Every time I write one of these introductions, it seems like I’m expressing surprise at how quickly time has gone, and here I am about to do it again. How is it already the end of the year? The year 2017 has simultaneously crawled by (how are the midterm elections not here yet?) and flown by so fast. It hasn’t been an easy year, especially in terms of the political and social climate of the U.S., but it’s almost over.
Usually, the holidays for me means zero relaxing or reading time, between gathering presents, making reservations to travel, and cramming in as much work as I can before end-of-the-year deadlines. This year, it’s different. We didn’t travel for Thanksgiving, and we aren’t traveling for Christmas. What’s more, we may not be hosting for the December holidays as well, which means I’ll be able to actually sit down and read and catch up. While I love seeing family over the holidays, there’s something so luxurious about being on your own and choosing how to spend your time. You can bet I’ll spend quite a bit of it reading, with all the great titles that are on this list.
Kim and Kim, Vol. 2: Love Is a Battlefield - Magdalene Visaggio, Eva Cabrera, Claudia Aguirre, Zakk Saam, and Katy Rex (December 26, Black Mask Studios)
I don’t have enough good things to say about the first volume of Kim and Kim, the story of two punk rock intergalactic bounty hunters, so I’m really excited that the second trade is releasing in December. It picks up three years after the events of the first four issues. It also features the return of one of the Kims’ ex-girlfriends, so you can bet that they’ll find themselves in as big a mess as ever in this series.
Black AF: America’s Sweetheart - Kwanza Osajyefo, Jennifer Johnson, and Sho Murase (December 12, Black Mask Studios)
Eli Franklin lives in a world where black people — and only black people — have superpowers. And of these superpowered people, Eli (who lives in rural Montana), is the most powerful of them all. Even though she’s just 15, Eli takes on the moniker Good Girl, with the goal of defeating evil and helping people who need it. But when things get beyond Eli’s control, will she be able to fight for what’s right? It’s a fascinating premise, and I’m eager to see how it’s executed in this graphic novel.
Brave Chef Brianna - Sam Sykes and Selina Espiritu (December 12, BOOM! Studios)
I’ve been loving the recent glut (pun intended) of cooking comics, and this one is no exception. Brave Chef Brianna is about a young chef named Brianna who wants to start her own restaurant. She decides to start her own restaurant, after a challenge from her sick father, but there’s just one problem: The only place she can afford to set up shop is in Monster City. Will Brianna be able to fulfill her dreams? This comic looks adorable, and I’m eager to pick up the collected series.
Black Bolt, Vol. 1: Hard Time - Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward (December 19, Marvel)
I was incredibly excited when I first heard about the creative team behind Black Bolt, a new Marvel comic about the king of the Inhumans. Both Ahmed and Ward are incredible at what they do, and this series hasn’t disappointed. This trade collects the first six issues of the series, which begins with Black Bolt imprisoned by a mysterious jailer. Why is he in prison, and what for? You’ll have to read the trade to find out.
Descender: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1 - Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen (December 19, Image Comics)
Descender, which features a boy robot and his dog living in a universe where artificial beings have been outlawed, is one of the best and most intriguing sci-fi comics currently being written (and Dustin Nguyen’s art is unmatched). Now fans of the series (or those who are picking it up for the first time) can pick up an oversized deluxe hardcover that features the first 16 issues of the series, equivalent to the first three trades. It’s a great gift idea for comics fans and newbies alike.
One Week Friends, Vol. 1 - Matcha Hazuki (December 19, Yen Press)
I don’t know a lot about this adorable manga, though the little I do know about it makes me want to pick it up immediately. It features a boy named Yuki Hase who sees that one of his fellow high schoolers, Kaori Fujimiya, doesn’t have any friends. He resolves to change that for her, but he discovers that the reason no one reaches out to Kaori is that she loses her memory at the beginning of each week. It sounds charming and bittersweet, which is right up my alley (plus what a great cover!).
Bitch Planet, Triple Feature, Vol. 1 (December 19, Image Comics)
If you’ve missed Bitch Planet, the groundbreaking series from Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine de Landro set in a future in which women are imprisoned for being “non-compliant,” you aren’t alone. It’s been plagued by delays (the last issue released in April, and it was supposed to be back in August). In the meantime, Bitch Planet: Triple Feature has been filling the void, featuring stories set in the Bitch Planet universe by guest writers and artists. Now the 15 stories have been collected into one book, and you can bet it’s worth picking up!
Lady Killer 2 - Joelle Jones, Michelle Madsen, and Laura Allred (December 26, Dark Horse Comics)
I absolutely loved the first run of Lady Killer by Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich and was a little bit heartbroken that it was solicited as a limited series. But now, it’s back with a second volume! This story collects the five issues of the sequel, which sees Josie Schuller and her family relocate to Cocoa Beach. Josie may look like the perfect 1950s housewife, but she must continue to balance her life with her husband and kids and her secret identity as a deadly assassin.
Faith and the Future Force - Jody Houser, Kano, and Stephen Segovia (December 6, Valiant Comics)
While Faith has become an incredibly popular character, a lot of people are as-yet unaware that the company that publishes her superhero comic, Valiant Comics, has its own shared universe (like Marvel and DC Comics). This series is meant to take fans of Faith’s series and introduce them to the other characters in Valiant’s comics with a limited event series. It’s a smart idea, and it’s wonderful to see Faith leading not just her own comic, but the larger Valiant universe as well.