Comics · thinking out loud

Ten comics for YA fans

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is a freebie, and I’m doing ten comics for fans of YA fiction. I guess this came out of several conversations I’ve had with different local comic creators over the last few months. One of the things they’ve mentioned is getting non-comic readers into comics, and specifically getting YA and MG readers into comics. Being me, I started to compile lists in my head…

nimona patsywalker msmarvel1 thisonesummer babayaga

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
I would recommend Nimona to everyone and anyone, not just YA fans. But probably especially YA fans. First of all, the titular character is the coolest, most kickass of heroines who isn’t even a heroine – in fact, she is a villain’s “sidekick”. Second, this book takes a really awesome twist on the whole good and evil, hero and villain thing. And yes, there’s your share of beautiful dudes. And it’s by Noelle Stevenson, who did the cover art for Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat! Vol.1: Hooked on a Feline by Kate Leth & Brittney Williams
This is the second week in a row I’m including this title, sorry. Patsy Walker might seem like a weird choice – of all the books in this list, it’s the only one where the main character isn’t a young adult herself. (In fact, I probably should have included Squirrel Girl instead.) But I felt like I had to add her because Patsy Walker had had an interesting teen-hood and also, she now mostly helps out younger superpowered individuals who may or may not have decided on what they want to do with their lives.* After all, just because you have powers, doesn’t mean that you automatically WANT to risk your own life to save others on a daily basis, right? Sometimes you just want to work in a cute bookstore and use your levitating powers to haul cartons instead! This is a superhero comic so of course there is your occasional superhero-ing, but mostly this puts the fun in funny. Also read: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, for more superhero-related humour and girl power.

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona 
The newest Ms. Marvel changed a lot when she became the first Muslim superhero to lead her own series. And that would have been enough, except that Kamala Khan is also a major geek who spends her free time reading and writing Avengers fanfic, and really is just a sweet, super relatable character who doesn’t need a tragic backstory to make her want to do the right thing. I love her support system, too – she has the best best friends, and the ending of this four volume run is perfect, although I’m also really enjoying (and totally recommend) her newer stories.
Also read: Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah for the inner conflict of faith/modernity, wanting to be a good Muslim and wanting to be like everyone else. Or Hero by Perry Moore, for the inner conflict of trying to fit into the stereotype of what a “superhero” is SUPPOSED to look like.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki (illust.)
This One Summer is more of a middle grade read, but I would also recommend it for YA fans. It’s a lovely, bittersweet sort of story about friendship and family and growing up and growing apart and change.

Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola & Emily Carroll (illust.)
Another middle grade read that I absolutely love. This one is more fairy tale like than the others in my list, and includes Baba Yaga stories, of course. It’s also about family and growing up and the importance of stories. Also read: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, or “Troll Bridge” by Neil Gaiman for how stories help us when thrust into impossible situations.

gothamacademy1 shade1 solanin1 wiresandnerves wrinkleintime

Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher
I think when I used this book in our newsletter awhile back I described it as “Harry Potter x superheroes” although really it’s Harry Potter meets the DC universe, since there’s more sleuthing and less superheroing in this one, being set in a boarding school and all.

Shade, the Changing Girl Vol. 1: Earth Girl Made Easy by Cecil Castellucci & Marley Zarcone
Confession: I’ve never read Shade, the Changing Man. I know vaguely what happened in that series, and I have volumes 2 and 3 on my shelf right now, but I haven’t read it. But that doesn’t matter because it’s not a requirement to enjoy Shade, the Changing Girl. Set many years after Shade, the Changing Man (also known as the present time), this comic is about Loma, an alien who admired a mad poet who lived among humans once, and decided to follow in his footsteps. Unfortunately, she enters the body of a teenager who had been the Ultimate Mean Girl. While trying to figure out what was supposed to be so amazing about the human existence, she also had to suffer the consequences of the life her body’s previous owner had led. I’ve been reading this as single issues; the first volume trade will be out in July.

Solanin by Asano Inio
If I end up making a Favourite Comics list next week, this or something else by Asano Inio would probably appear in it. I love all of his works that I’ve read, but Solanin is the one I’d recommend the most, especially for this week’s theme, because among other things it’s about growing up and finding one’s place in the world. There’s tragedy, but it’s also funny, and the ending is – strangely enough, especially for an Asano Inio – hopeful. My copy comes in two volumes, but the English version was compiled into one.

Wires and Nerves by Marissa Meyer & Douglas Holgate (illust.)
This one I haven’t read, and want to read badly. I’m a fan of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, and this comic is about Iko, Cinder’s best friend, who happens to be an android.

Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson
A Wrinkle in Time is one of my favourite childhood books, and one of the books that had a great impact on me as a kid. As far as adaptations of books go, this is one of my favourites, so I’d rec it to readers who love the book, or those that don’t feel up to reading the original yet. (Although, WHY NOT?) Do note, however, that somehow Meg and Charles Wallace in this adaptation reads as a bit more annoying than Meg and Charles Wallace in the original.

If you’re a comics fan, do you remember the first comic that got you into it? I remember reading a lot of Peanuts collected strips when I was very young, but the first comic that made me love the medium was probably Uncanny X-Men. (And then there was Doraemon. And The Sandman. And then, in college, Slam Dunk appeared in my life…)

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22 thoughts on “Ten comics for YA fans

    1. So do I! It might be a long time from now, though, since the inhumans haven’t made their way into the films yet, and I would like her to appear around the same time as Miles Morales (which would be hard since MCU only just introduced Peter Parker). But until then, we can enjoy Captain Marvel. It’s been the MCU movie I look forward to the most since the first GotG.

      (Also, I’m really loving the current Captain Marvel run by Margaret Stohl.)

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      1. Yes! Bring on Miles! I am pretty behind on Captain Marvel, sadly. I used to buy each issue at release, but that became a large undertaking with the amount of comics I was reading. I have no switched to trades and unfortunately fallen behind. But, I am glad to hear it is good. 😀 I was sure she’d do a great job.

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    1. This One Summer is so good! It made Mariko Tamaki an instant buy for me (which is why I’m now following her Supergirl and Hulk titles…), although I love her collaborations with Jillian Tamaki the best 🙂

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    1. Thanks! Sorry to hear they give you a headache – I have a friend who can’t read comics for the same reason (so I end up telling her the stories). Hope you’ll get to check out Gotham Academy someday, though!

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  1. I don’t read comics but love the Marvel and DC Comics world as film adaptations. “Ms. Marvel” looks like a fun, easy read – and I’m super excited to meet this character in the MCU next year! 🙂

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    1. I love the film adaptations 😀 The character coming into MCU is Captain Marvel, who is Ms. Marvel’s favourite superhero/mentor – but yes, I’m excited to see her in the films, too!

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  2. Kamala is such an adorable character. Ms. Marvel is one of the books on my pull list at my comic shop, and I look forward to it every month. She’s also great in Champions, a team book that stars Marvel’s current teen heroes.

    I would suggest adding the current run of Archie to this list if you do a revised one in the future. It truly modernizes the high school drama of the classic series.

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    1. Champions and Mark Waid’s Archie are in my pull list, too! I kept to ten in this list, but I’m working on an expanded version of this post for my zine which includes them both 😀

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