New Books Highlight: More Great Graphic Novels
Are you a graphic novel fan? And I don’t mean manga – that is its own thing. Or comics – that’s another separate entity. Comics are usually published in issues, they’re shorter and have an ongoing storyline like a series book (i.e. Superman. Or any other superhero you can think of. Or Calvin & Hobbes). Manga is Japanese comics. Same idea: ongoing storyline, etc. Graphic novels is a name that usually refers to stories told in pictures and words, typically one-off or non-series stories (or sometimes short series like a trilogy), with unique characters (not Batman), etc.
Graphic novels cross audiences: they’re typically realistic or fantasy fiction, so could easily be read by fans of those genres, but they are told visually, so could be read by fans of visual story forms like manga and comics. But it seems to me that neither of these fan groups really find the graphic novels. I’m here to tell you that you are both missing out!
Start with these three new graphic novels that pack a punch:
A sort of semi-fictionalized memoir, this book tells the story of Beyer’s freshman year at an art college. She’s far from home, exploring her art form, making new friends, and learning who she is. And she conveys this story in a completely brilliant way: through lists, drawings, panels of comic-strip-type action, and more. It’s like a scrapbook that tells a wonderful story of some big life moments, something we can all relate to.
You will love Delilah Dirk if you love feisty lady protagonists like Katsa (from Graceling by Kristin Cashore). She’s like Indiana Jones, but a young lady in the early 19th century! Delilah seeks and finds adventure, but that adventure has landed her in prison. When she makes her escape, Delilah decides to take along a lieutenant who is decidedly her opposite. Selim, despite being quite a proper gentleman who prefers staying in to going out, actually makes a great partner for daredevil Delilah as the two gallivant across the world. Action and adventure await!
This is a little like Diary of a Wimpy Kid for those of you in middle and high school who have already grown out of that series. Annie and her friends are not the popular crowd. Not that life is much easier for those people – everyone is a freshman and being a freshman is not always fun. But it is a constant learning experience, and as Annie and her crew learn, that learning extends far outside of the four walls of the classroom. And it is sometimes really awesome.