I was in a reading slump a few years ago and found graphic novels were able to get me through it. Some of my favorites had characters or worlds that reminded me of books I loved, which helped reignite my passion for reading.
Regardless of what you like to read, you’re bound to find a graphic novel that suits your fancy. Why not give one of these a try?
‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’: ‘Rice Boy’ by Evan Dahm
If you loved Diary of a Wimpy Kid growing up (or still love it as an adult), you should read Rice Boy by Evan Dahm. Both have the same fast-paced storytelling and a similar vibe. The art styles are reminiscent of each other, too.
Rice Boy recounts The One Electronic’s adventures with a creature called Rice Boy. We see more of Rice Boy than the character telling the story, but you’ll come to love both of them in different ways. Rice Boy also reminds me of Invader Zim because of his eyes, so that’s extra cute.
‘Divergent’: ‘Lumberjanes’ by Noelle Stevenson
If you still love Divergent after the end of the third book and movie, you should check out Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson. The series is entirely different, but you’ll get that girl power Tris had in the novels. You’re going to love each of these quirky campers, trust me.
Lumberjanes follows a group of five girls at summer camp as they encounter supernatural creatures and events. The series continued for six years before finishing up in late 2020. Even better, the first seven issues have playlists from the characters to listen to while you read the books. There’s even an animated series based on the books in the works at HBO Max.
‘The Hunger Games’: ‘Vei’ by Sara B. Elfgren and Karl Johnsson
Vei is literally described as “Hunger Games meets Norse mythology,” so how could I suggest any other graphic novel? There are only two books from 2019, but honestly, that’s more than enough to see the story play out, just like three novels was enough for The Hunger Games.
Vei was thrown into the sea by a god she was fighting for. After being rescued, Vei returns and is thrust into a game between the gods, the humans, and giants. Having been cast out by the gods, she joins the game, fighting so that humans can rule over Midgard (aka Earth).
‘The Lunar Chronicles’: ‘Fables’ by Bill Willingham
If you enjoy modernized fairytales like The Lunar Chronicles, you’re going to love Fables. It’s basically Once Upon a Time but way better. There are 22 volumes available and two novellas, each of which you’re bound to devour.
Fairytale characters are hidden in plain sight among New Yorkers in an apartment building called Fabletown. My favorite, Volume 2, follows the non-human characters living in New York.
Any Stephen King Novel: ‘Locke and Key’ by Joe Hill
It wouldn’t be right to put any other author’s works besides Stephen King than his own son, Joe Hill. Both might be excellent horror writers, but their stories and styles are so distinct. Hill’s Locke & Key graphic novels were adapted by Netflix, but as always, I think you should read the books before watching the adaptations.
The series follows the Locke family as they move into the Keyhouse years after a tragedy happened there. The kids discover the magical keys and unknowingly free a vengeful spirit. They must destroy the spirit and lock it away–but it won’t go down without a fight.
Any Sarah J. Maas Books: ‘Rat Queens’ by Kurtis J. Wiebe
You can’t tell me Rat Queens isn’t a mash-up of all three Sarah J. Maas series (A Court of Thorns and Roses, Throne of Glass, and Crescent City). I love the artwork and writing style so much.
The Rat Queens series follows Hannah, an elven mage; Violet, a dwarf fighter; Dee, a human cleric; and Betty, a thieving smidgen. Full of dark humor, the four girls fight monsters while dealing with their own problems.
‘The Tales of Desperaux’: ‘Mouse Guard’ by David Peterson
For obvious reasons, I had to pair the two mouse stories together. I’m not the biggest fan of mice, but I loved this graphic novel series. The artwork in both The Tales of Desperaux and Mouse Guard are impeccable and will take you right back to reading books from your childhood.
Mouse Guard follows brave little creatures trying to live in a world full of predators and natural disasters. The Mouse Guard was created to be guides and soldiers for other mice looking to travel and move to new villages. There are four books, a coloring book, and a roleplaying game.
‘Game of Thrones’: ‘Monstress’ by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
I’m willing to bet if you like Game of Thrones, you’d be more than okay with darker stories like Monstress. While they take place in very different worlds, you’ll feel right at home with the demon-filled world of Monstress. The series is still ongoing, with the sixth book having come out last year.
Monstress follows Maika Halfwolf, an Arcanic with a link with a monster. In a war-filled world, Maika is working to avenge her mother’s death at the hands of the Cumaea, sorceresses who kill Arcanics for power.
‘Scythe’: ‘Lucifer’ by Mark Carey
If you haven’t read either Scythe or Lucifer, you’re missing out on both sides of the afterlife. Just be warned that the TV show Lucifer starring Tom Ellis is only loosely based on the graphic novels. They’re still great, just different than what you might be expecting.
Tired of his life, Lucifer Morningstar retires to L.A. to run Lux, a piano bar. Volume 1 sees him called by Heaven to complete a mission with a prize if he succeeds. To do what he must, he calls on his allies to defeat those that would do anything in their power to stop him. We also see Mazikeen and Lucifer’s siblings, but sadly not Chloe Decker.
‘The Fifth Wave’: ‘The Dark’ by Mark Sable and Kristian Donaldson
Both of these series are set in apocalyptic worlds. They feel like parallel stories even though Rick Yancey’s novels and the comic by Mark Sable and Kristian Donaldson aren’t actually related. The artwork in The Dark also looks straight out of a video game, which was refreshing compared to many other graphic novels.
Set after a cyberwar, The Dark follows a marine that uses biotech eyes to see and a spy that used to be an intelligence operative. Together, they travel the world to defeat a conspiracy that destroyed technology around the globe and sent the world into a blackout.
‘The Mortal Instruments’: ‘Sacred Creatures’ by Pablo Raimondi
If you like The Mortal Instruments or any of the Shadowhunter books, you’re going to love Sacred Creatures. Like TMI, a “normal” person is sucked into the supernatural world to fight dark creatures and save those they love.
In Sacred Creatures, Josh Miller is a young college graduate and soon-to-be father who is thrust into a war between the supernatural world and the human world. He’ll fight against beings that have existed since the beginning of life itself. Sound a little familiar to you, too?
Grimm’s Stories: ‘Castle Waiting’ by Linda Medley
This might be the oldest graphic novel series I’ve included, but it’s also the most timeless. Linda Medley wrote and illustrated each book herself, and you might recognize her style from some DC Comics. The prologue story of Castle Waiting retells Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of outsiders.
The rest of the books follow Rackham, Lady Jain, and many other characters who live with them. We learn the backstories of everyone, including how Lady Jain came to the castle and how her baby grows up surrounded by her new family.
‘Lord of the Rings’: ‘Saga’ by Bryan K. Vaughan
I know Saga is a science fiction series, but you can’t tell me it doesn’t read like Lord of the Rings. Saga follows a couple stuck in the middle of a galactic war while also caring for their daughter. The couple in question, Alana and Marko, are star-crossed lovers (very Romeo and Juliet of them).
Each volume follows Hazel growing up and learning about her parents, their families, and the world around her. Every new character has their own fleshed-out backstory, and you’ll come to love each of them.
The last book was released in 2018, with a deluxe version and a compendium holding various editions being published in 2019. The series was expected to be over after the last volume, but it will be returning this month on January 26!
‘Lord of the Rings’: ‘Critical Role – Vox Machina Origins’ by Sam Maggs
I couldn’t choose just one comic series for Lord of the Rings, but can you blame me? Vox Machina Origins also doubles as an entry for The Witcher if that’s more your cup of tea.
Vox Machina Origins is based on the web series Critical Role, a show where professional voice actors play Dungeons & Dragons. The graphic novel serves as a prequel to their first campaign and explores how each character came to be a part of the group.
If that’s not enough, a third book is on the way, and Amazon Prime Video is making an animated series based on it. The cast from the games will be voicing their characters!
‘Percy Jackson’: ‘Lore Olympus’ by Rachel Smythe
I couldn’t end this list without including my favorite non-superhero graphic novel and one of my favorite book series. I would like to thank TikTok for introducing me to Lore Olympus via cosplayers. (And thanks to my brother for getting me the first print volume!)
Lore Olympus focuses on Persephone and Hades’s love story set in a modern and futuristic world. In addition to the two lovebirds, we’re also introduced to other Greek gods and goddesses outside of the “Big Twelve.” It even makes Hera a little likable (unlike Rick Riordan’s interpretation).