In a world of super hero stardom and graphic novels the Marvel and DC worlds have taken over. Ya’ll are gettin’ your fix if you love action-packed cape or tight suit-wearing villains or heroes. For the rest of us, however, there’s a whole world of graphic novel reading that doesn’t revolve around the same 8 super heroes in outlandish scenarios. *We’re only hating a little bit, to each their own!* As a collective, the employees here at Bookmans Midtown have been geeking out over Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and illustrated by Fionna Staples for months now and we were definitely behind the game. Now, after our little minds have been blown, we’ve decided to branch out and open the door to a world of illustrated wonder. We recommend these series to you as beautifully crafted visual tales of adventure and suspense; sure, there may be a cape here or there, but nothing as obscene as the Marvel/DC realm. *cough*

graphic novels

There’s no denying the huge fandom that’s become of the television show Stranger Things. What isn’t there to love about a group of neighborhood kids on bikes experiencing supernatural phenomena in their once boring old home town? As much can be said about the series Paper Girls, in fact, the creators of Stranger Things even mentioned feeling inspired from this series. Also written by Brian K. Vaughn but illustrated by Matthew Wilson and Cliff Chiang, this tale takes us to the streets as part of the all-girl paper delivery gang.  Set in the 80s with a beautifully illustrated backdrop, the adventure begins on Halloween and soon turns into a real life nightmare. What appears to be an invasion of monsters also entails time travel and mayhem. The girls in this series are kick-ass and instantly make you flipping the pages for more. Don’t let the all girl theme deter you if that isn’t your thing, the adventure aspect will keep you gripping your seat until the very last page.

Brains, Brains, BRAINS! Graphic novels with brains. YAS. For once, when zombies are mentioned, we aren’t talking about The Walking Dead. Don’t get us wrong, that’s also a great series but the zombie comics that are keeping us up at night go by the name of Revival, by Tim Seeley. Deemed a “rural noir”, this series completely revitalized the zombie genre. The illustrations are what hooked this reader. Done by Mike Norton and Mark Englert these images are shadowed in darkness and immediately pull you in. They’re gloomy and spooky and don’t look like your typical zombie ideology. Set in a rural Wisconsin town we follow the lives of the sheriff and his deranged family. What makes the zombies in this tale truly unique are their characteristics, meaning, when they come back to life they’re the same people you once knew them to be. Their mental capacities haven’t changed at all. Eerie, right? If you love horror and a great mystery Revival definitely has to be your next pick.

If you love WoW, D&D or other games with a fantastical element you’ll also love Rat Queens. Upon first glance you may think this series is for young adults, think again. Written by Kurtis Weibe and illustrated by Roc Upchurch we’re introduced to characters such as an elven mage, a dwarf, a cleric and all the other roles you love so much about your geeky gaming fantasies. The main characters in Rat Queens are a band of out of this world women who kick total erm…ass! It’s chalk full of adventure and magic and while the story line may not be the most in depth, the characters are so dynamic you won’t even notice. We encourage you to look past the juvenile cover and enjoy the epic that ensues.

This year is the perfect opportunity to pick up a different title and open your eyes to the wonderful world of graphic novels. Whether you’re an avid graphic novel reader or someone who devours them like air, these titles won’t disappoint. Don’t forget, not all adventure tales must be told with a cape. Take THAT Marvel & DC! (Again, only sort-of hating for purposes of this review.)