Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder
Dial Books / Penguin Random House
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Feder’s debut memoir deals candidly with the loss of her mother to cancer when she was only 19 years old. Through gentle humor and charming visuals, Feder conveys her sense of overwhelming loss, her communion with her family and those who feel that loss most deeply, and her recommendations to those supporting friends or family experiencing something similar.
Though Feder is an older teen when her mother dies, her humor, honesty, and illustrations make this accessible for all teens. It will especially resonate with those who have lost a loved one, but may also be helpful to those who find themselves at a loss when a friend is grieving (the do’s and don’ts list on page 110 is excellent). She unflinchingly details an experience both universal and extraordinarily specific.
Recommended for fans of The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds, We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, and I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.
Valkyrie: Jane Foster, vol. 1: The Sacred and the Profane by Jason Aaron, Al Ewing, and CAFU
Publication Date: January 22, 2020
Picking up where War of the Realms left off (and including eight pages from War of the Realms: Omega as a preface), Valkyrie: Jane Foster finds Dr. Jane Foster taking on the Asgardian mantle of guide and ferrywoman to the dead. Although she has experience as a superhero from when she was Thor, Goddess of Thunder, being a Valkyrie comes with serious responsibilities and some surprising perks. The first volume of this new series sees Jane fighting some familiar Marvel villains and learning more about what her new role means.
Jane is an adult with a lot of life experience. She’s a doctor, a superhero, and a cancer survivor, but in this story she is also a character in transition. She’s figuring out who she is now in this new role, and she makes mistakes and has to face the consequences, making her more relatable to teen readers. The artwork is also particularly well done and will strengthen the appeal of this title. CAFU’s illustrations and Jesus Aburtov’s vibrant colors are showcased throughout the action-packed fight sequences, the glorious halls of Valhalla, and the literal journey into the unknown.
This title will primarily appeal to established Marvel Comics fans who are familiar with Jane from writer Jason Aaron’s Mighty Thor series, but will also be accessible to new readers looking for superhero comics with strong female leads. Marvel movie fans might also want to catch up on Jane’s adventures while they wait for Natalie Portman’s return to the character in Thor: Love and Thunder.