As is tradition, Publishers Weekly has kicked off the end-of-year Best Books lists (which I contributed to as the PW Graphic Novels Review Editor). Five comics were selected for the 2017 list:
Boundless, Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly)
Sex Fantasy, Sophia Foster-Dimino (Koyama)
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, Nagata Kabi (Seven Seas)
The Hunting Accident: A True Story of Crime and Poetry, David Carlson, illus. by Landis Blair (First Second)
In addition, Andrea Tsurumi’s Accident (not quite a comic, but Tsurumi has a strong background as a cartoonist), A Different Pond written by Bao Phi and illustrated by Thi Bui (The Best We Could Do), The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way) by Patrick McDonnell and Mama Lion Wins the Race
by Jon J Muth made the Best PIcture Books list, and proper graphic novels also on the kids lists include All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson, Real Friends
by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham and (duh) Spinning by Tillie Walden.
This is the most female-dominated list in a while. (Here’s the 2016 picks.)
The big graphic novels of the year have gradually shifted away from literary type books by established cartoonists (Asterios Polyp springs to mind) to memoir and short story collections this year. And many threads. Two deal with crime in Chicago (the Ferris book and The Hunting Accident), two with the ambiguous swirls of real life (Tamaki and Foster Dimino.) I think Kabi’s book is the first manga to make the list in a while.
You never know what the big winner of the year will be, but I’m guessing that with March out of the way, 2017 will come down to Spinning and My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, two memoirs of queer girls navigating life.
Also, comics, what a time, eh?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.