I love comics. I love science fiction. If you’ve been to my blog even once before, you already know this. So without further ado, here’s the latest list of scifi comics I wholeheartedly recommend. I hope you find something new and great to read here.
Before we jump in:
- All comics here can be bought as graphic novels/collections, not only as single issues. Your library may own many of these!
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What it’s about, because I can’t possibly explain it better: “DRIVE tells the story of a second Spanish empire, a galactic empire, and its looming war with a race called ‘The Continuum of Makers’. Humanity has built their empire using technology stolen from the Makers — and these creatures want it back with an almost religious fervor. In the brewing war, it’s clear that humanity will lose, and lose badly, unless they can find some advantage in battle. That hope arrives in the form of a tiny, mysterious creature who can drive a starship like no one’s ever seen. Now all humanity needs to do… is find 10,000 more pilots just like him. But no one knows where he’s from. We follow the crew of the scout ship Machito, who have been press-ganged into a unique mission by an Emperor they despise: Find this mysterious race, or the empire… ends.”
If you couldn’t tell from the summary, this comic is freakin’ funny. It’s not a gag comic, and not a joke a minute, but the interactions between some of the characters just about kill me. The captain is my favorite tough old broad in comics, and her exasperation is the absolute best. Mix in some serious double-crossing, secret identities, and galaxy-wide conspiracies, plus some really touching moments, and you have yourself a good space adventure.
Only the first volume of Drive is available to purchase right now, but the second has been Kickstarted, so it should be available later.
“Dustbowl cyberpunk” is apparently my jam, which I didn’t know before reading this comic set on Earth 2235, two hundred years after most plant life on the planet died. Markesha Nin lives with her father and works as a courier in the city-state of Trinity, which is ruled by various corporate factions. Unfortunately for Markesha and her father’s safety, she gets entangled in a revolutionary plot to bring down the ruling class. This has huge sci-fi world building, thrilling action, and a biracial woman protagonist, so I’m not sure what else I could want.
Two volumes of Kamikaze have been produced so far, and it’s an ongoing webcomic.
Diversity note: Nguyen is a woman of color.
I didn’t know if I was going to like this “cyber-dystopian noir” series, because the main character has such a giant chin. Look at that cover! It’s preposterous. But one does get used to it, and this first volume of an ongoing series turned out to be really good. It’s 2024, and someone broke the internet so there is absolutely no online privacy. Jack, our large-chinned hero, works as a courier for secrets, which travel on paper in a briefcase cuffed to his wrist. What happens to people who have valuable secrets? They get dragged into power struggles between various bad people, what else?
It’s a bit lighter and wittier than what I was expecting given the “noir” label, but I could definitely see how this dude could be doomed. I was left wanting to know more about his role in the downfall of online privacy, the A.I. who has questions about that exact topic, and how much worse things are going to get for Jack.
p.s. His girlfriend and business partner Oona is a biracial black woman, and she is wonderful.
The corporate evil / mad scientist / body horror mashup of my dreams. It’s a survival thriller dark comedy about repairman Logan Ibarra, who’s in the wrong place at the wrong-est time and gets trapped in a corporate lab with several others when an experiment gone horribly wrong is unleashed. The cast is predominantly people of color, the art is exuberant and has plenty of cartoony creepiness and splatter, and I would really like to know what happens next now please and thank you.
Diversity Note: Stone is trans, his first name is Tess, but some previous book covers may reflect a no-longer-used first name.
Super-fun space adventure about two “mostly platonic” life partner gals who are interdimensional bounty-hunters perpetually scrounging for rent money. Kim Q. is a trans woman, Kim D. is a bi woman of color. They basically run around shooting stuff and making questionable choices, such as using necromancy to accidentally resurrect a giant rampaging sandworm instead of Kim D.’s aunt. It’s fun, it’s heartfelt, it’s female friendship front and center, and I am enjoying the heck out of it.
There are two collected editions so far, and the third will be titled “Oh S#!t It’s Kim & Kim” which should give you a pretty good idea of the tone of this series. I mean that in the best way.
Content warning: Kim Q.’s father is a jerk and does not accept her transition, so there is some deadnaming and misgendering by him.
Diversity note: Visaggio is a trans woman. Cabrera and Aguirre are Mexican.
I.D. is a quiet little graphic novella focused on conversations between three strangers who live on a future Mars, all contemplating surgery that would transplant their consciousness into another body. Instead of an adventure book that takes place in a science fiction setting, this is science fiction that asks those classic questions: who are we, how much does that depend on our bodies, and how does technology affect our identities? It’s a short book, intriguing, and well worth reading.
Seriously intriguing sci-fi graphic novel. Alden Baylor, a normal teenager, becomes the most important person in the world. The meteor shower that was supposed to be an interesting view turned out to be an alien invasion and things will never be the same. It’s not a book with a pat, easy resolution just because it has a teenage main character. When my husband and I had both finished reading this, he said “I liked how it didn’t have a happy ending.” My response: “Or maybe it DID!” I was turning this one over in my mind for several days after I read it. Good stuff.
Long but well worth it, a space-based sci-fi journey about a young woman finding her lost love. Mia signs on with a ship that travels to sites and renovates/restores them. She makes friends with the crew – one nonbinary person and the rest are women – and eventually enlists them to travel to a forbidden planet so she can say goodbye to the girl she loved.
It’s told in a combination of present events and flashbacks to Mia’s school romance, and I felt like both parts were in good balance. The secondary characters are well developed. There’s so much lovely queer rep. This was my next Tillie Walden read after Spinning and it didn’t disappoint. It’s just so warm and affirming, and a gorgeous affirmation of the value of friendship.
Diversity note: Walden is a lesbian.
I’ve read 12 volumes of this near-future sci-fi manga so far, because that’s where my library stopped. Must acquire 13! It’s about a high school student who discovers, after dying in a traffic accident, that he’s basically immortal. So-called “demi-humans” are a known thing, but Kei Nagai didn’t know he was one. The population hates and fears them, the government captures and experiments on them, and a rogue independent cell of demi-humans aren’t so amused by any of this.
This has all the mayhem and violence you’d expect from a dystopian manga where most of the protagonists and antagonists can’t die, but that’s not what’s keeping me riveted. I think it’s the combo of (1) various characters/groups in various shades of black, white, and grey pushing on each other’s choices – including the Japanese police, and (2) the increasingly fascinating tactical use of the abilities demi-humans manifest beyond invulnerability. I literally have no clue how “regular” humans are supposed to fight back against the demi-humans.
I don’t understand why there’s only a token one or two female demi-humans in the cast, and that’s a constant annoyance. But the rest is clearly compelling enough to override that or I wouldn’t have gotten this far. YMMV.
Aliens: Defiance (Amazon / Comixology / Goodreads) Written by Brian Wood. The first volume is illustrated by Tristan Jones, Riccardo Burchielli, and Tony Brescini. The second volume is illustrated by Brescini, Stephen Thompson, and Eduardo Francisco. Colored by Dan Jackson. Lettering by Nate Piekos.
How I ended up reading this book:
Husband: “You should read this Brian Wood Aliens.”
Me: “I am so over reading anything by Brian Wood that isn’t creator-owned.”
Him: “The main character is a disabled black woman.”
Me: “Put it in my TBR pile.”
So clearly he knew the right buttons to push, and I ended up reading it… and loving it. The first volume’s plot can be summarized as “Private First Class Zula Hendricks and a robot battle Aliens in space.” Doesn’t sound like much, but that’s what works about it. Wood doesn’t try to make it a huge, epic part of the franchise and end up boring or bogged down in film references. It’s just a team on a mission, and that mission is to kick Alien ass. The art team replicates the dark, claustrophobic feeling from the movies really well, and the storyline is just as corporate-conspiracy as you could ever want. Flashbacks tell the story of how Hendricks was injured, giving her character a richness and depth I don’t always see in action/adventure protagonists. The second volume keeps right on going with the same formula but higher stakes, as the players who want a pet Alien start closing in, and it was just as satisfying.
However be aware that Brian Wood has been accused of sexual harassment. Comics creator Tess Fowler, who spoke out, specifically did NOT ask for a boycott of his work, but different people have different levels of comfort separating the art from the artist.
That concludes my latest roundup of science fiction graphic novels and comics! If you have any suggestions for me, please leave them in the comments – and thanks for sharing this post on social media or with friends.