The 35 Most Anticipated Comics of 2017

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The 35 Most Anticipated Comics of 2017

Honesty time: 2016 was fucking weird in multiple ways, and the comics realm wasn’t spared that eccentricity. Major superhero publishers hit the reset/rebirth button to varying degrees of success, digital market leaders announced forays into original comics and the entire community contemplated how the medium could both employ and engage people of all intellectual and demographic backgrounds. That said, a lot of great comics debuted and we have astronomically high hopes that the following 12 months can usher more excellence.

I don’t think we need to worry much: a metric ton of sequential art gold is scheduled to hit shelves. Curiously, our list is light on mainstream capes and cowls despite the genre’s outstanding frequency. Instead, a slew of other genre and indie work has us feverishly thrilled. A new adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods will transition to panels, helmed by the author’s Sandman collaborators Craig P. Russell and Scott Hampton. The sci-fi corner will embrace a deeper shade of nihilism via James Stokoe’s Aliens: Dead Orbit and Jonathan Hickman’s delayed Frontier—a return for the creator to design-driven illustration alongside his winding plot development. Michael DeForge, Jillian Tamaki and Eleanor Davis will debut new projects and collections that will probably make our best of ’17 list (let’s be honest) and C. Spike Trotman and Jess Fink will continue to show why comics are the new home for female-friendly sexuality. Speaking of: don’t even get us started on the untitled Fall surprise from Tula Lotay and Becky Cloonan. We’ve also included a few early-to-mid January releases that are definitely worth your time.

Check out the gallery above for a full list of our most anticipated comics of 2017, and let us know what you’re jazzed about on Twitter.

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation

Writer: Octavia E. Butler, Damian Duffy
Artist: John Jennings
Publisher: Abrams
Release Date: January 11

Comics aren't a genre, starting and stopping with capes and cowls and supervillains. Almost anything can be adapted for the medium, and it's especially exciting to see new subjects shift and flow into sequential art. Afrofuturism in comics isn't completely unheard of, but the creation of a graphic novel based on Octavia Butler's 1979 novel Kindred exposes the prolific and innovative writer to a whole new audience, and that's absolutely worth celebrating. Kindred is a deeply intimate book filled with emotion, and portraying it visually only adds to that weight. Butler's voice is much needed in the social and political climate right now, and Kindred's mix of time travel and a historically accurate portrayal of racism is an incredible way to introduce her work to comics readers. Caitlin Rosberg
John Jennings

God Country

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: January 11

Like the bastard son of Preacher and Walt Simonson's Thor, Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw's God Country brings cosmic mythology tumbling down onto a sleepy Texas town to thunderous results. Cates and Shaw have collaborated before on The Paybacks, a darkly comedic superhero series that hopped from Dark Horse to Heavy Metal, but God Country seems like a level-up from all involved. Shaw, working with colorist Jason Wordie, is equally at home illustrating tense family drama and the wide-open majesty—and isolation—of the Texas plains. Cates, whose first major work involved semi-truck mayhem, seems to have a particular affinity for down-home tales. To paraphrase the Paste reviewer who took a more exhaustive look at the first issue earlier this week, if God Country lives up to the promise of its final page, this may be the next Image breakout. Steve Foxe
Geoff Shaw

The Few

Writer: Sean Lewis
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: January 18

One of the longest-running problems for comics has been the struggle to keep readers engaged through never-ending continuities and provide new audiences with reasonable places to jump into decades of narrative. More frequently, creative teams and publishers are turning to intentionally limited stories with concrete endings. Saints writer Sean Lewis and artist Hayden Sherman are taking the latter approach with The Few, billed as a "maxi-series" with a first issue serving 56 robust pages. The premise centers around a pair of brothers who encounter a woman and infant in need of help in an American dystopian wasteland. The description holds hints of DMZ and Y the Last Man, and maybe even a serious take on Tank Girl, but also addresses the Navajo creation myth of the Monster Slayer Twins. Sherman's art is intentionally, thoughtfully sketchy, with sharp angles and an interesting use of lines. Caitlin Rosberg
Hayden Sherman

Loose Ends

Writer: Jason Latour
Artist: Chris Brunner
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: January 25

Jason Latour has been tearing it up lately as co-creator/writer for Spider-Gwen and artist for southern noir Southern Bastards. Longtime Latour fans may already know of Loose Ends, published by 12-Gauge Studios but never finished. The story of Sonny Gibson will now continue at Image, repackaging the original issues and finishing the story. Latour will write the conclusion alongside original artists Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi, whose style should appeal to fans of Latour's angular art, though this series will have a brighter color palette than Southern Bastards. Billed as a "southern crime romance," this series is brighter in content, too, but promises to scratch a similar itch in readers who like strong, twisty crime drama. Mark Peters
Chris Brunner

It's All Absolutely Fine: Life Is Complicated So I've Drawn It Instead

Writer/Artist: Ruby Elliot
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Release Date: January 31

Women have been absolutely dominating the autobiographical graphic novel niche for several years, from Alison Bechdel to Lucy Knisley and Roz Chast. A new generation of cartoonists has leveraged one-and-done daily journal comics into book deals that are at once deeply sympathetic and uproariously funny. In the tradition of Sarah Andersen's Adulthood is a Myth, Ruby Elliot's first book is full of dry wit, self-deprecating observations and struggles both universal and deeply personal. Comparisons to Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half wouldn't be totally unwarranted. Elliot's art is sketchy and unforgiving: she draws herself and the world around her stylistically, with a bent towards inner perception rather than outer appearance. Her wit is dry, her humor biting and her work human. These comics are designed to make sort-of-adults a little less lonely. Caitlin Rosberg
Ruby Elliot

Justice League of America

Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Ivan Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: February 8

Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis taking the reins of DC's biggest team book was cause for celebration before the swath of preview one-shots introduced the lower-profile members of the team, but getting a peek at how the eclectic bunch fits together only adds to the high anticipation. Orlando, more than perhaps any other writer in DC's current stable, has a proven affection for the company's pre-New 52 heydays, as seen in Midnighter and its sequel, Midnighter and Apollo: characters as obscure or left behind as Prometheus, Freedom Beast and even Extraño received new leases on life via Orlando's reverent pen. Reis, meanwhile, has remained DC's go-to indicator of "big deal" for nearly a decade, and represents DC's house style at its finest. The Rebirth era has so far been a welcome return to form for DC after the rockiness of the New 52, and a JLA that follows the tradition of a non-"Big Seven" team, from creators adept at juggling the DCU's extensive lore, bodes well for the initiative's second year. Steve Foxe
Ivan Reis

Death be Damned

Writers: Ben Acker & Ben Blacker
Artist: Hannah Christenson
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: February 8

Writers Ben Acker and Ben Blacker have, until now, largely staked their combined writing reputations on humor, from Deadpool v. Gambit to The Thrilling Adventure Hour. Death be Damned may break that trend: pitched to fans of Pretty Deadly and The Sixth Gun, Death be Damned has shades of a supernatural, Wild West Kill Bill, with a protagonist seeking revenge on the seven outlaws who slaughtered her family. The twist is that, while Miranda Coler can't die until she succeeds, she loses portions of her memory every time she's "killed." Hannah Christenson, a contributor to the gorgeous Jim Henson's The Storytellers anthology series, lends Death be Damned an appropriate air of the fantastic that should solidify positive comparisons to Emma Rios' flowing linework in Pretty Deadly. Steve Foxe
Hannah Christenson

Steven Universe

Writer: Melanie Gillman
Artist: Katy Farina
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: February 8

For all of KaBOOM!'s success with Adventure Time and Regular Show, it's taken the all-ages imprint a few tries to get Steven Universe right. When the first SU series launched at BOOM!, the television show hadn't yet revealed its emotional depth, and the comic felt more like a goofy supplement than required reading. Subsequent mini-series and one-shots have better reflected the series' message of inclusion and complexity, and now we're finally getting a full-fledged ongoing set in Beach City. Cartoonist Melanie Gillman, creator of the Eisner-nominated As the Crow Flies, and Katy Farina, perhaps best known for The Amazing World of Gumball, bring a combined wealth of queer-inclusive storytelling skills to the table. Now more than ever, comic shelves could use a Steven Universe comic on par with Rebecca Sugar's groundbreaking television show. Steve Foxe
Katy Farina

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

Writer/Artist: Emil Ferris
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Release Dates: February 14 (Vol. 1), October 27 (Vol. 2)

The fact that the first volume of Emil Ferris' jaw-dropping debut was delayed from late 2016 to early 2017 makes this year the year of Ferris, and you're sure to hear tons about both books. Unfurling in a powerful wave, her detective story is extraordinarily beautiful but also intelligently thought- out and deeply felt. Hillary Brown
Emil Ferris

Chester 5000-XYV, Book 2: Isabelle & George

Writer/Artist: Jess Fink
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Release Date: February 14

Book 1 of Jess Fink's adorable Victorian porno comics came out all the way back in 2011. A Kickstarter campaign provided more than twice the amount needed to make book 2, lending another valuable entry to the library of sophisticated, emotive sequential art smut in print. Fink's drawings are sexy and woman-friendly, and her craft has yet to receive the attention it deserves. Hillary Brown
Jess Fink