Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Nominations Round-Up, Spring

Each quarter, the Selected Lists teams compile the titles that have been officially nominated to date. These are titles that have been suggested by the team or through the  title suggestion form, read by multiple members of the team, and received approval to be designated an official nomination. At the end of the year, the final list of nominations and each Selected List’s Top Ten will be chosen from these titles.


Alienated. By Simon Spurrier. Art by Chris Wildgoose. 2020. BOOM! Studios. $19.99 (9781684155279). 

Three teenagers named Sam (Samuel, Samantha, and Samir) encounter an alien with incredible powers that bonds to them. But will they use those powers for good or for evil?

Asadora!, v.1. By Naoki Urasawa. VIZ Media / VIZ Signature. $14.99 (9781974717460). 

A storm sweeps into Nagoya, and young Asadora—with the help of unlikely friends—must find a way to rescue her family. But there’s more to the storm than just rain and wind as Asa soon discovers.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Ghosted in L.A., Vol. 2-3 by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, and Cathy Le

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Ghosted in L.A., vol. 2–3 by Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, and Cathy Le
BOOM! Box / BOOM! Studios
Publication Date: September 1, 2020; December 29, 2020
ISBN: 9781684155415, 9781684156047

In the second and third volumes of Ghosted in L.A., college student Daphne adjusts to her new home with the ghosts of Rycroft Manor. On top of school work and navigating relationships with her ghost roommates, she also must deal with sinister forces both inside and outside the house. Meanwhile, her gay ex-boyfriend Ronnie joins the Rycroft crew and tries to fit in among the other queer students at college. These worlds collide in the culmination of the series, which wraps up tidily in the third and final volume.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of What If We Were by Axelle Lenoir

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What If We Were by Axelle Lenoir
Top Shelf Productions / IDW Publishing
Publication Date: December 8, 2020
ISBN: 9781603094801

Nathalie and Marie have been best friends for their whole life, and nearly that whole time, they have been playing a game called “What If.” One of them will start the game by saying “what if we were Vikings” or fruit or something else just as silly, and then they will go back and forth describing their lives in this scenario. Sometimes a game will take all afternoon or just a few seconds between classes in high schools. Each game lasts a few pages before jumping to the next game, allowing glimpses into their lives, minds, and friendship.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Odessa by Jonathan Hill

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Odessa by Jonathan Hill
Oni Press
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
ISBN: 9781620107898

Eight years after Virgina (Ginny) Crane, her two brothers, and her father survived a massive earthquake that physically split their home state of California and left them in a post-apocalyptic America, Ginny prepares to venture out into the unknown to find their mother, Odessa, who left them years ago. To her surprise, frustration, and then relief, her younger brothers also join her on this journey. Safely navigating this questionable landscape of strangers, gangs, and less-than-helpful ferrymen will prove to challenge Ginny’s grit and desire to see how far she really will go to have family questions answered.

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of The Black Panther Party by David F. Walker & Marcus Kwame Anderson

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The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History by David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson
Ten Speed Press / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
ISBN: 9781984857705

The Black Panther Party documents the rise of the revolutionary party from its inception in 1966 Oakland, California, to its dissolution in the 1980s. Key figures like Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge and Kathleen Cleaver, Tarika Lewis, and Elaine Brown are introduced and highlighted, as well as the Party’s still-relevant Ten Point Program and the lethal influence of the FBI’s illegal counterintelligence program, COINTELPRO. 

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Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen by Matt Fraction & Steve Lieber

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the field nomination form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination. 

Each week, the teams will feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation will be listed as well. At year’s end, the team will use that list of nominated titles to select a final list and Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are also made available on The Hub.


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Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen? by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber 
DC Comics
Publication Date: October 27, 2020 
ISBN: 9781779504623

Iconic sidekick Jimmy Olsen is the focus of this comedic limited series. Jimmy is a Pulitzer award-winning photographer, a member of one of the oldest and richest families in Metropolis, and also a goofy content creator for the Daily Planet‘s website whose antics keep the newspaper in the black. However, when one of his stunts ends up destroying a major landmark, he becomes embroiled in a mystery. After an assassin “kills” his decoy body, Jimmy goes into hiding to try and solve his own murder. 

This is an offbeat, fast-paced comic with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments anchored by an interesting mystery. It definitely helps for readers to have some familiarity with DC comics and the history of Superman, but Jimmy’s shenanigans both reference his classic stories with odd transformations and include more modern hijinks (especially acting as “irresponsible blogger Timmy Olsen” while undercover in Gotham). The artwork and coloring feels like a classic Silver Age comic and is accessible and full of visual humor.

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Introducing Your 2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Team

Hello! I’m Crystal Chen, and I’m serving my second year as the Coordinator for the 2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team. In my daily life, I work as a Young Adult Librarian out of a Bronx branch of The New York Public Library. I live in Brooklyn with one cat and lots of cacti.

The 2022 Great Graphic Novels team is gearing up to create another outstanding list of comics for teen readers ages 12 to 18 (check out our 2021 list!). We want our list to reflect the rich diversity of the teen experience and engage readers from all backgrounds, and we’re looking for books with strong writing and seamlessly integrated artwork that conveys clear visual flow and meaning. For Great Graphic Novels, we consider teen titles (and adult titles with strong teen appeal) that are published between September 1, 2020, through December 31, 2021. If you wish to recommend a comic for committee consideration, please fill out this field nomination form (note that neither publishers nor authors may nominate their own titles).

Great Graphic Novels team members work together to discover, nominate, and second books; review field nominations; write blog posts and annotations; log internal ratings and reviews; and attend monthly to biweekly virtual discussion meetings. Consistent participation is encouraged and members are required to read nominated titles before casting a vote. Final decisions are made in December, including naming a top ten list. Great Graphic Novels generally reviews 100-200 titles per year and considers books in a series as well as standalone titles.


The #GGNT2022 team is made up of 14 YALSA members from different types of library settings and backgrounds all over the country. They are:

  • Becky Proie, PA
  • Cyndi Hamann, IL
  • Dakota Hall, IN
  • Denise Farley, GA
  • Kacy Helwick, LA
  • Kathleen Barker, MI
  • Kelley Blue, ME
  • Kiera Vargas, KY
  • Mitzi Mack, FL
  • Rachel Johannigmeier, MO
  • Shaira Rock, IL
  • Traci Glass, NE
  • Dana Hutchins, Admin Assistant, TX

We look forward to getting started this year and reading some new and fantastic comics. If you have any questions, please feel free to email crystalchen@nypl.org

—Crystal Chen (she/her)

2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Coordinator

2021 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

2021 Great Graphic Novels Top Ten

The 2021 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list is now available!

The list consists of 126 titles selected from 145 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub. The books, recommended for those aged 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens. View the full list.

In addition to the full list, the blogging team chose the following titles as its top ten:

  • Almost American Girl by Robin Ha. Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9780062685094.
  • Blue Flag by Kaito. 
    • Vol. 1. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713011. 
    • Vol. 2. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713028. 
    • Vol. 3. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713035. 
    • Vol. 4. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713042. 
    • Vol. 5. VIZ Media. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781974713059. 
  • Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence by Joel Christian Gill. Oni Press. 2020. $19.99. ISBN: 9781549303357. 
  • Go With the Flow by Karen Schneemann, art by Lily Williams. First Second / Macmillan. 2020. $21.99. ISBN: 9781250305725.
  • Guantánamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison by Sarah Mirk, art by Gerardo Alba, Kasia Babis, Alex Beguez, Tracy Chahwan, Nomi Kane, et al. Abrams ComicsArts / Abrams Books. 2020. $24.99. ISBN: 9781419746901. 
  • The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado, art by DaNi. Hill House Comics / DC Comics. 2020. $22.99. ISBN: 9781779504524. 
  • The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. Random House Graphic / Penguin Random House. 2020. $16.99. ISBN: 9780593125298. 
  • Snapdragon by Kat Leyh. First Second / Macmillan. 2020. $12.99. ISBN: 9781250171115. 
  • Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang, art by Gurihiru. DC Comics. 2020. $16.99. ISBN: 9781779504210. 
  • Wonder Twins by Mark Russell, art by Stephen Byrne.
    • Vol. 1: Activate! Wonder Comics / DC Comics. 2019. $16.99. ISBN: 9781401294649. 
    • Vol. 2: The Rise and Fall of the Wonder Twins. Wonder Comics / DC Comics. 2020. $16.99. ISBN: 9781779501790. 

The suggestion form for the 2022 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list is open. If you’d like to suggest a title to the blogging team for consideration as a nominee, please fill out the form.

YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age-appropriate resources for librarians and library workers to share with the teens in their communities. Learn more about YALSA’s other book and media lists here.

A huge thank you goes out to the members of the 2021 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team for all the great work they put into curating this list. The members are:

Crystal Chen, coordinator, The New York Public Library, Bronx, NY
Erin Durrett, Clinton-Macomb Public Library, Clinton Township, MI
Denise Farley, Dekalb County Public Library, Decatur, GA
Traci Glass, Lincoln City Libraries, Lincoln, NE
Thea Hashagen, Mill Valley Public Library, Mill Valley, CA
Kacy Helwick, New Orleans Public Library, New Orleans, LA
Tina H. Lerno, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Matisse Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA
Mike Pawuk, Cuyahoga County Public Library, South Euclid, OH
Christine Pyles, Euclid Public Library, Euclid, OH
Celeste Rhoads, The American Library in Paris, Paris, France
Shaira Rock, Elmhurst Public Library, Elmhurst, IL
Becky Standal, Longview Public Library, Longview, WA
Isaiah West, Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, Largo, MD

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, December 17 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Drifting Dragons Vol. 1 by Taku Kuwabara Book Cover
Drifting Dragons, Vol. 1 by Taku Kuwabara

Drifting Dragons, vol. 1–5 by Taku Kuwabara
Kodansha Comics
Publication Date: December 17, 2019; December 17, 2019; February 18, 2020; April 3, 2020; August 25, 2020
ISBN: 9781632368904, 9781632369444, 9781632369451, 9781632369512, 9781632369529

Drifting Dragons is a historical fantasy and cooking manga that chronicles the daily life and adventures of the crew of a draking (dragon-hunting) airship. The Quin Zaza is introduced as one of the few draking ships still in operation in this world, and the crew has no port to call home. They follow the dragons and sell the meat, oil, and other byproducts to the locals wherever they are after a successful hunt. The series features a large ensemble cast, but the main characters are Takita, a young woman who is new to the ship and the draking world, and Mika, a brazen man whose driving motivation is how much he enjoys eating dragons. Mika’s appetite leads to many scenes of food preparation and chapters often end with a recipe.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, December 17 Edition

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, December 10 Edition

Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.

Wait, What? by Heather Corinna and Isabella Rotman Book Cover
Wait, What? by Heather Corinna, Isabella Rotman, and Luke B. Howard

Wait, What?: A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up by Heather Corinna, Isabella Rotman, and Luke B. Howard
Limerence Press / Oni Press
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
ISBN: 9781620106594

Wait, What? is the perfect title for tweens and younger teens to explore and learn about changing bodies, relationships, and what it means to grow up. This title represents a diverse cast as they talk about love, sex, puberty, and more. With realistic illustrations, Wait, What? does not shy away from tough topics or uncomfortable looks at the human body.

This title is perfect for a library’s puberty collection or graphic novel collection as it is great in both realms. This is a great introductory overview about realistic body image and expectations without being preachy or condescending. Though teens might look and giggle at the illustrations of penises and vaginas, they are also learning that each body is different and works on a different timeline. Though middle school is the best age for this title, do not be shy in putting it in a high school library as not every teen comes with the same base knowledge of sex and relationships and not every teen’s body is on the same timeline.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2021) Nominees Round Up, December 10 Edition