It's official: 2017 is here, and you know what that means? It means that 2016 is over, and good riddance. Yes, 2017 will surely have its own challenges, and its own borderline apocalyptic political meltdowns... but it'll also have a lot of great new books, so don't lose all hope for humanity just yet. Let's start the year off strong, and get hyped about books with pictures in them. Here are some of the most exciting graphic novels to look out for in 2017.
Graphic novels and comic books have been steadily gaining respect in mainstream literary circles. True, there are still people out there who will argue that magical spacemen in tights punching other magical spacemen in tights doesn't count as high art (and I pity those people, because they really are missing out on a lot of fun and tights). But even if you're not a huge fan of superheroes and science fiction, there are so many other graphic novels in the graphic novel universe. There are comedic collections, heartfelt memoirs, historical biographies, and many, many more.
No matter what your taste in art or literature, you can find a graphic novel or comic to get excited about this coming year:
1'Kindred' by Octavia E. Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, art by John Jennings (Jan 10; Abrams ComicArts)
Octavia Butler is renowned as one of the great, feminist sci-fi writers of the 20th Century, and Kindred is her most celebrated book. This graphic novel adaptation beautifully retells the story of Dana, a young woman who is transported mysteriously back in time, and forced to confront her own, deeply complex family history.
2'Love is Love' by Various (Jan 10; IDW Publishing)
In the wake of the 2016 tragedy in Orlando, some of the greatest talents in the comic book industry have come together to create this gorgeous, moving celebration of the LGBTQ community. Love is Love is a truly one-of-a-kind collection. Proceeds go towards supporting the survivors and victim families of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
3'Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire' by Neil Gaiman, art by Shane Oakley and Nick Filardi (Feb 7; Dark Horse Books)
Neil Gaiman's darkly comic send-up of Gothic Literature finally gets turned into the weird graphic novel it was always meant to be. If you're a fan of talking ravens, sinister butlers, and frail women in nightgowns, you'll love this strange, hilarious tale.
4'Saga Vol. 7' by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (April 4, Image Comics)
Look, yes, this is the seventh volume of Saga, and yes, you should start from the beginning. But even if you don't, volume seven is a self-contained story of galactic road tripping, war-torn planets, and one family trying to stick together in a wildly creative universe that wants to destroy them.
5'Big Mushy Happy Lump' by Sarah Andersen (March 7; Andrews McMeel Publishing)
You've probably seen Sarah Andersen's comics floating around somewhere on the internet, and you probably feel like Sarah Andersen has the uncanny ability to read your mind and then draw doodles of all your anxieties. Either way, her comics are adorably awkward, and Big Mushy Happy Lump is a delightful collection to look forward to.
6'The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir' by Thi Bui (March 7; Abrams ComicArts)
Thi Bui has created a breathtakingly illustrated memoir. It's the story of herself, her family, and their journey from Vietnam to America. Beginning with the birth of her own son, Bui zooms back in time to understand what it means to be a parent and a child in search of a better future.
7'Solutions and Other Problems' by Allie Brosh (Sept 7, Square Peg)
Allie Brosh wrote and illustrated Hyperbole and a Half. Need I say more? She's utterly hilarious, off-kilter, and brutally real. Whether Brosh is writing about her unintelligent dog or her struggles with mental health, her books are comically poignant.
8'Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 2' by Ta-Nehisi Coates, art by Chris Sprouse
If you like comics, you've probably already been reading the new Black Panther, and I don't need to tell you that it's great. If you don't like comics... look, this one is written by Ta-Nehisi Coates! He wrote Between The World and Me, so... maybe give it a chance?
9'Eartha' by Cathy Malkasian (April 4, Fantagraphics)
Cathy Malkasian's ethereal artwork tells the story of Eartha, who lives on an island where dreams take bodily form. When the dreams stop coming, however, she must journey to the distant City Across the Sea to find out where the dreams have gone.
10'Fire!!: The Zora Neale Hurston Story' by Peter Bagge (Feb 28; Drawn and Quarterly)
Zora Neale Hurston, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God, was an acclaimed novelist and folklorist, but few people know the full story of her eventful life. Peter Bagge brings his insight and lively cartooning style to Hurston's story in this bold new biography.
11'The Secret to Superhuman Strength' by Alison Bechdel (TBA; Houghton Mifflin)
We don't even have a date for this one yet, but I'm already counting down the days. Alison Bechdel is best known for her memoirs Fun Home and Are You My Mother? and her long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For. Bechdel's next graphic memoir, The Secret to Superhuman Strength, will focus on her lifelong obsession with exercise fads, as well as the history of fitness in America.