Standalone Graphic Novels: Adult Core Collection

This collection is a wonderful combination of graphic novels that feature singular stories, or tales of characters that exist within a larger universe.  From art to religion, monsters to love, this collection has a bit of something for everyone.

Ahmed, Saladin

While investigating police brutality and corruption in 1970s Detroit, journalist Elena Abbott uncovers supernatural forces being controlled by a secret society of the city's elite. In the uncertain social and political climate of 1972 Detroit, hard-nosed, chain-smoking tabloid reporter Elena Abbott investigates a series of grisly crimes that the police have ignored. Crimes she knows to be the work of dark occult forces. Forces that took her husband from her. Forces she has sworn to destroy. Hugo Award-nominated novelist Saladin Ahmed and artist Sami Kivelä present one woman's search for the truth that destroyed her family amidst an exploration of the systemic societal constructs that haunt our country to this day.

Bechdel, Alison

This book takes its place alongside the unnerving, memorable, darkly funny family memoirs of Augusten Burroughs and Mary Karr. It's a father-daughter tale perfectly suited to the graphic memoir form. Meet Alison's father, a historic preservation expert and obsessive restorer of the family's Victorian house, a third-generation funeral home director, a high school English teacher, an icily distant parent, and a closeted homosexual who, as it turns out, is involved with male students and a family babysitter. Through narrative that is alternately heartbreaking and fiercely funny, we are drawn into a daughter's complex yearning for her father. And yet, apart from assigned stints dusting caskets at the family-owned 'fun home,' as Alison and her brothers call it, the relationship achieves its most intimate expression through the shared code of books. When Alison comes out as homosexual herself in late adolescence, the denouement is swift, graphic, and redemptive.

Brubaker, Ed

Ellie has always had romantic ideas about drug addicts. Tragic souls drawn to needles and pills have been her obsession ever since the death of her junkie mother. But when Ellie lands in an upscale rehab clinic where nothing is what it seems, she'll find another, more dangerous, kind of romance. From the award-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips comes a pop and drug culture fueled tale of a young girl seeking darkness ... and what she finds there.

Burns, Charles

A chilling graphic novel set in suburban Seattle during the mid-1970s describes the lives of the area's teenagers, who are suddenly faced with a devastating, disfiguring, and incurable plague that has descended on the young people of Seattle.

Chast, Roz

In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast's memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents. When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the "crazy closet"--with predictable results--the tools that had served Roz well through her parents' seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed. While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies--an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades--the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

Cruse, Howard

As a young gay man leading a closeted life in the 1960s American South, Toland Polk tries his best to keep a low profile, until he finds himself unexpectedly drawn to a lively community of civil rights activists, folk singers, and night club performers. Emboldened by his new friends, he joins local protests and even finds the courage to venture into a gay bar. No longer content to stay on the sidelines, Toland takes a stand against bigotry. But in Clayfield, Alabama, that can be dangerous--even deadly. Painstakingly researched and exquisitely illustrated, Stuck Rubber Baby is a groundbreaking graphic novel that draws on Howard Cruse's experience coming of age and coming out in 1960s Birmingham, Alabama. Just in time for its 25th anniversary, this rich and moving tale of identity and resistance is back in print--complete with unpublished archival material and a behind-the-scenes look at the author's creative process.

Davis, Eleanor

What is “Art”? It’s widely accepted that art serves an important function in society. But the concept falls under such an absurdly large umbrella and can manifest in so many different ways. Art can be self indulgent, goofy, serious, altruistic, evil, or expressive, or any number of other things. But how can it truly make lasting, positive change? In Why Art?, acclaimed graphic novelist Eleanor Davis (How To Be Happy) unpacks some of these concepts in ways both critical and positive, in an attempt to illuminate the highest possible potential an artwork might hope to achieve. A work of art unto itself, Davis leavens her exploration with a sense of humor and a thirst for challenging preconceptions of art worth of Magritte, instantly drawing the reader in as a willing accomplice in her quest.

Dhaliwal, Aminder

Dhaliwal seamlessly incorporates feminist philosophical concerns into a series of perfectly-paced strips that skewer perceived notions of femininity and contemporary cultural icons. D+Q’s edition of Woman World will include new and previously unpublished material. When a birth defect wipes out the planet’s entire population of men, Woman World rises out of society’s ashes. Dhaliwal’s infectiously funny instagram comic follows the rebuilding process, tracking a group of women who have rallied together under the flag of “Beyonce’s Thighs.” Only Grandma remembers the distant past, a civilization of segway-riding mall cops, Blockbuster movie rental shops, and “That’s What She Said” jokes. For the most part, Woman World’s residents are focused on their struggles with unrequited love and anxiety, not to mention that whole “survival of humanity” thing.

Drnaso, Nick

When Sabrina disappears, an airman in the U.S. Air Force is drawn into a web of suppositions, wild theories, and outright lies. Sabrina depicts a modern world devoid of personal interaction and responsibility, where relationships are stripped of intimacy through glowing computer screens. An indictment of our modern state, Drnaso contemplates the dangers of a fake news climate.

Duffy, Damian

Home is a new house with a loving husband in 1970s California that is suddenly transformed into the frightening world of the antebellum South. Dana, a young black writer, can't explain how she is transported across time and space to a plantation in Maryland. But she does quickly understand why: to deal with the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder - and her progenitor. Her survival, her very existence, depends on it. This searing graphic-novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler's science fiction classic is a powerfully moving, unflinching look at the violent, disturbing effects of slavery on the people it chained together, both black and white - and made kindred in the deepest sense of the word.

Eisner, Will

Will Eisner saw himself as "a graphic witness reporting on life, death, heartbreak, and the never-ending struggle to prevail." The publication of A Contract With God when Eisner was sixty-one proved to be a watershed moment both for him and for comic literature. It marked the birth of the modern graphic novel and the beginning of an era when serious cartoonists could be liberated from their stultifying comic-book format.

Fahmy, Huda

At some point in our lives, we’ve all felt a little out of place. Huda Fahmy has found it’s a little more difficult to fade into the crowd when wearing a hijab. In Yes, I’m Hot in This, Huda navigates the sometimes-rocky waters of life from the unique perspective of a Muslim-American woman, breaking down misconceptions of her culture one comic at a time. From recounting the many questions she gets about her hijab every day (yes, she does have hair) and explaining how she runs in an abaya (just fine, thank you) to dealing with misconceptions about Muslims.

Ferris, Emil

Set against the tumultuous political backdrop of late 1960s Chicago, and narrated by 10-year-old Karen Reyes, Monsters is told through a fictional graphic diary employing the iconography of B-movie horror imagery and pulp monster magazines. As the precocious Karen Reyes tries to solve the murder of her beautiful and enigmatic upstairs neighbor, Anka Silverberg, a holocaust survivor, we watch the interconnected and fascinating stories of those around her unfold.

Forney, Ellen

Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Ellen Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic but terrified that medications would cause her to lose her creativity and livelihood, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability without losing herself or her passion. Searching to make sense of the popular concept of the "crazy artist," Ellen found inspiration from the lives and work of other artist and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O'Keeffe, William Styron, and Sylvia Plath.

Forsman, Charles

The story of James and Alyssa, two teenagers living a seemingly typical teen experience as they face the fear of coming adulthood. Forsman tells their story through each character's perspective, jumping between points of view with each chapter. But quickly, this somewhat familiar teenage experience takes a more nihilistic turn as James's character exhibits a rapidly forming sociopathy that threatens both of their futures. He harbors violent fantasies and begins to act on them, while Alyssa remains as willfully ignorant for as long as she can, blinded by young love.

Franklin, Tee

When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-'60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.

Gaiman, Neil

Presents the Sandman's origin story from the birth of a galaxy to the moment that Morpheus is captured.

Georges, Nicole J.

When Nicole Georges was two years old, her family told her that her father was dead. When she was twenty-three, a psychic told her he was alive. Her sister, saddled with guilt, admits that the psychic is right and that the whole family has conspired to keep him a secret. Sent into a tailspin about her identity, Nicole turns to radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger for advice-- Calling Dr. Laura tells the story of what happens to you when you are raised in a family of secrets, and what happens to your brain (and heart) when you learn the truth from an unlikely source.

Hanawalt, Lisa

My Dirty Dumb Eyes introduces Lisa Hanawalt as a first-rank cartoonist/humorist/stalker for an audience that likes its humor idiosyncratic, at times anthropomorphic or scatological, often uncomfortable, and always sharp witted. Her world vision is intricately rendered in a full spectrum of color, unapologetically gorgeous and intensely bizarre.  With movie reviews, tips for her readers, laugh-out-loud lists and short pieces such as “Rumors I’ve Heard About Anna Wintour,” and “The Secret Lives of Chefs,”  Hanawalt’s comedy shines, making the quotidian silly and surreal, flatulent and facetious.

Jason

A scientist hires an assassin to travel back in time and kill Adolf Hitler before he can rise to power, but the plan backfires when Hitler survives the attack and uses the time machine to travel to the twenty-first century, leaving the hired killer stranded in time.

King, Tom

Superstar writers Tom King (Batman, Heroes in Crisis) and Brian Azzarello (Batman: Damned, Joker) pay tribute to the legendary creators of Swamp Thing as they join forces for earth-shattering Swamp Thing tales that will send chills down your spine! Swamp Thing is out of his element as he shepherds a lost boy through a blinding blizzard and other hazards of a strange, frozen tundra. In this touching and harrowing tale of survival, the pair must navigate countless threats throughout a bewildering terrain--with a bloodthirsty snow monster hot on their heels. But how long can they rely on each other? Plus, On Halloween, the barrier between world's grows thin--and only the Swamp Thing is strong enough to face the monsters that come from the other side. In addition, this book also features the final Swamp Thing story from the monster's co-creator, Len Wein.

Lemire, Jeff

Presents the award-winning trilogy of graphic novels set in an imaginary version of the author's hometown, and reveals the problems and issues the families within the community face.

Lewis, John

March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement. Book One spans John Lewis' youth in rural Alabama, his life-changing meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., the birth of the Nashville Student Movement, and their battle to tear down segregation through nonviolent lunch counter sit-ins, building to a stunning climax on the steps of City Hall.

Love, Jeffrey Alan

Drawn into a strange quest by a bird and a sword, a lone warrior travels across a silent landscape of smoke and dirt and bone. Transformed by what he encounters along the way, he searches for the Thousand Demon Tree and the hope of a new world that lies beyond it.

Maroh, Julie

Blue is the Warmest Color is a graphic novel about growing up, falling in love, and coming out. Clementine, a high school student, has an average life: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine finds herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.

McCloud, Scott

Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics is a seminal examination of comics art: its rich history, surprising technical components, and major cultural significance. Explore the secret world between the panels, through the lines, and within the hidden symbols of a powerful but misunderstood art form.

McGuire, Richard

Richard McGuire's Here is the story of a corner of a room and the events that happened in that space while moving forward and backward in time. The book experiments with formal properties of comics, using multiple panels to convey the different moments in time. Hundreds of thousands of years become interwoven. A dinosaur from 100,000,000 BCE lumbers by, while a child is playing with a plastic toy that resembles the same dinosaur in the year 1999. Conversations appear to be happening between two people who are centuries apart. Someone asking, "Anyone seen my car keys?" can be "answered" by someone at a future archeology dig. Cycles of glaciers transform into marshes, then into forests, then into farmland. A city develops and grows into a suburban sprawl. Future climate changes cause the land to submerge, if only temporarily, for the long view reveals the transient nature of all things. Meanwhile, the attention is focused on the most ordinary moments and appreciating them as the most transcendent.

Mignola, Michael

The Hellboy saga begins--with over 300 pages drawn by Mignola! For the first time, Hellboy's complete story is presented in chronological order for the ultimate reading experience. The story jumps from Hellboy's mysterious World War II origin to his 1994 confrontation with the man who summoned him to earth, and the earliest signs of the plague of frogs. Avoiding his supposed fate as the herald of the end of the world, Hellboy continues with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, fighting alongside Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and drafting Roger Homunculus into his own ill-fated service with the B.P.R.D. The four volume Hellboy Omnibus series along with the two volumes of The Complete Short Stories collect all of Mignola's award-winning Hellboy stories in chronological order for a definitive reading experience. This 368-page volume covers Hellboy's adventures from 1994 to 1997, reprinting Seed of Destruction, Wake the Devil, and "Wolves of St August," "The Chained Coffin," and "Almost Colossus," from The Chained Coffin and The Right Hand of Doom.

Millar, Mark

The critically acclaimed Superman: Red Son now collected in a brand new edition! In this vivid tale of Cold War paranoia, the ship carrying the infant who would grow up to become Superman lands in the midst of the 1950s Soviet Union, where he is raised on a collective. As he becomes a symbol to the Soviet people, the world changes drastically from what we know -- bringing Superman into conflict with Batman, Lex Luthor and others. This volume collect Superman: Red Son #1-3.

Miller, Frank

In 1986, Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli produced this groundbreaking reinterpretation of the origin of Batman—who he is and how he came to be. Written shortly after The Dark Knight Returns, Miller's dystopian fable of Batman's final days, Year One set the stage for a new vision of a legendary character.

Miller, Frank

Together with inker Klaus Janson and colorist Lynn Varley, writer/artist Frank Miller completely reinvents the legend of Batman in his saga of a near-future Gotham City gone to rot, ten years after the Dark Knight's retirement. This masterpiece of modern comics storytelling, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, brings to vivid life a dark world and an even darker man. The Dark Knight returns in a blaze of fury, taking on a whole new generation of criminals and matching their level of violence. He is soon joined by a new Robin--a girl named Carrie Kelley, who proves to be just as invaluable as her predecessors. But can Batman and Robin deal with the threat posed by their deadliest enemies, after years of incarceration have made them into perfect psychopaths? And more important, can anyone survive the coming fallout from an undeclared war between the superpowers -- or the clash of what were once the world's greatest heroes?

Modan, Rutu

After the death of her son, Regina Segal takes her granddaughter Mica to Warsaw, hoping to reclaim a family property lost during World War II. As they get to know modern Warsaw, Regina is forced to recall difficult things about her past, and Mica begins to wonder if maybe their reasons for coming aren't a little different than her grandmother led her to believe. Rutu Modan offers up a world populated by prickly seniors, smart-alecky public servants, and stubborn women -- a world whose realism is expressed alternately in the absurdity of people's behavior and in the complex consequences of their sacrifices.

Moore, Alan

Alan Moore did a couple of Ph.D.'s worth of research into the Whitechapel murders for this copiously annotated collection of the independently published series. The web of facts, opinion, hearsay, and imaginative invention draws the reader in from the first page. Eddie Campbell's scratchy ink drawings evoke a dark and dirty Victorian London and help to humanize characters that have been caricatured into obscurity for decades. Moore, having decided that the evidence best fits the theory of a Masonic conspiracy to cover up a scandal involving Victoria's grandson, goes to work telling the story with relish from the point of view of the victims, the chief inspector, and the killer--the Queen's physician. His characterization is just as vibrant as Campbell's; even the minor characters feel fully real. Looking more deeply than most, the author finds in the "great work" of the Ripper a ritual magic working intended to give birth to the 20th century in all its horrid glory. Maps, characters, and settings are all as accurate as possible, and while the reader might not ultimately agree with Moore and Campbell's thesis, From Hell is still a great work of literature.

Moore, Alan

A frightening and powerful tale of the loss of freedom and identity in a chillingly believable totalitarian world, V for Vendetta stands as one of the highest achievements of the comics medium and a defining work for creators Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Set in an imagined future England that has given itself over to fascism, this groundbreaking story captures both the suffocating nature of life in an authoritarian police state and the redemptive power of the human spirit which rebels against it. Crafted with sterling clarity and intelligence, V for Vendetta brings an unequaled depth of characterization and verisimilitude to its unflinching account of oppression and resistance. 

Moore, Alan

Exceptional graphic artwork brings to life the story of the Watchmen as they race against time to find a killer, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. This Hugo Award-winning graphic novel chronicles the fall from grace of a group of super-heroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the super-hero is dissected as the heroes are stalked by an unknown assassin. One of the most influential graphic novels of all time and a perennial best-seller, Watchmen has been studied on college campuses across the nation and is considered a gateway title.

Morrison, Grant

Buddy Baker is more than just a second-rate super hero--He's also a devoted family man and animal rights activist. Now, as he tries to jump-start his crimefighting career, he experiences visions of aliens, people transforming into strange pencil-like drawings, and hints of a terrible crisis lurking around the edges of reality. And as his odyssey of self-discovery gives way to spiritual enlightenment as well as the depths of despair, Buddy meets his maker: a writer named Grant Morrison.

Sacco, Joe

Based on several months of research and an extended visit to the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the early 1990s (where he conducted over 100 interviews with Palestinians and Jews), Palestine was the first major comics work of political and historical nonfiction by Sacco, whose name has since become synonymous with this graphic form of New Journalism. Like Safe Area Gorazde, Palestine has been favorably compared to Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus for its ability to brilliantly navigate such socially and politically sensitive subject matter within the confines of the comic book medium.

Spiegelman, Art

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale. Vladek's harrowing story of survival is woven into the author's account of his tortured relationship with his aging father. Against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival, they stage a normal life of small arguments and unhappy visits.

Thompson, Craig

Loosely based on the author's life, chronicling his journey from childhood to adulthood, exploring the people, experiences, and beliefs that he encountered along the way.

Thompson, Craig

Sprawling across an epic landscape of deserts, harems, and modern industrial clutter, Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them. We follow them as their lives unfold together and as they struggle to make a place for themselves in a world (not unlike our own) fueled by fear, lust, and greed; and as they discover the extraordinary depth-and frailty-of their connection. At once contemporary and timeless, Habibi gives us a love story of astounding resonance: a parable about our relationship to the natural world, the cultural divide between the first and third worlds, the common heritage of Christianity and Islam, and, most potently, the magic of storytelling.

Tran, G. B.

A memoir in graphic novel format about the author's experiences as the son of Vietnamese immigrants who fled to America during the fall of Saigon describes how he learned his tragic ancestral history and the impact of the Vietnam War on his family while visiting their homeland years later.