In my previous post, which listed my favorite comics of 2022, I explained why I never run Best of the Year lists on Matt Reads Comics. There are simply too many good comics released each year, and I never have time to read them all.
I do, however, keep a running list of books I need to check out in the future, when I finally have “time enough at last.” (Never going to happen, but it’s nice to dream.) These are five of the most notable books that made that list in 2022. If you haven’t read these … well, I haven’t either. But we both likely should.
The Good Asian
The Good Asian is a 1930s noir story that stars a self-loathing Chinese-American detective named Edison Hark. The first couple issues of this story, which I was able to check out, really impressed me. And apparently, the story as a whole continued to be just as impressive. Multiple comics podcasts and review sites I frequent had nothing but good things to say about The Good Asian, so I made a note to return to the story after it was finally collected. Image released Volume Two of Two in 2022, but I’m now holding out for the Deluxe Edition, which packages the entirety of The Good Asian in one beautiful-looking volume.
Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas’s Squire is a YA graphic novel set in an alternate history version of the Middle East and North Africa. While I’ve seen Squire make other sites’ Best of the Year lists, I primarily want to check it out because my wife and I briefly met Alfageeh at C2E2 2019, and her art and her attitude really impressed me. I’ve been on the lookout for her work ever since, so I’d be reading Squire even if it hadn’t been one of the top comics of 2022.
The Many Deaths of Laila Starr
Including The Many Deaths of Laila Starr on this list is technically a cheat, as I did start reading this book in 2022. However, I didn’t get to finish it, as I had to return it to the library before my wife and I moved from Minnesota to Wisconsin. Many Deaths writer Ram V is one of my current favorite comics writers, and I really enjoyed Filipe Andrade’s expressive art in the issues of Many Deaths I read. This series, which tells the story of the goddess of Death made mortal, and what she does with her time on Earth, is one I’ve been meaning to finish for some time now. And I’ll certainly do so in 2023.
Do a Powerbomb
Writer/artist Daniel Warren Johnson’s Do a Powerbomb is the story of a tag-team wrestling tournament run by a necromancer, in which the winning team will be able to resurrect one of their loved ones. Like everything Warren Johnson writes and draws, Do a Powerbomb goes hard, featuring an over-the-top premise and bombastic action that’s underpinned by real emotion and character moments. Warren Johnson is one of my current faves because his action sequences are so crazy, surprising, and kinetic. I’m hoping that Do a Powerbomb will continue Warren Johnson’s impressive run of wild-yet-heartfelt comics, and I’m excited to read the collected edition when it drops in March of this year.
If you’ve looked at literally any Best Comics of 2022 list, you already know what Ducks is about, and how highly it has been praised. For those who are less plugged into the comics zeitgeist, Ducks is cartoonist Kate Beaton’s story of the time she spent working in the oil sands of Alberta, Canada. It’s a book about intimate moments and larger issues, but mostly, it seems like it’s about the complicated, often conflicted mess that is a person trying to figure out who they are and what they’re willing to accept. According to basically every comics website around, Ducks was one of the must-read comics of 2022. I, however, will get to it in 2023.