2020 Best Graphic Novels for Adults Reading List

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The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table is thrilled to announce the final 2020 Best Graphic Novels for Adults Reading List. This inaugural year of the reading list highlights the best graphic novels for adults published in late 2019 and throughout 2020 and we hope it will increase awareness of the graphic novel medium, raise voices of diverse comics creators, and aid library staff in the development of graphic novel collections.

2020 Best Graphic Novels for Adults - Top Ten

Be Gay, Do Comics
The Nib
9/1/2020. IDW Publishing. 24.99. 9781684057771.
This comic anthology from The Nib consists of LGBTQIA experiences, ranging from personal stories to queer history to cutting satire about pronoun panic and brands desperate to co-opt pride.

Big Black: Stand at Attica
Frank "Big Black" Smith, Jared Reinmuth, Améziane
2/1/2020. Boom! Studios. 19.99. 9781684154791
Frank “Big Black” Smith is the reason why the uprising at Attica Prison wasn't worse. In this book, you will hear his experiences of the uprising and exactly what came before and after.

Come Home, Indio
Jim Terry
9/1/2020. Street Noise Books. 16.99. 9781951491048
Between the Ho-Chunk community of his Native American family in Wisconsin and his schoolmates in the Chicago suburbs, Jim Terry explores his experience of growing up in two different worlds and the pressure it puts on his mental state.

House of X / Powers of X
Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, R.B. Silva
12/1/2019. Marvel. 60.00. 9781302915704
House of X and Powers of X intertwine to reveal the secret past, present, and future of Mutants. It all starts when Charles Xavier reveals his new masterplan for Mutant kind, one that will bring mutants out of the shadow of humanity and into the light.

Invisible Kingdom
G. Willow Wilson, Christian Ward
Volume 1: 11/1/2019. Dark Horse Comics. 19.99. 9781506712277
Volume 2: 6/1/2020. Berger Books. 19.99. 9781506714943.
An unlikely pair must work together to keep the world from falling into anarchy. They must navigate keeping a secret, while trying to pick a side on how to save the world.

Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio
Derf Backderf
9/1/2020. Abrams. 24.99. 9781419734847
This story explores the event of college students who were protesting the Vietnam war at Kent State University, when the Ohio National Guard gunned down unarmed college students. This devastating event resulted in 67 shots, 4 students were killed and 9 shot and wounded.

Making Comics
Lynda Barry
11/1/2019. Drawn & Quarterly. 22.95. 9781770463691
Making Comics is Barry sharing her comics-making exercises to help new comic artists overcome artist blocks and spark their creativity.

Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
Damian Duffy, John Jennings
1/28/2020. Abrams Books. 24.99. 9781419731334
With the world in environmental disarray, economically, and socially, there is a chance for a brighter future and Lauren Olamina is involved in this possibility.

Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Hernandez Walta
12/1/2019. TKO Studios. 19.99. 9781732748590
After a devastating attack, a space shuttle is left with only children to survive alone. The ship’s AI, VALARIE, is their only hope at making it through to safety.

Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1
James Tynion IV, Werther Dell'Edera
5/1/2020. BOOM! Studios. 14.99. 9781684155583
Children are going missing, and those who come back bringing horror stories with them. A stranger believes there the only ones who can help solve the horrible mystery that is causing children to go missing.

2020 Best Graphic Novels for Adults - Official List


Bury the Lede
Gabby Dunn, Claire Roe, Miquel Muerto
10/1/2019. Boom! Studios. 19.99. 9781684154272
When a young reporter, Madison Jackson, takes an internship at the Boston Lede, she didn't expect to get involved in a murder case. Will it be Madison's opportunity to become a world-famous reporter or has she bitten off more than she can chew?

The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya
Reimena Yee
3/1/2020. Unbound. 30.00. 9781783525775
Set in seventeenth-century Istanbul, The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya tells the story of Zeynel, an ordinary man. Exploring the intricacies of his everyday life, his eventual death, and the aftermath of his transformation into a vampire.

Chasing Echoes
Dan Goldman, George Schall
11/1/2019. Humanoids. 19.95. 9781643375373.
Getting back to her family after years of being a black sheep should be heartwarming experience for Malka. Thing change when she joins the family on a trip to her grandfather's pre-Holocaust home.

The Cloven
Garth Stein, Matthew Southworth
7/1/2020. Fantagraphics. 24.99. 9781683963103
James Tucker is a half-man, half-goat, who through turmoil of being homeless and involved in a secluded goat sacrifice in the wood by elites, continues to try to find a place of comfort.

Cosmoknights (Book One)
Hannah Templer
10/1/2019. IDW. 19.99. 9781603094542
In a universe where princesses are "won" during jousts on various planets, the protagonist Pan joins up with resistors who are determined to change the system.

Tom Taylor
11/1/2019. DC. 29.99. 9781401294403
The Anti-Life Equation is causing victims to lose their minds and attack those around them. It is up to the Earth's greatest heroes to stop the Equation, but if they lose, humanity will be lost.

Dead Eyes, Vol. 1.
Gerry Duggan, John McCrea
3/1/2020. Image Comics. 14.99. 9781534315655
Martin Dobbs, or Dead Eyes, left his retirement life to save his wife after she was kidnapped. Along the way he is hoping he can get more cash for him and his wife for once they return home safely. Will he be able to save his wife? Will be he able to get more cash to enjoy retirement a bit more upon return?

Ghost Tree
Bobby Curnow, Simon Gane, Ian Herring
12/1/2019 IDW. 15.99. 9781684055999
After his grandfather passed away, Brandt returns home. He visits the woods adjacent to his grandmother's house and find an unusual presence there in need of help. Does Brandt stay and help, or is inserting himself where he doesn't belong?

The Hard Tomorrow
Eleanor Davis
10/1/2019. Drawn & Quarterly. 24.95. 9781770463738
Hannah is a home-health worker and her husband, Johnny, is at home working on building them a house before the winter chill sets in. They go through a series of events, from protests to a death of a friend, but at the end of it all, they get the biggest surprise of them all.

The House
Paco Roca, Susan Rosenberg
11/1/2019. Fantagraphics. 19.99. 9781683962632
Three siblings return to their family’s vacation home after their father’s death. They each bring their families with intentions of selling the house. While preparing the house, they reminisce and dig up the past.

Killadelphia Volume 1: Sins of the Father
Rodney Barnes
7/14/2020. Image Comics. 9.99. 9781534315693
A small town cop comes home to bury his father, he unravels a dark secret that makes him question the world around him, even the possibility of vampires.

The Magicians: The New Class
Lilah Sturges, Lev Grossman, Pius Bak
8/20/2020. BOOM! Studios. 19.99. 9781684155651
A historic new group of students to enroll for the first ever class of magicians and practitioners of magic. This rule-breaking class is not accepted by everyone and during this rivalry a new danger emerges.

Yeong-shin Ma
8/1/2020. Drawn & Quarterly. 29.95. 9781770464001
Fed up with their life, Lee Soyeon, Myeong-ok, and Yeonjeong, all mom's in their late 50's, decide that it is time for change for them. Through a series night outing, experimenting and even getting into fights, do they end up finding themselves, or do they miss their past lives?

Omni Vol 1: The Doctor Is In
Devin Grayson, Alitha E. Martinez
4/1/2020. Humanoids. 14.99. 9781643376196
A gifted doctor is faced with some tough questions, and while she is equipped for the challenge, she must face her biggest fear – herself.

Once & Future, Vol. 1
Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, Tamra Bonvillain
3/1/2020. Boom! Studios. 16.9. 9781684154913
A villainous power is back from the dead and Bridgette McGuire and her grandson Duncan must work together to save the future.

Paul Is Dead
P. Baron, Ernesto Carbonetti
6/1/2020. Image Comics. 16.99. 9781534316294
The Paul McCartney conspiracy theories are true, and Paul died in a car crash ending the Beatles. John, George, and Ringo begin to understand the events leading up to Paul McCartney's death.

Ed Brubaker, Jacob Phillips
8/1/2020. Image Comics. 16.99. 9781534316447
Max Winters finds himself inside a thriller. A pulp fiction writer, he must figure out if he will live it out as own books or will it be like nothing he has ever experienced.

SFSX (Safe Sex) Volume 1: Protection
Tina Horn
7/1/2020. Image Comics. 9.99. 9781534315853
The future government of America polices sexuality and to combat this a group of queers host a safe space call 'Dirty Minds'. Some of their friend have been jailed due to their sexuality, and now they are on a mission to save them.

Simon Says
Andre Frattino
9/1/2019. Image Comics. 16.99. 9781534313194
In this action-adventure, an artist who is forced to work for Nazis during the Holocaust ends up using the opportunity to hunt down those who killed his family and his people.

Solutions and Other Problems
Allie Brosh
9/1/2020. Gallery Books. 30.00. 9781982156947
Exploring entertaining stories from childhood, Allie Brosh relives the highs and lows of childhood and reflects on growing up in modern times.

John Allison, Jim Campbell, Sarah Stern
6/1/2020. Dark Horse Comics. 19.99. 9781506713496
Coming from differing perspectives, two women must pull together to navigate through wars, evil, and other forces unfamiliar to them.

Strange Planet
Nathan W. Pyle
11/1/2019. Morrow Gift. 14.99. 9780062970701
Strange Planet is an adorable and funny comic strip that delivers witty jokes and commentary on every day, alien experiences.

Umma's Table
Yeon-sik Hong
4/1/2020. Drawn & Quarterly. 29.95. 9781770463868
Dealing with the divide of his growing happy family and his parents struggle back in the city, Madang struggles through balancing all and finding a way to find peace.

Undiscovered Country, Volume 1
Charles Soule, Scott Snyder
7/1/2020. Image Comics. 9.99. 9781534315990
A journey by two small expeditions struggle to survive in a lost land that was once the United States of America.


Drawing Power: Women's Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival
Diane Noomin
9/1/2019. Abrams Books. 29.99 9781419736193
Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival is a collection of more than 60 female cartoonists that express their stories and feelings of sexual violence and harassment.

Everything is Beautiful and I'm Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection
Yao Xiao
3/1/2020. Andrews McMeel Publishing. 14.99.9781524852450
Exploring concepts of belonging mentally and geographically, the creator's life as a queer China-born immigrant in the US has brought her trial and triumph through self-exploration.

Guantanamo Voices: An Anthology: True Accounts from the World's Most Infamous Prison
Sarah Mirk
9/1/2020. Harry N. Abrams. 24.99. 9781419746901
Guantánamo Bay is a prison for criminals and terrorists. By telling the stories of ten people whose lives have been shaped and affected by the prison, Sarah Mirk immerses you in the how Guantánamo Bay really is.

I Know What I Am: The Life and Times of Artemisia Gentileschi
Gina Siciliano
9/1/2019. Fantagraphics. 29.99 9781683962113
After fending off sexual advances, Artemisia Gentileschi uses her art to explore this anguish. Sharing her sexual harassment experience, in addition her artistic skills, makes her one of the greatest painters of 17th century Rome.

Kusama: The Graphic Novel
Elisa Macellari
9/1/2020. Laurence King Publishing. 19.99. 9781786277169
Follow her incredible journey in this vivid graphic biography which details her bold departure from Japan as a young artist, her embrace of the buzzing New York art scene in the 1960s, and her eventual return home and rise to twenty-first-century super-fame.

La Voz De M.A.Y.O: Tata Rambo
Henry Barajas, J. Gonzo
11/1/2019. Image Comics. 16.99. 9781534313637
Ramon Jaurigue co-founded the Mexican, American, Yaqui, and Others (M.A.Y.O.) organization, which helped improve living and working conditions for members of the Pascua Yaqui tribe. This story shares what it took to make this happen and the impact it has had.

Little Josephine: Memory in Pieces
Valérie Villieu, Raphaël Sarfati
4/1/2020. Humanoids. 17.99. 9781643375342
The firsthand account of a friendship between a visiting nurse and her special patient, Josephine. This heart-touching story shares humor, insight to life, and dealing with a debilitating disease.

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist
Andrew Tomine
7/1/2020. Drawn & Quarterly. 29.95. 9781770463950
Andrew Tomine mines his conflicted relationship with comics and comics culture, and people at large, in this animated perspective on modern life and how we choose to live it.

Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration
Bryan Caplan, Zach Weinersmith
10/1/2019. First Second . 19.99. 9781250316967
Bryan Caplan argues that opening all borders could eliminate absolute poverty worldwide and usher in a booming worldwide economy therefore greatly benefiting humanity.

Palimpsest: Documents From a Korean Adoption
Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom
11/1/2019. Drawn & Quarterly. 24.95. 9781770463301
Thousands of South Korean children were adopted around the world in the 1970s and 1980s. Lisa Wool-Rim Sjöblom, who was adopted when she was two years old, struggled to fit into the homogenous Swedish culture and was continually told to suppress the innate desire to know her origins.

Paying the Land
Joe Sacco
7/1/2020. Metropolitan Books. 29.99. 9781627799034
In Paying the Land, Joe Sacco travels the frozen North to reveal a people in conflict over the costs and benefits of development. Sacco recounts the shattering impact of several public program aimed to change and reshape indigenous culture.

Bishakh Som
8/1/2020. Street Noise Books. 18.99. 9781951491031
The meticulous artwork of transgender artist Bishakh Som explores the concept of identity by inviting the reader to view the author moving through life as she would have us see her, that is, as she sees herself.

Tiananmen 1989: our Shattered Hopes
Lun Zhang, Adrien Gombeaud, Ameziane
6/1/2020. IDW Publishing. 19.99. 9781684056996
Lun Zhang was just a young sociology teacher then, in charge of management and safety service for the protests. Describing how the hope of a generation was shattered when authorities opened fire on protestors and bystanders, Tiananmen 1989 shows the way in which contemporary China shaped itself.

We Served the People: My Mother's Stories
Emei Burell
4/1/2020. Archaia. 18.48. 9781684155040
In an inspiring tale, Emei Burrell shares her mother’s true experience during the Down to the Countryside Movement of the early 1970s, which sought to increase agricultural outreach and spur social and ideological change amongst youth.

Year of the Rabbit
Tian Veasna
1/1/2020. Drawn & Quarterly. 29.95. 9781770463769
Year of the Rabbit tells the true story of one family’s desperate struggle to survive the murderous reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. This shows the reality of life in the work camps, where Veasna’s family bartered for goods, where children were instructed to spy on their parents, and where reading was proof positive of being a class traitor.