtapose perfectly with the action and adventure of her magical girl story.
Definitely my favorite new comic of the year. Everyone who watches Great British Bake Off or anything on the Food Network will probably adore this comic. Also, just if you like fun alien designs, cute characters and great queer romances this is a book for you.
Similar in more than one way to Agents of the Realm, this comic also is about magical girls, has terrific colors and art and has a sweet queer romance. This is the kind of comic that I want to see more of. The action is real and the stakes are high, but it never once tries to be too gritty or self-serious.
“A Burning Hill” by Mitski and Becky Sunmi Shin
Mitski released my favorite album this year, and one of my favorites of all time. She’s a brilliant songwriter and her lyricism is shown off in this gorgeously illustrated comic. It’s so simple and pretty short, but it packs so much power and energy and heart and life into just a few panels that it will stick with you for years after you see it.
New Releases (January 4)
Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.
If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com.