2022 Staff Picks: Graphic Novels

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands

    2022 by Beaton, Kate

    I finished this graphic memoir amazed by what its author had accomplished. It’s a deeply intimate, achingly vulnerable story about Beaton's two years working in the Northern Alberta oil sands, a troubled place where issues of mental health, misogyny, toxic masculinity, sexual violence, isolation, resilience, and environmental degradation are stunningly woven together. Suggested by Chris.

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  • The Nice House on the Lake

    2022 by Tynion, James

    This comic by one of my favorite creators is terrifying. It's satisfyingly complex and has weird psychological puzzles and lots of characters who are drawn so well, it's not hard to know who's who. I found myself turning back to the first page when I finished the first volume to look for stuff I might have missed. Suggested by Rachael.

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  • Victory. Stand! Raising My Fist for Justice

    2022 by Smith, Tommie

    In this National Book Award finalist and stunning graphic memoir, Gold medalist Dr. Smith teams up with award-winning creators Barnes and Anyabwile to vividly recount his life and the road that led up to the memorable Olympic 1968 protest. This is a powerful celebration of activism and resistance. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • M Is for Monster

    2022 by Dutton, Talia

    I thoroughly enjoyed this debut science fiction graphic novel, which is inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. While using the classic novel as its framework, it skillfully explores grief, sisterhood, and carving out an identity with an inclusive cast. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Castaways

    2022 by Pérez Granell, Laura

    I really enjoyed this adult, slice-of-life graphic novel that chronicles the cycle of a romantic relationship set in Madrid, Spain. It is a quiet, poignant, and reflective graphic novel about loneliness, longing, and missed opportunities, told in two different timelines. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • What Is Home, Mum?

    2022 by Khan, Sabba

    This is my favorite graphic memoir of this year. Khan creates an intimate, introspective story about her experiences, faith, and family in the South Asian diaspora community of East London. Her questions of belonging and claiming your home as an immigrant really hit home for me. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Squire

    2022 by Shammas, Nadia

    Set in an alternative history of the Middle East and North Africa, this graphic fantasy skillfully tackles complex subjects such as war, loyalty, and imperialism through the lens of a young, relatable, compelling protagonist. Despite the heavy issues, it has an action-packed plot and beautiful illustrations. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American

    2022 by Gao, Laura

    This funny graphic memoir follows a queer Chinese American as she details the hardships and complexities of growing up as an immigrant in predominately white spaces. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Who Will Make the Pancakes: Five Stories

    2022 by Kelso, Megan

    An anthology of five comics created by Kelso, with a through-line about childrearing or childhood running throughout. Kelso has a fine eye for detail in both her illustration and narrative, the pathos of which slowly accumulates over time. One story is about cat servants and it's weird, a little unnerving, and marvelous. Suggested by Chris.

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  • Revenge of the Librarians

    2022 by Gauld, Tom

    Tom Gauld has long been the favorite cartoonist of librarians, book lovers, and English majors, and here he returns with a fresh collection of comic strips that are equal parts smart, silly, and surreal. Suggested by Steven.

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  • The Greatest Thing

    2022 by Searle, Sarah Winifred

    This graphic novel is a sensitive, compassionate, and poignant story of mental health struggles, and also emphasizes the importance of community, self-acceptance, and finding the courage to ask for help. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Heartstopper, Volume 4

    2022 by Oseman, Alice

    I absolutely adore the Heartstopper series, but this volume is my favorite thus far. Nick and Charlie learn to communicate openly with each other, learn what it means to be an ally, and accept that seeking help does not make you less of a person. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Himawari House

    2021 by Becker, Harmony

    Himawari House is a slice-of-life graphic novel that I absolutely adored. If you love stories that are character-driven, about self-discovery and friendship, then I highly recommend picking up this wonderful graphic novel. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Huda F Are You?

    2021 by Fahmy, Huda

    With possibly the greatest title ever, this hilarious, heartfelt graphic novel explores identity, self-awareness, and all of the complexities of wanting to belong in a way that is universal. An absolute delight. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Lore Olympus

    2021 by Smythe, Rachel

    This highly popular webtoon is finally available in print, and I am so thankful! It is a completely addicting, beautifully drawn, modern retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth. I think the adaptation is very clever and I appreciate that Smythe does not shy away from discussing hard-hitting topics such as toxic relationships. Suggested by Rummanah.

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