Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: Unfamiliar, Vol. 1 by Haley Newsome

  • Unfamiliar, Vol. 1
  • by Haley Newsome
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
  • Publication Date: December 6, 2022
  • ISBN-13: 9781524876838

Unfamiliar by Haley Newsome, based on her webcomic of the same title, follows plucky kitchen witch Planchette as she and her rabbit familiar, Winston, move to a witchy town in search of like-minded friends. Unfortunately, her new abode has raised the wrong kind of spirits–ghosts to be exact. Using her predicament as an opportunity to meet new friends, Planchette pulls together an unlikely group of witches and familiars to solve her problem. 

Newsome’s cute, expressive illustrations present characters that all feel unique and likable in a warm, dusky color palette. Upbeat, fast-paced storytelling packed with easy humor, feel-good vibes, and a sprinkle of queer romance make difficult subjects like loneliness, death, and anxiety go down easy. Magic is largely non-violent and used as a fun support, like an umbrella that functions as a personal rain cloud for a character who is feeling extra sad and wants everyone else to know it. 

This comic’s group of underdogs will appeal to teens who enjoy witchy stories of friendship like the Witch Hat Atelier series by Kamome Shirahama or the Netflix series Little Witch Academia. The easy yet quirky comedy is also a good fit for fans of Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe and the Bee and PuppyCat comics and animated series.

—Adam Wheeler

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: September 27, 2022
Release Date: February 21, 2023
Release Date: March 14, 2023
Release Date: April 11, 2023

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 title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.