2023 Best Graphic Novels for Adults Reading List

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ALA’s Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) is thrilled to announce the 2023 Best Graphic Novels for Adults (BGNA) Reading List. This reading list highlights the best graphic novels for adults published in late 2022 through 2023, and it aims to increase awareness of the graphic novel medium, raise voices of diverse comics creators, and aid library staff in the development of graphic novel collections.

The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table (GNCRT) and its committees honor the entire creative team (including the writer, penciler, inker, colorist, letterer, and translator) involved in the titles listed. All of these people play a critical role in the creation of the work, helping to lift the story and give it life.

Best Graphic Novels for Adults 2023 Selection Committee

  • Micki Waldrop, Chair - Head of Research and Instruction Services, Brenau University
  • Chanda Briggs - Outreach Librarian, University of San Francisco
  • Luke Burger - Librarian, San Diego County Library
  • Elizabeth Doherty - Head of Patron Experience, Framingham Public Library
  • Leslie Flynn - Library Associate, Austin Public Library
  • Benjamin Nanamaker - Collection & Technical Services Librarian, Kitsap Regional Library
  • Joe Pascullo - YA Librarian, New York Public Library
  • Carli Spina - Head of Research and Instruction, Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Kaci Wilson - Reference and Resource Librarian, Nebraska Methodist Collage

The Best Graphic Novels for Adults committee would like to recognize and thank Midwest Tape for allowing all committee members free access to Hoopla® during this term of service.

2023 Best Graphic Novels for Adults Top Ten

Anaïs Nin: A Sea of Lies. Written by Léonie Bischoff. Art by Léonie Bischoff. Translated by Jenna Allen. 2023. Fantagraphics, $29.99 (9781683967590).
Using breath-taking colored pencils, this prize-winning biography traces the life of Anaïs Nin - the best-known author of women’s erotica - as her sexual liaisons and a building obsession with passion increasingly influence her writing.

Earthdivers Vol. 1: Kill Columbus. Written by Stephen Graham Jones. Art by Davide Gianfelice. Colors by Joana Lafuente. Cover art by Rafael Albuquerque. 2023. IDW. $17.99 (9798887240459).
In the year 2112, Earth is facing an environmental apocalypse, and much of humanity has escaped into space. A group of Indigenous people remain on Earth, and a team who have discovered a time travel portal attempt to fix the problems of the planet by going back to when it all went wrong: Europe's discovery of America. To that end, they send a volunteer back to 1492 to kill Columbus. But, will this have the impact they desire?

The Human Target, Volume 1. Written by Tom King. Art by Greg Smallwood. Colors by Greg Smallwood. Lettering by Clayton Cowles. Editing by Ben Abernathy. Variant Covers by Trevor Hairsine, Danny Miki, Rain Beredo, & Jenny Frison. 2022. DC Comics. $29.99 (9781779516701). The Human Target, Volume 2. Written by Tom King. Art by Greg Smallwood. Colors by Greg Smallwood. Lettering by Clayton Cowles. Editing by Ben Abernathy. Variant Covers by Trevor Hairsine, Danny Miki, Rain Beredo, & Jenny Frison. 2022. DC Comics. $29.99 (9781779520210).
Christopher Chance makes his living by imitating people in the crosshairs of assassinations. His latest case is to tease out an assassin while acting under the guise of Lex Luthor. When he discovers that Luthor faced two murder attempts on the same day, Chance finds himself poisoned, and now he only has 12 days to solve his own murder. In the second half of this neo-noir detective series, Chance has found allies and new enemies, but will that be enough to help him track down his killer as he faces his final days?

Last On His Feet: Jack Johnson and the Battle of the Century. Written by Adrian Matejka. Art by Youssef Daoudi. 2023. Liveright/Norton. $29.99 (9781631495588).
This stunning black and white graphic novel biography of legendary boxer Jack Johnson tells his story by alternating between the periods of the historical boxing match on July 4, 1910 and the other extraordinary things Johnson experienced during his lifetime.

Majnun and Layla: Songs from Beyond the Grave. Written by Yann Damezon. Art by Yann Damezon. Translated by Thomas Harrison & Aqsa Ijaz. 2023. Humanoids, Inc. $29.99 (9781643379487).
In this gorgeous graphic novel rendition of the classic Arabic tale, two young people fall madly in love, but when the young man cannot contain his passion, fate and family prevents a happy ending and tragedy strikes.

The Nice House on the Lake (Deluxe Edition). Written by James Tynion IV. Art by Alvaro Martinez Bueno. Colors by Jordie Bellaire. Edited by Chris Conroy. Variant covers by Martin Simmonds, Werther Dell'Edera, Giovanna Niro, Robert Hack, Ken Lashley, Chris Sotomayor, Francesco Francavilla,, Megan Hutchinson, John Giang, David Romero, Carla Cohen,, Richard Luong, Anand Radhakrishnan, Christian Ward, Tiffany Turrill, Bjorn Barends, Bill Sienkiewicz, David Lafuente, Miquel Muerto, Juan Ferreyra, Bilquis Evely, Kelley Jones, Dan Brown, Alison Sampson, Aaron Campbell, and Andrea Sorrentino. 2023. DC Black Label. $49.99 (9781779521576).
An old friend invites 11 people for a long summer weekend at a beautiful lake house, but when they discover they can't leave, what started as a delightful, but a little awkward, vacation becomes something more sinister.

Okinawa. Written by Susumu Higa. Art by Susumu Higa. Lettering by Patrick Crotty and Kayla E. Translated by Jocelyn Allen. Essays by Shinako Oyakawa, Andrew Woodrow-Butcher, and Christopher Woodrow Butcher. 2023. Fantagraphics. $29.99 (9781683961185).
This collection of short stories depicts the lives of Okinawans and their relationship with the US military immediately after World War II and throughout the intervening decades. The stories provide context to what was essentially occupation of their islands, the thoughts and feelings towards that occupation between generations, and the murkiness of working for occupiers.

Roaming. Written by Jillian Tamaki. Art by Mariko Tamaki. 2023. Drawn & Quarterly. $34.95 (9781770464339).
Three college-aged women from Canada visit New York City for a spring break trip in 2009. During their trip, they learn the city but also learn about each other and themselves. This relatable coming-of-age story captures the feeling of how friendships change during college and how travel can lead to adventures both good and bad.

Shubeik Lubeik. Written by Deena Mohamed. Art by Deena Mohamed. 2023. Pantheon. $35.00 (9781524748418).
In this richly illustrated tale of three wishes set in modern Cairo, Aziza, Nour, and Shokry grapple with personal and societal barriers while striving to bring their greatest desires to fruition.

The Talk. Written by Darrin Bell. Art by Darrin Bell. 2023. Henry Holt & Co. $29.99 (9781250805140).
At the age of six, Darrin Bell’s request for a water gun ends with his mother initiating “the talk”—a turning point in the lives of Black children where they are first warned of the dangers of living in a world with systemic racism. Through a blend of personal recollection and social commentary, this graphic memoir traces the impact of "the talk'” throughout the author’s life.

2023 Best Graphic Novels for Adults - Official List

Fiction

A Guest in the House. Written by Emily Carroll. Art by Emily Carroll. 2023. First Second. $27.99 (9781250255525).
Horror story about Abby as she settles into the role of a second wife and step mom. As she chafes against the expectations that those roles entail, she begins to suspect that the fate of her husband's first wife is different from what she was told. This suspicion begins to manifest as a malevolent force that grows beyond her control.

Catwoman: Lonely City. Written by Cliff Chiang. Art by Cliff Chiang. 2022. DC Comics, $29.99 (9781779516367).
Ten years after Gotham's heroes died in a massacre known as Fools' Night, Selina Kyle returns home from prison to find it changed. Uninterested in the politics and societal needs of Gotham, Selina recruits old allies to help her break into the Batcave to find answers to all the questions Bruce Wayne left when he died.

The Chromatic Fantasy. Written by H.A. Art by H.A. 2023. Silver Sprocket. $29.99 (9798886200324).
Jules lives in a convent meant to trap a devil, but when the devil offers a deal that would allow Jules to live as an out trans man, he quickly accepts. Now as a criminal who cannot be hurt, Jules meets the intriguing Casper, another trans man known for thieving. Together they go on increasingly ridiculous adventures as their relationship deepens.

Darkly She Goes. Written by Hubert. Art by Vincent Mallié. Color by Bruno Tatti. Translation by L. Benson. 2023. NBM. $29.99 (9781681123134).
A fallen knight is hired to rescue a princess, hoping it is enough to clear his name of past crimes. A dark princess hides herself away with her dark creatures to protect the rest of the world and herself. When they come together, they will have to deal with the consequences of the past and the future actions of the princess’ parents and their allies.

Daughters of Snow and Cinders. Written by Núria Tamarit. Art by Núria Tamarit. Translated by Jenna Allen. 2023. Fantagraphics. $29.99 (9781683967569).
Joana is a young woman seeking a fortune on a continent far from her own, fleeing her home and her past. On her gold-hunting expedition, she comes into conflict both with the harsh winter of this new land and the cruel men who also seek to find gold. Teaming up with two women from this land and a rescued dog, she seeks to survive and to find enough gold to return home. But nature's wrath doesn't just manifest in snow and storms here.

Earthdivers Vol. 1: Kill Columbus. Written by Stephen Graham Jones. Art by Davide Gianfelice. Colors by Joana Lafuente. Cover art by Rafael Albuquerque. 2023. IDW. $17.99 (9798887240459).
In the year 2112, Earth is facing an environmental apocalypse, and much of humanity has escaped into space. A group of Indigenous people remain on Earth, and a team who have discovered a time travel portal attempt to fix the problems of the planet by going back to when it all went wrong: Europe's discovery of America. To that end, they send a volunteer back to 1492 to kill Columbus. But, will this have the impact they desire?

Everything Is Fine. Written by Mike Birchall. Art by Mike Birchall. 2023. Webtoons Unscrolled. $19.99 (9781990259777).
Perfectly normal couple Sam and Maggie live in a perfectly normal neighborhood with their perfectly normal dog Winston. All the houses look the same. The people sound and look the same. On the outside, everything is fine. But is it?

Festival of Shadows: A Japanese Ghost Story. Written by Atelier Sento. Art by Atelier Sento. 2023. Tuttle Publishing. $19.99 (9784805317242).
Naoko lives in a village where shadows of the dead who died violent or tragic deaths linger. It is the responsibility of the living to help those spirits find peace within a year. This year, Naoko connects with a young man who has no memory of his life. Soon, she finds herself developing strong feelings for the mysterious man who seems haunted by a secret. As they both try to find where they belong, together they will go on an emotional journey before the year is up.

Grand Slam Romance. Written by Ollie Hicks. Art by Emma Oosterhous. 2023. Abrams ComicArts - Surely. $24.99 (9781419758010).
Star softball pitcher Mickey Monsoon gets thrown for a loop when their childhood friend and crush Astra Maxima returns as the catcher for their current rivals after abandoning them years ago to attend a high-level Swiss softball academy for magical girls. Thrown by Astra’s flirtiness and recklessness, Mickey quits softball, only to be recruited to a secret squad captained by one of Astra’s exes with the sole purpose of stopping Astra from using her magical girl powers to win the championship.

Goodbye, Eri. Written by Tatsuki Fujimoto. Art by Tatsuki Fujimoto. 2023. Viz Media. $12.99 (9781974738939).
After his classmates bully and ostracize him for his apathy in the wake of his mother's death, teen filmmaker Yuta considers suicide. He then crosses paths with Eri, a girl who asks him to film her and who harbors a secret.

The Great British Bump-Off. Written by John Allison. Art by Sarin Sammy. Colors by Sammy Boras. Lettering by Jim Campbell. 2023. Dark Horse. $19.99 (9781506735733).
The last thing a contestant of the infamous British baking show expects is to be poisoned… or become the detective meant to solve the crime. Now Shauna, a plucky contestant, is tasked with balancing the stress of baking her way out of elimination, while also apprehending the culprit before they can strike again.

The Human Target, Volume 1. Written by Tom King. Art by Greg Smallwood. Colors by Greg Smallwood. Lettering by Clayton Cowles. Editing by Ben Abernathy. Variant Covers by Trevor Hairsine, Danny Miki, Rain Beredo, & Jenny Frison. 2022. DC Comics. $29.99 (9781779516701).
Christopher Chance makes his living by imitating people in the crosshairs of assassinations. His latest case is to tease out an assassin while acting under the guise of Lex Luthor. When he discovers that Luthor faced two murder attempts on the same day, Chance finds himself poisoned, and now he only has 12 days to solve his own murder.

The Human Target, Volume 2. Written by Tom King. Art by Greg Smallwood. Colors by Greg Smallwood. Lettering by Clayton Cowles. Editing by Ben Abernathy. Variant Covers by Trevor Hairsine, Danny Miki, Rain Beredo, & Jenny Frison. 2022. DC Comics. $29.99 (9781779520210).
In the second half of this neo-noir detective series, Chance has found allies and new enemies, but will that be enough to help him track down his killer as he faces his final days?

The Last Mechanical Monster. Written by Brian Fies. Art by Brian Fies. 2022. Abrams ComicArts. $24.99 (9781419756122).
An elderly scientist returns to society after decades in jail for creating a robot army that threatened to destroy his city. The world is no longer what it was, making it hard to adjust to life outside prison. As he discovers kindness and friendship for the first time, he will have to decide if vengeance is worth it and how he wants to be remembered.

Light Carries On. Written by Ray Nadine. Art by Ray Nadine. 2023. Dark Horse. $19.99 (9781506726373).
After his camera breaks, Leon borrows a used one from his mom’s shop. After taking his first picture, a ghost of Cody, the camera’s previous owner, appears and becomes irreversibly linked to Leon. Together they will have to figure out the mystery of Cody’s untimely death.

Majnun and Layla: Songs from Beyond the Grave. Written by Yann Damezin. Art by Yann Damezin. Translated by Thomas Harrison & Aqsa Ijaz. 2023. Humanoids, Inc. $29.99 (9781643379487).
In this gorgeous graphic novel rendition of the classic Arabic tale, two young people fall madly in love, but when the young man cannot contain his passion, fate and family prevent a happy ending as tragedy strikes.

The Naked Tree. Written by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim. Art by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim. Translated by Janet Hong. 2023. Drawn & Quarterly. $29.95 (9781770466678).
This adaptation of Park Wan-suh's 1970 novel of the same title juxtaposes a young woman's coming-of-age story with the stark reality of tragedies faced during the Korean War. While selling portraits to American G.I.s to make ends meet, Kyung-a navigates strained family relationships and growing feelings for a newly hired artist.

New Masters. Written by Shobo Coker. Art by Shof Coker. 2022. Image Comics. $19.99 (9781534323384).
Afrofuturistism and space opera come together for an action-packed story of colonialism and class struggles. With impressive action sequences and dramatic tension, this story keeps readers on the edge of their seats as a host of characters vie for control of an important artifact.

The Nice House on the Lake (Deluxe Edition). Written by James Tynion IV. Art by Alvaro Martinez Bueno. Colors by Jordie Bellaire. Edited by Chris Conroy. Variant covers by Martin Simmonds, Werther Dell'Edera, Giovanna Niro, Robert Hack, Ken Lashley, Chris Sotomayor, Francesco Francavilla,, Megan Hutchinson, John Giang, David Romero, Carla Cohen,, Richard Luong, Anand Radhakrishnan, Christian Ward, Tiffany Turrill, Bjorn Barends, Bill Sienkiewicz, David Lafuente, Miquel Muerto, Juan Ferreyra, Bilquis Evely, Kelley Jones, Dan Brown, Alison Sampson, Aaron Campbell, & Andrea Sorrentino. 2023. DC Black Label. $49.99 (9781779521576).
An old friend invites 11 people for a long summer weekend at a beautiful lake house, but when they discover they can't leave, what started as a delightful, though a little awkward, vacation becomes something more sinister.

Of Thunder and Lightning. Written by Kimberly Wang. Art by Kimberly Wang. 2023. Silver Sprocket. $13.99 (9798886200287).
Two female soldiers have been engineered to fight on behalf of their nations in a war that is broadcast to their nations. Locked in this unending battle, the two find that they can only relate to one another and struggle to find meaning outside of violence.

Okinawa. Written by Susumu Higa. Art by Susumu Higa. Lettering by Patrick Crotty and Kayla E. Translated by Jocelyn Allen. Essays by Shinako Oyakawa, Andrew Woodrow-Butcher, and Christopher Woodrow Butcher. 2023. Fantagraphics. $29.99 (9781683961185).
This collection of short stories depicts the lives of Okinawans and their relationship with the US military immediately after World War II and throughout the intervening decades. The stories provide context to what was essentially occupation of their islands, the thoughts and feelings towards that occupation between generations, and the murkiness of working for occupiers.

Parallel. Written by Matthias Lehmann. Art by Matthias Lehmann. Translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger. 2023. Oni Press. $29.99 (9781637151006).
Karl Kling’s life unfolds on the page as he flashbacks to his life between the end of World War II and the 1980s. In a life already torn apart by conflict, Kling has to fight his own homosexuality, only to face the cruel reality of being gay in mid-century German society. He finally shares his story as an old man in an attempt to reunite with his estranged adult daughter as he feels the passage of time weighing on his soul.

Parasocial. Written by Alex de Campi. Art by Erica Henderson. 2023. Image Comics. $19.99 (9781534399372).
After attending a convention, Luke, a fading genre actor, crashes his car in the middle of nowhere. What starts out as a rescue by a dedicated fan turns into a kidnapping that will require Luke to give the performance of his life if he intends to survive.

Poison Ivy Vol. 1: The Virtuous Cycle. Written by G. Willow Wilson. Art by Marcio Takara, Brian Level, Emma Rios, DaNi, Stefano Gaudiano, & Jay Lesiten. Colors by Arif Prianto, Jordie Bellaire, & Trish Mulvihill. Lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. Edited by Arianna Turturro. Collection cover art by Jessica Fong. Variant cover art by Nick Robles, Alvaro Martinez Bueno, Justine Frany, Seb McKinnon, Zoe Thorogood, Tula Lotay, Warren Louw, Frank Cho, Dan Mora, Kris Anka, Josh Burns, Will Jack, Jim Lee, Kendrick Lim, David Nakayama, SOZOMAIKA, Nathan Szerdy, Sweeny Boo, Jenny Fison, Claire Roe, Christian Ward, Stanley "Artgerm" Lau, Joelle Jones, Joshua Middleton, Amy Reeder, Matias Bergara, Stjepan Sejicc, David Talaski, & Janaina Medeiros. 2023. DC Comics. $24.99 (9781779518491).
After losing her god-like powers and recently returning from the dead, Pamela Isley has a new focus for her life. She leaves Gotham City for good with the singular focus to heal the planet by ridding it of humanity. With the use of a vial of fungi spores, she crosses the country leaving a trail of bodies in her wake until she comes to her final battle against her original creator.

Public Domain Volume One: Past Mistakes. Written by Chip Zdarsky. Art by Chip Zdarsky. 2023. Image Comics. $16.99 (9781534324572).
Decades ago, Syd Dallas helped create a comic, The Domain, that eventually became a pop culture sensation. Movies, posters, figures, the whole works. But Dallas -- and his family -- have seen little of the fruits of that labor. When it comes out that the legal rights to The Domain might not reside with the corporate conglomerate that has spent the last forty years making it a household name, he and his family have to decide how hard they want to fight for their legacy.

Roaming. Written by Jillian Tamaki. Art by Mariko Tamaki. 2023. Drawn & Quarterly. $34.95 (9781770464339).
Three college-aged women from Canada visit New York City for a spring break trip in 2009. During their trip, they learn the city but also learn about each other and themselves. This relatable coming-of-age story captures the feeling of how friendships change during college and how travel can lead to adventures both good and bad.

Shubeik Lubeik. Written by Deena Mohamed. Art by Deena Mohamed. 2023. Pantheon. $35.00 (9781524748418).
In this richly illustrated tale of three wishes set in modern Cairo, Aziza, Nour, and Shokry grapple with personal and societal barriers while striving to bring their greatest desires to fruition.

Vern, Custodian of the Universe. Written by Tyrell Waiters. Art by Tyrell Waiters. 2023. No Brow. $20.99 (9781913123093).
Vern is a burnt out and somewhat disillusioned young adult who finds himself moving back in with his mother in Florida. When he arrives, his grandmother announces that she got him a job at the company where she and his grandfather used to work. Little does Vern know that the mysterious company has the means to connect universes and that he will end up the custodian of the multiverse.

Where I’m Coming From. Written by Barbara Brandon-Croft. Art by Barbara Brandon-Croft. 2023. Drawn & Quarterly. $29.99 (9781770465688).
In 1989, Barbara Brandon-Croft became the first Black woman cartoonist to achieve national syndication with "Where I'm Coming From." This timely collection features conversations between a relatable cast of nine Black women as they discuss everything from motherhood to social issues.

Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons. Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. Art by Phil Jimenez, Gene Ha, & Nicola Scott. Colors by Hi-Fi, Arif Prianto, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Wesley Wong, & Annette Kwok. Lettering by Clayton Cowles. 2023. DC Comics. $29.99 (9781779521354).
A devastatingly beautiful three-part story showing how the Amazons came to be, how they grew under the watchful eye of Hippolyta, and how they found their way to Themyscira.


Non-Fiction

Anaïs Nin: A Sea of Lies. Written by Léonie Bischoff. Art by Léonie Bischoff. Translated by Jenna Allen. 2023. Fantagraphics, $29.99 (9781683967590).
Using breath-taking colored pencils, this prize-winning biography traces the life of Anaïs Nin - the best-known author of women’s erotica - as her sexual liaisons and a building obsession with passion increasingly influence her writing.

Blue Book Vol. 1: 1961. Written by James Tynion IV. Art by Michael Avon Oeming. Letters by Aditya Bidikar. 2023. Dark Horse. $24.99 (9781506736693).
In this first volume of true tales of UFO encounters, Betty and Barney Hill face a life-altering experience while driving home in rural New Hampshire.

Dictatorship: It’s Easier Than You Think! Written by Sarah Kendzior & Andrea Chalupa. Art by Kasia Babis. 2023. First Second. $28.99 (9781250781000).
Become a dictator in only five easy steps! This book will show you how to become a dictator along with history on past and present dictators who have used these steps to take control.

Embrace Your Size: My Own Body Positivity. Written by hara. Art by hara. Translated by Athena Nibley and Alethea Nibley. Lettering by Chiho Christie. 2022. Yen Press. $17.00 (9781975347307).
A collection of uplifting comic essays about the author’s journey towards body positivity and the pop culture that helped her change her mindset regarding her own weight and beauty.

Ephemera: A Memoir. Written by Briana Loewinsohn. Art by Briana Loewinsohn. 2023. Fantagraphics, $23.99 (9781683966906).
This memoir uses spare text and beautiful artwork to tell the story of a daughter struggling to understand her mother's mental illness and ultimate suicide. Through the use of color, the story moves between two different timelines to emphasize the long-term impact this relationship has on the creator.

Going Remote: A Teacher’s Journey. Written by Adam Bessie. Art by Peter Glanting. 2023. Seven Stories Press. $18.95 (9781644212707).
Part memoir, part examination of the US education system, Adam Bessie shares his experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic when he had to transition to teaching his community college courses online while also dealing with his own health issues.

The He-Man Effect: How American Toymakers Sold You Your Childhood. Written by Brian “Box” Brown. Art by Brian “Box” Brown. 2023. First Second. $26.99 (9781250261403).
Brown chronicles the history of advertising through television/movies and their effects on children, focusing especially on the toys and cartoons of the 80s and 90s.

I Don’t Want to Be a Mom. Written by Ireme Olmo. Art by Ireme Olmo. Translated by Kendra Boileau. 2023. Graphic Mundi - PSU Press. $24.95 (9781637790595).
Irene Olmo offers a vulnerable and engaging view into her journey to embrace the fact that she does not wish to have children along with the stigma that persists around that choice. She shares not only the condescending responses that have been lobbed at her but the isolation she has felt in face of these responses. She also shares experiences of other women along the way.

It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth. Written by Zoe Thorogood. Art by Zoe Thorogood. 2022. Image Comics. $12.99 (9781534323865).
A memoir following six months in the author’s life as she deals with depression while her world falls apart and the desperate measures she takes to hold it together.

JAJ: A Haida Manga. Written by Michael Nicholl Yahgulanaas. Art by Michael Nicholl Yahgulanaas. 2023. Douglas & McIntyre. $29.95 (9781771623537).
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas brings to life the tumultuous history of the first contact between Europeans and Indigenous peoples and the early colonization by the Europeans of the northern West Coast.The story follows several historical figures, including Johan Adrian Jacobsen (JAJ), who comes to the Haida village of Masset to collect specimens for a German museum, through a time span that includes first contact, the devastation of the smallpox epidemic, and the mass resettlement of disenfranchised peoples, both Indigenous and European.

Kwändǖr. Written by Cole Pauls. Art by Cole Pauls. 2022. Conundrum Press. $25.00 (9781772620771).
A collection of Pauls’ comics previously published in magazines and zines. Stories range from intimate portrayals of family drama to larger cultural practices and experience of the Indigenous peoples of the Arctic area.

Last On His Feet: Jack Johnson and the Battle of the Century. Written by Adrian Matejka. Art by Youssef Daoudi. 2023. Liveright/Norton. $29.99 (9781631495588).
This stunning black and white graphic novel biography of legendary boxer Jack Johnson tells his story by alternating between the periods of the historical boxing match on July 4, 1910 and the other extraordinary things Johnson experienced during his lifetime.

Look Again: A Memoir. Written by Elizabeth A. Trembley. Art by Elizabeth A. Trembley. 2023. Street Noise Books. $29.99 (9781951491185).
Trembley looks at the effects of trauma over time as she shares variations of the story about how she found a dead body in the woods while walking her dogs. Through six variations, Trembley shows the fragmented nature of trauma and how our brains often try to protect us from our past.

Nervosa. Written by Haley Gold. Art by Haley Gold. 2023. Street Noise Books. $21.99 (9781951491246).
With brutal honesty and dark humor, Gold shares her experience with extreme anorexia and the terrible treatment she received in the medical system. She shows how she has been irrevocably damaged by the medical system, the people in her life, and this brutal disease that she cannot get past even as she seeks hope for the future.

Now Let Me Fly: A Portrait of Eugene Bullard. Written by Ronald Wimberly. Art by Brahm Revel. 2023. First Second. $29.99 (9781626728523).
This graphic novel recounts the story of Eugene Bullard, a Black man born in the U.S. who moves to Europe as part of his escape from the Jim Crow South. Bullard ultimately becomes the first Black fighter pilot while in Europe during World War I. This book highlights his triumphs and adventures even in the face of discrimination and racism.

Silence, Full Stop. Written by Karina Shor. Art by Karina Shor. 2023. Street Noise Books. $23.99 (9781951491253).
After moving as an immigrant to Israel at the age of six, Karina was already different from her peers. Embracing the labels of “freak” and “weird,” she uses society’s opinions of her to drive destructive behaviors and bad choices as she tries to run away from a tragic event that colored her entire childhood.

The Talk. Written by Darrin Bell. Art by Darrin Bell. 2023. Henry Holt & Co. $29.99 (9781250805140).
At the age of six, Darrin Bell’s request for a water gun ends with his mother initiating “the talk”—a turning point in the lives of Black children where they are first warned of the dangers of living in a world with systemic racism. Through a blend of personal recollection and social commentary, this graphic memoir traces the impact of "the talk'” throughout the author’s life.

Us. Written by Sara Soler. Art by Sara Soler. Colors by Sara Soler. Lettering by Joamette Gil. Translated by Silvia Perea Labayen. 2023. Dark Horse. $19.99 (9781506734187).
What happens when the life you thought you had does a 180º turn? Everything, and yet…nothing. Us is Sara and Diana’s love story, as well as the story of Diana’s gender transition.

Washington’s Gay General: The Legends and Loves of Baron von Steuben. Written by Josh Trujillo. Art by Levi Hastings. 2023. Abrams ComicArts Surely. $24.99 (9781419743726).
A graphic novel biography sharing the true story of Baron von Steuben, a military hero from Prussia who helped win the Revolutionary War. He also happened to be flamboyantly homosexual. By telling his story, the creators share the importance of queer experiences in history and how queer people have shaped the American military.