Put down your trashy romance novels and whatever books Oprah told you to read, because this summer, there are plenty of graphic novels to read instead!
From daring original works to new collections of old favorites, from hardcovers (HC) to paperbacks (TP), there are drool-worthy new editions hitting the shelves of your local comic book stores every single Wednesday. With so many exciting new worlds to bring along with you on your summertime excursions, it can be difficult to know where to begin. That’s why I’ve used my many years of experience behind the comic-shop counter to compile this list of 12 great new graphic novels and comic collections releasing in June that showcase the latest and greatest the medium has to offer.
This month sees fan-favorite novelists make their graphic debuts, legendary creators telling new stories, continuations of smash-hit series, and much more! Check out these great books, and let us know what you’re looking forward to in the comments!
BRANDON SANDERSON’S WHITE SAND, VOL. 1 HC
(By Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin & Julius Gopez. June 29 from Dynamite)
Brandon Sanderson, the best-selling author of both the Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive series of novels, is inviting readers to explore a brand-new world with him this June in the pages of White Sand. An unpublished novel set in his “Cosmere” universe, the graphic novel version will be three volumes total and will be adapted by writer Rik Hoskin (Mercy Thompson) and artist Julius Gopez (Red Hood and the Outlaws).
White Sand stars Kenton, the runt in a magic-wielding order known as the Sand Masters, who use their body’s water to fuel their sand-manipulating sorcery, and of whom he may be the sole survivor. Kenton’s home is the strange, unturning planet Taldain—more specifically the arid, desert half of it that is perpetually daytime. The graphic novel will blend the meticulous detailed magical lore and deep world-building that the author has become so known for into an exciting new experience for fantasy fans.
OUTCAST, VOL. 3: THIS LITTLE LIGHT TP
(By Robert Kirkman & Paul Azaceta. June 15 from Image)
I hate to be the “the TV show is here so read the book” guy, but sometimes it’s true! The first episode of Outcast will be airing on Cinemax on June 3, and I can tell you from personal experience, it’s going to leave you wanting more. I got a chance to catch the first episode (which you can watch now) at Image Expo in Seattle at the beginning of April, loved it, and have been dying to catch up on the comics ever since!
Outcast combines the terrifying talents of The Walking Dead writer Robert Kirkman with the surreal, shadow-drenched artwork of Paul Azaceta and the emotionally vibrant colors of Elizabeth Breitweiser to create one of the most unique supernatural horror aesthetics that comics have to offer. This Little Light collects issues #13-18 of the ongoing series, as Kyle Barnes—our eternally demon-plagued protagonist—faces difficult exorcisms and even more difficult truths. Catch up with the series now before it’s exorcised from bookstores everywhere.
SHADOWMAN BY GARTH ENNIS AND ASHLEY WOOD TP
(By Garth Ennis, Paul Jenkins, Ashley Wood & Dennis Calero. June 29 from Valiant)
Writer Garth Ennis is enjoying a resurgence in popularity thanks in part to the new Preacher television show on AMC, so this new collection of the writer’s work reimagining Valiant’s Shadowman character comes at the perfect time. He was joined by acclaimed Zombies vs Robots artist Ashley Wood on these issues, who was at an early point in his career, as was Ennis, who in 1997 was in the midst of seminal works like Preacher and Hitman. They revamped the character by putting leaning more heavily into his horror elements, and it was popular enough that it inspired the 1999 video game and its sequel.
In this volume, Jack Boniface is thrust into the role of Shadowman — Earth’s protector against the Deadside — and is immediately tasked with hunting down a gang of ruthless runaways from the deadly dimension and protecting New Orleans from their wrath. Valiant Entertainment has done interesting work with Shadowman in recent years — most recently giving him a redesign and bringing him back in the most recent arc of Ninjak — but if you want to read one of the voodoo-powered hero’s early classics, this is a great place to start.
DC SUPERHERO GIRLS, VOL. 1: FINALS CRISIS TP
(By Shea Fontana & Yancey Labat. June 29 from DC)
Warner Bros. has given a huge push to the ladies of the DCU with their Super Hero Girls line across toys, animation, books, toys, and now, following the release of the Free Comic Book Day edition, they are heading to graphic novels too! The unexpectedly clever stories combine superhero adventure with high school drama, as Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and the rest of the gang try to beat villains and ace finals. An impressively wide swath of the DC Universe’s characters are covered in the cast and their classmates and teachers. My personal favorite inclusions from the FCBD issue were Amanda Waller and Gorilla Grodd as principal and vice principal, Crazy Quilt teaching super-fashion, and Beast Boy and Animal Man chatting in the hallway. Anyone looking for a great all-ages read to share with their kids this month should check this book out.
FIGHT CLUB 2 HC
(By Chuck Palahniuk & Cameron Stewart. June 15 from Dark Horse)
Do the rules of Fight Club apply to Fight Club 2? I’m going to go ahead and talk about it anyway.
Chuck Palahniuk, the critically acclaimed novelist behind Invisible Monsters, Choke, and of course, Fight Club, made his comic book writing debut last year in explosively high-profile fashion, with the sequel to the original Fight Club novel. He’s joined on this project by Cameron Stewart, a chameleon of an artist who has proven himself on a variety of projects from Batman to Captain Marvel to war stories like The Other Side and more abstract stories like his Eisner-winning Sin Titulo. He puts all of those cartooning and storytelling skills — and a few new tricks — to elegant and effective use in this book, which features Tyler Durden attempting to re-assert himself in the life of Sebastian, ten years after the events of the book. Listen to that voice in your head telling you to read this comic.
DARK NIGHT: A TRUE BATMAN STORY HC
(By Paul Dini & Eduardo Risso. June 15 from Vertigo)
Having won both Emmys and Eisners for his work writing Batman in cartoons and comic books, there are few writers more heavily associated with Batman than Paul Dini. But this story isn’t another one about Batman, this one is about Dini himself.
There was no Batman around to save the writer when he was mugged and assaulted by two men in 1993. Now Dini is revisiting the traumatic event that shattered both his spirit and his skull in graphic novel form, hauntingly illustrated by Eduardo Risso, the artist behind Vertigo’s crime-epic 100 Bullets, who will use Batman and his rogue gallery as specters that berate and goad him as he pieces himself back together. This would already be a legendary team on a normal Batman comic, but the inspirational autobiographical angle and themes about being your own hero make this a can’t-miss experience.
SPIDER-WOMAN: SHIFTING GEARS, VOL. 1: BABY TALK TP
(By Dennis Hopeless & Javier Rodriguez. June 1 from Marvel)
Many fans were skeptical when the first images of a pregnant Spider-Woman were released, but Dennis Hopeless (Avengers Arena) and Javier Rodriguez (Daredevil) were more than up to the challenge, and turned in what of the most delightful surprises of the All-New, All-Different Marvel relaunch.
Jessica Drew, a.k.a. Spider-Woman, decides to humor her best friend, Captain Marvel, by getting an exam in the hospital wing of the Alpha Flight space station, only to become stranded there. She quickly finds out that the hospital, and some of its patients, are much more than they seem. The story is a witty, charming and amazingly personal salute to the struggle of new mothers. Rodriguez brings Jessica and her fellow alien mothers to life with a zany, retro design sense, unparalleled eye for composition and a dazzling ability to convey movement across a page. If a heartwarming, high-stakes lockdown in an extra-terrestrial maternity ward sounds like a good time to you, then you owe it to yourself to pick up this collection of the first five issues of the current Spider-Woman series.
SAGA, VOL. 6 TP
(By Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples. June 29 from Image)
There is room for all types of comic book fans, no matter tastes, but at this point, if you aren’t reading Saga, it kind of seems like you’re doing comics wrong.
Series creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have continued to rocket over expectations as they’ve racked up award after award for their Shakespearean family drama in space, and they showed no signs of letting off the gas in the most recent volume. Collecting issues 31 through 36 of the ongoing series, this volume continues the story of Hazel’s tumultuous childhood as a high-value target of galactic import, as well as her parents Alana and Marko’s search for her, and features reunions, tragedies and shocks aplenty. Saga is notorious for its ability to tug on heartstrings, and this volume is no exception. Weird, wonderful, and the only comic on this list featuring a baby seal swinging around a big battle axe, Saga is required reading.
NEIL GAIMAN'S HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES HC
(By Neil Gaiman, Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon. June 15 from Dark Horse)
I have been a fan of How to Talk to Girls at Parties ever since I first read it in Neil Gaiman’s short story collection Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders, so I was happy to hear when a live-action film adaptation began filming in November. But not as happy as I was about a month later when Dark Horse announced the comic version.
The story centers around a pair of teenage boys who go to a party, intent on talking to girls, and strike up a conversation with a trio that’s not just out their league, but out of their world. Adapting the short story into a graphic novel is the unstoppable artistic duo behind Casanova, Daytripper (which is on the revered list of “comics that have made me cry” for those wondering), and recent Eisner-nominee Two Brothers, Gabriel Bá & Fábio Moon. The pair will be bringing their delicate, character-focused, and colorfully emotional artwork to this story of young love, teenage insecurity and music. Prepare to be charmed, enchanted, and starstruck by this adaptation of the Hugo-nominated short story.
THE DISCIPLES, VOL. 1 TP
(By Steve Niles & Chris Mitten. June 29 from Black Mask Studios)
Hop aboard the Starship Venture with horror icon Steve Niles (30 Days of Night), who is taking his trademark terror to the stars at his daring young publishing company, Black Mask Studios. Niles is joined by his frequent Criminal Macabre collaborator Christopher Mitten to tell the tale of a small squad of hired guns on a rescue mission to Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, only to find it deserted—and haunted—upon their arrival. Niles straps readers in for a pulse-pounding ride through a unique, imaginative but eerily believable future solar system plagued by zealotry and class disparity, carefully designed by Christopher Mitten’s rough, sparse line. With space-cults, ghosts, and a top-notch creative team, The Disciples is a fascinating, gritty sci-fi horror and a great chance to check out a bold new publisher.
MYTHIC, VOL. 1 TP
(By Phil Hester & John McCrea. June 22 from Image)
If you took American Gods, Men in Black, and The Boys and tossed them all in a blender, they’d come out as delicious smoothie that tastes a lot like Mythic. In this world — created by veteran creative team Phil Hester (The Darkness) and John McCrea (Hitman)—science is a lie, and magic is really what keeps the world spinning, and the people tasked with making sure the magic doesn’t get out of line are the team at Mythic Lore Services. Nate is a former cellphone repairman and new recruit, and he joins a shaman and his monstrous brother, an ancient oracle, a giant baby, the god of love, a two-eyed cyclops, and more on a series of increasingly urgent and wacky missions to prevent magical disaster. Mythic is packed with wild ideas, fantastic artwork, giant monsters, and a dark, razor-sharp sense of humor that should earn it a place on your shelf.
THE VISION, VOL. 1: LITTLE WORSE THAN A MAN TP
(By Tom King & Gabriel Hernandez Walta. June 29 from Marvel)
I wasn’t sure what to expect from an ongoing series about the Avengers’ favorite android, but I don’t think anyone expected what we got. Thanks to the talents of new Batman writer Tom King and former Magneto artist Gabriel Hernandez Walta, The Vision is the most ambitious, compelling and existentially terrifying book that Marvel has published in a long time.
The series sees an emotionally-distant (more than normal) Vision move to Washington, D.C. to be the Avengers liaison to the White House and start a family. And by “start” I of course mean “build and program.” As the Vision tries to acclimate to his newly-created wife and kids, they struggle to relate to other humans in their neighborhood and at school. The series is a chilling, poetic, and fascinating examination of what it means to be human that will appeal not just to superhero readers, but also to sci-fi fans and anyone who enjoys masterfully-executed comic books.