The Gosh! Best of 2018 - Adult

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The end of another year approaches, and as usual it’s time for us to bang our collective Gosh heads together to generate our (entirely subjective) top picks for the year. It’s the Gosh Best of 2018, split into two handy lists for your convenience: Adult and Kids (which you can find here).

A few notes first:

  • We've only included books which are stand alone or the first volume in a series. There were plenty of brilliant continuing series carrying on this year, but we wanted to highlight things that you could pick up cold.

  • This covers us up to mid-November for releases. If the greatest book of the year comes out in the next 6 weeks, then our apologies!

  • All the titles here are now available in-store, marked with a vivid magenta Gosh! Best of 2018 sticker (as above), so keep an eye out!

  • All titles are also now available to order via our online store. Click on any title in the list below to be taken to its store page, or click here to see the whole adult range.

  • These are in no particular order other than alphabetical!

So, without any further ado, here are our adult faves!

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BERLIN HC
Writer/Artist:
Jason Lutes
Publisher:
Drawn & Quarterly

The wait is over! Twenty years in the making, Berlin is complete, and Drawn and Quarterly have pulled out all the stops with a deluxe, exquisitely bound bumper hardcover edition. If you’ve never read Jason Lutes’ historical epic of the last days of the Weimar Republic in the face of rising fascism, there's no time like the present. This book comes with our highest possible recommendation, a graphic novel in the best sense of the term, filled with engaging characters playing out their lives against a backdrop that feels alive in its authenticity. While stocks last, we also have a bookplate edition available, limited to just 200 copies with an exclusive tip-in plate signed by Jason Lutes.

BLACK BOLT TP VOL 01
Writer:
Saladin Ahmed
Artist:
Christian Ward
Publisher:
Marvel

(Cheating a little, as this came out at the very end of December 2017, but, y’know, our house, our rules).

First thing to tackle when talking about this cosmic prison-break tale is to reassure you that despite it being about the king of the Inhumans, absolutely no prior knowledge is required. This tale by award-winning fantasy author Ahmed and the visually singular Ward - the first part of a contained two volume series - requires no prior knowledge of the Inhumans or their convoluted history. It’s a pure blast from start to finish, whether you’re going in cold or as a Marvel veteran. Black Bolt awakens in a mysterious prison, powerless and not sure how or why he got there. Prisoners must fight to the death for position, and are repeatedly resurrected by The Jailer, their enigmatic keeper. As Black Bolt tries to plot a way out with unlikely allies, he learns the dark secrets of the prison and his connection to it. Supremely entertaining stuff for superhero fans, with Ahmed showing a real talent for writing for the comics page, all illustrated with Gosh favourite Christian Ward’s typical flair for experimental storytelling and eye-popping colour.

BLACKBIRD DAYS HC
Writer/Artist:
Manuele Fior
Publisher:
Fantagraphics

A series of short stories by the Italian comics master, Manuele Fior (5,000km Per Second, The Interview) that shows off the diversity of his art and storytelling. The stories are set across a Europe that is a melting pot of cultures, each character searching for something across self-imposed cultural borders. An Italian lost in Berlin, a Swiss artist bored in Naples, a Laos refugee and his French grandson, and a few robots just to cover all bases.

BRAT HC
Writer/Artist:
Michael DeForge
Publisher:
Koyama Press

We’re in the late-middle age of Koyama Press, with Annie Koyama having announced its impending closure in 2021 when her current slate of books is done. So we can’t encourage everyone enough to pick up all you can from this landmark publisher while you have the chance. Of course, when that book is by Michael DeForge, it’s hardly a roll of the dice. DeForge is one of the great chefs of comic books, a brave, experimental force of creative nature that has rarely misstepped. Brat follows the late career of Mrs D, a merry prankster whose juvenile delinquency has been transformed into protest art but who now, in a life of relative comfort and endless benders, wonders what the hell the point is any more. A satirical skewering of protest art and the cycle of cultural irrelevance.

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BUG THE ADVENTURES OF FORAGER TP
Writer:
Lee Allred, Michael Allred
Artist:
Michael Allred, Laura Allred
Publisher:
DC

Gerard Way's Young Animal imprint delves into the Fourth World courtesy of the Allred clan, and the results are an entirely unique mix of adventure, comedy and all-out craziness. Breaking away from The Hive, Bug is on a mission to save the multiverse by stopping a reality-bending metal from falling into the wrong hands. It's top stuff, and we were so taken with it we got Mike & Laura to make us an exclusive signed bookplate, so get in quick while stocks last!

FOLLOW ME IN HC
Writer/Artist:
Katriona Chapman
Publisher:
Avery Hill

This is definitely the year that South London publishers Avery Hill went deluxe, and no project moreso than this beautiful, lush autobiographical tale of Kat Chapman’s transformative experiences in Mexico. Adrift creatively and personally, Kat and her boyfriend decide to take a trip through Mexico, a journey that will upend everything they take for granted as aspects of their lives they had glossed over come all-too starkly into focus. The book takes us on a fascinating travelogue that also leads to a path of self-realization that will leave its mark on Katriona for the rest of her life.

FRANKENSTEIN HC JUNJI ITO STORY COLLECTION
Writer/Artist:
Junji Ito
Publisher:
Viz

One the greatest authors of horror comics adapts one of the greatest horror tales ever written. Ito takes little liberty with Mary Shelley’s classic, producing a mainly faithful, well-executed adaptation where the creature itself is the main showcase of Ito’s unnerving style. The second half of the book is taken up with a host of short stories featuring Oshikiri, a student who lives in a decaying mansion in a parallel world, and to top it off, a story about the Ito family dog, because why the hell not? It’s an accessible volume for those new to Ito thanks to the lead story, and a gem for fans thanks to the other previously untranslated material. You’ve no excuse, really!

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FRUIT OF KNOWLEDGE GN
Writer/Artist:
Liv Strömquist
Publisher:
Virago

Strömquist takes a bitingly satirical look at the representation of women's genitalia throughout history, and how vaginally obsessed men have managed to deny women agency over the definition of their sexuality, their bodies and even their own gender. It's a broad-ranging study that certainly doesn't pull any punches as she covers topics from the horrific to the absurd. Entertaining, educational and essential!

FUKUSHIMA DEVIL FISH GN
Writer/Artist:
Katsumata Susumu
Publisher:
Breakdown Press

More than twenty years before the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in 2011, Katsumata Susumu was using his cartooning skills to alert Japanese to the dangers of nuclear power. Inspired by Katsumata's research trips to the now notorious facility and his background in physics, Fukushima Devil Fish begins with two stories from the 1980s on the subject of “nuclear gypsies,” the men who labor under oppressive conditions to maintain Japan’s fleet of nuclear power plants. The book then cycles back to the late 1960s and 1970s with a group of stories, originally published in the legendary alt-manga magazines Garo and COM, populated with creatures from Japanese folklore and lonely young men bereft of home and family. At turns haunting and endearing, Fukushima Devil Fish reveals Katsumata as both a master of comics as a poetic form and a true friend to the victims of Japan’s modernization. The collection is rounded out with a suite of essays by the artist, historian Asakawa Mitsuhiro, and critic Abe Yukihiro, which illuminate Katsumata’s life and career and the importance of his work in a post-Fukushima world.

GIRL TOWN GN
Writer/Artist:
Carolyn Nowak
Publisher:
Top Shelf

We were  blown away by this debut collection celebrating woman of all shapes, colours, and sizes. A joyful, enchanting and sweet series of short stories that take a deep dive into female friendships. The psychedelic fantasy of Girl Town covers robot boyfriends, podcasts, your ex’s wedding and frenemies. Carolyn Nowak’s collection shows an amazing insight into the truths of womanhood, and showcases her flowing, organic line and deft use of colour.

HEIMAT HC
Writer/Artist:
Nora Krug
Publisher:
Particular Books

Heimat is a german word about one’s feeling of belonging to a cultural home. Nora Krug goes on a quest to reclaim her Heimat. After years of living abroad from her German homeland, she goes back to research the good and bad of her family's past in WWII. An amazing look into the erasure of her grandparents generation and their involvement in Nazi Germany as she tries to grapple with the guilt of generations past by re-connecting with her family. The reader really feels Krug’s fear and the tension that builds as she must will herself to peel back the layers of history, and unearth a truth that she might not be ready for.

HOMUNCULUS GN
Writer/Artist:
Joe Sparrow
Publisher:
Short Box

A brilliant young scientist creates a sentient AI, Daisy, but due to an impending epidemic she is forced to abandon her creation. The story is told through the perspective of this newly born consciousness. Left alone as the world falls into chaos, Daisy takes the love that her creator endowed her to carry herself through the end of the world and beyond. A simple but sublime story about the heartbreaking legacy of humanity.

INFIDEL TP VOL 01
Writer:
Pornsak Pichetshote
Artist:
Aaron Campbell, José Villarrubia
Publisher:
Image

A 21st century haunted house story. Infidel follows an American Muslim woman and her multiracial neighbours who move into a building haunted by entities that feed on xenophobia. This is bestselling editor Pornsak Pichetshote's comics-writing debut but his confident style and wonderful use of pacing make his work read like that of a seasoned pro. Pichetshote is joined by artist extraordinaire Aaron Campbell and veteran colourist José Villarrubia, whose moody, atmospheric work are a wonderful fit here for this brooding and creeping tale of dread, giving the entities a terrifying, otherworldly look.

THE LIE AND HOW WE TOLD IT HC
Writer/Artist:
Tommi Parrish
Publisher:
Fantagraphics

A painfully honest story about dead end friendships, new ones, and the lies we tell ourselves about our sexuality, past, and our own self. Two young men, once friends in high school, run into each other and decide to have a night out. The night reveals how much they’ve changed and stayed the same: one of them able to to be open and honest about his sexuality, and the other continuing to tell lies about his past. What occurs is a drawn-out, awkward booze-filled night with an impending sense of disappointment. A narrative of how we grown but also grown apart from certain parts of ourselves.

MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES HC
Writer:
Ed Brubaker
Artist:
Sean Phillips, Jacob Phillips
Publisher:
Image

Brubaker and Phillips work together like sugar and cream, one of the greatest collaborative teams that comics has had the good fortune to be blessed with. MHHABJ is their first original graphic novel and while it ostensibly ties into their broader Criminal universe it can be read happily as its own book, a character study of a broken young woman and the skewed sense of value she places in her drug-addicted artistic heroes. It’s a measured noir piece where rehab pair Ellie and Skip fall into a doomed relationship, although one of them isn’t as they seem. Jacob Phillips debuts as Sean’s colourist with this title, and he makes quite an impression, dropping a vivid palette that really makes the art pop. Mention should also be made of just how stunningly produced this book is: a lovely hardcover edition with a pleasingly matte paper stock and a striking blue cover that leaps out at you.

ON A SUNBEAM HC
Writer/Artist:
Tillie Walden
Publisher:
Avery Hill

This marks the fourth Tillie Walden book from London based and Gosh fave publisher Avery Hill. Walden's queer space-opera tells the story of Mia, from her life as a rebellious schoolgirl, to her time as part of the crew on the ship Aktis, out in the deepest reaches of space rebuilding beautiful and broken down structures. Part love story, part epic space adventure, and dealing with Tillie’s now signature themes of sexuality & gender, the individual in a landscape, first love and of course lovely cats, On A Sunbeam is a masterpiece of modern comics and arguably Tillie’s greatest artistic statement so far. We have beautiful signed and exclusive bookplates available whilst stocks last as well.

POOCHYTOWN HC
Writer/Artist:
Jim Woodring
Publisher:
Fantagraphics

It’s a return to the dark, fever-dream roots of Frank after the narratively-driven diversions of Congress of the Animals and Fran. If you are uninitiated, just know that the tales of Frank, Manhog, Pupshaw and Pushpaw and the other denizens of Woodring's surreal dreamworld will offer you the sweetest taste of existential dread you will ever know. Woodring is one of the great treasures of comics, a unique genius whose work deserves a greater audience, starting with you.

WINDOWPANE TP
Writer/Artist:
Joe Kessler
Publisher:
Breakdown Press

Windowpane is the first collection of work from acclaimed London-based artist Joe Kessler. Joe’s dream-like short stories of magic and death are told in his unique, elastic style and printed in stunning spot colours. Calvino-like in its humour and poetry, Hockney like in its relaxed vibrancy, Kessler’s debut is a showcase for this emerging artist’s mastery of form and colour.

WOMAN WORLD TP
Writer/Artist:
Aminder Dhaliwal
Publisher:
Drawn & Quarterly

Originally serialised on Instagram, the collected volume hypothesizes a world where women have become unable to reproduce the Y chromosome. Dhaliwal looks at the world three generations later after mankind has died at out and left the current world of womankind. The narrative is laugh-out-loud and satirically biting, told through small vignettes focussing on the women of a small village. Thoroughly entertaining, while also having the courage to ask questions about the value of the current patriarchal structure and our complicitness in maintaining something so unnecessary. We have a signed bookplate edition of this title, available while stocks last!

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YOUNG FRANCES HC
Writer/Artist:
Hartley Lin
Publisher:
AdHouse Books

Hartley Lin has been quietly working away at his series Pope Hats (under the anagram pen name Ethan Rilly) for around a decade now, crafting one of the finest slice-of-life comics on the shelves. It's the tale of aspiring law clerk Frances Scarland and her alcoholic actress roommate Vickie as they navigate the ups and downs of their personal and professional lives in Toronto. Lin’s clear, uncluttered storytelling works in service of a character piece that is completely absorbing in its mundanity and unparalleled in its relatable human warmth. We have a signed bookplate edition of this title, available while stocks last!

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