When you hear the term “graphic novel” what do you think of? For most, the first
thought that comes to mind are frivolous, superhero comic strips that only children and
teenagers read. However, there is a wealth of graphic novels created specifically for an
adult audience, and they include plenty of adult themes. Though the novels contain
pictures, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have as much literary merit as books
with strictly words. Here are a few personal favorites of mine:
This coming of age story by Craig Thompson is one of my all time favorites; I was able
to read all 600 pages of it in one sitting. The main character, Craig, grows up in a
devout Christian household, but as you progress throughout the book and as he gets
older, he starts to question his religion. He eventually meets Raina, who exposes him to
the lust and temptation that goes against the Bible. Dedicated to his parents, this book
was a way to tell them that he isn’t Christian anymore.
Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical novel is another coming of age story about growing
up in Iran during the Islamic revolution. This book paints the picture of what “normal” life
was like during that time period in Iran, and how we move on from the most difficult
times in our lives. Controversial themes are found in the novel including drugs, warfare,
politics, and mortality.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel is a graphic memoir and is probably one of the most
controversial graphic novels made. This is yet another coming of age story that follows
a girl trying to come to terms with her lesbian sexuality, and also her father’s secret
homosexuality by finding out he has been having affairs for years with underage boys.
The book also deals with themes of religion, death, and suicide.