A beginner’s guide to graphic novels

Comic strip by Jessica Abel

Graphic Novels are not just thick comic books (check out the comic by Jessica Abel above). They combine words and pictures to produce a uniquely wonderful storytelling experience. I’ve compiled a list of graphic novels that rank among my most favorite of all time. (They are also available to borrow from Smith Library.)



by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

This is one of the most influential graphic novels of all time. It chronicles the story of a group of former super heroes being stalked by an unknown assassin.

Y last man

Y: The last man: Unmanned

by Brian K Vaughan & Pia Guerra

Brian K Vaughan’s epic tale of the sole survivor of a plague that instantly wipes out every last sperm, fetus, and fully developed mammal with a Y chromosome.



by Marjane Satrapi

In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages 6-14, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq.


Batman: the Dark Knight returns

by Frank Miller & Klaus Janson; Lynn Varley

This story takes place 10 years after an elderly Batman has retired from crime-fighting. Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. The Dark Knight comes back for one final adventure when the city needs him most


Blankets: A graphic novel

by Craig Thompson

Craig Thompson writes and draws this coming-of-age tale based on his own adolescence. The story is touching, but the real draw is the intricate and expressive artwork.


V for vendetta

by Alan Moore; David Lloyd

Set in a dystopian England under totalitarian rule, a mysterious man in a Guy Fawkes mask fights political oppressors through terrorism and seemingly ridiculous acts.

batman joke

Batman: The killing joke

by Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, & Richard Starkings

The Joker systematically goes after all of Batman’s closest friends. This is easily considered one of the best Batman stories ever told, and is a must-read for any Batman fan.

—Trae Middlebrooks
Late Night Library Supervisor, Smith Library