February is probably best known for Valentine's Day (though I think hereafter it will be best known for Black Panther, but that's an argument for another day). It's fitting, then, that quite a few of the graphic novels and trades from Fangrrls' recommendations list this month revolve around love, romance, and finding that perfect happy ending. After all, when things are difficult in the world around us, it's really nice to escape into a story where you know things will end well.
If that's not your jam, don't worry. There's also dark sci-fi, punk rock science, magical doorways, and more. It's a good month for comics, especially when it comes to diverse stories penned by ladies. You're sure to find something on here that intrigues you.
Gunnerkrigg Court, Vol. 6: Dissolve - Thomas Siddell (February 6)
Gunnerkrigg Court is an acclaimed (and long-running) webcomic that’s being collected into book form for the first time. I’ve read the first two volumes or so, and I can tell you that it’s excellent. It features Antimony Carver, who’s just begun attending a weird school, and there are secrets everywhere. The one thing she knows is that she’s not supposed to leave the grounds of the school and go into the woods. It’s a fantastic mix of sci-fi and fantasy, with a real gothic feel.
Divinity: The Complete Trilogy Deluxe Edition - Matt Kindt, Jeff Lemire, Joe Harris, et al. (February 6)
Whenever anyone asks me for a good sci-fi comic recommendation, Divinity is always the first one that jumps to mind. There is plenty of amazing sci-fi out there, of course, but as a space history nerd, I love the premise of this: the Soviet Union, desperate to win the Space Race, sends a cosmonaut on a daring deep space mission, and he comes back changed. This deluxe hardcover gathers the three volumes of the series, and trust me. It’s worth reading.
The Backstagers, Vol. 2 - James Tynion IV, Rian Sygh, and Veronica Fish (February 13)
I’ve heard so many great things about The Backstagers, which is about a group of kids at an all-boys school who are outcasts. And as outcasts do, they band together and discover a door to a magic world. I haven’t caught up on the first trade of this, so I can’t believe the second one is already here — it’s the perfect chance to dive into this story that many people I trust have told me has a lot of heart.
The Prince and the Dressmaker - Jen Wang (February 13)
This adorable comic is the best kind of fairy tale. Prince Sebastian is supposed to be consumed with finding a wife, but he has a secret: He loves wearing dresses and going out on the town at night in the persona of Lady Crystallia. He’s terrified as to what might happen if anyone discovers who he really is. But when Sebastian meets Frances, a brilliant fashion designer, he finds someone he can share his true self with. It’s hard to overstate just how wonderful this graphic novel is, and I hope everyone will pick it up.
The Secret Loves of Geeks - Various Writers and Artists (February 13)
If you read the anthology The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, you probably loved it as much as I did. Now, there’s a follow up that continues the awesome mix of comics and prose and centering stories of love while also celebrating the diversity that is present in our world. Anthologies are a great way to find new-to-you writers and artists; they make a great jumping off point to explore a creator’s work. With big names such as Margaret Atwood, Gabby Rivera, and Sana Takeda attached to this anthology, it looks like The Secret Loves of Geeks is no exception.
Bingo Love - Tee Franklin, Jenn St. Onge, and Joy San (February 20)
Tee Franklin is well-known within the comics industry for being a promoter of diverse voices in comics. She’s also the founder of #BlackComicsMonth, so you can bet when Image announced they were publishing her graphic novel (after a successful Kickstarter), a lot of people paid attention. This story features two women who meet in 1963 and fall in love. They’re forced apart by their families, but their love endures, and when they find each other decades later, their love story might finally have a chance.
Quantum Teens Are a Go, Vol. 1 - Magdalene Visaggio, Eryk Donovan, and Claudia Aguirre (February 27)
I’m a huge fan of Magdalene Visaggio’s Kim & Kim, so I am thrilled that her comic Quantum Teens Are a Go is finally available in trade. It’s about punk rock mad science kids who want to build a time machine. I’m a huge fan of Claudia Aguirre’s color work, and nowhere is it more vibrant than in this series. Check out the adventures of Nat and Sumesh, and if you like what you see, make sure you pick up Kim & Kim (intergalactic punk rock bounty hunters!) as well.