Recommendations – Best Graphic Story

Post your suggestions for Best Graphic Story to this thread.

Eligible works are:

  • Science Fiction or Fantasy told in graphic format (comic books, manga, webcomics, graphic novels etc.)
  • First published in 2015 in any format

Please list the following:

  • Title
  • Author/Artist
  • About a sentence saying why you think it’s great
  • Links to somewhere people can buy it/read it are also great
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61 thoughts to “Recommendations – Best Graphic Story”

  1. The Sculptor
    Scott McCloud

    A love story crossed with an episode of The Twilight Zone, “The Sculptor” is the story of an unsuccessful sculptor who makes a deal with Death to create immortal art… but of course, a deal with Death always carries a price. This book is also notable for it’s layouts, which are innovative while remaining easy to read. And it’s a complete story in one volume!

    Amazon link.

  2. Touhou Suzunaan: Forbidden Scrollery: Volume 4

    http://bato.to/read/_/314314/touhou-suzunaan-forbidden-scrollery_v4_ch22_by_alpha-beta-kappa

    Touhou official comic published by Kadokawa in Comp Ace that began publishing on October 26, 2012. The story is written by ZUN, with illustrations by Moe Harukawa. It introduces a human book renter and collector Kosuzu Motoori as the main character, with the story centered around her mysterious ability to decipher any book no matter the language or script, and her assortment of various rare and dangerous demon books. This series is steeped in Japanese history, myths, and legends.

    1. Including Japanese writers/artists as much as possible would be very effective at showing how broken the Hugos are. Choosing “No Award” over giving non-white artists awards shows how, despite their claims, the clique only stands for their own advancement.

  3. Empowered Volume 9
    Adam Warren

    As a series it is a kinky superhero comedy that has some cynical realism to it. And yes volume 9 is very deep in the series so it might not seem like the easiest thing to jump into, but this starts with a recap page and the start of the story focuses on the recent events.

    The two links below offer different preview content.
    http://www.amazon.com/Empowered-Volume-9-Adam-Warren/dp/1616555718
    https://www.darkhorse.com/Books/25-831/Empowered-Volume-9-TPB

    1. Seconded. I hadn’t read the most recent volume when I posted, but have since, and it’s actually a pretty decent jumping on point, with a detailed but integrated recap, and a story with a lot of internal resolution while still maintaining an ongoing feel. Plus, for the Hugos, it’s really scifinal, with various concepts being central to the plot.

    2. Seconded. The 9th volume of Empowered is a major turning point in the series, both in the self-image of the main character and in the way she is perceived by her peers. The series itself has a pretty unique style and flavor.

    1. I think we should clarify the eligible volume would be Lazarus: Conclave, the third collected edition in the series. The first two volumes were published in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

      That said, Lazarus is fantastic (as is pretty much everything Rucka does).

      http://www.amazon.com/Lazarus-Volume-Conclave-Tp/dp/1632152258

      Sadly, I haven’t read Conclave yet as my library has it on order – but based on the level of quality for the first two editions I expect it’ll be on my recommendations list. I just can’t do that now or second it yet because of not having read this particular volume.

  4. Manifest Destiny by Chris Dingess. An ongoing series, begun in 2013, which includes some interesting twists on the Lewis and Clarke expedition. Numbers 13-16 have come out in 2015 and are eligible.

  5. Title: Schlock Mercenary – Book 15: Delegates and Delegation
    Author/Artist: Howard Taylor

    If you’ve ever heard about the Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries and wondered where they come from, this is the web comic series that is their source. This is the 15th Book / story line in the series, and they just keep getting better and better. The Story started on March 16th 2014 (http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2014-03-16) and wrapped up on March 29th 2015 (http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2015-03-29)

  6. I’m going to spam a few because I read a lot of SF comics, and I can’t stand the idea of Captain Marvel winning again:

    Invisible Republic vol 1., by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman Great story about a reporter in the aftermath a revolutionary world post collapse.

    Fables: Farewell vol 22/issue150 byMark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha, plus stories illustrated by Mark Schultz, Gene Ha, Neal Adams, Andrew Pepoy Look, the story was great, and it’s the last chance this book has.

    The Fuse vol 2: Gridlock by Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood. This is a great, lived in SF world that happens to be a good police procedural. I’m not the only one that thinks it deserves the Hugo, Edgar and Eisner.

    Winterworld, vol 2: the stranded by Chuck Dixon, Tomas Giorello, and Tommy Lee Edwards. Look, this is a magnificent post apocalyptic story about survival and maintaining humanity.

    Resident Alien Volume 3: The Sam Hain Mystery TPB by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse. Cool little story, the issues are out already, the trade soon.

    There’s plenty more, and I may post again later.

  7. Nanatsu no Taizai [The Seven Deadly Sins] vol. 8
    Nakaba Suzuki

    Nanatsu no Taizai is a very recent shonen fighter that shows a lot of promise. The art is good (with very good character designs) and the characterizations have a lot of depth. [For a shonen fighter…] It’s set in a Mediaeval European-esque world with a lot of interesting nods to Arthurian mythology.

    http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Deadly-Sins-8/dp/161262829X/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1441855463&sr=8-9&keywords=nanatsu+no+taizai

  8. [I hope it is okay to post twice?]

    Magi: Labyrinth of Magic, vol. 14
    Shinobu Ohtaka

    This is one of my favorite recently-started manga. It’s also a shonen fighter, but with a completely different setting and art style. One of its main appeals for me is the large cast of deliciously ambiguous characters who all have well-explored motives. This volume features heavily one of my favorite characters.

    http://www.amazon.com/Magi-Vol-14-Labyrinth-Magic/dp/1421559641/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1441855531&sr=8-2&keywords=magi

  9. UQ Holder 4 and 5 by Ken Akamatsu (Fantasy/Sci-Fi)

    Log Horizon Vol 1 by Mamare Touno (Science fiction, surprise)

    Sword Art Online Progressive (Manga) Volumes 1-2-3 (Also Science Fiction)

    I’ll add more suggestions later, but these are my start.

    1. Second the Log Horizon nom. Though some of the figures of speech translate a tad on the clunky side, I really love the series.

    2. Though, are we talking about the Light Novels or the Manga? Because I would think the Light Novels would better qualify for another category

  10. My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia) Vol:2 Ferocity of a Damn Nerd

    Izuku Midoriya was just a regular middle school student in a world where people with superpowers known as “Quirks” are the norm. However, he dreams of one day becoming a Hero, despite being bullied by his classmates for not having a Quirk. After being the only one to try and save his childhood friend, Katsuki, from a Villain, All Might, the world’s greatest Hero, bestows upon him his own quirk, “One For All”. The story follows Izuku’s entrance into Yūei High School, a school that cultivates the next generation of Heroes. A Japanese take on American superheroes.

    Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/My-Hero-Academia-Vol-2/dp/1421582708/
    Scans: http://bato.to/read/_/285091/boku-no-hero-academia_ch8_by_fallen-angels

    1. Second! My Hero Academia is half superhero comic and half shonen magazine. It’s the best of both worlds in both east and west and is always a delightful read every week.

    1. I second Naruto, and note that volume 72 was released in English Oct 2015, and ends the story started in Volume 1. By my understanding, Volumes 1-72 are eligible.

  11. Any one of the 2015 story arcs from the webcomic Stand Still Stay Silent: http://www.sssscomic.com/journal.php

    Worldcon voters need to join the 21st century when it comes to indy publishing, and the 20th when it comes to webcomics. So we’d have to agree, as a group on the particfular arc, otherwise one of the most beuatiful, innovative graphic stories will never (I wish I weren’t making this up) even get a nomination.

    Current worldcon rules are deliberately set up to privilege (as in private law) old school corporate product lime Ms Marvel rather than indy businesswomen like Minna Sundberg.

    1. Except that there was conflict on even having a Best Graphic Story catagory because Girl Genius kept winning – a webcomic. I think the problem is not that they aren’t aware, but that they don’t care enough to read more of them.

      1. I would say the problem has been more that because of the relatively small pool of people who nominate, and because I think it is often mostly the same group of people who do so – if you only have a few hundred people nominating and they read the same stuff from year to year – you keep seeing many of the same nominees and winners if those books keep publishing year after year.

        Which is why folks like the Foglios recused themselves after winning for the first three years. You can’t have a healthy and viable category if only one person / comic wins every year.

      2. Actually, Girl Genius was a print comic first.

        But I do have a question about eligibility. I notice a lot of graphic novel “volumes” proposed, but the individual issues that they compile may have been published earlier. What’s the rule on that?

    2. I’ll take a look at Stand Still Stay Silent, but you’ll have to identify a particular story arc for the nomination here. The first issue / page began back in 2013.

      After doing some research: Since SSSS has done a print edition this year, you could go for Stand Still Stay Silent: Book One, by Minna Sundberg
      http://www.sssscomic.com/comic.php?page=276

      It doubly works because page 276 was also published in 2015 – so regardless of the availability of the book, it’ll be easy to identify what part is covered and its eligibility for this year.

  12. Schlock Mercenary, Delegates and Delegation
    Howard Taylor
    Funny, punctual, well plotted and interesting. What’s not to like?
    http://www.schlockmercenary.com/

    Skull Kickers Volume 6: Infinite Icons of the Endless Epic
    Jim Zub, Edwin Huang, Misty Coats
    It’s just one big bar brawl. One big, entertaining, hilarious bar brawl full of self referential humor and fourth wall breaking.
    Currently posting on the internet:
    http://comic.skullkickers.com/index.php?id=760
    And available from Amazon in dead tree format for the impatient.
    http://www.amazon.com/Skullkickers-Infinite-Icons-Endless-Epic/dp/1632153432/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1442682947&sr=8-3&keywords=Skullkickers

  13. I have three so far, with more to come as I read more comics this fall.

    Lumberjanes: Volume One, by Noelle Stevenson
    Rat Queens, Volume Two: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth, by Kurtis J. Wiebe
    Saga: Volume 5, by Brian K. Vaughan

    Lumberjanes is just so much fun. From the Amazon description: ” It’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Gravity Falls and features five butt-kicking, rad teenage girls wailing on monsters and solving a mystery with the whole world at stake.” I was delighted the whole way through this volume and immediately wanted more. What the junk!?!

    Rat Queens is some awesome ass-kicking sword and sorcery. I think you need to have read the first collection (nominated for a Hugo in 2014), but this is some good stuff with great characters.

    I thought Saga took a small step back with Volume 4, after such a strong high point in the third volume (nominated for a 2014 Hugo) – but Volume 5 brings it right back to the full awesome. I’ve never figured out how to talk about Saga, but the more of it I read the more I like it (I wasn’t sold after the first book, but somewhere in the middle of the second it clicked, by the third I was all in). Lying Cat is probably one my favorite characters – not just in comics, anywhere.

    1. Saga Volume 5 was amazing! Seconded.

      I felt exactly the same about volume 4 (surprised it’s on the Goodreads best of the year list), but the latest one was perfect from beginning to end.

  14. Space Brothers (Uchuu Kyoudai)
    (Either: Volume 22, but not sure if it came out in English this year, but chapter 259 did, or whatever other chapter or volume: I still recommend this series.)

    This manga/comic/graphic novel is about becoming an astronaut, and to a degree it is very similar to the Martian. And although it may star slowly, it has its moments of tremendeous emotional impact.

    You can read it overhere:
    http://www.crunchyroll.com/comics/manga/space-brothers/volumes
    (At the time of writing, you can get a 14 day free trial, and I do recommend binge reading this. It is just fantastic.)

  15. A super enthusiastic recommendation for Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor. Holy crap was that good. See the first post in this category for more detail, but damn, that’s right at the top of my list now. I took a long lunch just to finish it.

  16. Three more great webcomics:

    How to Be a Werewolf (http://www.howtobeawerewolf.com/)
    Wilde Life (http://www.wildelifecomic.com/)
    Strong Female Protagonist (http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-5/page-163/)

    All 3 are very well drawn, engaging, funny, and easy to catch up with.

    And the heck with it, I’m using my fifth vote for Questionable Content (1st vote, up top of thread, was for The Sculptor), the best realistic comic that also involves small sentient robots: http://questionablecontent.net.

  17. I concur with the mentions of Wilde Life and Stand Still, Stay Silent. Both *excellent* webcomics.

    Let me encourage you all to check out Spindrift (http://www.spindrift-comic.com) . The art is so luscious it glows, and the storyline has plenty of action and intrigue (and some very amusing bickering gods). The current volume is Chapter 2: Broker’s Vale which started in January of 2014 and is still ongoing. (Does that count for eligibility if it isn’t finished yet?)

  18. Usagi Yojimbo: Senso by Stan Sakai
    http://www.amazon.com/Usagi-Yojimbo-Senso-Stan-Sakai/dp/1616557095

    Citizen of the Galaxy Graphic Novel by Robert A. Heinlein, Adapted by Eric Gignac, Robert Lazaro, Steve Erwin.
    http://www.idwpublishing.com/product/robert-heinleins-citizen-of-the-galaxy-1/

    Quantum Vibe, Vol # Seamus by Scott Beiser
    http://www.bigheadpress.com/qvbook3

    Schlock Mercenary, Delegates and Delegation, by Howard Taylor
    http://www.schlockmercenary.com/

    That’s just off the top of my head. More later maybe.

    1. In Senso Stan Sakai’s Rabbit Samurai meets H. G. Wells’ Martians. Sakai is a talented storyteller and illustrator, just unmatched.

      The Heinlein adaption is an older style of comic books story telling. They get the elements of the story right and the art by Erwin does the job. It’s not flashy and doesn’t distract. Yeoman’s work.

    1. I’ll second Order of the Stick, and add a recommendation for Erfworld (http://www.erfworld.com/) to the list. It’s similar to Order of the Stick in that it takes a tabletop game and asks, “What if the characters in this game were real?” But this game is a large, multi-player tabletop strategy game played on a hex grid, with multiple armies from multiple sides fighting each other. The worldbuilding is extremely consistent (fans have apparently worked out, in detail, the rules that the game goes by) even though the authors refrain from infodumping (the closest they get is when a character from the real world ends up in the game world, and is asking questions about the rules). Add a set of engaging characters and some very funny moments, and it’s one of my go-to webcomics. Currently running twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays.

  19. Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson. http://gingerhaze.com/NIMONA . Running as a webcomic since 2012, but completed and printed as a volume in 2015. (Now only a preview is available on the web, but is available in print and e-book from HarperCollins). Nominated for a National Book Award, among other things.

  20. Another nom for Fables 150. How many times have you enjoyed a series only to be disappointed by the ending? That doesn’t happen with Fables it goes out like it came in a amazing story. The fuse volume 2 is another book I agree should make the list. Fables is by Bill Willingham and various artists. Fuse is by Antony Johnston and Justin Greenwood. Both books are widely available at your comic store or online retailer of choice.

  21. I’ve been having trouble getting this to post so here goes- More recommendations: Ei8ht (or Eight) by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson -It’s got dinosaurs, it’s got evil Nazi’s, it’s got maniacal dictators that unleash plagues on the world, some star crossed romance, plenty of “I ain’t got time to bleed” style action and time travel that’s past/ present/future color coordinated for ease of reading. Omega Men by T(om King and Barnaby Bagenda -a collected edition hasn’t been published yet but the first part of the series (free preview plus issues 1-6) is available in single issues. Fantastic art in a rebels in space story that starts with a ‘oh crap’ moment you figure there must be something more to, and there is. Invisible Republic volume 1 by Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko, and Jordan Boyd- the rise and fall of a planets dictator in sequential art but non-sequential order. From the first issues it makes you want to know how this all came about. Airboy by James Robinson and Greg Hinkle- degenerate meta fiction authors can only be saved by being pulled into golden age comic book character Airboy’s 1940s world. The Disciples by Steve Niles and Christopher Mitten -space rescue mission to save a girl from a crazy cult and then the monsters show up. Everybody is not making it back, and the pacing really keeps you flipping the pages to find out who survives.

  22. I nominate The Autumnlands, Vol. 1: Tooth and Claw by Kurt Busiek.

    Old school, weird, pulpy stuff: walking, talking animals, magic, floating cities and airships, and a time-traveler from the past with scifi implants. All very well written and absolutely beautifully drawn.

  23. Quick question, would it be possible to nominate an entire series if it just “concluded”? (It went on an “indefinate hiatus”) Because then I’d want to nominate Archie’s really good All-Ages Sci-Fi action series based on the Mega Man comics.

    “Mega Man”
    Written usually by Ian Flynn and with various artists filling in.

    This was a great adaptation of the classic Mega Man games, filling in character development and plot between retellings of the 8-bit adventures, and while it only ran 55 issues, it still managed to adapt three games, a spinoff, and have two separate crossovers with Sonic the Hedgehog. All that, and it covered some really neat science fiction stuff in a kids adventure series, like the three laws of robotics, (and the Zeroth law!) alternate dimensions, time travel, artificial intelligence, the foibles of technological advancements and also fighting robots. SUPER fighting robots even. A really good argument for All-Ages comics.

    Available on Comixology, and multiple collections are available on Amazon

  24. So if a webcomic arc was posted in 2014 but the paperback was printed/sold in 2015 does that count? Because if so I would recommend Broodhollow Book 2: Angleworm. I really like Broodhollow a lot. The art is cute and pretty and super creepy, and the story is weird and forboding and nervewracking.

    One of my other favorites is Gunnerkrigg Court, but I didn’t like most of the 2015 chapters as well. I suppose my favorite from the year would be “Chapter 15: Totem” (http://gunnerkrigg.com/?p=1464) which started last January. It’s short but interesting and has some cool art.

  25. “Beautiful Darkness,” by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoet.
    http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Darkness-Fabien-Vehlmann/dp/1770461299

    This book is so difficult to describe. The story begins with a bunch of tiny fairy-like creatures crawling out of the corpse of a young girl, lying on the forest floor. What happens for the rest of the book is sort of like “Lord of the Flies” starring all of Tinker Bell’s fairy friends. This book is brutal, ambiguous, incredibly original, and sticks with you a long time after reading it. Also, the artwork is excellent; Kerascoet switches between a loose, lively cartoon style for the little fairy creatures and impressive fully-painted realism for the big world of the humans.

    “The Abaddon” by Koren Shadmi.
    http://www.amazon.com/Abaddon-Koren-Shadmi/dp/1940878055/ref=sr_1_1

    The official description sums it up well: “A young man finds himself trapped in a bizarre apartment with a group of ill matched roommates. He quickly discovers that his new home doesn’t adhere to any rational laws of nature, and poses a strange enigma — a puzzle he needs to solve in order to escape. It’s no help that both him and his roommates are missing crucial parts of their memories and identities; he must try and gather the missing pieces as he struggles to find a way out. ”

    Visually, the art is arresting and original; the storytelling and images are always perfectly clear, but this doesn’t look like any other comic you’ll read this year. Here, check out a page: http://abaddoncomic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/ab004.jpg The artist uses almost entirely muted shades of red and green over pencil artwork, and the results almost seem to glow.

    This was a webcomic, but then completed as a book (with help from a Kickstarter). The first 116 pages of the graphic novel can be read online at http://abaddoncomic.com/ .

  26. Alice Grove by Jeph Jacques (Also draws Questionable Content). Outstanding story line, very good graphics, unfolding a mystery in an almost-Sunday comics format. Supposed to be published twice a week. Very Sci-Fi. Alice is the main character, but we still don’t know exactly *what* she is. Very strong, almost impervious to harm. Story takes place several hundred years after the war between humans and AI, which ended with a *blink*.

  27. Another vote for Order of The Stick. It started as a consistently funny satire of Dungeons and Dragons, but has grown into something much greater. The best web comic out there.

  28. Add my recommendation for Order of the Stick and Schlock Mercenary (these two, plus Girl Genius, are my top regular on-line reads).

    I’m also partial to Rumiko Takahashi’s work – her current series, Rin-ne, isn’t as good as Inu-Yasha, but it’s still a great read.

  29. Also recommending The Fade Out vol 1 and vol 2 . Brubaker and Philips are genius together, and it deserves recognition.
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=the+fade+out

    Warren Ellis’ Injection vol 1 was pretty awesomely creepy.
    http://www.amazon.com/Injection-Vol-1-Warren-Ellis/dp/163215479X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454976788&sr=8-1&keywords=injection

    Low vol 1 and vol 2 were another great pair of books
    http://www.amazon.com/Before-Dawn-Burns-Vol-Low/dp/1632154692/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1454976899&sr=8-4&keywords=low

    Of course, if you just want an option to fight Marvel/Star Wars noms, I’d go with Big Trouble in Little China vol 1 and Escape from New York vol 1.

  30. Rusty & Co – a great gag a week comic about weird D&D monsters who try to be adventurers
    Order of the Stick – a long runner, and one of the consistently great gaming comics
    Erfworld – a great war(game) comic about a gaming nerd trapped in a super-cute dystopia world
    Gunnerkrigg Court – a fascinating comic about a strange girl in an even stranger boarding school. 2015 was not its best year IMO, but it’s still an excellent comic.
    PS238 – by the author of Full Frontal Nerdity & Nodwick, this is about a public elementary school for superpowered kids
    Darths & Droids – began as a DM Of the Rings imitator, became a great gaming campaign comic
    I would add Knights of the Dinner Table, but I’m way behind and haven’t actually read any of last years comics :/

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