It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but graphic novels can tell the most epic stories of them all.
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Graphic novels came out of the comic strip format to tell a story with vivid worlds and complicated plots, like this one. While many of us think of manga or superhero comics for kids, the best adult comic books and graphic novels focus on powerful nonfiction stories, and they can even be used to talk about difficult or painful topics, like the Holocaust.
Graphic novels are also very different from one another, with sub-genres like memoirs, thrillers, and even historical fiction. To make this list, we looked at Amazon bestsellers, the most popular books on Goodreads, and books that are well-known to people who like the books we chose.
It doesn’t matter if you want to read a heartfelt memoir or a book about coming of age as a gay person. We’ve got you covered.
1. “Maus” by Art Spiegelman
Mas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning story about a Jewish Holocaust survivor and his son, a cartoonist who is having a hard time understanding his father’s story. The story was recently in the news because it was taken out of a school’s curriculum. They use cats and mice to show Nazis and Jews in this story about military history. Vladek’s survival is mixed with his father’s relationship with him. It’s not just a story about how the Holocaust was told in a way we don’t usually see. It’s also the story of children who live with their parents after the Holocaust.
2. “When Stars Are Scattered” by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
A graphic novel called “When Stars Are Scattered” tells the story of a refugee couple, Omar and Hassan. They were born and raised in a difficult refugee camp in Kenya, where they didn’t have much food or medical care. Because of a great chance, Omar decides to go to school. Even though he would have to leave his brother each day.
3. “The Girl from the Sea” by Molly Knox Ostertag
A Goodreads Choice Award winner for 2021 is about Morgan, a 15-year-old girl who can’t wait to get away from her family, friends, and school so she can kiss another girl. She’s been hiding a big secret: she wants to kiss another girl. A mysterious girl named Keltie saves Morgan from drowning. Morgan and Keltie start to fall in love, but each of their secrets could end it all.
4. “Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir” by Robin Ha
Robin was raised by her single mother in Seoul, and the two of them have always been inseparable. When a trip to visit friends in Huntsville, Alabama turns into a permanent move with the startling news that her mother is getting married, Robin is devastated. As a result of extreme cultural shock, Robin’s world is rocked by loneliness, isolation, and isolation. Her mother enrolls her in a local comic drawing class, and Robin starts to reconnect with herself and what makes her happy.
5. “Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts” by Rebecca Hall
A part-memoir graphic novel, “Wake” is the story of Dr. Rebecca Hall’s history of slave revolts before she decided to look into the truth and find the women warriors whose stories have never been told. This graphic novel also tells the stories of Dr. Hall and other people who were enslaved, and how the legacy of slavery affects the lives of those who lived there and the people who came after them.
6. “Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood” by Marjane Satrapi
As she grew up in Iran during the Iranian Revolution, Marjane Satrapi wrote a book called “Persepolis.” It’s her story. With her family being Marxists and her great-grandfather being one the last Emperors, Marjane’s story is both political and personal, but it’s also very unique because it’s not like any other book you’ve read before. Visuals in this book help us understand Marjane and her family, even if we don’t know a lot about Iran. They show us how she lives and how her world is.
7. “They Called Us Enemy” by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott
As Hikaru Sulu from “Star Trek,” you may recognize George Takei. But in 1942, when he was just four years old, he was imprisoned in an internment camp in Japan during World War II. George’s true story of legal racism in the United States is one that many people have forgotten but that needs to be told. He was thousands of miles away from home and held under armed guard.
8. “Nimona” by Noelle Stevenson
“Nimona” is a hilarious story with amazing art and a great story. It’s a book that is just fun to read. Nimona is a shapeshifter who likes to do bad things in a comic book that started as a webcomic. Her sidekick, Lord Blackheart, is a real bad guy who has a goal. People think Sir Goldeenloin is a good person, but he isn’t. They work together to show everyone else wrong. Nimona’s powers and past are revealed in a huge battle between the two mischievous characters. They start with small acts of mischief, which quickly turn into a huge fight.
It was after his escape that Hellboy became an agent of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. He’s a good-hearted half-demon with a big right hand and a drink problem. When the world starts to become weird, this strange man will come to save it. It was 1993 when Hellboy first came out, and he is still going strong today. Hellboy comics are more scary and Lovecraftian than the movies. This is true of both the good and bad adaptations, even if they were made by the same person.
10. The Walking Dead
It started out as one of the best comics for adults in 2003, and it only came to an end in mid-2019. The Walking Dead is a comic book series about Rick Grimes, a small-town sheriff who leads a group of survivors in search of a safe place as a virus causes the dead to rise and eat the living. It has 193 issues. Rick, his family, and a colorful group of survivors quickly learn that the only thing more dangerous than the dead are those who will do anything to stay alive. This is one of the best graphic novels for adults because it is both inspiring and shocking at the same time.
11. Black Science
Sliders was a TV show that I remember. There’s no doubt that it could have been better with a bigger budget and made for HBO. Grant McKay has done what no one else has ever been able to do: he deciphered Black Science and broke through the barriers of reality in this adult comic book. But behind the veil, there is chaos. On top of everything else, Grant and his team have been left behind. They’ve been shipwrecked on an infinite ocean of alien worlds and dark, unknown places. Forward is the only way. Only two questions remain: How far are they willing to go, and how much can they take to get home again?