Graphic Novel Recommendations

Hey pals,

For the last post on my blog of 2021, I asked around whether people wanted poetry books or graphic novels recommendations. It looked like it was going to be poetry books, but it swung to graphic novels last minute. Here we are. Recent graphic novels, comic and manga I’ve read and enjoyed. Leave your recommendations in the comments below! I personally really enjoy reading graphic novels, especially when I’m in a reading slump as they are much easier to read and decipher. They often help me climb back out of a slump to then be able to read text only books again, so here are some great ones I mainly read in 2021 but also more.

manga books in a pile blue exorcist and full metal alchemist

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Harley Quinn: Eat Bang Kill Tour! by Tee Franklin: Harley and Ivy on the road trip of the century! Following the wedding disaster of the decade, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy end up on the run from Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD! But as fun as all that sounds, Ivy still worries over leaving Kite Man at the altar…Luckily, Harley’s got the perfect scheme to shake her out of her wedding-day blues!

Fence by C.S. Pacat: Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place alongside fencing legends like the dad he never knew, but things get more complicated when he’s up against his golden-boy half-brother, as well as sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama. Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama… Through clashes, rivalries, and romance between teammates, Nicholas and the boys of Kings Row will discover there’s much more to fencing than just foils and lunges. From acclaimed writer C.S. Pacat ( The Captive Prince ) and fan-favorite artist Johanna the Mad.

Glass Syndrome by Eiko Ariki: Nijou is the perfect student. He’s class president, great at sports, and beloved by all his classmates, especially the girls. But he hides his true feelings; deep down he’s terrified of letting everyone down with anything less than perfection and being rejected. As the most responsible and respected member of the class, he’s asked by their teacher to check in on Toomi, a student who hasn’t been to school in a while. / Toomi sees straight through Nijou’s insecurities and acts belligerent, but he has a secret of his own; in order to pay off his father’s gambling debts, he performs in drag on an adult cam site as “Haruka”. When Nijou accidentally discovers the truth, he struggles with whether he should tell Toomi, or continue to feign ignorance. But at the same time he finds himself developing feelings for Haruka… or is it really Toomi he’s falling in love with? If you want more Manga recommendations, check out this video and this video on my channel where I read a lot of manga!

Artie and The Wolf Moon by Olivia Stephens: After sneaking out against her mother’s wishes, Artie Irvin spots a massive wolf–then watches it don a bathrobe and transform into her mom. Thrilled to discover she comes from a line of werewolves, Artie asks her mom to share everything–including the story of Artie’s late father. Her mom reluctantly agrees. And to help Artie figure out her own wolflike abilities, her mom recruits some old family friends.

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner: Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! When Moth’s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. Secrets surface from generations past as Moth unravels the complicated legacy at the heart of her town, her family, and herself.

Boys Run The Riot by Keito Gaku: A transgender teen named Ryuu finds an escape from the expectations and anxieties of his daily life in the world of street fashion. This personal, heartfelt, fictional story from a Japanese transgender manga creator is completely unique, and comes presented in two extra-large, 400-page volumes. High schooler Ryuu knows he’s transgender. But he doesn’t have anyone to confide in about the confusion he feels. He can’t tell his best friend, who he’s secretly got a crush on, and he can’t tell his mom, who’s constantly asking why Ryuu is always “dressing like a boy.” He certainly can’t tell Jin, the new transfer student who looks like just another bully. The only time Ryuu feels at ease is when he’s wearing his favorite clothes. Then, and only then, the world melts away, and he can be his true self. One day, while out shopping, Ryuu sees an unexpected sight: Jin. The kid who looked so tough in class is shopping for the same clothes that Ryuu loves. And Jin offers Ryuu a proposal: to start their own brand and create apparel to help everyone feel comfortable in their skin. At last, Ryuu has someone he can open up to–and the journey ahead might finally give him a way to express himself to everyone else.

Night Cry by Borja González: When it comes to rituals, Teresa, who runs a bookstore specializing in magic and the occult, knows her fair share. But when she manages to summon Laura, an anime-loving demon, the ritual goes awry: Laura is there to grant her any wish, but Teresa doesn’t know what to ask for. And so the two are stuck with each other… Thus begins a strange cohabitation, while Laura decides to investigate a series of unexplained disappearances in town. Through the author’s captivating artwork and spirited dialogue, discover an offbeat and magical world close to our own, alternating between warmth and sweet melancholy. Book not currently available on Bookshop but this other book A Gift For A Ghost by this author is available.

Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John BarkerJulia Scheele (Illustrations): From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged. Along the way we look at key landmarks which shift our perspective of what’s ‘normal’ – Alfred Kinsey’s view of sexuality as a spectrum, Judith Butler’s view of gendered behaviour as a performance, the play Wicked, or moments in Casino Royale when we’re invited to view James Bond with the kind of desiring gaze usually directed at female bodies in mainstream media. Presented in a brilliantly engaging and witty style, this is a unique portrait of the universe of queer thinking.

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I feel like I have to include Heartstopper by Alice Oseman: the dearly beloved series. Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…? Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn’t been too great, but at least he’s not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He’s heard a little about Charlie – the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months – but he’s never had the opportunity to talk to him. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn’t think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner… 

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Thank you for being here through 2021 where I adjusted my relationship to content creation on my blog quite a bit and continue to experiment with the kinds of posts I publish here. I hope you find some good books thanks to me and learn something new. As usual, don’t forget to follow the blog with your wordpress account or your email address. Check out my IG for more individual book reviews, twitter for my personal ramblings, my youtube for more deep thought talks, my FB, and tiktok! If you’d like to support me or thank me for my content I have created (including many educational pieces like Takayasu’s 101 and my ADHD Journey) please leave a tip with my Kofi or even become a regular supporter and subscribe to a membership tier. £1 a month is basic behind the scenes, £1.50 is the book club tier, and £2 is my writers tier where you can see old writing, what I’m submitting to and more.

See you in 2022!

~ Artie

they/them

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