Introduction

Have you been in a reading slump or gravitating towards the same sort of comics over and over? Try something new and Speed Date a Comic! Our Features Writers encourage you to shake things up and try a title you wouldn’t normally read. To make it a Speed Dating experience set a timer for 5 minutes! After your timer goes off you can either keep reading or try a new title!

A Bride's Story

Kaoru Mori

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Follow the story of Amir and other brides as they get ready for or adjust to life in their new homes, with their new husbands, and the changing landscape of Central Asia in the 19th Century. Not only do the characters feel real and engaging, but the art is also truly phenomenal. It's clear the creator has done her research and has a lot of love and respect for the cultures she's portraying in the series.

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Fans of historical fiction or romances might find a new way to enjoy the genre through this series, and this may sound odd but historical costumers and cosplayers could be drawn to the story for the amazing level of detail in the characters' various clothing and textiles. And of course, fans of the creator's other series Emma, which follows a maid in 19th Century England, will likely enjoy A Bride's Story as well.

Creator Identities:
Japanese |

Main Character Identities:
Kazakh |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Batter Royale

Leisl Adams

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Tensions run high in this story about a baking competition with a hearty side of romance! Amateur baker Rose enters a baking competition to pay for culinary school, but romance and unpleasant competitors pile on the pressure! Will Rose triumph?

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With great pacing and characterization, plus colorful art, Batter Royale should appeal to foodies and romance lovers alike!

Creator Identities:
Black |

Main Character Identities:
Black, Multiracial |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Crumbs

Danie Stirling

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Ray is a struggling seer who nevertheless wants to be on the wizard's Council. She meets aspiring musician Laurie at her favorite bakery, and they soon find their lives intertwined. As they navigate reality and their dreams, things get more complicated.

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Fans of gentle romance and/or warmhearted fantasy will find much to enjoy here.

Content Notes

Brief mention of parental death

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Delicious in Dungeon

Ryuko Kui

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Imagine if you will a fantasy world where dungeons are magical places that slowly grow and change over time, and are fairly dangerous, but also lucrative for adventurers. Delicious in Dungeon follows Laios, a human with a slightly obsessive interest in monsters, and his mismatched group of fellow adventurers including an odd dwarf named Senshi, who introduces the idea of actually eating monsters to Laios. Hilarity and stomachaches ensue!

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Fans of fantasy tabletop roleplaying games will find elements of this series surprisingly relatable to their own adventures, and the general aesthetic plus cheeky recipes will be a great choice for people into the aesthetic of fantasy forests, dungeons, and mushrooms. Come for the jokes, stay for the great drawings of monsters.

Creator Identities:
Japanese |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Freestyle

Gale Galligan

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A group of friends breakdance together and even compete sometimes (though they've never won), but this year their choreographer is really pushing for the win. They're all also about to go into high school, and it won't be as easy to get together. To add to the tension, the main character's grades drop and he's grounded and his parents hire a tutor: his aloof classmate. Turns out she's great with a yo-yo and learning tricks helps him learn some things about himself and his friends.

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This is an easy pick for fans of Raina Telgemeier's work, or Gale Galligan's other work with the Babysitter's Club series of comics, but what I find exciting about it as a potential reader's advisory item is that it has sports, and under-represented sports at that, in a comic that also discusses school, parents' expectations, and has a diverse friend group. It has an incredibly wide range of appeal because of this, from sports comics readers to those that want the drama or stories of growing up.

Creator Identities:
Taiwanese-American |

Main Character Identities:
Chinese-American |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

I Kill Giants

Joe Kelly

Ken Niimura

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Barbara knows the giants are coming, but everyone else around her is too vapid and/or self-absorbed to care. Her friend Sophia and the school counselor are concerned, but Barbara is undeterred. She is carefully preparing her weapon, but will she be strong enough to defend against the coming horrors?

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Readers who like magical realism; readers who like using magic and fantasy to confront difficult topics

Content Notes

Bullying; cancer; violence

Creator Identities:
Spanish-Japanese |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Improve: How I Discovered Improv and Conquered Social Anxiety

Alex Graudins

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When Graudins therapist tells them to consider trying improv as a way to improve their social anxiety, they are a little skeptical at first, but they have always been "improv curious", watching "Whose Line is it Anyway" as a kid and messing around with their roommate who did improv in college. So they push through their fear and anxiety to give improv a try. Through their improv class, they meet a unique mix of people from different walks of life and find some relief for their social anxiety.

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Improv fans and theatre kids alike will enjoy this tale of conquering one's fear of the stage.

Creator Identities:
Gender Nonconforming |

Main Character Identities:
Gender Nonconforming |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Martian Ghost Centaur

Mat Heagerty

Steph Mided

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After her plan to save her little town from gentrification fails, Louie decides to come up with a bigger and better plan: a monster to replace the sasquatch that used to be the town's main attraction!

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With adorable art, a high-energy protagonist, and paranormal fun, Martian Ghost Centaur will appeal to readers looking for some wild comedy. Readers who liked Scott Pilgrim and similar tales will be especially interested.

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Solo Leveling

Chugong

Dubu (Redice Studio)

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Pick this up if the idea of a dark underdog story appeals: the main character is almost infamous for his lack of abilities in a world where there are regular people and those with the ability to go into dungeons. It does not pull punches, things will get gruesome and tragic, but the mystery of what's actually going on and the main character's growth keep things moving.

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What makes Solo Leveling interesting is that it kind of falls into the isekai genre (waking up in another world) but not quite, and that twist along with how dark the story is makes it a great choice for readers tired of the same two isekai plotlines. It's also great for readers who like more grimdark to their comics but are looking for something lighter than Berserk.

Content Notes

People are maimed in various ways, on page death and dismemberment, threats, bullying, main character struggles with self worth (not quite suicidal ideation but a very desolate outlook).

Creator Identities:
Korean |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride

Lucy Knisley

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Known for her autobiographical comics like "Relish" and "Kid Gloves", in "Something New" Knisley brings us the part of a love story that we don't usually see, the planning and throwing of the wedding. In this graphic memoir, Knisley explores her feeling about marriage as a kid of divorce who never really saw herself as a bride, that is until her then ex-boyfriend proposed to her after a three-year break in their relationship. Suddenly she is thrown into the world of wedding planning, all while reconciling her feelings about weddings, the traditions, and the cultural baggage that comes with them.

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Fans of Knisley's other works will recognize her signature style in this lesser-known work of hers. Those not familiar with her work, but who have their own mixed-up feelings about weddings will find a kindred spirit in Knisley.

Creator Identities:
Bisexual |

Main Character Identities:
Bisexual |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins

Clint McElroy

Carey Pietsch

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Are you looking for a graphic novel that perfectly captures all of the highs, lows, and adult humor of playing Dungeons and Dragons? Then look no further than the Adventure Zone graphic novels. These titles, with "Here There Be Gerblins" being #1, are an adaption of the popular D&D live play podcast by the same name, and they capture what is magical about the show, and about playing D&D.

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TTRPG players and high fantasy fans alike will love this story filled with hijinks and heart.

Content Notes

Adult language and genre typical violence

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Thieves

Lucie Byron

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Two recovering thieves (who are also girlfriends!) are on a quest to return what they stole in this charming read. The adorable art, fun plot, and sweet, dynamic characters will win you over!

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This is a good option if you are in the mood for a lighthearted read!

Creator Identities:
French |

Main Character Identities:
Bisexual |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

  • Shannan

    | She/They Teen Services Librarian, San Antonio Public Library

    Features Writer

    Shannan waffled between English professor and librarian as career choices for all of college; eventually librarian won. She is a Teen Services Librarian with the San Antonio Public Library. When not running TTPRG games for their teens or teaching them how to bake, she's doing what she can to promote comics to anyone who will listen. At home they're likely deep in the middle of their latest cosplay project or watching B movies with her husband, while generally pushing the cats out of the way.

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  • Tayla

    | She/Her Branch Librarian

    Features Writer

    Tayla Cardillo (she/her) is the Branch Librarian of the Oaklawn branch of the Cranston Public Library in Cranston, RI. She is also a member of the ALA Graphic Novel and Comic Round Table and the chair of the Rhode Island Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee. She completed her MLIS at the University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English at Rhode Island College. Tayla has known that she wanted to be a librarian since she was 17 years old. When not doing library wizardry, she enjoys playing tabletop games and cosplaying.

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  • Megan

    | She/Her

    Features Writer

    Megan earned her MLIS from Simmons College and is currently the evening librarian at Bay State College in Massachusetts. She satisfies her voracious appetite for graphic novels and manga through regular visits to her local public libraries and puts her love of graphic novels to good use by adding to Bay State’s collection whenever possible. Megan maintains a personal blog, Ferret with a Strobe Light, where she discusses awesome books she’s read lately. When not engaged in reading or library work, she likes running, drinking tea, and working on her own stories and art.

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