31st July 2020
Winter Reading Challenge: Graphic Novels
Our third themed winter reading challenge is to read a graphic novel! Graphic novels are considered a literary and pop culture staple with their immersive blend of writing and art. The medium is also super versatile – from superheroes to meet-cute romances, memoir to fantasy, drama or comedy, there’s a graphic novel for just about anything under the sun…
If you loved the 2010 cult classic film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, you’ll definitely love the comic series it was adapted from. Here’s a plot run down: Scott Pilgrim is a part-time musician who plays bass guitar in a band. Scott falls in love with delivery girl Ramona Flowers and must defeat her seven evil exes to win her heart. It’s a fun and wacky series with self-aware humor and clever art. Perfect for when you need an instant mood booster.
The story follows Nimona, an impulsive young shapeshifter and sidekick to supervillain Ballister Blackheart. Their mission is to prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are. A highlight of the comic is the heartwarming friendship that grows between Nimona and Ballister Blackheart. Touching yet subversive, this is a story that is much deeper than what you would expect of it.
Of course, we couldn’t NOT recommend the best-selling manga series of all time. It follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, an idealistic boy who sets off on a journey from the East Blue Sea to find the legendary ‘’One Piece” treasure and proclaim himself the King of the Pirates. One Piece has got a little bit of everything: pirate adventure, a coming of age story, a hero’s journey, comedy, drama, fantasy, multi-faceted characters, political intrigue…I could probably keep going. Fair warning though, this manga is quite a long saga – definitely one for the long haul.
For all you fluff lovers, this one’s for you! Check, Please! follows Eric Bittle aka Bitty, a former Georgia junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur baker who is starting his freshman year playing hockey at the prestigious Samwell University. Bitty is also gay but isn’t out yet. The series is chronicled through Bitty’s vlogs where he talks about what’s happening in his life. A feel-good story about hockey, bros, friendship, baking, self-acceptance and a precious slow burn romance. This one’s just cute, like seriously cute.
Persepolis is a graphic memoir detailing Satrapi’s childhood and coming of age in Iran during and after the Islamic Revolution. Through Marji’s eyes the book explores the impact of the revolution on public and private life, rebellion, identity struggles and the experience of being a woman during such a turbulent period. Persepolis is candid, brutal but also humorous and poignant. Try this one if you’re looking for an enlightening read.
Webtoons are all the rage these days, and this one’s been rated the most popular one. Let’s play is a webtoon about an indie game developer whose first game had been receiving rave reviews until a popular ‘viewtuber’ gives her a bad review causing his fans to spam her with hate. To top it all off, she discovers the same critic is moving in next door. Now don’t let the synopsis fool you, this isn’t your typical cliché love story. Let’s Play has a much broader scope with mental health being a significant focus of the series, while the slow-burn romance builds itself realistically. Its also got LGBTQ+ and disability representation, and a ton of nerd references!
A Marvel superhero comic is kind of a no brainer choice for this list, but this one puts a spin on an iconic heroine. Ms. Marvel follows the story of Kamala Khan, a Muslim girl from Jersey City who is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Ms. Marvel is a refreshing and fun reboot featuring a dorky good-willed kid who just wants to fit in.
Stand Still. Stay Silent is a post-apocalyptic webcomic set 90 years into the future after a great illness had plagued the planet. A small Nordic team of explorers head out on their first official research mission into the old world that had been left to the mercy of trolls, beasts and giants. This is a story about friendship and camaraderie with elements of Nordic mythology and horror. The art is gorgeous, and the world building is expansive. The premise feels a little real right now given the global pandemic we’re living, but hey maybe that makes this story all the more compelling.
And many more!
- The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
- Buffy the Vampire by Jordie Bellaire, Joss Whedon and Dan Mora
- The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
- Watchmen by Alan Moore
- Lumberjanes by Nicole Andelfinger, Maddi Gonzalez and Brittany Williams
- Hellboy by Mike Mignola
- Jim Henson’s Labryinth Jim Henson, Jonathan Case, Cory Godbey, Ted Naifeh and Jeff Stokely