Grab a Graphic Novel: Outside the Box!

We’re highlighting our graphic novel collection by exploring tried-and-true cartoon classics, as well as fresh-off-the-press new releases. Pick up a graphic novel today!

Our Grab a Graphic Novel blog series presents our latest reads from the aforementioned collection. Available at all five libraries, the collection encompasses comics, manga and, of course, graphic novels — anything that uses pictures as an intrinsic part of the storytelling process.

This month, we are highlighting graphic novels that break traditional comic structure in favor of more experimental and free-form graphics. Artists are always coming up with inventive and eye-catching ways new ways to express the human experience in their stories. Whether it’s through grocery lists, emotive splashes of color, or collage, these titles will bring you stories in ways you never imagined. So, break out of the panel with us and pick up a graphic novel that reads outside the box! 

Junior and Young Adult Graphic Novels
Séance Tea Party by Reimena Yee

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Description: Lora’s favorite thing to do is play in her imagination, so when her friends start to take interest in only texting, makeup, and boys, she feels completely alone. During her witchy Séance Tea Party, Lora discovers a friendly ghost who has lost the ability to age. The two share a sisterly bond and together they discover what it really means to grow up. This loveable story of loss and change is depicted in a soft, cartoon style and its playful embellishments fill each page with magic and sweetness. So whether you are still growing up, or you want to revisit the whimsy of youth, Séance Tea party is the perfect read.


Light by Rob Cham

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Description: One day, all of the color from the world disappears, and it’s up to a lone adventurer to get it all back! This wordless graphic novel follows a brave protagonist as he wanders through a magical forest and meets all types of creatures. Light reads like a cutscene from your favorite videogame, with bright colors and worldbuilding akin to Hyper Light Drifter and loveable, ghostly creatures reminiscent of Hollow Knight. This graphic novel is perfect for young gamers wanting a break from the screen or anyone who wants a glance into a beautiful, unknown world. 


Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper and Raul The Third

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Description: Ride along with Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack, and Elirio Malaria, three mechanics and best friends who dream of opening up a car shop together- in space! In the first graphic novel of the series, these three unique characters enter a contest and try their luck at presenting the best car in the universe. This adventure brings young readers a vibrant representation of Chicano/Mexican-American culture, with its integration of Spanish vocabulary and old-school style drawings. The combination of comic panels and page-wide illustrations adds momentum to this fast-paced story of friendship, competition, and amazingly cool cars.


Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

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Description: Through the woods is a collection of 5 chilling short stories which all take place in the wilderness. The stories rest in a perfect balance between whimsy and horror, disclosing just enough detail to terrify but not enough to keep your imagination from running wild. The swirling, high-contrast illustrations build a beautiful sense of dread that unifies the tales into one uncanny collection. Check out Through the Woods today and discover stories of ghosts, missing siblings, and strange things found behind walls. 


Sita’s Ramayana by Samhita Arni and Moyna Chitrakar

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Description: Rediscover the ancient Indian epic, the Ramayana from the perspective of Sita. As the queen and wife of Rama, Sita offers a new look at the consequences of war and the role women play in their narratives. The graphic novel features bold patua art, often spanning whole pages at a time and varying in panel structure. Both the style and perspective offer a new way to consider the Ramayana and it’ questions of virtue, loyalty and truth.


Adult Graphic Novels
Radioactive by Lauren Redniss

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Description: Part biography, part scientific history, and part love story, this highly saturated graphic depiction of Marie Curie’s life and work is quite unlike any other book. Every aspect of the artwork was handmade with details relevant to its subject, the influential chemist who discovered polonium and radium. The cyanotype printing process and bright colors allude to radioactivity itself and the typeface was made to match the 18th and 19th-century manuscripts used in the subject’s research. This captivating work surfaces at a unique intersection of readership and is sure to please historians, romantics, and even picture book lovers all at once. 


The River at Night by Kevin Huizenga

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Description: The River At Night seems like an ordinary story about the relationship of a young, techie couple until the main character Glenn drinks to much coffee and tries to sleep. What follows is his philosophical nightmare, all of the ideas and thought-loops he traps himself within the duration of one night. The most thrilling aspect of this novel is how the comic panels break form and the art begins to mimic the musings of Glenn’s mind as he drifts out of consciousness. The brilliant use of light and dark as well as the abstract representations of a wandering mind make this adventure of Glenn Ganges a must-read. 


Tokyo Love Story by Nora Krug

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Description: Tokyo Love Story is a bilingual English/Japanese manga memoir about one women’s journey in Japan. The author illustrates her growing love for japan, first as a visitor and next as a resident, through free-form diary sketches and diagrams. This novel is especially unique in its attention to detail. Some pages are dedicated to grand moments like watching the sunset from Japan’s highest peak, while others go on at length about things such as common Japanese grocery items or recipes. Check out Tokyo Love Story for a detailed, water-colored account of living in the world’s most populous city.  


Belonging by Nora Krug

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Description: In Belonging, Nora Krug takes a handmade, multimedia approach to the graphic memoir. Pieces of both personal and historical artifacts from the holocaust drive the narrative of one German woman’s reckoning with the unforgivable past of her family and country. Rather than a historical account, Krug provides a more insular reflection on generational guilt and personal identity. The unconventional candor of this story leads readers to confront the darkness in their own histories and ask questions of reparations and forgiveness.  


Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun

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Description: Random, quirky, and reminiscent of the 2010s internet culture, this graphic novel follows a young alien who was sent to earth to research humans. His findings are surprisingly earnest and lead him to a variety of friends and revelations. This novel breaks the box in all sorts of ways by using interpretive grammar, simple doodles, and a very silly storyline. Check out Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too to get your dose of cuteness and comedy all in one.

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