2021 Best Graphic Novels for Adults Reading List

 

The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table is thrilled to announce the final 2021 Best Graphic Novels for Adults Reading List. This year's reading list highlights the best graphic novels for adults published in late 2020 and through 2021, 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.

Best Graphic Novels for Adults 2021 Selection Committee

  • Jessica Jenner, Chair - Student, University of Arizona School of Library Science
  • Rachel Bild - Young Adult Librarian, Skokie Public Library
  • Shelley E. Carr - Resource Sharing Coordinator, University of San Francisco
  • Kristina Feeney - Student, Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies
  • Chloe Horning - Librarian, Bellevue College Library
  • Kyla Hunt - Librarian, Austin, TX
  • Leah Ly - Retailer, Manager, Fantom Comics
  • Tashia Miller - Reference Librarian, Washtenaw Community College
  • Jameson N. Rohrer - Librarian - Sacramento Public Library
  • Stephanie Smith - Adult and YA Librarian, East Hampton Public Library
  • Edward Whatley - Instruction & Research Services Librarian, Georgia College & State University Library

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.

2021 Best Graphic Novels for Adults - Top Ten

Ballad for Sophie. Written by Filipe Melo. Art by Juan Cavia. Color by Juan Cavia, Sandro Pacucci, and Santiago Villa. Background art by Juan Cruz Rodriguez. Letters by Gabriela Soares. 2021. Top Shelf Productions, $24.99 (9781603094986).
Following the life of a pianist turned showman, this fictional biography explores the intricacies of relationships, art, and life.

Department of Truth, Volume 1: The End of the World. Written by James Tynion IV. Art by Martin Simmonds. Letters by Aditya Bidikar. Design by Dylan Todd. Edited by Steve Foxe. 2020. Image Comics, $9.99 (9781534318335).
Cole Turner is recruited to work for the Department of Truth, which is responsible for making sure that conspiracy theories do not become the truth. As he gets deeper into the Department, he realizes he may have gotten caught up in a much larger conspiracy than he ever could have imagined.

Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 1. Adapted by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. Art by Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín. 2020. Abrams Comic Arts, $24.99 (9781419731501).
Two political houses fight for control of the planet Arrakis. Paul, who has a messiah complex, and the desert people of the planet are at odds, and Paul and the opposing parties try to eliminate one another at every turn. There is constant espionage. Trust no one. A fantastic first volume adaptation of Dune.

Far Sector. Written by N.K. Jemisin. Art by Jamal Campbell. Letters by Deron Bennett. 2021. DC Comics, $29.99 (9781779512055).
For the past six months, newly chosen Green Lantern Sojourner Jo Mullein has been protecting the City Enduring, a massive metropolis of 20 billion people. The city has maintained peace for over 500 years by stripping its citizens of their ability to feel. As a result, violent crime is virtually unheard of, and murder is nonexistent.

The Good Asian, Volume 1. Written by Pornsak Pichetshote. Art by Alexandre Tefenkgi. Color by Lee Loughridge. Letters and design by Jeff Powell. Cover art by Dave Johnson. Edited by Will Dennis. 2021. Image Comics, $14.99 (9781534320949).
Chinatown noir starring the first generation of Americans to come of age under an immigration ban, the Chinese, rampant murders, abusive police, and a world that seemingly never changes.

Invisible Differences. Written by Julie Dachez. Art by Mademoiselle Caroline. 2020. Oni Press, $19.99 (9781620107669).
Marguerite is having a difficult time with her work life, her personal life, and, well, life in general, and she does not understand why others view her differently. She finally investigates the root of her uncomfortability. After a journey of tough conversations with her loved ones, doctors, and the internet, she discovers that she has Asperger’s.  Her life has profoundly changed – for the better.

My Alcoholic Escape from Reality. Written by Nagata Kabi.  Art by Nagata Kabi. Translated by Jocelyne Allen. Adapted by Lianne Sentar. 2021. Seven Seas, $14.99 (9781645059998).
In the midst of the success of her first graphic memoir, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, Nagata Kabi is struggling with her mental health. She takes up drinking heavily to escape, but when she is hospitalized for severe stomach pains and is diagnosed with pancreatitis, she must learn to survive without it.

Norse Mythology, Volume 1. Written by Neil Gaiman. Art by P. Craig Russell, Mike Mignola, Jerry Ordway, Piotr Kowalski, David Rubín, Jill Thompson, and Lovern Kindzierksi. Letters by Galen Showman. 2021. Dark Horse, $29.99 (9781506718743).
A series of Norse Myths, including those that feature Loki, Thor, Freya, and others, are told in this volume. Each story is illustrated by a different comic artist including Mike Mignola and Jerry Ordway.

Run: Book One. Written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Art by Nate Powell and L. Fury. 2021. Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (9781419730696).
To John Lewis, the civil rights movement came to an end with the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. It was after helping organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer and the ensuing delegate challenge at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.  All too often, the depiction of history ends with a great victory.

Stone Fruit. Written by Lee Lai. Art by Lee Lai. 2021. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (9781683964261).
Ray and Bron isolate from each other and attempt to repair their broken family ties – Ray with her single-mother sister and Bron with her teenage sister who does not fully grasp the complexities of gender identity. Taking a leap of faith, each opens up and learns they have more in common with their siblings than they ever knew.

 

2021 Best Graphic Novels for Adults - Official List

Fiction

After the Rain. Written by Nnedi Okorafor. Art by David Brame. Adapted by John Jennings. Letters by Damian Duffy. 2021. Abrams Books, $22.99 (9781419743559).
An adaptation of a short story by Nnedi Okorafor, this story explains the aftermath of a violent storm and the effect on the community.

Ballad for Sophie. Written by Filipe Melo. Art by Juan Cavia. Color by Juan Cavia, Sandro Pacucci, and Santiago Villa. Background art by Juan Cruz Rodriguez. Letters by Gabriela Soares. 2021. Top Shelf Productions, $24.99 (9781603094986).
Following the life of a pianist turned showman, this fictional biography explores the intricacies of relationships, art, and life.

Blue in Green. Written by Ram V. Art by Anand Rk and John Pearson. 2020. Image Comics, $17.99 (9781534317130).  
A jazz musician goes home following the death of his mother and discovers secrets which threaten to devour him even as they prompt him to pursue greatness.

Bubble. Written by Jordan Morris and Sarah Morgan. Art by Tony Cliff and Natalie Riess. 2021. First Second, $19.99 (9781250245564).
A delivery guy, Mitch, is bitten by an Imp, an alien monstrosity that has invaded the city of Fairhaven, in Morgan’s apartment. He gains superpowers, and they decide to team up on Huntr, a gig-based job app through which they hunt and kill Imps for money.

Chasin’ the Bird. Written by Dave Chisholm. Art by Dave Chisholm and Peter Markowski. 2020. Z2 Comics, $24.99 (9781940878386).
Several different people shine a light on the legend of Charlie Parker’s time in California. This is part biography, part historical fiction, all love letter to jazz.

Cyclopedia Exotica. Written by Aminder Dhaliwal. Art by Aminder Dhaliwal. Color by Nikolas Ilic. 2021. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 (9781770464377).
In a world where cyclops are another group of human life, Cyclopedia Exotica circulates several stories of cyclops living in today’s modern world. Each character seeks the same things as the two-eyed community–finding love, navigating life and careers, and cultivating their communities as humans.

The Day the Klan Came to Town. Written by Bill Campbell.  Art by Bizhan Khodabendeh. 2021. PM Press, $15.95 (9781629638720).
A fictionalized retelling of the “Karnegie Day” riot in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, when the KKK decided to storm a town of “undesirables.” Told from the point of view of an Italian immigrant, it focuses on the town’s resistance and how they drove the KKK out of their land.

The Delicacy. Written by James Albon. Art by James Albon. 2021. Top Shelf Productions, $24.99 ( 9781603094924).
Two brothers move from their secluded island to London to start a farm-to-table restaurant. After debuting a new dish featuring a mysterious mushroom they found on the farm, business really starts to boom, and Tulip gets caught up in the rush of the business - dangerously so.

Department of Truth, Volume 1: The End of the World. Written by James Tynion IV. Art by Martin Simmonds. Letters by Aditya Bidikar. Design by Dylan Todd. Edited by Steve Foxe. 2020. Image Comics, $9.99 (9781534318335).
Cole Turner is recruited to work for the Department of Truth, which is responsible for making sure that conspiracy theories do not become the truth. As he gets deeper into the Department, he realizes he may have gotten caught up in a much larger conspiracy than he ever could have imagined.

Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 1. Adapted by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. Art by Raúl Allén and Patricia Martín. 2020. Abrams Comic Arts, $24.99 (9781419731501).
Two political houses fight for control of the planet Arrakis. Paul, who has a messiah complex, and the desert people of the planet are at odds, and Paul and the opposing parties try to eliminate one another at every turn. There is constant espionage. Trust no one. A fantastic first volume adaptation of Dune.

Fangs. Written by Sarah Andersen. Art by Sarah Andersen. 2020. Andrews McMeel Publishing, $14.99 (9781524860677).
A slice-of-life tale of everyday love, from the perspective of a 300-year-old vampire who has never found love before.

Far Sector. Written by N.K. Jemisin. Art by Jamal Campbell. Letters by Deron Bennett. 2021. DC Comics, $29.99 (9781779512055).
For the past six months, newly chosen Green Lantern Sojourner Jo Mullein has been protecting the City Enduring, a massive metropolis of 20 billion people. The city has maintained peace for over 500 years by stripping its citizens of their ability to feel. As a result, violent crime is virtually unheard of, and murder is nonexistent.

Fictional Father. Written by Joe Ollmann. Art by Joe Ollmann. 2021. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 (9781770464636).
Caleb, an obscure painter, grew up with a negligent father and an aloof mother. Ironically, Caleb’s father was the creator of a comic strip called “Sonny Side Up.” The strip depicted a father and son whose loving relationship was everything Caleb’s relationship with his father was not. When Caleb’s father dies, Caleb makes the fateful decision to take over the strip.

The Good Asian, Volume 1. Written by Pornsak Pichetshote. Art by Alexandre Tefenkgi. Color by Lee Loughridge. Letters and design by Jeff Powell. Cover art by Dave Johnson. Edited by Will Dennis. 2021. Image Comics, $14.99 (9781534320949).
Chinatown noir starring the first generation of Americans to come of age under an immigration ban, the Chinese, rampant murders, abusive police, and a world that seemingly never changes.

In. Written by Will McPhail. Art by Will McPhail. 2021. Houghton Mifflin, $28.00 (9780358345541).
Nick is an illustrator who mixes his own projects with ads. He begins to find authentic human connections and is let into the worlds of the people he meets. Nick’s journey occurs alongside the beginnings of a relationship with Wren, a spirited oncologist at a nearby hospital.

The Incredible Nellie Bly. Written by Luciana Cimino. Art by Sergio Algozzino. 2021. Abrams, $24.99 (9781419750175).
Nellie describes her trip around the world in 72 days, her interview with Belva Lockwood, the first female presidential candidate, and much more. The graphic novel paints a beautiful portrait of a courageous woman and all the good she created while defying societal expectations.

No One Else. Written by R. Kikuo Johnson. Art by R. Kikuo Johnson. 2021. Fantagraphics, $16.99 (9781683964797).
Charlene is a single mother who is caring for her infirm father and young son. When her father passes away, Charlene decides to quit her job as a nurse and enroll in medical school. While her relationship with her brother Robbie is often strained, Robbbie provides a bit of stability and needed attention for Charlene’s son.

Plunge. Written by Joe Hill. Art by Stuart Immonen. 2020. DC Comics, $24.99 (9781779506887).
This story takes inspiration from The Thing and Alien movies and also has a touch of the spiral-obsessed Uzumaki manga series. An Arctic research ship that went missing 40 years earlier has mysteriously sent out a new signal. A salvage vessel discovers the assumed-dead crew, and chaos ensues!

Rebecca and Lucie in the Case of the Missing Neighbor. Written by Pascal Girard. Art by Pascal Girard. Translated by Aleshia Jensen. 2021. Drawn & Quarterly, $21.95 (9781770464643).
Rebecca is a new mom, nearing the end of her maternity leave. When she witnesses something potentially sinister in her neighborhood that may be connected to the disappearance of a local man, she decides to investigate…with baby Lucie in tow. This pair of unlikely and unqualified detectives make surprising discoveries due to Rebecca’s boldness and persistence.

Reckless. Written by Ed Brubaker. Art by Sean Phillips and Jacob Phillips. 2020. Image Comics, $24.99 (9781534318519).
Meet Ethan Reckless: Your trouble is his business, for the right price. But when a fugitive from his radical student days reaches out for help, Ethan must face the only thing he fears…his own past.

Remina. Written by Junji Ito. Art by Junji Ito. Translated by Jocelyne Allen. 2020.  VIZ Media, $22.99 (9781974717477).
A mysterious planet is discovered by a scientist, and, to honor its discovery, he names it after his daughter, Remina. When questions about the true nature of planet Remina start to worry the population, the scientist and Remina herself come under scrutiny as fame gives way to fanatical infamy.

Sensor. Written by Junji Ito. Art by Junji Ito. Translated by Jocelyne Allen. 2021. VIZ Media, $19.99 (9781974718900).
A young woman, Kyoko, visits a village at the foot of a volcano that has golden hairlike fibers everywhere, giving the citizens psychic abilities like telepathy and the ability to peer into the expanse of the cosmos. They then were put to death by the shogunate for not denouncing their faith and were tossed into the volcano.

Shadow Life. Written by Hiromi Goto. Art by Ann Xu. 2021. First Second, $24.99 (9781626723566).
Fed up with life in an assisted living home, aging Kumiko mounts a daring escape and succeeds in reclaiming a life lived on her own terms.  But, before long, strange things begin to happen. Is Kumiko’s mind playing tricks, or are there darker supernatural forces at work?

Stone Fruit. Written by Lee Lai. Art by Lee Lai. 2021. Fantagraphics, $24.99 (9781683964261).
Ray and Bron isolate from each other and attempt to repair their broken family ties – Ray with her single-mother sister and Bron with her teenage sister who does not fully grasp the complexities of gender identity. Taking a leap of faith, each opens up and learns they have more in common with their siblings than they ever knew.

Thirsty Mermaids. Written by Kat Leyh. Art by Kat Leyh. 2021. Gallery 13, $29.99 (9781982133573).
Using magic, three mermaids transform into humans so they can party on land, but they soon realize they do not know how to turn back. These fish out of water must adjust to life on land with the help of a friendly bartender while they search for the spell that will return them to their mermaid forms.

This Is How I Disappear. Written by Mirion Malle. Art by Mirion Malle. Translated by Aleshia Jensen and Bronwyn Haslam. 2021. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 (9781770464612).
Follows twenty-something Clara as she navigates her job, publishing a book, relationships, mental health, and just generally existing…to varying degrees of success.

Thor, Volume 1: Devourer King. Written by Donny Cates. Art by Nic Klein. Color by Matthew Wilson. Letters by Vc Joe Sabino. Edited by Wil Moss. 2020. Marvel, $17.99 (9781302920869).
Thor, now King of Asgard, teams up with Galactus to prevent the Black Winter from returning.

Tono Monogatari. Written by Shigeru Mizuki. Art by Shigeru Mizuki. Translated by Zack Davisson. 2021. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 (9781770464360).
The cultural equivalent of Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales, Tono Monogatari is a defining text of Japanese folklore and one of the country’s most important works of literature.

Trese, Volume 1: Murder on Balete Drive. Written by Budjette Tan. Art by Kajo Baldisimo. 2020. Ablaze, $19.99 (9781950912193).
Alexandra Trese works with police and governments to uncover and solve mysterious crimes on the streets of the Philippines while also interacting with the gods and spirits of the mythological realm.

Under-Earth. Written by Chris Gooch. Art by Chris Gooch. 2020. IDW Publishing, $29.99 (9781603094771).
Under-Earth takes place in an underground landfill where the debris from humanity is sifted through by prisoners considered irredeemable by society. The story follows several inmates who struggle to make a better life in a place with no sky and always under the watchful eyes of the prison guards.

The Waiting. Written by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim. Art by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim. Translated by Janet Hong. 2021. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.99 (9781770464575).
This fictional story is inspired by the lives of many Korean families who were separated when the country split into North and South. After seventy years, Gwija, now an elderly woman, still dreams of reconnecting with her lost son. Her daughter, Jina ponders the promise she made to help try and find him.

Wonder Woman: Dead Earth. Written by Daniel Warren Johnson. Art by Daniel Warren Johnson. Color by Mike Spicer. Letters by Rus Wooton. 2020. DC, $29.99 (9781779502612).
Diana wakes up from a centuries-long sleep to discover a post-apocalyptic world. Humans are running out of food and being hunted by monsters, and there is not a hero to be found.

YOU DIED: An Anthology of the Afterlife. Written by and Art by multiple contributors. Edited by Kel McDonald and Andrea Purcell. 2021. Iron Circus Comics, $20.00 (9781945820632).
YOU DIED celebrates the vibrant, cultural expressions of “the great equalizer.” This thrilling, life-affirming, whirlwind of a book is an inspirational volume to be treasured through times of both loss and abundance.

Non-Fiction

Across the Tracks: Remembering the Tulsa Race Massacre and Black Wall Street. Written by Alverne Ball. Art by Stacey Robinson. Contributions by Reynaldo Anderson and Colette Yellow Robe. 2021. Abrams Books, $15.99 (9781419755170).
Celebrates the African American people who built “Black Wall Street” and briefly describes the history of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Ballad of an American: A Graphic Biography of Paul Robeson. Written by Sharon Rudahl. Art by Sharon Rudahl. Edited by Paul Buhle and Lawrence Ware. 2020. University of Rutgers, $19.95 (9781978802070).
Tells the story of Paul Robeson, a singer, actor, scholar, athlete, and activist who achieved global fame. He became a symbol for multicultural and multiracial democracy in the arts and in politics. This beautifully drawn retelling of his life allows the readers to fully grasp his lasting impact.

The Black Panther Party: A Graphic Novel History. Written by David F. Walker. Art by Marcus Kwame Anderson. 2021. Ten Speed Press, $9.99 (9781984857705).
A strong retelling of the origins and history of the Black Panther Party, The Black Panther Party captures dramatic moments, key figures, and the cultural, political, and social conditions that led to the formation of one of the most important political organizations active during the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

The Body Factory: From the First Prosthetics to the Augmented Human. Written by Héloïse Chochois. Art by Héloïse Chochois. Translated by Kendra Boileau. 2021. Graphic Mundi, $18.95 (9780271087061).
Revealing details about famous amputees throughout history, this graphic novel explores various topics of the invention of the tourniquet, phantom limb syndrome, types of prostheses, and trans-humanist technologies.

Catalogue Baby: A Memoir of (In)fertility. Written by Myriam Steinberg. Art by Christache. 2021. Ingram, $24.95 (9781989603642).
A deeply moving tragicomic graphic memoir about a single woman’s efforts to conceive in her forties. A few months after Myriam Steinberg turned forty, she decided she could not wait any longer to become a mother. But Myriam’s journey was far from straightforward. She experienced the soaring highs and devastating lows of becoming pregnant and then losing her babies.

Chartwell Manor. Written by Glenn Head. Art by Glenn Head. 2021. Fantagraphics, $29.99 (9781683964254).
As a young teenager, author Glenn Head was sent to Chartwell Manor, a New Jersey boarding school. There, he and the other students were subjected to emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

Cheeky: A Head-to-Toe Memoir. Written by Ariella Elovic. Art by Ariella Elovic. 2020. Bloomsbury, $26.00 (9781635574524).
The funny, exuberant, inspiring antidote to body shame–a full-color graphic memoir celebrating the imperfections of the author’s female body in all its glory.

Crude: A Memoir. Written by Pablo Fajardo and Sophie Tardy-Joubert. Art by Damien Roudeau. 2021. Graphic Mundi, $19.95 (9780271088068).
A graphic novel exploring Texaco’s involvement in the Amazon, as well as the ensuing legal battles between the oil company, the Ecuadorian government, and the region’s inhabitants, from the perspective of Ecuadorian lawyer and activist Pablo Fajardo.

Factory Summers. Written by Guy Delisle. Art by Guy Delisle. Translated by Helge Dascher and Rob Aspinall. 2021. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95 (9781770464599).
Factory Summers is a memoir of the three summers the author spent working in a paper plant as a teenager. The story follows his struggle with the demanding work and his efforts to fit in with his coworkers.

For Justice: The Serge and Beate Klarsfeld Story. Written by Pascal Bresson. Art by Sylvain Dorange. Translated by Nanette McGuinness. Adapted for the English language by Mark Waid. 2021. Life Drawn, $19.99 (9781643375243).
This work tells the story of Serge and Beate Klarsfeld as they continue to demand justice for victims of the Holocaust. The book does an excellent job exploring Europe’s complicated reckoning of its past.

Invisible Differences. Written by Julie Dachez. Art by Mademoiselle Caroline. 2020. Oni Press, $19.99 (9781620107669).
Marguerite is having a difficult time with her work life, her personal life, and, well, life in general, and she does not understand why others view her differently. She finally investigates the root of her uncomfortability. After a journey of tough conversations with her loved ones, doctors, and the internet, she discovers that she has Asperger’s.  Her life has profoundly changed – for the better.

Kimiko Does Cancer: A Graphic Memoir. Written by Kimiko Tobimatsu. Art by Keet Geniza. 2020. Arsenal Pulp Press, $16.95 (9781551528199).
Told in memoir format, Kimiko Tobimatsu describes her experiences as a young, queer, mixed-race woman with no health problems who is suddenly diagnosed with breast cancer. Kimiko attempts to form a new life for herself while also building new boundaries and learning new ways to communicate with her family and her partner.

Let’s Make Dumplings. Written by Hugh Amano. Art by Sarah Becan. 2021. Ten Speed Press, $19.99 (9781984858757).
Let’s Make Dumplings is a comic book cookbook that provides recipes, history, and context for a variety of Asian dumplings. From making wrappers to sauces, this graphic novel covers every step of the dumpling making process.

My Alcoholic Escape from Reality. Written by Nagata Kabi.  Art by Nagata Kabi. Translated by Jocelyne Allen. Adapted by Lianne Sentar. 2021. Seven Seas, $14.99 (9781645059998).
In the midst of the success of her first graphic memoir, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, Nagata Kabi is struggling with her mental health. She takes up drinking heavily to escape, but when she is hospitalized for severe stomach pains and is diagnosed with pancreatitis, she must learn to survive without it.

My Life in Transition: A Super Late Bloomer Collection. Written by Julie Kaye. Art by Julie Kaye. 2021. Andrews McMeel Publishing, $24.99 (9781524860462).
This collection illustrates six months of Julia’s life as an out trans woman struggling to find support from bio family, realizing the importance of chosen family, experiencing moments of dysphoria and mis-gendering, learning to lean on friends in times of need, and finding peace in the fact that life keeps moving forward.

Norse Mythology, Volume 1. Written by Neil Gaiman. Art by P. Craig Russell, Mike Mignola, Jerry Ordway, Piotr Kowalski, David Rubín, Jill Thompson, and Lovern Kindzierksi. Letters by Galen Showman. 2021. Dark Horse, $29.99 (9781506718743).
A series of Norse Myths, including those that feature Loki, Thor, Freya, and others, are told in this volume. Each story is illustrated by a different comic artist including Mike Mignola and Jerry Ordway.

Papaya Salad. Written by Elisa Macellari. Art by Elisa Macellari. Translated by Carla Roncalli Di Montorio. 2020. Dark Horse, $24.99 (9781506719139).
Papaya Salad tells the story of the author’s childhood visit to Thailand, where she forms a bond with her gentle, literary uncle Sompong. Through Uncle Sompong’s stories, the reader learns the distinctive history of a family shaped by international voyages and the shadows of World War II.

Parenthesis. Written by Élodie Durand. Art by Élodie Durand. 2021. Top Shelf Productions, $9.99 (9781603094818).
This graphic memoir follows the creator through her experiences with seizures and memory loss due to a brain tumor.

Power Born of Dreams: My Story is Palestine. Written by Mohammad Sabaaneh. Art by Mohammad Sabaaneh. 2021. Street Noise, $15.99 (9781951491147).
Hope and solidarity can stretch further and deeper, once strength is drawn from stories, and power is born of dreams. Translating headlines into authentic, lived experiences, these stories come to life in the striking linocut artwork of Mohammad Sabaaneh, helping readers to see Palestinians not as political symbols, but as people.

Quarantine Comix: A Memoir of Life in Lockdown. Written by Rachael Smith. Art by Rachael Smith. 2021. Icon Books, $12.99 (9781785787836).
Rachael Smith’s delightful comics helped people isolated all over the world feel connected. At times laugh-out-loud funny, at others, bittersweet, philosophical, or downright silly, this collection of 200 drawings tells the story of one woman overcoming loneliness and self-doubt with exquisite, wry humor and raw honesty.

Queer as All Get Out: 10 People Who’ve Inspired Me. Written by Shelby Criswell. Art by Shelby Criswell. 2021. Street Noise Books, $18.99 (9781951491079).
Short biography of overlooked people from the queer community. The graphic novel draws from people globally and covers the history of their lives.

Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band. Written by Christian Staebler and Sonia Paoloni. Art by Thibault Balahy. 2020. IDW Publishing, $19.99 (9781684057146).
Redbone tells a vivid story about a neglected chapter of American history. Part research journalism, part biography, the novel does an excellent job highlighting the difficulties the band members faced just trying to identify as themselves while also being a rock band and having to support their families.

Run: Book One. Written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Art by Nate Powell and L. Fury. 2021. Abrams ComicArts, $24.99 (9781419730696).
To John Lewis, the civil rights movement came to an end with the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. It was after helping organize the Mississippi Freedom Summer and the ensuing delegate challenge at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.  All too often, the depiction of history ends with a great victory.

Save It for Later: Promises, Protest, and Parenthood. Written by Nate Powell. Art by Nate Powerll. 2021. Abrams Books, $24.99 (9781419749124).
A series of essays about politics and parenthood, very relevant to today’s adults and the obstacles people face within their communities, families, and society.

The Secret to Superhuman Strength. Written by Alison Bechdel. Art by Alison Bechdel. 2021. Houghton Mifflin, $12.99 (9780544387652).
In this graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel explores her relationship to fitness, self-awareness, and authors of the past.

Seek You. Written by Kristen Radtke. Art by Kristen Radtke. 2021. Pantheon, $30.00 (9781524748067).
Seek You is an intense meditation on loneliness that has only become more relevant in the wake of the pandemic. Radtke details various studies on loneliness that have been performed as well as showing how loneliness has played into American culture over the years. These are interwoven with the author’s own experiences with loneliness.

Wake: The HIdden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts. Written by Rebecca Hall. Illustrated by Hugo Martínez. Letters by Sarula Bao. 2021. Simon & Schuster, $29.99 (9781982115180).
Part memoir, part exploration of history, Rebecca Hall, JD, PhD, delves into the rarely studied and largely ignored role women had in slave revolts.  

Welcome to the New World. Written by Jake Halpern. Art by Michael Sloan. 2020. Metropolitan Books, $21.99 (9781250305596).
Welcome to the New World provides an original view of the immigrant experience. Ibrahim Aldabaan and his family flee the country and head to the U.S., landing on 2016 Election Day. Knowing little English, having few friends and even less money, the family finds a way to make a home.