Kids and adults alike get engrossed in graphics novels and comics of all kinds. More than cool drawings and speech bubbles, the range of fantastic graphic novels continues to grow, gaining new readers every day. Whether you’re a life-long comic lover or complete novice, our list of 10 trending graphic novels will have something to pique your interest and get you reading in panels!
1. The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. 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, the survivors are forced to finally start living.
2. Persepolis I & II by Marjane Satrapi
The Story of a Childhood and The Story of a Return
The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. This is a beautiful and intimate story full of tragedy and humour – raw, honest and incredibly illuminating.
3. My Hero Academia, Vol. 1 by Kohei Horikoshi
What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called Quirks at age four? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?
Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…
4. Tokyo Ghoul, Vol. 1 by Sui Ishida
Ghouls live among us, the same as normal people in every way – except their craving for human flesh. Ken Kaneki is an ordinary college student until a violent encounter turns him into the first half-human half-ghoul hybrid. Trapped between two worlds, he must survive Ghoul turf wars, learn more about Ghoul society and master his new powers.
Shy Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with the beautiful Rize. But it turns out that she’s only interested in his body – eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls, which exists alongside our own.
5. Dogman, Dav Pilkey
Dr Dilbert Dinkle started his career as an ordinary, everyday evil genius/inventor/bank robber. But when he awakens one day transformed into a walking, talking puddle of pee, he vows to destroy every toilet in town. Will the devious Dr Dinkle and his conniving cat, Petey, ruin restrooms for the rest of us?
From the creator of Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey has recently released the eighth instalment in the Dog Man series, and with murmurs of a potential screenplay adaptation also on the horizon, Dog Man is still trending high on our list. This outrageously hilarious series is a fantastic route into older kids’ reading, and brilliant for any reluctant readers.
6. Attack On Titan 1 by Hajime Isayama
In this post-apocalyptic sci-fi story, humanity has been devastated by the bizarre, giant humanoids known as the Titans. Little is known about where they came from or why they are bent on consuming mankind. Seemingly unintelligent, they have roamed the world for years, killing everyone they see. For the past century, what’s left of man has been hidden in a giant, three-walled city. People believe their 100-meter-high walls will protect them from the Titans, but the sudden appearance of an immense Titan is about to change everything.
7. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1- Phantom Blood, Vol. 1 by Hirohiko Araki
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a groundbreaking manga famous for its outlandish characters, wild humour and frenetic battles. A multigenerational tale of the heroic Joestar family and their never-ending battle against evil! Young Jonathan Joestar’s life is forever changed when he meets his new adopted brother, Dio. For some reason, Dio has a smouldering grudge against him and derives pleasure from seeing him suffer. But every man has his limits, as Dio finds out. This is the beginning of a long and hateful relationship!
8. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol. 1 by Joss Whedon
This is the Buffy Summers you know, who wants what every average teenager wants: friends at her new school, decent grades, and to escape her imposed destiny as the next in a long line of vampire slayers tasked with defeating the forces of evil…only this time around, her world looks a lot more like the one outside your window.
Eisner Award winner Jordie Bellaire (Redlands) and Russ Manning Award winner Dan Mora (Go Go Power Rangers, Hexed), along with series creator Joss Whedon (Marvel’s The Avengers), bring Buffy into a new era with new challenges, new friends, and a few enemies you might already recognize. But the more things change, the more they stay the same as the Gang faces brand-new Big Bads, and the threat lurking beneath the perfectly manicured exterior of Sunnydale High confirms what every teenager has always known: high school truly is hell.
9. Sapiens: Graphic Novel by Yuval Noah Harari
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one-homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
In this first volume of the full-colour illustrated adaptation of his groundbreaking book, renowned historian Yuval Harari tells the story of humankind’s creation and evolution, exploring the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human”. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens challenges us to reconsider accepted beliefs, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and view specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Featuring 256 pages of full-colour illustrations and easy-to-understand text covering the first part of the full-length original edition, this adaptation of the mind-expanding book furthers the ongoing conversation as it introduces Harari’s ideas to a wider new readership.
10. Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall
Women warriors planned and led slave revolts on slave ships during the passage across the Atlantic. They fought their enslavers throughout the Americas. And then they were erased from history.
In Wake Rebecca Hall, a historian, a granddaughter of slaves, and a woman haunted by the legacy of slavery, tells their story. With in-depth archival research and a measured use of historical imagination, she constructs the likely pasts of women rebels who fought for freedom on slave ships bound to America, as well as the stories of women who led slave revolts in Colonial New York. Beneath both is Hall’s own tale: of a life lived in the shadow of slavery and its consequences.
Strikingly illustrated in black and white, Wake explores both a personal and a global legacy. Part graphic novel, part memoir, it is a powerful reminder that while the past is gone, we still live in its wake.
Have you read any of our 10 trending graphic novels? What are your favourites of this illustration-led genre? Let us know in the comments below.