Graphic novels aren’t usually my first reading choice. However, after last year’s YALSA Hub Challenge where I read a number of graphic novels because they were, well—short—and I was on a deadline, I discovered I really enjoyed them. It felt like a different reading experience because the pictures were so much a part of each story, adding more depth and nuance beyond what the words conveyed. The characters, the settings, the emotional impact and visual clues were drawn right there on the page and not something I had to conjure in my imagination. Lucky for me, the Hub Challenge list included award winners and honored books, so the graphic novels I read were among the year’s best. What better way to whet the appetite for more? Here are a few graphic novels recently added to our library’s catalog that you might want to check out yourself:
Dumped by his girlfriend, Brody has been wallowing in self-pity until a ghost recruits him to find the serial killer responsible for the “Penny Murders.” This is a six book series and the library has volumes one through four available now with volume 5 slated for a mid-April release. The books are slim, but packed with detailed illustrations and a fast moving plot that leaves the reader in suspense at each conclusion. There’s an East meets West futuristic atmosphere to the series that reminds me of Blade Runner. In addition, Mark Crilley gives his readers a look at his creative process by including preliminary sketches and thoughts on layout and perspective for each installment, an added bonus for budding graphic artists.
She has superpowers! She fights evil ninjas! She needs to pay rent! Faith Erin Hicks explores the awesome role of a superhero by taking a humorous look at her daily life. A life where Superhero Girl runs into her arch nemesis while grocery shopping, where she forgets to take off her mask before a date, and where she needs a roommate to help keep expenses down. And don’t even get the girl started on her wildly famous superhero brother, Kevin! A collection of comic strips rather than a singular plot line, The Adventures of Superhero Girl is a smart, quirky read that will have you chuckling.
A young demigod must prove his worth by defending a besieged city from demons and monsters. The artwork nicely highlights the frenetic pacing and monster fight sequences. The use of full color also beautifully heightens the drama and the decaying and dangerous city that is Arcopolis . Battling Boy is a rather reluctant hero whose t-shirt wardrobe gives him the power of the animal he’s wearing. With a demanding god for a dad and the city’s politicians looking to spin his appearance in a favorable way, Battling Boy has more than monsters to worry about.
Bad Houses is a somber look at the residents of a small town and the connections they share. Lewis and Anne meet when she appears at an estate sale that Lewis is working with his mom. While he and his mother make a living clearing out the homes of the town’s deceased residents, Anne and her mom live stuffed to the gills amongst the piles of junk Anne’s mother is hoarding. The realistic artwork is, at times, cringe worthy, but highly effective. The characters are multi-faceted and the glimpses into their pasts shed a revealing light on their present circumstances. Lewis and Anne are a likeable couple and their romance fills the reader with hope.
I hope there are some undiscovered titles here! Of course, recommendations are always welcome, so please feel free to post your favorites and let me know what I need to check out next!