The best middle-grade graphic novels about unexpected superheroes

Who am I?

I am a professional dabbler who has tried things from beekeeping, duck herding, race car driving, coding, and filmmaking. But I am famously known as the author and illustrator of imaginative and fun children’s books and comics. My latest book is the hilarious supervillain graphic novel Mischief and Mayhem. It’s a story about Missy who gets kicked out of superhero boot camp and ends up as a supervillain (a nice and friendly one). I’ve always enjoyed reading about unexpected heroes and characters who flip the script. We all have challenges in our lives and when we face them head-on is when we truly find the heroes in ourselves.

I wrote...

Mischief and Mayhem #1: Born to Be Bad

By Ken Lamug,

Book cover of Mischief and Mayhem #1: Born to Be Bad

What is my book about?

Mischief and Mayhem are your respectably heinous villains. They’ll spoil new movies, steal cake from parties they weren’t invited to, and hit the good citizens where it’ll dirty them most—their toilet paper. But before Mischief and Mayhem were ever supervillains, they were just Missy and Gizmo, fresh recruits at Superhero boot camp. Except Missy lied on her hero application and has exactly zero superpowers, just her brainpower. Humiliated when caught and kicked out, she has only one fellow camp recruit who is willing to stand by her—Melvira.

Melvira has her own villainous agenda, and it involves helping Missy cross the line into villainy as her new alter ego, Mischief. But something about Melvira doesn’t sit right with Missy, and soon she’ll be called upon to battle her former best friend.

The books I picked & why

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The Bad Guys: Episode 1

By Aaron Blabey,

Book cover of The Bad Guys: Episode 1

Why this book?

They may look like bad guys or even smell like bad guys - but this crew of animal predators (Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, and Mr. Piranha) are trying their best to change that negative perception. This series by Aaron Blabey is a wonderful introduction to the graphic novel format. It’s easy to read, fully illustrated, has lovable characters, and has an action-packed storyline. I love how Aaron flips the script and makes the bad guys the actual heroes. 

Agent 9: Flood-A-Geddon!

By James Burks,

Book cover of Agent 9: Flood-A-Geddon!

Why this book?

In this fast-paced action-adventure, super-secret agent Agent 9 has to stop King Crab and his diabolical plans to melt the polar ice caps and build a massive water park. If that doesn’t grab your attention, I have no doubt that James Burks’ wonderful and dynamic illustrations will. There are chase scenes, explosions, and humor on every page that’ll surely keep the reader hooked with every turn. I love how Agent 9 has to address her own personal struggles so she can level up and win the day. A very welcome addition to any children’s graphic novel bookshelf.

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute: Lunch Lady #1

By Jarrett J. Krosoczka,

Book cover of Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute: Lunch Lady #1

Why this book?

The place you least expect for a hero to turn up is the lunchroom and that’s exactly what we get here. In this issue of a long-running series Lunch Lady and Betty, her assistant, investigate the strange case of a missing teacher, a creepy substitute, and how this all connects with the Teacher of the Year award. Scenes in the story revolve around the school which will make it relatable to school-going readers. Kids will have a new respect for people around them as they identify who could potentially be a hero in their own small way. 

Meet the Bigfeet

By Kevin Sherry,

Book cover of Meet the Bigfeet

Why this book?

Blizz Richards is a Yeti and he lives in Nepal. He also has a secret headquarters where he does a lot of research on other creatures like himself who hide from the outside world. I love that Blizz is a researcher as it shows the power of someone who enjoys learning about the world around them. But in this issue, Blizz has to find his cousin Brian who has disappeared after a photo of him appeared in the news. This book will open up the readers to an exciting new world outside their own.

Real Pigeons Fight Crime (Book 1)

By Andrew McDonald, Ben Wood (illustrator),

Book cover of Real Pigeons Fight Crime (Book 1)

Why this book?

The last thing you expect pigeons to do is to fight crime but that’s exactly what this secret squad of crime-fighting feathered friends are up to. The book is easy to read and has a fair amount of words but that won’t matter because the reader will be fully engaged in all the hilarity and excitement. These pigeons won’t stop until all mysteries are solved and the neighborhood is crime-free! Fun & great way of easing kids into reading chapter books.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in robots, superheros, and comics?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about robots, superheros, and comics.

Robots Explore 60 books about robots
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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Klara and the Sun, and Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep! if you like this list.