Discover graphic novels with these 8 favorite reads

Discover graphic novels with these 8 favorite reads

Readers, we have a special treat for you today. In our most recent Ask Anne Anything episode of What Should I Read Next, I fielded a reader question asking for graphic novel recommendations. Brenna and I briefly discussed the genre, and when she mentioned on-air that she could recommend a few great titles for my TBR we were subsequently FLOODED with requests for her list of favorites.

(It’s not necessary to listen to that episode for context, but those episodes are always fun. If you’ve never listened, give it a try!)

Today, I’m sharing that list. Please enjoy 8 of Brenna’s favorite graphic novels, plus 11 more honorable mention titles to keep you in books for a long, long time.

8 favorite graphic novels to introduce you to the genre

One Hundred Nights of Hero

The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

One Hundred Nights of Hero uses the framework of Arabian Nights to write a love letter to women’s relationships with each other. Sisters, mothers, elders, friends, lovers, WOMEN. It manages to somehow be a novel, a short story collection, and a nonfiction social commentary all at once. It is funny, and sharp, and deep, and magical, and lovely, and intensely relevant in a way that is kind of hard to describe. I want everyone to read it. Not every storyline in it has a happy ending, but I found it to be deeply satisfying all the same.

 

Spinning

Spinning by Tillie Walden

This graphic memoir that will be relatable to anyone who had a childhood passion that ended up getting a little ruined for them. It’s about Tillie Walden’s childhood and teen years as a figure skater, discovering her identity, and hiding from the desire to become an artist. Spinning is one of those graphic works that just flows easily along and no matter how long it was, I could just read it forever. It could be an encyclopedia length account of her entire life from birth to death, and I’d be engaged the whole way.
All of Tillie’s work is beautiful, I can’t wait to get my hands on her newest fiction work On A Sunbeampublished earlier this year.

 

Nimona

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Fantasy that’s friendly for all!  The main character is a touchy shapeshifting troublemaker who becomes the sidekick to a supervillain, Ballister Blackheart, who is out to defeat his ex-best-friend, the local hero Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin. There’s a coy little romance subplot if you watch for it, and it’s overall just… a silly joy of a fantasy novel with a heart and a purpose. It was also a National Book Award finalist! If the idea of fantasy is still not your thing, try the trade paperbacks of Noelle Stevenson’s comic series Lumberjanes for feel-good summer camp girl-power and mischief.

 

Initiates

The Initiates by Etienne Davodeu

France has contributed a lot to graphic-novel classics canon, so it seemed wrong not to include a translated French work in this list.  The Initiates follows two men – one a wine maker, and one (the author) a comic artist, who agree to immerse themselves in each other’s worlds for a year. The author works with in the vineyard, learns about aging wine, tasting wine, and selling wine. His friend comes with him to a book printing shop, and begrudgingly reads classic French graphic novels to try to understand where the author’s passion comes from. It’s a very French book—by which I mean leisurely, ponderous, and in touch with the seasons and the land. Well-suited to reading in the fall, with a glass of wine and the changing leaves in eyesight.

I Kill Giants

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly

I Kill Giants is one of the graphic novels I recommend to absolutely every kind of reader. The story is about a little girl dealing with some serious emotional upheaval (which we slooowwwllly piece together the cause of), and the complex rituals and roleplays that weave through her whole life to feel safe from the uncontrollable thing she fears. It is a deeply moving book about childhood mourning and mental health (award-winning for a reason). Plus there is a SPECTACULAR movie adaptation available on Amazon Prime.

 

Chopsticks

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony

An almost wordless, totally unique graphic work that uses photographs/short letters/found-item collages to tell the Romeo-and-Juliet romance between two teens who come from very different home lives. It’s compulsively readable: set aside an hour or two, because you basically HAVE to read it in one sitting. It’s like the narrative hovers above the pages, invisible, as you  pick up new puzzle pieces from the photos and tell the story to yourself. You know those I-Spy books? Chopstick is I-Spy for older readers, plus a heart-tugging narrative.

 

Witch Boy

The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag

Something wonderful about graphic novels is that the cover isn’t where the beauty ends—The Witch Boy has gorgeous colors on the cover, and they run through the whole book’s illustrations. This is a middle grade graphic novel about Aster, magical boy in a magical community whose magic isn’t the right kind of magic. His family’s culture says he should be a shapeshifter, but he is drawn to spell-casting in private instead, a practice forbidden for boys. But when shapeshifter boys from the village start disappearing, it’s up to his secret skills and an unexpected friend from the non-magical side of town to save them. If you love underdog stories and kids who follow their hearts, this one’s for you.

 

Something New, by Lucy Knisley

We’ve already mentioned Knisley’s book Relish: My Life in the Kitchen on WSIRN, (and then on WSIRN again…) which is a GREAT introduction to her, but really all of her travelogues and graphic journals are wonderful. I give her book Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride as a gift any time a friend of mine gets engaged. She tells the story of her engagement-through-wedding’s-end and all the stress of that season, rearranging her priorities and realizing when she’s making decisions based on what’s expected by her family vs what she and her fianceé want her day to be like. It is a thoughtful, frank, and expectation-setting account of that time of life. She is a master of the fresh-and-candid memoir, preserving her life as it happens, like a photographer in the present instead of a historian looking backward.

Honorable Mentions:
Through The Woods, by Emily Carroll (perfect spooky/unsettling October graphic short stories)
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel. Essential reading for the graphic memoir enthusiast, and inspired a Tony-award winning Broadway musical.
Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki,
by Mamoru Hosoda. A cute, unexpectedly emotional stand-alone manga about a single mother and her shapeshifting toddlers.
The Best We Could Do, by Thi Bui. A Vietnamese immigrant tells the story of her family’s journey to America, and the multi-generational struggle of being both someone’s child and someone’s parent at the same time.
The Sweet Tooth series, by Jeff Lemire. A gritty and mystical apocalyptic graphic novel series that I IMMEDIATELY re-read all the way through; it was just that good.
Maus, by Art Spiegelman. It’s a graphic classic for a reason.
SuperMutant Magic Academy, by Jillian Tamaki. Fantasy high school vignettes, like if Harry Potter were a collection of indie short films.
Rosalie Lightning,
by Tom Hart. Absolutely devastating, about the author losing his toddler.
Friends With Boys, by Faith Erin Hicks. The only-mildly-spooky story of a homeschooled girl going to public school for the first time, and the graveyard she passes on her way.
The Saga series, by Brian K. Vaughan. This will be one of the classic graphic works of this era, a sweeping space opera about a family that refuses to be torn apart. (Be warned, “graphic” is an understatement here, there is adult content.)
Blankets, Craig Thompson. One of my favorite graphic memoirs of all time, about trauma, church camp, and first loves.

Are you a graphic novel fan? Please tell us all about your favorites in comments!

graphic novels

87 comments | Comment

87 comments

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  1. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    I like fantasy and a touch of sci-fi. I’m all about Neil Gaiman Sandman and Death series are both incredible. Stardust as well. He has many others too, both those are my standouts.

  2. Sarah says:

    Not exactly a graphic novel–more of an incredible mix of art and prose–my students and I enjoy all of Brian Selznick’s works. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck, and The Marvels are great picks for grades 4-12.

  3. Susan says:

    Timely as I am taking my third grader to the library graphic novel group this afternoon to discuss Zita the Spacegirl. She has also loved Babymouse, Geronimo Stilton, Secret Coders, and Phoebe and Her Unicorn.

    • Elise says:

      I just discovered Zita the Spacegirl a couple weeks ago and am absolutely in love. (My kids like it too.) I’m now on a mission to read all of Ben Hatke’s books.

  4. Bridget says:

    For history buffs -young and old-Nathan Hale’s history related graphic novels are well researched, well written and well drawn. My who,e family loves them.

    • Alice says:

      I’m a supervisor of ELA and Social Studies for my school district, and Nathan Hale is coming to speak to one of our middle schools later this semester! I am so excited!

  5. Whitney says:

    Amulet! It’s a gooorgeous fantasy series, written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi, and it was the first graphic novel I fell in love with. I think it’s meant for 6th grade, but everyone in my house from first grade through adulthood has loved it.

  6. Hannah M Hurley says:

    El Deafo was by far my most favorite graphic novel!!
    I have also loved the redo of the Babysitter’s Club, Phoebe and the Unicorn, Sisters, and Ghosts.

    • Guest says:

      I was going to mention El Deafo as well. Can’t say I’m a graphic novel ‘fan’ but that was a truly great story.

      One of our kids really enjoyed graphic novels when that reading groove still hadn’t been hit just yet.

    • JmeLnne says:

      I was going to mention El Deafo, too. I love it and my eight- and six-year-old kids love it, too. Not only is the story awesome and Cece a delightful “character,” but the opportunity to introduce children to characters with special needs (Cece wears hearing aids) is too good to pass up. Cannot recommend this one enough.

    • Torrie says:

      Ditto on the El Deafo recommend! I haven’t read a ton of graphic novels, but I was really impressed by that one. I think it would be fabulous to read with a pre-teen or teach to a 5th or 6th grade class.

      Also, Flora and Ulysses had some graphic novel elements combined with a traditional narrative, which would make it a good (gentle) intro into the graphic novel concept.

  7. Lisa Sanders says:

    OMG you didn’t mention The Walking Dead! It us incredible!! I absolutely loved it!! It was my introduction to graphic novels and I highly recommend the series. …it is gory but if you can look past that you are in for a treat..

    • Brenna says:

      Haha, I left my grittier recommendations off this list because I didn’t think many people would want them! Have you read the Sweet Tooth series by Jeff Lemire? I think it’d be perfect for you if you liked Walking Dead.

    • Sky says:

      I’m in love with this show and I’ve always wanted to read the graphic novels but I don’t want to spoil any of the storylines for myself so I’m waiting until the finale of the show! Not that I want that to happen but so happy I have that reading to look forward to!

      • JessB says:

        My understanding is the stories are very different between the graphic novel The Walking Dead and the television show The Walking Dead. So you might be okay to go ahead and read them, and enjoy an ‘alternate’ story- or you can wait and savour them after the show is done!

      • Mimi Gregor says:

        The storylines won’t be spoiled at all. Although the basic outline is the same, some characters that die in the novel, live in the series, and vice versa. Some characters have completely different personalities than in the other medium. Also, there are a LOT of characters in the series that are not in the novel. Compendiums of the novels may even be in your library, or they can be ordered on Amazon. I love this series (both the novels and the TV series.) and highly recommend them both. It’s not about the zombies, really; it’s about how these living characters react to living in a world that has gone tits-up, how they grow and develop as a result. It exemplifies how the true measure of a person’s character is how they behave in the most dire of circumstances.

  8. Sue Schmitz says:

    I loved comic books as a child, but have never tried a graphic novel! I might have a hard time choosing just one from your list, but I’m ready to try this “new to me” genre!

  9. Shyla Strathman says:

    I loved The Best We Could Do. The pictures are haunting, and the story is touching and relevant.

    I really enjoyed my first graph novel – Chasing Shadows by Swati Avasthi. I heard her speak at The Festival of Faith and Writing a few years ago. I just checked her first graphic novel, Split, out of the library!

  10. Audrey J. says:

    I’m so glad you mentioned Saga at the end. It is my favorite, and while it is super graphic, it’s totally relevant. I’ve also enjoyed Paper Girls, and Monstress. I can’t wait to try some of these on the list.

    • Brenna says:

      YEAH, if this were an in-order listing of all the graphic novels I’ve ever read, in order of how much I loved them, Saga would be at the very top. It was the first thing that hooked me on graphic novels. Have you read The Wicked + The Divine series? It has a lot of the same appeal as Saga, dark and absolutely GORGEOUS.

  11. Sabrina Serrano says:

    Sheets by Brenna Thummler is fantastic and she also has an Anne of Green Gables graphic adaptation. Oh, and the Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill is so CUTE! I really got into graphic novels this year after using my library card to access Hoopla and borrow digital comics. They work so well for me in between reading novels, like a palate cleanser I guess 😀

    • Brenna says:

      I am kicking myself for not including The Tea Dragon Society in this list. It is so so sweet and gorgeous, I read it a few weeks ago and wanted to wallpaper my apartment with the illustrations.

    • Sally Tibbetts says:

      Selznick’s works are totally amazing! What a good recommendation! Gaiman is also one of my favorites and the story telling plus the fantastic graphics are so amazing!
      I just finished reading a graphic novel based on the JANE EYRE novel, called JANE..it’s a contemporary telling–some interesting changes but very much captures the spirit of Bronte’s novel–well remember, set in modern times.

  12. Mrs.Soule says:

    Saga, Rat Queens, and Astonishing X-Men are some of my favorite graphic novel series. Batman: The Long Halloween and Spider-Man Blue are beautiful stand-alone graphic novels. And don’t get me started about the best manga series! 🙂

      • Mrs.Soule says:

        Ok, so my Personal Favorites:
        Skip Beat! – for the Girl Power, accurate yet hilarious depictions of rage, and making me laugh hysterically.
        A Bride’s Story – for the beautiful illustrations and getting me to read and enjoy a historical novel series set in Central Asia.
        Goong – for the amazingly gorgeous page spreads, followed by the characters being complete human goofballs – the artist is a genius and her changing art styles to depict mood keep this so real and relatable – and it’s a YA alternate-history love triangle about the royal family of Korea, so that’s saying something.
        Sand Chronicles – for making me think I was checking out another shallow shojo manga…and then making me curl into a ball and cry ugly tears for hours.
        Fruits Basket – this is a classic, I read it because all the kids at the library where I was a YA librarian were reading it. It’s a ridiculous magical soap opera – and I loved it! Also, I can hold my own in conversations about the Chinese Zodiac thanks to this book (came in handy when doing business with contacts in East Asia and Asian foreign exchange students).
        Fushigi Yugi – this was my very first manga – it’s over-the-top angsty teen fantasy, completely ridiculous, and totally addictive – you should read it.
        What manga have you read and loved?? I’m always looking for more while waiting for the next Skip Beat! to translate. 🙂

  13. Amy Reasoner says:

    I don’t read graphic novels much, but I devoured Marissa Meyer’s two-part series set in The Lunar Chronicles Universe. I’ll basically read anything she writes at this point.
    My kids love graphic novels though, and some of their favorites are the graphic adaptations of The Boxcar Children and Oz series, and anything by Ben Hatke.

  14. Sky says:

    I am SO happy to see this! I have literally Just recently begun to read graphic novels (again, since a kid) with my daughter and now on my own!!! I loved Sheets, Cici’s Journal, and This One Summer (not for young kids, many great things going on here about growing up but that language can be rough at times. I want my girl to read on many of these issues and stages of growing up but this one is for an older set. Beautifully illustrated.
    Nightlights was a fast one and kind of creepy, but not scary.
    I have The Best We Could Do and A Bike & A Road on my shelf waiting for me. I’ve just started this new journey and am really loving it, and I’ve also called it a palate cleanser!
    My girl has read and loved many of the ones mentioned above and she absolutely fell for El Deafo. I’m so excited and grateful that you all shared your suggestions. I’m running off to make a long list!! Thank you!

  15. Sarah says:

    I love Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. And even though it’s more of a heavily illustrated novel, I also love Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

  16. Sarah says:

    Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham is the middle grade graphic novel I try to get in to the hands of every little girl. The relationships are so real and raw and relatable that I definitely shed a messy tear or two at my desk when I got the ARC.

  17. Kate says:

    Some recent favorites are Soupy Leaves Home by Cecil Castellucci, about a young girl who disguises herself as a boy to escape an abusive home and falls in with hobos, and the March series about Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. The new Ms. Marvel series is also well done and Lumberjanes is cute.

  18. Erica says:

    For adults: Y the Last Man (all the men on earth drop dead except for one), Marbles, Sex Criminals, Alex & Ada, Giant Days, What to Do When I’m Gone, Hey Kiddo, The Undertaking of Lily Chen, Illegal, Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, Lighter than my Shadow (about eating disorders), Tomboy, Imagine Wanting Only This, The Principles of Uncertainty, Marzi, Honor Girl, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, Dendo: One Year and One Half in Tokyo, Stitches

    For kids and adults: The Cardboard Kingdom, The Gigantic Beard that was Evil, Jonesy, Taproot, The Nameless City series, Roller Girl

    • Brenna says:

      You listed sooo many of my other favorites! Y: The Last Man was one of the first series I got hooked on and Sex Criminals is a series I put a hold on at the library as soon as they release, before they’ve even stocked them. I read My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness for the first time just last week! Have you read The Tea Dragon Society? It’s a beautiful little graphic short story and it sounds like it might be up your alley.

      • Erica says:

        I got it from the library and my daughter read it and loved it but I never got around to it before I returned it. I’ll have to check it out again. You must check out The Cardboard Kingdom if you haven’t yet!

    • Brenna says:

      Might depend on your Kindle… a smaller screen will make some parts of graphic novel reading a lot harder, like smaller text bubbles or books that have larger-format pages (really common), and I think some simpler models, like the Paperwhite are just totally unsuited to graphic novels. A larger tablet would work better, if you absolutely don’t want to read a physical copy.

    • Erica says:

      I got a graphic novel for my Kindle and it wouldn’t let me zoom in on the panels- I could only see them in portrait mode and it was very frustrating. I recommend getting the paper version from the library.

  19. Tiffany says:

    Stitches by David Small
    I’m not really a graphic fan, but this short memoir was definitely worth an hour or so of time. My children and I love David Small’s children’s book illustrations.

  20. Candice says:

    I am so excited about this post! You mentioned Relish by Lucy Knisley, and I have to second that. I literally ran to meet her at her Comic-Con booth and was able to get her last copy of Displacement (which I subsequently read while waiting in line–it was Comic-Con, after all). Another favorite is Persepolis by Marjane Sartrapi. There’s one particular drawing from the novel that I picture frequently. It’s of the author as a little girl talking to God, and she’s all snug, cradled in his beard. It is the sweetest visual. I also love Return of the Dapper Men by Janet Lee, and anything by Lynda Barry or Brian Selznick.

  21. Jenna says:

    Nobody has mentioned yet Speak: The Graphic Novel (text by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrations by Emily Carroll). It’s AMAZING.

  22. Sybil says:

    Love, love, love Nimona! Even my tween daughter loved it. It’s just fun! I mean, come on: “Goldenloin”? That should make you smile. 🙂

  23. Disney Magic says:

    Some of my favorite graphic novels are actually webcomics that have been published. Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu and Heartstopper by Alice Oseman are both LGBT+ reads and I can’t gush enough about how much I love them.
    Check Please is about Eric R Bittle, a gay, pie-baking, former figure skater who is starting at a (lgbt friendly) college on a hockey scholarship. It’s a beautiful story with crazy hockey bros and the word heteronormativity used with many expletives that’s almost done and I think I’ll actually cry when it is.
    Heartstopper follows teenagers Charlie Spring (an out gay year 10) and Nick Nelson (a not-quite-sure-of-his-sexuality year 11), two characters from Oseman’s novel Solitaire, at an all boys grammar school in England. They come together to work through mental illness, toxic friendships, and falling love.
    I just love both of these stories so much and I highly recommend them (especially Check Please) to anyone who wants crazy hijinks and happy yet realistic gay relationships!

    • Brenna says:

      I am constantly crawling graphic novel lists looking for LGBTQIA+ recommendations and somehow haven’t heard about Heartstopper? Thank you for mentioning it!! And I’ve heard great things about Check Please! but my library doesn’t carry all the printed volumes and I haven’t gotten around to clicking through it online.

      Last night I finished The Not So Epic Adventures of TJ and Amar, about two guys (one gay, one bi/pan) who end up on a road trip together. It’s really sweet and realistic (has some grit and a few explicit scenes). I had to get it through interlibrary loan but it was SO WORTH THE WAIT.

      • Disney Magic (Willperform4food, disney.magic.95) says:

        I love TJ & Amal!!! Check Please has a tumblr, a real-time twitter, and a website. Tapas also has a lot of BL comics if you’d be interested in reading those. I’d be happy to gush some more about any of these comics on my tumblr or instagram. 😀

  24. I got into Brian K. Vaughan through his Last Man series, which like Saga is not for kids, but is creative and fun. Giant Days is another good series. Two newer ones I love are Check, Please! and Hey,Kiddo. The Anne of Green Gables adaptation is really well done, as are the adaptations of Octavia Butler’s Kindred and Walter Dean Meyers’ Monster. Other MG/YA graphic novels I recommend include Be Prepared, Anya’s Ghost, Sunny Side Up and Swing It Sunny, Star Scouts, Real Friends, Awkward and Brave, Roller Girl, and Brody’s Ghost. Two of my very favorites are I Am Alfonso Jones, about the ghost of a young black man killed by an off-duty cop, and Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, a memoir about the decline and death of cartoonist Roz Chast’s parents.

  25. Amy says:

    Ditto to many of the above recommendations, especially Lucy Knisley’s work, and I also really enjoyed Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galeikas; great for all ages.

  26. Nicole says:

    Oh, I am LOVING graphic novels lately. Both adult and ones for younger ages. Some of my favorites lately are Check, Please! by Ngogi Ukazu, My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame (maybe more manga, but oh so excellent), The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang, The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill (also made into a card game which I keep meaning to get), 5 Worlds by Mark Siegel, any Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson, Lumberjanes series by Noelle Stevenson, Princeless series by Jeremy Whitley, Goldie Vance series by Hope Larson, Hildafolk by Luke Pearson, Chi’s Sweet Home by Kanata Konami (manga, but so cute), The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar… I really could go on and on. And I mixed up adult and kid stuff, sorry. But yeah, graphic novels and comic book collected volumes are my jam right now.

    • Brenna says:

      I didn’t know The Tea Dragon Society had a card game!! Oh wow, I need it in my life IMMEDIATELY. That books is absolutely stunning.

      Seconding all your recommendations too, they are all really good!

  27. Rhonda Laws says:

    Apparently my library is not so keen on graphic novels. They didn’t have one of the books I searched for on your list…..off to the book store! Thank you for the recommendations- never read a graphic novel and I will read ANYTHING!!

    • Brenna says:

      Maybe consider recommending them for purchase, if your library has a system for that? I have seriously boosted my library system’s graphic novel collection in the past couple years this way.

  28. Colleen says:

    I recently read Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? – a graphic memoir by Roz Chast about caring for her aging parents. It made me laugh out loud, it made me cry, it was also really informative about things you don’t think about! I loved it!

  29. Julianne says:

    Are any graphic novels written for adults? All the titles I’ve come across are titles for young teens. I’ve used them as a way to get my nieces into reading more, but never considered the titles as an option for myself or other adults. The titles never struck me as an option for adult fiction (or non-fiction). Am I missing something?

    • Nicole says:

      Many of these are either all-ages or adult. Saga is definitely adult-only. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel is for adults, as is My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon, My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tagame, Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh and many more mentioned by others. But don’t dismiss the all-ages or ones that look like they are geared for teens or middle grade. There is some incredibly excellent storytelling going on that is being put there and isn’t any less wonderful for the lack of sex, language, or darker themes (which doesn’t bother me, mind you).

    • Brenna says:

      Part of the struggle may be that upon first glance, lots of graphic novels look “younger” because they are illustrations, and we associate comic-style illustrations with juvenile literature. And many graphic memoirs are written for adults but include imagery of the artist as children, which can be confusing if you’re new to the genre (like Fun Home, Spinning, Lucy Knisley’s work, etc.) I’ve been reading graphic novels/memoirs obsessively for years, and it’s still hard for me to tell at first glance what the target audience of a book might be – I think that’s part of the graphic experience, blurring the lines of what we expect from a book.

      From the list in this post, One Hundred Nights of Hero, I Kill Giants, Maus, Something New, Through the Woods, The Best We Could Do, Sweet Tooth, Rosalie Lightning, Saga, and Blankets, are ALL either ageless (not at all simplified for younger reading levels, but no adult content) or adult works!

      Graphic novels for adults don’t get a lot of attention in the places most people look for their regular fiction recommendations, so I definitely empathize with the trouble finding them. It can take some research, but IMO totally worth it!

  30. Stephanie Jumper says:

    No one else for The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins? Just me? That one’s kind of niche . . . but I had already listened to the podcast, and it got me hooked on D&D as a form of interactive storytelling, and the graphic novel adaptation was so well done.

    • Brenna says:

      I’M HERE FOR THE ADVENTURE ZONE. I thought the graphic novel adaptation was really adorable.

      (I’m cosplaying Aubrey from the Amnesty cycle this weekend at a con, so, seriously… ALL IN.)

  31. Sheila Pallotta says:

    Ok, I’ll be the curmudgeon in the room. I’ve tried graphic novels, V for Vendetta being the one that stands out in my head, and I just can’t appreciate the medium. Why? I think it’s because reading them is So Slow, and the part where I imagine everything in my head is gone. However, in the interest of open mindedness,nI ordered one of these recommended graphic novels from my library. We’ll see if anything has changed for me.

    • Mrs.Soule says:

      I can’t blame you for not liking V for Vendetta – it was misogynistic, condescending, and all-around awful (and I loved the movie). I hope your next graphic novel experience is better!

      • Sheila says:

        First of all, that is the one that I particularly remember. And I’m not talking about the plot or the characters. I just don’t respond to so much ILLUSTRATION. It’s the form I have difficulty with.
        I probably shouldn’t have brought it up, as I can see that those responding are very enthusiastic about the graphic form.

        • Pam says:

          Hi Sheila. I’m curious about whether you enjoy looking at photographs or watching videos. It could be that you just don’t enjoy external usual stimulation. Nothing wrong with that! I agree that reading text is a very different experience compared to reading text within illustrations. Neuro-psychologists would probably have a good explanation – engages different parts of the brain, perhaps?

    • Brenna says:

      I love the intimacy of graphic memoirs because they are written and drawn exactly the way the artist wants to portray their personal experience — maybe that would be a better fit for you than graphic novels? You can read them knowing every little piece is put together because the artist was remembering a real experience, and wanted you to share in it.

  32. Jennifer says:

    I haven’t read it, but my husband tells me that the graphic novel version of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” was very well done!

  33. Pam says:

    Oh, I’m expanding my TBR here… and may be warming up my public library’s suggestion form. I read my first graphic work – since childhood, lo those many decades ago – about three years ago. Persepolis, as my book club chose it. I enjoyed it enough that I decided to read some of the well-known graphic novels, such as V is for Vendetta, Watchmen, etc. Those were okay, but … a little dark and/or gloomy for my taste, especially the first one. However, I am intrigued enough by the medium that I’m exploring it some more. I’ve been reading the Paper Girls series by Brian K. Vaughan, and have other works at home, ready to read (e.g., the first compendium of Saga, Monstress 1 and 2, Bitch Planet 1). Read My Favorite Thing is Monsters recently. Well done, but I detest cliffhanger or ambiguous endings unless it is clear you are embarking on a series. Ahem. Yesterday, I signed six graphic novels out of the public library – some from this list, and some from other sources. I see them as an enjoyable alternative to my usual reading, and a welcome diversion from particularly dense and lengthy texts. I’m talking about you, Cryptonomicon.
    Mystery novels are a favourite of mine. Anyone have any suggestions for *mysteries* in graphic format? Books written for adults preferred, LOL.

  34. Marion says:

    I just saw this post. I used to read a lot of graphic novels years ago. I’ve been wanting to get back to read them. I saw the recommendation for The Initiates and bought it! Thanks for recommending that one.

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