The most recommended graphic novels

Who picked these books? Meet our 598 experts.

598 authors created a book list connected to graphic novels, and here are their favorite graphic novels.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of graphic novel?


Book cover of Original Sins

William Meikle Author Of Carnacki: Heaven and Hell

From my list on occult detective collections.

Why am I passionate about this?

Even before I found Lovecraft and Stephen King and my world turned, I was raised on Doyle, Wells, Hodgson, and Robert Louis Stevenson which gave me both a love of the "gentleman detective" era and a deep love of the late Victorian/early Edwardian historical period in general. Once you merge that with my abiding interest in all things weird and spooky, you can see where a lot of my stories come from. There seems to be quite a burgeoning market for this kind of mixing of detection and supernatural, and I intend to write more... maybe even a lot more.

William's book list on occult detective collections

William Meikle Why did William love this book?

These collected graphic novels set the benchmark for Occult Detectives in comic form. Constantine shows up as a fully realized character from the off, and having him as a rough-and-tumble Brit is a stroke of genius. His adventures tie together modern comic sensibilities with pulp themes to great effect and having 'names' as the writers and artists ensures a high standard of storytelling throughout. This collection is the perfect place to start to follow his journeys. 

By Jamie DeLano, John Ridgway,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Original Sins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The very first Hellblazer collection is back in a new edition that includes John Constantine's early appearances in SWAMP THING #76-77 along with HELLBLAZER #1-9. This is the first of a series of new HELLBLAZER collections that put all his adventures in reading order, capturing Constantine at his youthful, anarchic best.

Book cover of X'ed Out

Erik Kriek Author Of In the Pines

From my list on dark themes.

Why am I passionate about this?

From an early age I have been drawn to dark themes in stories. I always wanted to hear the dark fairy tales when I was a kid. My mother is from Finland originally, so I was weaned on Finnish folk tales and the Finnish mythology, the Kalevala, which has very many dark stories. Being a graphic novelist myself, I tend to favor morally ambiguous, darker broken characters in my stories. Happy characters make for boring stories I believe. There needs to be conflict for there to be drama. And there needs to be drama to make interesting stories.

Erik's book list on dark themes

Erik Kriek Why did Erik love this book?

I personally read everything Burns makes. He is one of my all-time favourite graphic novelists and I’m heavily inspired by his work. This penultimate work of his has again that sense of otherwordly weirdness to it that he does so well. I just adore the tight line work and moody nightmarish sequences he does. Painting a tale here that raises questions that only get answered when the entire trilogy is completed. Mind-bogglingly well-constructed and strange but very good.

By Charles Burns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked X'ed Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Doug, aspiring young artist. He's having a strange night. A weird buzzing noise on the other side of the wall has woken him up, and there across the room, next to a huge hole torn out of the bricks, sits his beloved cat Inky. Who died years ago. But that's no longer the case, as he slinks through the hole, beckoning Doug to follow. So he does. Now there's no turning back. What the heck is going on? To say much more would spoil the creepy, Burnsian fun, especially since - unlike Black Hole - X'ed Out has not…

Book cover of How Mirka Got Her Sword

Sylvie Kantorovitz Author Of Sylvie

From my list on middle-grade depicting different cultures.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was five, my family moved from Morocco to France. We were Jewish in a very homogeneously Catholic world. My French upbringing didn’t include much exposure to other cultures and I often felt uncomfortably different. I would have liked to know more about various lifestyles, cultures, and traditions than those I observed around me. I now love to learn about other cultures through personal accounts, stories, and memoirs. I feel engaged and interested in a way I never experienced with textbooks. Reading about people who live a different life from our own can be an eye-opening experience.

Sylvie's book list on middle-grade depicting different cultures

Sylvie Kantorovitz Why did Sylvie love this book?

Mirka is a dreamer, unlike what her Orthodox Jewish family expects of her: to prepare herself for a future husband, to help around the house, to knit, to study. She dreams of witches, of trolls, and of fighting dragons. 

I loved the character of Mirka: bravely standing up to local bullies, cleverly outwitting the giant knitting troll, and also dealing—more or less successfully—with parental expectations and a large number of siblings. 

I found the mix of fantasy and cultural traditions delightful. I loved the few words of Yiddish sprinkled here and there (with their translation), and the cozy world of the Sabbath during which even concerns about trolls must stop. This is a really fun and funny book.

By Barry Deutsch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Mirka Got Her Sword as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn't interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There's only one thing she does want: to fight dragons! Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn't stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart's desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All…

Book cover of When I Grow Up: The Lost Autobiographies of Six Yiddish Teenagers

Ellen Cassedy Author Of Working 9 to 5: A Women's Movement, a Labor Union, and the Iconic Movie

From Ellen's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Women’s rights activist Memoirist Translator from yiddish Reader

Ellen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Ellen Cassedy Why did Ellen love this book?

This graphic book presents the brief, heartfelt autobiographies of six Jewish teenagers who recorded their deepest thoughts just before the Holocaust. 

The heartfelt words and the poignant pictures combine to sketch an unforgettable portrait of youth, dreams, and tragedy.

I love memoirs of all kinds, especially those that offer an intimate perch from which to learn about a wider world.

These teenagers did not know the fate that would soon befall them – but the reader does. This makes the reading experience unspeakably moving.  

By Ken Krimstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When I Grow Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An NPR Best Book of the Year
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
A Chicago Tribune Fall "Best Read"
An Alma most anticipated book of November

From the prize-winning author of The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt, a stunning graphic narrative of newly discovered stories from Jewish teens on the cusp of WWII.

When I Grow Up is New Yorker cartoonist Ken Krimstein’s new graphic nonfiction book, based on six of hundreds of newly discovered, never-before-published autobiographies of Eastern European Jewish teens on the brink of WWII―found in 2017 hidden in a Lithuanian church cellar.

These autobiographies, long…

Book cover of The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Anna Kopp Author Of The Marble Queen

From my list on queer fantasy graphic novels for young adults.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a queer teen in the early 2000s, I didn’t have sapphic books or media available to me aside from anime, and even then, the dubbed versions on TV were scrubbed of queerness (I’m looking at you, Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura). I did have Revolutionary Girl Utena, and it was everything to me: fantasy, ballgowns, and girls dancing together. I wrote my book for that me who craved to see herself in beautiful, fantastical stories, and it’s why I love the fact that we have so many more out there right now that I can recommend to all of you!

Anna's book list on queer fantasy graphic novels for young adults

Anna Kopp Why did Anna love this book?

This book made me laugh out loud. There were so many cheese puns that my face hurt from my perpetual grin after reading it.

I love having a queer book with lots of heart and low stakes, where I can just relax and enjoy the fun. And the outfits! I need these dresses and suits in my life!

By Deya Muniz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Princess and the Grilled Cheese Sandwich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Lady Camembert wants to live life on her own terms, without marriage. Well, without marrying a man, that is. But the law of the land is that women cannot inherit. So when her father passes away, she does the only thing she can: She disguises herself as a man and moves to the capital city of the Kingdom of Fromage to start over as Count Camembert.

But it's hard to keep a low profile when the beautiful Princess Brie, with her fierce activism and great sense of fashion, catches her attention. Camembert can't resist getting to know the princess, but…

Book cover of House of X/Powers of X

Benjamin Ho Author Of Why Trust Matters: An Economist's Guide to the Ties That Bind Us

From Benjamin's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Behavioral economist Cultural omnivore Nerd Trust researcher Climate economist

Benjamin's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Benjamin's 8-year-old's favorite books.

Benjamin Ho Why did Benjamin love this book?

As a nerd growing up in the 80s and 90s I read a lot of X-Men comics which were the premier super team of that era. The advent of the MCU meant the Avengers stole a lot of the spotlight away from the X-men, but it was a joy to return to the franchise with this 2019 reimagining of the franchise.

In some ways, it does what X-men has always done best, embracing moral ambiguity, with the X-men joining forces with former nemeses like Magneto and Mr. Sinister with a new vision of the world based on Mutant supremacy. It also manages to bring epic-ness to a new level.

Every comic book event is faced with the daunting task of having to outdo the prior one. (How do you compete with a villain who manages to snap away half the galaxy.) But House of X/Powers of X manages to do…

By Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz (illustrator), R.B. Silva (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked House of X/Powers of X as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Collects Powers Of X #1-6, House Of X #1-6. Face the future - and fear the future - as superstar writer Jonathan Hickman (INFINITY, NEW AVENGERS, FANTASTIC FOUR) changes everything for the X-Men! In HOUSE OF X, Charles Xavier reveals his master plan for mutantkind - one that will bring mutants out of humankind's shadow and into the light once more! Meanwhile, POWERS OF X reveals mutantkind's secret history, changing the way you will look at every X-Men story before and after. But as Xavier sows the seeds of the past, the X-Men's future blossoms into trouble for all of…

Book cover of March: Book One

Conrad Wesselhoeft Author Of Adios, Nirvana

From my list on memoir-based graphic novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve worked as a tugboat hand in Singapore and Peace Corps Volunteer in Polynesia. I’ve served on the editorial staffs of five newspapers, from a small-town daily in New Mexico to The New York Times. I’m also the author of contemporary novels for young adults. Like the writers of these five great graphic novels, I choose themes that are important to me. Foremost are hope, healing, family, and friendship. These are themes I’d like my own children to embrace. Life can be hard, so as a writer I choose to send out that “ripple of hope” on the chance it may be heard or felt, and so make a difference.

Conrad's book list on memoir-based graphic novels

Conrad Wesselhoeft Why did Conrad love this book?

This is the stunning opening salvo of John Lewis’ brilliant trilogy tracking his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights. We follow Lewis’ upbringing in rural Alabama during which young John honed his preaching skills before an audience of barnyard chickens, his transformative meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement. In shedding light on our country’s racist history, Lewis rakes you raw, holds no punches, and yet offers hope. 

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked March as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Congressman John Lewis (GA-5) is an American icon, one of the key figures of the civil rights movement. His commitment to justice and nonviolence has taken him from an Alabama sharecropper's farm to the halls of Congress, from a segregated schoolroom to the 1963 March on Washington, and from receiving beatings from state troopers to receiving the Medal of Freedom from the first African-American president.

Now, to share his remarkable story with new generations, Lewis presents March, a graphic novel trilogy, in collaboration with co-writer Andrew Aydin and New York Times best-selling artist Nate Powell (winner of the Eisner Award…

Book cover of Bitter Root: Volume 1: Family Business

David Jackson Ambrose Author Of Unlawful DISorder

From David's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Empathic Compassionate Air head American history fan Fashion design student

David's 3 favorite reads in 2023

David Jackson Ambrose Why did David love this book?

This is a graphic novel. I don’t generally read graphic novels (although I’ve been a rabid X-men and New Mutants collector since 1981), and I do want to read Persepolis and Fun Home, but you try getting them from Library waitlists - it’s not easy! But I heard a lot of buzz about this series, which lives up to the hype.

What I enjoyed about this was the excellent inking and art, but most important is the way the author uses elements of horror, superhero, and speculation to find a new way to explain racism and prejudice as a disease that turns its victims into brainless monsters. 

The best books, from Twain to Morrison, to Faulkner, to Baldwin, not only entertain us but also educate us and show us pieces of ourselves we may have overlooked or taken for granted.

Bitter Root reminded me of my aunties and uncles…

By David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, Sanford Greene (artist)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bitter Root as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Once known as the greatest monster hunters of all time, the Sangerye family specialized in curing the souls of those infected by hate, but those days are fading. A terrible tragedy has claimed most of the family, leaving the surviving cousins split between curing monsters and killing them. Now, with a new breed of monster loose on the streets of Harlem, the Sangerye family must come together, or watch the human race fall to untold evil.

Collects BITTER ROOT #1-5

Book cover of Yon & Mu

Abby Denson Author Of Kitty Sweet Tooth

From my list on cat-themed graphic novels and manga.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cartoonist who often features cat characters in my books, including Cool Japan Guide, Cool Tokyo Guide, Dolltopia, and Kitty Sweet Tooth. As a life-long cat-lover, I enjoy drawing and writing about my beloved feline friends. I’m also an avid reader of manga and frequent visitor to Japan, where I studied in my college days, so I particularly love reading manga featuring cats and collecting Maneki Neko lucky cat figures as well. I hope you enjoy these books and consider adopting a cat!

Abby's book list on cat-themed graphic novels and manga

Abby Denson Why did Abby love this book?

Famed horror manga author Junji Ito brings us this delightful collection of autobiographical stories about interactions with his family cats. Those familiar with his chilling and grotesque horror stories will be amused at the unnerving style in which he draws himself, his wife, and cats. Ultimately, it ends up being sweet and heartwarming, even if the art is not exactly cute. This is a favorite of mine!

By Junji Ito,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Yon & Mu as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Horror comics author Junji Ito has recently purchased a new house and has decided to invite his girlfriend to move in with him. However, when she moves in, she comes with two cats, Yon, a strange-looking white cat with a ghastly fur pattern on its back that resembles a skull, and Mu, Yon's cute counterpart and playmate. This manga is a diary of the author's life as he tries and often fails to connect with his two feline friends. The manga is drawn in Junji Ito's horror comic style featuring intricate and finely drawn images.

Book cover of Animated Science: Periodic Table

Sybrina Durant Author Of Magical Elements of The Periodic Table: Presented Alphabetically by The Metal Horn Unicorns

From Sybrina's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Unicorn Expert Periodic Table Explorer Insatiable Curiosity Authorpreneur Information Sharer

Sybrina's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Sybrina Durant Why did Sybrina love this book?

I loved the comic book style of this book. It’s very difficult to get kids interested in something that is usually presented to students initially as a dull and boring chart of letters and numbers. Every page of this book is jam-packed with information that makes you want to know more about the elements that make up our world. Kids learn more when learning is fun.

The parts and pieces that make up the periodic table are elemental to every aspect of our modern world, but the elements have always been vital to life and our very existence. This very modern-looking book's amazing pictures, graphics, and explanations make the material presented fun and approachable for anyone.

Most importantly, there are lots of colorful pages with kid-friendly information about each element. The elements are depicted in such a way that they literally jump out of the pages at you. Both the…

By John Farndon, Shiho Pate (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Animated Science as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

The elements of the periodic table come alive in the
first book in a stellar non-fiction comic series by Shiho Pate!

From oxygen to hydrogen, carbon to plutonium, Animated
Science: Periodic Tablemakes chemistry come alive!

In this book you'll meet the building blocks of you, the world,
and the universe and see how they come together to make everything
you see, do and use every day.

With a narrative non-fiction text, kid-friendly information and
Shiho Pate's engaging illustrations, Animated Science: Periodic
Table is a perfect introduction and
ready reference, appealing and laugh-out-loud

Easily accessible for readers just learning the…