Great Graphic Novels 2012

The list of 56 titles, drawn from 78 official nominations, is presented annually at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. The books, recommended for those ages 12-18, meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens.

In addition, the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee created a Top Ten list of titles that exemplify the quality and range of graphic novels appropriate for teen audiences, denoted by an asterisk.

“This year’s list reflects the wide range of graphic novels available for teens,” said Chair Joy Kim. “From kung-fu epics to ghost stories to memoirs, this year’s selected titles represent many genres, styles, and sequential art traditions. We hope librarians, teens, and graphic novel aficionados will find this to be a valuable resource.”

Members of the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee are Joy Kim, chair, Pierce County Library System, Tacoma, Wash.; Tessa Barber, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (Pa.); Chris Durr, Kirkwood (Mo.) Public Library; Summer Hayes, King County Library System, Tukwila, Wash.; Jesse Karp, Little Red School House/Elizabeth Irwin High School, New York.; Candice Mack, Los Angeles Public Library; Matthew Moffett, Fairfax (Va.) County Public Library; Rachael Myers, Horace Mann School, Bronx, N.Y.; Jessica Lorentz Smith, Bend (Ore.) Senior High School; Steve Teeri, Detroit Public Library; Dorcas Wong, San Francisco Public Library; Katy Hepner, administrative assistant, St. Tammany Parish Library, Mandeville, La.; and Ian Chipman, Booklist consultant, Chicago.


Ebine, Kazuki. Gandhi: A Manga Biography. 2010, illus., Penguin, paper, $15.00, 978-0143120247.

A brief picture of one of the most well-known names in history.

Geary, Rick. The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti: A Treasury of XXth Century Murder. 2011, illus., NBM/Comicslit, $15.99, 978-1561636051.

Sacco and Vanzetti: thieves and murderers or anarchist scapegoats?

* Gladstone, Brooke, Josh Neufeld, and others. The Influencing Machine: Brooke Gladstone on the Media. 2011, illus., W. W. Norton and Company, $23.95, 978-0393077797.

How is the media telling you what to think?

Glidden, Sarah. How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less. 2010, illus., DC Comics/Vertigo, $24.99, 978-1401222338.

A young woman questions her heritage and politics during her birthright tour of Israel.

Hosler, Jay, Kevin Cannon, and others. Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth. 2011, illus., Farrar, Straus, and Giroux/Hill and Wang, $18.95, 978-0809094769.

Tour the last 4.5 billion years on earth—with an alien.

O’Connor, George. Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory: Olympians V. 3. 2011, illus., First Second/Neal Porter, $16.99, 978-1596437241.

The queen of the Gods has her own stories to tell.

Ottaviani, Jim, Leland Myrick, and others. Feynman. 2011, illus., First Second, $29.99, 978-1596432598.

The life and times of the world's smartest man.

Phelan, Matt. Around the World. 2011, illus., Candlewick Press, $24.99, 978-0763636197.

Journey around the world with three nineteenth-century travelers.

Santiago, Wilfred. 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente. 2011, illus., Fantagraphics Books, $22.99, 978-1560978923.

The battles of the Puerto Rican baseball pioneer on and off the field.

Sowa, Marzena and Sylvain Savoia. Marzi: A Memoir. Trans. Anjali Singh, 2011, illus., DC Comics/Vertigo, paper, $17.99, 978-1401229597.

A young girl growing up in Communist Poland.


* Amir and Khalil. Zahra’s Paradise. 2011, illus., First Second, $19.99, 978-1596436428.

Violent street protests. A missing brother. How far will an Iranian blogger go to uncover the truth?

Austen, Jane, Nancy Butler, and others. Sense and Sensibility. 2010, illus., Marvel, $19.99, 978-0785148197.

Elinor and Marianne find romance and heartbreak in Regency England.                          

* Bendis, Brian Michael and Alex Maleev. Scarlet. 2011, illus., Marvel/Icon Comics, $24.99, 978-0785152514.

When her life is destroyed by police corruption, Scarlet seeks bloody revenge.

Bendis, Brian Michael and Michael Avon Oeming. Takio. 2011, illus., Marvel/Icon, $9.95, 978-0785153269.

Taki and her little sister use their kung fu telekinesis to become superheroes.

* Brosgol, Vera. Anya’s Ghost. 2011, illus., First Second, $19.99, 978-1596437135.

When Anya befriends a ghost, her life turns around—at least for a while.

Brubaker, Jason. reMIND V. 1. 2011, illus., Coffee Table Comics, $24.95, 978-0983114901.

Sonja discovers that there may be some truth to her town’s favorite urban legend, the Lizard Man.

Bruchac, Joseph and Will Davis. Dawn Land. 2010, illus., First Second, paper, $19.99, 978-1596431430.

Thousands of years ago, Young Hunter defends humanity against the Stone Giants.

Bunn, Cullen and Brian Hurtt. Cold Dead Fingers: The Sixth Gun V. 1. 2011, illus., Oni Press, paper, $19.99, 978-1934964606.

In the Old West, an enchanted six-shooter pits Becky against dark forces.

Card, Orson Scott, Emily Janice Card, and others. Laddertop V. 1. 2011, illus., Tor/Seven Seas, paper, $10.99, 978-0765324603.

Welcome to Laddertop Academy, the space school where gifted students train for the most important jobs in the galaxy.

Dawson, Mike. Troop 142. 2011, illus., Secret Acres, paper, $20.00, 978-0979960994.

Are you prepared for a week-long camping trip with Boy Scout Troop 142?

DeFillippis, Nunzio, Christina Weir, and others. Amazing Agent Jennifer V. 1. 2011, illus., Seven Seas, paper, $10.99, 978-1934876855.

Why take over the family business when you can train to become a secret agent?

Delgado, Ricardo. Age of Reptiles Omnibus V. 1. 2011, illus., Dark Horse, paper, $24.99, 978-1595826831.

Revenge, family, murder, and survival—from a dinosaur’s perspective.

Fawkes, Ray. One Soul. 2011, illus., Oni Press, $24.99, 978-1934964668.

Eighteen births, eighteen lives, eighteen deaths.

Gage, Christos, Mike McKone, and others. Permanent Record: Avengers Academy V. 1. 2011, illus., Marvel, $24.99, 978-0785144946.
A school for the next generation of heroes or rehab for a group of damaged super teens?

Gulledge, Laura Lee. Page by Paige. 2011, illus., Abrams/Amulet Books, $18.95, 978-0810997219.

When everything is new and strange, a sketchbook can be your best friend.

Hastings, Christopher, Benito Cereno, and others. The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: Night Powers. 2011, illus., Dark Horse, paper, $19.99, 978-1595827098.

He heals with one hand, kills with the other.

Kato, Kazue. Blue Exorcist V. 1. Trans. John Werry, 2011, illus., VIZ Media/Shonen Jump Advanced, paper, $9.99, 978-1421540320.

The son of Satan decides to kick some demon ass.

* Langridge, Roger, Chris Samnee, and others.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger V. 1. 2010, illus., Marvel, paper, $14.99, 978-0785141211.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger V. 2. 2011, illus., Marvel, paper, $14.99. 978-0785141228.

Is the mysterious man Jane finds in her museum really the God of Thunder?

Lee, Tony and Sam Hart. Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur. 2011, illus., Candlewick Press, $21.99, 978-0763646448.

Dark magic, a vengeful sorceress, shadowy prophesies, and malicious fairies—King Arthur like you've never seen.

Lyga, Barry and Colleen Doran. Mangaman. 2011, illus., Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $19.99, 978-0547423159.

East meets West when Ryoko falls through The Rip to enter Marissa’s American high school.

* McLeod, Kagan. Infinite Kung Fu. 2011, illus., Top Shelf, $24.95, 978-1891830839.

A zombie, apocalyptic, dystopian, blaxploitation, kung-fu epic.

Mignola, Mike, Christopher Golden, and others. Baltimore: The Plague Ships. 2011, illus., Dark Horse, $24.99, 978-1595826732.

An injured vet becomes the scourge of World War I’s vampire army.

* Mori, Kaoru. A Bride’s Story V. 1. Trans. William Flanagan, 2011, illus., Yen Press, $16.99, 978-0316180993.

The nineteenth-century Silk Road sets the stage for the arranged marriage between a huntress and a boy.

Mucha, Corinne. Freshman: Tales of 9th Grade Obsessions, Revelations, and Other Nonsense. 2011, illus., Zest Books, paper, $12.99, 978-0981973364.

For Annie and her friends, high school may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

* Nicolle, Malachai and Ethan Nicolle. Axe Cop V. 1. 2011, illus., Dark Horse, paper, $14.99, 978-1595826817.

A cop with an axe and his dinosaur sidekick, and it just gets weirder from there.

Oleksyk, Sarah. Ivy. 2011, illus., Oni Press, $19.99, 978-1934964590.

For an aspiring teen painter, running away is not the escape she thought it would be.

Raiku, Makoto. Animal Land V. 1. Trans. Stephen Paul, 2011, illus., Kodansha Comics, paper, $10.99, 978-1935429135.

A young tanuki discovers a human infant who may change the world.

* Ralph, Brian. Daybreak. 2011, illus., Drawn and Quarterly, $21.95, 978-1770460553.

You find yourself in a desolate landscape. Follow the one-armed man. You’re safe, at least for now.

Reed, M. K. and Jonathan Hill. Americus. 2011, illus., First Second, $18.99, 978-1596437685.

With his favorite fantasy series under attack, Neal finds his voice.

Snyder, Scott, Jock, and others. Batman: The Black Mirror. 2011, illus., DC Comics, $29.99, 978-1401232061.

Gotham City brings its new Batman and Commissioner Gordon face-to-face with the stuff of nightmares.

Soule, Charles, Renzo Podesta, and others. 27: First Set. 2011, illus., Image Comics/Shadowline, paper, $16.99, 978-1607063827.

Guitarist Garland seeks out dark magic to reclaim his rock-star status.

Spencer, Nick and Joe Eisma. Morning Glories V. 1. 2011, illus, Image Comics/Shadowline, paper, $9.99, 978-1607063070.

Six talented but troubled teens find themselves trapped at the prestigious Morning Glory Academy.

Suzuki, Julietta.

Kamisama Kiss V. 1. Trans. Tomo Kimura, 2010, illus., VIZ Media/Shojo Beat, paper, $9.99, 978-1421536385.

Kamisama Kiss V. 2. Trans. Tomo Kimura, 2011, illus., VIZ Media/Shojo Beat, paper, $9.99, 978-1421536392.

How will homeless teen Nanami deal with her new responsibilities as a local deity?

* Shimura, Takako. Wandering Son V. 1. Trans. Matt Thorn, 2011, illus., Fantagraphics Books, $19.99, 978-1606994160.

A gentle coming-of-age story about a boy who wants to be a girl and a girl who wants to be a boy.

TenNapel, Doug. Bad Island. 2011, illus., Scholastic/Graphix, paper, $10.99, 978-0545314800.

Shipwreck is only the beginning of this family vacation from hell.

Thomas, Brandon and Lee Ferguson. The Many Adventures of Miranda Mercury V. 1: Time Runs Out. 2011, illus., Archaia, $24.95, 978-1936393053.

Nothing is impossible for the galaxy’s greatest adventurer—even if she only has one year left to live.

Varon, Sara. Bake Sale. 2011, illus., First Second, paper, $19.99, 978-1596437401.

Whip up some fun in the kitchen with Cupcake and his best friend Eggplant.

Waid, Mark, Mirco Pierfederici, and others. Ruse: The Victorian Guide to Murder. 2011, illus., Marvel/Crossgen, paper, $14.99, 978-0785155867.

What's more dangerous than being the smartest detective in the world? Working for him.

Wood, Brian and Ryan Kelly. The New York Five. 2011, illus., DC Comics/Vertigo, paper, $14.99, 978-1401232917.

College roommates learn their most important lessons outside the classroom.

Yang, Gene and Thien Pham. Level Up. 2011, illus., First Second, $19.99, 978-1596437142.

Death match! Med school versus video games!

Yolen, Jane and Rebecca Guay. The Last Dragon. 2011, illus., Dark Horse, $29.99, 978-1595827982.

A lovely young maiden, a would-be hero, and a fire-breathing dragon.

Yukino, Sai and Kairi Yura.

The Story of Saiunkoku V. 1. Trans. Su Mon Han, 2010, illus., VIZ Media/Shojo Beat, paper, $9.99, 978-1421538341.

The Story of Saiunkoku V. 2. Trans. Su Mon Han, 2011, illus., VIZ Media/Shojo Beat, paper, $9.99, 978-1421538358

An educated young noblewoman desperate for money meets a childish emperor. How will they rule the country together?

Zubkavich, Jim, Edwin Huang, and others. 1000 Opas and a Dead Body: Skullkickers V. 1. 2011, illus., Image Comics, paper, $9.99, 978-1607063667.

What do you do after a hard day of fighting werewolves, drunken louts, an evil mage, and the undead? You get paid, of course!