Staff Picks: Graphic Medicine

Introduction

Graphic medicine is a term meant to describe comics that intersect with healthcare, and hopefully the selections here give you an idea of what that can look like. If you want to know more about the idea of graphic medicine and works that fall into this category, check out https://www.graphicmedicine.org/ and all the fantastic resources there!

Dancing After Ten

Vivian Chong

Georgia Webber

Cover Image

In this powerful memoir, Vivian Chong tells the story of how she rebuilt and expanded her life after a mysterious illness left her blind.

Appeals to

Readers looking for an honest, yet hopeful memoir about adjusting to life with a disability will be taken in by Chong's frankness and the powerful mix of artwork from her and collaborator Georgia Webber.

Content Notes

Brief portrayal of sexual assault; ableism

Creator Identities:

Canadian, Chinese |

Visual impairment |

Main Character Identities:

Canadian, Chinese |

Disability |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Go With the Flow

Karen Schneemann

Lily Williams

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When best friends Christine, Brit, and Abby help new girl Sasha with a period mishap and welcome her into their friend group in the process, they wonder what Sasha would have done if they hadn't been there to help. The sanitary product machines are always empty and their school doesn't have a nurse anymore because of budget cuts. This spurs Abby to start a campaign to make her school more period friendly, but she's so consumed by this fight she loses sight of what is really important, her friends.

Appeals to

Current and future period-havers will love this book about friendship and fighting for a more equal world.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Hey Kiddo

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

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In this graphic memoir, Krosoczka looks back on his childhood being raised by his grandparents because his mother was battling addiction and his father was absent. With his adult perspective, he looks back at his upbringing with nuance and empathy for all the players as he explores what it means to be a family and the power of art to help a person find community and process their trauma.

Appeals to

Anyone whose family has been touched by addiction or some other unfortunate event that has caused a parent or parents to be absent from their lives.

Content Notes

Strong language, drug use and addiction, smoking, drinking, underage drinking.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

In Waves

AJ Dungo

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Several narratives wind together to form the experience that is In Waves. There's the story of AJ meeting his partner, her struggle with cancer, and stories from the history of surfing, all tied together in spare and beautiful art that uses color to delineate between stories. It's sweet and sad, reflective and poetic, and somehow perfectly like sitting at a beach alone at night.

Appeals to

Absolutely a great pick for readers who enjoy surfing, as it can be hard to find many narratives on the subject that aren't straight history or biographies of famous surfers. In a strange way, it is also a solid read-alike for readers of The Girl From the Other Side, as they're both stories about grief with simple and effective art.

Content Notes

Discussions of cancer and death are to be expected here.

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Just Roll with It

Lee Durfey-Lavoie

Veronica Agarwal

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Maggie loves her family, the Chosen book series, and saying hello to the house when she gets home each day. So what if she also keeps a d20 with her every day to roll and determine her actions? And what about the fact that she worries if she doesn't say hello to the house, something bad will happen? As Maggie makes friends in her new school, she starts to confront some of her actions and realizes maybe, she does need some help and that's okay.

Appeals to

This comic is perfect for readers who like fantasy analogies in the modern day to discuss events happening in the characters' lives, like All's Faire in Middle School or Cardboard Kingdom. It's also a great choice for readers of Raina Telgemeier's books since they discuss illness and dealing with growing up in ways that are matter-of-fact and accepting.

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos

Lucy Knisley

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In this graphic memoir, Kinsley uses her own experience with pregnancy to explore the history of pregnancy and birth, bust myths about miscarriage, and discuss hard topics like infertility. Even though Kinsley's experience with conceiving and later pregnancy was not all roses and pregnancy glow, she manages to make this book an engaging and enjoyable read from start to finish with her witty writing and soft art style.

Appeals to

The inside flap boasts: "Whether you have kids, want them, or want nothing to do with them, there's something in this graphic memoir to open your mind and heart."

Content Notes

Discussion of pregnancy loss, depictions of birth, depictions of vomit, traumatic birth experience, near death experiences

Creator Identities:

Bisexual |

Main Character Identities:

Bisexual |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Kimiko Does Cancer

Kimiko Tobimatsu

Keet Geniza

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In this warm, thoughtful memoir, Kimiko, a queer multiracial woman, describes her experience navigating cancer treatment and cancer's effects on her relationships, health, and identity.

Appeals to

Kimiko Does Cancer is ideal for readers looking for cancer memoirs that question the mainstream cancer narratives or perspectives from cancer survivors who are not white and/or straight.

Content Notes

Some very brief, contextualized pictures of bare breasts; brief discussion of sex

Creator Identities:

Filipino, Multiracial |

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Multiracial |

Queer |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Night Bus

Zuo Ma

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At times beautiful, others terrifying, the experience of Night Bus is the experience of Xiao Jun's journey through nostalgia and fears for the future as well as his grandmother's dementia through a surreal lens. Explore the strange and familiar landscapes alongside Xiao Jun, and let the incredible art wash over as his journey winds its way through past and present, with hints at the future.

Appeals to

Luo Ma's use of space and strong emphasis on visual storytelling might appeal to fans of Tillie Walden, while the interconnected short stories that go between horrifying and sweet could be exactly what readers of Supermutant Magic Academy want next.

Creator Identities:

Chinese |

Main Character Identities:

Chinese |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Run On Your New Legs

Wataru Midori

Cover Image

Shouta Kikuzato's dreams of high school soccer stardom were dashed when he lost his leg in an accident. When he runs to help a child, he meets Chidori, a prosthetist who recently started his own business. Chidori offers Kikuzato a partnership--Kikuzato will get a running blade in exchange for helping Chidori get his business off the ground. With new motivation, Kikuzato throws himself into track and para-athletics!

Appeals to

With strong characterization and a story with solid emotional beats for both the sports and Kikuzato's personal life, Run on Your New Legs will attract sports manga fans looking for something to read after Haikyu!! and Yowamushi Pedal as well as readers interested in stories featuring athletes with disabilities.

Content Notes

Discussion of depression

Creator Identities:

Japanese |

Main Character Identities:

Japanese |

Prosthesis |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Sincerely, Harriet

Sarah W. Searle

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Harriet is bored at home after moving to Chicago. Her parents can't take her exploring, her summer reading is boring, and she misses her camp friends. As she looks for an outlet, Harriet meets Pearl, her elderly neighbor with a love of stories. When she starts having trouble with her body, Harriet will have to figure out a way to navigate her life and emotions.

Appeals to

This sensitive, thoughtful story about healthy self-expression and the power of stories would be ideal for readers looking for quiet, thoughtful stories about children living with chronic illnesses.

Creator Identities:

Gay |

Trans |

Main Character Identities:

Assumed Hispanic or Latine, Multiracial |

Multiple Sclerosis |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Staff Picks: Creature Feature

Introduction

As the days grow shorter, vampires, werewolves, and other creatures have more opportunity to come out and roam.The Features team is happy to present a list of graphic novels featuring these creatures of the night! From sweet coming of age stories, to tender romance and friendship, to vicious villany, we hope you’ll find something to enjoy!

Artie and the Wolf Moon

Olivia Stephens

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Eighth-grader Artie is trying to get shots of the full moon when she discovers her mother is a werewolf! Artie soon discovers she's also one, and her mom introduces her to a whole community, but also more threats far more deadly than her bullies. However, Artie can't shift, and her mom's still hiding things about her human dad who is no longer around. Can Artie figure out how to use her powers and truly claim her place? With fantastic, action-packed illustrations and a unique take on werewolves, Artie and the Wolf Moon should not be missed.

Appeals to

Readers looking for coming of age stories with tight knit families

Content Notes

Bullying and racism

Creator Identities:

Black |

Main Character Identities:

Black |

Lesbian |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Blackwater

Jeanette Arroyo

Ren Graham

Cover Image

Tony and Eli are polar opposites in the high school pecking order; Tony is a track star while Eli misses a lot of school due to illness. As they begin to fall for one another, they confront growing pains and the mysterious monster in the woods.

Appeals to

Readers who like a bit of moody horror with their teen romances

Creator Identities:

Genderqueer |

Main Character Identities:

Assumed Hispanic or Latine |

Gay |

Trans |

Chronic Illness |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

DeadEndia

Hamish Steele

Cover Image

Everyone is looking for somewhere to belong; for Barney, it's somewhere that he can be trans and accepted. For Norma, it's managing social anxiety and autism while working in a theme park. For Pugsly...well, that's complicated. See, there's a portal to hell inside the celebrity Pauline Phoenix's theme park! And Norma, Barney, and Pugsley get wrapped up in Courtney's schemes. Come for the thrills, stay for the chilling visions of the future!

Appeals to

There's a lot in the mood and themes of DeadEndia that feel similar to Gravity Falls and Adventure Time, so fans of these series might try picking this up. The theatrical nature of the story with supernatural elements could appeal to fans of Backstagers as well.

Content Notes

There is some discussion/visuals of Barney having to deal with a family not accepting his transness, but nothing too distressing.

Creator Identities:

Autistic Spectrum |

Main Character Identities:

Pakistani-American |

Queer |

Trans |

Autistic Spectrum |

Jewish |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Dracula, motherfu*ker!

Alex de Campi

Erica Henderson

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In 1889, Dracula's brides nail him to his coffin. In Los Angeles in 1974, a woman desperate for youth frees him. And photographer Quincy Harker is caught in the middle of it.

Appeals to

Fans of retellings that explore classic stories with a contemporary, feminist lens

Content Notes

Some gore; death

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Fangs

Sarah Anderson

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In this webcomic turned graphic novel, Anderson (author/artist of Sarah's Scribbles) explores the domestic life of a vampire and a werewolf that are in love. We see their relationship grow from meeting at a bar to moving in together as they learn the dos and don't of dating other supernatural creatures.

Appeals to

Anyone liking for slice of life with a supernatural twist.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Garlic and the Vampire

Bree Paulsen

Cover Image

In the witch Agnes' magical garden, each veggie and fruit does their part; Garlic, bless her, tries. But Garlic is pretty anxious about everything, even with the support of her friend Carrot. When rumors of a vampire taking up residence in the nearby forest reach the garden, somehow Garlic gets voted to investigate (against her will). Having to rely on herself and face her fears, as well as confront misunderstandings, will be good for her! Hopefully.

Appeals to

Readers who enjoy a spooky but still cozy story will enjoy the mix of scares and jokes in this comic. The art is lovely too, and the book is in a large format, so fans of beautiful magical landscapes in comics like Nightlights will enjoy the scenery in here.

Creator Identities:

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Mooncakes

Suzanne Walker

Wendy Xu

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Mooncakes is the perfect book to curl up with as the weather starts to change. Young witch Nova is reunited with her childhood crush Tam in order to get to the bottom of some strange demon activity in her quaint New England Town (that is totally NOT Salem, Massachusetts). Although that may sound scary, the real focus of this story is family (blood and chosen) and figuring out your path in life.

Appeals to

Readers who loved the Tea Dragon series' mix of fantasy elements and cozy atmosphere with love this graphic novel.

Creator Identities:

Chinese-American |

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Chinese-American |

Queer |

Nonbinary |

Deafness |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Moonstruck

Grace Ellis

Shae Beagle

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Julie and Selena are girlfriends and werewolves, and the two identities can be hard to balance. Add in the chaos of the gregarious Chet, Julie's friend, and coworker, who loses something vital to them via a sketchy magician. Now the two are helping Chet while dealing with several other small mysteries around town, like what's up with Cassie, and did you see those shadows?

Appeals to

Everything about the first volume of Moonstruck is incredibly sweet and cute; the following volumes get darker and deal more with the girls' troubled relationship, but this is a great choice for someone wanting a queer romance story with magic. And unsurprisingly, it's a great choice for someone who's read Lumberjanes and wants something a little more grown-up (since Grace Ellis helped make Lumberjanes).

Creator Identities:

Bisexual, Queer |

Nonbinary |

Main Character Identities:

Latine |

Lesbian, Queer |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Seraph of the End

Takaya Kagami

Yamato Yamamoto

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A mysterious virus wipes out any human over thirteen, and vampires have captured the remaining children to serve them. Yuichiro wants to destroy the vampires who enslaved him and killed the only family he had left. When he escapes the vampires' underground empire, he learns of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, which is working to rebuild humanity. While Yuichiro wants nothing more than to spring into action, it's not going to be as easy as he thinks!

Appeals to

Readers who love supernatural, action-packed stories, and protagonists with grit and faults galore

Content Notes

Blood and violence

Creator Identities:

Japanese |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Squad

Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Lisa Sterle

Cover Image

In this Mean Girls meets Teen Wolf tale, new student Becca is welcomed into the group of the most popular girls at school. At a party during a full moon, Becca learns the real reason these girls have been so nice to her, they need a new member of their pack. At this party, they find their prey, young men who take advantage of teenage girls. But when the hunger sets in, will they be able to stick to their noble cause of making the world safer for young women like them, or will they start killing in cold blood?

Appeals to

Fans of Paper Girls will love the #GirlSquad vibes in this graphic novel.

Content Notes

Violence/blood, sexual assault, underage drinking

Creator Identities:

Japanese-American |

Jewish |

Main Character Identities:

Assumed Asian |

Lesbian, Queer |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

staff picks: Mysteries

Introduction

Are you in the mood for a mystery? The NFNT Features team is on the case! From comedic mysteries to teen sleuths to gritty tales, we hope you’ll find a story to pull you in.

A Study in Emerald

Neil Gaiman

Rafael Albuquerque

Cover Image

In this Lovecraftian reimaging of Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Study in Scarlet," a consulting detective and his new companion investigate the killing of Prince Franz Drago of Bohemia but solving that case does not go as smoothly as the detectives had hoped.

Appeals to

Both Sherlock and Lovecraft fans will find something to love in this graphic novel.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Black Magick

Greg Rucka

Nicola Scott

Cover Image

Rowan Black isn't just a cop; she's also a witch, and while the two parts of herself sometimes work together, it can also be hard to juggle. And things are getting magical in a bad way around the town of Portsmouth lately, so she's going to have to work hard to keep her life balanced. The art is primarily grayscale, with hints of color that are very effective in adding to the general dark mood of the comic.

Appeals to

This comic is absolutely perfect for fans of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, with similar themes and tone, though Black Magick is more serious than silly. It could also be a good fit for readers of Hillbilly, who enjoy a limited color palette and a moody comic full of mystery and fantasy in a realistic setting. If mystical horror is more the thing, then this comic could also appeal to fans of Locke & Key.

Content Notes

There is some gore and violence, swearing, nudity, and the expected witchcraft in this comic.

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Blacksad

Juan Diaz Canales

Juanjo Guarnido

Cover Image

John Blacksad is a private investigator trying to make it in a world rife with racism and corruption. Throughout his cases--which include the murder of an old flame and a missing child---Blacksad comes face to face with darkness and tries to do the right thing in a world that is very difficult. With a witty lead, lush illustrations, and compelling stories, Blacksad is not to be missed.

Appeals to

Fans of gritty mysteries

Content Notes

Violence and gore, including murder and a hanging, nudity

Creator Identities:

Spanish |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Gotham Academy

Brenden Fletcher

Karl Kerschl

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Take all the hijinks of Scooby-Doo, but then set it in Gotham (yes, that Gotham), and make all the monsters real! Because again, Gotham. If you ever wanted to know what it's like as a normal person in the great city of the Bat, this is a great pick. Olive Silverlock has personal mysteries she's trying to solve, and Maps Mizoguchi is new to the school, ready to solve mysteries. Also, ready to become the next Robin. It's funny, sweet, sad, and has plenty of mystery to go around!

Appeals to

Gotham Academy, due to its setting and some character crossover, is a sure choice for fans of Batman and his associated villains and compatriots looking for a more (sometimes) human experience of Gotham. It's also a fun mystery story with all the usual suspects: family secrets, old books, hidden passageways, and possible occult ties, so if that's your jam, give it a try.

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Grimoire Noir

Vera Greentea

Yana Bogatch

Cover Image

Told in a moody, limited color palette, and set in a town where all the girls are witches, we meet Bucky Orsen, a lonely teen feeling especially isolated lately without powers of his own. Then his sister, a particularly talented young witch, gets kidnapped and Bucky is the only one who can investigate. Along the way, he'll earn a new appreciation for his hometown and unearth some unfortunate truths about its residents.

Appeals to

Grimoire Noir is a great choice for readers that like real-world problems tinged with magic, like the werewolf teen drama of Squad or the curses and self-reflection of Mooncakes. Its moody tone is also ideal for readers of gothic fiction and noir stories (it's right in the title, after all).

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Investigators

John Patrick Green

Cover Image

Alligators Mango and Brash are investigators with SUIT. They're currently investigating the disappearance of Chef Gustavo Mustacho, but an explosion at the Science Factory increases their caseload! Can Mango and Brash unravel both mysteries?

Appeals to

InvestiGators' brightly colored illustrations and punny humor will make this popular with young readers looking for something fun and silly.

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Montague Twins

Nathan Page

Drew Shannon

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Twins Arty and Pete have a knack for solving mysteries. When an odd storm blows in they discover a mysterious box and soon find themselves on the trail of an old local secret that could have significant consequences for certain members of the community.

Appeals to

Readers who like a bit of magic with their mystery; readers who enjoy classic kid detective stories such as Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys

Content Notes

Some injury; a disembodied hand scampering around; implied abuse

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

The Mystery of the Meanest Teacher

Ryan North

Derek Charm

Cover Image

When John "Kid" Constantine upsets a ghost candy shop owner and his cousin, who ride ghost dinosaurs, he must head to a boarding school in America while things in London cool down. When he arrives, there is one teacher who seems to have it out for him from the moment they met. Kid and his new friend Anna work together to get to the bottom of why Ms. Kayla is suddenly so mean.

Appeals to

Fans of the My Weird School series will love DC's new take on their most well know magic users.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

The Oracle Code

Marieke Nijkamp

Manuel Preitano

Cover Image

This new take on Barbara Gordon and her journey to becoming Oracle has her caught in the crosshairs of a shooting and paralyzed from the waist down. In order to adjust to her new life as a wheelchair user, she is sent to Arkham Center for Independence, where she receives rehab, mental health counseling, and life skills training alongside other kids with disabilities. But something seems to be off about the Arkham Center for Independence and Barbara is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Appeals to

Everyone whose suspicious of an old mansion being repurposed as any type of medical facility.

Content Notes

Brief discussion fo gun volience.

Creator Identities:

Nonbinary |

Autistic Spectrum |

Main Character Identities:

Wheelchair User |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

The Private Eye

Brian K. Vaughan

Marcos Martin

Cover Image

Ever since the cloud burst and exposed everyone's secrets, the Internet has been gone and adults use disguises in their everyday lives. PI is an unlicensed investigator who uncovers secrets for money. When a customer gets killed, PI finds himself on the trail of a mystery that could change everything.

Appeals to

Readers looking for a well-crafted, action-packed story with sharp social commentary

Content Notes

Blood, violence, nudity, language

Creator Identities:

Spanish |

Main Character Identities:

Black |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Wicked Things

John Allison

Max Sarin

Cover Image

Charlotte Grote thinks she's going to London to accept an award for best teen detective--instead, she's accused of murdering one of the adult detectives! As she tries to find the real killer, Charlotte agrees to help the police with other cases and stay in a place full of other criminals. She soon worms her way out of tea duty and into case-solving, but can she prove that's she an asset?

Appeals to

Teens looking for a fun mystery with a sharp, hyper detective need to look no further. Readers who liked the humor and expressive art in Allison and Sarin's Giant Days will want to give this one a try as well.

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Staff Picks: Hidden Gems Science

Introduction

We’ve probably all seen the Science Comics series and the Manga Guides, but did you know there were so many more options out there for nonfiction comics about science? Included in this list are biographies, comics about chemistry, biology, and even the science of surfing. So pick up one of these hidden gems and learn a little more about a topic you maybe hadn’t considered reading on before.

Cells at Work

Akane Shimizu

Cover Image

Join the adventures of an anthropomorphic red blood cell and her new friend, a white blood cell. Over the course of the series, the cells handle bacterial and viral invasions, cancer, injuries, and more!

Appeals to

Readers looking for a light fun read that incorporates some good science as well!

Content Notes

Some gore

Creator Identities:

Japanese |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth

Jay Hosler

Kevin Cannon

Cover Image

Bloort, a scientist from an alien race, regales his king and prince with the history of life on Earth. With clear explanations, excellent illustrations, and a dash of humor, Evolution: the Story of Life on earth is a natural selection for school library and public library science collections.

Appeals to

Teen and adult readers looking for a fun and accessible explanation of evolution

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

How to Fake a Moon Landing

Darryl Cunningham

Cover Image

Learn about the origins and fallacies behind some of the most well-known conspiracy theories like: climate change, the moon landing, vaccines causing autism, and whether evolution is real. These comics are short, kind of like short stories covering each conspiracy theory, but filled with good facts that make it easy to understand just why these theories are wrong, as well as a bibliography in the back.

Appeals to

Great for anyone wanting to better understand what leads people to believe conspiracy theories, and for those who want to know more on how to combat the misguided thinking behind them.

Content Notes

Though the creator presents these conspiracy theories frankly and with some humor, it can still be upsetting to read about some of the topics discussed.

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Rainbow the Koala

Remy Lai

Cover Image

Young animal lovers will eat up this narative about a baby koala named Rainbow that teaches them about the life of a koala in the wild and the impacts that bushfires have had on their habitat. The end of the graphic novel included details about the real life event that inspired the book as well as additional information about koalas and where they live.

Appeals to

Kids who can't get enough of animal books will love Rainbow the Koala.

Creator Identities:

Indonesian |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Seen: Rachel Carson

Birdie Willis

Rii Abrego

Cover Image

While not necessarily an ideal choice for a casual reader, this graphic novel is an excellent choice for school libraries because it's geared towards being used as a teaching text. Rachel Carson's story is told clearly and simply, and there are tons of great resources at the back to guide discussion and with further resources to help build lessons.

Appeals to

This is a great pick for school librarians looking for more approachable teaching texts, or for tween readers who want to start learning about Rachel Carson with an approachable text.

Creator Identities:

Latine |

Queer |

Nonbinary |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

The Science of Surfing

Kim Dwinell

Cover Image

Two surf enthastist, Sam and Jade, share their love of the ocean in this nonfiction addition to the Surfside Girl series. In this graphic novel they cover the physics that makes the ocean moves, facts about the creatures that live in the ocean, and lesson on how to surf! Whether you like the ocean for it's sea creatures or it's sick waves, you'll find something to love about this book.

Appeals to

All ocean lovers will learn something new from this book packed with facts the deep blue sea.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Two Heads

Uta Frith

Daniel Locke

Cover Image

In this lively and engaging graphic novel, scientists Uta and Chris Frith take the reader through the research on the human brain and how human brains affect interactions. The writing in this book is excellent--the explanations are delivered well--with illustrations that convey information and humor--and show strong synthesis of the topic while also driving home the point that science is about finding and answering new questions and verifying results.

Appeals to

Older teen and adult readers interested in psychology and human interaction will want to dive into this well-researched comic

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Wonderful Life with the Elements

Bunpei Yorifuji

Cover Image

Looking to learn about the periodic table, but struggling through dry texts? Try this comic! Each element has a personality, and the creator ties the study of the elements back to our daily lives as well. There's also a bonus section in the back covering minerals and how they affect the body.

Appeals to

While this is obviously handy for students of chemistry trying to find another way to memorize elements, it's also written in such a way that anyone who wants to learn more about the units that make up our world can come away having learned something and had fun doing it.

Content Notes

Though it's not graphic, the elements are generally portrayed as male-bodied people with genitalia. It serves more as humor than anything else, but it is present.

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Dragons and Spaceships: LGBTQIA+ SFF

Introduction

With Pride month this year, the No Flying No Tights team wants to celebrate the possibilities of LGBTQ+ existence by looking at queer fantasy and sci-fi comics. Between travels in space and explorations in fantasy lands, we hope there’s a queer comic for you.

Across a Field of Starlight

Blue Delliquanti

Cover Image

Fassen is a soldier in a rebel army fighting against a powerful empire; Lu is a researcher who lives in a peaceful commune whose secret location provides a buffer. After a chance encounter, Lu and Fassen become friends communicating over secret messages; their reunion, however, brings a lot of difficulty to their heads. As the conflict intensifies, Lu and Fassen will have to come up with a solution that stays true to their ideals.

Appeals to

Delliquanti's beautiful art and worldbuilding that explores technology and different societies make Across a Field of Starlight an absolute treat for fans of contemplative science fiction.

Creator Identities:

Nonbinary |

Main Character Identities:

Assumed Black |

Nonbinary, Trans |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Always Human

Ari North

Cover Image

Sunati sees a young woman on her commutes that doesn't use mods and finds her striking. Eventually, she gets the chance to talk to her, and it turns out Austen has a condition that prevents her from using them. As they get to know each other and start dating, Sunati has to learn to acknowledge her biases, and Austen learns to open up. Together, they work to be better humans.

Appeals to

As a Webtoon with a physical print, it's hard not to recommend other Webtoons such as Crumbs or Lore Olympus that explore relationships in fantastical settings. It has the pain of growing up and becoming better partners like Bloom, and a dreamy sci-fi setting like On a Sunbeam.

Creator Identities:

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Queer |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Aquaman The Becoming

Brandon Thomas

Diego Olortegui

Cover Image

Aqualad Jackson Hyde, beloved in the animated series Young Justice, aims to prove himself as the new Aquaman mantle in this new superhero series from DC. He thought he was all set with support from mentors, family, and even a cute guy, but then everything gets blown up, and he's accused of sabotaging his own life.

Appeals to

Superhero fans and anyone who enjoys good banter and aquatic action.

Creator Identities:

Black |

Main Character Identities:

Black |

Gay |

Recommended by

Robin Brenner

Backstagers

James Tynion IV

Rian Sygh

Cover Image

When the play begins, how does it all look so good? Why the stage crew of course! When new kid Jory joins the Backstagers, he finds himself surrounded by friends and a whole, strange world in The Backstage. However, the fun of exploring becomes dangerous when something becomes determined to escape The Backstage.

Appeals to

Readers who like the friendship and magical adventures in Lumberjanes; theater kids

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Cosmoknights

Hannah Templer

Cover Image

In a galaxy where gladiators who use mecha suits to fight for the hand of royal (and often reluctant) princesses, Pan never really worried too much that her best friend Tara was a princess...until everything fell apart and Tara had to escape off-world. Now Pam meets two gladiators who will bring into the world of royal schemes, gladiator battles, and maybe a chance to destroy the hierarchy once and for all.

Appeals to

Any who loves queer adventure tales, especially with witty banter, strong found family, and a few smash-y fights to mix it up.

Content Notes

The fighting violence is mainly mecha battle suits. There is also a sequence of forcing a character outside their desired gender expression.

Creator Identities:

Lesbian |

Main Character Identities:

Black |

Lesbian |

Gender Nonconforming |

Recommended by

Robin Brenner

Girl Haven

Lilah Sturges

Meaghan Carter

Cover Image

Ash has been trying to move on from her mom disappearing three years ago, even joining the Pride Club at school and making friends. But she just can't let it go, and in a desperate moment of vulnerability, shares her mom's secret world with these friends. It turns out that the world is real, and in trouble, but...if it's a world only for girls, how is Ash there? Everyone says Ash is a boy. And what happened to her mother?

Appeals to

This is a great story for fans of portal fantasy books like the Wayward Children series, and for fans of stories like The Witch Boy, covering topics of identity in the framework of fantasy. It's so positive and heartwarming, with resources about gender identities, pronouns, and other basics that make it also a great educational tool.

Creator Identities:

Trans |

Main Character Identities:

Trans |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Life of Melody

Mari Costa

Cover Image

A fairy and a beast find a baby in the forest and make an arrangement to raise her. What turns into a formal arrangement becomes something more.

Appeals to

Readers looking for a sweet, quirky, fantasy story

Creator Identities:

Brazilian, Portuguese |

Lesbian |

Main Character Identities:

Gay |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Mamo

Sas Milledge

Cover Image

The village of Haresden has been in turmoil ever since their witch, Mamo, died. Orla, Mamo's granddaughter, reluctantly begins to investigate, with the help of Jo who loves Haresden and knows its ins and outs. As Jo and Orla work together and become closer, the hints of a trap about to spring come into focus. Can Orla and Jo set things to right and overcome them?

Appeals to

Fans of stories that weave darkness and love and challenging magic such as Studio Ghibli's fantasy stories; readers who loved the magic and relationship elements in stories such as Girl from the Sea, Snapdragon, and Witch Boy

Content Notes

Brief implications of abuse

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Monstress

Marjorie Liu

Sana Takeda

Cover Image

Take a highly detailed alternate 1900s Asia setting, add cosmic horror, talking cats, and discussions of trauma and you get Monstress. This comic has, to date, won 12 awards since its start, and there's a reason. It's brutal and beautiful, intense and mesmerizing. Following Maika's journey as she becomes a monster to save the world and confronts the monstrousness of her lineage sometimes hard to look at, but hard to look away from.

Appeals to

Monstress in some ways feels like reading a doorstopper fantasy novel because the world and plot are dense and convoluted. In that way, it's a great recommendation for readers of Die, which deals with similar themes. If readers of Saga are looking for something while the new chapters come out, there's the messy relationships and epic scope of Saga, but in a fantasy setting.

Content Notes

This series deals with many dark themes, so there's violence, blood, gore, cursing, experimentation on children, discussions of genocide, and psychological manipulation.

Creator Identities:

Japanese, Taiwanese-American |

Main Character Identities:

Missing Limb |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Mooncakes

Suzanne Walker

Wendy Xu

Cover Image

Nova Huang runs into her childhood crush, Tam, when investigating paranormal activity in her quaint New England town. The catch? Tam is a werewolf and unsavory forces are after their powers. This teenage witch will do everything in her power to protect Tam so that they can figure out if this old flame is worth rekindling.

Appeals to

Readers who love a friends-to-lovers story like The Prince and the Dressmaker will love this cozy occult love story.

Creator Identities:

Chinese-American |

Queer |

Genderqueer |

Hearing loss |

Main Character Identities:

Chinese-American |

Bisexual, Queer |

Gender Nonconforming, Genderqueer |

Hearing loss |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

On a Sunbeam

Tillie Walden

Cover Image

After Mia graduates, she joins a construction crew that restores old buildings on planets all over. When she discovers her friends have a connection to her former girlfriend Grace and the isolated planet she calls home, Mia comes up with a dangerous plan so she can finally finish the conversation they were having when Grace mysteriously vanished from school.

Appeals to

Walden's beautiful artwork, subtle characterization, and plotting make On a Sunbeam a treat for readers who love science fiction tales with strong world-building and a thoughtful story. This will especially appeal to folks who want a good queer story with star-crossed lovers and powerful relationships.

Content Notes

Brief misgendering; some violence

Creator Identities:

Lesbian |

Main Character Identities:

Lesbian |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Princess Princess Ever After

Kay O'Neill

Cover Image

When Princess Amira rescues Princess Sadie from her tower, their adventure is just beginning. As Amira tries to figure out just what it means to be a hero, Sadie fights to overcome her sister's negative influence and her own doubt. Fortunately, they have each other and other allies, among them a cookie-obsessed unicorn and a chunky dragon!

Appeals to

Readers seeking a gentle fantasy and fans of unusual princess stories will find much to enjoy here!

Creator Identities:

Nonbinary |

Main Character Identities:

Assumed Black |

Lesbian |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Saga

Brian K. Vaughan

Fiona Staples

Cover Image

In this epic space opera that feels like Romeo and Juliet meets Star Wars, lovers Alana and Marko overcame the odds and fell in love despite their races' long-standing war. The story follows these two as they raise their daughter Hazel while on the run from their respective governments. With a delightful queer supporting cast and constant action, you will not be able to put this series down.

Appeals to

Anyone looking for a sci-fi story that is less white and queerer than mainstream media, this series is for you.

Content Notes

Violence, blood and gore, nudity and depictions of sexual situations, depictions of childbirth.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Snapdragon

Kat Leyh

Cover Image

A chance encounter with a mysterious old woman pulls Snapdragon into a world of taxidermy and magic. As she and Jacks form a bond over their mutual interests and Snap works on exploring her own magical gift, they discover they have more connections than they realized.

Appeals to

Readers who like magical coming-of-age stories such as The Okay Witch and Witch Boy will find much to enjoy here.

Content Notes

Scary moment with an ex-boyfriend

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Squad

Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Lisa Sterle

Cover Image

In this Heathers-meets-Mean Girls-meets-Teen Wolf tale, new girl Becca is adopted by the popular girls only to find out at a party during the full moon that under their plastic smiles are sharp teeth. Before she knows it this pack of popular girls has bitten off more than they can chew.

Appeals to

Anyone who's wished that your classic teen movie had a little more carnage, this graphic novel is for you.

Content Notes

Blood and gore, Murder, Man-eating (literally)

Creator Identities:

Japanese-American |

Bisexual |

Jewish |

Main Character Identities:

Black, Japanese-American |

Lesbian |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

The Girl from the Sea

Molly Ostertag

Cover Image

When 15-year-old Morgan is saved from nearly drowning by the mysterious Keltie, who seems to be more at home in the water than on land, her plan to keep her head down and wait to live as her authentic self once she leaves for college starts to fall apart. As both girls become closer they learn that neither of them can keep their secrets hidden forever.

Appeals to

Readers who have outgrown Ostertag's Witch Boy series will be excited to check out her sapphic take on the selkie myth.

Creator Identities:

Main Character Identities:

Korean-American |

Lesbian |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

The Hazards of Love

Stan Stanley

Cover Image

When a cat steals their name, Amparo is cast into Bright World, a world that chews up the humans unfortunate to come there. Amparo is determined to get home, but they'll have to scrap and deal with the monsters of Bright World. And at what cost to them?

Appeals to

Fans of dark fantasy and horror

Content Notes

Some violence, blood; and dismemberment

Creator Identities:

Mexican |

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Nonbinary |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Witch Boy

Molly Knox Ostertag

Cover Image

In Aster's magical family, girls are witches and boys are shapeshifters. However, Aster is drawn to witch spells only to be thwarted by his family. Over the course of this trilogy, Aster's unique gifts help him to support his family and friends.

Appeals to

Readers looking for a charming coming-of-age story that explores friendship and gender identity will find much to enjoy here.

Creator Identities:

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Gender Nonconforming |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Staff Picks: Asian American and Pacific Islander COMICS

Introduction

In May, the United States observes Asian American and Pacific Islander Month, which celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. In honor of AAPI Month, the No Flying, No Tights Features Team has created a list featuring stories by Asian creators. From powerful memoirs to fantastic fiction, we hope you will find a title or more to enjoy!

Displacement

Kiku Hughes

Cover Image

When Kiku is visiting San Francisco, she is suddenly transported back in time and finds herself incarcerated in one of the World War II internment camps. As she lives what her grandmother experienced, Kiku finds herself considering how this experience has affected her and her family. With captivating artwork and thoughtful tone, this is a compelling read.

Appeals to

Readers who enjoy time travel historical fiction such as Devil's Arithmetic and Kindred

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Japanese-American

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Japanese-American
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Himawari House

Harmony Becker

Cover Image

When Nao decides to return to Japan to reconnect with her heritage, she joins Himawari House, where she meets Tina and Hyejung, two other girls who have their own reasons for being in Japan.
Over the course of a year, the three girls find joy, love, and heartbreak together in this heartwarming story of friendship and self-discovery.

Appeals to

Readers looking for stories about connection, reconnection, and self-discovery; readers looking for the nostalgia of studying abroad

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Japanese-American

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Japanese-American, Korean, Singaporean
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Made in Korea

Jeremy Holt

George Schall

Cover Image

A childless couple adopts Jesse, a young Korean girl with a voracious, inquisitive mind. She also happens to be an AI! As Jesse tries to establish her identity, she will have to grapple with the rules and expectations her family, her creator, and others place upon her.

Appeals to

Fans of science fiction that grapples with challenging questions such as identity, autonomy, and technology

Content Notes

There is a fair amount of violence, including guns and an active shooter situation. There is also some brief nudity.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Korean-American
  • Gender Identity: Nonbinary

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Korean-American
  • Gender Identity: Trans
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Magic Fish

Trung Le Nguyen

Cover Image

Tien loves to read fairy tales with his family. He wants to come out but is unable to find the word for gay in Vietnamese and doesn't want to worry his mother, who is already concerned about his grandmother who she left behind. Can Tien and his mother find their way through the stories they both love?

Appeals to

Lovers of fairy tales and retellings; readers who believe in the power of stories

Content Notes

A little blood violence; very brief homophobia

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Vietnamese American

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Vietnamese American
  • Sexuality: Gay
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Measuring Up

Lily LaMotte

Ann Xu

Cover Image

Cici misses her grandmother who used to cook with her all the time; however, their time together became severely limited when Cici and her family moved from Taiwan t0 the United States. When Cici learns of a kids cooking contest, she decides to enter so that her grandmother can visit for her birthday. However, the cooking contest will challenge Cici's skills as she has only ever made Taiwanese food! Will Cici measure up?

Appeals to

Readers who love stories focusing on food and family

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Taiwanese-American

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Taiwanese-American
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Mech Cadet Yu

Greg Pak

Takeshi Miyazawa

Cover Image

Stanford is just a janitor at Sky Corps Academy, working with his Mom until a mech falls from the sky and bonds with him. Suddenly he's a student and learning how to navigate piloting, politics, and the potential end of the world. Mech Cadet Yu is funny, action-packed, touching, and ultimately hopeful.

Appeals to

This is a mech series for mech fans so anyone who loved series like Voltron and movies like Pacific Rim will love Mech Cadet Yu. But it is also enjoyable for readers that enjoy the human side of sci-fi stories, or sci-fi that isn't heavy on the tech side of things.

Content Notes

Occasional curse words like "hell" or "damn" but otherwise about Power Rangers level of violence.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Korean-American
Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Messy Roots

Laura Gao

Cover Image

Laura Gao lived with her family in Wuhan and knew a different one than the one shown in media coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. After Laura moves to the United States, she grapples with her family's expectations, her own goals, and her sexuality. Told in a heartfelt, honest manner, Messy Roots is a wonderful coming-of-age tale.

Appeals to

Readers who enjoy memoirs that explore themes of immigrant identity and coming of age will likely like Messy Roots.

Content Notes

Racism, homophobia

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Chinese-American
  • Sexuality: Queer

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Chinese-American
  • Sexuality: Queer
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Pashmina

Nidhi Chanani

Cover Image

Priyanka is going through a lot: she's bullied at school, her surrogate uncle is pulling away, and her mother won't tell her about her father. When she finds a pashmina in an old suitcase, she sees visions of India. Using her own money, Pri journeys to India to learn more about her family history, but she will find so much more.

Appeals to

Readers who enjoy coming of age stories; readers who enjoy magical realism

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Indian American

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Indian American
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Seance Tea Party

Reimena Yee

Cover Image

Lora and her friends used to have all kinds of adventures, but now all they want to do is talk about dating, makeup, and what's popular online. A lonely tea party leads to Lora re-discovering her childhood friend: the ghost Alexa. Being with Alexa makes Lora feel more confident and happy, but unfortunately, even ghosts don't last forever. It's a story of loss and self-discovery, acknowledging the past while moving into the future.

Appeals to

The discussions of death and grief make it a great choice for readers of Snapdragon, while the aspects of telling stories to understand the world make it a good read for fans of The Magic Fish. If it's witchy things that pull readers in, then it's an easy suggestion for readers of The Okay Witch.

Content Notes

The story does center on a ghost, so there are discussions of death and grief.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Malaysian
Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Superman Smashes the Klan

Gene Luen Yang

Gurihiru

Cover Image

Based on a storyline in the radio play "The Adventures of Superman" from 1946, Yang brings us a Superman story that is very different from the Superman comics most readers are used to. Instead of fighting alien warlords or billionaire megalomaniacs, Superman is fighting racism and intolerance growing right under his nose in Metropolis. When the Klan of the Fiery Cross attacks a family of Chinese immigrants who just moved to Metropolis, the daughter of this family helps Superman get to the bottom of who is responsible for the attacks. All the while, Superman is also coming to terms with the fact that he is an outsider even though he's lived in America (and on Earth) most of his life.

Appeals to

Both long-time fans of Superman and those who love Gene Luen Yang's work but have never been interested in superhero comics will find something to love here.

Content Notes

Racism, Hate crimes

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6756

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6007
Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

The Waiting

Keum Suk Gendry-im

Cover Image

Korean cartoonist Keum Suk Gendry-Kim weaves her mother's stories with others' testimonies to create the story of an old woman who lost her son during their flight to South Korea. She wants nothing more than to reunite with him during one of the special reunions, but time is running short. With quiet black and white illustrations and a lens that is both personal and historical, readers will find themselves engrossed.

Appeals to

Fans of historical fiction--especially readers curious about the Korean War and its continued impact on Korean citizens--will find this work engaging and powerful.

Content Notes

There is little on-screen violence, but the book is weighty as it portrays displacement and its impact and touches upon sexual assault.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Korean

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Korean
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

They Called Us Enemy

George Takei

Harmony Becker

Cover Image

This graphic novel details actor and writer George Takei's experience in a Japanese internment camp as a child. Takei recounts his memories of his childhood in the camps with the hindsight of an adult, adding historical details and perspective on his parent's sacrifices that he only learns after the fact. This graphic memoir is a reminder that the crimes of our country's past are as not as far away as they sometimes seem.

Appeals to

Readers with an interest in World War II will enjoy this rich first-person narrative. Manga lovers will appreciate the art style, even if the subject matter is a break from their usual reading.

Content Notes

Racism

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6850
  • Sexuality: 7028

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 5975
Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Tidesong

Wendy Xu

Cover Image

In order to train for the entrance exams to a prestigious magic school, Sophie moves to live with the great aunt she's never met. What she finds is a lot of trouble: Aunt Lan doesn't seem to like her, she's struggling with training, and then there's the mess with Lir, a young dragon with amnesia. But what seemed like an impossible knot comes free when Sophie admits what she really feels, and speaks up for what she really wants.

Appeals to

This is a great pick for fans of magical coming-of-age stories like The Witch Boy, films with beautiful environments inspired by mythology like Spirited Away, and gentle stories of magic like Sprite and the Gardener.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Chinese-American
Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Woman World

Aminder Dhaliwal

Cover Image

Woman World, the graphic novel, brings together Aminder Dhaliwal's hilarious and widely popular comics series that she originally posted on her Instagram into one print volume. In these comics, Dhaliwal imagines a world without men, and with this premise, she is able to make satirical commentary on patriarchy and womanhood. While the end of the world may not seem that funny, Dhaliwal's comics almost make you forget that her world is post-apocalyptic.

Appeals to

Webcomic fans will love this funny and light collection of comics.

Content Notes

Nudity

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6832
Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Staff Picks: Cute Comics

Introduction

Many comics lovers enjoy the drama, the horror and the sadness that come with reading fantastic stories that educate us and teach us about the struggle of human existence. And sometimes we just want to escape for a little bit. Whether it be slice of life stories about the everyday and cute animals or fantasy worlds we would love to live in, the comics on this list make us feel happy. 

A Man and His Cat

Umi Sakurai

Cover Image

While this may not be the typical pick for a kawaii comic, A Man and His Cat has cuteness to spare. Kanda, a widower and former professional pianist who lives alone, one day falls in love with the ugliest cat in the pet store, who he names Fukumaru. He learns how to care for his new pet and it helps open the door to new friendships. The story flips between Kanda's and Fukumaru's points of view and Fukumaru speaks in cat puns. It's by turns sweet, sad, and incredibly funny.

Appeals to

This manga is perfect for fans of slice-of-life stories like Horimiya, stories of the trials of cat ownership like Chi's Sweet Home, and stories featuring older protagonists like BL Metamorphosis. There's a little of everything and a lot of very funny cat drawings.

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Adulthood is a Myth

Sarah Andersen

Cover Image

In this collection of deceptively simple short comics, Sarah Andersen waxes poetic on topics like mental health, bad habits, pets, and introverted life!

Appeals to

The comics' short length and pithy delivery make Adulthood is a Myth a great collection for readers looking for a quick pick-me-up.

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Donut Feed the Squirrels

Mika Song

Cover Image

With soft watercolor drawings and lots of golden donuts that look good enough to eat, young readers will love following these two hungry squirrels on their quest to get donuts from a food truck near their tree. They unlist the help of Gramp, master of disguise, and Little Bee, their "getaway driver" to help they on their donut hiest. Lovers of squirrels, donuts, or hijinks will fall in love with Norma and Belly.

Appeals to

Fans of Narwhal and Jelly and Baloney and Friends will love this book.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6796, 6825
Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Go to Sleep (I Miss You)

Lucy Knisley

Cover Image

Do you love cute babies? Are you looking for a graphic novel filled with cute line drawings of a baby that also covers all the trials and tribulations of new parenthood? Then look no further and pick up Go To Sleep (I Miss You). Knisley's simple, but still very whimsical, line drawing showcases her baby Pal's cutest moments, as well as some of his not-so-cute moments in this graphic novel all about figuring out work and life after baby.

Appeals to

New parents will find this title super relatable.

Content Notes

Some panel contain drawing of exposed breast in the context of nursing.

Creator Identities:

  • Sexuality: 7027

Main Character Identities:

  • Sexuality: 5364
Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

I Am Pusheen the Cat

Claire Belton

Cover Image

The cat who's taken the internet by storm, Pusheen, is in her own graphic novel: I Am Pusheen the Cat. In this graphic novel you learn Pusheen's likes and dislikes, meet her sister Stormy and see how she celebrates holidays throughout the year. If you share a Pusheen meme whenever you see them, this graphic novel is for you.

Appeals to

Lovers of Sarah's Scribbles and other popular and very meme-able webcomics will love a book full of Pusheen comics.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Our Cats are More Famous than Us

Ananth Hirsh

Yuko Ota

Cover Image

Follow the adventures of Yuko and Ananth in this charming collection of short autobiographical comics about a variety of topics including adventures with friends, cooking experiments, apartment woes, and, of course, cats!

Appeals to

This collection is like sitting with a friend who's telling you stories; the art is charming yet also captures the drama of the moment. Our Cats Are More Famous Than Us is perfect for college-age and older who want some solid autobiographical comics that capture the triumphs and challenges of adult life.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6832, 6850

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6004, 5975
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

ParaNorthern

Stephanie Cooke

Mari Costa

Cover Image

Abby is a witch in training, but lately, her magic has been acting up. When a spell gone awry opens a portal and unleashes the Chaos Bunnies on her town, Abby and her friends are going to have to work quickly to keep the town from being overrun by the chaotically cute creatures!

Appeals to

Readers who enjoy brightly colored magical stories and friendship and magic will get a kick out of this one. Readers who loved the teen growing pains and adventure in the Okay Witch books will find much to enjoy here.

Creator Identities:

  • Sexuality: 7029

Main Character Identities:

  • Sexuality: 5363
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

The Tea Dragon Society

Kay O'Neill

Cover Image

Greta is a blacksmith's apprentice who loves the work but is not sure if it's something she wants to continue to pursue. After Greta rescues a tiny dragon, the dragon's caretaker pulls her into the world of tea dragon care, opening her up to new friends and experiences.

Appeals to

Readers looking for a tender fantasy story; readers who love dragons (these ones are especially cute!)

Creator Identities:

  • Gender Identity: Nonbinary

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 7641
  • Sexuality: 5362
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Tokyo Mew Mew

Reiko Yoshida

Mia Ikumi

Cover Image

Ichigo is so excited to finally be on a date with her crush when an earthquake and a strange light happen. Everything seems fine until the next day when she's attacked by a monster and finds out she's part of a group called Mew Mews, who have to protect the world from aliens. Now she's teamed up with four other Mew Mews, fighting aliens and working in a cafe when not going on dates or turning more cat-like.

Appeals to

Tokyo Mew Mew follows a lot of magical girl genre tropes, so it's a perfect pick for anyone who loves series like Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor Sakura or is a great choice for readers into romance series like Skip Beat or Daytime Shooting Star. Come for the magical transformations, stay for the relationship drama!

Content Notes

As is sometimes common with magical girl series, there is some non-detailed nudity, and the costumes can be short/revealing, but nothing too extreme.

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Yotsuba&!

Kiyohiko Azuma

Cover Image

On the first day in her new home, Yotsuba wanders off to explore, only to end up running from her new neighbors. This is only the first of many adventures Yotsuba has in this adorable slice of life series.

Appeals to

Readers who like quirky slice-of-life stories and/or adorable child hijinks will find much to enjoy in this series.

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 5397
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Staff Picks: Top Titles of 2021

Introduction

Another year has come and gone. Even though this has been a challenging year, some fantastic graphic novels were published! The Features Team here at No Flying, No Tights would like to share their top picks from 2021.

Boys Run the Riot

Keito Gaku

Cover Image

Just about the only time Ryo is happy is when he goes out into the city, dressed how he likes. Not only is Ryo pretty sure he's trans, he's also really into street fashion. He's not out to anyone, not at school, or even at home, and it makes life lonely. When Jin transfers to Ryo's class, he's struck by how Jin lives how he wants. The two end up working together to create a clothing brand, bonding over their mutual fashion interests.

Appeals to

Great for manga readers who remember Paradise Kiss and are looking for more fashion-centered stories that also grapple with gender norms and societal expectations, or for fans of Our Dreams at Dusk looking for slice of life stories with LGBTQ+ themes.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Japanese
  • Gender Identity: Trans

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Japanese
  • Gender Identity: Gender Nonconforming, Trans
Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Bubble

Jordan Morris

Tony Cliff

Cover Image

Based on the podcast by the same name, Bubble is a near future satire of the gig economy where everyday citizens use an app to take job killing dangerous alien creatures that penetrate the bubble like dome protecting the city. This graphic novel is full of humorous quips, lovable characters, and a healthy dose of self aware jabs at podcasting.

Appeals to

Fans of the podcast will love seeing the story brought to life in a new format, but lovers of sci-if and satire who are new to Bubble will also find something to love here.

Content Notes

drug use, language, and overt sexual scenes

Main Character Identities:

  • Sexuality: 5366
Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms

Crystal Frasier

Val Wise

Cover Image

This graphic novel flips the classic head cheerleader dates the quarterback trope on it's head when the head cheerleader falls for the newest addition to the squad instead. This is a sweet story of two friends reconnecting and figuring out that their feelings may go a little deeper than friendship.

Appeals to

Fans of Heartstoppers, Check, Please!, and Fence will love this sapphic take on the sporty queer romance sub-genre.

Content Notes

Transphobia

Creator Identities:

  • Gender Identity: Intersex, Trans

Main Character Identities:

  • Sexuality: 5363, 5366
  • Gender Identity: 5929
Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Himawari House

Harmony Becker

Cover Image

Nao was born in Japan but grew up in the US. She decided to take a gap year in Japan to reconnect to her roots and find a sense of belonging that she felt she was missing in the US. During that year she shares lodging with two other young woman who are also searching for their place in the world and their identity. A bittersweet story about growing up, finding the place you belong, and the people you belong with.

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Shojo and slice of life manga lovers will love this western love letter to Japan.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6778

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 5975, 5454, 5736
Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Life of Melody

Mari Costa

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A fairy and beast raise a baby human girl in what starts as a reluctant partnership but becomes much more.

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I’m a huge fan of the humanoid creature trying to be human trope and Life of Melody delivers. With its bright, colorful artwork and touching, often humorous, story, Life of Melody is a delight to read.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6733, 6933

Main Character Identities:

  • Sexuality: 5362
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Nubia: Real One

L.L. McKinney

Robyn Smith

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Nubia's moms have always made sure she knew she was special, not just to them, but to the world, and that specialness needed to be kept secret. It's why they've moved so many times after Nubia accidentally shows her abilities. But now, Nubia has friends and a cause she wants to fight for. It's time for Nubia to shine.

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It's an easy pick for fans of Wonder Woman (and particularly Nubia), but its themes of standing up against injustice and speaking truth will resonate with just about every reader.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Black, Jamaican

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Black
Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Salt Magic

Hope Larson

Rebecca Mock

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Vonceil has had trouble reconnecting with her brother ever since he returned from the war and decided to marry a girl from town. A witch appears asking for her brother, and when he refuses to go with her, the witch turns Vonceil's family's well water to salt water. Vonceil makes a deal with the witch: she will find a way to resurrect the witch's true love in exchange for her brother's freedom and the restoration of her family's water.

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I'm a sucker for fairy-tale inspired fantasy, and this historical fantasy-fairy tale was a treat. With its vibrant illustrations and an engaging coming of age narrative with distinct Studio Ghibli vibes, Salt Magic will appeal to readers who loved The Magic Fish.

Creator Identities:

  • Gender Identity: Gender Nonconforming
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Shadow Life

Hiromi Gato

Ann Xu

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Kumiko flees her nursing home in order to live independently in the time she has left. Kumiko will have to fight to hold onto that time--in addition to the usual frailties of aging, she also has to contend with a shapeshifting shadow of death! But Kumiko is not willing to give up without a fight.

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Ann Xu’s striking black and white illustrations and Hiromi Goto’s compelling narrative made this a treat to read. Kumiko is an awesome character-she reminded me a bit of Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle--and the story is full of adventure, humor, and love.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6756, 7130

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 5927, 5397
  • Sexuality: 5364
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

The Girl from the Sea

Molly Knox Ostertag

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Morgan is facing her parents' divorce, her brother's anger, her friends' lack of support, and her own secret, but everything will be fine because she has a plan to get off the island before anyone has to know. Then Keltie comes into her life. She's wonderful and Morgan feels less desperate around her. But Keltie's own secrets could cause problems not just for them, but for so many others. This won't end in a happily ever after, but that's one of the worst things about growing up.

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This is a great choice for fans of selkie myths, as well as fans of books like Snapdragon or Mooncakes.

Creator Identities:

  • Sexuality: Queer

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: Canadian
  • Sexuality: Lesbian
Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

This is How I Disappear

Mirion Malle

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Clara struggles to maintain her mental health as she juggles a challenging job and suffers from writer's block for her book of poems.

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This book made me cry. Malle perfectly captures the challenges of balancing life while you’re struggling with your mental health.

Content Notes

Depression; discussion of sexual assault

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6802

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 5877
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Wake

Rebecca Hall

Hugo Martínez

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Historian Rebecca Hall documents her quest to research women-led slave revolts in this compelling graphic novel.

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I quickly found myself engrossed in this compelling mix of memoir and history. Hugo Martinez’s powerful black and white illustrations capture Rebecca’s physical and emotional journey as well as the interpretations of her research. This is a great read if you’re interested in historical nonfiction that challenges conventional narratives.

Creator Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 6704

Main Character Identities:

  • Race and/or Nationality: 5974, 5357
Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Yummy

Victoria Grace Elliott

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This graphic novel is a colorful exploration of the history of some of the world most popular deserts. Food sprite Peri with her friends Fee and Fada look into the origins of cakes, cookies, ad other confections with science lessons and recipes throw in the mix.

Appeals to

Anyone who loves sweet and is interested in how those treats came to be.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo