Books

10 Favorite Graphic Novels of 2020

In a difficult year, creators and publishers in the world of graphic novels rallied to keep the magic of comics alive. We asked our friends at A Wave Blue World, an awesome, family-owned, independent, publisher of some of our favorite graphic novels, to give us their picks of the year—including breaking down five of their own best new releases.

OCTAVIA BUTLER’S PARABLE OF THE SOWER

by Damian Duffy and John Jennings

In this graphic novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, the award-winning team behind the #1 bestseller Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, the author portrays a searing vision of America’s future. In the year 2024, the country is marred by unattended environmental and economic crises that lead to social chaos. Lauren Olamina, a preacher’s daughter living in Los Angeles, is protected from danger by the walls of her gated community. However, in a night of fire and death, what begins as a fight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny . . . and the birth of a new faith.

ODESSA

by Jonathan Hill

Eight years ago, an earthquake—the Big One—hit along the Cascadia fault line, toppling cities and changing landscapes up and down the West Coast. Life as we know it changed forever. But for Vietnamese-American Virginia Crane, life changed shortly after the earthquake—when her mother left and never came back. Ginny has gotten used to a life without her mother and helping her father take care of her two younger brothers. But when a mysterious package arrives for her 18th birthday, her life is shaken up yet again. For the first time, Ginny wants something more than to survive. It might be a selfish desire, but she’s determined to find out what happened to her mother—even if it means leaving her family behind.

A MAP TO THE SUN

by Sloane Leong

One summer day, Ren meets Luna at a beachside basketball court and a friendship is born. But when Luna moves back to Oahu, Ren’s messages to her friend go unanswered. Years go by and Luna returns, hoping to rekindle their friendship. Ren is hesitant. She’s dealing with family troubles, dropping grades, and the newly formed women’s basketball team at their high school. With Ren’s new friends and Luna all on the team, the lines between their lives on and off the court begin to blur. During their first season, this diverse and endearing group of teens are challenged in ways that make them reevaluate just who and how they trust.

BITTER ROOT Vol. 2: RAGE & REDEMPTION

by David Walker, Chuck Brown & Sanford Greene

Of course, this comes with a recommendation for volume 1, which won an Eisner Award and was named Entertainment Weekly’s best new series of 2019. Monster-hunting has been the Sangerye family business for generations as they battle the jinoo—hideous creatures born out of hate and racism. But now, the Sangeryes face a different threat:the deadly inzondo, a new kind of monster born out of grief and trauma. With one of their own turning into an inzondo and an army of tortured souls on the attack in 1920s Harlem, the Sangerye family must once again fight to save the world, unless their own pain and suffering transform them into monsters as well.

SNAPDRAGON

by Kat Leyh

Snap’s town had a witch. At least, that’s how the rumor goes. But in reality, Jacks is just a crocs-wearing, internet-savvy, old lady who sells roadkill skeletons online—after doing a little ritual to put their spirits to rest. It’s creepy, sure, but Snap thinks it’s kind of cool. They make a deal: Jacks will teach Snap how to take care of the baby possums that Snap rescued, and Snap will help Jacks with her work. But as Snap starts to get to know Jacks, she realizes that Jacks may in fact have real magic—and a connection with Snap’s family’s past.

PUBLISHED BY A WAVE BLUE WORLD

MEZO: RISE OF THE TZALEKUHL

by Tyler Chin-Tanner, Val Rodrigues, Josh Zingerman

The rise of the Tzalekuhl Empire threatens to disrupt the peace that has lasted for generations across the land of Mezo. When the conquest begins, a young girl named Kyma witnesses the death of her father, Hegol—a tribal leader who refused to yield. As the solar eclipse nears, Kyma must unite the various tribes against an emperor determined to make them all kneel before his god or be sacrificed in his name.

CAYRELS RING

by Shannon Lentz with various artists

Humanity colonized the distant galaxy, Cayrels Ring, a thousand years ago—but they’ve only now begun to discover its secrets. After learning that the tech he invented to help further mankind’s exploration has caused an unforeseen wave of danger and death, elderly scientist Jamitch Taylee orders a planet-wide evacuation leading to the loss of his daughter. Decades later, he embarks on a desperate search for his long-lost granddaughter Nella. This personal mission sets in motion a galaxy-spanning adventure—weaving stories of human conquest, ingenuity, loss, and love from across Cayrels Ring.

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

by Varga Tomi

The iconic Gothic romance gets a fresh retelling as a graphic novel adaptation of this literary classic. The Phantom who lives beneath the opera house falls in love with Christine Daaé, a gifted young opera singer, and hopes to win her with an evil plot to make her a star. For Christine, this would mean giving up her chance for true love. Does she choose her newfound success or her beloved Count Raoul?

AMERICAN TERRORIST

by Tyler & Wendy Chin-Tanner, Andy MacDonald

Embedded within an eco-terrorist group committed to direct action, investigative journalist Owen Graham is enmeshed in a dangerous culture on the political fringe. Ordinary citizens, frustrated by inequality and bureaucracy’s resistance to change, are starting to go off the grid and disrupt the status quo. But the fringe is poised to go mainstream, and Owen’s days as a passive observer are running short. When a series of escalating misunderstandings land an idealistic public school teacher in the middle of a hostage situation and in the sights of an overeager federal agent, Owen intervenes in a desperate, split-second decision that changes his life forever. Now he’s on the run with a trio of fellow crusaders, all fighting for a better world, but labeled as terrorists by the government.

As belief systems clash, an inexorable spiral of violence ensues. American Terrorist is a high-speed chase across the country—testing the bonds of love, loyalty, and friendship as the search for radical solutions to injustice inspires a movement that may be snuffed out before it begins.

MAYBE SOMEDAY: STORIES OF PROMISE, VISIONS OF HOPE

Edited by Eric Palicki, Matt Miner & Tyler Chin-Tanner

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times featured, Ringo Award-nominated, anthology All We Ever Wanted. This new collection presents 27 original stories that will inspire readers and restore their belief that a better world is possible. Featuring a diverse array of today’s top talent coming together to share their visions of a brighter future.

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