Editor's Note: Visual Reads is a monthly series focusing on the York County Public Library's ever growing collection of graphic novels. Whether you are partial to super heroes or love to see a well-done adaptation of your favorite novel, we've got plenty to choose from.
Our first post introducing graphic novels covered just some of the hundreds of superhero titles available from York County Public Library. This post will focus on the graphic novels that avoid the traditional superhero subject matter, but are no less exciting!
A different kind of graphic novel
While non-superhero comics existed in the newspaper "funny pages" before even comic books arose, it has been in recent times that their popularity and variety have grown into a new genre of graphic novels for those who don't really care to read about superheroes. From science fiction and horror stories for adults to books that bring lessons to teens and children in an easy to read format, the genre of non-superhero graphic novels has something for every interest.
At the York County Public Library, we have a huge variety of these more unique graphic novels for all ages to read. Here are some of our favorites:
- Y: The Last Man — This unique take on the apocalyptic genre tells the story of Yorick Brown, an unemployed and unmotivated slacker, who discovers he is the only male left in the world after a plague instantly kills everyone with a Y chromosome. Accompanied by his mischievous monkey and the mysterious Agent 355, he embarks on a transcontinental journey to find his girlfriend and to discover why he is the last man in earth.
- Saga — When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old world. This ongoing series tells the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe.
- Fables — When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the "mundys," their name for normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society that they call Fabletown. From their exclusive luxury apartment buildings on Manhattan's Upper West Side, these creatures of legend must fight for their survival in the new world.
- The Walking Dead — An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled—no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, humans are forced to finally start living. This series gained popularity after it was adapted into a successful TV show.
- Alex Ada — The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But when Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot. With beautiful art and a nuanced plot, this is a must for science fiction fans worried—or excited—about the future of artificial intelligence.
- Lumberjanes — Best friends Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley spend a fun summer at Lumberjane scout camp where they encounter yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons while solving a mystery that holds the fate of the world in the balance. Strong and diverse female protagonists make excellent role models for teen girls and boys alike.
- Nimona — Lord Blackheart, a villain with a vendetta, and his sidekick, Nimona, an impulsive young shape shifter, must prove to the kingdom that Sir Goldenloin and the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are. I know we said no superheroes, but Nimona flips the script and puts relatable and quirky supervillains in the spotlight.
- Star Wars: Darth Vader — With the return of Star Wars to the big screen, new companion graphic novels have been released. The best of the bunch is Star Wars: Darth Vader. This ongoing series puts the greatest villain of all time front and center, filling out his storyline and adding more depth to the Sith Lord's infamous tale. Add a hilarious but talented female genius sidekick to the mix and this series is a winner.
- Ghosts — Author Raina Telgemeier creates moving and insightful graphic novels with everyday characters that must grapple with the challenges of growing up. In Ghosts, Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake—and her own.
- Archie — Many adults will remember their Archie Comics, featuring stories about Archie Andrews and his friends, but often current teens don't see the appeal of the dated art and old-fashioned storylines. But Archie is back with a brand new series, complete with modern art and a storyline that any teen can enjoy. Start with Volume One: The New Riverdale.
- Hilda series — The series opener, Hildafolk, introduces Hilda, a young girl. A modern folktale, it begins with Hilda listening to the thunder passing overhead when she hears a bell. As she hurtles towards the vanishing tinkling sound, Hilda unwittingly embarks on an adventure into strange worlds ruled by magical forces.
- Camp Midnight — Reluctant Skye is accidentally sent to the wrong summer camp. Not wanting to please her "step-monster," Skye is dead-set on not fitting in. That won't be a problem, as everyone at Camp Midnight—with the exception of fellow camper and fast-friend Mia—is a full-fledged monster!
- Out from Boneville — The first in the Bone series, this popular graphic novel for kids follows the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone. The group are separated and lost in a vast, uncharted desert. One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. Eventually, the cousins are reunited at a farmstead run by tough Gran'ma Ben and her spirited granddaughter Thorn. But little do the Bones know, there are dark forces conspiring against them, and their adventures are only just beginning!
- Zita the Spacegirl — When young Zita discovers a device that opens a portal to another place, and her best friend is abducted, she is compelled to set out on a strange journey from star to star in order to get back home.
- Squish: Super Amoeba — Squish, a meek amoeba who loves the comic book exploits of his favorite hero, "Super Amoeba," tries to emulate him when his best friend is threatened by a bully. A timely topic for kids facing bullying in their own schools.
These are just a selection of the excellent collection of graphic novels available at the York County Library. Check out our online catalog to see all the graphic novels we have available.