7 Graphic Novels to Read if You’re Chasing the Feels

Ghost WorldAnd honestly, who isn’t? These 5 graphic novels have all the feels you need and then some. It’s about to get emotional.

Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll
If the feels you’re looking for are of the terror variety, step right this way. This is a beautifully eerie, haunting, and, yes, terrifying collection of five scary tales designed to keep you awake at night. The characters here are all haunted by their emotions and the supernatural. There are spectral figures, lonely houses, possessions, monsters…basically, a whole lot of *screaming face emoji* type situations. Beautifully illustrated, this is what you need to be reading as the weather turns colder…and darker… *muahahaha*

In Real Life, by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang
Set within a huge multiplayer role-playing game called Coarsegold Online, In Real Life follows girl gamer extraordinaire Anda. Inside the game, she can make friends, she can be a leader, she can even be a hero. But when she encounters Raymond, a Chinese boy who breaks all the rules of the game by stealing and selling to those less fortunate, Anda starts to realize her online world isn’t as perfect as she wants it to be. There’s a lot going on here, including what it’s like to be a girl gamer in a male-dominated world, and how easy it is for groups to hate and attack each other online. As Anda and Raymond work more closely together, the narrative bounces between the real world and Coarsegold. There’s darkness here, but hope, too.

Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson 
Noelle Stevenson’s instant classic webcomic collected in print form, Nimona delivers feels of the poignant variety. Amid the charm and whimsy, the action and horror, Stevenson really puts us into Nimona’s shapeshifting world. At times lonely, at times angry, Nimona’s shapeshifting isn’t just physical, and that’s the real joy of this book. Well, that and the excellently silly adventures Nimona and Lord Ballister Blackheart get up to, adventures that get bigger and more intense as the story progresses. Enthralling.

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
Shapeshifting of a different sort features in Satrapi’s illustrated memoir of growing up in Iran, and the changes she had to go through when the religious state was introduced. This is an affecting and heartbreaking story of a young girl trying to navigate her way through—and survive—a new and dangerous world. Often powerful, sometimes devastating.

Ghost World, by Daniel Clowes
The two heroines in Clowes’s timeless classic are also navigating their way through new worlds. Although there’s a lot less immediate danger, the feels are still intense. Enid and Becky are two bitingly sarcastic high schoolers facing the prospect of growing up, growing apart, and becoming, like, old. As college looms, Becky is struggling with the fact that Enid will likely be leaving soon, possibly forever. And they both struggle with who they are, and who they’re supposed to be. Nothing is sugarcoated here. Although it’s often raw and harsh in its brutal truths, it’s also extremely funny, and incredibly sad.

This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
This One Summer tells the story of one of those intense, in-between summers, when everything’s changing, and you’re torn between happiness and melancholy, joy and loss. Rose is spending the summer at the lake house with her family, and her friend Windy is there too, just like always. This year feels different, though. Rose finds the slightly younger Windy more annoying now, and Rose’s parents are fighting nonstop. As Rose’s attention is taken by a group of local teens, friendships are tested, identities are challenged, and everything Rose knows could change. Sad and bittersweet.

Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein, by Gris Grimly
This one’s a little different. Grimly has taken the original text of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and cut it up, edited it, then reimagined it alongside his melancholy and evocative artwork. What we get is a younger, more punk-rock scientist, and a more haunting, anguished monster in this emotional retelling. It moves fast, it’s visceral, and it puts the full range of human emotions front and center in a Tim Burton–esque rollercoaster ride. Perfect “it’s almost Fall/Halloween” reading!

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