Drawn to Comics: The 10 Best Comics of 2016

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.

art by Brittney Williams and Megan Wilson. click to enlarge

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.

Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

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.

From Agents of the Realm by Mildred Louis.

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.

Space Battle Lunchtime by Natalie Riess

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.

Zodiac Starforce by Kevin Panetta and Paulina Ganucheau

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)

Catwoman Vol 6 Final Jeopardy

DC Comics Bombshells #21

Harley Quinn #11

Shade the Changing Girl #4

Jem & the Holograms #22

The Wicked + The Divine #25

Hawkeye #2

Scarlet Witch #14

Unstoppable Wasp #1

Adventure Time #60

Faith #7

Giant Days #22

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.

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Mey Rude is a fat, trans, Latina lesbian living in LA. She's a writer, journalist, and a trans consultant and sensitivity reader. You can follow her on twitter, or go to her website if you want to hire her.

Mey has written 572 articles for us.


  1. Damn, i did not know i had missed out on such great work last year. Thank you for showing me what i missed out on, also really to anyone reading this who hasn’t read the web comic always human, please go and give it a try, like just read the first couple of chapters and then i wont need to sell you on the premise or the quality of writing or drawing thats there in it, because it is just brilliant. Again thank you for the pretty amazing list you just put here(like monstress looks right up my alley) have a great year

  2. I didn’t comment on your On a Sunbeam article, but I started reading it because of that article and hot damn! It started out slow but gorgeous and mysterious enough that I had to keep going, and it’s really started hitting its stride lately!

    My wife bought Monstress on a whim the weekend we got married and neither of us have read it yet. It’s in my to-read pile (the size of which is one of those problems I love having).

    Looking forward to the wonderful comics recommendations you’ll have for us in 2017, Mey!

    • It’s a great title and made a lot of people top 10 lists this year. A must read if you like the fantasy genre. The art is amazing and it’s worth buying just for that, but it’s also backed up with great world building and story.

  3. Two comics that have been going on much longer than 2016, but have really shown this year for me are Sunstone and Gunnerkrigg Court. Sunstone is a bafflingly sexy and tender comic about two women exploring a bdsm relationship, and man is the art breath taking. The first arc finished just last month, but new stories are coming! Gunnerkrigg is an all ages comic that is sort of Harry Potter like, but with amazing mythological world building, a female main character, and a young main character exploring her sexuality in the most squee inducing way possible. The author takes a little while to figure out his art style, but his current pages are just gorgeous. I’d highly recommend both.

    I have read several of the comics you suggested but I will definitely be checking out the rest soon!

  4. oohh i love on a sunbeam and lady of the shard so much! also i’ve read greasebats every time it’s on saturday morning cartoons, but never really got into the story, so i’ll definetly binge read it more throughly soon

    my recommendation is shootaround on line webtoons. it’s hilarious but also knows how to pull on your heartstrings and make you cry. most (if not all) of the cast is queer
    also i second sunstone, it’s hot but also has a more serious story

  5. Thank you Mey for providing such awesome and thorough commentary on comics of all types! I’ve discovered so many great artists through this column! I hope this column goes on 4evaeva.

  6. Reading On a Sunbeam and loving the style! My fave comic this year has, somewhat astonishingly, been IDW’s More Than Meets The Eye, which is a Transformers comic (I know). Almost all the characters are male, but since they’re robots, gender is mostly fake. The writing is phenomenal, and there’s queer representation (again, Transformers. I know.) More about it here https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/dec/02/transformers-lost-light-comic-same-sex-partnerships

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