Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection by Junji Ito
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
A collection of thirteen terrifying tales by the Japanese master of horror, Junji Ito. From your average suburban landscape to high schools, libraries, rivers and parks, no place is safe from Ito! In his deft hands, a haunted house becomes something to truly fear. He makes the mundane monstrous, and the monstrous something truly spooky that will get under your skin, with just the right amount of gore and humor for new readers and dedicated fans. Read with the lights on!
Teens love horror, and this collection of short stories will not disappoint. Ito’s signature drawing style of meticulously crafted characters are at times both humorous and horrifying, and his attention to emotional detail will definitely connect with its intended audience. Hand to fans of Juni Ito’s other horror collections like Shiver, as well as horror manga series like Happiness and the Flowers of Evil.
Crowded, vol. 1: Soft Apocalypse by Christopher Sebela, illustrated by Ro Stein and Ted Brandt
Publication Date: March 20, 2019
In the not-too-distant future where the gig economy thrives and apps like REAPR empower anyone with a grudge to turn resentment into a crowdsourced opportunity for revenge,
Charlie Ellison awakens to discover she is Los Angeles’s latest target for assassination. With a million dollar bounty on her head, Charlie enlists Vita Slatter, a low-rated bodyguard on the DFEND app, to keep her alive. As the reward grows and more vigilantes join the pursuit, Vita realizes that getting self-indulgent Charlie to lie low while they try to figure out who wants her dead just may end up getting them both killed—that is, if Vita doesn’t throttle her first.
From its very first pages, Crowded is an action-packed, albeit violent, thrill-ride that combines aspects of dystopian literature with elements from mystery, suspense, and detective fiction. The result is a fast-paced, gripping mash-up filled with snappy dialogue, edgy parody, social commentary, and a diverse cast of morally ambiguous characters. Teens will not only appreciate the story’s snark but will be drawn to its striking artwork with its sharp lines, expressive facial features, and eye-catching use of color.
Recommended for fans of Sebela and his team’s individual and collective works as well as for audiences who enjoy action films, buddy movies, and Netflix’s techno-paranoia series Black Mirror.
The Giver (Graphic Novel) by Lois Lowry, and illustrated by P. Craig Russell
HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: Feb 5, 2019
At the age of twelve, Jonas is assigned the rare job of ‘Receiver of Memory,’ tasked with absorbing the secrets and memories of his entire community. As he begins to understand the colorless conformity of his current world, he becomes determined to change it for the better.
I’m actually surprised it took so long to turn The Giver into a graphic novel. It’s a classic title with significant appeal, particularly for younger teens. The process through which Jonas slowly begins to see colors rather than the monochrome blue/grey of his whole life is compellingly rendered by Russell. The story cleaves closely to its source material but the visual medium adds impact and accessibility to this popular tale. This will definitely appeal to fans of the original novel, among others.