Books·Spring Preview

15 Canadian comics we can't wait to read in spring 2022

A new year means new books! Here are the comics by or with Canadian creators that we're excited to read in the first half of 2022.

A new year means new books! Here are the comics by or with Canadian creators that we're excited to read in the first half of 2022.

Saga #55 by Fiona Staples & Brian K. Vaughan

Saga is a comic book series by Fiona Staples, left, and writer Brian K. Vaughan. (Image Comics, Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan began the Saga series, a space opera about lovers from warring worlds, nearly a decade ago and have since sold 6.8 million copies. The award-winning and cult-famous series went on hiatus in 2018 — on a cliffhanger — and returns with a double issue for an update on Hazel and her family of alien outcasts on the run.

Saga #55 will be published on Jan. 22, 2022.

Staples is a comic book artist from Calgary. Besides her award-winning work on Saga, she's drawn comics for series Mystery Society, Done to Death, Archie and more.

Vaughan is an award-winning American writer, whose previous comics include Y: The Last Man and the Paper Girls series.

Our Little Secret by Emily Carrington

Our Little Secret is a memoir by Emily Carrington. (Drawn & Quarterly)

Artist Emily Carrington, now in her 50s, looks back on a traumatic winter when she was 15 years old. She lived with her single father in a drafty rural home, enduring the harsh cold winter of the Maritimes. Their neighbour, spying a vulnerable girl, offered his assistance — changing the course of her life for much worse. As an adult, Emily experiences depression, goes to therapy and battles against the justice system to find peace.

Our Little Secret will be published on Feb. 22, 2022.

Carrington is a poet and illustrator of picture books. She was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize in 2017. Raised in Prince Edward Island, Carrington now lives on the Gulf Islands. Our Little Secret is Carrington's debut book.

Chef's Kiss by Danica Brine & Jarrett Melendez

Chef's Kiss is a graphic novel by Danica Brine, left, and Jarrett Melendez. (@danica.brine/Facebook, Oni Press, @JarrettMelendez/Twitter)

Ben Cook, a fresh and increasingly desperate college graduate, can't land a job in literature to save his life. When he sees a "No Experience Necessary" sign, Ben puts his dreams aside to work in a kitchen. He assures himself it's just a quick detour, but Ben's plans get complicated when he develops a crush on chef Liam.

Chef's Kiss will be published on March 1, 2022.

Danica Brine is a comic book and children's book illustrator from Moncton, N.B. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, and on the covers of comic book series Wayward, Elephantmen and Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor.

Jarrett Melendez is an American food writer, a regular contributor to Bon Appetit and author of the cookbook The Comic Kitchen. 

Chef's Kiss is coloured by Hank Jones from Atlanta, Georgia and lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou from the U.K.

Naomi: Season 2 by Jamal Campbell, Brian Michael Bendis & David F. Walker

Artist Jamal Campbell, left, and writers David F. Walker, top right, and Brian Michael Bendis, bottom right, are the creators of Naomi Season Two. (http://www.jamalcampbell.com/, DC Comics, @DavidWalker1201/Twitter, Sasha Haagensen/Getty Images for Pizza Hut)

The original creators of the comic book Naomi, the story of a small town heroine who joins Young Justice and Justice League, have returned with a second six-issue series about Naomi McDuffie, also known as Powerhouse. The secrets of Naomi's powers and her place in the DC Universe will be explored with appearances from Black Adam, Superman and the villain Zumbado. A television show based on the series will premiere in 2022.

Naomi Season Two #1 will be published on March 8, 2022.

Jamal Campbell is a comic book artist from Toronto. He's also the artist behind the Far Sector comics, written by N.K. Jemisin, and has contributed to series like Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Justice League of America and Nightwing.

David F. Walker is an award-winning comic book writer, filmmaker and adjunct professor from Portland. His writing appears in series like Luke Cage, Occupy Avengers and Nighthawk.

Brian Michael Bendis is an Eisner Award-winning writer for DC Comics. He previously wrote and consulted for Marvel, contributing to comics like Daredevil and The Avengers and co-creating Spider-Man: Miles Morales. He also created the comic book series Jinx and won a Peabody Award as the co-creator and consulting producer of Netflix's Jessica Jones

Squire by Sara Alfageeh & Nadia Shammas

Squire is a comic book by Sara Alfageeh, left, and Nadia Shammas. (sara-alfa.com, nadiashammas.com)

Squire, a fantasy graphic novel, follows a young woman named Aiza. She's a member of the Ornu people, a subjugated group in the crumbling Bayt-Saiji Empire. With war on the horizon, Aiza enlists to train as a Squire in hopes it will lead her to Knighthood — and full citizenship. But as Aiza navigates the social and physical rigours of military training, she realizes the Empire's plans for "the greater good" may not be what's best for her people.

Squire is available on March 8, 2022.

Nadia Shammas is a Palestinian American writer currently living in Toronto. Her previous work includes CORPUS: A Comic Anthology of Bodily Ailments and Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin. 

Sara Alfageeh is a Jordanian American illustrator from Boston. She's illustrated comics and picture books, including for Marvel Comics and Star Wars.

Stillwater: The Escape #1 by Chip Zdarsky, Ramon K. Perez, Ethan Young, Soo Lee, Jason Loo & Andrew Wheeler

Stillwater: The Escape is a comic book by Chip Zdarsky and Ramón K Pérez, top left and right, along with Ethan Young, middle left, Soo Lee, middle right, Jason Loo, bottom left, and Andrew Wheeler, bottom right. (zdars.co, Rich Stambolian, @Rebel_Loo/Twitter, Image Comics, Submitted by Ramón K Pérez, http://www.sooleedraws.com/, TO Comix)

Stillwater is a mysterious town with some unusual rules: no one can die and no one can leave. This special one-shot issue of the horror series shares more chilling tales from the town, including what happens to characters who manage to free themselves — or so they think. 

The Stillwater series was created by Chip Zdarsky and Ramón K Pérez. They've brought together a cast of guest creators for this 40-page issue.

Stillwater: The Escape #1 will be available on March 9, 2022.

Zdarsky is an Eisner Award-winning comic book creator from Toronto. He's contributed to series like Howard the Duck, Jughead and Spider-Man, and co-created comics like Kaptara, Sex Criminals and Afterlift

Pérez is an Eisner and Harvey Award-winning artist. His acclaimed work can be seen in the comic Jane, written by Aline Brosh Mckenna, and in series like The All-New Hawkeye and The Amazing Spider-Man: Learning to Crawl.

Jason Loo is a cartoonist from Toronto. He is best known for the series The Pitiful Human-Lizard and Afterlift. He also worked on the Captain Canuck reboot.

Andrew Wheeler is an Eisner and Schuster Award-winning comic book writer from Toronto. His work can be seen in Wonder Woman, Dungeons & Dragons and Shout Out.

Ethan Young is an American comic book writer, known for books like Nanjing: The Burning City, The Dragon Path, Space Bear and The Battles of Bridget Lee.

Soo Lee is a comic book artist and illustrator from New York. Some of her previous books include Ash & Thorn and House of Slay.

Marvel's Chip Zdarsky on how to be a successful comic book creator

3 years ago
Duration 4:32
The writer and illustrator of comic book characters such as Daredevil, Spider-Man on how to make it in the comic book industry.

Take the Long Way Home by Jon Claytor

Take the Long Way Home is a comic book by Jon Claytor. (@jonclaytor/Twitter, Conundrum Press)

Less than two years sober and fresh from a break up, artist Jon Claytor leaves Halifax and embarks on an eight-week road trip across the country. His final stop will be an artist's residency in Prince Rupert, B.C., where he'll draw a graphic novel about his trip. Along the way, Jon attends sobriety meetings, pops in on old exes and friends, gets lost and finds his way. 

Take the Long Way Home will be available on April 1, 2022.

Claytor is a painter and writer based in Halifax. Working in oil paint, watercolour, film and digital comics, Claytor's work has been exhibited in Toronto, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv. The Long Way Home is his second book after Skeleton Park People. Claytor published a comic strip called Life Paths in 2021 as part of the CBC Creator Network. 

Rave by Jessica Campbell 

Rave is a comic book by Jessica Campbell. (Drawn & Quarterly)

This graphic novel follows a 15-year-old girl named Lauren, who is a faithful member of an evangelical church. After her devout parents banish evolution textbooks from the house, Lauren goes to study and sleeps over at her classmate Mariah's house. The evening develops into something Lauren never expected, and she's left to sort out a lifetime's worth of internalized homophobia and Christian guilt.

Rave will be available on April 5, 2022.

Jessica Campbell is an artist, originally from Victoria, whose work has been exhibited across the U.S. and Canada. Her previous books include Hot or Not: 20th Century Male Artists and XTC69.

The Junction by Norm Konyu 

The Junction is a comic by Norm Konyu. (Titan Comics)

In this graphic novel, an 11 year-old boy named Lucas Jones disappears from his hometown of Medford. He miraculously returns 12 years later on his uncle's doorstep. But Lucas hasn't aged a day and cannot tell anybody what happened to him or his father, who went missing at the same time. A detective and child psychologist team up to try to piece the few clues together — four Polaroid pictures and a journal that mentions a place called "The Junction."

The Junction is available on April 5, 2022.

Norm Konyu is a Canadian animator and illustrator living in the U.K. The Junction is his first book.

Time Zone J by Julie Doucet 

Time Zone J is a comic by Julie Doucet. (Drawn & Quarterly)

In Time Zone JMontreal artist Julie Doucet draws from her old diary entries to chronicle a whirlwind love affair from her early 20s. After developing an intimate correspondence with a reader overseas — not unheard of in the 1980s, when comic artists often mailed their work and communicated with readers through letters — Doucet flies from Montreal to France to meet the soldier, who's on furlough for a few days. 

Time Zone J is available on April 19, 2022.

Julie Doucet began drawing and publishing mini comics in 1988, and was featured in the anthology Heck! Comic Art of the Late 1980s. She started her groundbreaking strip Dirty Plotte in the 1990s, becoming an underground heroine and winning the Harvey Award for best new talent. Her comics — part-dream, part-diary — have been published serially as well as in collected formats. She famously quit the male-dominated comics industry in the late 1990s to focus on her other artwork. Time Zone J is her first inked comic since that announcement.

Disciples by Benjamin Marra, David Birke & Nicholas McCarthy

Disciples is a graphic novel by Benjamin Marra, David Birke, Nicholas McCarthy. (Fantagraphics)

Horror filmmakers David Birke and Nicholas McCarthy team up with Canadian cartoonist Benjamin Marra for Disciples. The graphic novel begins one night in 1978, when two teenage girls, Wendy and Clara, go missing. Clara turns up alive after five months in Death Valley National Park. Years later as an adult, Clara has changed her identity to protect her and her daughter Wren. She's the sole survivor of "The California Cult," whose leader Billy Joe has never been apprehended.

Disciples is available on April 19, 2022.

Marra's previous graphic novels include American Blood, Night Business and Terror Assaulter (O.M.W.O.T.). He received a Grammy nomination for best boxed or special limited edition package in 2017 for the Wayfaring Strangers album Acid Nightmares. 

David Birke is a screenwriter from Los Angeles, known for films like Elle and Slender Man. Nicholas McCarthy is a filmmaker known for movies like The Pact, At the Devil's Door and The Prodigy.

Version Control by David A. Robertson, Scott B. Henderson & Donovan Yaciuk

Version Control: The Reckoner Rises Vol. 2 is a graphic novel by David A. Robertson, left, Donovan Yaciuk, top right, and Scott B. Henderson. (Amber Green, Highwater Press, Dave Swiecicki, Portage & Main Press)

Version Control continues the adventures of teen heroes, Cole and Eva, as they fight to protect their home, Wounded Sky First Nation. Their old adversary Mihko Laboratories has started up an old project, developing new horrors for the pair to conquer. After a vicious battle with Mihko's latest creation, Cole is hanging by a thread and Eva is left to take on the dangerous investigation alone. Version Control is part of the Reckoner Rises series. The first volume was called Breakdown

Version Control will be published on April 26, 2022.

David A. Robertson has published over 20 books across a variety of genres, including the graphic novels Will I See? and Sugar Falls and a middle-grade fantasy series called The Misewa Saga. He has twice co-won the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — illustration with artist Julie Flett, for their picture books On the Trapline and When We Were Alone.

Scott B. Henderson is an award-winning author and illustrator from Winnipeg. He's previously collaborated with Robertson on books like Sugar Falls, The Chief, 7 Generations and other books. He's also the artist behind the A Girl Called Echo series.

Donovan Yaciuk's colouring work can also be seen in comics for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and Highwater Press, including the A Girl Called Echo series.

To say Cree author David A. Robertson is prolific is a bit of an understatement. He started his writing career in 2009, and has already published more than 20 titles. This fall he has three books being released. This week on Unreserved, an extended conversation with the author.

    Shelterbelts by Jonathan Dyck 

    Shelterbelts is a graphic novel by Jonathan Dyck. (Conundrum Press)

    Shelterbelts tells the story of a Mennonite community breaking open, as traditional beliefs and modern values collide. The schisms in the community reach a turning point when a non-denominational mega-church opens on the edge of the rural village. Shelterbelts weaves together scenes from the community — a pastor and his queer daughter contend with lost parish members, a librarian writes prescriptive notes in books for her patrons and young activists fight with a farmer over pipeline construction on his land.

    Shelterbelts will be published on May 1, 2022.

    Jonathan Dyck is a cartoonist from Winnipeg. He's received several provincial prizes for his illustrations, including a silver medal at the 2021 Alberta Magazine Awards and the Manuela Dias Book Design and Illustration Award at the 2018 Manitoba Book Awards.

    July Underwater by Zoe Maeve 

    July Underwater is a comic book by Zoe Maeve. (Conundrum Press)

    A hot Toronto summer begins without fanfare for recent high school graduate Lina, who mostly spends time with her best friend Cara. But Lina begins to unravel when she learns her childhood friend, Alicia, has died. She looks for answers in Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse and Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt, and starts to think about what happens when friends drift apart from one another.

    July Underwater is available on June 1, 2022.

    Zoe Maeve is a comics artist based in Montreal. She published her first book, The Giftin 2021 and was nominated for an Ignatz Award. July Underwater previously won an Expozine Award in 2016.

    World Record Holders by Guy Delisle, translated by Helge Dascher

    World Record Holders is a comic by Guy Delisle. (Drawn & Quarterly)

    World Record Holders collects set pieces from Guy Delisle's illustrious career as a cartoonist. Delisle includes wistful memories from childhood, as well as awkward moments as a well-known artist. He writes about meeting an angry woman at one of his own exhibitions who claimed he destroyed her marriage, about a childish Bows and Arrows game that turns life-threatening and about how a coded message from space is received and debated.

    World Record Holders is available on June 14, 2022.

    Delisle is an award-winning artist, cartoonist and author who was born in Quebec City and now lives in France. His books include Factory Summers and Hostage and the travelogues Burma Chronicles, Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, Pyongyang and Shenzhen.

    Helge Dascher is a frequent translator of Delisle's comic books. She's also translated Aya by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie, White Rapids by Pascal Blanchet and Paul Goes Fishing by Michel Rabagliati.

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