If you’re looking for the best new comics of 2018, we’re here for you. Throughout the year, we’re keeping a regularly updated list of recommended new releases, including both graphic novels and monthly issues.
While there will be a few superhero titles on this list, we plan to cover as many genres as possible. Starting with January, we’ve got supernatural crime fiction, X-Men romance, and DC‘s latest experiment with adult reboots of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
Best new comics of 2018: January
Abbott (Boom! Studios)
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sami Kivelä
The noir crime genre can sometimes invite lazy writing. Everyone knows the rules and tropes, which is how we end up with lackluster retreads like Netflix‘s Altered Carbon. Abbott doesn’t fall into that trap. Its urban crime concept relies on familiar ideas—a chainsmoking maverick protagonist, incompetent cops, a mysterious tragic backstory—yet still feels fresh. That’s partly because it focuses on a black woman in a genre dominated by white guys, and partly because it’s just very well-written. The dialogue is full of personality, and issue #1 includes enough material that you get a solid idea of Abbott’s life. It feels much longer than 24 pages, arriving with an atmospheric John Coltrane soundtrack and a color palette reminiscent of a grainy 1970s crime movie.
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Mike Feehan
DC found an unexpected hit with its Flintstones reboot in 2016, reimagining the classic cartoon as a political satire about capitalism and suburban life in post-war America. (No, we’re not joking, and yes, it’s very good.) Snagglepuss is the follow-up from writer Mark Russell, shifting from allegory to straightforward historical drama.
In the original Hanna-Barbera cartoon, Snagglepuss was a pink mountain lion known for the catchphrase “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” The Snagglepuss Chronicles takes the cartoon’s camp subtext and transforms Snagglepuss into a closeted gay playwright in the McCarthy era. Issue #1 is a promising start, introducing a Bojack Horseman-esque world where humans and cartoon animals live side-by-side. While not quite as punchy as The Flintstones (yet), it’s a bold idea, telling a story that might not find the same readership if it wasn’t about a cartoon lion.
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Rogue & Gambit (Marvel)
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Pere Perez
A rare canonical nod to Marvel’s very enthusiastic shipping fandom.
Rogue and Gambit have a long history as an on-again/off-again couple, although you don’t need the backstory to read this new miniseries. It’s a rom-com adventure story, and in the best possible way, it has a lot in common with fanfic. The two ex-lovers (X-lovers?) are ordered to go undercover as a couple, investigating missing mutants at a romantic tropical retreat.
As ever, Gambit is an acquired taste. He straddles the line between sleazy and attractive, and this story is geared towards relationship drama over action scenes. In other words, exactly the kind of content that leads some (usually male) Marvel fans to view Gambit with derision. But if you’re a Rogue/Gambit shipper, this comic is a gift. It’s lighthearted without being totally frothy, tying Rogue and Gambit’s tumultuous relationship into a classic style of X-Men adventure. Read while listening to Carly Rae Jepsen.
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Best new comics of 2018: February
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, we’re looking forward to several romance comics in February: The Prince and the Dressmaker (a cute historical romance about a cross-dressing prince), Bingo Love (a much-hyped graphic novel about two women who fall in love at a 1960s bingo hall), and the anthology Twisted Romance. Elsewhere, we’re curious about DC’s Fantastic Four ripoff The Terrifics, the Stranger Things-looking horror franchise Cult Classic, and Image’s sci-fi gladiator series VS, which marks the return of star Marvel artist Esad Ribić.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance