Generations of kids have helped build the kingdom that leads to the haven known as Treeheart, a perfect paradise for kids away from adults. But then Grindle, a hater of children, invades their country and starts cleaning house and turning kids into teens. Only the heroic Bea Wolf can stand against Grindle's threat, bearing her brave face against his bold maneuvers. Yes, this is a re-telling of Beowulf set in the modern day, about kids versus adults, and yes it is as delightful as that sounds.
Readers who enjoy tabletop games or adjacent media might enjoy Bea Wolf for the obvious heroic overtones, and the comedy of this comic can appeal to fans of sillier stories. This comic has a pretty wide range of appeal because younger kids might enjoy just looking through the pictures while adults and older kids can appreciate the story and how effectively it adapts the original poem.
Sammie is trans femme and has been out to most of her friends and family for a year when she gets an invite to join her closet college friend Adam on his bachelor party trip to El Campo. At this dystopian Las Vegas-like destination, people can indulge their most hedonistic and aggressive desires with little consequences. The worst part, Adam has named Sammie his best man. Since Adam was Sammie's best man at her wedding, she feels as though she needs to be a good sport to return the favor and try to maintain one of her longest friendships. When Sammie arrives in El Campo, she has to endure rude, dismissive, and sometimes downright transphobic comments from the rest of the groomsmen. To top off an already emotionally fraught weekend, it seems like the group is all getting sucked into this weird cult holding a convention at the hotel they're staying at, and Sammie seems to be the only one clear-headed enough to see what's going on.
Everyone who likes their commentary on toxic masculinity with a side of eldritch horror.
Transphobia, Some scenes containing gore
Nonbinary, Trans |
In an alternate United States, people of color are forbidden from practicing magic, unless they manage to secure official permission. Yet many secret practitioners enter unsanctioned flying races, where high risks can result in a big reward. Billie Mae and her teammates Loretta and Cheng Kwan enjoy the races' community while having big dreams. When Mattie and Emma, Black-Choctaw girls who have recently accessed their magic, join the Night Storms, they all have a chance to make their dreams come true.
Brooms captivated me with its action-packed story following a tight-knit group ready to defy the oppressive laws that try to keep them down. The fantastic artwork and worldbuilding work together to convey a well-developed setting. There are little decisions, like using Native American sign language and including a sort of afterward for the main story, that make the whole experience immersive. If you are a fan of witchy stories, you don’t want to miss Brooms.
Mistreatment at a residential school; racism; some violence
Black, Chinese-American |
First Nations or Indigenous |
But You Have Friends
Emilia McKenzie writes about her relationship with her friend C, whom she eventually loses to suicide. Throughout the book, she reflects on her relationship with C, her grief, and all the baggage that comes with loss and grief.
I loved this book for how McKenzie built up the relationship between her and C; she has a knack for showing the little moments that make up a dear friendship and weaves them with her reflection on grappling with the loss. The simple art, which often portrays these little moments and actions, *really* works. If you pick this up, make sure you’re in a place where you can cry freely. I don’t cry much when I read, and I was tearing up!
Suicide; drug overdoses
Sometimes, it's hard for Isaac to hear much outside of the bees getting in his way. They tell him about his crooked face and nose, about bad things that are going to happen to people he loves, and the noise escalates sometimes. It doesn't hurt that his mom treats him like a time bomb and his sister is frustrated at being ignored while mom continually checks in on Isaac. When Micah enters his life things finally start to look brighter again for the first time in a while, but then Isaac's grades slip. He'll have to learn balance and trust to get through this, and so will his mom.
Since a lot of the story centers around the game Swamps & Sorcery (a parody of Dungeons & Dragons), readers who enjoy comics featuring tabletop games like Just Roll With It or Dungeon Club: Roll Call will likely enjoy Buzzing. The themes of learning trust and making friends might appeal to readers of Freestyle, and the art is so wonderful at setting scenes and showing emotion, it could also be a solid choice for readers new to comics.
Family Style: Memories of an American from Vietnam
Pham uses food, both Vietnamese and American, to take the reader through his family's journey from Vietnam to America as refugees. It begins with their boat ride out of the country and continues with the author's finally becoming a citizen in his middle age. In between is the families' struggle to learn English, get steady work, and achieve the American Dream. Along the way, the author struggles with not feeling American enough to fit in when he first arrives here, to not feeling connected enough to his Vietnamese heritage as he matures into an adult completely in America. This graphic memoir is a moving depiction of what it's like to be an immigrant in America.
Fans of American Born Chinese and The Best We Could Do will enjoy this food-focused take on the immigrant experience.
Racism and Xenophobia
Vietnamese, Vietnamese American |
Vietnamese, Vietnamese American |
Deb JJ Lee
Deb has struggled to find her place in life, feeling caught between identities and obligations. To complicate matters further, Deb's mother is controlling and volatile, sometimes lashing out physically or emotionally. By the time Deb graduates high school, she's managed to communicate her desire to do art, quit music, and learn her own way, but she's also attempted suicide twice. It takes time and work, but Deb starts to become someone she doesn't hate. In Limbo doesn't give easy answers or a neatly wrapped-up ending, but that's part of what makes it great.
Limited color, and dreamy art paired with heavier topics make In Limbo a solid choice for fans of Tillie Walden's work. How candidly the story handles its complexity and darkness could be a good pick for readers who enjoy graphic nonfiction, like Dancing at the Pity Party or Banned Book Club.
Depictions of physical and emotional abuse by a parent, discussions of depression and suicide
Monstrous: A Transracial Adoption Story
Korean adoptee Sarah Myer tells their story of self-acceptance as they wrestle with their origins and their identity while dealing with difficult, often racist school and social settings.
Thanks to Myer’s powerful drawings that mix reality and images of their imagination and mental state, I found myself sucked into their story. Myer also frames their story well, tracing a trajectory to a better place and ultimately using their story to share a message of hope. It was a difficult read in parts, but I also appreciated the message and the fact it let me reflect on some of my own experiences.
Racism; homophobia; bullying; mental health struggles
The Infinity Particle
After moving to Mars to study artificial intelligence with her hero Dr. Lin, Clementine meets Kye, a humanoid robot and Dr. Lin’s assistant As Kye and Clem grow closer, they soon have to contend with Dr. Lin's disapproval and possessiveness and Kye's sudden glitches. As Clem and Kye rush to get to the bottom of the glitches, they find so much more than they expected.
The Infinity Particle is a tender and romantic story about two people finding agency together against a backdrop of questions about AI and what it means to be human. The rich setting details brought me into the story, and I adored Xu’s adorable character and robot designs. Readers who enjoy thoughtful and romantic sci-fi stories like Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam and Fiona Ostby's Space Story will likely enjoy Infinity Particle.
Egotistical and bullying boss/parental figure; implied death of a child; abusive parent-child relationship
Assumed Asian |
Lanie and Val are best friends, and ready to weather any storm for each other, but Val's obsession with all things supernatural leads her to find out about a local myth of the Ojja-Wojja. Naturally, they end up accidentally summoning it, and things are worse than expected. That is, until Val trusts her instincts about this creature and the host it chooses: the super popular Andrea, who used to be friends with them but lately bullies them instead. Horror but also heartwarming, there's a lot to love in The Ojja-Wojja.
This story's mix of small-town legends and the presence of the supernatural is likely a hit with fans of comics like The Hills of Estrella Roja, Another Kind, or All My Friends Are Ghosts. Because the main cast is queer, it's also a great choice for younger readers looking for queer horror and likely finding stories geared toward older audiences that they may not be ready for yet.
Autistic Spectrum |
There Is No Right Way to Meditate
Have you read a book on meditation, or listened to a recorded guided meditation and felt like you still weren't quite "getting it"? You are not alone. Sakugawa responds to the confusion, frustration, and judgment that many people bring with them when first trying to establish a meditation practice with "There Is No Right Way to Meditate" She frames the exercises presented in the book as "offerings and invitations" that allow the reader to explore what a meditation practice might look like for them. With an artsy style and sparing use of color, reading this book feels like a meditation in and of itself.
Anyone who is curious about meditation but feels like self-help books are boring and stuffy.
Gender Nonconforming, Nonbinary |
Gender Nonconforming, Nonbinary |