While getting ready for Hobby Chat: Comics, Graphic Novels and Manga at Adult Summer Camp this year (Join us 6/8/21 at 12 EST!), Danie and Tyjan tried to compile a list of what they consider "must read" titles. They came up with more than could fit here! So here's the narrowed down version of their selections (just ask at the Hobby Chat if you want the rest!)
For when you need to know your basics! Here's some of our favorite storylines from some well known heroes.
Superman Red Son - Instead of Kansas, the ship carrying baby Superman lands in the Ukraine. Superman is introduced to the world during the 1950s Cold War as a Soviet asset, causing panic in the United States.
Hulk: Future Imperfect - the Hulk is the last super power in a post-apocalyptic Earth, ruling with an iron fist as the wicked Maestro. But summoned from the past by a small band of rebels is perhaps the only being who can stand against him!
Batman Dark Knight Returns - Batman comes out of retirement and gets help from a teenage sidekick. He faces off against the Joker and Two-Face before a battle to the death begins against Superman.
Red Sonja - The She-Devil with a Sword, intends to pay back a blood debt owed to the one man who has gained her respect...even if it means leading a doomed army to their certain deaths.
Hawkeye, My Life as a Weapon - Clint Barton-- a.k.a. the self-made hero Hawkeye-- fights for justice ... and good rooftop BBQs! He's out to get some downtime from being one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Thor the Goddess of Thunder - when Frost Giants invade Earth, the hammer will be lifted - and a mysterious woman will be transformed into an all-new version of the mighty Thor.
Hellboy Seed of Destruction - Hellboy is determined to uncover his mysterious origin
Spiderverse: Miles Morales - In the wake of Peter Parker's death in the Ultimate universe, Miles Morales steps forward with his own incredible abilities to live up to the Spider-Man legacy. (now a major motion picture!)
Normally when someone says comics or graphic novels, everyone automatically thinks Superheroes. So here's some alternative titles that don't feature spandex suits!
Elfquest - a tribe of wolf-riding elves are displaced after humans burn their forest, starting a quest to find a new home in this longest running independently produced American comic.
Magic Fish - Tién, a boy who always seems to have his face stuck in a book, has a crush on one of his male classmates. He isn't sure how to talk about that with either the object of his affection or his family.
The Sandman - Neil Gaiman's tale of Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, who is captured and subsequently learns that sometimes change is inevitable.
Saga - Two enemy soldiers fall in love and bring new life into a dangerous old universe.
Emily the Strange - is not your ordinary thirteen-year-old girl — she's got a razor-sharp wit as dark as her jet-black hair, a posse of moody black cats and famous friends in very odd places! She's got a broodingly unique way of experiencing the world, and you're invited along for the ride.
Hilda - Hilda is a little girl always ready for adventure and willing to help anyone in need - from rock trolls to mountain giants to invisible tiny elves! Along with her trusty friends Hilda proves again and again that kindness is key to co-existing in this sweet fantasy series for children and adults alike. (Now a popular Netflix series!)
Avatar the Last Airbender - If you've watched the show, now you've got to read the graphic novels! Aang's adventures continue as the Gaang searches for answers about Azula and Zuko's mother and assist in the rebuilding of their world.
Non-Fiction Graphic Novels
The use of visuals in graphic novels can pack a punch, especially when relating stories of real events and people. There's so many good ones out there, so these are just a personal pick.
Maus: A Survivor's Tale - The biography of a World War II Holocaust survivor about how people care for each other, even at the risk of their own lives.
They Called Us Enemy - actor George Takei tells his story of the United States' internment camps for Japanese Americans.
Dumb: Living Without a Voice - A graphic memoir about a woman's inability to speak after a vocal injury and her struggle to get help and communicate.
March: Book One - A first-hand account of the author’s lifelong struggle for civil and human rights spans his youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., and the birth of the Nashville Student Movement.
Smile - Author and artist Raina Telgemeier, known for her work on The Babysitter's Club and original stories, tells how from sixth grade through tenth, she coped with a variety of dental problems that affected her appearance and how she felt about herself.
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art - While not a story, author and artist Scott McCloud explores formal aspects of comics, the historical development of the medium, its fundamental vocabulary, and various ways in which these elements have been used.
Manga Must Reads:
There are so many sub-genres within manga that it seems a little strange to lump them all together. But all of these definitely deserve a good check out!
Sailor Moon - Schoolgirl Usagi meets a talking cat who helps her transform into the moon princess Sailor Moon to battle evil in this genre-defining Magical Girl series
Naruto - a young boy named Naruto struggles to gain the acceptance of his village and become their leader, and oh, did we mention Ninjas?
One Piece - In this top selling manga of ALL TIME, Luff sets off to find a legendary treasure and proclaim himself the King of the Pirates.
Fruits Basket - Tohru only wanted to be self sufficient after the death of her mother, but gets drawn into the family drama of the Sohma clan who are cursed to change into animals when hugged by someone of the opposite gender.
DeathNote - a Grim Reaper's notebook that kills anyone who's name is written in it falls to earth and is picked up by a high school student.
A Silent Voice - Shoya is ostracized by his classmates after he bullies a deaf girl into moving away. Years later, he sets off on a path for redemption.
Demon Slayer - After a demon kills his family and turns his sister into a demon herself, Tanjiro studies to become a demon slayer to find a way to save her.
Spiral - From Junji Ito, considered the Japanese king of horror, comes this story of a town haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: "uzumaki," the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world which causes the inhabitants to go mad.
Ranma 1/2 - Hijinks abound in this comedy series by manga legend Rumiko Takahashi. Ranma was on a martial arts training mission when he fell into a cursed spring - now when he is doused with cold water, he becomes a girl! Hot water changes him back, but doesn't stop the funny situations he finds himself in!
My Hero Academia - Izuku Midoriya is born without a superpower, but he won't let that stop his dream of becoming a hero. It is his determination and spirit that leads the number one hero to name Izuku his successor and gives the boy his powers. Now Izuku has to navigate a hero training high school with his new powers!