Happy 2018, all! I love the beginning of a new year because there’s so much promise when it comes to books. I enjoy perusing lists of books and comics to keep an eye out for during the year, as well as being surprised by fascinating new releases that have slipped under the radar. There’s a bright, shiny optimism about the idea of finding my new favorite read that I really enjoy.
This month’s comics have a few new favorites, as well as second volumes of both Hawkeye and She-Hulk, which have been cancelled by Marvel. It’s always a dilemma recommending books that are part of series with an end date, but I almost always err on the side of telling you about them. Strong sales of cancelled books sends a signal to Marvel (people often like to read in trades, not in issues, and the company should serve its readers not expect them to read the way Marvel wants them to), plus the fact that the series are being wrapped up doesn’t mean that the comics aren’t worth reading.
So, without further ado, here are the trades and graphic novels I think you should keep an eye out for this month.
Hawkeye, Vol. 2: Masks - Kelly Thompson, Leonardo Romero, and Jordie Bellaire (Marvel, January 2)
I absolutely adore this Hawkeye run, which is why I’m so bummed it’ll have its last issue in March. I’ve written about it before, but if you haven’t checked it out yet, grab the first trade and this one to read about Kate Bishop’s adventures as a private investigator in LA. You don’t need to have a lot of experience with the Marvel universe to enjoy this approachable storyline, and with an end in sight, it’s not too daunting of a proposition to dive in.
Generation Gone, Vol. 1 - Ales Kot and Andre Lima Araujo (Image Comics, January 9)
I’ve heard really good things about Ales Kot’s work (though haven’t ever read it for myself) and I am a big fan of Andre Lima Araujo, so you can bet that when I found out that they were collaborating on a new project, I was instantly intrigued. The premise hooked me even more: It’s a near-future sci-fi tale about three young hackers who are angry at the world, and then find themselves with superpowers. I’m definitely interested in this take, especially considering it seems like it’ll have a lot of interesting social commentary.
Black Panther: Prelude - William Corona Pilgrim and Annapaola Martello (Marvel, January 9)
I’ve talked about this comic multiple times in my pull list columns, but I wanted to give it a quick shout out if you were waiting for it in trade. Now, this run is just two issues long, which makes the $16 price tag ludicrous, but I think it’s worth reading them before the movie’s release because it’s sort of an introduction to the character in the MCU. (I’m not saying that Marvel will release just these two issues for $16, but that the company will probably cram a bunch of random Black Panther issues that you don’t really want into this trade for padding.) But if you’ve been waiting for this in trade, here’s your chance to read it.
Anxiety is Really Strange - Steve Haines and Sophie Standing (Singing Dragon, January 18)
Okay, so it’s not exactly sci-fi or fantasy, but it’s a sentiment that many of us who identify as introverts, geeks, and/or bookworms can sympathize with. This short comic dives into the science behind anxiety — why do we feel anxious? But more importantly, what can we do about it? I am all for the idea that understanding a thing helps you cope with it, plus I love complex scientific and medical ideas presented in comic book form, so you can bet I have my eye on what looks to be an excellent, informative read.
Giant Days: Not on the Test Edition, Vol. 2 - John Allison, Lissa Tremain, Max Sarin, and Liz Fleming (BOOM! Studios, January 23)
This is an oversized hardcover from BOOM!, and I have to say I love this format. I have one of their editions of Lumberjanes in this format. Basically, they take multiple trades’ worth of comics and put it into a gorgeous hardcover, rather than a paperback. Now if you haven’t read Giant Days, you’re missing out on one of the funniest, most enjoyable comics currently being published — I often describe it as Lumberjanes, but set in college and featuring three roommates, Esther, Susan, and Daisy.
She-Hulk, Vol. 2: Let Them Eat Cake - Mariko Tamaki and Georges Duarte (Marvel, January 23)
Another female-led comic, another cancellation. She-Hulk is also coming to an end in March, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pick it up. Sometimes, as hard as it is to let go of comics, it’s nice for newer readers to have a definite beginning and an end to a run when wading into a messy shared universe that seems infinite. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s also nice to look on the bright side. This trade features a guest appearance from Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat, who was the star of Kate Leth and Brittney Williams’ wonderful series.
Sailor Moon: Eternal Edition, Vol. 1 - Naoko Takeuchi (Kodansha Comics, January 30)
If you, like me, have never read the classic manga that defined the magical girl genre in the US, now’s your (my?) chance. Publisher Kodansha Comics is rereleasing this comic in an extra-large edition with gorgeous new covers. The full release will be 10 volumes (each individual volume is longer than previously published editions). It’s safe to say that this will be a hit with U.S. audiences, as long-time fans of the series get the chance to own a beautiful new edition and first-time readers have the opportunity to finally dive into the amazing story of Usagi learning to stand up for her friends as a Sailor Moon magical girl.