First Steps: Graphic Novels

Posted August 3, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in First Steps / 11 Comments

literary stepsFirst Steps is a new segment that was inspired by the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. Each week or two we look at what books from different themes, genres or maybe authors and suggest some that are worth trying. Not necessarily all easy to read books but the ones that are worth the time and effort. My goal is to have First Steps guide you to some great books in places you don’t normally venture to.

Graphic Novels is something I have found many people struggle with in the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge; they often don’t know where to start or are just scared to try one. I got the impression that they thought they were more of a guy thing or they were not into superheroes. So I wanted to offer some suggestions that would cover both.

Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware

This graphic novel follows the story of a lonely and emotionally-impaired “everyman” who is given, at age 36, the opportunity to meet his father for the first time. Jimmy Corrigan is a self-conscious, mother-pleasing, middle-aged man with the angst of a teenage boy. An interesting and emotional story.

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes

This quasi-autobiographical story follows the adventures of two teenage girls facing the prospects of growing up. The art style of this Graphic novel is amazing, even though it’s mainly in black and white there are shadings of green that come through as well.


Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis is the autobiography of Satrapi, growing up within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. Balancing the plot between her private and public life, in a country plagued by political upheaval.


Maus by Art Spiegelman

The only graphic novel I know of that has won the Pulitzer Prize. Maus is the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. The Jews are mice and the Nazis are cats, this is a brilliant way to tell this type of story.


Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley

I love this series, it follows the story of Scott Pilgrim and how he has to battle his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes. Something he would never have planned on, but love makes you do funny things. While this is six short graphic novels, I highly recommend reading the entire series. Also there is a faithful movie adaptation that is well worth seeing too The only real difference is Michael Cera doesn’t look like Scott Pilgrim.

There are many more great graphic novels out there but I hope I’ve given you a good place to start. Feel free to suggest some more graphic novels and even recommend some to me that I should check out. I’m tempted to do a similar post with more of your superhero type graphic novels but we will see how that goes.

11 responses to “First Steps: Graphic Novels

  1. Akilah

    American Born Chinese is a lot of fun. Also, The Surrogates is a dystopian tale (the Bruce Willis film was based on it). Most of the graphic novels I read skew young, but ABC has a lot of universal appeal and The Surrogates is firmly in the grown-up graphic novels camp.

    Love Persepolis and Maus. Both are intensely terrific.

  2. Sam_TinyLibrary

    I love the First Steps idea! I’m quite new to graphic novels but I have read Persepolis and Maus, both of which I really enjoyed. Out of your list, I think I will try Ghost World next.

  3. missbonnie13

    I’ve recently become addicted to the Fables graphic novels… they are tons of fun. I enjoyed Maus and Ghost World.. will definitely have to check out the others you suggested!

  4. Andi

    Great suggestions! I’ve read all of these except Scott Pilgrim and Jimmy Corrigan…though I hope to hop into the Pilgrim series, soon. I’m also a big fan of the Fables series, I hope to start Chew soon, and I love anything by Gene Luen Yang. I fell in love with American Born Chinese, and he has a new two-book set, Boxers & Saints, coming up soon.

  5. Mini Review: Graphic Novels (Fables, Batman & Hawkeye)

    […] me know. If you have not really tried a comic before and don’t know where to start, check out my First Steps post on that topic. On a final note, another great thing about the Comixology app is the free […]

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