Between the Panels: 2022 Special Edition - ‘Have You Read . . . ?’

As part of our interview series, I ask each creator to step into the role of fan and talk about which comics they admire, that spark their own creativity, and that they recommend to others. Below are the picks from our 2022 guest lineup, a wide sampling of works from different genres and time periods as varied as the people naming them.   –Kevin Sharp


Ivy Noelle Weir (writer, Archival Quality)
Tidesong by Wendy Xu, The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor, and The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen, and after every single one of them, I put them down and basically just was like, emotionally choked up by how good the work folks are making is. Beyond our collaborative relationship, I admire Steenz so much for their work on Heart of the City, which is one of the very most accessible forms of comics: a syndicated strip that can be read by basically anyone, anywhere. And people are making independent and crowdfunded work that’s also pushing things in really cool directions.

Read the whole interview here.


Lane Lloyd (creator, God-Puncher)
BARKING by Lucy Sullivan, because I think it’s a very powerful story about depression and there isn’t a single person who draws like Lucy, and we are all so lucky to get to experience her art.

Read the whole interview here.


Alan Kaplan (creator, Full-Spectrum Therapy)
First is Citizens of No Place by Jimenez Lai. In it, he uses comics to craft visual essays on urbanism and how architecture shapes experience. I was feeling stuck and pulled in different directions at the time career-wise, and I admired his ability to synthesize his passions into something that could only exist in the medium of comics. Second is Conqueror Worm, the Hellboy story written and drawn by Mike Mignola, colored by Dave Stewart, and lettered by Pat Brosseau. I’m far from the first to praise its masterful visual storytelling so I’ll just add that, personally, Conqueror Worm was the first time I saw what colors could really bring to comics.

Read the whole interview here.


Andrea Bell (artist, Millie of the Manor)
Hands down it’s Ripples by Wai Wai Pang, published by PEOW! I am constantly looking back at this book as an inspiration for gentle and fun storytelling. There’s really dozens of wonderful things I could say about this book, from how I absolutely adore Wai Wai’s line art to how the structure of this work is a perfect example of how malleable the comics medium is. I love it, everyone should read it.

Read the whole interview here.


Lesley Atlansky (colorist, The Claims Adjuster)
I’m really drawn to graphic memoirs and non-fiction graphic novels. Oftentimes, the art style truly fits the narrative, and they cause such a visceral reaction, just a perfect use of the medium. I loved The House by Paco Roca, Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, and Belonging by Nora Krug. 

Read the whole interview here.


Stephanie Cooke (writer, Oh My Gods!)
I think within the realm of what I have been working on—within the Middle Grade and Young Adult space—I will never not stan the crap out of Raina Telgemeier. The way she integrates complex themes and topics within her extremely relatable stories for kids is nothing short of astonishing. And it resonates so deeply with those young people and they can’t get enough. That’s just incredible to me. And she carved out a space for herself well before the graphic novel boom… and in fact, I feel is part of the reason why we even have the boom now. So, I guess Guts, Ghosts, and Drama especially are three books I deeply admire.

Read the whole interview here.


Daniel Warren Johnson (creator, Do A Powerbomb)
Right before I started Space-Mullet, I read John Arcudi and James Harren’s BPRD: The Long Death. It changed my life. This is another formative one where, if that miniseries didn't exist, I don't know if I'd be drawing comics. I saw James’ work and he was combining all these elements that I really loved that I didn't know I could actually get paid to draw. Speed lines getting over in American comics? Okay, well, I'm going to try. I have to give a lot of credit James, because if James hadn't done that book, I don't think I'd be doing comics. That's the highest praise I can give somebody. So, thank you, James.

Read the whole interview here.


Tana Ford (artist, The Space Cat)
I really enjoyed Locke & Key, and they made an audio drama for it that’s worth checking out. High production value, voice actors did a great job, available as an audiobook … I often find that since I make visual art for a living I leave behind this whole community of seeing-impaired folks.

Read the whole interview here.


Rose Bousamra (artist, Frizzy!)
Rosemary Valero-O’Connell’s work blows me away every time. It’s surreal and cinematic at the same time. She has a collection of short comics called Don’t Go Without Me that is particularly stunning and heart-wrenching. Another graphic novel that came out recently that really stuck with me was Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas. Not only is it a fantastic work of art and a timely, beautifully crafted story, but it meant so much to me as a fellow Arab-American creator to finally see myself and my culture celebrated in a fantasy story. I also feel like I have to mention Kamome Shirahama’s manga, Witch Hat Atelier—the characters are full of heart, and her surprising use of paneling and composition is so wonderful. I’m always going back to it for inspiration.

Read the whole interview here.


Brittany Matter (editor, Super Best Friend)
I’d have to say that without a doubt, I admire David “DB” Andry and Paul Schultz’s The Wild Uncertain. It’s so real and raw and beautiful. I hope to make stories that stick with me as much as it did.

Read the whole interview here.


Dave Chisholm (creator, Enter the Blue)
Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli, if you had to twist my arm. Or Batman :Year One. Maybe All-Star Superman. They’re just the perfect mix of writing plus art plus formalism—everything fuels the other things.

Read the whole interview here.


Molly Muldoon (writer, A Quick & Easy Guide to Asexuality)
I love horror and I’m in awe of pretty much anything Emily Carroll does. His Face All Red completely changed my idea of what a comic could be. Through The Woods is such a beautiful nightmare of a book.

Read the whole interview here.


Ryan Sook (artist, Blue & Gold)
I think I’d have to fall to the works Charles Schulz or Windsor McKay. Because the simple beauty, coupled with universal appeal, lasting resonance, as well as the fact that their work provides a historical context for the state of a nation and society in their respective times. That is profound. It’s art. It’s comics. It’s philosophy. It is comics in its form, executed elegantly and skillfully, appealing to fans of comics. But the language of those works transcends the simple medium they exist in. People who have no interest whatsoever in a comic book or its form might well love those strips as much as someone who is passionate about the form. It’s pinnacle material.

Read the whole interview here.


Rachael Smith (creator, Glass Half Empty)
The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez is the best graphic novel I’ve ever read. It’s like a stab in the heart. Just read it if you haven’t. And read it again if you have.

Read the whole interview here.


Grim Wilkins (creator, Mirenda)
It’s hard not to go with Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. The story is expansive, intimate, goes completely off the rails at times—and the art is gorgeous with immaculate storytelling. Miyazaki could put 15 panels on a page and fill each of them with the perfect amount of detail and content.

Read the whole interview here.


Melissa Capriglione (creator, Basil and Oregano)
I’ve absolutely loved Blindsprings by Kadi Fedoruk for years! It’s a long-running webcomic published by Hiveworks and started in about 2013. I’ve been reading for the last four or five years or so, and I fell in love with the painterly style, elaborate backgrounds, and mysterious story. I believe it’s been on hiatus for a couple of years, but I always love reading back through the archive and admiring the wonderful art. It’s an important comic to me because I was reading it while I was working on improving my own webcomic, Falconhyrste, and I learned a lot from it! It’s very inspiring to see how the art style develops over the six or seven years it’s been updating.

Read the whole interview here.


Christina Harrington (editor, AfterShock)
Mike Mignola’s Hellboy is exceptional comics. It is probably my favorite comics. His artwork and his storytelling and that character and the world that he's built around it—exceptional, exceptional work. I would hold that up as the best kind of story and the best story maybe ever.

Read the whole interview here.


Jordan Alsaqa (writer, Cooking With Monsters)
Chew. It's one of the ones that in college got me in, and I think it's a book that really shows how wild you can get in this medium. I don't think every book has to; I think you can do realistic stuff, you can do serious, you can do drama. Chew I think has that, but it's also wildly creative. It does zany, over-the-top stuff—I mean, it has cannibalism right out the gate! It feels like it celebrates what it is to make a comic. It feels like it's reflecting on that past decade of comics and, because I was a kid when I started reading, it feels like a capstone to an era and the start of a new one.

Read the whole interview here.


Brian K Vaughan (wrtier, Saga)
[Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home]. Reading it, I felt almost like Watchmen again, that leveling up of what the medium is capable of. So extraordinary and so outside my own experience, yet I’m drawn in, I'm living in this fully immersive story.

Read the whole interview here.


Emmett Nahil (writer, Let Me Out)
I am obsessed with Cullen Bunn and all he’s written, but I have a lot of love for his and Tyler Crook’s Harrow County. It’s absolutely masterful and juicy southern gothic, and has everything I love in a horror comic: tension, gore, plucky kids, terrors in the woods! I tell everyone I know to read Harrow County, but I really do revisit that series all the time.

Read the whole interview here.


Corin Howell (artist, Shadow Service)
My current obsession is Levius by Haruhisa Nakata. His inking style just has me in awe every time I flip through the few volumes I have, and his ability to illustrate action in each fight is incredible. I study the pages any chance I get.

Read the whole interview here.


Rebecca Nalty (colorist, Bog Bodies)
Kamome Shirahama’s Witch Hat Atelier. It’s magnificently drawn, her layouts are just breathtakingly beautiful, and the cast of characters are brimming with charm. It’s also got fantastic worldbuilding and a story that becomes more and more intriguing despite its relatively simple beginning. It’s really just the full package in terms of representing the medium of comics — I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

Read the whole interview here.






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