The Most Anticipated Comics of 2019, Part 2

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HarleyQuinnBreakingGlassMostAnticipated.jpg Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Steve Pugh
Publisher: DC Ink/ DC Comics 
Release Date: September 3, 2019
One of a dozen titles announced as the first books for DC’s new YA imprint, DC Ink, Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass stands poised to introduce the character’s more nuanced and interesting side to a new generation of readers. It’s exciting to see a veteran artist like Steve Pugh of Animal Man fame on a book like this, mixing the appeal of a fresh new story aimed at younger readers with an old-school visual style. It’s especially interesting to see Pugh working with writer Mariko Tamaki, a creator perhaps best known for her work on graphic novels like This One Summer and Skim. Tamaki will definitely bring a fresh perspective to Harley, a character who’s often written as purely manic and without a lot of substance beyond her relationship with the Joker. In all of her previous work, Tamaki has displayed a skill at confronting difficult and uncomfortable subjects in sympathetic ways, and that’s worth looking forward to, for Harley herself and for budding comics readers who will discover the book. Caitlin Rosberg


MightyJackZitaMostAnticipated.jpg Mighty Jack and Zita the Spacegirl
Writer/Artist: Ben Hatke
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: September 3, 2019
In hindsight, it’s not surprising at all that a devoted nerd like Ben Hatke (don’t let the cool fire-breathing and circus tricks fool you) would create a universe of YA/kids books destined to produce a crossover/team-up. But that doesn’t make it less anticipated! Hatke’s books are action-packed, narrative-driven and always beautifully drawn. The idea of his two strongest characters joining forces is a delightful one. Hillary Brown


MyFavoriteThingisMonsters2MostAnticipated.jpg My Favorite Thing Is Monsters Vol. 2
Writer/Artist: Emil Ferris
Publisher: Fantagraphics 
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Considering the labor-intensive nature of Emil Ferris’ heavily crosshatched ballpoint-pen drawings, it makes sense that the second volume of her highly acclaimed portrait of Chicago is taking a little longer to arrive than promised. Let’s all say a prayer for her hands and hope that September is a realistic goal to experience the conclusion of one of the best and most complex comics works produced so far. Hillary Brown


StargazingMostAnticipated.jpg Stargazing
Writer/Artist: Jen Wang
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: September 10, 2019
The Prince and the Dressmaker took the world by storm in 2018, earning well deserved accolades and a gaggle of new fans for creator Jen Wang. The book was bright and emotional without being cloying, tender and gentle when it needed to be but brave enough to confront big questions about identity, love and family. Hearing that Wang has another book on the horizon, this one for middle-grade readers, brings a lot of high expectations and excitement. Rather than starring a prince, Stargazing is about two Chinese-American girls who grow up together, becoming fast friends through shared experiences and secrets they hide from their parents. Christine is the quieter of the two, but Moon is not only wilder and creative, she’s also convinced that there are celestial beings who talk to her. An external threat puts Christine in the position of needing to be the one Moon can rely on, and a story of affection and friendship unfolds. Wang is a skilled storyteller with an eye for character design and emotional beats, so Stargazing is set to be a must-read not just for kids but anyone who’s struggled to help a dear friend. Caitlin Rosberg


JustBeyond1.jpg R.L. Stine’s Just Beyond: The Scare School
Writer: R.L. Stine
Artists: Kelly & Nichole Matthews
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Release Date: September 2019
Goosebumps mega-author R.L. Stine wrote a Man-Thing series for Marvel Comics, and this year he’s returning to comics in an exclusive deal with BOOM! Studios. According to Stine, his comics line will focus on the same audience his popular Goosebumps novels do: middle-grade readers. The flagship book, Just Beyond: The Scare School, follows three 12-year-olds as they run through time, escaping a cyborg creature called a Drogg. To Stine, this book outlines his strategy for writing in the genre: scaring the reader requires grounding the story in something relatable, in this case middle school. Once that’s settled, he can play with the fantastical twists—looking at you, Drogg. The Scare School sports gorgeous art by siblings Kelly and Nichole Matthews—the twins have worked together on series including as Pandora’s Legacy and Toil and Trouble—and a cover by Julian Totino Tedesco. Josh Hilgenberg


TomorrowMostAnticipated.jpg Tomorrow
Writer/Artist: Eleanor Davis
Publisher: Drawn + Quarterly
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Davis has focused more on short works in her career. How to Be Happy is a compilation of them. You & a bike & a road is a sort of collection of smaller thoughts that turns into a single narrative in the reader’s mind. Even Why Art?, from last year, has a first half that’s more an examination of different ideas before the second half morphs into a story. Tomorrow is something different, and as it’s been unfurling on Gumroad, where you can buy chapters one through three currently, it feels like a complete long work, a book in which the author has full control of her capabilities as she dissects how humans are busy relating to one another in the very interesting present. Hillary Brown


BlackCanaryIgniteMostAnticipated.jpg Black Canary: Ignite
Writer: Meg Cabot
Artist: Cara McGee
Publisher: DC Zoom/ DC Comics 
Release Date: October 2019
The announcement that DC would be creating two new imprints aimed at kids was met with resounding enthusiasm by parents, librarians and teachers alike. Most monthly comics have been the realm of adult readers for a long time, and the prospect of having an effective way to offer stories starring familiar characters to younger readers is an exciting one. Though Black Canary: Ignite isn’t one of the first titles hitting stands, the creative team alone has fans buzzing with excitement. Meg Cabot is best known as the writer of The Princess Diaries, along with a slew of other middle grade, YA and romance titles. Artist Cara McGee is a perfect fit for Cabot’s bright, blunt storytelling style, with a sweet and character-driven style that’s been featured in Over the Garden Wall and the excellent sports comic Dodge City. Fittingly, Cabot has confessed that she was once told by her principal she was the loudest girl in her school, and she’s set to take Dinah on an all-new adventure, discovering her powers and contending with all the drama that middle school entails. Caitlin Rosberg


WhatstheFurthestPlaceFromHereMostAnticipated.jpg What’s the Furthest Place From Here
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Tyler Boss
Publisher: Image Comics 
Release Date: November 2019
For a series with such a long title, there’s very little we currently know about Matt Rosenberg and Tyler Boss’s follow-up to 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank, except that the duo has moved from former publisher Black Mask Studios to Image Comics, a first for either creator. Set seemingly after some sort of worldwide disaster, What’s the Furthest Place From Here follows a group of punks trying to find their missing youngest member across dangerous terrain filled with roving gangs. Rosenberg and Boss earned a lot of goodwill with 4 Kids, which entitles them to keep their cards close at hand in the buildup to What’s the Furthest Place From Here. Steve Foxe


MakingComicsMostAnticipated.jpg Making Comics
Writer/Artist: Lynda Barry
Publisher: Drawn + Quarterly
Release Date: Fall 2019
Jealous of the folks who have gotten to take a class of the same title with one of comics’ foremost prophets at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Discovery? D+Q has you covered, with a book version that should cover some of the same content. Sure, there are any number of books out there that want to teach you how to make comics (Drawing the Marvel Way, Scott McCloud’s Making Comics, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden’s work), but Barry always has a deceptively simple way of approaching complex problems that doesn’t fetishize materials and leads even the unpracticed into actual making. Hillary Brown


IsThereARationalAdultMostAnticipated.jpg Is There a Rational Adult Anywhere?
Writer/Artist: Vanessa Davis
Publisher: Drawn + Quarterly
Release Date: Fall 2019
Describing Vanessa Davis’s work as “frothy” feels unfair and dismissive, but only if you have no appreciation for a fancy Starbucks drink or the beauty of the white stuff on the waves as it evaporates slowly on the shore. It doesn’t equate to shallow. It’s just okay with some silliness existing in the world, with the pleasure of small things and with a visual style that’s not committed to an absolute minimum in terms of lines on the page. This book collects her comics for the Paris Review plus some others, all open, sweet and occasionally fluffy. Hillary Brown


MooncakesMostAnticipated.jpg Mooncakes
Writer: Suzanne Walker
Artist: Wendy Xu
Publisher: Lion Forge
Release Date: Fall 2019
I’ve been following bits of Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu’s Mooncakes through artist Xu’s Twitter for a while, and was pumped when it was announced that Lion Forge would be publishing it in fall of this year. Mooncakes is a supernatural queer romance, following teen witch Nova and werewolf Tam through the trials and tribulations of being a little bit spooky in a sleepy New England town. If you love sweet stories with a paranormal twist, Mooncakes is the book for you. Xu’s art has an irresistible charm and warmth to it, particularly the earthy colors, and her character work is always fantastically emotive; it will be so much fun to get to experience the Tam and Nova’s story from start to finish through Xu’s work. There’s no firm release date yet, but Mooncakes will be available from Lion Forge this fall. C.K. Stewart


SupermanKlanMostAnticipated.jpg Superman Smashes the Klan
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: Gurihiru Studios
Publisher: DC Zoom/ DC Comics 
Release Date: TBD 2019
Set in 1946, Superman Smashes the Klan is a fairly self-explanatory comic coming sometime this year, presumably, from DC Zoom. Superman, and probably his alter ego Clark Kent, along with a couple of friends including Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane, are set to confront the Ku Klux Klan in this middle-grade book. This isn’t the first time that the Man of Steel has taken on the Klan: after World War II, a Superman radio drama aired 16 episodes which used real-life secrets of the Klan to make them a new villain for the titular hero to fight. It helped to sway public opinion against the Klan, and Superman got to deal a blow not just to fictional racists but real-life ones, too. Gene Luen Yang, who wrote the incredible New Super-Man starring a Chinese Superman and his allies as well as American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints, is probably the best DC veteran for this book. He has a steady hand for sensitive topics including race and racism, and a great sense for what makes Superman so special. The art is by Gurihiru Studios, and the collective is probably best known for its five-year run on Avatar: The Last Airbender, which they worked on with Yang. It’s always good to see former collaborators team up again, and this young-readers book seems poised to be a must-read for all ages. Caitlin Rosberg


The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo
Writer/Artist: Drew Weing
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: TBD 2019
Volumes 1 and 2 of this delightful all-ages webcomic are available in physical form thanks to First Second, but creator Drew Weing has been hard at work on Volume 3, which should start running online in 2019 at https://www.drewweing.com/ and through Patreon if you’re truly impatient (I am). Weing has left enough things unresolved or breadcrumbed throughout the first two volumes to make devoted readers itchy for more time in Echo City, discovering different kinds of monsters alongside Maloo’s faithful assistant (and noob) Thompson. Hillary Brown


WrassleCastle_castle_concept.jpg Wrassle Castle
Writers: Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover
Artist: TBD
Publisher: Myriad/ Vault Comics
Release Date: TBD 2019
2019 is going to be a great year for wrestling comics, it seems. Banana Sunday and Bandette collaborators Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover are teaming up once more to tell the story of Lydia Riverthane, an aspiring Grand Wrasslin Tournament contender who has been forced to train in secret with her brother, John Gator-Chomp. When John is arrested for a crime he did, in fact, commit, Lydia decides diving headlong into the tournament is the only way to discover the truth of his actions. Tobin and Coover recently shared concept art from the graphic novel (no artist has been announced yet) with Paste, and their light-hearted take on pro wrestling for a young adult audience is another exciting addition to the wrestling comics landscape for both young readers and adults alike. Wrassle Castle’s final release date isn’t set yet, but is tentatively scheduled for 2019. C.K. Stewart

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