If you think comics and graphic novels are the domain of “superheroes and stuff” and “for kids,” then brace yourself for an epiphany. Yes, you’ll find some superheroes and kids’ comics within these pages, but you’ll also find ordinary people striving to be extraordinary: a woman attempting to get over a broken heart, an angry teen trying to do right by his family, a Japanese American woman struggling to preserve her sense of self in the midst of WWII, a family braving the unknown to make a new life for themselves, a young woman searching for a place she belongs, a musician striving to leave his mark on the world, a girl on a mission to right unfair wrongs, an ex-slave desperate to reunite his family in Civil War–era America, women achieving their own agency in media, and even some kids with superpowers trying to save the world. Great stories, beautiful art, what’s not to love? Here are ten of the best graphic novels and comics of Fall 2014.
Get Over It by Corinne Mucha (Secret Acres)
Heartbreak sucks. Corinne Mucha’s Get Over It is probably as close to a cure as we’re going to get.
It Never Happened Again by Sam Alden (Uncivilized Books)
Sam Alden has compiled two gorgeous, nearly wordless stories in It Never Happened Again. His loose, sketchy style renders the soul of each scene more perfectly than a finely detailed drawing would.
Heroes R Us Vol 1 by David Clarke, illustrated by Joanne Kwan (Offshoot Comics)
This imaginative new series sets up the kids of a small town for the summer of their lives after the items they buy from the general store grant them super powers.
Citizen 13660 by Miné Okubo (University of Washington Press)
This oft-overlooked portion of American history is brought poignantly to life by Okubo’s expressive ink drawings and accompanying text.
Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson (Flying Eye Books)
Blue-haired Hilda is back in a fabulously imaginative new adventure where she meets the Nisse, tries to earn her first Sparrow Badge, and figures out just what’s up with the giant black dog stalking around Trolberg. This is perfection in sixty-four pages.
Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History, Volume 1 by Joel Christian Gill (Fulcrum Publishing)
Gill’s book fills a definite void in America’s painfully white history books, but on top of that, it’s just a really good read. History truly comes to life under Gill’s skillful hand.
Kurt Cobain: When I Was an Alien by Danilo Deninotti and Toni Bruno (One Peace Books)
An unhappy teen tries to figure out where he belongs in the world and forms a band. Sound familiar? Yeah, well, in this one, the band is Nirvana, the unhappy teen is Kurt Cobain, oh, and did we mention it’s a rocking graphic novel and aliens feature prominently?
Waterlogged: Tales from the Seventh Sea by Oliver McTavish-Wisden, Amancy Nahuelpan, Shannon Campbell, Lucy Bellwood, Kathleen Gros, Pakom Patarawulipom, Christine Viver, Paul Gill, Jordan Stasuk, Sam Logan, Gabriel Frizzera, Bevan Thomas, Reetta Linjama, Christine Eberle, Cameron Morris, Nina Matsumoto, Jonathon Dalton, Colin Upton, Kate Ebensteiner, Kevin Forbes, Kris Sayer, Seth Rutledge, Edison Yan, Ksenia Kozhevnikova, Brinny Longlois, Kevin Wilson, Kinson Yung, Angela Melick, and Jeffrey Ellis (Cloudscape Comics)
This gorgeous collection of twenty-five sea-based comics has something for everyone: pirates, selkies, aliens, talking fish, lighthouse tenders, and sea monsters.
Jamie’s Got a Gun: A Graphic Novel by Gail Sidonie Sobat and Spyder Yardley-Jones (Great Plains Teen Fiction)
Seventeen-year-old Jamie finds a gun in a dumpster. Written in the first person as though it were his own journal, this page-turner follows the ups and downs of Jamie’s life as he decides whether or not this gun is the answer to his problems. This powerful, poignant, and ultimately hopeful book should not be missed.
Vixens, Vamps, & Vipers: Lost Villainesses of Golden Age Comics by Mike Madrid (Exterminating Angel Press)
Accompanied by Madrid’s well-researched commentary, this fascinating collection provides much food for thought.