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Genre Guide: Graphic Novels

Danielle's picture

Graphic novels tell stories through text and art. While the exact definition of the term “graphic novel” has been endlessly debated, for the purposes of this blog we will include serialized comics (collected volumes), manga (Japanese comics, which are read from back to front, right to left), and stand-alone works. For my Top 5 graphic novels post, I’m focusing on graphic novels in the teen collection.

Collage of graphic novels

Superhero series like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Deadpool, Ms. Marvel, and Black Panther are popular serialized comics. Characters from TV and movies also show up in serialized comics; Archie, Star WarsSimpsons, and Transformers are some examples from our library's collection. Beyond that, serialized comics cover horror series like The Walking DeadOutcast, and Deadly Class; sci-fi like Paper Girls, and contemporary, realistic series like Giant Days.

Popular manga series include Black Butler, Naruto, Ouran High School Host Club, One-Punch Man, Tokyo Ghoul, and Vampire Knight.

Graphic novels cover an ever-expanding list of topics. Whatever your favorite topic or genre, there is something for everyone. Graphic novels illustrate history (March by John Lewis, Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang), update the classics (Fahrenheit 451, Frankenstein, A Wrinkle in Time, Romeo and Juliet), put a spin on a popular series (Infernal Devices, Legend, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), or even explain math and science concepts (Manga Guides). The graphic novel format is also utilized for biography and memoirs, including An Olympic Dream, Tomboy, Honor Girl, and Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker.

Find more recommended graphic novels or browse our graphic novel collection. 

Top 5 Classic Authors

Neil Gaiman Frank Miller Alan Moore Jeff Smith Art Spiegelman

Top 5 Up-and-Coming Authors

John Allison Emil Ferris Lucy Knisley Noelle Stevenson Jillian and Mariko Tamaki

Top 5 Classic Books

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller

Cover of The Dark Knight Returns

Watchmen by Alan Moore

Cover of Watchmen


Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Cover of Persepolis

Princess Knight by Osamu Tezuka

Cover of Princess Knight


American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang 

Cover of American Born Chinese

Top 5 New Titles

A Girl on the Shore by Inio Asano

Cover of A Girl on the Shore

March bk. 3 by John Lewis

Cover of March book 3

Huck v. 1 by Mark Millar

Cover of Huck


Decelerate Blue by Adam Rapp

Cover of Decelerate Blue


Paper Girls v. 2 by Brian Vaughan

Cover of Paper Girls v. 1


My Favorite 5

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman

Cover of The Walking Dead vol. 1

Relish by Lucy Knisley

Cover of Relish by Lucy Knisley

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North

Cover of The Unbeatable Squirrel vol. 1: Squirrel Power

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Cover of Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Lie

Blankets by Craig Thompson

Cover of Blankets by Craig Thompson