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Here at Book Riot we love genre-blending stories. From genre-blending science fiction and fantasy books to absolute must-read space fantasy, we just love a good genre mash-up. I mean, advanced technology mixed into the past or magic in space? That’s just too good to pass up. And space fantasy has always been one of my particular favorites. I probably have Star Wars to thank for that as my very first introduction to both science fiction and the space fantasy genre. And comics are a particularly excellent medium to depict space fantasy (see: so many Star Wars comics) since both have the ability to be so visual.
So what makes a space fantasy comic a space fantasy comic? Essentially, it’s a blending of science fiction and fantasy, though since I’m specifically referring to space fantasy rather than science fantasy, I’ll also be focusing mainly on comics and graphic novels set in an outer space / alien setting that also utilize magic or the supernatural. As for what fits into that genre, it can be a bit up to interpretation. For instance, do all stories with aliens count as space or science fantasy since we haven’t discovered any form of alien life yet? I would argue sometimes yes and sometimes no. A book like Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary, for instance, is so concerned with scientific plausibility that I wouldn’t label it as space fantasy whereas something like Escaping Exodus, where humans make their homes out of gigantic spacefaring creatures, definitely is.
And when it comes to comics, the rules are similarly loosey-goosey. But these nine space fantasy comics are as good a place as any to start. Check them out and decide for yourself if they fit the description.
In this psychedelic sci-fi adventure, a young refugee raised far from her home planet is taken to assist a military settle a new planet. But all is not as it seems. This new planet teems with psychic life, and the young people like Vep brought in to tame it find themselves overtaken by the world’s telekinetic properties even as they are put through a boot camp meant to help them learn to control it. Prism Stalker is full of stunningly kaleidoscopic illustrations and is an Indigenous Futurist story about the effects of displacement and colonization.
When a young mechanic recognizes the two women visiting her father’s shop as cosmoknights, renowned mech fighters who compete in intergalactic jousting tournaments, she jumps at the chance to join them. Only instead of asking them, she decides to sneak on their ship before they can tell her no. But soon, Pan realizes that these women are fighting for far more than just prestige; they’re winning these tournaments to help save the princesses being awarded to the winners as prizes. And years after helping her own world’s princess escape, Pan is determined to help. You can also read the first and second book online.
The creator of Ms. Marvel explores a satire of corporate and religious corruption in this space fantasy novel full of gorgeous visuals. After escaping her religious order, a young none (like nun, but, you know, spaceier) joins the crew of a delivery ship, where she and the captain realize that there is a galaxy-wide conspiracy between the most popular religion in the universe and the very company the captain has been making deliveries for.
This graphic novel has some fun Star Trek vibes but with a cosmic horror edge. During humanity’s colonization of the galaxy, a few surprises have been uncovered. Among them, the fact that the supernatural exists. Now, demonic possessions and hauntings are just as typical a part of space travel as aliens and warp drives. Join Captain Joshua Rigg and the crew of the starship Charon as they explore the haunted outer regions of space in Outer Darkness.
For autopsy ships like the Vihaan II and its crew, the flesh of the dead alien gods that appear at the far reaches of space are one of the only resources worth collecting. But when Captain Malik realizes that there may be one resource even more valuable, he pushes his crew to the brink in order to find the one thing that’s never been found before: a living god.
This graphic novel is full of dreamy space landscapes that set it apart. As part of a crew traveling throughout space to rebuild the ruins of beautiful structures, Mia is doing meaningful work. But flashbacks to her school days reveal her real reason for joining the crew: to track down the long lost love of her life.
An obvious, but necessary inclusion given just how perfectly this multiple Eisner Award-winning series blends together the worlds of fantasy and science fiction. The story is told from the point of view of the daughter of two former soldiers who fell in love despite being from opposite sides of an ongoing war. Their love — and the proof of it in the form of their daughter — are viewed as a threat, and there are many throughout the galaxy willing to go to any lengths to hunt them down because of it.
Newly chosen Green Lantern Jo Mullein has been helping to protect the City Enduring, a massive megacity of more than 20 billion people. It’s a relatively easy job considering the city has maintained peace for centuries by stripping its citizens of their ability to feel. But when a murder sends ripple effects throughout the City Enduring, Jo is sent to investigate. And what she discovers is a society on the brink of implosion.
This adorable graphic novel may be set on Earth, but it’s an alien planet to the protagonist dropped off to explore it, so who’s to say it doesn’t count as space fantasy just as much as the others on this list? Plus, it’s just pure fun. Jomny may be a lonely and confused little aliebn, but he soon realizes that lots of the creatures on Earth feel the same way, too.