With 2023 coming to a close, it’s time to rank some of this year’s greatest graphic novels. With a lot of graphic novels created this year, it is difficult to place the best of 2023. There’s a lot to consider when ranking something like this. The story has to be good and gripping, and the characters have to be interesting and deep. Most important with a graphic novel are the visuals. Not only do the illustrations have to be well done, but they have to match the tone of the story and the scene. Despite the difficulty of ranking the many wonderful graphic novels of this year, and it is very difficult, this list has the best graphic novels of 2023 that every fan of this genre should read.
This story follows inmate PKRx354 in Hell, who is stuck in a loop of torture routines done to himself and his mother, father, and girlfriend, who also found themselves in hell with him. Luckily, Hell has a psychotherapist who lends an ear to the inmates’ problems. Fred Greenberg’s stoic attitude and guidance attempt to steer inmate PKRx354 to being content. Well, as content as someone can be in Hell. Suddenly, a terrorist attack by an unknown faction shakes the foundation of the Underworld, putting everything in hellish chaos.
Residents of an isolated village scavenge for supplies in the nearby forest, surviving off items from a world long forgotten. Fear lives in the villagers’ hearts of what could exist beyond the forest. This fear doesn’t exist in one young villager who finds a stack of notebooks by an unknown writer. She becomes obsessed with the contents and sets out on a journey to find the author of the notebooks. As she approaches her goal, she discovers that the imaginary encounter with the author may not be what she thought it would be.
Edel Rodriguez draws about his life as a Cuban leaving his home country. When Edel was nine, Fidel Castro let 125,000 traitors, or “worms,” of the revolution leave the country. Edel’s family secretly planned to leave the country because life on their farm and their vocal displeasure with government surveillance made it difficult to live their everyday lives. Before their plan to leave could be done, soldiers broke into their home and imprisoned them in a detention center. There, they were held with criminals but were saved when a flotilla deposited them in Florida. This is a wonderful story of a young boy living amid the Cold War, dealing with exile, detention camp, and finally missing people who were left behind.
A visual ride through a dystopia that changed how mankind perceives reality. People no longer see the world as it truly is. Through the use of neurological filters, people can view reality as they wish. Old Hollywood noir film, colorful anime, broken post-apocalyptic world, or anything in between. However, Sam Dunes is one of the few who decide to view the world without a filter. The death of an old flame sets him on a wild mystery through the city’s underworld and its rising heights of danger and power. A lovely mesh of cyberpunk and noir themes, this novel has well-designed and colorful panels as well as a deep and mysterious plot.
Junji Ito is a multi-award-winning horror writer, and his latest collection of stories only further proves why he has those awards. This story collection features a few stories that have never received an English translation until now! His claim to fame is his horrific stories with unexpected twists and his creepy drawings that will leave mental scars if you’re not prepared. The title story follows a brother and sister who go to visit a friend in another town, a town they were warned is very strange. On the way to the town, they hit and killed a young woman. They move the body to the trunk, planning to dispose of it later. Upon reaching the town, they find that when people die here, their bodies turn into tombstones. Unfortunately, their friend’s sister just went missing on the road outside of town.
These were some of the best graphic novels released this year that every graphic novel fan should check out. This year had a great collection of graphic novels, and it was a challenge to pick the best ones. To those who haven’t read many graphic novels, this is a great list to start with, as there is a little something for everyone.
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