Feature Image Credit: @shockinglyshayreads
If you are a frequent reader of my pieces here, then you know I love and live for graphic novels. I heavily lean on graphic novels when I am going through reading slumps and whenever (which is always) I find myself needing to experience and access the written world differently.
Because graphic novels have become my lifeline to understanding life and living in worlds far away for me. So with that in mind, here are the graphic novels coming out this year that we at SheReads.com are extremely excited about! Each season I will bring you a new list of graphic novels you need to add to your #TBRList.
Castaways by Laura Pérez and Pablo Monforte, illustrated by Laura Perez and Translated by Silvia Perea Labayen
Translated from Spanish and now available at all bookstore as of February 1st, Castaways is the first book in a series that moves back and from Madrid in the 1980s to Barcelona ten years later. It’s a beautiful anti-kismet story that closely follows the relationship between Alejandra and Julio, which at its core is an exploration of the power of human connections as well as the ways in which time and life can get in the way of real love.
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples, February 23, March 23, April 27, 2022
Whenever I am asked to name one of my all-time favorite series, I always, without missing a beat name the intergalactic series that is Saga. This series dubbed a “space opera” is truly unlike anything I have ever read. Packed with robots, ghost girls, and horned-and-winged beings, at the core of this story is a family. A family built by love in a world trying to destroy them because they don’t “belong” together. I could write essays about the depth this series carries. And every reader takes something different from this vast universe of characters and plots. The series is coming back from a three year hiatus (don’t ask me how I survived).
Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas, March 8, 2022
The buzz around this new series set in an alternate history of Middle East/North Africa following Aiza, a 14-year-old born a second-class citizen in a war-torn empire, is the exact reason I decided to add this graphic novel to the list. On a path to become a Knight, the highest military honor in the Bayt-Sajji Empire, Aiza encounters tribulations during the rigorous training that makes her realize that the loyalty to the empire she must give as a Knight would comprise the loyalty to herself and heritage.
Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys and Andrew Weiner, illustrated by Brittany Williams, March 1, 2022
If the title didn’t tip you off, then let me confirm: yes, this graphic novel is written by THE Alicia Keys! In this first-ever graphic novel from award-winning artist Alicia Keys, we meet Lolo Wright, a 14 year old dealing with typical family drama—until one moment changes her entire world and she discovers her true powers. This coming-of-age graphic novel tackles racism and is ultimately about learning to believe in yourself.
Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao, March 8, 2022
In this stunningly illustrated graphic memoir, artist Laura Gao tackles what it was like coming-of-age as a queer girl, after her family immigrated to Texas from Wuhan, China. Though the illustrations and storytelling are said to attract you to this graphic novel, it’s the intersectionalities the author faces in trying to find herself as an American, daughter of immigrants and queer person, that will keep you reading.
My Brain is Different: Stories of ADHD and Other Developmental Disorders by Monnzusu, April 5, 2022
I was first introduced to the world of manga in Middle School and I highly credit this genre of comics/graphic novels for turning me into a reader. So it is no surprise that one of my most anticipated graphic novels this year is a graphic novel that combines two of my favorite things: manga and essays. This illustrated anthology closely follows nine different people navigating life with developmental disorders and disabilities.
Miss Quinces by Kat Fajardo, April 5, 2022
My inner child truly cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of Miss Quinces. This tender graphic novel follows Sue, a girl who I highly identify with because of her desire to never celebrate her quinceañera. Navigating the expectations of cultural traditions and pressures of familial expectations, this is the graphic novel that my 14-year-old self needed.
Fine: A Comic About Gender by Rhea Swing, April 5, 2022
What began as a series of interviews with friends and strangers answering the question What is gender? in their town, author Rhea Swing has turned that into a collection of stunning conversations with people across the country related to gender expression and the depths of how we find ourselves in a world that often tries to box us in. I’d be failing you if I didn’t mention that Alison Bechdel (author of one of my favorite graphic novels -FUN HOME) blurbed Fine, which left me incredibly excited to read it.
Monarca by Leopoldo Gout and Eva Aridijs, April 19, 2022
It has always been a dream of mine to visit the forests of central Mexico where monarch butterflies make their great migration. So when I heard about this illustrated fable that centers on a 13-year-old Mexican-American girl who turns into a monarch butterfly and joins the monarchs on their incredible journey to Mexico, I knew I needed it in my life. This beautiful tale touches on environmentalism while interweaving Mexican folklore and magical realism.
Amazona by Canizales, May 3, 2022
In striking black and white illustrations with pops of color this graphic novel follows a young Indigenous Colombian woman named Andrea who is driven to return to the land her family and community once called home after the terrible loss of her daughter. This illustrated story shows us the way in which Indigenous Colombian communities had been displaced from their homes due to violence and corruption. This graphic novel is like nothing I’ve read before and it hits at the deeper layers of modern day colonization.
Celestial Summer by Lorraine Avila, Zahira Kelly-Cabrera, and Antoinette Thomas, May, 2022
Through 292 backers on KickStarted, Lorraine Avila, author of Malcriada and Other Stories, is bringing the literary world an intimate graphic novel that explores and celebrates Black love in all its forms. When I found out about this graphic novel I was immediately pulled into it by the following words from the creators “Celestial Summer is about reimagining romantic relationships. It is about manifesting happy endings. Trauma has somehow been normalized into even the most intimate spaces of the psyche and it is important to create stories that shift that reality.” Expected in May of this year, you can stay updated on this graphic novel by following the kickstarter webpage.