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The 40 Most Anticipated Comics of 2018

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The 40 Most Anticipated Comics of 2018

Last year, we predicted (hoped? prayed?) that 2017 had more breathtaking comics in store for us than 2016 did—not that that year was too shabby, either. And while the industry as a whole went through some major roughpatches over the last 12 months, 2017 largely delivered on those dreams with breakthroughs like Mister Miracle, Spinning and My Favorite Thing is Monsters. Now 2018 is upon us and we’re already bowled over at the sheer volume of notable releases headed down the pipeline. This list, already overflowing at 40 entries, easily could have swelled to 50 or more and still missed sequential-art gold. Below the jump, you’ll find 40 promising upcoming titles from dozens of creators and over 15 different publishers and imprints—a cross section of the best of the best hitting shelves in January, February, March and beyond. By the time December 2018 rears its frosty head, a few of these books might just make the jump from Most Anticipated to Best of the Year, which means savvy readers will want to start marking release dates on their calendars ASAP or risk missing out on the next big thing in comics.

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Abbott.jpeg Abbott
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Sami Kivelä
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: January 24
Until recently, Saladin Ahmed was best known for his poetry, award-winning speculative fiction work and prolific Twitter feed, but 2017 delivered him a new kind of critical and popular success. Ahmed’s work with Christian Ward on Marvel’s Black Bolt was both serious and surprising, which, given the subject matter he had to work with, wasn’t a guarantee. With the exception of Warren Ellis’s oft-delayed Karnak, it’s been a struggle to make readers take the Inhumans seriously, but Ahmed brought unexpected depth and emotion to Blackagar Boltagon. That skill with characterization and storytelling is the main draw to Abbott, a supernatural crime comic from BOOM! Studios that pairs Ahmed with Sami Kivelä. The story is set in 1970s Detroit and stars a female journalist of color who digs into anti-Black—and potentially magical—crimes long ignored by the police. Kivelä’s work on Black Mask’s Beautiful Canvas shows that he’s got a good handle on action, and it will be exciting to see what Ahmed can do when he’s not restricted by someone else’s rules, free instead to delve into politics and the social divides that people carve out for themselves. Caitlin Rosberg


AllSummerLong.jpg All Summer Long
Writer/Artist: Hope Larson
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: May 1
When it comes to comics for girls and young teens, there’s no such thing as too many. Raina Telgemeier alone has proven just how big the market is for graphic books about girls, and All Summer Long is one of many exciting comics arriving this year that continue to fill that space. Most recently, writer and artist Hope Larson has been at the helm of DC’s Batgirl, filling the massive shoes of previous creative team Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher. Prior to that, Larson adapted Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time into a graphic novel, and both titles have helped to cement her reputation as someone who loves and respects the inner lives of girls and young women. All Summer Long sounds like the best parts of The Baby-Sitters Club and Now and Then, a story full of friendship and growing pains both literal and emotional. Larson’s visual style is accessible and sweet without feeling cloying, and she excels at giving characters a sense of agency and nuance that’s often missing from comics aimed at adults, let alone YA and middle grade fare. All Summer Long sounds like the kind of comic that readers can graduate from into Lumberjanes and then Giant Days, an uninterrupted chain of wonderful stories about growth and friendship. Caitlin Rosberg


AmericanGodsMyAinsel.jpg American Gods: My Ainsel
Writer: P. Craig Russell
Artist: Scott Hampton
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 14
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods made a visually stunning leap to the small screen in 2017, and with it came a perfectly timed—and slightly more faithful—comic adaptation from Dark Horse, written for comics by frequent Gaiman collaborator P. Craig Russell with art by Scott Hampton. Russell knows the pacing and cadence of Gaiman’s myth-weaving, even in a tome as large and loping as American Gods, and Hampton’s realistic figure work drives home the interpersonal drama of the cast while making each act of godhood, whether inspiring or horrifying, stand out from the world around it. American Gods: My Ainsel continues the adaption into a new volume as Shadow and Wednesday leave the House on the Rock. With the TV show’s second season somewhat uncertain following the departure of its showrunners, this return to Dark Horse’s iteration is a welcome one. Steve Foxe


BingoLove.jpg Bingo Love
Writer: Tee Franklin
Artist: Jenn St-Onge
Publisher: Image Comics 
Release Date: February 14
Bingo Love is one of the few books on this list already available to readers—but only those who backed writer/creator Tee Franklin’s massively successful Kickstarter, or purchased it directly at a convention. This February, Image Comics opens wider audiences to the story of Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray, queer women of color who meet in 1963 but are kept apart by family and society until decades later. Franklin has worked her ass off to carve a niche for herself in the all-too-often closed-off comics industry, and Jenn St-Onge’s cartooning perfectly captures the longing and love at the center of the book. Bingo Love, like Moonstruck before it, suggests that Image Comics can compete with BOOM! Studios and independent publishing when it comes to inclusive queer representation. Steve Foxe


BloodborneComic.jpeg Bloodborne
Writer: Ales Kot
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Publisher: Titan Comics
Release Date: February 21
Comics firebrand Ales Kot and Sex artist Piotr Kowalsi both appear twice on this list, in drastically different contexts. Here the Generation Gone writer teams with the impressively prolific Kowalski to adapt the ominous and insanely challenging FromSoftware video game Bloodborne at Titan Comics. Bloodborne (the game) portions out its Lovecraftian lore through small details and haunting design work, not clear narrative storytelling. Bloodborne (the comic) will need to strike a fine balance between matching the game’s vague menace and telling a cohesive tale set in this world. Kot has yet to take a straightforward approach to licensed comics, and Kowalksi has a flair for the psychosexually grotesque, so odds are good that Bloodborne is in good hands. Steve Foxe


Brazen.jpeg Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World
Writer/Artist: Pénélope Bagieu
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: March 7
We swooned overCalifornia Dreamin’, French cartoonist Pénélope Bagieu’s biography of the Mamas & the Papas singer Cass Elliot, and now Bagieu is back with a look at a wider array of influential women throughout history. From Mae Jemison to Josephine Baker to lesser-known role models like Naziq al-Abid, Brazen celebrates the lives and accomplishments of more than two dozen female trailblazers, all rendered in Bagieu’s inventive, impressive cartooning. Brazen may hit shelves in March, but we have a feeling it’ll end up under quite a few trees next December as the ideal gift for the powerful, inspiring women in your life. Steve Foxe


BendisDCProject.jpg Brian Michael Bendis’ First DC Project(s)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: TBA
Publisher: DC Comics 
Release Date: TBA
We’re cheating a bit with this entry, but it’s undeniable that the mystery of Brian Michael Bendis’ first work under his sparkling new DC Comics exclusive contract is one of 2018’s most highly anticipated comics announcements. Bendis recently suffered a nasty infection that delayed his DC start and Marvel finales, but the longtime Marvel architect and co-creator of characters like Jessica Jones and Miles Morales is thankfully recovering and back with his family and friends, according to his Twitter account. No one knows for sure when Bendis’ first DC work will be announced (although the rumor mill has already started churning out possible titles), but we know Bendis is a prolific creator capable of juggling multiple series per month, so expect news on this front sooner rather than later. Steve Foxe


Bubble.jpg A Bubble
Writer/Artist: Geneviève Castrée
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Release Date: June 5
Geneviève Castrée, a much beloved and very talented artist, died of pancreatic cancer in 2016, at the age of 35, leaving behind a husband and a baby. So this is probably her last completed work. That it happens to be an autobiographical love letter to her child makes it almost too sad to think about. But it’s okay to experience grief, and it’s okay to anticipate a book that’s going to make you cry. Hillary Brown


ColdWar.jpg Cold War
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist: Hayden Sherman
Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Release Date: February 14
We named Hayden Sherman one of our favorite artists of 2017, and with good reason: the recent college graduate (he was still in school when he began work on last year’s The Few) recalls peak Frank Miller with his bold strokes and angular figures. Combined with his own electric colors, Sherman’s work on Cold War is breathtaking, and the perfect realization of Christopher Sebela’s disorienting script. Panacea Cryonics offered to freeze wealthy customers until a time when they could be revived into healthier bodies. Unfortunately, Panacea patients wake up equipped with battle armor and a futuristic rifle, thrust directly into battle against unknown foes for unclear reasons. Sebela has a knack for gut-punch storytelling, and Sherman is clearly just getting started on what proves to be an impressive career. Steve Foxe


ComeIntoMeMostAnticipated.jpg Come Into Me
Writer: Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler
Artist: Piotr Kowalski
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Release Date: February 28
 Bloodborne Piotr Kowalski’s other appearance on this list was first announced here at Paste, and promises to be just as disturbingly violent as that fan-favorite video game property. Co-written by The Dregs breakthrough team Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, Come Into Me channels David Cronenberg and social-media oversharing for this tale of a technology that allows two minds to share one body. As one might expect, the effects of constant contact are more than a little maddening, which will surely provide fertile and bloody storytelling opportunities for Thompson, Nadler and Kowalski in this Black Mask body-horror outing.


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