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Top 10 Graphic Novel Books for Adults to Read

Comics and Graphic Novels arranged. Photography by Erik Mclean. Image via Unsplash

Get ready to enter the world of all things graphic novels!

Over the past few years, the burgeoning genre of graphic novels has only gotten more and more popular. Walk into any bookshop and you’ll find the aisle filled with these graphic novels, telling stories of everything powerful superheroes to quirky romances. Between bold illustrations and captivating tales, there’s plenty of reasons to love graphic novels. Even classic novels like Animal Farm and The Handmaid’s Tale have gotten the graphic novel treatment.

With so many options, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best graphic novels for adults to read this 2022. So snuggle up with some blankets, grab a hot chocolate, and flick through the very best graphic novels on the market!

<strong>Maus</strong> by Art Spiegelman
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Maus by Art Spiegelman

Written and illustrated over two volumes throughout the 1980s, Maus is one of the most important graphic novels of all time. Maus is not for the faint of heart: the graphic novel explores the life of the author’s Polish-Jewish father, reliving the trauma of the Holocaust. Rather than drawing humans, each character is represented by an entirely animal cast, giving each page an earie, unsettling look appropriate for the subject matter. Spiegelman’s magnum opus went on to win the first and only Pulitzer Prize for a graphic novel, one of the highest accolades for any piece of writing. A mix between a memoir and historical non-fiction, experience one of the deepest scars in human history through breathtaking storytelling and illustration.

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1991
<strong>Watchmen</strong> by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
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Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons

The superhero comic that turned the genre on its head, Watchmen is an update to an old saying: who watches the watchmen? In an alternate reality where superheroes exist, this graphic novel shows the darker side of having such impossible power in society. A pitch-black dark premise is contrasted with gorgeous panel artwork, with each page suturing the readers’ eyes. This co-creation between Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons shows off the power of graphic novels to shine a mirror on our society, crafting one of the best graphic DC Comics novels of all time.

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1987
<strong>The Incal</strong> by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Jean Giraud
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The Incal by Alejandro Jodorowsky & Jean Giraud

The Incal has one of the most bizarre making-of’s in history: Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky, unable to complete his film version of Dune, turned to fame comics artist Jean Giraud to transform his concept art and storyline into a gorgeous graphic novel. An epic space opera, this 300-page intergalactic odyssey will take your mind to the extremes of psychedelic sci-fi, with vast landscapes, quirky aliens and a plot dealing with the nature of the universe. A mind-trip in comic form, strap in to experience one of the best sci-fi graphic novels ever!

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1988
<strong>Fun Home</strong> by Alison Bechdel
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Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

In their brief history, graphic novels have been used to tell powerful personal stories, letting you step into someone else’s life halfway around the world. In Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, the famed comic artist gives you a peak into her own struggles with sexuality growing up in rural Pennsylvania, and her complex relationship with her father. See firsthand how two people understand their identity in very different ways, sometimes with dire consequences. In equal measures funny and heart-breaking, Fun Home is a unique and eye-opening memoir for one of the most important comic book artists in history.

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2006
<strong>Heartstopper</strong> by Alice Oseman
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Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

If you’re curious to find the origins of the current Netflix hit, we point you in the direction of Alice Oseman’s graphic novel Heartstopper. Heartstopper tells the beautiful tale of a young boy growing up queer, slowly falling in love with a classmate despite the challenges of high school. First starting life as a weekly comic on Tumblr, this romantic coming-of-age graphic now spans over four volumes so far, with a fifth instalment headed to bookshelves in the coming years. With adorable artwork, there’s no better time to catch up on this gorgeous story of teenage love.

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2006
<strong>Persepolis</strong> by Marjane Satrapi
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Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

On the surface, Persepolis seems like a firsthand experience of an unexplored piece of history. Split across two volumes, Persepolis shows readers the life of a young girl living through the Iranian revolution and her time as a young adult in Europe. Framed within the Iranian revolution and the bustling 80s, at its core this graphic novel is about a young girl trying to find her identity in ever shifting sands. With stunning yet clear linework, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis is one of the very best autobiography graphic novels.

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2004
<strong>V for Vendetta</strong> by Alan Moore & David Lloyd
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V for Vendetta by Alan Moore & David Lloyd

Initially published in 1982, V for Vendetta tells the story of an anarchist looking to overthrow a fascist police state. Pretty intense, right? What elevates the graphic novel is the stunning artwork by David Llyod, paired with captivating writing by comics legend Alan Moore. Exploring the very idea of good and evil, and the best ways to achieve those ends, there really isn’t anything like V for Vendetta! From here you can then continue on the action with the 2005 film featuring Natalie Portman.

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1989
<strong>Blankets</strong> by Craig Thompson
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Blankets by Craig Thompson

Set in the harsh Wisconsin winter, Blankets is the autobiographical account of writer Craig Thompson and his childhood struggles dealing with the Evangelical faith, his family, and his very love. This coming-of-age graphic novel will melt the heart of even the chilliest among us, helped along by sketchy black-and-white illustrations that capture those uncertain feelings of youth. So let Thompson’s childhood romance keep you warm this winter!

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2003
<strong>Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth</strong> by Chris Ware
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Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware

Released in 2000, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth is the fictional account of Jimmy Corrigan, a timid and lonely 30-year-old man, who meets his father for the first time over Thanksgiving weekend. Here on out the reader is taken along a moving story that is both original and beautiful. Widely regarded as one of the best graphic novels of all time, Chris Wave has weaved a complex yet emotionally gut-wrenching graphic novel you can’t put down.

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2000
<strong>Black Hole</strong> by Charles Burns
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Black Hole by Charles Burns

Written and illustrated by Charles Burns, Black Hole is a strange and distributing tale of teenagers being morphed after acquiring an STI. Looking beyond the grotesque illustrations you’ll find the true horror: the awkward feelings of adolescence as you transition to adulthood. One of the best horror graphic novels ever written, this bizarre comic shows that the true fear in life is growing up.

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2005

Looking for more to read? Here are the 10 Best Australian Books to Add to your Reading List. If you’re looking for a little motivation, we have a list of the 10 Best Books to Achieve your Resolutions for 2022.

Editor’s Note: Our writers and contributors have independently selected and curated this article, and all opinions are their own. This article does contain affiliate links which allow us to make revenue off some purchases made by our readers.
Feature image: Photographed by Erik Mclean. Image via Unsplash.
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