Books·Books of the Year

The best Canadian comics of 2018

2018 was a great year for books. Here are CBC Books's top 16 Canadian comics that came out this year.

2018 was a great year for books. Here are CBC Books's top 16 Canadian comics that came out this year.

Godhead by Ho Che Anderson

Ho Che Anderson is a comic book creator based in Toronto (Fantagraphics)

This gritty sci-fi graphic novel by Toronto comic creator Ho Che Anderson envisions a world where a multinational corporation is developing a machine that allows them to communicate directly with God. Godhead examines the repercussions of this technology from the interpersonal all the way up to its global, scientific and religious implications.

XTC69 by Jessica Campbell

Jessica Campbell is a Canadian artist and humourist. (Koyama Press/Michelle Geoga)

In the follow-up to her tongue-in-cheek Hot or Not, Jessica Campbell's XTC69 follows a crew from all-female planet L8DZ N1T3. Led by Commander Jessica Campbell, they search the universe for men that are worthy of breeding with and end up discovering earth's sole survivor — Jessica Campbell. 

Brat by Michael DeForge

Michael DeForge is a comic creator based in Toronto. (Koyama Press/Matthew James-Wilson)

In​ Brat, an aging star of delinquency is quickly losing status in the world of minor crime, as younger, more exciting pranksters threaten to take over and erase her legacy. Michael DeForge is an award-winning Toronto comic creator whose most recent books include Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero and A Western World.

Son of Hitler by Anthony Del Col & Geoff Moore, illustrated by Jeff McComsey

Anthony Del Col (left) is the co-creator of Son of Hitler. (Submitted by Anthony Del Col, Image Comics)

In this historical thriller, a British Nazi hunter becomes obsessed with finding the rumoured illegitimate son of Adolf Hitler. Armed with stolen documents, she tracks down a young man with an explosive, violent temper and assigns him the mission of assassinating Hitler.

Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal

Woman World is Aminder Dhaliwal's first graphic novel. (Drawn & Quarterly, Kenneth Hung)

In Woman World, a genetic defect has left the earth populated entirely by women and natural disasters have ravaged the planet. Only Grandma remembers a world with men — a time of that's-what-she-said jokes and heroic mall cops named Paul Blart. Initially created as a series of bi-weekly comic strips posted to Instagram, Woman World was published after gaining a sizeable following online.

Dirty Plotte: The Complete Julie Doucet by Julie Doucet

Julie Doucet began publishing her visionary comic book series Dirty Plotte in the 1990s. (Kate Mada)

Julie Doucet burst on the comics scene in the 1990s with a groundbreaking comic series called Dirty Plotte, an irreverent and feminist strip that remains influential nearly three decades later. This volume collects her comic strips, and also includes unpublished work and essays by Doucet and tributes by fellow legends like Adrian Tomine.​

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson & Emily Carroll

Laurie Halse Anderson's (left) book Speak is brought to life by illustrations from Emily Carroll (right). (Raincoast Books, Farrar Straus & Giroux, Emily Carroll)

Originally published in 1999 as a YA novel, Speak is the story of a teenage girl named Melinda who is ostracized by her peers for calling the police and shutting down an end-of-summer party. Unbeknownst to the other students, Melinda was raped by an upperclassman at the party and through an art project she struggles to face what happened to her.

Feast of Fields by Sean Karemaker

Feast of Fields is a graphic novel by Vancouver comic and exhibition artist Sean Karemaker. (Conundrum Press)

In this black and white book, Sean Karemaker records a grim period of his mother's childhood, spent in an orphanage in Denmark. Karemaker's love and admiration for his mother is evident on every carefully designed page, drawing a woman whose kindness, compassion and curiosity outweighed the tremendous sadness of her circumstances.

Roaming Foliage by Patrick Kyle

Patrick Kyle is an award-winning comic creator based in Toronto. (Matthew James-Wilson)

In the post-human bizarro fairy tale world of Roaming Foliagesentient beings roam a magical garden in search of solutions to their very human problems — loneliness, envy, a forgotten sense of purpose. One creature covets his friend's suit, which ups his charisma stats, but the suit-maker is in danger of permanent extinction. Another pair join to make a more complete being, while a pumpkin rolls around after them, jealous of their companionship. 

Young Frances by Hartley Lin

Hartley Lin has published comics under his pseudonym Ethan Rilly. (Adhouse Books)

Hartley's Lin's stunning book follows a young, work-obsessed law clerk named Frances Scarland, struggling to find balance and meaning in her life and career. Her best friend and roommate is Vickie, a talented actress looking for her big break. Young Frances is an extension of Lin's award-winning Pope Hats series, and marks his first full-length book under his real name.

Manfried the Man by Caitlin Major, illustrated by Kelly Bastow

Caitlin Major (left) and Kelly Bastow (right) are the team behind the graphic novel Manfried the Man. (Penguin Random House Canada)

Manfried the Man imagines an alternate universe where anthropomorphic cats keep dim-witted, but adorable, human men as pets. When slacker Steve Catson takes in his pet Manfried, he gets a pouty man who enjoys sitting on laptop keys, screaming "hey! hey!" when hungry and fighting passive aggressively with other mans. First published as a webcomic, Major and Bastow are now working on their second Manfried the Mantitle.

Gothic Tales of Haunted Love edited by Hope Nicholson & S.M. Beiko

Gothic Tales of Haunted Love is a collection of Gothic romance comics curated by Hope Nicholson (left) and S.M. Beiko (right).

Inspired by 1970s gothic romance comics, this anthology collects 22 new original stories from creators like David A. Robertson, Scott Chantler, S.M. Beiko, Hope Nicholson and more. Love and horror go hand-in-hand in these comics, as heroes and heroines contend with spirits, monsters and other devilish beings in their otherworldly quests for romance.

The Vagabond Valise by Siris, translated by Rupert Bottenberg

The Vagabond Valise is Siris's English-language debut. (Conundrum Press)

A founding father of the Quebec's vibrant comix underground, Siris has released his first graphic novel in the form of the autobiographical The Vagabond Valise. Representing himself as a chick-headed boy named Chick-o, Siris documents a coming-of-age spent in a series of terrible foster families, separated from his four older siblings and parents. In discovering a talent for art, Chick-o finds glimmers of hope under grim circumstances.

Somnambulance by Fiona Smyth

Fiona Smyth is a painter, illustrator and cartoonist. (Koyama Press)

This anthology collects comics spanning the 30-year career of celebrated feminist illustrator and cartoonist Fiona Smyth. Beginning with Smyth's student work from 1985, Somnambulance is a vibrant, wild and transgressive collection of comics featuring mostly-naked, partly-human beings on quests that are spiritual, irreverent and sexy. 

Surviving the City by Tasha Spillett, illustrated by Natasha Donovan

Surviving the City is Tasha Spillett's debut graphic novel. It's illustrated by Natasha Donovan. (Portage & Main Press)

High school students Miikwan, who is of Anishinaabe descent, and Dez, who is of Inninew descent, are best friends in Winnipeg. Both have experienced loss, as women in their lives have gone missing or been murdered. In Surviving the City, Miikwan and Dez lean on each other and their communities for support and strive to change the devastating trend of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Red River Resistance by Katherena Vermette, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson and coloured by Donovan Yaciuk

Red River Resistance was written by Katherena Vermette, illustrated by Scott B. Henderson and coloured by Donovan Yaciuk. (Portage and Main Press)

In the second book of Katherena Vermette's A Girl Called Echo series, Echo Desjardins is settling into a new home, making new friends and going to class when she's once again yanked through time to an important moment in Indigenous history. It's the summer of 1869 and Echo is on the banks of the Red River where Canadian surveyors are taking land from Métis families and the young heroine gets caught up in the resistance movement.


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