Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Quincredible, Vol. 1: Quest to Be the Best! by Rodney Barnes and Selina Espiritu
Roar / Lion Forge
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Quinton West is a seemingly normal high school kid, trying to fit in while dealing with crushes, parental pressure, and neighborhood bullies. But normalcy is not an option because Quin is Enhanced, invulnerable to physical harm. After witnessing a riot, Quin decides to take action to help his community. However, his career as a crime-stopping superhero is quickly derailed as his identity becomes known and his parents are taken hostage. With the help of other Enhanced heroes, Quin must work quickly to save his parents and their community.
Quin is a funny, relatable hero that’s not afraid to be emotionally vulnerable, despite his physical invulnerability. Set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the story grapples with complex questions like what does it mean to be a superhero in a broken, oppressive social system that disproportionately incarcerates and disenfranchises Black youths and their communities. The action moves swiftly and the art is clear and crisply drawn. Readers will find this book at turns thoughtful and uplifting, and many will look forward to Quin’s future adventures in the next installments.=
Fans of intrepid teen superheroes like Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel), Miles Morales (Spider-Man), and Riri Williams (Ironheart) will find Quin an admirable new addition to the superhero world. Quincredible’s invulnerable protagonist and social commentary will also connect to fans of Black by Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith and Marvel’s Luke Cage.
Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare, vol. 1 by Yuhki Kamatani
Publication Date: 978-1642750607
Tasuku Kaname has a secret. He knows he is gay, but is not ready to share that with anyone yet. When rumors start to fly around school though, Tasuku denies them all. Panicked and overwhelmed when he gets home, he is ready to jump from his hilltop window—until he sees a mysterious woman jump from the neighboring window. Frantic to find her and her get help, Tasuku discovers the drop-in center happens to be owned by the same mysterious woman, Someone-san, who floats unharmed into the building. With the help of the other regular members of the drop in center, many of whom are also LGBTQ+, Tasuku begins to find hope, and see a possible happy future for himself.
Our Dreams at Dusk portrays the struggle of LGBTQ+ teens living in non-accepting environments through a mixture of both realism and mysticism. Tasuku is brutally taunted at school, yet he is able to find a safe haven in following the slightly magical Someone-san. Though Someone-san does not show the type of compassion Tasuku expects, she seems to attract others who are lonely, lost, and out of hope. The interweaving of Tasuku’s realistic and heart-wrenching story, mixed with the mysteriousness of Someone-san and the continual struggles and fears of the older and less closeted members of the drop-in center make for a powerful and intriguing story. The artwork beautifully mixes detailed lines and the use of shadow and placement to showcase both the realism of the drop-in center, the other-worldliness of Someone-san, and the metaphorical representation Tasuku’s roiling emotional states. Hand to readers looking for a serious manga discussing LGBTQ+ identities, such as Sweet Blue Flowers by Takako Shimura, My Brother’s Husband by Gengoroh Tegame and The Bride was a Boy by Chii.
Teen Titans: Raven written by Kami Garcia and illustrated by Gabriel Picolo
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Our favorite member of Teen Titans gets her own origin story in this new graphic novel published through the newly created DC Ink imprint of. Raven lives a fun and nice life with her soon to be adoptive mom, Viv. She actually can’t believe Viv wants to adopt her, and it’s just about to happen when they are in a serious car crash, and Viv dies. Fortunately, Viv has a sister, Natalia, so Raven goes to live with Natalia and her daughter Max. Everything seems kind of okay despite everything that’s happened; Raven can still find happiness and acceptance, except for one thing—Raven can’t remember anything about her old life, and that’s causing problems since she can hear people’s thoughts and makes bad things happen when she thinks them in her head. Plus, there’s a new boy at school, Tommy, who seems to like her—but, maybe a little too much. There are shadows and magic all around her, and she can’t figure out what it has to do with her until Prom Night—a night that will change everyone’s lives forever.
The art work is expressive and beautifully illustrated with a black, grey, and purple palate that perfectly fits Raven and all she is experiencing. The paneling is easy to follow, and the tones and coloring are beautiful and mysterious. This is a great origin story for those new to Teen Titans or seasoned readers alike, and a great graphic novel for those who love superheroes, the supernatural, and…Deathstroke.