These graphic novels have been chosen because they were all released in the past 6 months and equally combine qualities of well-crafted concepts and remarkable artwork to create solid visual narratives. They aren’t the only great graphic novels that have been released in recent months, but they are notable, and worth considering as near-misses if they haven’t appeared on your radar during release announcements. None of them happen to be standard superhero stories, but that’s not an essential judgment on superhero comics. With high-quality genre comics on the rise, there’s more to choose from, and these represent a wide range of story types that might appeal to omnivorous readers who are looking for new fare to chew on. These choices appear in alphabetical order to clarify that there’s not a differentiation or ranking involved. They are so varied in content and style that it would be pretty groundless to try to decide whether one scores more points than another for quality. They are all quality; that’s why you don’t want to miss out on them.
Firstly, CITY IN THE DESERT by Moro Rogers from Archaia, subtitled, “The Monster Problem”: the presence of a subtitle suggests that there will be a series, and Archaia has confirmed that intention, which is a great thing. This rather gorgeously designed little hardcover has raised and imprinted patterns on the surface and a limited color palette that accents the sinuous brush-work of the inks. It tells the tale of two monster hunters in a remote land uncovering secrets that may prove too dangerous for them, but the real stars of the narrative are the monsters so playfully and sympathetically evoked by Rogers. It’s a book that casts a spell, reveling in the exotic in many senses, and it will charm from cover to cover.