Despite the proclamations of a few naysayers, 2017—horrible in so many respects—was actually a particular rich and deep year in comics. In fact, our voting panel (the editors, advisory board, Inks contributors, and the Comics Studies Board) ended up with well over 100 titles they loved this year. So instead of trying to find a way to determine “best” we settled on ranking our collective favorites for the year.
The top 20 reflect overall votes (books multiple people had in their favorites of the year). We also have some more specialized “favorites” below.
Let us know over at the forum what your favorite was for the year! And let us know if you want to see the whole list of 100+ titles our voters loved in 2017.
#1 My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Fantagraphics)
To no one’s surprise, Emil Ferris‘s remarkable debut won was our favorite thing of the year. We’re putting money on Volume 2 being high on our 2018 list as well.
#2 The Best We Could Do (Abrams)
Another debut that blew us all away, Thi Bui‘s graphic memoir recounts her experience of coming to finally understand the ways in which her family’s journey from Vietnam to the U.S. shaped her parents, her siblings, and herself.
#3 Spinning (First Second)
At age 20, Tillie Walden is already one of the most talented artists and storytellers in comics. Anyone else trying to write a memoir at this age would risk seeming like an act of hubris; in Walden’s case feels not only earned but necessary.
#4 Bitch Planet (Image)
Kelly Sue DeConnick & Valentine De Landro‘s symphony in the key of non-compliance gets its long-awaited second arc, with fascinating backstories and unruly bodies that are truly a wonder to behold.
#5 Mister Miracle (DC)
As hard as it is to escape an exploding Krypton, it is a piece of cake compared to being a refugee from Darkseid’s Apokolips. Tom King and Mitch Gerad’s updating of Jack Kirby’s hero is the escape act we all need right now.
#6 Anti-Gone (Koyama)
Connor Willumsen‘s journey into the heart of our forthcoming globally-warmed limbo is one of the year’s great masterpieces from one of our smartest and most talented young cartoonists. Not sure entirely where our protagonists end up, but I am scouring the dark web to see how I can join them.
#7 Hostage (Drawn & Quarterly)
Guy Delisle‘s meticulous history of the kidnapping of a member of Doctors Without Borders is not, on the surface, promising stuff. After all, most of our protagonist’s time is spent chained in locked rooms. Despite the fact that 90% of the book involves little physical movement, this is one of the most gripping and dynamic comics of the year.
Jilliam Tamaki‘s collection of short fiction shows of her remarkable range and seals her position as one of the best graphic storytellers of her generation.#9 Ganges 6
Kevin Huizenga‘s masterpiece concludes and Glenn will never have insomnia again! Except, now we can’t sleep because the series has pulled us so deep into geological time we can find out way out again. (Help?)
#10 The Nib‘s Political Cartoons
#11 Sophie Goldstein, House of Women (Fantagraphics)
#12 Ethan Rilly, Pope Hats #5 (AdHouse)
#13 Chris Ware, Monograph (Rizzoli)
#14 Brian K. Vaughan & Cliff Chiang, Paper Girls (Image)
#15 Joe Quinones & Ramon Villalobos, America (Marvel)
#16 Kabi Nagata, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness (Seven Seas)
#17 Dominique Goblet, Pretending is Lying (New York Review)
#18 Katie Skelly, My Pretty Vampire (Fantagraphics)
#19 Jeff Lemire, Roughneck (Gallery 13)
#20 Resist! (RAW Books)
Jared Gardner is the editor of Inks and a professor at Ohio State University, where he teaches comics, American lit, and film. His books can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Jared-Gardner/e/B001KHO9K4/