The number of amazing trades and graphic novels that are releasing in July is, quite simply, overwhelming.
Rather than yammering about summer reading and the weather, I'm going to get right to it, because I've got an extra-long list to give you this month. (But really, I love thinking of the summer as unbroken reading time, even though in reality it means I'm usually too busy traveling to actually have time to sit down with anything. Oh, summer.)
Persia Blues (The Complete Set) - Dara Naraghi and Brent Bowman (NBM, July 1)
If you haven't yet read Persia Blues, now's your chance; it's being rereleased in a special complete set. This two-volume graphic novel about a young Iranian woman who wants to express herself among the strict conventions of Iranian life, juxtaposed against a sword-wielding fighter with mystical powers, is a must-read for fans of the medium. Naraghi sprinkles mystery throughout the narrative as these two appear to be the same woman, drawing readers in completely to her tale.
Be Your Own Backing Band: Comics About Music - Liz Prince (Silver Sprocket, July 1)
I'm a huge fan of Liz Prince's graphic memoir Tomboy, which is about defying gender norms and expectations, so I'm definitely interested in this collection. It's a series of autobiographical comics told through the lens of punk rock and ... that's all I know, but it's all I need to know.
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, Vol. 1 - Kieron Gillen, Kev Walker, Mark Deering and Antonio Fabela (Marvel, July 3)
My eternal frustration with Star Wars comics is a lack of ladies on the creative teams. Doctor Aphra is a great character, created by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca during their Darth Vader run. Happily, though, Gillen is great at writing ladies, and I'm looking forward to catching up on Aphra's adventures in this new series.
Giant Days: Not on the Test Edition, Vol. 1 - John Allison, Lissa Tremain, Max Sarin and Whitney Cogar (BOOM! Studios, July 11)
"Wait, Giant Days already had a Volume 1 release," you might be thinking, and you'd be correct. But if you haven't picked up this series yet, this deluxe hardcover edition, at over 250 pages, should definitely be on your radar. This collects the first two trade paperbacks of this awesome series about three young women in college and the antics they get up to, but it also goes to some deeper, darker places. I absolutely love it.
Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood - Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Image Comics, July 11)
Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda's excellent brutal fantasy series has its second volume releasing next month. I've only read Volume 1 of this series, but I certainly do love the vivid and dark world that Liu and Takeda have created. If you love expansive worldbuilding with intricate art and a whole host of lady characters, you should be reading this series.
Dept. H, Vol. 2: After the Flood - Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt (Dark Horse Comics, July 18)
I've read a couple of volumes of Matt Kindt's Mind MGMT, and let me tell you, his books are messed up. This comic, which I haven't yet picked up, focuses on a locked-room murder mystery under the ocean and an investigator, Mia, who needs to figure out what happened before the crime scene is lost to the ocean. I love a good twisty mystery, and Matt Kindt knows how to deliver.
The Wicked + The Divine, Book Two - Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson and Clayton Cowles (Image Comics, July 18)
WicDiv may be the most stylistically brilliant comic being published right now, which makes it perfect for the deluxe hardcover oversized format (it collects issues 12-22). It's so lush and beautiful, with Matt Wilson's incredible colors, with the story being a punk rock drama of gods and men. This one's worth the splurge.
She-Hulk, Vol. 1: Deconstructed - Mariko Tamaki, Nico Leon (Marvel, July 25)
I haven't read any of Mariko Tamaki's run on She-Hulk yet, but I'm really excited to dive into this. I loved the Soule/Pallido run on the character, which turned Jennifer's story into a courtroom legal thriller. I'm eager to see what Tamaki does with the character now that Civil War II (ugh) is done.
Midnighter and Apollo - Steve Orlando, Fernando Blanco and Romulo Fajardo, Jr. (DC Comics, July 25)
Steve Orlando did excellent work on his Midnighter run, and he got the chance to pick up where that story left off with Midnighter and Apollo. These men are by no means perfect (which is what makes them appealing), but telling the superhero story of a gay couple is important — and what's more, the narrative is just really good.
Gotham Academy, Second Semester, Vol. 1 - Brenden Fletcher, Becky Cloonan, Karl Kerschl and Adam Archer (DC Comics, July 25)
I adore the first, pre-Rebirth run of Gotham Academy, so I'm thrilled they brought it back for another turn in Second Semester, complete with the original creative dream team. This series follows Olive Silverlock, Maps Mizoguchi and their gang as they attend school at Gotham Academy. Of course, hijinx ensue (in a Gothic, creepy setting, which I love).
The Backstagers, Vol. 1 - James Tynion IV, Rian Syngh, and Walter Baiamonte (BOOM! Studios, July 25)
Look, I haven't read The Backstagers (yet), but a friend I trust told me that this series is the counterpoint to so much of the toxic masculinity that pervades comics. I'm definitely interested in that. It's about a boy who transfers into an all-boys private school and he makes lifelong friends and they find a magical world and ... yeah. HERE FOR IT.
Southern Cross, Vol. 2 - Becky Cloonan, Andy Belanger and Lee Loughridge (Image Comics, July 25)
Yep, Becky Cloonan has two volumes of two different series releasing on the same day, and they're both worth picking up! I loved the first volume of this ghost story set in space, but production delays meant I lost track of this series. I'm eager to get caught up.