Have you seen Avengers: Endgame yet? The culmination of Marvel’s 20-movie saga appears to be hitting all the right marks with critics and fans alike. This is truly a great time to be a graphic novel/science fiction fan. In fact, it seems that what used to be considered nerdy has become the very definition of cool—and not just at the movies! In fact, the most talked about TV show right now is the fantasy Game of Thrones.
This is definitely a welcome change. Fans of these genres used to languish on the fringes. Even the success of Star Wars didn’t do much to change the perception. Trekkies were looked at with pity, cosplayers were mocked endlessly, and comic cons had only a small group of diehard attendees. Not anymore!
Of course, there are still some who look down upon graphic novels. And sadly, it seems the success of the Marvel movies has done little to change many people’s opinions. This is probably because these particular stories are inhabited primarily by superheroes with extraordinary powers, leading to the perception that they are just silly tales for children. This is hardly the case, however.
Even the relatively “unsophisticated” classic superhero comics contain universal themes of good versus evil, discovering your hidden potential, and dealing with life and death—all topics that can be found in mainstream fiction. More importantly, however, not all graphic novels are about superheroes.
In recent history, there has been a renaissance in what kind of stories can be told in this medium. From graphic retellings of classic novels to nonfiction titles, the graphic novel is expanding as an art form. Recently, for the first time ever, a graphic novel was even nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Prize. The novel, Sabrina by Nick Drnaso, explores the impact that conspiracy theories have on the family and friends of a murder victim—pretty heavy stuff for a medium thought to be just for kids.
And this is not the only graphic novel that deals with these types of complex issues. Here are a few others:
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – recounts the author’s experiences growing up during the Iranian Revolution
- American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – explores the stories of young Chinese-Americans trying to navigate popular culture
- March by John Lewis – an autobiographical series about the legendary Civil Rights leader
- Mis(h)adra by Iasmin Omar Ata – a young Arab-American man trying to handle his epilepsy
This is only a small sample of graphic novels that are worth checking out. But you don’t have to take a trip to a branch in order to find them. MCPL offers eBooks as well as online resources such as ComicsPlus: Library Edition and RBdigital Comics, which can be used to download comics to your device.
And with Summer Learning Program kicking off, now is the perfect time to start exploring what graphic novels have to offer! This year’s theme is “A Universe of Stories,” and there is no doubt that is exactly what you can find in our modern day “comics.” From superheroes to Civil Rights heroes, there really is something for everyone.