10 New Graphic Novels to Read This Spring

Pick up a new imprint of Agony this spring.
Pick up a new imprint of Agony this spring.
Mark Beyer/New York Review Comics

It doesn’t seem that graphic novels have seasons like other genres in publishing. Maybe it’s because of their roots in what are now labeled “floppies,” episodic comics with monthly releases: what we used to call comic books. Then there’s the fact that some of the books that fall under the graphic header in publisher’s catalogs, bookstores, libraries, and best-seller lists can be omnibus editions of strips, journalism, trades (softcover collections of four to six previously published episodes of a floppy), or coloring book mashups (e.g. the current Color Your Own Deadpool). The whole category of graphic books is a wide channel — and interesting new books are released into it throughout the year. In an effort to pace our graphic novel reading for 2016, here are 10 new books that we’ll be looking at before the summer solstice.

Agony
By Mark Beyer
New York Review Comics
Release date: March 22

Not a “new” book, per se, but new to me (and maybe you, too). The imprint is new, debuting with this book, first published in 1987. Beyer, a self- taught artist, was a preeminent contributor to Art Spiegelman’s RAW magazine. Agony is Beyer’s darkly funny rendering of Amy and Jordan’s misadventures through an urban landscape of destruction and despair.

10 New Graphic Novels to Read This Spring
Chester Brown/Drawn & Quarterly

Mary Wept Over the Feet Of Jesus
By Chester Brown
Drawn & Quarterly
Release date: April 12

Subtitled ‘Prostitution and religious obedience in the Bible’, this book by award-winning and bestselling Brown is likely to attract both praise and bile. In Mary Wept, Brown recreates nine stories of the Old Testament and those stories’ depictions of prostitutes. Brown is known for the careful research shown in his previous two non-fiction books, Louis Riel and Paying for It; Mary Wept includes Brown’s notes.

10 New Graphic Novels to Read This Spring
Daniel Clowes/Fantagraphics

Patience
By Daniel Clowes
Fantagraphics
Release Date: March 21

The graphic novel for which there has been a steady hum of anticipation since announcement of its publication last spring, Clowes’ Patience is billed as a time-travelling sci-fi love story. Clowes, who created feature-film length stories Ghostworld and Wilson in less than 100 pages has Patience weighing in at 180 pages. In Clowesian terms, that’s a lot of story.

10 New Graphic Novels to Read This SpringEXPAND
Michael Deforge/Drawn & Quarterly

Big Kids
By Michael Deforge
Drawn & Quarterly
Release Date: February 23

Deforge, an Ignatz award-winning artist/writer, first caught our eye with Very Casual, a collection of pieces culled from his mini-comics, on-line comics, and anthology contributions. He has a unique art style and a wry sense of humor. Big Kids is a straight-ahead coming-of-age story, and who doesn’t like a good one of those?

10 New Graphic Novels to Read This Spring
Nick Drnaso/Drawn & Quarterly

Beverly
By Nick Drnaso
Drawn & Quarterly
Release Date: January 26

Drnaso’s debut graphic novel charges out of the gate with six interconnected stories of suburbia. The candy-colored art belies the chill at the heart of it all. As with all fine graphic novels, the words in Beverly —one story is titled “Grassy Knoll”— are as precise, necessary and well-chosen as each line of drawing.



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