What is up my lovely book nerds, I’m back and I’m feeling like I need to talk about something I really love: Graphic Novels.
No, no they’re not just comic books, they’re seriously incredible pieces of art and fantastic stories that are just presented in more visual way. I’ve always been so jealous of anyone who can draw (one of my friends Sam is a ridiculous artist and I am simultaneously so deeply jealous of them and also really proud of them for being so amazing) and people who can draw AND tell an Amazing story are just gods to me.
So, here’s a little run down of some of my favourite graphic novels, both ones I’ve read recently and old favourites.
Heartstopper – Alice Oseman
This one is no surprise whatsoever, so I’m not going to go on about Heartstopper loads, but I love everything about this queer graphic novel about boys in love. If you want to know more, you can read my blog about when I got to interview Alice for the launch of Heartstopper Volume 3 here, back when human contact was allowed, but just know that Nick & Charlie are my OTP.
In Waves – A J Dungo
This is one of the first graphic novels I read when I started working for Waterstones because I got sent a copy from the publishers. I had heard somethings but no-one I knew had read it so I went in blind. I was blown away
In Waves is two stories woven together. One is AJ’s story, the story of how he fell in love with a girl who loved surfing, how he fell in love with surfing and the ocean, and how his girlfriend got sick and died. The other story is the history of surfing and it’s development from something only found in Hawaii to a global sport.
The shift between the two threads is shown in the colour palettes used; the main story is in teals, blues, greens and greys, the colours of the ocean, whilst the history side of things is literally sepia toned, browns, tans, the colours of sand and beaches. Both are so separate yet perfectly complimentary, it’s honestly one of the most beautiful graphic novels just because of this.
Please, just have some tissues with you when you read it because, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to cry a fair bit.
Nimona – Noelle Stevenson
I read this purely because it was on the shelf at work and I’d just finished my book and needed something to read on my way home. It’s the reason why I get a lot of my books. I am so glad I did.
Nimona takes the idea of a bad guy’s sidekick, dumps it into a cocktail shaker with some snark, a weird bit of technology, and a lot of silliness, and the result is a chaotic mess of excellence that you can’t help but want to read more about.
Nimona is a shapeshifter, apparently cursed by a witch as a child, who has very few morals, or so it seems, when she enters the employ of the kingdoms greatest super villain! Well, greatest in that he never quite manages the wholesale destruction he’s aiming towards, due to his strict moral code.
The art style is simple but that’s exactly what is needed. It fits the tone of the story perfectly and really thats the whole point of a graphic novel over a novel with words. It’s super fun, super magic, and super messy, and will hit you in the feels when you least expect it, but it is so worth it. If you need something fun and adventurous, this is one for you!
Mooncakes – Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu
I love me some fantasy and this is the best kind: queer fantasy!
Mooncakes is an incredibly cute, incredibly beautiful graphic novel about a young witch, Nova, living with her witchy grandmothers (the most excellent old lesbian couple ever) and what happens when her childhood friend/sweetheart Tam (who happens to be a werewolf) returns to her life to help solve problems of a demon ravaging the town.
Not only is this a stunningly gorgeous graphic novel (honestly, the style is so so beautiful, Xu know’s what they’re doing and KILLS IT) but it deals with gender identity so so well. In one scene, Tam is talking to Nova about their preferred pronouns, and its just such a non-issue, as it should be. when they tell Nova’s grandmothers, both just accept it and never use the wrong pronouns again once informed. Its the kind of representation that is becoming more wide spread but this gave me all the warm and fuzzies!
Bloom – Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau
Bloom is a seriously beautiful graphic novel. It tells the story of Ari, a teenager working in his family bakery but with no intention of working there forever, much to his dad’s chagrin. Instead, he wants to move to the city with his band and be a musician. As a compromise, he sets out to find a replacement before he leaves. Enter Hector, stage left. Hector loves baking, loves the chance to work in a family business, and maybe starts to love Ari as well…
This story gave me major Heartstopper vibes. There’s cuteness, adorable boys not realising they have feelings for each other (except Hector is a bit more self aware than Nick) and some really lovely moments as they grow closer and share their lives and experiences with each other. The colour palette and artwork is perfectly matched to the story, Ganucheau did an incredible job, and I love this so much. If you want a gorgeous summery read, or something to remind you of summer now that it’s getting colder again, this is the perfect one for you.
So, there we have it. A run through of some of my absolute favourite graphic novels, some new and some old, but all absolutely brilliant. If you want me to do another post like this, let me know, because I have so many more amazing graphic novels that I’d love to fangirl about on here! If you’ve read any of these, let me know what you thought of them in the comments or over on twitter, and I’ll see you in the next post!