There aren’t a whole lot of sleeps left until Christmas which means it’s panic-station time! All those gifts left to buy and not a clue what to get? We’ve got you covered! Here are some great graphic novels that are perfect for veterans and newbies alike. Don’t worry, you’ll have your feet up in front of the fire with a blanket made of chocolate wrappers in no time!
Nimona is a young woman with some pretty impressive shape-shifting skills and a passion for murder. As the brand new sidekick to supervillain Lord Ballister Blackheart, she’s determined to wreak some havok, cause a little chaos and bring down arch nemesis Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his dumb, beautiful hair.
Nimona is the kind of story that lures you in with its adorable, sketchy art and promise of deadly deadpan humour then grabs your heart and squeezes until you’re a sobbing wreck on the floor. But don’t let that put you off; it’s a fun, rewarding read that sticks with you long after the last time Nimona turns into a shark.
Perfect For: The friend who refuses to read graphic novels
SUPERMUTANT MAGIC ACADEMY
SuperMutant Magic Academy is a school for super-kids with a variety of powers and abilities, some of which could rival the X–Men.There’s a lot less adventure and more teenage angst, protest art and Dungeons and Dragons, though. The kids are just living life, trying to make it through school and stressing about who to ask to the dance – no costume; just a classic school uniform and the magic classes may as well be algebra for all of the enthusiasm they garner.
It’s a funny, insightful graphic novel that takes a comic-strip kind of approach to storytelling. Each page is its own tiny story but they all ultimately link together into a satisfying plot with characters that feel incredibly real, especially considering some of them look like dinosaurs.
Perfect For: The friend whose jokes you don’t always get
THROUGH THE WOODS
Through the Woods is a collection of five short stories based in, around, under and who knows where else in the woods. It’s creepy, sometimes gross and always beautiful. It’s all moody dark colours and scrawled dialogue and twists that always elicit either a gasp or an “ewwww”.
It may not seem the most festive of options but Through the Woods is the perfect read for stormy nights in front of the fire drowning in blankets. It’s unnerving but fun, constantly compelling and so infuriatingly pretty it’s easy to forgive it for making your spine all tingly.
Perfect For: The friend who thinks Christmas is lame
HEART IN A BOX
Emma’s heart is so broken and heavy that she wishes she didn’t have it at all and, what do you know, a mysterious stranger makes her wish come true! But having no heart is even worse than having a hurt heart and Emma pretty quickly realises that even feeling pain is better than feeling nothing at all. So she sets off to find all the little bits of her heart and piece herself back together, whatever it takes.
Sometimes it’s sweet, sometimes it’s bloody and most of the time it’s pretty damn moving. The art and colours blend seamlessly from dark to dreamy and back again. You never know where Emma’s odd journey will take her next or what she’ll have to face to become whole again but you do know it’s worth it.
Perfect For: The friend who had a tough year
Seconds is the most popular restaurant in town and head chef Katie is to thank. But with a personal life in lonely tatters and plans falling to rubble at her feet, she’s low on hope and heavy with worry. Then a strange white-haired girl arrives with a notebook, some mushrooms and the power to change the past. As it turns out, time-altering power and desperation don’t mix too well and reality starts to morph into something unrecognisable and stained with something sinister.
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s distinctive art style keeps Seconds cute and approachable even at its darkest but doesn’t stop it from being creepy. It’s a wonderfully accessible form of fantasy; mixing magic and spirits with cooking and break-ups. It’s also full of snow which is enough to make to make it Christmas appropriate in my book!