Suggested Graphic Novel Reading List

Prepared by Dave Burbank,  davidb (at) takomagov. dot org

and Karen MacPherson (karenm (at) takomagov (dot) org)

This list is compiled from the collection at the Takoma Park MD Library.  This a collection of some of our favorite titles, it is not meant to be an exhaustive or comprehensive list.

Over time I expect to drop in little capsule reviews of each book and update it as new favorites come in.  If there’s one on the list you want me to review sooner than later let me know and I’ll try to do these first.


__ Comics & Sequential Art by Will Eisner (Poorhouse Press, 1985).
Popularizer of the phrase ‘graphic novel’ William Eisner began as a cartoonist in the pulp era (1930’s) and taught cartoons and comics for many years at the School of Visual Art in New York City.  This work collects his many of his theories of the uses and importance of the form.   Here he postulates that the form he calls ‘sequential art’ (and others call ‘comics’) is more akin to film than to literature or picture books.  The recent trend of movies created directly from graphic novels lends evidence to his theory.

__ The 101 Best Graphic Novels by Stephen Weiner (NBM)
It’s tough to create a long-lasting  comprehensive and useful list of a medium where the mainstream houses keep such a  short-lived backlist.   Since some popular titles may only be in print for a year or so, tracking them is something  akin to cataloging the social behavior of a pack of mayflies.  Librarian Steve Weiner tracks down many of the better titles here.

____Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (HarperPerennial, 1994) and Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels (HarperCollins, 2006) by Scott McCloud
Teach yourself to admire comics:   McCloud writes a beautifully complex dissection of the whys whences and how-sos of the artform.   Your brain will grow extra neurons and convoluted grey wrinkles in your forebrain after immersion in this book.  I cannot recommend it to you with sufficient praise, since I’d need to also be able to draw you very clear concise diagrams as well.   If you read two graphic ‘novels’ in your lifetime, read this and read Maus by Art Speigelman.  Then at least you can say you’ve done your homework.

__ Reviews of graphic novels also run regularly in School Library Journal, Library Journal, Booklist and VOYA.

__ Hokusai: First Manga Master by Jocelyn Bouquillard and Christophe Marquet (Abrams, 2007)
The Japanese have a rich history of the combination of words and pictures.  Hokusai’s studies in ink and watercolors lay the groundwork for the Japanese manga style (rich detailed backgrounds, iconographic characters).

__Winsor McCay: His Life and Art by John Canemaker (Abrams, 2005)

__ Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman by Patrick McDonnell, et al (Abrams, 1986)


__ Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels, edited by James Bucky Carter (National Council of Teachers of English, 2007)

__ Developing and Promoting Graphic Novel Collections by Steve Miller (Neal-Schuman, 2005)

__Getting Graphic: Comics For Kids by Michele Gorman (Linworth Publishing, 2007)

__ Getting Graphic: Using Graphic Novels to Promote Literacy With Preteens and Teens by Michele Gorman (Linworth Publishing, 2003)

__Graphic Novels Now: Building, Managing, and Marketing a Dynamic Collection by Francisca Goldsmith (American Library Association, 2005)

__ Graphic Novels in Your Media Center: A Definitive Guide by Allyson Lyga and Barry Lyga (Libraries Unlimited, 2004)

__ The Librarian’s Guide to Graphic Novels for Children and Tweens by David S. Serchay (Neal-Schuman, 2008) (Note: Serchay offers a list of his 25 favorites, as well as an extensive annotated list of graphic novels.)

__ the Baby Blues books by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott (Andrews and McMeel)

__ the Calvin and Hobbes books by Bill Watterson (Andrews and McMeel)

__ the Garfield books by Jim Davis (Ballantine)

__ the For Better Or For Worse series by Lynn Johnston (Andrews and McMeel)

__the Foxtrot books by Bill Amend (Andrews and McMeel)

__ The Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics , edited by Art Spiegelman & Francoise Mouly (Abrams, 2009)


__ the Zits series by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman

__ the Pearls Before Swine series by Stephan Patsis


__ Blood Song: A Silent Ballad by Eric Drooker (Harvest Books) (Adults)

__ Flood: A Novel In Pictures by Eric Drooker (Dark Horse) (Adults)

__ the Owly books by Andy Runton (Top Shelf Productions) (All ages)

__ the Polo books: “The Adventures of Polo” and “Polo: The Runaway Book” by Regis Faller (Roaring Brook) (All ages).

__ Adventures in Oz by Eric Shanower (IDW)
__ the Akiko books by Mark Crilley (Sirius Entertainment)
__ the Amelia Rules books by Jimmy Gownley (Renaissance Press)
__ the Archie series by Bob Bolling et al (Archie Comic Publications)
__the Asterix series by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo (Hachette)
__the Babymouse series by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House)
__ the Baby-Sitter’s Club series by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix/Scholastic)
__ the Batman series for kids by various authors (DC Comics)
__ Benny and Penny: Just Pretend by Geoffrey Hayes (TOON Books, 2008)
__ the Bone series by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books/Graphix/Scholastic)
__ Castle Waiting: The Lucky Road by Linda Medley (Cartoon Books, 2000)
__ Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala (First Second, 2009)
__ Disney-inspired graphic novels, including Lilo and Stitch (Disney)
__ the Electric Girl series by Michael Brennan (AitPlanetLar)
__ Flight Explorer, Volume 1 by various authors (Flight Comics/Villard, 2008)
__ the Groo series by Sergio Aragones (Dark Horse)
__the Justice League Adventures series by various authors (DC Comics)
__ the Kit Feeny series by Michael Townsend (Knopf, 2009 – first two books) __ the Little Lulu series by John Stanley and Irving Tripp (Dark Horse)
__ Luke on the Loose by Harry Bliss (TOON Books, 2009)
__ the Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Knopf, 2009—first two volumes)
__ Marvel Adventures (Marvel) (various superhero characters)
__ Mo and Jo: Fighting Together Forever by Jay Lynch and Dean Haspiel (TOON Books, 2008)
__ the Neotopia series by Rod Espinosa
__ Otto’s Orange Day by Jay Lynch (TOON Books, 2008)
__ Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale (Bloomsbury)
__ the Sardine series by Emmanuel Guibert and Joann Sfar (FirstSecond/Roaring Brook)
__ Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow by James Sturm and Rich Tommaso (Jump At the Sun/Hyperion, 2007)
__ The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis (First Second, 2009)
__ the Simpsons series by Matt Groening (Perennial)
__ the Star Wars Clone Wars Adventures by various authors (Dark Horse)
__ Stinky by Eleanor Davis (TOON Books, 2008)
__ the Superman Adventures series by Mark Millar (DC Comics)
__ the Teen Titans series by J. Torres and Todd Naugh (DC Comics)
__ The 3-2-2 Detective Agency: The Disappearance of Dave Warthog by Fiona Roberts (Abrams)
__ the Tintin series by Herge (Little, Brown)
__ To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel by Siena Cherson Siegel and Mark Siegel (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, 2006)
__ The Unsinkable Walker Bean, by by Aaron Renier, colors by Alec Longstreth. (First Second, 2010).  Dave says:  “An instant classic all-ages adventure story… an enchanting sea yarn following an engaging and compelling protagonist.  Like:  The Secret Science Alliance crossed with the Pirates of the Carribean”.
__ the Usagi Yojimbo series by Stan Sakai (Dark Horse)
__The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis (FSG, 2007).
__ the Warriors graphic novels by Dan Jolley and James Barry (Tokyo Pop)
__ The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, adapted by Michel Plessix (Papercutz, 2007)
__ books by Marcia Williams, including: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (Candlewick Press, 2006); The Adventures of Robin Hood (Candlewick Press, 1995), Bravo, Mr. William Shakespeare! (Candlewick Press, 2000), Tales From Shakespeare: Seven Plays (Candlewick Press, 1998); Greek Myths For Young Children (Candlewick Press, 1992), Charles Dickens and Friends (2002) and Archie’s War (Candlewick Press, 2007).

__ Amulet, Book One: The Stonekeeper  and Amulet Book Two: The Stonekeeper’s Curse by Kazu Kibuishi (Graphix/Scholastic, 2008 and 2009)
__ Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer (Hyperion, 2007)
__ the Batman series (DC Comics)
__ Chiggers by Hope Larson (Atheneum, 2008)
__ the Fantastic Four Marvel Adventures series (Marvel)
__ Great Expectations  by Charles Dickens (Classical Comics, 2009)
__ Houdini: the Handcuff King by Jason Lutes (Center for Cartoon Studies/Hyperion, 2007)
__ the Immortal Iron Fist series by Ed Brubaker (Marvel, various copyright dates)
__ Mouse Guard Fall 1152 and Mouse Guard Winter 1152 by David Petersen (Archaia Studios Press, 2007 and 2009)
__ The Plain Janes by Cecil Castelllucci (Minx, 2007)
__ the Spider-Man series (Marvel)
__ the Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic series by John Jackson Miller,  Brian Ching and Travel Foreman (Dark Horse)
__ Stormbreaker: The Graphic Novel (Philomel, 2006) and Point Blank: The Graphic Novel (Philomel, 2008). (These are adaptations of the “Alex Rider” series by Anthony Horowitz.)
__ Thor by J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel (Marvel, 2008)
__ the X-Men  series (Marvel)

__ the Castle in the Sky series by Hayao Miyazaki (Viz).
_the Medabots series by Horumarin (Viz)
__ the My Neighbor Totoro series by Hayao Miyazaki (Viz)
__ the Pokemon Adventures series by Hidenori Kusaka (Viz)
__ the Spirited Away series by Hayao Miyazaki (Viz)
__ the Yotsuba&! series by Azumanga Daioh (Adv Manga)

__ the Beet the Vandel Buster series by Riku Sanjo
__ the Bleach series by Tite Kubo
__ the Deathnote series by Tsugumi Ohba
__ the Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z series by Akira Toriyama
__ the Fruits Basket series by Natsuki Takaya (Tokyopop)
__ the Fullmetal Alchemist series by Hiromu Arakawa (Viz)
__ the Inubakia series by Yukiya Sakuragi (Viz)
__ the Naruto series by Masashi Kishimoto (Viz)
__ Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind by Hayao Miyazaki (Viz)
__ Project X: Cup Noodle by Tadashi Katoh (DMP)
__ the Shaman King series by Hiroyki Takei (Viz)
__ the Tokyo Mew Mew series by Mia Kiumi & Reiko Yoshida (Tokyopop)
__ the What’s Michael? series by Makoto Kabayashi (Dark Horse Comics)
__ the Yu-Gi-Oh series by Kazuki Takahashi

__ Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli (Pantheon, 2009)
__ Aya and Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet (Drawn & Quarterly, 2007 and 2008)
__ Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller (DC Comics, 1996)
__ Blankets by Craig Thompson (Top Shelf, 2003)
__ Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson (Top Shelf, 2001)
__ the B.P.R.D. series  by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse, 2004)
__ Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu by Osamu Tezuka (Vertical Productions, 2003)
__ The Complete Concrete by Paul Chadwick (Dark Horse, 1994)
__ DMZ by Brian Wood et al (DC Comics, 2006)
__  the Dungeon series by Joann Sfar and Lewis Tronheim (NBM, 1998/2003)
__ the Ex Machina series by Brian K. Vaughan et al. (DC Comics, 2005)
__ Fables: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham, et al. (DC Comics. 2005)
__ Flight Explorer, Volume 1 by various authors (Flight Comics/Villard, 2008)
__ H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds by Ian Edington and D’Israeli (Dark Horse, 2005/2006)
__ Lone Wolf 2100: Shadows On Saplings by Mike Kennedy and Francisco R. Velasco (Dark Horse, 2002/2003)
__ The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar (Pantheon/Random House, 2005)
__ Scarlet Traces by Ian Edington and D’Israeli (Dark Horse, 2003)
__ 300 by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley (Dark Horse, 1998/1999)
__ the Wake series by Jean David Morvan and Philippe Buchet (Nantier, Beall, Minoustchine, 2000)
__ Watchman by Alan Moore et al (DC Comics, 1986/2005)
__ Yosel by Joe Kubert (ibooks/Simon & Schuster, 2003)

__ Cartoon History of the Universe series by Larry Gonnick (Doubleday)
__ Disappearance Diary by Hideo Azuma (Fanfare, 2008)
__French Milk by Lucy Knisley (Simon & Schuster, 2007)
__ Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)
__ Kampung Boy  and Town Boy by Lat (First Second)
__ Maus  and Maus II  by Art Spiegelman
__Mom’s Cancer by Brian Fies (Image/Abrams, 2006)
__ Palestine by Joe Sacco (Fantagraphics, 2001)
__ Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon, 2003)
__The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan With Doctors Without Borders by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefebre and Frederic Lemercier. (First Second,2009)
__ Stitches by David Small (Norton, 2009)
__The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA  by Mark Schultz, Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon (Hill and Wang,  2009)
__ the True Story: Swear to God  series by Tom Beland (AiT/PlanetLar, 2003)

‘HYBRID’ BOOKS (mixing sequential art with prose):
__ the Amelia books by Marissa Moss (Simon & Schuster) (Ages 8-12)
__ the Captain Underpants books by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic) (ages 4-8)
__ the Diary Of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney (Amulet) (Ages 9 up)
__ the Ellie McDoodle books by Ruth Barshaw (Bloomsbury) (Ages 8-12)
__ the Julian Rodriguez books by Alexander Stadler (Scholastic, 2008 and 2009)
__ The Invention of Hugo Cabret  by Brian Selznick (Scholastic) (Ages 8 up)
__ the Magic School Bus books by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen (Scholastic, various copyright dates)
__ Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf by Jennifer Holm (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster) (Ages 10-14)
__ the Little Wolf books by Tony Whybrow


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