The Year's Best Graphic Novels
If there’s one thing the best of this year’s excellent crop of graphic novels have in common, it’s the way stunning visuals and illustrations tell stories of seemingly intimate scope that resonate far beyond the confines of their subject matter. Whether comic, tragic, or mundane in nature, they all move backward and forward in their vision of life’s many mysteries. Ahead, ead on for our 8 favorites.
Boundless by Jillian Tamaki
Cartoonist Tamaki (This One Summer) dazzles with her impressive range in this collection, marrying each short story to a different artistic style. Whether she’s writing and drawing about the pitfalls of technology or ruminating on nostalgia, her work is lush, vibrant, and packed with emotion. Get it here.
Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke
This startling graphic memoir, borne out of its author’s experience at her uncle’s funeral in an abandoned mining town, journeys across the country in its search for what people leave behind. The black-and-white illustrations give Imagine Wanting Only This a timeless feel, confronting the past as well as our present state of being. Buy it here.
Hostage by Guy Delisle
This harrowing, claustrophobic creation from Guy Delisle recounts the experience of Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André, who was kidnapped and transported by armed men to a random destination in the Caucasus region. The visuals are alternately meditative, probing, and beautiful. Get it here.
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
Timely and poignant, Bui’s examination of new motherhood offers insight into her parents’ immigration experience. Get it here.
The Arab of the Future 2 by Riad Sattouf
Sattouf picks up where his successful 2015 graphic memoir left off in 1984. Now settled in Syria after an unstable early childhood, he and his family must learn to live amid a terrifying regime. A stirring, satisfying sequel. Buy it here.
Everything Is Flammable by Gabrielle Bell
The acclaimed Gabrielle Bell returned this year with Everything Is Flammable, a year-spanning chronicle of how she helped her mother build a new home atop the ashes of the one that burned down. Sharp, haunting, and profoundly moving.
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris
Who killed Anka Silverberg? What could have been the central question in any other piece of storytelling just becomes one of the many threads Emil Ferris deftly weaves together to create her fully realized debut graphic novel, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. The result is a piece of work that is as gripping as it is emotional — and we’re grateful that the next volume is only months away.
Going Into Town by Roz Chast
Roz Chast’s Going Into Town is a gorgeous graphic memoir fashioned as a deeply personal love letter to New York. Her cartoons paint a bustling picture of Manhattan in all of its machinations, interweaving moving anecdotes with guidebook-like details of the city’s many treasures, from restaurants and subways to museums and theaters. Buy it here.