Female, minority, and young voters are turning out in droves, quashing the apathy that defined both the 2016 presidential election and the aforementioned 2014 midterms.
Get into the spirit of standing up and being counted with these politically inspired comics, which address every facet of democracy, from confrontational presidential upstarts with demonic proclivities (Citizen Jack) to reproductive politics (Unnatural) and border-crossing explorations with aliens both metaphorical and cosmic (Barrier).
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artists: Marcos Martin, Muntsa Vicente
In times of turmoil, we can build bridges or we can build walls. Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente’s impactful meditation on language, immigration, and alienation—both figurative and literal—makes a compelling case for the former. When language is the only barrier that matters, learning to communicate is a matter of life and death, as a ranch owner and immigrant discover in a bilingual comic that denies its readers any easy translations.
Writers: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Various
Artists: Valentine De Landro, Various
A vehement reclamation of the exploitation genre, Bitch Planet and its spinoff, Bitch Planet: Triple Feature, examine the ways in which human beings are labeled, devalued, and dismissed. The titular institution hosts a population of rebelling women disrupting the machinations of a corrupt, misogynistic framework spread across the galaxy. Dive into these series, get fired up, and celebrate your noncompliance.
A relevant medium continues to change. Like language, if it remains in use, it moves; it adapts, it shifts, it evolves. Every creator and reader of comics shapes the medium’s landscape in some way—and ultimately keeps it alive. This educational and entertaining collection focuses on the women who have transformed and continue to transform the art of free expression in the comics medium, an act as revolutionary today as it was in comics’ early days. The pioneering, groundbreaking careers of Marie Severin, Trina Robbins, and Raina Telgemeier—as well as many, many others—provide irrefutable evidence of the ways in which the medium continues to flourish thanks to their integral voices.
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artists: Tommy Patterson, Jon Alderink
When a seemingly ill-equipped—but strangely popular—candidate rises to political power, it’s easy to cynically joke that they must have made some sort of Faustian bargain to ascend. In Citizen Jack, that infernal hyperbole is no joke: the dark horse presidential pick, Jack Northworthy, has a malevolent demon aiding his bid. As writer Sam Humphries and artist Tommy Patterson reveal, the only creatures more corrupt than hell-bred demons are politicians.
Writer/Artist: Mike Norton
Ridicule is a powerful tool, and laughter a balm. These two elements are expertly combined in Mike Norton’s cheeky, uproariously funny collection of cartoons that gleefully lampoon key members of the Trump administration. Want to see Steve Bannon and Mitch McConnell square off in a ghoulish staring contest? Or Kellyanne Conway transform into a shrieking banshee? Look no further than Mike Norton’s absurdist masterpiece.
Writer: Chelsea Cain
Artists: Kate Niemczyk, Rachelle Rosenberg, Lia Miternique
Society has a long and fascinating history of fearing women. But in the world of Man-Eaters, suspense laureate Chelsea Cain offers good reason for it: the onset of menses has an unfortunate tendency to transform women into giant, vicious wildcats. The rise of killer cat attacks prompts swift (and nefarious) government action in the form of legislation, dedicated task forces, and forced hormone treatment via the public water supply. Sensibly, the fate of this world rests on the shoulders of a 13-year-old girl named Maude. The youth will save us all.
Writer/Artist: Pia Guerra
Get ready for an unrelenting series of emotional gut-punches. Political cartoonist and Y: The Last Man co-creator Pia Guerra doesn’t hold back in this collection of cartoons that lambaste the corruption, falsity, and violence of the Trump administration and the surrounding political climate. From rage-inducing to tear-jerking, these comics offer profound moments of reflection in an era that hasn’t stopped upsetting. The colletion includes a particularly wrenching cartoon released after the Parkland, Florida shooting, in which Aaron Feis—an assistant football coach who sacrificed himself for students—is greeted into a heaven populated by other shooting victims, most of them children.
Writer: Aleš Kot
Artists: Tradd Moore, Heather Moore
In The New World, a deeply divided country in the near future has devolved into a violent police state fueled by bloodthirsty social media hordes… pure fiction, of course. But a sliver of hope remains in the relationship between a celebrity cop and a guerilla hacker. These star-crossed lovers upset the status quo as their romance probes hot-button issues including police brutality, civil disobedience, and technology’s malignant sphere of influence.
Writer/Artist: Mirka Andolfo
Don’t let the sweet, anthropomorphic characters or the gorgeous, sexy art fool you. Written and drawn by Italian cartoonist Mirka Andolfo, Unnatural tackles extremely heavy themes—like government-enforced segregated breeding and female autonomy. In this cautionary tale, the “traditional” family is paramount, and anyone caught engaging in “unnatural” relationships is brutally punished. Leslie, a simple pig girl with a love of sushi, finds herself torn by these mandates when she develops a magnetic attraction to an elusive wolf. But regimes that push too hard often find that people push back, particularly when it comes to passion and love.
Editor: JH Williams III
In the wake of a shocking act of violence, it can be tempting to soothe ourselves with the thought that such tragedy couldn’t happen “here,” wherever that may be. Legendary comics creator and Las Vegas resident JH Williams III is one of the many, many Americans who knows that violent atrocities can strike anywhere. Armed with that knowledge, he curated Where We Live, a benefit anthology for the survivors of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting that claimed 59 lives. The comics within—whether fictional or based on eyewitness accounts—explore violence, common-sense gun control, the aftermath of tragedy, the stigmatization of mental health, the value of a compassionate society, and much more.