Comics For Older Teens and Adults

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Yang, Gene Luen, and Lark Pien. American born Chinese. New York: First Second, 2006. Print.

Summary: In American Born Chinese, three stories are interwoven together to make one. The first story is about the Monkey King (Chinese Fable), the second is about Jin Wang, the title character and the struggles he is having trying to fit in at school, and the third is about Danny and his cousin Chin-Kee.

Appeal Factors:  

  • Cultural Heritage/Cultural Identity (American Culture and Chinese Culture)
  • Multiple-story graphic novel
  • One of the stories in this graphic novel is a retelling of the Chinese fable or myth the Monkey King
  • Anthropomorphic- the monkey
  • Coming of age story/self-acceptance   
  • Might appeal to fans of the fantasy genre
  • Humorous
  • Full color illustrations
  • 233 pages

Potential Readers:

  • Recommended Age Range: 12 – 17 years

Visual Style: 

  • Each character’s narrative has their own Chinese characters (stamped in red) that is shown on each page of their story 
  • Simple artwork
  • Cartoonish and modern anime
  • Different panel sizes
  • Stereotypes

Textual Style:

  • Dialogues is humorous, conversational, and expressive.
  • Drama (Culture and Stereotypes)
  • Various narrative styles (can be a bit confusing)
  • Lots of white space around the panels

Awards: 

  • National Book Award for Young People’s Literature Finalist, 2006
  • Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature Winner, 2007
  • Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album  New
  • Harvey Awards for Best Colorist Winner, 2007
  • American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults, 2007
  • Chinese American Libraries Association Best Book Awards, 2006 and  2007
  • The Reuben Award for Best Comic Book, 2007
  • School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • Publishers Weekly Comics Week Best Comic of the Year
  • NPR Holiday Pick
  • Booklist Top Ten Graphic Novel for Youth
  • Time Magazine Top Ten Comic of the Year
  • San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year
  • YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens/Top Ten List, 2007
  • Amazon.com Best Graphic Novel/Comic of the Year

Additional Information: 

  • “Like Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Laurence Yep’s Dragonwings, this novel explores the impact of the American dream on those outside the dominant culture in a finely wrought story that is an effective combination of humor and drama.” –School Library Journal, Starred Review
  • Fans of American Born Chinese might also like Gene Luen Yang’s 2011, graphic novel Level Up 
  • Fans of American Born Chinese might also like the read-alikes  Drama by Raina Telgemeier, One Hundred Demons by Lynda Barry, Good as Lily by Derek Kirk Kim, Dragonwings by Laurence Yep, and  The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

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Brosgol, Vera. Anya’s Ghost. New York: First Second, 2011. Print. 

Summary: This extremely expressive graphic novel tells the story of Anya, who one day accidentally falls into a well and meets an unlikely friend, a ghost named Emily. Anya’s ghost is not only a ghost story, but also a coming-of-age story, as Anya deals with insecurities, relationships, school, and more.

Appeal Factors:

  • Immigrant families/family relationships
  • Fitting in/angst/social issues
  • Might appeal to readers of fantasy, horror, thriller, mystery, and/or crime stories
  • Ghosts/supernatural elements/creepy
  • Gritty and darkly humorous
  • Neil Gaiman endorsement on the front cover
  • Lots of panels per page
  • Medium amount of words per panel
  • Isn’t text heavy
  • 224 pages

Potential Readers:

  • Recommended Age Range: 12 – 17 years

Visual Style: 

  • Darkly humorous
  • Mostly monochromatic, has a limited palette of colors (black, white, and purple tones) 
  • Expressive illustrations

Textual Style:

  • Text is all capital letters
  • Text is conversational, expressive, and dramatic at times.
  • Different panel compositions
  • Medium amount of words per panel
  • Isn’t text heavy
  • Some panels are completely wordless (e.g., on pages 43 and 101).

Awards: 

  • Eisner Award Winner for Best Publication for Young Adults (ages 12-17)
  • Harvey Award for Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers
  • A 2011 Kirkus Best Teen Book of the Year
  • A School Library Journal Best Fiction Book of 2011
  • A Horn Book Best Fiction Book of 2011
  • American Library Association Notable Children’s Books
  • American Library Association Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adults,
  • YALSA Great Graphic Novel for Teens,
  • Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Award

Additional Information: 

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Lemire, Jeff. Essex County (Vol 3): The Country Nurse. Marietta, Georgia : Top Shelf Productions, 2008. Print.

Summary: The Essex County (Vol 3): The Country Nurse  graphic novel is the final installment in the Essex Country trilogy. Each installment is centered around the  title character or characters. In the last title, we follow the life of Anne Quenneville, the town’s traveling nurse.

Appeal Factors:

  • Volume 3 of the Essex County trilogy
  • Orphans/farm life
  • Black-and-white illustrations
  • Sparse dialogue and illustrations
  • Reads fast, 127 pages

Potential Readers:

  • Recommended Age Range: 16-18 years and older

Visual Style: 

  • Minimalistic
  • Expressive and detailed
  • Sparse illustrations
  • Some panels hardly have any illustrations
  • Jagged, loose, and shaky line art style
  • Black-and-white illustrations

Textual Style:

  • Dialogue is simple and sparse
  • Some panels are completely wordless (e.g., on pages 5, 21, 30, 41, and 91).

Awards: 

  • Named one of the year’s Top 10 Graphic Novels by Booklist 
  • Jeff Lemire was nominated for a Harvey Award in 2008 for Best New Talent for Essex County Vol 1: Tales From the Farm.
  • Jeff won the Schuster Award for Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Cartoonist in 2009 and 2013.
  • Winner of the Doug Wright Award for Canadian Cartooning’s Best Emerging Talent
  • Winner of the American Library Association’s/YASLA Alex Award
  • Essex County in 2010, was named as one of the five Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade.
  • Jeff has been nominated for multiple Eisner Awards, Harvey Awards, and Schuster Awards.

Additional Information: 

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Modan, Rutu. The Property. New York: Drawn & Quarterly, 2013. Print.

Summary:  A moving and beautifully illustrated story that chronicles the time spent between a grandmother (Regina Segal) and her granddaughter (Mica), traveling  from Israel to Warsaw, Poland to claim property lost to her family during WWII.

Appeal Factors:

  • Family secrets/hidden family connections/search for family property
  • Multi-generational story
  • Complex relationship story/loss of love/loss of family
  • Post WWII story
  • Travel/Poland
  • Detailed endpapers
  • Good pacing
  • Full color
  • 222 pages, this graphic novel is not split into chapters, but rather  is split by days (takes place over seven days).

Potential Readers:

  • Graphic novel meant more for adults

Visual Style: 

  • Expressive-emotive
  • Realism-clear lines
  • Full color-delicate or subtle color palette. The only things in the story that are in bright colors are the end papers (beautiful landscapes), sound effect speech bubbles, clothing,  candles (e.g., on the front cover and on pages 191-207), and the flowering trees in the “Wistula river, May 1939” scene on pages 56 and 57.
  • The drawing style is similar to the art style in The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé.

Textual Style:

  • Simple dialogue and witty at times
  • Sometimes the thought bubbles go outside of the panel (e.g., on pages 72 and on page 111).
  • The sound effect speech bubble’s in this particular graphic novel, lack punctuation such as, “Bang” (page 180) or “Slam” (page 146). These particular speech bubbles have a jagged outline, yellow background, as well as, large, red, and bold lettering (text is all caps).

Awards: 

  • One of Amazon.com’s Best Graphic Novels of 2013
  • Rutu Modan, won an “Award of Excellence” at the 2014 International Comics Festival in Angouleme, France.

Additional Information: 

  • Fans of The Property might also like Rutu Modan’s 2007, graphic novel Exit Wounds.
  • Fans of The Property might also enjoy Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
  • “My comic book of the year, by a mile, is Rutu Modan’s The Property… in which Mica Segal, a young Israeli woman, travels to Warsaw with her irascible grandmother to help her reclaim the apartment building she and her family were forced to give up in 1940…This, believe me, has everything you could possibly want in a comic: great pictures, a multilayered story, mystery, sharp wit.”—The Guardian’s Graphic Books of the Year

Superheroes

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Kane, Bob, and Bill Finger. Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Vol. 2. New York: DC Comics, 1995. Print.

Summary: This fascinating volume features, Catwoman, the Penguin, the Joker and introduces readers to the Batmobile.

Appeal Factors:

  • DC Archive Editions
  • Superheroes and Sidekicks-Batman and Robin
  • Action/Adventure/mystery stories
  • The first appearance of the Batmobile is on page 16
  • Clear arch types
  • Literary references (Humpty Dumpty, Cyclops, one- eyed giant, the bean stalk from Jack and the Beanstalk).
  • Simple stories
  • Full color- Pop arty style (flashy and bright primary color palette)
  • There is a “Forward” page at the beginning of this book and a biographies page found at the back of the book.
  • 222 pages

Potential Readers:

  • Might be more suited for teens and adults

Visual Style: 

  • Glossy paper
  • Vintage/retro
  • Full color-Pop art style(flashy and bright primary color palette).
  • Lots of white space at the top and bottom of the pages.
  • Panels or interior splash panels take place in the middle of the pages (e.g., on pages 117 and 170).

Textual Style:

  • Dialogue is conversational and melodramatic
  • Lots of speech bubbles and words per panel
  • Some of the text is very hard to read
  • Text is all capital letters
  • Some of the text can be found in yellow or tan square or rectangular speech bubbles (e.g., on pages 16 and 83).
  • Some panels had panel numbers (located in the left corner). These numbers might signify, which order to read the panels in (e.g., on pages 35 and 37).

Awards:

  • No notable awards for this specific collection.

Additional Information:

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Vol. 2. collection includes “The early adventures of Batman, The Dark Knight! From the pages of Batman #5-8!” -From the back cover of Batman: The Dark Knight Archives, Vol. 2
  • The Batmobile makes it’s the first appearance in this particular volume on page 16.
  • The Penguin, Catwoman, and the Joker also make appearances in this particular comic’s volume.
  • Is referenced in Michael Pawuk’s 2007, Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More (listed under Chapter 1 Super-Heroes: Super-Hero Icons).

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Morrison, Grant, Cameron Stewart, and Andy Clarke. Batman & Robin, Vol. 2 : Batman vs. Robin. New York:  DC Comics, 2011. Print. 

Summary:  In Batman & Robin, Vol. 2 : Batman vs. Robin the new Batman and Robin, are on a mission to figure out the mystery behind Bruce Wayne’s death and attempts to revive him.

Appeal Factors:

  • DC Comics
  • Batwoman and Knight & Squire make an appearance in this particular volume
  • Flying Batmobile
  • Action/adventure/mystery stories
  • Full color artwork-darker tones
  • Extra features in the back of the comic; “Rogues’ Gallery” (Batman and Robin logos and issue covers) and New Characters” (artwork and descriptions)
  • Literary references (Mary Poppins chimney sweeps, such as on pages 31-33)
  • Medium amount of words per panel, some panels are completely wordless (e.g., on page 106 and 128)
  • 168 pages

Potential Readers:

  • Might be more suited for teens and adults

Visual Style: 

  • Full color artwork -darker tones
  • Detailed and vivid artwork
  • Grim
  • Noir
  • Each story arc, in this particular volume, was done by a different artist (first story “Blackest Knight” artwork by Cameron Stewart and the second story “Batman vs. Robin” artwork by Andy Clarke).
  • Lots of full page bleeds that runs to the edge of the page (e.g., pages 80 and 122).
  • Some pages have illustrations that bleed into one another. Thick black panels act as a divider between the two pages, such as on pages 48-49 and on pages 56-57.
  • Some pages have illustrations that bleed into one another, where there is no panel division on one side of the page (e.g., on pages 34 and 35).
  • On pages 146 and 147 there is a double splash panel.

Textual Style:

  • Dialogue is conversational
  • Red musical notes and song lyrics can be found in some of the speech bubbles (representing people singing, such as on page 17)
  • Text is all capital letters
  • Medium amount of words per panel, some panels are completely wordless (e.g., on page 106 and 128)

Awards:

  • Grant Morrison, “In the last 5 years, his books have won multiple major industry awards, including The Eisner Award for best series three times for ALL STAR SUPERMAN and best limited series SEVEN SOLDIERS. Morrison has also won several Harvey Awards including Best Writer in 2009, a Scream Award, and attained Lifetime Achievement status at the British Eagle Awards. In 2011, he received five awards from Kapow! Stan Lee to Eagle’s including Best Writer at each, and Best Comic for Batman and Robin.” –Grant Morrison’s Offical Website 

Additional Information: 

  • Grant Morrison, “was the first comic book writer to be included as one of Entertainment Weekly’s top 100 creative people in America.” Grant Morrison’s Offical Website 
  • Morrison in 2008, “wrote the two top selling DC Comics titles FINAL CRISIS, and BATMAN. The controversial BATMAN R.I.P. storyline which has revolutionised the character was caught in a worldwide press storm with reports of Grant ‘killing Batman’ in every major newspaper and on TV. In 2013, he completed a seven year run on the BATMAN franchise having created the best-selling BATMAN & ROBIN. In 2009, he brought Bruce Wayne back into comic continuity in the series, BATMAN: THE RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE, and wrapped up the saga in BATMAN INCORPORATED: LEVIATHAN.” –Grant Morrison’s Offical Website 

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Lee, Stan, and Steve Ditko. Marvel Masterworks Presents the Amazing Spider-Man: Reprinting The Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 1-10 & Amazing Fantasy No. 15. New York, N.Y. : Marvel Comics, 2001. Print.

Summary: This particular collection contains the first appearances of some of Spider-Man’s menacing enemies; The Sandman, Chameleon, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, The Vulture, The Lizard, Electro, and more.

Appeal Factors:

  • Marvel Masterworks
  • Introduction to the collection by Stan Lee (co-creator of the Avengers, Iron Man, Thor, X-Men, and many more).
  • Afterword by Peter Sanderson (comic book historian and critic).
  • Superheroes-Spiderman
  • Action-Adventure stories
  • First appearances of The Sandman, Chameleon, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, The Vulture, The Lizard, Electro, and more.
  • Clear arc types
  • Full color-pop art style (flashy and bright primary color palette).
  • Might be more suited for teens and adults

Potential Readers:

  • Might be more suited for teens and adults

Visual Style: 

  • Glossy paper
  • Full color-Pop art style(flashy and bright primary color palette).
  • Vintage/retro
  • Lots of white space at the top and bottom of the pages.
  • Panels or interior splash panels take place in the middle of the pages (e.g., on pages 133 and 177).

Textual Style:

  • Dialogue is conversational and melodramatic
  • Lots of speech bubbles and words per panel. Some of the text is very hard to read
  • Text is all capital letters
  • Some of the text can be found in yellow or pink square or rectangular speech bubbles (e.g., on pages 11, 19, 129, and 179).
  • Some panels had panel numbers (located in the left corner). These numbers might signify, which order to read the panels in (page 35 and 37).

Awards: 

  • Alley Award: Best Short Story—”Origin of Spider-Man” by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Amazing Fantasy #15, 1962
  • Alley Award: Best Comic: Adventure Hero title—The Amazing Spider-Man, 1963
  • Alley Award: Top Hero—Spider-Man, 1963
  • Alley Award: Best Adventure Hero Comic Book—The Amazing Spider-Man, 1964
  • Alley Award: Best Giant Comic – The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, 1964
  • Alley Award: Best Hero—Spider-Man, 1964
  • Alley Award: Best Adventure Hero Comic Book—The Amazing Spider-Man, 1965
  • Alley Award: Best Hero—Spider-Man, 1965

Additional Information: 

  • Is referenced in Michael Pawuk’s 2007, Graphic Novels: A Genre Guide to Comic Books, Manga, and More (listed under Chapter 1 Super-Heroes: Super-Hero Icons).
  • Marvel Masterworks presents the Amazing Spider-Man: reprinting The Amazing Spider-Man Nos. 1-10 & Amazing Fantasy No. 15 consists of Amazing Fantasy #15 & Amazing Spider-Man #1-10 (1962–1964).

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McKeever, Sean, and Patrick Scherberger.Spider-Man in Vulture Hunt!. Spotlight library bound ed. Edina, Minnesota : Spotlight, 2007. Print.

Summary: In this new retelling of Spider-Man, we get to meet some of his meanest villains such as; The Vulture and Kraven the Hunter. We are also introduced to the new photographer for the Daily Bugle, Andy Anderson.

Appeal Factors:

  • Marvel Age
  • Dialogue is expressive
  • Illustrations are active and action-packed
  • Full color artwork
  • 24 pages

Potential Readers:

  • Might appeal more to kids, but for all ages

Visual Style: 

  • Glossy paper
  • Illustrations are active and action-packed
  • Full color artwork
  • Some pages have illustrations that bleed into one another. Thick white panels act as a divider between the two pages (e.g., on pages 16 and 17).
  • Some pages have illustrations that bleed into one another,  where there is no panel division on one side of the page (e.g., on pages 10 and 11).

Textual Style:

  • Dialogue is expressive
  • Some of the text in the multi-colored blue square speech bubbles is hard to read.

Awards:

  • No notable awards for this specific title.

Additional Information: 

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Benson, Amber, Christopher Golden, Daniel Brereton, Andi Watson , and Doug Petrie. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus, Volume 6. Milwaukie, Oregon : Dark Horse Books, 2009. Print.

Summary: This particular volume delves more into the relationship of Willow and Tara,  Buffy and Angel working together to fight new enemies, and story lines revolving around Dawn.

Appeal Factors:

  • Action/fantasy/magic/horror
  • Supernatural Heroes-Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer
  • Episodic
  • Might appeal to fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
  • Might appeal to fans of vampire movies, books, and television shows.
  • Contains stories set during Season 4 and Season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series
  • Lots of action-packed fight scenes
  • Humorous
  • Full color-anime style
  • Medium amount of words per panel
  • 393 pages

Potential Readers:

  • Recommended Age Range: 14 – 17 years and older

Visual Style: 

  • Full color-anime style
  • Cinematic
  • Minimalist/simplistic style
  • Some panels scenes are gory
  • The characters barely resemble those from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series.

Textual Style:

  • Dialogue is conversational and expressive
  • Each character has their own text when narrating (some of the text is hard to read, such as on page 301)
  • Medium amount of words per panel
  • Text is all capital letters
  • Sound effects are in large, bright, and bold colored lettering (e.g., on pages 120 and 156).

Awards: 

  • No notable awards for this specific collection.

Additional Information: