The best graphic novels with vivid and compelling worlds to get lost in

Who am I?

I am an illustrator and author and fantasy stories are some of my favorites. I love getting lost in a book. It might be a cliche, but the ability of a book to take you to a place you’ve never been, or might not even exist, is an amazing power. These are the types of stories I love to create and these books have been a great influence on my own work. 


I wrote...

Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian

By Tim Probert,

Book cover of Lightfall: The Girl & the Galdurian

What is my book about?

Lightfall is the first in a series of graphic novels set in the world of Irpa, a world without a sun. Deep in the northern forest, the young girl Bea lives with her adoptive grandfather the Pig Wizard. While walking through the woods one day, Bea meets Cad, a member of the Galdurians, an ancient race thought to be long-extinct. When the Pig Wizard goes missing, Bea and Cad set out across Irpa to find him, while danger fights its way out of the shadows and into the light.

The books I picked & why

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Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

By Hayao Miyazaki,

Book cover of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Why this book?

Hayao Miyazaki is rightly renowned as one of the greatest animation directors of all time. But he also created this amazing comic over many years, while also directing films. Nausicaä is a fantasy epic, over 1000+ pages of lush drawings telling a beautiful story. It’s a post-apocalyptic world filled with warring factions, giant insects, and dark secrets. One young woman is trying to find her way through this world and put things right, though the right thing to do isn’t always clear. It’s a great story that I recommend to anyone who loves comics, adventures, or the environment. 


Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume

By Jeff Smith,

Book cover of Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume

Why this book?

Bone seems to start small, with the Bone cousins having been run out of their town. But they get involved in a sweeping adventure of epic proportions. With their goofy humor and simple designs, the Bone cousins initially seem out of place in this fantasy world, but they are the key to stopping the evil in this story, not unlike the hobbits of Lord of the Rings. Bone has been released as individual books that have been beautifully colored. But I personally love the one-volume edition in the original black and white. It’s a massive book, I come back to those wonderful inky pages again and again. 


Age of Reptiles: Tribal Warfare

By Ricardo Delgado,

Book cover of Age of Reptiles: Tribal Warfare

Why this book?

This one is a completely wordless story that transports you back to the time when dinosaurs roamed the planet. It follows a pack of deinonychus who steal the eggs of a tyrannosaurus and a hunt ensues. Through lively drawings and colors that pop, you get to know the personalities of all these different dinosaurs and feel the difficult and often vicious life back then. It’s out of print, but if you can find a copy it’s worth it. There are a few more books in this series that are also great, but this was my first and I cherish my copy. 


This Was Our Pact

By Ryan Andrews,

Book cover of This Was Our Pact

Why this book?

This one starts with what seems like a normal night. Some friends ride their bikes as far as they dare, dropping off one by one. The world becomes more and more magical as it goes, with witches and talking bears. But the kids never seem fazed and roll with the increasingly odd happenings. It recalls those magical nights as a kid when you could explore and everything felt wondrous and new. On top of that, you can really feel Andrews’ pencil on the page and the colors create an engrossing atmosphere. 


Kairos

By Ulysse Malassagne,

Book cover of Kairos

Why this book?

Another book of beautiful drawings (noticing a theme?), the dynamic lifework pulls you into a parallel dimension along with the characters. The protagonist crosses dangerous lines to find his partner and you are along for the ride in a new world. Also, check out Malassange’s work with Studio La Cachette, the animation studio he co-founded – it’s great!


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