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: 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.