Best Graphic Novels of 2015
No, that’s not a typo. I enjoy looking back at my yearly summaries, so I’m filling in those I missed as I can. And 2015 was a good year, with plenty of diverse, entertaining, substantial reads. (Plus, with more time to look back, I can better know which works are longer-lasting, instead of the hot thing to talk about that year.)
- Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova — An outstandingly good graphic novel for and about kids, with surprising depth regarding motivations and emotions. Learning to understand and come to like someone not like you is a worthwhile skill we can all appreciate.
- Hopeless Savages Break by Jen Van Meter, Meredith McClaren, and Christine Norrie — A return to a strong set of characters, demonstrating the virtue of serialized art in allowing us to grow with those we enjoy reading about. Well-established fictional personalities shed new light on the changing moments of life.
- Last of the Sandwalkers by Jay Hosler — There are now a lot of true-science comics, but Hosler’s are the most creative, with a science-focused beetle and a unique view of their world.
- Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks — Another non-fiction comic that demonstrates how versatile and educational the medium can be.
- Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale — Graphic memoir does a terrific job of bringing lives to life, and this, about Harriet Tubman, is powerfully eye-opening.
- Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula by Andi Watson — Fairy tales aren’t always old-fashioned; new ones come along all the time, but rarely as well told as this pastry-centered piece about learning to balance one’s work and necessities with time for oneself and making friends.
- The Story of My Tits by Jennifer Hayden — A substantial, affecting memoir in unique style, covering key elements of Hayden’s life as student, mother, daughter, and cancer survivor through looking at how female body parts change with life events.
- The New Deal by Jonathan Case — A retro caper with modern twists, questioning deep assumptions about class and culture.
- Max & Lily: The Complete Collected Strips by Kris Dresen — Perhaps this choice has too much nostalgia involved, but I was highly impressed to re-read the ten-year-old comic strip about two gay friends and still find it funny, pointed, and insightful.
- Benjamin Bear: Brain Storms! by Philippe Coudray — Incredibly clever classic cartooning with animal humor.
Honorable mentions (to keep the list at the arbitrary ten):
Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
The Oven by Sophie Goldstein
Russian Olive to Red King by Kathryn Immonen and Stuart Immonen