A Tuesday Ten: Speculative Graphic Novels for 2015
Posted by Stephanie Whelan
A Tuesday Ten that takes a tour through some of the speculative fiction graphic novels coming out this year. I realized there have been quite a few graphics I’ve enjoyed this year, and a list would be appropriate.
Space Dumplins by Craig Thompson (Graphix, Expected Publication, August 2015)
Outer space trailer parks, space whale poop, sentient chickens. All take part in the science fiction space opera graphic about Violet Marlocke, a girl whose father has gone missing after he went on his latest harvesting mission. Violet isn’t about to let things be–she’s a rough and tumble girl from the wrong side of “town” who is about to drag her friends and family into an incredibly wild romp through space. This was tons of fun. It’s also one of only two science fiction graphics I found for the list!
Dragons Beware! by Rafael Rosado, illustrated by Jorge Aguirre (First Second, May 2015)
The second book in this series features our warrior in training, Claudette, determined to take on dragons. When an evil wizard invades, her father goes in search of the sword he left in the belly of a dragon. But he doesn’t return, and now Claudette must venture forth with her brother Gaston and best friend Marie. All sorts of talents and abilities will be needed in this sword and sorcery adventure–but there’s a happy ending for (almost) everyone.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (HarperCollins, May 2015)
Technically this tends to fall into the YA category, but I’ve read it and there’s no reason it shouldn’t also be loved by middle grade readers. For fantasy lovers, this is a brilliant and subversive comic about a shapeshifting girl who decides to become the sidekick to the local dark lord. This fantasy/science fiction/steampunk story is funny, dark, poignant, and occasionally exceptionally sweet. It has one of my favorite girl protagonists this year–even if she is the villain’s sidekick. A must read.
The Lunch Witch by Deb Lucke (Papercutz, March 2015)
When a witch finds that modern times just don’t call for her particular nasty talents, she finally takes a job in a school cafeteria. But will her cover be blown by one blackmailing student? A graphic to satisfy those who prefer their humor dark and rather sardonic, their adventures gross and slimy and like to root for the (sort of) bad guys in the story.
Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola, illustrated by, Emily Carroll (Candlewick Press, Expected Publication August 2015)
Masha is in need of an adventure. Baba Yaga is in need of a new assistant. Masha figures that it’s the perfect opportunity for her. Even if most people don’t believe in the stories about Baba Yaga, Masha does. But in order to become the old witch’s assistant, she’ll have to pass a number of trials–trials that only a clever girl who knows her stories can pass! This charming adventure and family drama is surprisingly sweet, despite the wicked witch!
Hilo:The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick (Random House Books, Expected Publication September 2015)
D. J. and his friend Gina are just ordinary kids until Hilo crashes to earth from outerspace. Hilo doesn’t know where he came from or why he’s on earth, but he’s about to make their lives extraordinary. Especially since they just might have to save the world . . . This adventurous graphic, is getting a lot of buzz–I can’t wait to read it myself! I’m adding in the Neil Gaiman quote just because: “More giant robotic ants and people going ‘Aaaah!’ than in the complete works of Jane Austen”.
The Only Child by Guojing (Schwartz and Wade, Expected Publication, December 2015)
This stunning picture book graphic is a wordless adventure for all ages that’s being compared to Shaun Tan’s The Arrival in it’s beauty and elegance of storytelling. It’s stunning and powerful–and I can’t wait for copies to be out and available for gift-giving. A small girl follows a stag deep into the woods and on a magical journey . . . but how will she ultimately get back home again?
Fantasy Sports by Sam Bosma (Nobrow Press, June 2015)
I’m finding I have an odd fondness for this mash up series that intertwines sports and dungeons and dragons style adventuring. Brutish Mug isn’t happy with his intern, Wiz Kid. Wiz Kid, who prefers magic and figuring things out to “smash and grab” isn’t happy with Mug. But they’re stuck with each other. And their latest assignment leads them into a tomb of an undead mummy–who challenges them to a game of hoops for their lives–and treasure if they win! Wild and wacky, this should appeal to tweens who enjoy a good romp. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what happens next!
Oddly Normal by Otis Frampton (Image Comics, March 2015)
This new serial comic features Oddly Normal, a girl whose part human, part witch and all frustrated with her life. She hates school and hates that she doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere–not even with her own parents. But when a 10th birthday wish turns real, and her parents vanish, Oddly is left in the care of her Auntie who takes her to the world of Fignation to keep her safe. Now living in the the world her mother came from, Oddly finds that she is having as much trouble fitting in among the fantastic as she had in the more mundane world. A decent school-focused fantasy storyline, but the first volume is fairly short, so you’ll be looking for more of the story very quickly!
The Kurdles by Robert Goodin (Fantographics, April 2015)
This oversized graphic novel about a teddy bear named Sally who is separated from her family who discovers the strange residents of a place called Kurdleton. They promise to help her get home if she can help them with a bizarre problem–their home is covered in hair. A strange but charming adventure that I think works pretty well if you have a taste for the bizarre. Robert Goodin has worked as an animator for such shows as American Dad and Rugrats. This is his debut graphic novel.
For good measure, I’ve got one extra, that’s not speculative fiction, but is too amazing to not mention.
This is the fifth installment of Nathan Hale’s nonfiction graphic novels series. Each book tackles an event or person in history. All of them have been excellent. But this one–this is his best to date. Hale’s graphic story transforms Tubman into someone we admire and wonder at. After reading this, you begin to really understand why she’s so prominent in our history of the underground railroad and slavery. Drop this into the hands of even reluctant readers and you may soon have a history buff on your hands.
So there’s my list! Please share your own favorites below and let’s make this a great resource for this year’s graphics!
About Stephanie WhelanI'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.
Posted on July 28, 2015, in General Posts, Lists and tagged Aliens, Authors, Books, Children's Books, Children's Literature, fantasy, Graphic Novels, kidlit, Lists, MG Books, Middle-Grade Fiction, Multicultural, Reading, reviews, Science Fiction, series, SF, Space Adventure. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.