11 Great Graphic Stories To Grow Up With
Whether your only exposure to graphic novels is through The Walking Dead or you're actively seeking out stories with strong female leads that can appeal to all ages, our list of graphic stories has something that is going to appeal to you or your kids. Before you know it, you'll be looking for books on how to draw as you start thinking up your own stories.
11 Great Graphic Stories For Anyone
- Big Nate: From the Top by Lincoln Peirce
- Detective Frankenstein by Alaya Dawn Johnson
- Voices of a Distant Star by Makoto Shinkai & Mizu Sahara
- Adventure Time Vol. 1 by Ryan North & Braden Lamb
- Coady and the Creepies by Liz Prince & Amanda Kirk
- Giant Days Vol. 1 by John Allison & Whitney Cogar
- The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
- Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
- Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun
- Secret Battles of Genghis Khan by Daryl Gregory & Alan Robinson
- Quarry's War by Max Allan Collins & Szymon Kudranski
Where To Find Comics For All Ages
It's no secret that people love to engage themselves visually. That is why graphic novels are one way to encourage kids to start reading. However, the richness of various illustration styles does not only appeal to the eyes of young readers. Teens and grown-ups appreciate them as well. We've gathered some of the best graphic books that feature fascinating tales for a wide age range. From children's comics to adult mysteries, these volumes have something to offer for anyone at any point in their life. In no particular order, here is our list of eleven.
Starting off at #1 is "Big Nate: From the Top" by Lincoln Peirce. The story revolves around Nate, an average middle-schooler who is not the best when it comes to academics. Even though he's a record-holder for the most number of detentions, the 11-year-old is doing his best to survive 6th grade using his wits, sense of humor, and imagination. With episodes about overzealous teachers, goofing off, and impressing girls, the book shows us the daily grind of a preteen, making it a fun and relatable read for kids who aren't big fans of school.
At #2 is "Detective Frankenstein," the 17th comic book in the Twisted Journeys series. These feature readers as the main character, and they can control the storyline by choosing between two presented options. The tale is set in 1890s London and follows the hero and his friend, Eleanor, who are both working for a creepy scientist who experiments with human corpses.
As Eleanor goes missing, readers must decide whether to find her or obey their master and forget about their friend. Alaya Dawn Johnson features smart-looking characters and crisp dialogue that appeals to grade-schoolers. With a dozen adventure scenarios and possible outcomes, this graphic novel can be reread multiple times until kids reach their desired ending.
What we have at #3 is "Voices of a Distant Star," a manga adaptation of Makoto Shinkai's film from 2003 with art by Mizu Sahara. It follows the lives of young lovers Mikako and Noboru, who are both ordinary students living in Japan. After Mikako is selected by the UN Space Army to fight in a war against a group of aliens, the couple continues to contact each other through text messages.
As the heroine travels light years away from earth, communication with her beloved becomes difficult. With conversations that are overflowing with emotions, this romantic sci-fi captivates readers with an unusual story about young love, space travel, and time.
At #4 is "Adventure Time," which is based on Cartoon Network's animated show of the same title. With similar wit and humor as the TV series, the comic presents an original tale that features all the fascinating characters that fans have come to love. It chronicles the story of Finn and Jake as they fight a terrifying skeleton called "The Lich" who comes to destroy the Land of Ooo. Penned by Ryan North and illustrated by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline, the volume also includes a gallery of alternate covers made by a number of popular indie artists.
At #5 is "Coady and the Creepies," which follows the lives of three sisters in a punk rock band called "The Creepies." The story begins with the horrible aftermath of a car accident, with two of the sisters severely injured and one being seemingly unharmed. As the band continues to go on tour, the girls find themselves discovering the true meaning of mortality and embracing life. Written by Liz Prince and illustrated by Amanda Kirk, the comic presents a coming-of-age tale that deals with family, fame, ghosts, and death.
At #6 is "Giant Days" by John Allison and Whitney Cogar. It tells the story of three first-year college students named Susan, Esther, and Daisy as they try to figure out adulthood. With different styles and personalities, the girls balance each other out as they face daily college drama while reinventing themselves. Illustrated by Lissa Treiman, the comic explores the transition from teenagers to adults with compelling characters full of teen angst. It also features heartfelt episodes along with witty and humorous dialogue, making it an enjoyable read for young adults.
What we have at #7 is "The Sculptor," Scott McCloud's first complete graphic novel featuring adult characters. The story follows the life of David Smith, a young sculptor struggling to get by after nearly making it big in the New York art scene. In his lonely hours, death offers him a deal that gives him incredible sculpting powers, in exchange for his life after 200 days.
After David accepts, surprises, passion, and love unexpectedly come his way, and the protagonist finds himself experiencing different twists and turns. McCloud explores the subjects of loneliness, mental illness, and art in this mature tale perfect for adult readers.
At #8 is "Awkward," which follows the perspective of Penelope, a young girl who has just transferred to Berrybrook Middle School. On her first day she embarrasses herself in front of bullies and ends up hurting the nerdiest kid in school named Jamie, who is only trying to help her.
Being haunted by the incident several weeks later, the heroine faces realistic worries that a middle schooler goes through, including saying sorry, learning from mistakes, making friends, and fitting in. Svetlana Chmakova gives us a humorous tale about teen awkwardness and presents diverse individuals that go through a lot of character development.
Coming in at #9 is "Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too." Don't be fooled by the child-like illustrations of Canadian humorist Jomny Sun and think this book is only aimed towards kids. Although it can be read by all ages, the thought-provoking views on life, change, death, anxiety, happiness, and purpose are especially fashioned to remind adults who are too busy with their lives what it means to be human.
The story begins with Jomny, an alien who doesn't fit in with his own kind and is sent to earth on a mission to learn about humans. Being lost and unsure, the little alien starts talking to all the creatures he meets and learns meaningful lessons about existence. With hilarious and naive dialogue, the graphic novel presents profound wisdom that is easy to relate to.
At #10 is "Secret Battles of Genghis Khan," which tells the story of one of history's most infamous warriors, Temujin Borjigin. The graphic novel follows the perspective of the commander, from his childhood up until his deathbed. It details the major plot points in his life that built his fearsome reputation as the founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire.
Written by Daryl Gregory and illustrated by Alan Robinson, it features art in dark lines and colors, depicting the cruel journey of the Khan. With a lot of information about the historical events of the early 1200s, the book is perfect for those who enjoy learning about ancient civilizations, wars, and legends.
Finally, at #11 is "Quarry's War," the first comic book adaptation of Max Allan Collins' series. It follows the life of Quarry, a former marine sniper who returns from Vietnam as a veteran and is recruited as a hitman for an operator known as "The Broker." The tale provides two storylines from the protagonist's life: his mission to kill a mob guy in 1970s Chicago, and an episode set within his years in Vietnam. Collins converges these plots and presents a lot of twists and turns, both in the career and personal journey of the hero.