It’s the time of year for the Best Comics of 2021 lists to be raging. In days past someone (Jamie Coville?) would do an aggregate of all the “best of” lists so make a MEGA best of lists. I’m not going to do that but just eyeballing the (not at all complete) list of lists below, a few popular picks: The Secret of My Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel, Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall and Hugo Martínez, The Many Deaths of Laila Starr by Ram V and Filipe Andrade, Dept. of Truth by James Tynion IV and Martin Simmonds, Cyclopedia Exotica by Aminder Dhaliwal, Tunnels by Rutu Modan and Monsters by Barry Windsor Smith showed up on many lists — but so did dozens of other books. And barely any manga or webcomics were mentioned; please leave any more lists in the comments!
• PW’s 2021 Graphic Novel Critics Poll was won by Bechdel’s The Secret of My Superhuman Strength
“Bechdel cleverly hides great truths within light-hearted humor about struggles with her own physical and mental self-improvement,” writes critic John DiBello, adding that “in this age of sheltering in place,” the memoir’s focus on a sense of community and the escape found in fitness, provides readers a sense of “true joy and inspiration.” PW reviews editor Meg Lemke writes: “Bechdel’s impeccable artwork adroitly captures facial expression as easily as the twists of a bike ride mapped across a double-page spread.” Critic Shaenon Garrity adds that Bechdel “turns her ruthlessly intelligent gaze on herself, using physical fitness as an entry point to explore the fundamental challenges of being alive.” And, says critic Glen Downey, “Her manic commitment to exercise fads is presented with the warmth and humility that make us love Bechdel.”
• The Washington Post by Michael Cavna and David Bettencourt
• The New York Times Best Graphic Novels of 2021 from Hilary Chute and Ed Park
• The Irish Times by Seamas O’Reilly
• The Herald of Scotland by Teddy Jamieson
• Forbes by Rob Salkowitz
• Variety by Graeme McMillan
• Polygon by Susana Polo, Chloe Maveal, Katie Schenkel, and Ritesh Babu
• GamesRadar+ by Chris Arrant
• Screen Rant by Liam McGuire
• The GWW
• Nerdist by Rosie Knight
• And a list from Walden Pond Books
Did we miss a book or comics? Did we miss a list? Let us know in the comments!