Graphic Novels That Don't Include Spandex

An Age of License

Lucy Knisley
Graphic Novels - 914.04 Kni

Cartoonist Lucy Knisley got an opportunity that most only dream of: a travel-expenses-paid trip to Europe and Scandinavia, thanks to a book tour. An Age of License is Knisley's comics travel memoir recounting her adventures. It's punctuated by whimsical visual devices; peppered with the cats she meets along the way; and, of course, features her hallmark -- drawings and descriptions of food that will make your mouth water. But it's not all kittens and raclette crêpes: Knisley's experiences are colored by anxieties, introspective self-inquiries, and quotidian revelations -- about traveling alone in unfamiliar countries, and about her life and career.

Angel Catbird

Margaret Atwood
Graphic Novels - Atwood

Though it's probably not what you'd expect from the literary luminary, Atwood's foray into comic books is nothing if not spirited, imbued as it is with campy elements iconic of classic comics. Strig Feleedus is pumped for his new job working on a gene-splicing serum, even if his snooty boss is too demanding. But what happens next changes everything: after a calculated car crash involving Strig, his cat, a nearby owl, and a flask of the serum, he wakes up a new man. Well, a new man-cat-owl. - Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews. This one does include a tiny bit of spandex.

Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Roz Chast
Graphic Novels - 741.5092 Chast Cha

Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through a mixture of cartoons, family photos, documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

Eliza and Her Monsters

Francesca Zappia
Y - Zappia

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble. While not a strict graphic novel, with pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will be a favorite for anyone delving into the comic world.

Giant Days

John Allison
Graphic Novels - Allison

Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of hand-wringing boys, "personal experimentation," influenza, mystery-mold, nu-chauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of "academia," they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive. Going off to university is always a time of change and growth, but for Esther, Susan, and Daisy, things are about to get a little weird. – Provided by

Imagine Wanting Only This

Kristen Radtke
Graphic Novels - 800.92 Radtke Rad

The sudden death of a beloved uncle and the sight of an abandoned mining town marked the beginning moments of a lifelong fascination with ruins and with people and places left behind. Over time, this fascination deepened until it triggered a journey around the world in search of ruined places. Now, in this genre-smashing graphic memoir, she leads us through deserted towns in the American Midwest, Italian villas, islands in the Philippines, New York City, and the delicate passageways of the human heart.  At once narrative and factual, historical and personal, Radtke's stunning illustrations and piercing text never shy away from the big questions: why are we here, and what will we leave behind?" –Provided by publisher.

Hope Nicholson
Graphic Novels - Moonsho

Moonshot is a project that is a thrilling new collection that showcases diverse aboriginal representation in comic books. This is an anthology of stories about identity, culture, and spirituality told by writers and artists from a range of communities across North America including many creators that identify as Métis, Inuit, Dene, Anishnaabe, Cree, Mi'kmaq, Caddo, Haida, Sioux, and Suquamish, among others.


Brian K. Vaughan
Graphic Novels - Vaughan

Vaughan, writer of the hugely successful Y: The Last Man, isn't one to think small. In this opener to his ambitious new series, bits of sf space opera and classic fantasy mesh in setting a sprawling stage for an intensely personal story of two lovers, cleverly narrated by their newborn daughter. Though recently soldiers from opposite sides of a massive intergalactic war, moth-winged Alana and ram-horned Marko simply want peace and anonymity to raise their daughter (an abomination to the powers that be) away from conflict and hatred. - Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

The Twilight Children

Gilbert Hernandez
Graphic Novels - Twiligh

When a white orb washes up on the shore of a remote Latin American village, a group of children naturally poke at the strange object to see what it is. The orb explodes, leaving the children completely blind. And when a beautiful young woman who may be an alien is found wandering the seafront, she's taken in by the townspeople, but soon becomes a person of interest to a quirky pair of undercover CIA agents, and the target of affection for a young scientist. Can they come together to prevent an all-out alien invasion and save the souls in this sleepy, seaside town? – Provided by publisher

Two Brothers

Fábio Moon
Graphic Novels - Moon

Twin brothers Omar and Yaqub may share the same features, but they could not be more different from one another. And the possessive love of their mother, Zana, stirs the troubled waters between them even more. After a brutally violent exchange between the young boys, Yaqub, "the good son," is sent from his home in Brazil to live with relatives in Lebanon, only to return five years later as a virtual stranger to the parents who bore him, his tensions with Omar unchanged. – Provided by the publisher

Welcome to Lovecraft

Joe Hill
Graphic Novels - Hill
Series: Locke and Key

The Locke family attempts to rebuild their life after their father is murdered by a deranged high school student and moves in to the old family homestead called Keyhouse on an island called Lovecraft. What begins as a study in coping with grief soon veers into creepy territory as the youngest Locke discovers fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them and a well that houses someone or something that desperately wants out and will use any means available to gain freedom, including summoning the teenage murderer who set events in motion in the first place. 

Cass Elliot Before the Mamas and the Papas

California Dreamin’

Pénélope Bagieu
Graphic Novels - 780.92 Elliot Bag

Before she was the legendary Mama Cass of the folk group The Mamas and the Papas, Ellen Cohen was a teen girl from Baltimore with an incredible voice, incredible confidence, and incredible dreams. She dreamed of being not just a singer but a star. Not just a star--a superstar. So, at the age of nineteen, at the dawn of the sixties, Ellen left her hometown and became Cass Elliot. At her size, Cass was never going to be the kind of girl that record producers wanted on album covers. But she found an unlikely group of co-conspirators, and in their short time together this bizarre and dysfunctional band recorded some of the most memorable songs of their era.