Ahead of Graphic Content's own choice of the best of the year, we asked some of our favourite creators and comics people to name the comics and graphic novels that have kept them entertained this year:


Rusty Brown, Chris Ware, Drawn & Quarterly


A huge, elaborate, non-linear work, including parts of previous issues of Acme Novelty Library and ending in an intermission. Chris Ware illuminates our current condition of fragmented alienation and stunted desires with a series of sordid character studies, scratching the surface of media-sick America and leaving the reader both sad and strangely uplifted.

Heartstopper (V.1) by Alice Oseman, Hodder & Stoughton

A really sweet teenage romance, about two boys falling in love at high school. It’s simple but very well told, and it’s a page turner about just being different or not fitting in. The kind of graphic novel we wish existed when we were kids.

Metaphrog are Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers. Their latest graphic novel Bluebeard: A Feminist Fairy Tale will be published by Papercutz next May

Read More: Stories will be our salvation


Isadora by Julie Birmant and Clement Oubrerie, SelfMadeHero


I remember seeing the film Isadora, which starred Vanessa Redgrave, many years ago and it made a lasting impression of a woman fiercely protecting her right to express herself artistically in a way that defied her times and the genres of dance. The film was gorgeous and epic.

Visiting Isadora Duncan’s story in graphic novel is a more intimate, poetic experience. The art is dreamy, not realistic and has a naivety that matches Isadora’s desire to live as purely as an ancient Greek nymph out of whack with turn-of-the-century modern civilisation.

Julie Birmant’s storytelling is filmic (not surprisingly; she is a filmmaker herself), but we get the extra dimension of a graphic novel where we can see into people’s thoughts or see simultaneous conversations juxtaposed. I’m making it all sound very complicated, but the book’s beauty is that it is so simple to read and to feel the emotions of the characters.

It also made me want to read Isadora Duncan’s own autobiography too. So, as with many of the graphic biographies out there, it successfully acts as a gateway to exploring an iconic personality further.

Isadora is also darkly comic. But despite all the laughable cliches of the deluded “crazy lady”, we cannot help but feel she was a true original who soared above the famous men who courted her and used her for their own aggrandisement.

Life Drawing: A Life Under Lights, by Jessica Martin is published by Unbound, £16.99

Read More: Jessica Martin on a life in light entertainment and turning it into a graphic novel

Edward Ross

The Book of Forks, Rob Davis, SelfMadeHero


My graphic novel of the year is the fantastic The Book of Forks by Rob Davis, the final chapter of his Motherless Oven trilogy. Over three books, Davis has crafted a surreal kitchen-sink epic about childhood and authority. It’s beautifully illustrated, full of striking imagery, and for me this series deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Alistair Gray’s Lanark or Lindsay Anderson’s If...

Edward Ross is the author of Filmish. His next graphic novel, Gamish: A Graphic History of Gaming will be out next year.


Clyde Fans by Seth, Drawn and Quarterly


I read the first instalment of Clyde Fans 15 years ago and I've been impatiently waiting for this complete edition ever since. Canadian cartoonist Seth has been serialising this masterpiece chapter by chapter via the comic book series Palookaville since 1998, and his publisher D&Q previously put out two chunky collections. But this is the first time the entire story has been made available.

A slow-paced and often ponderous inspection of two brothers, their relationship and their failing business, depicted in wiggly brush strokes and a limited colour palette, told across decades and 500 pages might not sound like the most essential graphic novel of the year but I honestly think might be. Every page of this book is a masterclass in the form, every scene both poignant and meaningful. Seth achieves an alchemy on the page, of which very few cartoonists are capable. The story assembles itself before our eyes, panel by panel, through attractive and deceptively simple linework, while every moving part of the story shifts and grows almost imperceptibly. When reading it, the characters and the world they inhabit often seemed more real to me than our own.

And when I finished the book I put it down and sat and thought for a long time about life, and people, and comics, and tried to pinpoint just how the story had affected me so.

Seth is a genius and you should read this book.

Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh, DC Ink

I've been a fan of Steve Pugh's drawing since I was a teenager. I was lucky enough to work with him a few years ago and the experience only strengthened my admiration for him and his work. I've bought everything he's done in pretty much the last decade, regardless of what it is, and when I heard that he'd collaborated with the excellent Mariko Tamaki I knew that the final result would be something special. I should maybe add that I've never been a huge fan of the character Harley Quinn, although I thought she was fun in the Batman animated series and Margot Robbie's portrayal in the Suicide Squad movie a few years ago was superb, despite the film not really being to my taste.

Breaking Glass reimagines Harley as a high school student with a drag queen fairy god mother and a wardrobe to die for, and it's so good that it singlehandedly changed my mind about the character's dramatic potential. The book tackles some serious issues, while also managing to tell a fun, frequently kinetic story. It looks great and, like Clyde Fans, has a tightly controlled generally cool-grey-blue colour scheme - with popping reds used to great effect. A fascinating cast, the best costume design in any comic all year and a story that satisfying bucks the most fashionable mainstream storytelling trends, I highly recommend this one.

This year I also very much enjoyed Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me - a toxic romance by Mariko Tamaki (again!) this time with fabulous art by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell and Are You Listening? a fascinating study of grief and friendship by Tilly Walden, both published by :01 First Second. Other highlights were The Book of Forks, Rob Davis' fitting finale to the excellent and delightfully surreal Motherless Oven trilogy (SelfMadeHero) and Kevin Huizenga’s The River at Night (D&Q), which defeats any attempt I could make at summarising it. I read and liked a lot of comics this year, but these in particular are excellent examples of what the medium is capable of as an art form, as well as being fine works by highly accomplished practitioners. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did - and now I'm off to reread them all again.

David Baillie writes and draws comics and can be found at www.davidbaillie.net

Read More: David Baillie on the art of writing comics


When you’re making your own book it’s hard to find time to read other people’s work properly. Lots of the comics creators I talked to at The Lakes International Comics Festival in Kendal this year said the same thing - that they had a pile of unread books at home too, which made me feel a lot better.

However, I enjoyed Jon McNaught’s Kingdom (Nobrow) - a tale of a family weekend at the seaside, beautifully drawn; Jon is a printmaker, and the restricted colour palette and lino print-like panels are a joy. Rachael Ball’s fantastical Wolf (SelfMadeHero), a hauntingly pencil-drawn fable of love and loss, and Bryan and Mary Talbot’s more than timely Rain (Jonathan Cape), a very human ecological and political rallying cry.

I also enjoyed - and admired - ex-DC Thompson artist Stevie White’s terrific artwork for The Broon Windsors (Viz), a wonderful Dudley D Watkins pastiche.

Kate Charlesworth’s Sensible Footwear is published by Jonathan Cape.

Read More: Kate Charlesworth on her graphic history of lesbian life in the UK

Look out for Graphic Content's choice of the best of the year soon