2020 Comics/Manga/Graphic Novel Thread (Image Intensive)

Hello Waypoint readers!
This is a continuation of the thread started in 2019 by @ClairvoyantVibes.
Here is where you can share any of the comics or manga you’ve been reading in 2020, maybe include some of the thoughts the work inspired.
Anything you’ve read in 2020 is fair game, publication date doesn’t matter.
I got so many great reccomendations from the thread last year that I really wanted to keep it going.
I’ll start with I’ve read recently:



Beautiful Creatures by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoet (2014) , a dark fairy tale with mysterious allegories that plays with the idea of tiny people like the Barrowers. The art is beautiful watercolors with an innocence that sharply contrasts with a story that gets more and more grim.
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg (2013) A lighthearted story within many interlocking stories, containing gods, creation myths and a storyteller trying to find a tiny part of his soul that escaped when he was split into three people.

Enjoyed and reccomend both!

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Discovered an author/artist I liked a lot this month, Tom King and Mitch Gerard’s. First I read Mister Miracle, a re-examination of a lesser known DC character who inhabits the space god universe of DC where two planets ruled by god like beings are constantly at war. Loved the artwork, loved the thoughtful approach to the themes (escape and escapism a main one) so much that I borrowed
The Sheriff of Babylon by the same team, which I think I liked even more. Murder mystery that takes place in Iraq right after the invasion (2003), again, really liked the art and story.
Put some more King on hold, some Batman and Swamp Thing.

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Finished the final volume of Black Hammer this evening. It’s an incredible series. Wonderful story riffing on the golden-age of comics with the heart of the best Twilight Zone episodes and the utter weirdness of The Outer Limits. That’s a pretty cheesy reviewer-y way to put it but it’s how I am processing in the moment.

So, yeah, highly recommend it.

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Towards the end of last year I ended up subscribing to Shonen Jump digitally through Viz. For $2 a month you get access to series as new chapters publish each week and a pretty extensive backlog of some pretty “iconic” series. As of this year I have read the first two volumes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and am currently reading Death Note. I must confess, I find the success of both a little baffling. JoJo for its wonderful and ludicrous character design, poses, and splash pages, has a plot that I found to be pretty tedious or dragged out to an absurd degree. It somehow often times seems to suck the fun/absurdity out of the campiness that it is reveling in?! It reminded me in many of ways of watching Dragon Ball Z as a kid because some cool stuff would happen but it would take like these excruciating days/weeks of needless build up to get there. Death Note has a story that I am at least enjoying as it is a pulp mystery/thriller at its core but I think it shows its age in a very interesting way. It is an extremely early 2000s work of art in just about every way. I find the art to be very static and the exposition inconsistent/odd given the characters but boy am I at least curious to see how it ends.

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They are comics that started last year, but are continuing this year. There was a comic called Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory that ended a couple years ago, and is maybe my favorite comic of all time.

John Layman is now writing a book called The Outer Darkness with an artist named Afu Chan. It’s basically Star Trek with demons and it rules very hard.

Rob Guillory is writing and drawing a book called Farmhand that is about a farm where they grow replacement body parts from special seeds. It also rules very hard.

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The latest Delicious in Dungeon by Ryoko Kui, volume 7, published 2019. I noticed the next translated volume is supposed to be out in March.
Still love this series. Volume 7 explores the backstory of my favorite character, the dwarf Senshi.

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I cannot get over how good, how pleasant, this series is. Absolutely delightful in every way (spare the frustratingly “slow” publishing schedule).

Ryoko Kui published a short story collection at the end or 2019 as well that’s on my list to check out.

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I’ve also just started catching up with Shanower and Young’s excellent adaptations of the OZ books. Road to Oz and The Emerald City of Oz.

There’s a manic energy to the art that makes everything off kilter in a way that I enjoy.
There are adaptations of 6 books in total starting with Wizard of OZ, for those not familiar there are actually a ton of OZ books, 1-6 definately written by Baum, I don’t remember off hand exsctly when he stopped.

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I love this Oz books. And Baum wrote 14 oz books. His family wrote the other dozen or so.

I’m reading Goldie Vance for the first time and its pretty slick.

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I read Inio Asano’s latest work to be released in English, Downfall.

I… hmm… there are parts of this story I like but I have a hard time trying to make sense of what, if any, sort of philosophical/world view Asano is conveying in his work. Downfall has a bleakness similar to Goodnight Punpun but it doesn’t go as “black pilled” and disturbing in some regards; in others it is worse, including a depicted scene of sexual assault, and heavy implications of assault/ sexual harassment before the story starts. Like, I guess what I am trying to say is, I have no idea if this is good on the surface or if it has to be examined on a multitude of layers. Maybe it’s supposed to be humorous or self aware that the protagonist who so closely mirrors Asano is such a massive piece of shit or maybe the horror/drama is in the lack of awareness? I dunno. I feel like Asano is rapidly becoming someone’s work who I guess I would call a “problematic fav.” I can’t decide if his stories are meant to be as on the surface as they appear or if readers are meant to deconstruct them further. Like, yes, he focuses a lot on characters coming of age, navigating early adulthood, and everyone is undeniably a little self-absorbed and clueless at that point but his more recent work is cut with a cruelty and sort of nihilism that I find unsettling if taken at its face. I am not sure I want to go through that effort when it involved reading some stuff that comes across as very edgelord and self absorbed in an unintelligent way. I will say I am thoroughly enjoying his ongoing series Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction but also won’t be surprised if he turns it into a similar dark hellscape in the final act simply to have something mature and moody to claim to say.

It is nice that I guess the work does make me think even if it is in such an ineloquent manner. The Comics Journal actually has a very good review of the book and Asano that may be worth reading.

Using this time to re-read some of my favorites from my collection:
Mouse Guard by David Petersen, Finder by Carla Speed McNeil


A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi and Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind by Hayao Miyazaki

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Mouse Guard has fascinated me for years. Has it concluded at this time?! Is the obvious Redwall comp warranted?

It hasn’t concluded, the author had a story arc laid out, switched to compilation books with other artists for the last two volumes (Tales of the Guard). Don’t know the details. Haven’t heard of Redwall?
Love this series, so much detail in the art and design.


His blog was just updated, just made a cover for a Dark Crystal comic

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No image cause I’m predominantly reading digitally but recent quarantine reading has been all-star superman on dc universe

Redwall is a series of child fantasy books about mice. If memory serves all of the novels are centered around Redwall monastery and feature heroic figures albeit as mice, ferrets, etc. They were wonderful to read in elementary school.

As to comics I have been reading, I am making my way through Demon Slayer by Koyoharu Gotouge and, uh, really do not get why it is so popular. Granted I am 60 chapters in and still reading but that’s largely because it is free on the Viz/Shonen Jump app ($2 a month, it is an incredible deal). I am also still reading Chainsaw Man by Tatsuki Fujimoto. I have very little idea what is going in the plot at this point but look at these pages:

c/w blood, abstract dismemberment

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I find mouse guard and mice templar to be more entertaining reads than red wall. But I never liked the red wall books much.
Mice Templar is one of my favorite gritty fantasy comics. Even if the idea of Rats being bad is 100%anathema to my real life stance (mice are fucking terrible. Rats aren’t so bad).

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I’ve also started to use the libraries digital service, just finished Fragments of Horror by Junji Ito (screenshots from kindle)

(second image has graphic content, warning)

Last year I read almost everything Tom King has ever published. If you liked Mister Miracle and Sheriff then I highly recommend prioritizing his Vision book, though all of them are great. <edit.> Oh man, and The Omega Men. Can’t beleive I forgot that.

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Here’s a list of my recent-ish reading separated into superhero and non-superhero. I’m new here so apologies if I’m re-treading any ground. I just read the 2019 thread and extracted a few recommendations that I’ll definitely be picking up so thanks for that. I tend to go for books with clever plotting, a sense of humor and a moral compass or a concern with society-scale issues, usually in the action-oriented superhero, sci-fi or fantasy genres. I’m not much into manga, soap-opera or open-ended stories but only because I haven’t been exposed to them much.

It's long, so I’ll hide it.

Non-Superhero

Coda by Simon Spurrier - Pure post-apocalypse fantasy with heart and melancholy. This is probably my top recommendation. Big Moebius / Metal Hurlant vibes. The emotional and moral stakes emerge surprisingly over the run and I found it really affecting. It’s also very funny.

Buddha by Osamu Tezuka. Retelling of the life of Siddhartha Gautama. Way more Adventure than Theology. Long but not long-for-manga. An effortless but spiritual experience. A good long quarantine read with relevance to our social and spiritual responsibilities. @sputnik mentioned it last year and I agree with his take.

The Dead Hand by Kyle Higgins - 80’s cold-war-style intrigue set in a mysteriously isolated american town with a dark secret.

Deathbed by Joshua Williamson - Over-the-top adventure centered on a Hemingway/most-interesting-man-in-the-world archetype and his amanuensis. Interrogates ideas of life-narratives and legacy. How they serve us and fail to serve us.

Superhero Books

Author Tom King has been mentioned so I’ll just note that Waypoint fans might most enjoy The Omega Men. It follows a lesser known Green Lantern on an undercover mission to infiltrate a group of people who are either terrorists or freedom fighters and handles issues of colonialism, militarism and the costs of violence.

Black Bolt by Saladin Ahmed - Basically about the definition of the human in the carceral state. But like, with Black Bolt. Saladin Ahmed really has a handle on treating society-scale issues with personal-scale stories.

House of X/Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman is as good as everyone says and perfectly compiled in one collection now. A really smart and extremely sci-fi take on how revolutions do or do not evolve over time.

Silver Surfer: Black by Donny Cates. It’s got elements of dense 70’s Dr. Strange psychedelia, Gendy Tartakosky-style fights, and simple but strong emotional stakes.

Finally, Cosmic Ghost Rider: Baby Thanos Must Die by Donny Cates is just very funny.

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Pages from Miyazaki’s masterpiece, Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind that I’m re-reading. These are from the more recent collection of two large hardcover books, as you can see the sound effects are not translated (they are in previous collections). For those who have only seen the anime, it’s very good, but only covers about half the material found in the manga.

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