Great Graphic Novels for Teens: Top Ten Comic Book Companions of 2023!

The votes are in and YALSA’s 2024 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list will be coming to you during Lib Learn X later this month! While you wait, the 2024 GGNT Committee are delighted to share with you our annual, and very important, TOP TEN COMIC BOOK COMPANIONS OF THE YEAR!

1st Place: Two (aka Marumi, aka Meowguin)

Insomniacs After School
 by Makoto Ojiro
VIZ Media

Companion Description: A (stray?) cat who wanders the school and steals lettuce from sandwiches.

Reason for Nomination: While Two comes and goes to various school clubs, he always has time for a cat nap in the astronomy tower with our two protagonists in this slice-of-life manga series.

2nd Place: Opossum

Cursed Princess Club 
by LambCat
Webtoon Unscrolled

Companion Description: This companion attaches to Princess Gwendolyn’s head via chomping. Typically found upon waking in the morning.

Reason for Nomination: While her sisters attract songbirds and cute forest creatures, Princess Gwendolyn can’t seem to shake these creatures of the night… literally; they’re stuck to her head!

3rd Place: Masaru

Dinosaur Sanctuary
by Itaru Kinoshita
Seven Seas Entertainment

Companion Description:  Masaru is a triceratops who is missing one horn. His keepers need to boost his popularity or he may be transferred to another facility!

Reason for Nomination: A dinosaur who sits like a kitty! One committee member claims that she “cares more about Masaru than any other character (human or dino) in the series.”

4th Place: Daisy

Danger and Other Unknown Risks 
by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
Penguin Workshop

Companion Description: Daisy is a talking dog!

Reason for Nomination: Daisy is a floofy, steadfast companion to our hero, Marguerite, and is a great source of comic relief in this perilous, wacky adventure from the creators of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

5th Place: El Jefe

Frontera 
by Julio Anta and Jacoby Salcedo
HarperAlley

Companion Description: A solitary jaguar

Reason for Nomination: El Jefe has a connection with teen Mateo and saves him from some truly bad actors. Your heart will break for El Jefe, based on a real jaguar in the Sonoran desert, a victim of the border wall separated from his pack.

6th Place: All the Familiars!

Unfamiliar 
by Haley Newsome
Andrews McMeel Publishing

Companion Description: Winston (a bunny), Marlow (a one-eyed cat), Ari (a bird), and Edgar (???)

Reason for Nomination: This quartet of adorable, opinionated, and sassy familiars will make you want to start practicing witchcraft.

It’s a Tie! 7th-10th place:

Percy

Cosmoknights 
by Hannah Templer
Top Shelf Productions

Companion Description: A fluffy space cat.

Reason for Nomination: Percy is an excellent judge of character when humans are not, and can transform into a giant warrior cat his princess can ride at the sound of a whistle.

Sena

The Infinity Particle 
by Wendy Xu
Quill Tree Books

Companion Description: An AI companion beloved by the MC, Clementine.

Reason for Nomination: SENA is the tiny, sassy AI caretaker every human needs.

Moby

Pearl of the Sea 
by Anthony Silverson,
Raffaella Delle Donne and Willem Samuel
Catalyst Press

Companion Description: Moby is a scrappy one-eyed dog who accompanies Pearl on her adventures

Reason for Nomination: Moby is up for all kinds of adventures and will defend Pearl if needed. He is not afraid to stand in Pearl’s way when she does questionable things… which is often.

Haley (aka Bitewing)

Nightwing
 by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo
DC Comics

Companion Description: Haley, otherwise known as Bitewing, is an adopted puppy with three legs.

Reason for Nomination: This is Bitewing’s second year on the list, and GGNT committee members are fiercely protective of this adorable blue-nosed pitbull puppy.

Stanley

Doughnuts and Doom
 by Balazs Lorinczi
Top Shelf Productions

Companion Description: Stanley is a snake who acts like a dog.

Reason for Nomination: Watch with delight as this steadfast and slinky companion steals doughnuts while humans are distracted.

Members of the 2024 Great Graphic Novels for Teens Blogging Team are: Kelley Blue (Coordinator); Meg Bowie; Jean Broughton; Jacqueline Bush; M’issa Fleming; Patricia Jimenez; Rachel Johannigmeier; Kaileigh Oldham; Ness Shortley; Mariela Siegert; Scot Smith; Cheyenne Sons; Lee Stokes; Adam Wheeler

Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: Hollow by Watters, Boyer-White, & Nelle

  • Hollow
  • by Shannon Watters, Branden Boyer-White, and Berenice Nelle (Illustrator)
  • Publisher: Boom Box!
  • Publication Date: October 4, 2022
  • ISBN-13: 9781684158522

Izzy Crane is the new kid in the titular town of Sleepy Hollow. There is no relation between her and Ichabod Crane of the famous tale, but there is a relation between Vicky Van Tassel and the female character of that story. Izzy soon discovers that this town takes the legend very seriously, that she’s moved here just in time for all the annual festivities, and that the Headless Horseman is making another appearance! But has he been misunderstood all this time? Is he there to protect Vicky or harm her? And why does Izzy feel like her new friendship with Vicky could be more than she thought? The clock is ticking and Halloween is right around the corner! Will Izzy and her new friends be able to solve the mystery and keep Vicky safe?

Hollow is a fun and spooky story that plays on an older legend, but knowledge of it is not necessary to enjoy this title. The artwork is enjoyable to look at and the coloring of the fall landscape is vibrant without stealing the show. The characters are well-defined and multi-faceted as well as being likable and funny. There is great diversity in the characters’ backgrounds as well as queer representation that is part of the story but not the basis for it.

Hollow will appeal to readers who enjoy not-too-spooky stories, beginning relationships and friendships, being a new kid in school when everyone knows everyone else, and even stories set in the fall. Hand this to readers who are fans of Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu, Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks, and The Girl from the Sea by Molly Knox Ostertag.

-Mariela Siegert

Other Nominated Titles

Release Date: September 6, 2022
Release Date: September 27, 2022
Release Date: September 20, 2022
Release Date: October 18, 2022

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.

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.


Cover Art

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.

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