It’s the new year, and with 2018 comes a new set of reading goals! It’s fun to make plans for the year ahead, to think about what you want to read and what new areas you want to explore. Every year, I feel like I vow to read more webcomics, but not in 2018. I’ve accepted that I’m terrible at keeping up with them (though I’m happy to binge completed ones), and before you suggest I try your way of keeping up with them, trust me, I’ve tried everything. The problem isn’t the tools available, it’s that I haven’t been able to work any of them into my daily reading and I basically forget webcomics exist.
However, I do want to read more comics generally. I had a tough year with them last year because comics reminded me too much of terrible work experiences (unrelated to Fangrrls, of course). I’m hoping that I’m able to move past that in the new year and focus on them once again. What are your comics goals for 2018? I want to know, but in the meantime, take a look at these excellent comic issues releasing in January.
Rise of the Black Panther #1 - Ta-Nehisi Coates, Evan Narcisse, Paul Renaud, and Brian Stelfreeze (January 3, Marvel)
One of my issues with Coates’ Black Panther series is that it’s not really an entry point into the Marvel universe for new readers. Not every series has to be that, but I felt there was a missed opportunity there because Coates’ name convinced so many people to pick up a comic when they hadn’t before. But I’m hoping this six-issue series will embrace new readers, as well as delight longtime fans. This origin story sees T’Challa before he took the throne of Wakanda, and shows his journey to becoming an Avenger and a hero for his people.
Star Wars: Forces of Destiny #1–4 - Jody Houser, Elsa Arianna Florean, Elsa Charretier, Delilah Dawson, Beth Revis, Devin Grayson, and more (January 3–31, IDW Publishing)
You may be wondering why I didn’t save these comics for the trades/graphic novels list, and the reason is that these are actually individual issues that are coming out every week in January. The Forces of Destiny line from Star Wars focuses on the franchise’s female heroes; there are toys and YouTube shorts and all kinds of other fun stuff, and now there are comics. Each story of this comic series has a different creative team and focuses on a different woman. January’s issues feature Leia, Hera, Padme, Ahsoka, Rose and Paige Tico, and Rey. The final issue will debut in February.
Dissonance #1 - Melita Curphy, Singgih Nugroho, and Sami Basri (January 17, Image Comics)
This new comic is set on an alternate Earth that’s run by a small, secret group. Two young people must take their parents’ place in this cabal, but in order to prove their worth, they have to pass a series of challenges. It seems like a fantastical new world to explore, full of secrets and hidden truths. I’m definitely interested in learning more about it.
Abbott #1 - Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivela, Jason Wordie, and Taj Tenfold (January 24, BOOM! Studios)
Saladin Ahmed has been on quite a few end-of-the-year comics best-of lists, thanks to his excellent work on the Marvel series Black Bolt, along with artist Christian Ward. Now Ahmed is embarking on his first creator-owned series, along with art by Sami Kivela. Abbott features a young reporter named Elena Abbott, who’s looking into a series of disturbing crimes that everyone else has ignored. They are the work of dark forces, and it’s up to Elena to uncover what’s really going on.
Sex Criminals #21 - Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (January 24, Image Comics)
If you haven’t read the strange paranormal sex comedy/kind of depressing drama from the minds of Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky, well, now’s your chance! The premise of this series is very adult, as you might guess from the title. It’s about two people who have the weird ability to stop time when they have an orgasm, and when they find each other, they begin committing crimes during this in-between period. It’s hilarious and weird, but also brutally honest, and now it’s back after a four-month hiatus.
Mystik #2 - Alisa Kwitney, Mike Norton, and Jordie Bellaire (January 31, DC Comics)
To be honest, I don’t know how I missed this series, because I’ve known it’s releasing for months! But better late than never, right? The Mystik series is great for fans of Marvel’s Runaways (whether the Hulu series or the comics). It features a character named Zatanna Zatara, who starts taking classes at a university that will help her hone her magic powers. While it does feature characters from the DC universe, my understanding is that it’s a fine entry point, as it stands relatively alone in terms of story.
Songs for the Dead #1 - Andrea Fort, Michael Christopher Heron, Sam Beck, and Tess Fowler (January 31, Vault Comics)
If you’re into small press comics, and the title of this series sounds familiar, your instincts are correct. It looks like this series was originally released as a three-issue mini from Necromancer Press, and now it’s been expanded into a larger story. It features Bethany, who’s a minstrel by day and a necromancer by night. When a boy goes missing, she becomes determined to find him and prove she’s a hero once and for all.