As customary every year, late November and deep into December is a period of looking back at the year that was and highlighting the best things that were released, published, and let loose on the world. We see it with music, film, books, and video games. Comics and graphic novels are no exception, with dozens of lists published during that period.
The end-of-year list, while subjective, can act as a barometer of critical acclaim. It shows what’s potentially worthy of your attention and helps build a narrative for the medium in any given year.
How To Love Comics doesn’t publish an end-of-year list. (I never do because I’m perpetually behind on reading. It’s also difficult to do enough required reading as a one-person operation.) Instead, I’ve collated all of the end-of-year lists that I could find.
Many are websites dedicated to comics, while others are general entertainment or news sites. The idea was to find a good spread, as each source has a different take and opinion.
Hopefully, you can discover a bunch of comics/graphic novels you want to read. It’s worth noting that if a comic you loved in 2022 isn’t featured doesn’t mean it’s specifically bad. There’s so much material out there that not everything can be featured.
What did the comic book websites pick?
Below is a selection of lists from many of the comic book websites out there.
Told over two parts, AIPT’s list features a variety of categories. Due to this, it goes more granular by going into different formats, genres, and even new pieces of the year.
CBR has done their annual top 100 list again this year. This list leans heavily towards Marvel and DC, with 48% of the picks. Not to say those publishers’ output are bad, but you would hope for more diversity when there are 100 spots up for grabs. That being said, much of CBR’s comic discussion nowadays is focused on the Big 2, so this is not a complete surprise.
Comic Book Herald put together a list of 35 picks. It’s an interesting list that mixes different genres, perspectives, and styles.
Writers and editors from the site pick their favourites from 2022. This is a bit more granular than other lists, with some contributors opting to pick specific issues.
In this list, Marvel Comics staff members ha picked their favourite issues from 2022. Plenty of She-Hulk, Spider-Man, X-Men, and Jeff the Land Shark love.
Multiversity Comics did heaps of pieces as part of a much larger 2022 retrospective. There are lists for best Ongoing Series, Limited Series, Graphic Novels, Manga Series, Concluded Series, New Series, Webcomics, Digital-First Series, Single Issue, One-Shot, Reprinted Editions, Anthology, Licensed Comic, and Best Translated Comic.
Newsarama has put together a top ten, which has a lot of variety. There should be something for most tastes.
The Popverse team have picked their favourite reads of 2022.
SKTCHD’s David Harper has mixed it up by turning his end-of-year list into an awards show. He gives 25 of his favourite releases a very specific award, with some including “The Perfect Marriage Award” and “The Uncomfortable Laughter Award”.
The Beat highlights their best 30 comics. A lot of different kinds of comics are features from small press to Marvel/DC and everything in between. They also had a comics you might have missed list as well.
The Comics Journal asked many of their contributors to pick their favourite comics of the year. The result is an eclectic list of underground comics, direct market gems, popular graphic novels, manga, webcomics, and mainstream comics. There’s a chaotic energy to the format, with each contributor allowed to explain their picks in their own way.
Are you looking for some new webcomics to read? This breezy list is worth checking out.
What did the entertainment sites pick?
Below are the sites in the books, entertainment, geek spaces shared as part of their end of year coverage.
This list contains a broad range and styles, as curated by a single contributor.
Den of Geek shares its top 25 list. Plenty of interesting picks throughout, with different styles, genres, and storytelling methods on offer. If that’s not enough, there is also an extensive honourable mentions section too.
Ten comics as selected by Entertainment Weekly’s resident comics journalist.
This list is impressive. A single person has listed and ranked their own top 100. Unlike the CBR list mentioned earlier, this one is far more diverse in its choice.
For something a little different, Geek Girl Authority have highlighted the best webtoons of 2022.
Find out which graphic novels were Goodreads users favourite in 2022.
IGN pick their best comics of 2022. Strangely, Immortal X-Men is listed twice.
Kotaku highlighted their favourite manga of 2022. Plenty of hits and a few less-known titles too.
A selection of ten graphic novels that Library Journal recommends.
LitHub has aggregated the top five graphic novels of 2022, based on their review system.
Looking for the best horror comics of 2022? Lit Reactor has you covered with these five selections.
Paste made the difficult choice of whittling the selection of best comics of 2022 down to ten. They also gave a healthy selection of honourable mentions.
Polygon’s list is an interesting patchwork of the comics landscape, covering superhero epics, indie gems, manga, and more.
Publisher’s Weekly conducted a critics poll for the best graphic novel. Understandably, a lot of the top selections have appeared in other lists above and below and include plenty of commentaries. It also has extensive honourable mentions lists at the bottom.
This is a fun selection of graphic novels aimed at younger readers. It includes age recommendations along with justifications for why they’re on the list.
Screen Rant offers up a superhero-heavy list. They also included a deluxe hardcover edition of a work that came out almost four years ago. While that book is great, it seems like a wasted opportunity to highlight something else.
They also highlighted the best horror comics of 2022 too.
The Mary Sue shared their top 30 list, which included a wide range of themes and styles. It also features many comics/graphic novels that I haven’t seen on other lists.
What did the news sites pick?
It wasn’t just comics and entertainment sites getting sharing lists. Some big and well-established news outlets got in on the action.
CBC highlighted the best Canadian comics of 2022.
I didn’t expect to find a list from Forbes. This once includes a selection of graphic novels with some great cartooning.
The Guardian has a selection of graphic novels that would appeal to a highbrow reader.
Comic retailer and the creator of Free Comic Book Day Joe Field picked his favourite graphic novels of 2022.
Mixed in with the historical fiction and horror novels, the Toronto Star shared their top five graphic novels of the year.
The Washington Post’s resident comics journalist selects ten great picks.
What did others pick?
This selection is kind of a catch-all for anything else that doesn’t fit in the above.
This one is probably cheating, as the former president actually shared his favourite books of 2023. It just so happened to include Kate Beaton’s graphic novel Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands.
The long-running bookseller has picked the best graphic novels of 2022. Unlike other lists, there’s no justification for why these were chosen. However, most of them have appeared in other lists, so you can find more about them in the links above.
London-based comic book shop Gosh Comics shared their top graphic novels of 2022, splitting them up into two lists for different ages.
Another big list from the New York Public Library. Again, they’ve split it into different age groups and have offered a broad and eclectic selection of reads.
A great selection of reads by the broadcaster, which includes plenty of different graphic novels for young and old.
Members of the largest comic book subreddit, r/comicbooks, voted for their favourite comics and creators in several categories.
A list full of fun graphic novels for younger readers.
What were the standouts of 2022?
If you went through all of the links above, you would have seen that there were some trends. Many books were featured in multiple lists.
However, there was one clear standout as the graphic novel of the year – Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands by Kate Beaton. It was featured in almost every list, even in the ones that were very superhero heavy.
Some of the other 2022 releases that were well-represented include:
- The Night Eaters: She Eats the Night by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda.
- Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas.
- Immortal X-Men by Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck
- Fantastic Four: Full Circle by Alex Ross.
- The Nice House on the Lake by James Tynion IV and Martinez Bueno.
- Clementine: Book One by Tillie Walden.
- The Flash by Jeremy Adams and a number of different artists.
- Monkey Meat by Juni Ba.
- It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth by Zoe Thorogood.
- Human Target by Tom King and Greg Smallgood.
What did I like?
To cap this all off, I want to offer two of the 2022 releases I enjoyed the most.
Do A Powerbomb
Written by Daniel Warren Johnson. Art by Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer. Published by Image Comics.
I knew this was a must-read when it was announced that Daniel Warren Johnson was doing a wrestling comic. I was aware of his work before and had seen his sketches of real-life wrestlers online. It didn’t disappoint!
Do A Powerbomb offers an emotional story, fantastical ideas, and high-energy art. Daniel Warren Johnson has an impeccable ability to capture the movement of the elaborate wrestling moves while also pulling on our heartstrings in quieter moments. A must for every wrestling fan (and non-wrestling fan too).
Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball
Written and art by Jon Chad. Published by FirstSecond Books.
Cartoonist Jon Chad tells the history of pinball, with all the highs and lows. Along the way, he goes into the more philosophical side of the game, what it means to him, and imparts some tips for players through creative cartooning.
This was an energising book for me. I discussed it for ages, passing facts I learned to anyone who would listen. I even rushed out and played pinball.
You can find out more about Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball in this review.