Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
Flamer by Mike Curato Henry Holt & Co. / Macmillan Publication Date: September 1, 2020 ISBN: 9781250756145
Aiden spends a last summer at scout camp before high school, which he dreads. He had a terrible middle school experience. He’s bi-racial and gay (though he can’t admit it yet) and doesn’t know where he fits in or how to be himself in a world that actively mocks both of those things. He is religious, confused, crushing on his tent-mate, and desperate to figure himself out while also enjoying the only place he has friends and can occasionally be himself.
Click here to see all of the current Great Graphic Novels nominees along with more information about the list and past years’ selections.
LaGuardia by Nnedi Okorafor, art by Tana Ford Berger Books Publication Date: July 30, 2019 ISBN: 978-1506710754
In an alternate future where aliens have arrived and integrated into world society, Dr. Future, Nwafor Chukwuebuka, has just fled her home in Nigeria. Heavily pregnant and leaving her partner behind, Future lands at LaGuardia International and Interstellar Airport in New York with a secret: an illegal sentient alien plant named Letme Live, who is fleeing a genocide of his people. Future and Letme take refuge at the home of Future’s grandmother and settle in with a supportive community of human and alien immigrants and activists. But as the birth of her child grows closer, protests for and against alien immigration break out at home and abroad, and her partner searches for her from across the globe, Future must make choices that will change her world forever.
It is hard to believe that it is already the start of a new year. But, the good news is that with the new year come new comics to be excited about! This year there are plenty of books and series by female creators to get excited about. Hopefully you will find something here to add to your to-be-read list.
Zodiac Starforce: By The Power of Astra by Kevin Panetta and Paulina Ganucheau – Compared by many in style and story to Sailor Moon, this series has bright colors, great art, a focus on a team of teenage girls, and entertaining adventures. This first volume will collect the first four issues of the series, so it is a great way to introduce it to existing Sailor Moon fans or those who just love action-packed fantasy comics.
Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley – When Lucy Knisley suddenly ends up engaged to her ex-boyfriend, she finds herself unexpectedly planning a wedding. As with her past books, she recorded it all in comic form. This promises to be another great peek at family life from an author who won a 2014 Alex Award and appeared on the Great Graphic Novels 2014 list.
Harley Quinn and Power Girl by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Stephane Roux – In addition to upcoming volumes of the Harley Quinn series, Amanda Conner and her husband Jimmy Palmiotti have a new series in which Harley Quinn and Power Girl team up in a foreign dimension. A great option for fans of this team’s Harley Quinn series, this will also appeal to Power Girl fans and those who want a combination of humor and superheros.
Starfire Volume 1 by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Emanuela Lupacchino – Another collection from the team that brought us the latest Harley Quinn series, this is the first solo series for Starfire. With its Florida setting and battles against threats from the underworld, this series is sure to attract new fans for Starfire.
Tomb Raider by Mariko Tamaki and Phillip Sevy – Mariko Tamaki, author of This One Summer, is taking over the helm of the Tomb Raider series, which is sure to bring new attention to the series. This is a great option for fans of the Tomb Raider game series, especially since it continues the storyline set up in the games.
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks – Hicks is a perennial fan favorite who has written some great comics, so it is easy to get excited for her upcoming work. This book follows Kaidu, a member of the group that is occupying the Nameless City, and Rat, a native of the city. Though they initially seem like unlikely friends, eventually they must work together for the city they both love.
Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain – If you read the standalone Mockingbird issue that was released as part of the S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary, you will be happy to know that there is more to come from this great character! As with the standalone, the new series will be written by Chelsea Cain and will focus on Bobbi Morse’s adventures. Mockingbird has popped up elsewhere as well, including on TV’s Agents of SHIELD and in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man, so this title has promise for wide appeal.
Spiderman by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli – With Marvel’s Secret Wars coming to an end, the All-New All-Different series are ready to begin and one of these series is a new Spiderman story. Though limited information has been released about this series, it has an all-star team of Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli, so it looks like it has great promise.
Octopus Pie by Meredith Gran – In this first Octopus Pie collection, readers meet Eve and her roommate Hanna as they live in Brooklyn and tackle complicated relationships. Filled with humor and observations of 20-something life in the city, this will have wide appeal, though it is probably best for older teens given the age group represented.
Black Canary Volume 1 by Brendan Fletch and Annie Wu – In this series, Dinah Lance hits the road with her band Black Canary and along the way they’re going to encounter more than their fair share of trouble. This combines great fight sequences with a rock and roll setting that will have broad appeal, particularly for those who are already fans of Batgirl.
Faith by Jody Houser, Francis Portela, and Marguerite Sauvage – In many ways, Faith Herbert is a standard superhero: she is an orphan with special powers (including flight) who works as a journalist. But, where this could lead to a bland rehash of previous stories, here this serves as a jumping off point for playing with the standard comic tropes. This looks like it is going to be a great series for fans of Batgirl and many more!
These are just some of the great new works from female creators that we have to look forward to in 2016. It promises to be an exciting year for comics and I can’t wait to read these and more. Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed any that you want to read in 2016!
YALSA’s 2015 Young Adult Services Symposium included a pre-conference session on using graphic novels to inspire programming, recommended titles, a discussion with comics creators Terry Blas, Faith Erin Hicks, Mariko Tamaki, Gene Luen Yang, Leila del Duca, Joe Keatinge, and a discussion with teachers who use graphic novels in classroom instruction.
Sad as it may be for some, summer has come to a close and the new school year is upon us. In honor of this time of the year, here is a list of great comics by women that focus on back to school, whether this means starting college, transitioning to middle school or starting over at a new institution. The books range from realistic to fantastic, but they all capture the emotions of the start of a new school year.
Giant Days by John Allison with art by Lissa Treiman – Susan, Daisy, and Esther are three university students facing all of the typical problems of relationships, school work, and living away from home. Though it is set in Britain, the themes are universal and will have appeal both for those who fondly remember college and those who are looking ahead to it. This new incarnation of the webcomic by the same name follows the same three characters as John Allison’s original series, but this time with Lissa Treiman’s artwork. Designed to be a self-contained 6 issue series, it doesn’t presuppose any knowledge of the earlier series, but it will likely leave many interested in finding those earlier stories as well. Continue reading Women in Comics: Back To School Edition
Now that I am all caught up on my television shows, I am starting to look ahead to what will grace my DVR in the fall. Season premiere time is always exciting, especially when there is some type of literary connection. However, the upcoming show that is leaving me full of hope and anticipation is Supergirl.
In the DC universe, Supergirl is from the same planet as Superman. In fact, she is his older cousin. However, something happened where she was suspended in time and came to planet Earth well after Clark Kent already established the house of El. You know, the big S.
This show seems to be following the proper age gap of Kara Zor-El being younger and more inexperienced with her powers than her super famous cousin Kal-El. She struggles with using them, controlling them, and what path she is supposed to take with them.
Which led me to thinking about books where our main characters are struggling to deal with their powers, or the implications of their powers, in some way. I would love to have superpowers! However, I really don’t know how I would react if power, greatness, and expectations were thrust upon me along with the ability to fly, super strength, and be able to shoot laser beams from my eyes.
So, to celebrate the authentic feelings that Kara is going through, here are a few books where in which our main characters are not always sure what to do with themselves or their powers.
Katsa lives in a world where some have gracelings-. An abilitiesy that allow them to do something exceedingly well. Some people can work well with animals, some are expert swordsmen or archers. Katsa’s graceling is the ability to kill. No matter the size of her opponent, their ability, or strength, she always come out on top. However, this comes with some complications, especially when her uncle, a ruthless king, decides to use her gifts for his gain. Continue reading Why Me? Reluctant Superheroes in YA Lit
“The things that you do should be things that you love, and things that you love should be things that you do.” -Ray Bradbury
Passion is contagious. I love hearing people talk about what they love. I’m sucked into their story, even if they are describing something I didn’t find remotely interesting prior to that moment. This is just as true for me in fiction as it is in real life. I am almost immediately won over by characters in a ruthless pursuit of a passion, whether it manifests in a career aspiration, hobby, vocation or, dare we say, calling. Below are just a few characters and their passions I have enjoyed sharing.
Cath is a passionate reader and a fan of the fantasy series featuring boy wizard Simon Snow. But Cath isn’t just a fan, she is an active participant in the fandom. As “Magicath,” she writes Simon Snow fanfiction, first with her sister and then on her own. Writing fanfiction serves as an escape when her own life is difficult or lonely, and it’s Cath’s own fan base that, in part, helps her gain the confidence she will need to write original characters that tell her own unique story. Fangirl readers not only get to read Cath’s story throughout the novel, but her own Simon Snow fanfiction as well.
If I had to give an award for the most unique hobbies I have ever encountered in fiction, I would give it to Wilhelmina and her friends. As Will introduces her friends to the reader, one of the first things we find out about each of them is what they are passionate about. Will makes her own lamps mostly out of objects found in her aunt’s antique shop, her friend Autumn practices puppetry, Noel is constantly baking, and his little sister Reece makes up-cycled jewelry. Readers looking for a graphic novel offering some D.I.Y. inspiration need look no further than Will and Whit. One thing I love about Will and her friends’ hobbies is the way they find ways to share them with their community. When Hurricane Whitney sweeps through, causing a town-wide blackout, and leaving locals bored, Will and her friends each contribute their talents to a makeshift arts carnival. With a phobia of the dark and a tragic past, making lamps becomes a way for Will to cope with her fears and, eventually, process and express her emotions.
Nate is president of the high school’s robotics club, a small but dedicated group, struggling for their school’s meager extracurricular funds. Unfortunately, the school’s cheerleaders are just as dedicated and want the same funding for their cheer uniforms. Though the two groups initially have it out for each other, they become united by their lack of money, and use a cutthroat robotics competition as a last ditch effort to win prize money. My favorite part of this graphic novel is that two groups bond over the fact that they both love what they do, even though what they love couldn’t possibly be more different. Nate and his friends have to deal with stereotypes surrounding what they love, but they fight them with an inspirational vengeance. (Cheerleaders are NOT dumb, and don’t EVER tell a girl that she shouldn’t be into robotics!) Continue reading Contagious Passion: Characters Doing What They Love
Last month when I started writing my Find a New Favorite Female Comic Artist or Graphic Novelist post I envisioned it as a one-time list of suggestions, but as I got into the process of collecting books with women in charge of the story, artwork, or both, I realized that (1) there are far too many examples for a single post and (2) I was having way too much fun to only go through the process once. When I published the post and started getting supportive comments with even more reading suggestions, I decided that I wanted to turn it into a recurring series. So, my current plan is to continue writing Women In Comics posts that offer suggestions for those interested in finding great new comics and graphic novels.
As I was preparing to write this post, both Marvel and DC released plans for upcoming superhero movies for the next several years and this gave me the inspiration to focus on the contributions that women have made to superhero comics. This post will highlight a wide range of superhero stories written or illustrated by important women in the field. Without further ado, here are some more great stories to choose from: Continue reading Women In Comics: Superhero Edition
As a big fan of graphic novels and comics, I read across many genres from superhero comics to nonfiction to humor and beyond. While I love the work of many different authors, today I want to highlight some of the best work from female artists who create comics and graphic novels. The list below includes some books I have read and some I can’t wait to read, but they are all written or drawn (or both!) by women who are among the best in the field.
With summer just around the corner and the weather improving, summer camp season is almost upon us. This traditional summer activity offers so many possible adventures that it has long been a staple of stories about teens. While there are plenty of other stories set during summer vacation, there is something special about heading away from home for a summer in a cabin or a tent. Whether you are looking for something to read with a flashlight in your cabin after lights out or want to live vicariously, here are some great books about summer camp!
Brain Camp by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan with illustrations by Faith Erin Hicks – When the concerned parents of Jenna and Lucas are told that their children are being invited to spend the summer at Camp Fielding, known for churning out brilliant overachievers, they leap at the opportunity. But once Jenna and Lucas arrive, they realize that not everything is as it seems as campers around them become mindless but superficially smart. Told with just the right mix of creepiness and humor, this book, which appeared on the 2011 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens list, is the perfect book for reluctant campers looking for some laughs. Continue reading Stories Around the Camp Fire