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The big new comics of 2022, from Marvel to DC and manga – Polygon

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And comics events! And crossovers! And online cons!
Welcome to the future. 2022 is here and with it comes 365 days of new comics, events, announcements, and sequential storytelling centered things to look forward to.
Deep space YA adventures featuring famed superheroes clash with indie expansions on beloved minicomics. There are anniversaries for friendly (and future) neighborhood Spider-Mans and the bad boys of creator-owned comics, as well as new takes on old classics, and some huge releases from indie superstars. And that’s before major manga drops and Substack come into play.
So get ready for comics galore in 2022. Here’s what’s ahead:
2022 sees the big anniversary for two Spider-heroes: The ever youthful Peter Parker is celebrating his 60th anniversary and Spider-Man 2099 is turning 30 (Not to mention the 20th anniversary of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man). That means you can look forward to what Marvel calls a “year long celebration” of the hero. What that entails right now isn’t quite clear, but in the past big anniversaries have garnered special issues, new merch, and more. Spider-Man: Beyond was the big event at the end of 2021, so you can expect to feel the ramifications of that weekly event coming into this year until the final issue in March. That’s just in time to clear the way for the anniversary of Amazing Fantasy #15, which was cover dated August 1962 — so we’ll probably see the big anniversary celebration issue/s in the summer.
Spider-Man isn’t the only one having a birthday, though, as Avengers like Hulk, Thor, and Ant-Man — as well as Fantastic Four foe Doctor Doom — are also turning 60 this year. So expect some corresponding titles including Ryan Ottley and Donnie Cates’ ongoing Hulk book.
Milestone will once again make its mark on the DC Universe with multiple big moments this year. First up is the 1300-page Milestone Compendium which drops in February. That massive collection will herald a year centered on the Dakota Universe. A new Blood Syndicate title is eagerly awaited by fans and should hit shelves this year, too. Part of the wider crossover nature of Milestone season 2, readers can also expect new titles and announcements centered on popular characters like Hardware and Static Shock.
With new artistic collaborator Rafael De Latorre, Chip Zdarsky continues his critically acclaimed Daredevil run with this new take on the Man Without Fear. After the explosive events of Devil’s Reign, Elektra Natchios is now Daredevil, and she’s about to face down an unexpected foe. According to the solicit she’ll be taking on the Marvel Universe’s greatest hunter — Kraven!
Zdarsky has carved out a space for himself as one of the funniest and most thoughtful Big Two writers out there, so while we’ve had a lot of Batman origins over the past 80 years we’re actually excited for his take on the young Bruce Wayne. Teaming up with the amazing artist Carmine di Giandomenico, this 10-issue miniseries boasts some brilliant visuals and is sure to be an intriguing and surprisingly deep take on the early days of the boy who would become Batman.
Varian Johnson and Daniel Isles take on Scott Free in DC’s newest YA release, marking them as Big Two talents to watch. While you might be most familiar with DC’s mainline releases, over the last few years the publisher has been putting out some of the most exciting and fun graphic novels under their younger readers line. This Apokolips-set story focuses on a young Mister Miracle who has to craft an ingenious plan to escape Goodness Academy and the fiery landscape of Apokolips, to save himself and those he loves.
’90s Silver Surfer icons Ron Marz and Ron Lim reunite for Marvel’s most recent throwback. Just like the nostalgic creative team, the story will take us back to the Infinity Gem adventures of yore. This five issue miniseries will reintroduce the Silver Surfer as he deals with a Reality Gem-resurrected Captain Mar-Vell and is forced to team up with the Mad Titan himself, Thanos, to reclaim the gem and stop any more cosmic chaos. Oh, and if you haven’t read the original ’80s/’90s stellar Silver Surfer run this is harking back to, then this is a great reason to check it out.
First introduced in DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration #1, Monkey Prince is getting his own series, hitting shelves on Lunar New Year. Gene Luen Yang and Bernard Chang are the superstar creative team bringing Marcus Sun to his own 12 issue series. The child of two freelance henchpeople, Marcus is a powerful shapeshifter. Inspired by the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, this looks like an inventive and action-packed take on superheroes that’ll bring a new iconic hero into the DC Universe.
Everyone wants to know who the new Iron Fist is, and this new relaunch from Alyssa Wong, artist Michael YG, and colorist Jay Ramos will provide the answer. Danny Rand no longer holds the mantle, and in his place is a new hero with the chi of Shou-Lao the Undying! But who is he? What is his purpose? This new series will explore those questions as well as the mythos at the heart of the Iron Fist mantle and the fantastical world of K’un-Lun.
Wonder Woman’s first crossover event in three decades is shaping up to be epic. Continuing on from the events of Nubia & the Amazons, Wonder Woman, and Wonder Girl, this cosmic level crossover features work from all of the Wonder Woman creative teams, including Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, Vita Ayala, Stephanie Williams, Joelle Jones, and Jordie Bellaire. While little is known about the plot of the event at this point, it looks like Trial of the Amazons will possibly center on an intra-Amazonian conflict and widely expand on the world of the immortal warrior women.
DC is not short on big events, crossovers, and cosmic shenanigans this year, and one of the most unique and explosive events coming to your local comic shop is War For Earth-3. Dennis Hopeless and Robbie Thompson will oversee Teen Titans Academy, Suicide Squad, and The Flash as they embark on this frankly bonkers sounding adventure. As Amanda Waller heads to Earth-3 in order to dethrone multiple evil versions of heroes on the planet, Rick Flagg follows in order to make her pay for her previous Task Force X crimes. And the Teen Titans are on their own search for an academy student that they believe has been kidnapped by Waller. So basically it’s all going down on Earth-3 this March.
Mark Waid and Dan Mora are teaming up for one of DC’s most iconic titles alongside colorist Tamra Bonvillain. Taking place in what the solicit is calling “the not-too-distant past,” this new series is Waid’s first major DC book since the late ’00s, and features a suped-up Superman teaming up with Batman and the Doom Patrol! While the timeline setting hints at not being tied to current continuity, the series also promises it “kicks off the next big events in the DCU.” So this is one to watch. The first issue will also launch with some hilarious meme-inspired covers from Chip Zdarsky and Doc Shaner, as well as a ton of other big name variants.
Kieron Gillen returns to the X-Men — alongside Trial of Magneto artist Lucas Werneck — for this big relaunch. Political intrigue takes center stage here as the team takes us behind the curtain of The Quiet Council. Kraokoa’s governing body has just been shaken up by the events of Inferno, so having a fan fave writer return to shed some light on the intricate and inevitably shady goings on of the battling mutant rule makers is a stroke of genius. Also for all fans of democracy there’s some good news: With the reveal that the X-Men will be democratically elected from here on out, the X-Men team have promised a new X-election each year, which means that is something fans have to look forward to in the wilds of 2022.
If you can believe it, 2022 marks 30 years since Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silverstri, Jim Valentino, Rob Liefeld, and Erik Larsen walked out on the Big Two and began the groundbreaking creator-owned publisher Image Comics. Though not all of them are still involved, the impact of that moment can still be felt today. With three decades to be celebrated, there will surely be some big news and releases.
Right now the biggest moment on Image’s slate is the return of Saga with issue #55 on Jan. 26. But Jim Valentino is working on The Official Image Comics Timeline, an illustrated history comic which should hit shelves in February, and in March there’ll be a new Witchblade series from Marguerite Bennett and Ariel Kristantina. Many more classic Image titles return in 2022, with new issues of Prophet, ShadowHawk, and The Darkness — written by co-creator Marc Silvestri — as well as Astro City.
In other Image news, Djeliya creator Juni Ba brings his uniquely brilliant talent and dynamic linework to the publisher. In his anthology comic Monkey Meat, Ba turns a satirical eye to capitalism and the climate crisis. The Monkey Meat company is a nefarious corporation built on a business of selling processed meat. Each issue tells a new story set in the world of Monkey Meat, where hyper-capitalism has taken over and even demons have to pay rent.
Image’s tokusatsu-inspired smash hit Radiant Black is expanding in Radiant Red. The new miniseries from Cherish Chen, David Lafuente, and Miquel Muerto centers on Satomi Shen, middle school teacher by day, bank robber-turned matter absorbing hero by night. Those dueling lives will be at the center of the five issue arc as Satomi has to balance her work, family, and heroics in the face of grave threats and immense danger.
Bringing the star of the Telltale Games Walking Dead franchise to comics is no easy feat. Luckily, Skybound made one of the most interesting and exciting choices possible for this YA trilogy that begins with Clementine: Book One. Enlisting Tillie Walden, an award-winning cartoonist and one of the best working comics artists alive, Clementine centers on the titular hero as she traverses the zombie-filled landscape and finds a group of teenagers trying to create a Walker-free settlement. It sounds like the kind of emotionally driven sci-fi that Walden excels at.
Two of the internet’s favorite creators, Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas, have teamed up for this stunning YA graphic novel. An alt-history story set in the Middle East/North Africa, Squire follows a young girl named Aiza on her quest to become a knight. Born as a second class citizen under the war torn empire of Bayt-Sajji, she dreams of taking on the mantle and gaining citizenship. But when she arrives at her training camp things aren’t what they seem, and she and her other recruits find themselves in great danger. From what’s been released so far this looks like a gorgeous and heart-wrenching tale brought to life by Alfageeh’s incredible art.
Jamila Rowser and Robyn Smith expand on their award winning minicomic Wash Day in this beautiful graphic novel from Chronicle Books. Kim, Tanisha, Davene, and Cookie are best friends and Wash Day Diaries follows them through their daily life in the Bronx over five interconnected short stories. Smith’s charming and inviting art invites comic book readers old and new to lose themself in this joyful and touching celebration of Black joy and sisterhood that cements the duo of Rowser and Smith as one of comics most powerful creative teams.
Originally announced as a quarterly reprint collection, this long awaited 2000 AD line has been reimagined as a series of 200-page graphic novels. Introducing the legendary British comic to new readers, the six volume series will feature stories from comics legends like Sean Philips, Frank Quitely, Kevin O’Neill, Pete Milligan, Rob Williams, Al Ewing, Alan Moore, and Alan Davis. The collections will feature new covers from Jamie McKelvie, Annie Wu, and many more awesome artists. There are also a series of brand new essays from comics critics including Tom Shapira, Chloe Maveal, Ritesh Babu, Tiffany Babb, and Adam Karenina Sherif!
D&Q have been doing a great job putting out beautiful editions of otherwise overlooked comics by a wide range of creators and 2022 will be no different. They’re reprinting the classic Linda Barry comic Come Over, Come Over in February, capturing the excruciating magic of junior high. Another highlight of the upcoming year is Nazuna Saito’s Offshore Lightning; this collection of comics is the first major English language book from the creator. D&Q is also releasing Jessica Campbell’s Rave, a queer coming of age story set in the ’00s that looks utterly fantastic.
If you have yet to discover Shortbox, amend that quickly. The business that used to be a subscription box of quality indie comics, art, and candy, is now an indie comics retailer and annual convention!
Last year, ShortBox’s inaugural entirely-online month-long fair debuted some of the most exciting and original comics of the year. Beautiful releases from a smorgasbord of artists including Hana Chatani, David Lafuente, Sophia Foster-Dimino, and Ben Sears made this a total highlight in the sparse con calendar. ShortBox founder Zainab Ahktar has promised that 2022 will see a significant expansion with over 100 artists participating! If you love comics and supporting independent artists then this one cannot be missed.
After the big news in 2021 that Substack was paying a host of A-list comics creators big money to make stuff, 2022 is the year when we’ll really see that come to fruition. Artists like Molly Ostertag and Noelle Stevenson have already been using the platform to regularly share personal comics. Ostertag is also releasing a serialized graphic novel, Darkest Night, via her Substack. Another indie creator to keep an eye on this year is TMNT superstar Sophie Campbell, who’s using Substack to work on her long-awaited sequel to her fan fave comic Shadoweyes. If you’re looking for something that’s coming a little sooner, then Jonathan Hickman’s 3 Worlds 3 Moons should be doing a big announcement at the end of January about their sprawling world building plans.
The long awaited English language localization of Sanshiro Kasama’s Deadpool manga is headed to shelves in February 2022. The comedic take on the sometimes silly, sometimes brutal Merc with a Mouth follows Wade Wilson to Tokyo where he quickly “makes a mess of everything.” This is one of the flagship releases in Marvel and Viz’s ongoing Marvel manga deal.
The comic behind one of 2021’s biggest Netflix hits gets its first English language localization from Viz in 2022. Suspenseful, dark, and enchanting, this is the story of a strangely empty Tokyo and the deadly games that take place there. It’s going to be a vital pick up for anyone who loves the Netflix show or who just likes being scared and engaged by their manga!
While including a book on its ninth volume might seem like an odd choice, there is no more singular and magical title on any shelf than Witch Hat Atelier. It’s likely that two new volumes will come out this year, but nine is the only one with a set English language release date. The continuation of Kamome Shirihama’s stunning instant classic — which has echoes of Art Adams at his best — will be one of the most anticipated releases of the year. If you’ve yet to explore the fantastical world of Coco and her fellow witches then now is the perfect time to catch up.

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