If you binge-watched the first season of Netflix’s Jessica Jones and need a graphic novel fix to hold you over until season two drops, there’s a cornucopia of incredible titles that prove comics are definitely not just for kids. And they’re not just for guys either! In fact, Publisher’s Weekly recently announced, “A record number of women have been nominated for the 2016 Will Eisner Comic Industry awards… 49 women received 61 nominations this year. Last year 44 women received nominations.” Start your summer reading list with these five graphic novels for adults that we’re crazy about!
1. Love & Rockets • Gilbert, Haime & Mario Hernandez The Hernandez brothers’ Love & Rockets series debuted in 1982 and in 30+ years it has helped define the modern graphic novel with strong, complex female characters. On top of that, they were among the first to feature Latin American characters. In 2012, Jaime Hernandez explained their inspiration to A.V. Club, “Let’s show them how being a Mexican in Southern California is. I also don’t see a lot of women being treated fairly in comics — so it was that.” Heat up your summer even more with Gilbert Hernandez’s much-anticipated Garden of Flesh. It’s hard to resist Adam and Eve erotica in graphic novel form!
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2. Patience • Daniel Clowes Patience just came out this March and it’s one of the most exciting graphic novels for adults this year. It’s been five years since the last work from award-winning author, Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) and he doesn’t disappoint with this psychedelic, sci-fi love story. Publisher Fantagraphics says of Patience, “This 180-page, full-color story affords Clowes the opportunity to draw some of the most exuberant and breathtaking pages of his life, and to tell his most suspenseful, surprising and affecting story yet.”
3. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened • Allie Brosh If you missed #1 New York Times Bestseller Hyperbole and a Half when it came out in 2013, you need to run out and get this unbelievably witty exploration of author Allie Brosh’s dog and her depression today. Bill Gates gave it this glowing review, “While she self-deprecatingly depicts herself in words and art as an odd outsider, we can all relate to her struggles. Rather than laughing at her, you laugh with her. It is no hyperbole to say I love her approach—looking, listening, and describing with the observational skills of a scientist, the creativity of an artist, and the wit of a comedian.”
4. The Complete Persepolis • Marjane Satrapi Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, The Complete Persepolis contains both English-language volumes of her series which are strikingly illustrated in black and white. The animated film version was nominated for an Academy Award in 2007.
5. Panther • Brecht Evans Brecht Evans’ gorgeously illustrated graphic novel, Panther, hit stores on April 26. With all the bad press Belgium has had lately, this is a fantastic reminder of the gems that this country can produce. Though the protagonist Christine is a little girl, the story is definitely for adults. When her beloved cat dies she is devastated until a panther suddenly jumps out of her dresser. Publisher Drawn & Quarterly describes it as, “A shape-shifter who tells Christine anything she wants to hear, Panther begins taking over Christine’s life, alienating her from her other toys and friends. As Christine’s world spirals out of control, so does the world Panther has created for her. Panther is a chilling voyage into the shadowy corners of the human psyche.” Like we said, probably not for the kids….
BONUS Bitch Planet • Kelly Sue Deconnick & Valentine de Landro Imagine a sci-fi 70’s women in prison exploitation flick with a feminist sensibility. Image Comics sums it up, “Think Margaret Atwood meets Inglourious Basterds.” That’s Bitch Planet!