Design

Five Best Graphic Novels

ghost-world

Cup of Jo has been running for 13 years, so every week, we’ll be highlighting one of the most popular posts from the past. Here’s one of our favorites, originally published on August 10, 2011…

Have you guys ever read graphic novels or memoirs? They’re full-length comic strips for grown-ups that often tell hilarious and touching stories. They’re entertaining and compelling — it’s almost like reading a movie. And you’ll notice clever little things in the pictures that add to the story (like a flirty sideways glance or a suspicious bead of sweat). Here are my five favorites…

1. Ghost World, above, follows the adventures of two moody teenage girls, Enid and Becky, after high-school graduation, as they grow up and drift apart. (Did you see the film?) I find it mindblowing how a middle-aged male cartoonist — the hilarious Dan Clowes — managed to portray two listless young women so realistically. (He nailed it.) Ghost World won approximately one million awards for being the best graphic novel ever.

French Milk graphic novel

2. French Milk is a funny memoir of a 22-year-old’s six-week stay in Paris with her mother — complete with drawings of croissants, striped shirts, the Eiffel Towel and some crankiness (which just makes her more charming). Really sweet to see the mother-daughter relationship.

persepolis_inside

Persepolis graphic novel

3. Persepolis tells the story of the author’s childhood under the Islamic Revolution. Her neighbors’ homes are bombed, and her once-wealthy parents now struggle to educate her. Her father considers fleeing to America, but then asks to his wife, “I can become a taxi driver and you a cleaning lady?” As she grows up, the girl’s rebellious streak puts her in danger. Touching that the story is told through a child’s eyes.

Shortcomings graphic novel

4. Shortcomings follows Ben, a cynical Japanese-American guy in his twenties, on his search for contentment — and the perfect girl. He’s kind of a jerk but you grow to love him, or, at least, understand him. (The genius author Adrian Tomine also illustrates for the New Yorker; I once spotted him in an East Village record store and creepily trailed him around, but was too shy to say hello!)

cancer-vixen-book

Cancer Vixen graphic novel

5. Cancer Vixen has an intense cover, but I promise you, this book is a-maz-ing. Written by a New Yorker and Glamour cartoonist, the novel tells Marisa’s true story of finding a lump in her breast right after meeting the love of her life. This book made me laugh out loud and shed tears, and I couldn’t put it town.

Have you ever read graphic novels? Do you have any favorites?

P.S. Ten best documentaries and my favorite book of all time.

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  1. Julie Ray says...

    Just finished Liana Finck’s Passing for Human. Highly recommend!

  2. The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui. So wonderful

  3. Wyn says...

    Tillie Walden writes some of the best graphic novels around! “On A Sunbeam” makes me so emotional — it’s a queer coming-of-age space opera, and the colors and illustrations are the most beautiful thing. “Spinning” is also really wonderful — it’s a memoir about Walden’s time as as an amateur ice skater. I highly recommend any of her work! A lot/most of it is LGBTQ-focused too which I love.

  4. Trisha says...

    Not sure if it is considered a graphic novel or a comic?? But I highly recommend Bingo Love by Tee Franklin. My sister bought it while we were on vacation and I picked it up and could not put it down! Beautiful illustrations and a really great stroy!

  5. Great list! Haven’t picked up a graphic novel since college! Just added French Milk to my shopping cart! :D

  6. Jax says...

    You’re so funny, Joanna. I used to creepily stalk Adrian Tomine around Berkeley record and book stores, when we both used to go to UC Berkeley. He must still frequent record stores quite a bit!
    Now I just stalk him on Instagram.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha. and I saw him in Whole Foods the other day!!! :)

  7. Evie R says...

    Buying and reading graphic novels with my five year old twin daughters has been my favorite covid escape. Some favorites include the Hilda series (by Luke Pearson) the Zita and Mighty Jack books (by Ben Hayek), Stargazing (by Jen Wang), Roller Girl (by Victoria Jamieson), Ghosts (by Raina Telgemeier) and Snapdragon (by Kat Leyh). All were excellent!

    • Chiara says...

      Oooh. Thank you for this list. I’ve started reading chapter books to my 5yo, but I find it tough to find ones that are at the right level for him. Not too advanced, but not too childish. A lot of the ones I come across are old and we’re working on a anti-racist and feminist book list at the moment. I just put three of your suggestions on hold at the library.

    • Monica From MN says...

      Our family loves the graphic novel El Deafo by Cece Bell. Really great for kids and adults- I read it with my 5 yo son and my 7yo read it to herself.

  8. Andie says...

    Lucy Knisley is the BEST. I reread her graphic novel “Kid Gloves” last night and it brought me to tears—she is so so good at writing about her life with emotion, depth, and clarity.

    • Jeannie says...

      YES, I’ve cried while reading a few of her graphic novels <3 such great storytelling and art. Everyone, check out her Instagram! I learned of her first graphic novel through COJ nearly 10 years ago…thanks Joanna :0)

  9. Deana says...

    I really liked “Can’t we Talk about Something More Pleasant: A memoir” by Roz Chast, about caring for her aging parents. It is one of the most honest books I’ve read on the topic.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes LOVED this one, too.

  10. Kim says...

    Currently reading and enjoying Rusty Brown by Chris Ware. It’s the saga of a hopelessly down and out middle-aged teacher. Full of mid-life angst.

  11. Steph says...

    Fun Home by Alison Bechdel is far and away my favorite. If you’re nostalgic for the 90’s and/or are queer, her entire Dykes to Watch Out For series is excellent.
    IMO Lucy Knisley gets better with every publication and there have been several since French Milk. I really liked Kid Gloves and Something New.

    • Meghan says...

      If you’re into musicals at all, I love the music from the Fun Home musical as well!

  12. “In Waves” by AJ Dungo is so beautiful (and a bit of a gut punch).

  13. Stephanie says...

    My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris! Incredible!

    • Quinn says...

      YES! The artwork absolutely blew my mind.

  14. Emily says...

    I love Tamara Drewe. The movie differs from the book with less tragedy but both are really enjoyable.

  15. Katie P. says...

    Absolutely loved Good Talk by Mira Jacob and Kid Gloves by Lucy Knisley.

    I don’t *think* anyone has mentioned these; all were great:
    They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
    A Fire Story by Brian Fies
    I Was Their American Dream by Malaka Gharib

  16. Meghan says...

    I picked up Shortcomings at a second-hand store after reading this original post (OMG – 2011?!!!) and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s always made the cut on my bookshelf when I’m Marie-Kondoing my bookshelf. Thanks for the recommendation. Upon re-reading the comments, I put The Best We Can Do on hold! Thanks COJ readers :)

  17. Two of the best (and I read graphic novels almost daily :)
    1. Arab of the Future by Riad Satouf (originally in french but 4 have been translated into english) and I cannot begin to describe how brilliant they are.

    2. Maus by Art Spiegelman…grim subject matter but also brilliant.
    My son (now 16 ) read them both at age 10 and has reread them multiple times since…as have I.

    Also: TINTINS…not just for kids

  18. Jennifer says...

    I love the March trilogy by John Lewis (yes THAT John Lewis) et al.

  19. Naomi says...

    ‘Roller Girl’ by Victoria Jamieson! It’s about a preteen girl who falls in love with roller derby…and also about growing up, friendships, mother-daughter relationships, and so much more. It’s so touching and well done.

  20. Claire says...

    Bone by Jeff Smith. It’s an excellent series to read with kids, and completely enjoyable for adults too.

  21. Colleen says...

    Infertility trigger warning but
    Good Eggs: A Memoir by Phoebe Potts was so good—a poignant, at times raw and so often hilarious distraction while I rode the rollercoaster of recurrent miscarriage, seeking out anything I could find about others struggling with pregnancy, or in Potts’ case, not getting pregnant. It served as reminder that we all wrestle with personal challenges unique to us; Potts’ own infertility issues, you may have surmised from the title, are central to the book. It was a great read.

  22. Sarah says...

    I’ve loved Sandman, by Neil Gaiman since college, and now my kids are into GN as well:
    Princeless
    The Unsinkable Walker Bean
    Lumberjanes
    Giant Days.

  23. Really enjoying this post and the comments. Big graphic story fan (and budding creator of one!) Nora Krug’s Heimat (I’m in the UK and I think in the USA it was published as Homeland) is the best I have read in a while. She’s a German-born New Yorker exploring her non-Jewish German family’s 20th century past whilst discussing what it means to be homesick and also critical of her home country. The drawing is exquisite and it is so layered and interesting.

    My kids love Raina Telgemeier and we all love Lucy Knisley.
    Best wishes
    Miriam

    • Christina says...

      Yes! Heimat! Thank you for reminding me. I really liked it too.

    • Teresa Wong says...

      I read Nora Krug’s book in Canada, and it’s called “Belonging” here. So good!

  24. Marcy Davenport says...

    Oh I’m excited to mine the comments for new graphic novels!! I thoroughly enjoy them as does my 9yo so I end up reading a lot of middle grade GNs as well.

    I will say that I *hated* Ghostworld. I’m pretty sure that my Goodreads review simply says “drivel” but I love just about everything Lucy Knisley writes and Persepolis was so so so good.

    Castle Waiting vol 1 & 2 by Linda Medley were great and have the advantage of being longer than typical so it’s not over quite so quickly. They are harder to find though. Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis is good for a longer story as well. Castle in the Stars series by Alex Alice is a *beautiful* French series that has been (and is being) translated to English and is a fun story. Anything by Noelle Stevenson, Rainbow Rowell, Raina Telgemeier, or Faith Erin Hick is highly recommended!

  25. Tracy O says...

    My favorite graphic novel is a memoir called Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow by Anders Nilsen. It is a sad love story, but the WAY it’s played out/shown isn’t like anything else I’ve ever seen/read. Really good. Thanks for so many good recommendations here!

  26. Katharine says...

    Sabrina by Nick Drnaso!

  27. Jo says...

    I cannot recommend The Best We Could Do, by Thi Bui, highly enough.

    • Tara Y. says...

      I was coming on here to recommend this book! I just finished it a few weeks ago and just loved it.

    • annie says...

      me too – such a powerful one

    • Katie P. says...

      Me too – it was incredble.

    • Quinn says...

      Yes!!! I just did a search to see if anyone had already recommended this and am so happy to see it here! My father is a Vietnam War refugee and this book felt like it could have been written about my own family. It’s gorgeous and heartbreaking and uplifting all at once.

      Also, Thi Bui illustrated a lovely children’s book called A Different Pond. I highly recommend that one!

    • Marie says...

      Yes!!!!

  28. Kelsey says...

    White Bird by RJ Palacio (author of ‘Wonder’) is beautiful.

  29. Sarah says...

    I love Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’ Malley, who wrote the Scott Pilgrim series. It spoke to my soul as a teenager, which is funny because it’s about a teenager who believes her soul was stolen by a cat. It’s a beautiful and funny look at grappling with depression and anxiety (and possibly OCD with all the magical thinking elements), and the healing that comes with genuine connection as the main character finds herself on a road trip with complete strangers after drifting apart from her best friend and her boyfriend. Definitely, a fitting read as we all deal with the complex emotions of being away from loved ones, while finding togetherness amidst it all.

  30. Karan Benner says...

    I recommend Castle Waiting by Linda Medley & Amy Unbounded: Belondweg Blossoming by Rachel Hartman. Both lovely reads!

  31. Sarah says...

    I love Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley, who wrote the Scott Pilgrim Series. It spoke to my soul as a teenager, which is funny because it’s about a teenager, who thinks her soul was stolen by a cat. It’s a beautiful and funny look at a grappling with depression and anxiety (and possibly OCD, with all the magical thinking elements sprinkled throughout), and the healing that comes from genuine connection as the main character finds herself on a road trip with complete strangers after drifting apart from both her best friend and her boyfriend. Can’t recommend it enough.

  32. Greta says...

    Thanks for linking to INDIE BOUND.org Supporting local bookstores!
    Fun House (Alison Bechdel) and Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant (Roz Chast) are favorites. Can’t wait to read French Milk! Thanks for the great suggestions.

    • I was just going to suggest — Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant. Roz Chast is great. Oh, Fun House — yes, that one is so great. Greta, you are I are on the same page, hah!

    • Katie P. says...

      Love Roz Chast, and that book is one of my favorites!

  33. Librarian says...

    For an update to this list, I highly recommend Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka.

    • Librarian says...

      … and also Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir by Ellen Forney!

  34. Anita says...

    I know this isn’t a graphic novel, but this article is reminding me to finally treat myself to the graphic memoir ‘Good Talk.’ It’s been on my list for ages and, during COVID-19, it’s fun to get book treats and a privilege too.

    • Katie P. says...

      Good Talk is so wonderful – an amazing book! Definitely worth the purchase.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes good talk!!! it’s fantastic.

  35. Loren says...

    Some great ones: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, Over Easy by Mimi Pond, Maus by Art Spiegelman.

  36. dominique says...

    Yay! This made me so happy to see as I love graphic novels! A few of my faves: Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine, This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Rosalina Blum by Camille Jourdy. And I highly recommend anything by Zviane for anyone who reads French/wants to practice their French :)

  37. Christina says...

    I can really recommend Palimpsest by Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom. So much happen in the pictures; slight changes in attitudes, glances, and the story is such that I couldn’t put it down before I had read it all. And then I read it again.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Ooh this sounds so good. Thank you!

  38. Hannah says...

    Is there any chance you could do a new post of fave graphic novels?

  39. witloof says...

    My two favorite graphic novels are Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Over Easy by Mimi Pond.

    • Claire says...

      THANK YOU for mentioning Mimi Pond! I’d been going crazy trying to remember the comic strip I’d read as a child in one of my older sister’s teen magazines…couldn’t find any info anywhere, but once I saw her name in your comment & googled the images, I found it!

  40. Michael says...

    How could she POSSIBLY not mention “Can’t we talk about something more pleasant” and “Arab of the Future” (not to mention “Arab of the Future 2”?!?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thanks for your note — those two actually came out after this post was written (2011) but i loved both!

  41. Olivia Rose says...

    Not sure if anyone mentioned this yet… but the graphic novel “My Friend Dahmer” by Derf Backderf is a chilling yet fascinating tale of Jeffrey Dahmer, the serial killer, in his early years. It was illustrated by someone who actually went to school with him (and was about as close to a friend as Dahmer would get).

  42. Kelly says...

    Thanks for this post. “Cancer Vixen” should actually fall into the category of graphic memoir, versus graphic novel.
    Other great graphic memoirs like this include:

    “Cancer made me a shallower person” by Miriam Engelberg
    “Marbles: Mania, Depression, and Michelangelo ” by Ellen Forney
    “Mom’s Cancer” by Brian Fies
    “Seven Miles a Second” by David Wojnarowicz and James Romberger
    “Can we talk about something more pleasant?” by Roz Chast
    “Stitches” by David Small
    “Billy, me & you” by Nicola Streeten
    “Blue Pills” by Frederick Peeters

    All of these come highly recommended. Truly great.

    • Tara Y. says...

      In the same vain, “Persepolis” is also a graphic memoir.

  43. Love French Milk and Relish by Lucy Knisely and Drawing from Memory by Allen Say is excellent!

  44. You must check out the New York Four and the New York Five … as well as the Shutterbug Follies!

  45. I read Persepolis last year, and I included it in my list of favorite books read in 2013. It was just such an eye opener, and I love that she put it in graphic novel form, because it just WORKS! Awesome read. I am going to check out Cancer Vixen Thanks for the recommendations!

  46. Has anyone mentioned Chris Ware’s “Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth”. The crisp and mind boggling art and the tri generational story leave it in my mind as one of my fav books period.

  47. I loved Ghost world, Persepolis and Cancer Vixen!

    I’m also a big fan of these graphic novels:
    – most of Alex Robinson’s graphic novels,
    – “why I hate Saturn” by Kyle Baker (it could be a mix between Sex & the city and Girls, if compared to tv series, but very caustic and crazy),
    – two graphic novels inspired by the childhood of the authors : Marzi, by Marzena Sowa, about growing up in Poland in the communist era, and Aya of Yop city, from Marguerite Abouet, who’s from Ivory Coast.

  48. I’ve seen the Dvd Persepolis before reading the book and they are both amazing. I’ve seen Marjan Satrapi in Cannes (i think she lives in Paris) I would also recommend Maus and any graphic novel by TANIGUCHI, all so subtle with a dreamlike quality.

    (I’m French and there are a lot of French or Belgian authors that are really good, but I don’t know if they are translated into English. )

  49. My husband turned me onto graphic novels, and I absolutely loved Persepolis. It was gripping, and I think I finished it in one sitting!

  50. I saw that others mention this, but seriously… Chris Ware is genius. His ability to tap into the subtleties of people, his pathos… he’s amazing. I love Building Stories, the protagonist is a woman and he really gets it, but his others are just as brilliant.

  51. Maus and Blankets as others have mentioned. I’ve been meaning to pick up Habibi as Carol C mentioned. I recently finished Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and loved it!

    And though not a graphic novel, the descriptions were more than enough for me. If you like anything zombies one bit, I highly recommend World War Z.

  52. definitely Maus, Blankets, Habibi, and Bone by Jeff Smith and currently in love with The Abomniable Charles Christopher http://www.abominable.cc/

  53. Oh I love graphic novels. My favorite is V for Vendetta. Every time I read it Moore amazes me with his word selection. Plus I love the message(s).

  54. Oh I love graphic novels. My favorite is V for Vendetta. I love the movie but there is so much in the book and every time I read it Moore amazes me with his word selection.

  55. Graphic novels are lovely. Gabrielle Bell is one of my favorites.

  56. Maus, as others mentioned, is so powerful.

    I’ve read Huhn mit Pflaumen and really want to read Persepolis too.

    Heute ist der letzte Tag vom Rest deines Lebens by Ulli Lust isn’t available in English (yet?) but absolutely blew my mind. What a crazy story! And so well told. (Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life would be the English title…)

    The best part about learning German is that so many graphic novels are only released in French and German and seem never to make it into an English translation, so there’s a whole other world of reading material to discover!

  57. My absolute favorite is ‘Goodbye Chunky Rice’ by Craig Thompson.

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  59. Anonymous says...

    Robot Dreams is a wordless graphic, it’s very heartbreaking at the end, and is very touching. You have to read it multiple times to get all of the full meanings in the book. It’s fantastic.

  60. I frickin LOVED the series by Guy Delisle (“Shenzhen” was my favorite!) and absolutely recommend Marguerite Abouet’s series “Aya”.

    Of course, everyone has mentioned the fabulous graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi and the Maus series by Art Spiegelman.

    For some fun-from-a-young-woman’s-perspective-sexual-awakening:

    la très girly série by Aude Picault: “Moi, Je” and “Chicou, Chicou”

    and

    Aurelia Aurita: Fraise et Chocolat

    For more serious stuff: “Le Photographe” by Guibert LeFevre/LeMercier and Shaun Tan’s graphic novel had me in tears: http://www.shauntan.net/books/the-arrival.html

    A french guy living in Japan: “manabe shima” by florent chavouet

    I will defintely check out “Blankets” and “Fun Home”!

    Thanks so much!

  61. Thanks for your article, quite effective info.

  62. I ordered a few of these you suggested and they just arrived in the mail! I’m so excited to read them! Thanks for the recommendations!

  63. i shall have to pick up french milk.
    i LOVE grahpic novels! fabulous post about them ;D
    WOW, Blankets has gotten a lot of love, and it, of course, deserves to, its amazing. a beautiful heartbreaking tale of love and finding yourself. And gorgeous artwork to boot!

    ANd additionaly, I dont think anyone has mentioned these yet, but my first graphic novel love was called The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg. Its about this girl named Jane who moves from NYC after a bomb fell and really affects her life to a suburban town. There she forms a club called P.L.A.I.N, people loving art in neighborhoods. They go out at night a create some pretty sweet ‘art’ annonymously. Honestly, how cool is filling a water fountain in the city full with soap & bubbles? ANd there’s a sequel called Jane in Love which is awsome too!
    definatly check them out ;D

  64. Have you ever read Blankets by Craig Thompson? It’s this really beautiful book about first love, family and spirituality in the setting of rural Wisconsin and Michigan in the winter. It covers a lot of heavy issues, but it’s just so beautifully illustrated that it’s heartbreakingly good.

  65. Even thought I love books and I love illustration, I’ve never been a graphic novel person. Your descriptions really have me wanting to read these, though… especially French Milk!

  66. Yay! French Milk & Persepolis are two of my favorite graphic novels!
    You have great taste!
    Love, Leigh

  67. Anonymous says...

    City of Light, City of Dark by Avi. Fantastic.

  68. Anonymous says...

    I love graphic novels! You HAVE to read Strangers in Paradise too! It is fantastic :D

    / Siri

  69. love this post! haven’t read any of these but i’ve been meaning to see persepolis. i’m a big fan of runaways and the oz based novels. thanks!

  70. Hanna says...

    I agree blankets is amongst the most moving graphic novels i have ever read. I cried like a baby at the end.

  71. 1) Blanket – Craig Thompson (My first graphic novel, almost 700 pages long. His latest work entitled ‘Habibi’, his work progression at blog.dootdootgarden.com)

    2) MAUS – Art Spiegelmen (A biography during Holocaust/ Pulitzer Prize Winner)

    3) Jar of Fools – Jason Lutes

    4) It’s A Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken – Seth

    There are many more, but these takes the top because they are too important to be missed out. Would love to read your reviews on these. We can trade too if you want :)

    Best,
    Luna Maurice
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

  72. the writer of persepolis made another graphic novel, it’s called embroideries – i loved it! it’s about iranian women gathering together to do “embroidery” but really they discuss their sex lives! i heard that this one might be being made into a movie too.

  73. I love The Changers by Ezra Claytan Daniels.

  74. I’ve seen the movie Persepolis and loved it, now I need to read it! Your post inspired me to check out Cancer Vixen from the library this week and I started it last night and am almost through it, thanks for the recommendation! Awesome! :)

  75. My favorite graphic novel is Maus by Art Spiegelman, and it’s quite easily my favorite book, too. I’ve never read anything as powerful and informative as Maus, and I think it’s absolutely brilliant: by turning Jews into mice and the Nazis into Cats, Spiegelman is able to give the readers an even more up-close and personal side of the Holocaust. I’m fascinated.

    On another note, I’m just about to reserve all five at my library now! Thanks for recommendations, I love seeing your documentary and book choices, Joanna!

    • I agree! I am a huge fan of Maus!

  76. I adore graphic novels – so loving this post. Never read French Milk though so may have to go seek that out – thank you x

  77. I was hoping you’d mention Cancer Vixen…It’s my favorite!

  78. I have to throw my hat in for the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. I have always loved his novels, and I read Sandmen 1-10 over the past week (yay summer vacation), and I canNOT stop thinking about them. The man is a masterful, amazing story teller. I love love love him.

  79. Anonymous says...

    I don’t *think* anyone’s mentioned these (I’m a big fan of many of the others mentioned in the comments- Blankets, Fun Home, etc.):

    “Good Eggs: A Memoir” By Phoebe Potts (about struggling w/infertility, but much more than just that)

    “Dragonslippers: This is What an Abusive Relationship Looks Like” By Rosalind B. Penfold (pseudonym). I know the title sounds very heavy, and this isn’t a “ha ha” graphic novel, but it’s a really fascinating, gripping story – and I’ve never been involved in an abusive relationship (thank god). Could see it being very helpful, too, for those who have experienced this horror.

  80. I love 3 of these 5, but have never heard of the other two. Now I’m inspired to hit my neighborhood comic book store. Thanks for the recommendations!

  81. Jo, I love, love, love The Fart Party I & II and Drinking At The Movies, all by Julia Wertz. They are the tales of a young woman from San Francisco growing up, falling in love, breaking up, moving to NYC, becoming an alcoholic, and then cleaning up her life. Very raunchy but also very poignant. As a dear lover of SF, her drawings of places around the city get right at my heart. Highly recommended!

    • Laura Millward says...

      Yes! Second this. Her books are so funny.

      Also a huge fan of Blankets (my all time favourite), and more recently the Arab of the Future series which is so great.

      Looking forward to Adrian Tomine’s new book, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cartoonist which comes out soon too.

  82. ah! i borrowed french milk from a fellow who grew up with the adorable lucy knisley and absolutely loved it! made me re-live my 7th grade paris trip with my mother years later. xo

  83. Love it! I’m buying some this weekend :)

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  84. i want to say like this:Someone above mentioned Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, which I highly, highly recommend. It’s a hilarious and engrossing memoir about, among other things, growing up with a secretly gay dad

  85. Winshluss’s pinocchio is beautiful ( he helped animate Persepolis) The work of Canadian artist Seth pulls you in, he even built models of a fictional town so that he could get the mood right. There are so many that I don’t even know where to begin!

    Jimmy Corrigan
    The arrival
    American splender
    Black hole

    The list goes on and on!

  86. If you like “Blankets,” Craig Thompson has a new novel coming out on September 20th that looks like it will be amazing, it’s called “Habibi.” I love his other books, too.

  87. I must admit, I don’t know a ton about graphic novels. This is more of a graphic memoir – but Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, is fantastic. Absolutely perfect book.

  88. The tiny font in graphic novels is too much for me. Gives me a headache. =/

  89. For kids, BABYMOUSE is AWESOME!!!! (More so for girls though)

    And American Born Chinese is good for young adults and adults!

  90. Thanks for the interesting book recommendations! Glad I finally know what a graphic novel is, I’ll definitely be reading some of them soon! I also just bought The History of Love and am so excited to read it now!

    http://afternoonsunlight.blogspot.com/

  91. I’ve never read any graphic novels before, but I’m definitely interested in checking them out now! I’ve heard of Lucy Knisley before, but only through her blog. She just did an awesome illustrated series of every Harry Potter book. It’s here if you’re interested: http://lucylou.livejournal.com/596984.html

  92. love this post! thx

    I watched the Persepolis and didn’t even know there was a book. Same with Ghost Town

  93. Marion says...

    I fell in love with graphic novels reading Alex Robinson’s “Box Office Poison”. It portrays the intertwined lives of a series of characters ranging from students fresh from college to an old comic writer. Tears and laughter on the menu. Once you’ve started it, you can’t put it down.

  94. Love French Milk!!

  95. Blankets, of course, and Craig Thompson’s new graphic novel, Habibi, comes out this fall. Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth is by Chris Ware and very well written, and more recently I really enjoyed Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol. It’s a great, darkened version of a teen graphic novel.

  96. I’m chiming in for Chris Ware. Dude loves pathos. He’s amazing, his characters are so flawed and human and sometimes pathetic, and so relatable. A very talented author/illustrator.

  97. I’m totally with the two folks that said American Born Chinese. It’s amazing. And I just saw David Small (children’s book illustrator) speak so I’m super excited to read Stitches.

  98. I love hearing about something so fun & interesting that’s utterly brand spankin’ new to me! THANK YOU, can’t wait to try these out.

  99. I read Persepolis and LOVED it. I am half Persian and it was a great way to get in touch with my roots. I’d also recommend the movie!

  100. WOW! I want to read all of these! Thanks Joanna!
    I’ve only read Watchmen. Loved it, but the movie sucked.
    How do you think the movie versions of Persepolis and Ghost World compare to the novels?

  101. Graphic novels make me happy (and sometimes they make me cry).

    Here’s one for happy:

    Babymouse by Jenny Holm

    Here’s one for tears:

    The Arrival by Shaun Tan

    You MUST read these. They may be marketed for kids, but they are written for everyone!

  102. So fun! I just purchased a nook and I will secretly be reading these under my desk at work!

  103. Please check out any and all of Craig Thompson’s work. As mentioned above, “Blankets,” is by far one of the best stories let alone graphic novels that I read. Also his graphic novel, “Goodbye Chunky Rice,” is fantastic.

  104. You have totally inspired me to pick up a graphic novel. I’m gonna do it. Today even. Yeah. That’s right. WOOOOOOOOOOO!

    Seriously, thank you for the recs!

  105. Abbey says...

    I loved the Japanese Manga series entitled Maison Ikkoku by Rumiko Takahashi. A little different than graphic novels, but such a sweet romantic comedy.

  106. American Splendor is my favorite comic book series; a few years ago some compilations were published making it easier to get all issues. It was also made into a movie starring Paul Giamatti. Highly recommended!

  107. Ordinary Victories
    by Manu Larcenet, Patrice Larcenet (Illustrator)
    I read them over a year ago – I think there are a few of them. Really touching stories…

  108. I read Persepolis a year ago. I will never forget the heroine or the story and her struggles. Did you see the film based on the graphic novel? I think I’ll have to read French Milk next. It looks awesome.

  109. I LOVE graphic novels and am trying to get the high school where I teach to start a graphic novel course.
    Persepolis is one of my favorites; Maus is an excellent one too.

  110. You definitely should read Maus [part i and ii]- amazing story. I cried.
    Watchmen is also really good- much better than the movie, but aren’t books always better?

  111. This post made me so happy! I actually took a class on graphic novels last year and wrote my own (I’m in art school in Michigan :). My favorite is called Jar of Fools by Jason Lutes. The plot is really bizarre, but the emotions are incredibly real.

  112. Joanna,
    I read The History of Love under your recommendation, and while it was sweet (I even cried a little) I thought the ending crumbled a bit. Still, I enjoyed.

    That being said, have you read Love in the Time of Cholera? If you like The History of Love, you’ll love this book. No one writes more beautifully than Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

  113. Blankets was a beautiful read. It broke my heart.

    Also love the Sandman series.

  114. ooh! another good one that i had forgotten about is The Imposters Daughter. xo

  115. thanks for all these amazing recommendations; i’m going to buy blankets today :)

  116. joy, GREAT idea about a restaurant round-up! i will get on that! :) thank you!!