Creators young and old sent green shoots up through desiccated genres — everything from memoir to textbook to all-ages fantasy burst with talent this year. Kids continued to storm bookstores, libraries, and specialty comic shops for gems like Ru Xu’s NewsPrints and Victoria Jamieson’s All’s Faire in Middle School. Superhero aficionados enjoyed thoughtful beat-em-ups courtesy of Christopher Priest and Carlo Pagulayan’s Deathstroke. Nonfiction readers were stirred by Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do and Roz Chast’s Going Into Town.
Winnowing down this embarrassment of riches is no small feat — but the people demand their end-of-the-year lists, and I am here to provide.That it was such a difficult task is a testimony to the talent currently deluging the industry, and a tantalizing look at what’s coming next.
SUPERGIRL: BEING SUPER BY MARIKO TAMAKI AND JOËLLE JONES
Writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Joëlle Jones take on the Maid of Might with a sensitivity and wryness that makes their take on her origin story one of the strongest entries in the character’s history. This is a book that glories in quotidian detail — one of the most memorable sequences is of Kara and a friend reminiscing over diner food — because, crucially, this is a book that understands how vivid that sort of minutiae is to a teenager. Though the chasm between Kara’s normal life and her not-so-normal powers yawns ever wider over the course of four issues, Tamaki and Jones never forget that she is still a kid with chores, school, and friends to text. It is, to risk a cheesy joke, a wonderfully down-to-earth tale of the girl inside the super.