Best Graphic Novels 2022: Free Comic Book Day founder gives his 8 picks – The Mercury News

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I don’t mess around when I want recommendations for the best new graphic novels.
I go straight to the amazing Flying Colors Comics and Other Cool Stuff in Concord and talk to store owner Joe Field.
He’s an expert on pretty much all things comics culture related — having founded the community’s biggest annual event, Free Comic Book Day, back in 2002.
Field never lets me down when it comes to delivering cool recommendations for things to read. Plus, a chat with Field often carries the added bonus of being able to talk about prog rock and the Beach Boys — two subjects he is as passionate about as comics. (Honestly, we tend to ramble on at least as much about Brian Wilson and Genesis as we do Bruce Wayne and Galactus.)
With the gift-giving season right around the corner, I figured folks might be looking for some suggestions on what to get the graphic novel fans on their shopping lists. And Field was eager to help out.
Here are Field’s picks for eight of the top graphic novels of 2022, complete with his writeups on why you might want to check them out. These books are available at local comic stores, such as Field’s own Flying Colors (, as well as online.
Art and story by Alex Ross (published by Abrams ComicArts)
“The Norman Rockwell of comics, artist Alex Ross, brings us a Fantastic Four story worthy of the great Silver Age talents that inspire him, namely Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko and Neal Adams. Bright, colorful and very widescreen, Ross tells us a brand new tale that recalls stories still revered by fans more than 50 years later.”
Art and story by Kamome Shirahama (10 volumes published by Kodansha Comics)
“A surefire way to ignite a love of storytelling for readers of all ages, ‘Witch Hat Atelier’ feels like a Harry Potter movie filtered through the animation genius of Hayao Miyazaki.”
Story by Chip Zdarsky and art by Mark Bagley (published by Marvel Comics)
“Another retelling of Spider-Man’s history? It’s with the fascinating twist that each chapter represents a decade of time since the first Spider-Man story in 1962, with our lead character aging in ‘real time’ from 15 years old in the first segment to 75 years old in the last. It’s action-packed, character-driven and ultimately moving.”
Story by Skottie Young, art by Kyle Strahm (published by Image Comics)
“This epic fantasy is truly for all ages. It features endearing characters in a Jim Henson-like world, for those who love ‘Dark Crystal’ and ‘Labyrinth.’ And for those in the know with comics, it holds up to the charm and imagination of Jeff Smith’s Tolkien-esque ‘Bone’ (always recommended, too).”
Co-written by Keanu Reeves (yep, that guy) and Matt Kindt, art by Ron Garney (published by BOOM Studios)
“A violent and compelling story of the man known only as B, who only wants the truth about his existence, but in order to get it, he might have to sacrifice his sanity. This is a Keanu Reeves action movie on paper — and who knows? Maybe a future big screen box office hit.”
Written by Skottie Young, art by Humberto Ramos (published by Marvel Comics)
“This one is another all-ages winner from Skottie Young. Doctor Strange opens a school for the mystic arts. The teachers are some of Marvel’s most magical characters, including the Scarlet Witch, Magik (of the X-Men) and Brother Voodoo. Imagine Hogwart’s School with a Marvel universe twist.”
Written by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips (published by Image Comics)
“It’s riveting crime noir set in post-Loma Prieta earthquake San Francisco. Get this one for someone who loves the movies of Lee Marvin, Glenn Ford and Humphrey Bogart. There are four volumes in the ‘Reckless” series, plus a number of other great graphic novels (‘Criminal,’ ‘The Fade Out,’ ‘My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies’ and more). Definitely a big hit with mature readers.”
Adapted from Bradbury’s short stories by the hall-of-fame writers and artist of EC Comics (published by Fantagraphics)
“Love ‘Twilight Zone’? These short stories were inspired Rod Serling. They dazzle with classic comics art (Wally Wood, Jack Davis, Al Williamson, etc) and stories that will leave you thinking. This oversized collection is the best way to please longtime Bradbury fans while also being accessible enough to readers needing an introduction to one of the 20th century’s most celebrated authors.”
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