If you’ve never ventured into the world of graphic novels before, it can be a little intimidating to know where to begin. Many people mistakenly believe that all graphic novels are full of superheroes but they are in fact as varied as prose fiction in style and subject matter. There are graphic novels out there for everyone! These five are all brilliant reads and, whether you already love graphic novels or you’ve never picked one up, I hope one or more of these will tickle your fancy.
1. The Gigantic Beard that was Evil – Stephen Collins
I absolutely adore this graphic novel: a darkly funny fable about the consequences of an unstoppable beard in an otherwise clean-shaven society. Beautiful line drawings are accompanied by lyrical, rhythmic narration that gives the novel a sense of timeless storytelling.
2. Everything is Teeth – Evie Wyld and Joe Sumner
A charming autobiographical snapshot of Evie Wyld’s childhood in Australia, illustrated by Joe Sumner. I love the combination of styles that results in the cartoonish characters contrasting with very lifelike images of sharks.
3. Pyongyang – Guy Delisle
A fascinating glimpse into the most secretive country in the world, North Korea, from the humorous perspective of a cartoonist who was permitted to stay in the capital for two months.
4. Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi
An eye-opening and touching memoir that chronicles Marjane Satrapi’s experiences of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. The simple cartoon-style illustrations and the endearing narrator make this a book that sticks with you for a long time. Be sure to check out the sequel, too!
5. Watchmen – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
A must-read that is widely considered to be a landmark in graphic novel writing. While this one does contain superheroes (of a sort), the characters are deeply complex; it is a dark, gritty look at the nature of heroes who are all too human. A truly awe-inspiring piece of fiction.