You may be familiar with my monthly comic pull list articles for Fangrrls, but I have a secret: I don’t actually really enjoy reading in issues. I pick them up regularly because that’s considered the primary form of comics, but I really much prefer reading in trades or graphic novels.
That’s why I decided to start writing a separate list of trade and graphic novel releases every month. Like my pull list, this isn’t comprehensive; it’s just a snapshot of what I’m interested in every month.
We’ve got a lot of great releases in May, so I’ll get right down to it.
The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen – Hope Nicholson (Quirk Books, May 2).
This brightly colored hardcover volume from Hope Nicholson takes the reader through decades of lady comic characters, highlighting women who defined (in one way or another) the evolution of comics and the times they lived in. You can see Nicholson’s thoughts on this book in Fangrrls’ interview about The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen, but trust me: This is a book I’m proud to have on my shelf.
Surgeon X, Vol. 1 – Sara Kenney and John Watkiss (Image Comics, May 2)
This horror/dystopian/dark humor comic features an apocalypse in future London, but not the normal nuclear or zombie version. No, this time it’s an antibiotic apocalypse, with the story centering on a surgeon who will do anything to treat her patients. It’s edited by famed Vertigo editor Karen Berger, which is enough to make me interested in it.
Saga, Book Two (Deluxe) – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics, May 2)
Is there a comics fan out there who isn’t reading Saga? Probably not, though if you haven’t picked up this masterpiece of the form (that sounds SUPER pretentious but really it is one), you need to give it a chance. I feel a little silly including it on this list … but I have a reason for it. This is the second Saga deluxe hardcover, and trust me, if you’re a fan of the series they are absolutely worth it.
Mockingbird, Vol. 2: My Feminist Agenda – Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemcyk, and Joelle Jones (Marvel Comics, May 2)
Sporting the (excellent) cover from Joelle Jones that got writer Chelsea Cain trolled so badly, she quit Twitter, this unapologetically feminist series came to an end too soon. Grab the last three issues in this volume.
Invisible Republic, Vol. 3 – Corinna Bechko, Gabriel Hardman, and Jordan Boyd (Image Comics, May 2)
Invisible Republic first enticed me with its premise: a retelling of the King Arthur myth but set on a distant planet with a buried history. But I stayed for the inventive storytelling and incredible art. Now, the third volume is releasing, promising to tell more of Maia’s story as she faces war.
Goldie Vance, Vol. 2 – Hope Larson and Brittney Williams (BOOM! Studios, May 9)
If you haven’t read Goldie Vance, you’re missing out on an adorable Nancy Drew-style comic featuring 16-year-old Goldie Vance, who lives on the property of a Florida hotel. Her dad manages the place and Goldie intends to one day become the hotel’s in-house detective. But for now, she’ll settle for working for Charles, the hotel’s current detective, as an apprentice helping with the cases that come his way.
One! Hundred! Demons – Lynda Barry (Drawn & Quarterly, May 9)
If you haven’t had the pleasure of thumbing through one of Barry’s books, take the opportunity with One! Hundred! Demons!. On these colorful and intricate pages, Lynda Barry confronts seventeen of her personal demons, the moments in her life that still haunt her today.
Shattered Warrior – Sharon Shinn and Molly Ostertag (First Second, May 16)
I’ve recommended the webcomic Strong Female Protagonist right and left, but it’s great to see artist Molly Ostertag working on graphic novels as well. She teams with Sharon Shinn to tell the story of Shattered Warrior, set on a future Earth where an alien species has invaded and now rules the planet.
So Pretty / Very Rotten – Jane Mai and An Nguyen (Koyama, May 16)
This collection, which is composed of both prose and comic essays as well as fictional stories, explores the Japanese Lolita subculture. It features interviews with Lolita icons such as Novala Takemoto and balances a blend of academic rigor and dark personal writing.
Faith, Vol. 3: Superstar – Jody Houser, Louise Simonsen, Marguerite Sauvage, Meghan Hetrick, Pepe Pérez, and Colleen Doran (Valiant, May 23)
Faith is up there with Kamala Khan on my favorite superhero list, so I’m really excited about this trade release. Valiant Comics made headlines when they gave Faith her own book—we really need to see more heroes of all shapes and sizes. Faith’s bubbly personality and infectious enthusiasm will ensure you fall in love with her like I have.
Supergirl, Vol. 1: Reign of the Supermen – Steve Orlando, Brian Ching (DC Comics, May 23)
It’s Supergirl! This is the first volume of Supergirl’s post-Rebirth series (though there are two others currently being written, this is the main title. Confusing, I know). I’m a fan of Supergirl, and though I haven’t had a chance to read this, you can bet it’s at the top of my list. Orlando’s a great writer and I look forward to seeing what he does with the character.
Alters, Vol. 1 – Lela Liz, Paul Jenkins (Aftershock Comics, May 23)
I haven’t had a chance to pick this up yet but I’m looking forward to this first volume. Alters follows the story of a young woman who’s recently gained superpowers and her struggles to reconcile her daily tasks with the responsibilities that come with her newfound power. I’m a fan of what Aftershock is doing, so I definitely have my eye on this series!
Billie Holiday – Jose Muñoz and Carlos Sampayo (NBM Publishing, May 25)
This graphic biography of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday is told through the eyes of a reporter who is following the artist, trying to restore her reputation after scandals had dragged her down. Who was Billie Holiday really? How was she affected by racism? And what was her relationship with the music she embodied?
Boundless – Jillian Tamaki (Drawn & Quarterly, May 30)
I’m a huge Jillian Tamaki fan (as are many of you, I’d suspect) and this comic story collection is just gorgeous. Tamaki focuses on the stories of different contemporary women with breathtaking insight. It’s a warm mix of humor, emotion and the paranormal; you won’t regret picking this up.