OPL Reading Challenge: Comic Book or Graphic Novel

In 2019, OPL invites patrons to take part in the reading challenge! Each month, OPL will highlight a theme and offer suggestions for titles to read or listen to. As you’re working through the challenge, feel free to tag @omahalibrary on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to let us know which read you picked up this month!

Graphic novels offer something for all kinds of readers, and I hope you can find something here that appeals to you. I have compiled all the titles, plus a few more, from this post in this list. For even more titles, some of OPL’s teen librarians recently made this list.

A graphic novel I like to recommend to people who are not familiar with the format is “Hostage” by Guy Delisle. It’s the true story of the kidnapping of Doctors Without Borders volunteer Christophe André. It captures the uncertainty and isolation he felt handcuffed to a radiator with gripping storytelling and minimalistic art.

One of my favorite current graphic novels is the “Saga” series by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples. It is a space opera for adults with themes of family and redemption, set in a universe of space travel, warfare and sorcery. There are currently nine volumes.

If your primary interest in graphic novels is superheroes, why not read the story that inspired the last two “Avengers” movies? “Infinity Gauntlet” by Jim Starlin tells the epic story of Thanos wiping out half the life in the universe and the heroic effort against a mad god with infinite power.

If you are more interested in manga, or Japanese comics, you can try “Lone Wolf & Cub” by Kazuo Koike. It’s the fast-paced and atmospheric tale of a ronin wandering 17th-century Japan with his 3-year-old son.

If you aren’t sure what kind of graphic novel you want, but want a wide range of some of the best the genre has to offer, you can’t go wrong with the annual “Best American Comics” collections. You can find all kinds of stories, and see some of the finest writers and artists’ latest work.

If you are interested in a graphic novel for younger readers, “El Deafo” by Cece Bell is a good choice. It tells the true story of the author growing up with hearing loss. It is a fantastic example of using a visual medium to communicate the loss of another sense.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, I hope it shows the variety that exists within the format, and you can use it to find something new that you'll enjoy. Visit your neighborhood branch for more recommendations!