My Top 🇨🇦 Canadian Graphic Novels!

When I started to get into graphic novels, I was surprised at how many great titles there are right here in Canada! There are some really, really great artists and I wanted to share some of my favourite titles with you during the month of Canada’s 150th birthday.

Here are my top Canadian graphic novel picks, in no particular order:

I remember going to the library to take this book out and I read nearly half of it while my kid played in the library play section. It was so so good! It’s not the typical kind of graphic novel I read and is probably better categorized as a collection of comics, but super dark comics. I loved the format and the colouring and I really, really want to get a copy of this book for my shelf because it’s just gorgeous. AND if you love Emily’s work, her website has some really great web comics that are unique and interactive and so spooky to read. Seriously, her comics are just so vibrant and chilling – they should be read if you’re a fan of graphics novels or comics!

This is another collection that is probably best described as a collection of comics, perfect if you love funny stuff and seeing comics that poke fun at things. What I love about Kate Beaton’s work is that she’s just so accessible. She doesn’t just write comics about one thing, but is ALL over the map, from historical figures to musicians to books … she’s so so funny and her books are so gorgeous. I have her second collection in this series and it’s just so pretty.

Superhero Girl! I got this book from the library and immediately loved it. I remember writing a song about how I wanted to be a superhero and this book is just like that – a girl who wants to be a superhero. She’s so likeable and not like any superhero I’ve seen before. In fact, I would say that this book isn’t like most superhero books, but instead seems to poke fun at the superhero genre in a really great and fun way. Definitely recommended!

This graphic novel is different from anything else on my list and it’s the first graphic novel I’ve read by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki. The artwork in this story is beautiful and it’s such a great story for anyone who loves reading books about growing up and finding yourself. It’s also a great summertime read because it takes place at the one character’s summer house. I love how it comes back every year to these two characters coming together and shows the changes they both go through. This book will put you through a whole gamut of emotions and is well worth the read.

And a special shout out to: 

Fiona Staples isn’t an author, but she is an illustrator and an amazing one at that! I fell in love with the Saga series she illustrates (by Brian K. Vaughan) and went on to read the newest Archie graphic novel, just because she illustrated it (and, honestly, her illustrations are the best in that book!). Saga is not only a great graphic novel, but it’s just so beautiful. Well worth picking up just for Fiona’s illustrations alone!


What are some of your favourite Canadian graphic novels?


{Graphic Novel Week} Graphic Novel Review Round-Up #3 (Boxers & Saints, Hark! A Vagrant, and more!)

Graphic Novel Week

Instead of throwing multiple review posts at you each day, I figured I’d do a few review round-up posts with mini reviews! This is the last of my review posts … hope you guys enjoyed them!

boxers saints hark a vagrant
chew hidden relish

Boxers & Saints (Boxers & Saints, #1 & #2) by Gene Luen Yang

Alright, this was one of those graphic novels that EVERYONE was talking about. I think I’ve taken them out a couple times from the library, but never actually read them, so after having devoured both books in the span of an afternoon, I kind of can’t believe that I didn’t read these sooner! I loved that this book was rooted so deep in Chinese history and spiritualism. They were dark and emotional, but so incredibly beautiful. I knew next to nothing about the Boxer Revolution but after finishing this book, I wanted to look more into it. The illustrations are simple, yet effective, and I loved the use of colour throughout both books. I also loved how dramatic both books were — they were so drastically different from one another, but definitely joined together. When it comes to which one I love most, I might have to say Saints since it was a little less violent and seemed extremely personal.

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton {Canadian}

Admittedly, I had NO idea what this book was about when I picked it up. I remember reading about Kate Beaton at one point when researching graphic novel authors. She came recommended AND she was Canadian, and yet when I was going through my graphici novels to pick one to read, I still didn’t go to pick this one up. BIG mistake! The instant I cracked this one open I was busting a gut laughing! I loved how Kate Beaton worked in bits of history and literature and everything in between. While all of the comics went from mildly funny to outragreously hilarious, I would have to say my favourite ones were those based on literature — the Bronte sister comics, or the Nancy Drew comics, were so funny! I also loved that Beaton was a history person and she’d write down some kind of backstory or blurb about why she wrote certain comics. I even felt like I learned something!

Chew (Volume 1: Taster’s Choice) by John Layman

OK, when I first put this book on hold, I assumed it was going to be a book about food — like, a normal book about food — but it so wasn’t! Yeah, there’s food, but the whole premise is that the main character takes a bite out of something and he gets visions of that something’s previous life. Weird, huh? There’s a lot of crazy stuff that happens in this book and it was a whole lot darker than I imagined it would be — and very, very gross. Before I picked it up, I assumed I’d want to read the whole series, but I think I’ll just stop at one. It was an interesting read with great illustrations, but I don’t think it’s a series for me.

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier

I was so intrigued by this one. I was perusing the list of new graphic novels that the library was getting and this one popped up. It was pretty good. I love finding great books on the holocaust (does that sound weird?), so I was eager to try a graphic novel about it. It’s definitely geared toward a younger crowd, but I really do think anyone can enjoy (?) it. The illustrations are beautiful and the colours match the subject matter quite nice. It’s one of those books that’s meant to open up dialogue. There’s not a lot of depth to it, plenty of what happens is alluded to but not totally discussed, so if kids were to read it, I’m sure lots of questions would be asked, but I think that’s what is meant to happen. Glad I finally read this one! It’s very short and quick to read — I managed to sneak it in before bed.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

If you know me, you know I love food. I wouldn’t say I’m a cook or anything, since I’m more of a recipe reader than someone who can actually wing it in the kitchen. I’m in serious awe of people who can just open a fridge and figure out what to make with the contents (that doesn’t involve putting the leftover chicken onto a bed of leaves — voila! Salad!). This was a fun little book and one that came highly recommended. I wouldn’t say it was my favourite foodie book, but it was still one that had my mouth watering at points. I always thought I was kind of a foodie, but then I read books where people are eating foods that are way out there and I realize that I’m far from a foodie. I just like food. Anyway, there was a lot of “talking” in this book and I felt like it could have done with more illustrations. What was there was nice. I did like the “recipes” that were included. Definitely not your typical recipes! I liked the story of the author growing up surrounded by food, but I felt like there was something missing. Still, after picking this one up a few times from the library already, I’m glad to have finally read it.

Have you read any of these graphic novels? What did you think? 


{Graphic Novel Week} Graphic Novel Review Round-Up #2 (Skim, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and more!)

Graphic Novel Week

Instead of throwing multiple review posts at you each day, I figured I’d do a few review round-up posts with mini reviews! This month I’ve been trying to read a lot more graphic novels, so there are a LOT of reviews to get through!

skim page by paige i kill giants
miss peregrine fatherland sisters

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki {Canadian}

I feel like I should’ve liked this one more than I did. Maybe I had This One Summer on my brain too much while reading this one, but I really felt like it didn’t compare with that story. I kind of felt like there was a lack of story with this one and the illustrations, while nice, weren’t as great as the ones in This One Summer. Skim, the main character, was supposed to be this goth/wicca character but aside from the things she said, I didn’t really get any inclination that she was either of these things. I also felt like she didn’t really have much going for her, like I couldn’t really connect to her as a character. At any rate, I feel like the cousins are growing in their stories, so I still look forward to what they come up with next!

Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

I loved this book! I think I had taken it out from the library before but never did get around to reading it, so I’m very happy to have finally cracked it open. Paige was such a great character. She really is that person lurking in every creative person, in every person who wants to do something but it too shy to outwardly show it. I felt like the whole story was completely inspiring and motivational. I loved the story of Paige finding a group of people who helped break her out of her shell. I felt like I could really connect to Paige throughout the whole story. She grew so much and would be an inspiration to any young person! And the illustrations! I loved how Paige was dripping from every page and how the illustrations really portrayed the frustration boiling inside of her. The whole thing was very thoughtful and I highly recommend it!

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly

This was a very different kind of book for me. For the first half or so I really didn’t understand what was going on. Was the main character really hunting giants? Were the giants a metaphor? I honestly wasn’t the biggest fan of the main character for most of the book. I think that’s how it was supposed to be — she was supposed to be a difficult character to really understand. Of course by the end of the book I completey got what was going on and it was so sad! Lovely ending, but I feel like it was straining for the first bit. The illustrations were wonderful at some points, but I felt like they were too drippy and rough in others. Still, it was a decent story. Probably not one I’d recommend to beginners, but one I did enjoy by the final page.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This one was so good! I loved the novel for this story and thought it was also great to read as a graphic novel. It was fun to see the characters on the page and relive all of those moments I had in the first book. The photos were still present in this book, which was wonderful. They’re still wonderfully creepy! My only real complaint about the story told in graphic novel form is that there was a bit of an air of mystery lost with actually seeing the characters. It was kind of nice when it was just the photographs in the book, where I didn’t know anything about the characters on the island aside from what I saw in the photographs. I feel like it was more mysterious in my head than seeing them on the page. Still, it was a fun one to go through again and it reminded me of why I loved the story in the first place.

Fatherland by Nina Bunjevac {Canadian}

Not too much to say about this one. It’s more of an autobiography and it was beautifully told. The illustrations were great and it was a fast read. I read another review where the reviewer said a book like this made them thankful for their suburban life and I have to agree. It’s amazing what Bunjevac’s family had to go through!

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Guys, I am a HUGE fan of Raina Telgemeier’s work! While I’ve loved her previous graphic novels, I didn’t think I would love this one because it’s about sisters and I only have brothers. Would I get it? Fortunately, this one was just as good as her previous books since it wasn’t just about sisters, but about growing up and friendship. I may not have been able to totally put myself into the character’s shoes, but I loved the story. I loved how we have the story of the family going on a car trip, paired with flashbacks of the past with Raina excited to be getting a sister, to not exactly liking her sister, to the two sisters getting a brother. Not only that, but there’s a bit of a deeper family drama going on underneath that. Sad and wonderful — I can’t wait to see what Raina comes up with next!

Have you read any of these graphic novels? What did you think?