In honour of Free Comic Book Day, I’ve decided to put together a list of my favourite Graphic Novels! I tend to read more Fantasy/Sci-Fi and Alternative comics than those based on Superheroes, so this list is going to focus on my favourite non-superhero comic series. Let me know what your favourite graphic novels are, or any series that you think I should check out in the comments below! I’m always looking for new reading suggestions!
Maus by Art Spiegelman
Words cannot describe how moving and stirring this graphic novel is! It even won the Pulitzer Prize! Using the images of cats and mice, Spiegelman tells the story of his father’s experiences during World War II, and his time spent in a Nazi concentration camp. This is a MUST READ, even if you don’t typically enjoy graphic novels.
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
This is hands down my favourite comic series right now (and maybe of all time)! Brian K. Vaughan is an amazing writer, and Fiona Staples’s artwork is absolutely gorgeous! Saga focuses on star crossed lovers Marko and Alana, who are on opposite sides of a decade long war. Choosing to run off together, Marko and Alana are chased by bounty hunters and soldiers alike, who will do anything to kill them and their newborn baby. Check out my full review of Saga here. This is a must read for Fantasy and Sci-Fi fans! Seriously. Read it. NOW!
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
You really can’t go wrong with any Alan Moore comic, but this one has a special place in my heart due to its use of famous literary characters. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is like the Justice League…except it takes place in Victorian England! The story focuses on Quartermain (King Solomon’s Mines), Mina (Dracula), Griffn (The Invisible Man), Captain Nemo (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), and Dr. Jekyll (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), who join forces to help bring down the evil Moriarity! Don’t even bother seeing the Sean Connery film adaptation! The graphic novel is so much better!
The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
This is an ongoing comic series that book lovers will adore! The story focuses on Tom Taylor, who was the inspiration for a wildly successful children’s book series written by his father, Wilson Taylor. The Tommy Taylor books bear a striking resemblance to Harry Potter, but are even more popular (if that’s even possible). Chaos emerges when a journalist accuses Tom of not being the real son of Wilson, but the embodiment of Tommy Taylor himself. Is Tom real? Or is he just a character from his father’s books brought to life? I’m not really doing the synopsis of this comic justice, but trust me when I say it’s addicting, suspenseful, and mind blowing!
Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
Remember how I said I loved Brian K. Vaughan? Well this is the first series that I ever read by him, and like Saga it is also fabulous! Y: The Last Man is a dystopian series that imagines a world where every male species across the globe has simultaneously died due to some mysterious cause. That is…all men except for Yorick and his pet monkey Ampersand! Witty and thought-provoking, I found this graphic novel series difficult to put down, and loved watching Yorick and his crew travel across the world while trying to find a way to save the human race.
Soulless by Gail Carriger and R.E.M
This graphic novel series is actually an adaptation of Carriger’s original novels! The story of Soulless focuses on Alexia, a “soulless” 26 year old spinster living in a Victorian England that is inhabited by vampires and werewolves. When a group of these paranormal creatures begins to disappear, Alexia is sent to investigate the situation with the brooding, infuriating, and sexy Lord Maccon (who also happens to be a werewolf alpha). The result is a steamy, adventurous, and comical story all wrapped up into one kickass manga! Check out my review of Soulless here!
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
I adore Raina Telgemeier! Her art style is cute, and she is a fantastic storyteller for kids! Drama tells the story of Callie, a middle grade student who is the set designer for her school’s drama club. Things get “dramatic” when two cute brothers join the club for the upcoming school musical, and Callie suddenly finds herself with a bit of a crush. Check out my full review of Drama here! It’s a fantastic graphic novel!
Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatari
Looking for a something light and fluffy that will make you laugh? Then Ouran High School Host Club is the graphic novel for you! This manga series is hilarious! (Just ignore the horribly ugly cover) The story focuses on Haruhi, a female student who has been granted a scholarship to the elite Ouran High School! Unfortunately, due to her shabby clothes and terrible haircut, she is mistaken for a boy on her first day of classes. You can only imagine the funny situations that ensue as a result! Check out my full review of the series here!
Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
In the mood for something darker? Then look no further than Joe Hill’s Locke and Key series! This comic tells the story of Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, three siblings who move into their uncle’s home after their father is brutally murdered by one of his former students. The Locke house isn’t just a regular home, however, and the kids soon discover magical keys that give them all sorts of different powers. Unfortunately, Tyler, Kinsey and Bode aren’t the only one to know about the keys, and a dark entity goes after them to steal them for himself. Full of blood, guts, and horror, it’s not surprise that Joe Hill is the son of Stephen King!
Dragonball by Akira Toriyama
I grew up watching Dragonball on YTV every Saturday morning, so reading the original manga was a bit nostalgic for me. The precursor to the more well known Dragonball “Z”, Dragonball focuses on Goku as a child. A retelling of the Chinese “Monkey King” myth, Goku is searching for the legendary dragonballs with his companion Bulma in order awaken a legendary dragon who will grant them one wish. The manga is absolutely hilarious! I was killing myself laughing through almost the entire thing! It’s definitely much lighter and and humorous then the Dragonball Z series which comes after it. Dragonball is definitely worth checking out if you were ever a fan of the show, or are looking for something to give you a laugh.