Photo Credit: Paige Jones
1. Legend of Bold Riley
Leia Weathington and Many Artists
Bold Riley is a princess who leaves behind her kingdom to have adventures and woo the ladies before she settles down to rule. Leia Weathington is the creator and writer of all the short stories in this collection though she only illustrates one chapter, recruiting an incredibly talented roster of artists to bring the rest of her stories to life. The variety of artwork is a feast for the eyes and the tales of Bold Riley are exciting and timeless.
Drama is a book that will speak to all the middle school students who are navigating their passion for theater with their erupting and extinguishing crushes and coping with bullies. Raina Telgemeier’s cartooning is powerful while looking effortless and she has written a story that is going to be a light in the dark room that is adolescence for many, many young people.
3. Tune: Vanishing Point
Derek Kirk Kim
Oh my gosh, this story is hilarious and exciting! This science-fiction story plucks loser Andy out of his dead-end life and throws him into an intergalactic zoo where he is a specimen on display for aliens (except now Andy is the alien). Derek Kirk Kim is as wonderful a writer as his drawings are gorgeous and engaging. This is the first book in a series and I absolutely cannot wait for volume two.
4. Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, & Me
Everything Ellen Forney touches is gold. Her striking, energetic artwork propels the reader into her tumultuous brain as she discovers that she is bipolar and the trials she will go through as she learns to cope with and treat it. This is a great read for anyone with a connection to (or just an interest in) creativity and mental chemical unbalance, whether the reader can relate to her work personally or if someone just wants to understand their creative/crazy loved one better.
Marc Ellerby has created a beautiful, complete story that spans over several years, documenting falling in love, forming a relationship, and then breaking up with his girlfriend, Anna — Don’t be put off by my description, the primary thrust of the comic is the humor and reading about how funny these two people are together. Many autobio comics can feel disjointed and jagged in their day-to-day reportings, but Ellerbisms has a lovely flow and narrative arc that will make you laugh and tear up.
6. Between Gears
In her senior year of college, Natalie Nourigat decided to draw one journal comic page a day to chronicle her final days in school before plunging into the cold waters of Being An Adult. Her illustrations are lovely and she captures the magic in the nuance of every day living. You can’t help but root for her as she learns and grows as a person over the course of the book.