9 Graphic Novels That Expand On Popular Characters and Mythologies

Comics are a great medium where characters ranging from superheroes to cartoon characters to detectives can go on daring adventures, solve age-old mysteries, and entertain readers young and old. The wonderful graphic novels listed here expand on popular stories. Whether you already know and love these franchises or are looking for a place to dive in, you'll be sure to enjoy these comics. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Comic Books Based on Beloved Franchises: Our 9 Picks

Title Author(s) Artist(s)
1. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Robin Furth & Peter David Richard Isanove & Sean Phillips
2. Curse of the Worgen Micky Neilson & James Waugh Ludo Lullabi & Tony Washington
3. Avengers Academy Christos Gage Mike McKone
4. The Last Airbender: Zuko's Story Dave Roman & Alison Wilgus Nina Matsumoto
5. Adventure Time Aaron Renier & Ryan North Steve Wands, Braden Lamb, & Shelli Paroline
6. The Demon of River Heights Stefan Petrucha Sho Murase
7. Sherlock Holmes And The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle Luke Benjamen Kuhns Steven E. Gordon
8. Knight Rider Geoffrey Thorne Jason Johnson
9. The Unbelievable Gwenpool Christopher Hastings Gurihiru & Danilo Beyruth

Why Read Comic Books?

For one thing, they're fast-paced. If you don't have a lot of free time, it might take months to get through a work of classic literature, but you could probably read an issue of a comic in a single sitting. It's also a great idea for artists to keep some comics around, because studying different styles of drawing can help you with your own work. They're also a great way to introduce children to reading. Like picture books, they have illustrations that can help kids figure out what words mean from context clues.

8 Great Movies Based on Comics & Graphic Novels

  1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
  2. I Kill Giants (2017)
  3. Hellboy (2004)
  4. Sin City (2005)
  5. Catwoman (2004)
  6. Watchmen (2009)
  7. Ghost World (2001)
  8. Kick-Ass (2010)

Fun Activities for Comic Fans

How to Get Into Comic Books

In Depth

When a well-established franchise runs its course, fans are often left wanting more. Graphic novels can feature fast-paced action with exciting visuals, so authors can use this medium to further book, film, TV, and comic series while introducing new ideas. With that in mind, here, in no particular order, are nine graphic novels that expand on popular characters and mythologies.

First up, at #1, we have "The Gunslinger - The Journey Begins." Written by Robin Furth and Peter David, with illustrations by Sean Phillips and Richard Isanove, this collection draws on acclaimed author Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" mythos. The book focuses on the life of Roland Deschain, the series' protagonist, from early childhood all the way to becoming the last of a long line of knightly gunslingers. Longtime fans are sure to enjoy learning more about the titular hero's past and the events that helped shape the man he's become.

Next, at #2, is "Curse of the Worgen" by Micky Neilson and James Waugh, with art by Ludo Lullabi and Tony Washington. Based on the video game "World of Warcraft," the story is centered on Gilneas City, where a series of gruesome murders has people on edge. When renowned detective Halford Ramsey is tasked with finding the killer, he inadvertently uncovers a cult full of Worgen, werewolves spreading their curse around Gilneas. This tale ties in with one of the game's starting experiences, and players get to see its events unfold through a different perspective.

When renowned detective Halford Ramsey is tasked with finding the killer, he inadvertently uncovers a cult full of Worgen, werewolves spreading their curse around Gilneas.

At #3 is "Avengers Academy, Volume 1: Permanent Record." Written by Christos Gage and illustrated by Mike McKone, it's about a new team of young superheroes led by Avenger Hank Pym. Taking place after Marvel's "Dark Reign" event, the book deals with the consequences of Norman Osborn's actions. Prior to his downfall, Osborn tortured a group of six powered teenagers. Seeing potential in these kids, Hank Pym recruits them for an offshoot Avengers team, hoping that they won't grow up to be the villains they were groomed to become.

Next up, at #4, we have "The Last Airbender: Zuko's Story" by Dave Roman and Alison Wilgus, with illustrations by Nina Matsumoto. Based on the movie version of the popular franchise, this prequel focuses on Prince Zuko, shedding some light on his banishment prior to the events of the movie, and showing what he's been through before he finally meets the Avatar.

Next, at #5, is "Adventure Time Volume 1" by Ryan North, with illustrations by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb. This title collects the first four issues of the comic series, which features independent stories set alongside the titular TV show. When the horrifying Lich returns to the Land of Ooo, he makes it his goal to trap the entire planet inside the Bag of Holding and destroy it forever by throwing it into the sun. Will Finn and Jake be able to foil his dastardly plans?

When the horrifying Lich returns to the Land of Ooo, he makes it his goal to trap the entire planet inside the Bag of Holding and destroy it forever by throwing it into the sun.

At #6 is "The Demon of River Heights" by Stefan Petrucha, with art by Sho Murase. This is the first in a series of graphic novels featuring a refreshing modern take on the iconic fictional detective, Nancy Drew, who first appeared in the 1930s. In this novel, she's starring in a horror movie being made by a group of film students. When the students go missing, it's up to Nancy and her close friends, Bess and George, to solve the mystery behind their disappearance.

Next up, at #7, we have "Sherlock Holmes And The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle" by Luke Benjamen Kuhns, with illustrations by Steven Gordon and Dan Albers. When a woman named Deseray Underwood is found dead under mysterious circumstances, Inspector Lestrade calls on renowned detective Sherlock Holmes for help. With their only clue being a crystal blue bottle, Holmes and Watson must go on a fast-paced adventure through the dangerous underbelly of London in order to find the answers they seek.

At #8 is "Knight Rider." Written by Geoffrey Thorne and illustrated by Jason Johnson, this book breathes new life into the titular franchise, which started off as a TV series in the early 1980s. Secret agent Michael Knight is tasked with protecting his girlfriend Katherine, who's in charge of "PROJECT: RIDER." When they're attacked by a group of mercenaries, Michael and a mysterious ally known only as Bishop must work together to prevent Katherine and her work from falling into enemy hands.

Written by Geoffrey Thorne and illustrated by Jason Johnson, this book breathes new life into the titular franchise, which started off as a TV series in the early 1980s.

Finally, at #9, we have "The Unbelievable Gwenpool #1" by Christopher Hastings, with art by Gurihiru and Danilo Beyruth. Gwen Poole is just a regular girl who loves reading comic books. One day, she suddenly finds herself stuck inside the Marvel Universe, where she decides to start a new life as a superhero, using her extensive knowledge of comics to survive. Marvel fans are sure to enjoy Gwen's lighthearted adventures as she tries to find her place in a fictional universe full of familiar characters.