The 25 Most Anticipated Comics of 2016

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I Am A Hero

Writer/Artist: Kengo Hanzawa
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: April 6, 2016

American comic publishers have been largely content to let The Walking Dead maintain its stranglehold on the zombie genre, but if word from its homeland is any indication, Japanese import I Am A Hero may be the first viable alternative for fans seeking new life in the genre. Drawn in sickeningly realistic detail by Kengo Hanzawa, I Am A Hero follows a sad-sack manga assistant who survives a zombie outbreak thanks to his personal firearm—a rare possession in Japan. Gun control politics aside, I Am A Hero's stomach-turning body horror will test even seasoned fans of Junji Ito's work when Dark Horse publishes the first English edition this spring. Steve Foxe

Kennel Block Blues

Writer: Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Daniel Bayliss
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: February 2016

Ryan Ferrier has already shown a knack for writing the human condition without humans in his IDW hit, D4VE, so odds are good that he'll do the same with canines in this darkly humorous take on pound puppies illustrated by Translucid's Daniel Bayliss. BOOM! has quickly become the premiere go-to home for offbeat original series from up-and-coming creators. Eye-catching new concepts like Kennel Block Blues should sustain the publisher into 2016. Steve Foxe

Kramers Ergot 9

Writer/Artist: Various
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Release Date: April 4, 2016

Due in early March, this occasional collection of short-form indie comics (first self-published by Sammy Harkham and most recently by Dan Nadel's defunct PictureBox) promises work by Michael DeForge, Noel Freibert, Steve Weissman, Anya Davidson, Stefan Marx, Abraham Diaz, Leon Sadler, Julia Gfrorer, Adam Buttrick, Kim Deitch, Ben Jones, Andy Burkholder, Antony Huchette, Trevor Alixopulos, Antoine Cosse, Archer Prewitt, Kevin Huizenga and Renee French, plus more to be announced. If that extensive list doesn't make you tingle, you're not its audience, but be aware that it's an important contribution that helps shape dialogue about where indie comics are going and what they're doing. Hillary Brown

The Legend of Wonder Woman

Writer/Artist: Renae De Liz
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: January 13, 2016

With a story set largely before Diana leaves Themyscira and Womanthology organizer Renae De Liz at the helm, the digital-first The Legend of Wonder Woman is exactly what beleaguered fans of the character have been hoping to see for years. De Liz's portrayal of Wonder Woman taps into the Amazon's strength and wisdom without relying on excessive violence or overt sex appeal, making for the rarest of rares: a Wonder Woman book comic nerds can share with their daughters. For readers not yet ready for digital chapters, the print edition arrived this week. Steve Foxe

Moon Knight

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Greg Smallwood
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: Spring 2016

Jeff Lemire's oeuvre has addressed mental illness in both subtle and dramatic strokes: the hallucinational chaos of The Underwater Welder, the decompressed melancholy of Essex County and corrosive post traumatic stress disorder of Bloodshot all display a deep understanding of human pathos. The creator's upcoming run on Moon Knight with artist Greg Smallwood will approach the issue more directly, sending the titular hero to a psychiatric hospital in his first story arc. Marvel has a history of embracing real-world conflict and emotion (remember when Harry Osborn was a drug addict?), and under Lemire's deft touch, this upcoming project has the potential to explore a pervasive topic associated more with villains than heroes. Sean Edgar

Nod Away

Writer/Artist: Josh Cotter
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Release Date: February 15, 2016

Josh Cotter's debut book, Skyscrapers of the Midwest, came out in 2004, was nominated for an Ignatz and still makes my 10 favorite comics of all time. But Cotter hasn't released a new graphic novel since then. This February brings Nod Away, a self-described French New Wave-style sci-fi story that looks like a return to form. Neatly drawn, with great attention to detail, it looks to be as intellectually and emotionally intelligent as his previous work. Hillary Brown


Writer/Artist: Brecht Evens
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Release Date: April 26, 2016

Belgian comics artist Brecht Evens works in superlatively gorgeous washes of color, but his narrative skills have been developing just as much as his painterly ones. Panther, which arrives in March from Drawn & Quarterly, is an unbowdlerized fairytale—the story of a shape-shifting creature and a little girl—that is not for children. Translated into English and expanded, it looks to make the familiar strange once again. Hillary Brown

Parisian White

Writer: Kelly Sue DeConnick
Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 2016

Kelly Sue DeConnick's creator-owned work has been considerably great: Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly both subvert readers' expectations of science fiction, westerns and more genres, all the while covering an impressive stylistic range. Her artistic collaborator for the forthcoming series, Parisian White, is Bill Sienkiewicz, whose surreal, stylized art remains stunningly distinctive. In an interview with Paste late last year, DeConnick described the mood of the series: "it's dark and it's tragic, but there's something about the strength of the human spirit that still makes it through." Tobias Carroll


Writer/Artist: Dan Clowes
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Release Date: March 23, 2016

I can't imagine that (at least in the indie world) there's a more anticipated comic this year than Patience. Even just an image of the cover led to a widespread Internet freak out. Dan Clowes has been working at the top of his form for at least a decade, but he's not exactly working speedily. It's been five years since the cartoonist last published a new original work (The Death-Ray), and Patience, a sci-fi love story, is the biggest one he's embarked upon. March can't come soon enough. Hillary Brown

Prophet: Earth War

Writer: Brandon Graham
Artist: Giannis Milonogiannis, Simon Roy, Others
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: January 27, 2016

It took a full year to enter our orbit, but Brandon Graham's Moebius-flavored space opera finally launches into its fifth and final act in Earth War. Accompanied by a rotating gaggle of amazing artists including Farel Dalrymple, Graham has stretched the boundaries of sci-fi in Prophet while paying glorious homage to offbeat '70s European pulp. Within these pages, a cloned soldier not only revolts against the morbid Cronenberg-esque queen bee that sired him, but against the sad distortion of the entire human species and its interstellar empire. If Image comics sibling Saga grounds the surrealism of science fiction into an intimate family drama, then Prophet makes the genre as brave, bizarre and other-worldy as can be accomplished in one book. Sean Edgar