Romance, Adventure and More: a Graphic Novel Starter Guide

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So, you’ve been thinking about picking up a graphic novel. A great choice! Some of my favorite books reside in the graphic novel genre! Don’t let the doodles deceive you, these graphic novels pack a punch in a short amount of pages, dealing with cutesy romance all the way to deep and dreary issues. 

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

This is probably the cutest graphic novel that I’ve ever read! It’s a great icebreaker for getting into graphic novels. If autumn is your favorite season and you love some good old fashion friends to lovers and LGBT+ representation, then I highly suggest giving this one a first-go! 

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…

If you’re anything like me, you simply cannot resist a good bone-chilling story! Add four more to the mix? A recipe for a perfect night of reading! Not to mention that the artwork is spectacular! 

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism!

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

This one is for all my fellow fantasy lovers! I absolutely love the artwork in this graphic novel, and the story is just as engaging! If you typically do not gravitate towards fantasy, then I’d suggest giving Nimona a try.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

How could I not include my favorite book on this starter guide? While A Monster Calls technically isn’t an entire graphic novel, it does include amazing illustrations throughout the narrative. If you’re more into the classic novel format, but wouldn’t mind some amazing illustrations sprinkled in between, then this is the perfect novel for you! (I’d also highly suggest just picking it up without knowing too much about it. Trust me. It’s worth it!)

Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel

Imagine Garth Hale’s surprise when he’s accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don’t have, and he’s stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth’s newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather’s ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake.

I love the artwork for this graphic novel just as much as the story. While it is intended for a younger audience, I had an extremely fun time reading this one! If you’re into adventure and coming of age novels, check this one out! 

Graphic novels come in all sizes, shapes, and forms, but they all provide a unique form of entertainment that allows artists and writers to unite! If you’re hesitant to pick up a graphic novel, don’t be intimidated! They are the perfect recipe of daring adventure and stunning visuals! 

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