Though the year is not yet over, its no surprise there have been many fantastic graphic novels released in 2019, both captivating and immersive! From the diversity of stories being told and the fantastic art that accompanies it, graphic novels continue to go above and beyond in the world of publishing!
Today on The Booked Shelf I’m recommending a list of some graphic novels from 2019 that you should add to your TBR!
The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Summary: Magic is harder than it looks.
Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! When Moth’s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. Secrets surface from generations past as Moth unravels the complicated legacy at the heart of her town, her family, and herself.
I Moved To Los Angeles To Work In Animation by Natalie Nourigat
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Summary: The story of one woman’s quest to move to Los Angeles and got a job in animation…and how you can too.
When artist Tally Nourigat left her life in Portland to move to Los Angeles and pursue a job in animation, she realized that despite her research, nothing truly prepared her for the wild world that awaited in the studios of Southern California. From grinding on storyboard test after storyboard test to getting a job at a major studio to searching for an apartment in…the Valley…this autobiographical how-to graphic novel explores the highest highs and lowest lows of pursuing a dream in animation. Brushed with a dose of humor and illustrated advice about salaries, studio culture, and everything in between, I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation is the unique insider experience you won’t find anywhere else.
Hotel Dare by Terry Blas, Claudia Aguirre (artist), & Mike Fiorentino (letterer)
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Summary: It’s not your typical family vacation when Olive, and her adopted siblings Darwin and Charlotte find themselves falling into other worlds as they explore Grandma Lupé’s strange hotel.
OPEN THE DOOR. ADVENTURE AWAITS.
Olive and her adopted siblings Charlotte and Darwin are spending the summer with their estranged grandma at her creepy hotel and it’s all work and no play. They’re stuck inside doing boring chores but they soon stumble upon an incredible secret… Behind each room door of the hotel lies a portal to a different strange and mysterious place. The simple turn of a knob transports them to a distant magical world filled with space pirates. Behind the next door are bearded wizards. Down the hall is a doorway to a cotton-candied kingdom. But once the doors are opened, worlds start colliding, and only one family can save them before they tear themselves apart.
The Avant-Guards Vol. 1 by Carly Usdin, Noah Hayes (artist), Rebecca Nalty (colorist), and Ed Dukeshrire (letterer)
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Summary: When Charlie transfers to the Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics, she struggles to find her feet, but winds up exactly where she belongs…in the school’s (terrible) basketball team.
As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind…until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be.
Blackbird by Sam Humphries, Jen Bartel (artist), and Triona Farrell (colorist)
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Summary: Nina Rodriguez knows a hidden magical world run by ruthless cabals is hiding in Los Angeles. When a giant magic beast kidnaps her sister, Nina must confront her past (and her demons) to get her sister back and reclaim her life.
Don’t miss the first collection of the smash-hit neo-noir fantasy series!
Ophiuchus by Alexis Leriger de la Plante and Natasha Tara Petrović (artists and writers)
Release Date: August 27, 2019
Summary: OPHIUCHUS is the story of the lone sentry of an ancient, inactive gate.
One day, a strange being breaks through and infects her with a virus. And shortly after, she is approached by two machines, who implore her to follow them to the center of the universe to put an end to that virus—a malevolent being which rots all worlds.
Lerner Publishing Group (Graphic Universe)
Stage Dreams by Melanie Gillman
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Summary: In this rollicking queer western adventure, acclaimed cartoonist Melanie Gillman (Stonewall Award Honor Book As the Crow Flies) puts readers in the saddle alongside Flor and Grace, a Latinx outlaw and a trans runaway, as they team up to thwart a Confederate plot in the New Mexico Territory. When Flor–also known as the notorious Ghost Hawk–robs the stagecoach that Grace has used to escape her Georgia home, the first thing on her mind is ransom. But when the two get to talking about Flor’s plan to crash a Confederate gala and steal some crucial documents, Grace convinces Flor to let her join the heist.
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu (artist)
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Summary: A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.
One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.
Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.
Skip by Molly Mendoza
Summary: A colorful, unpredictable postapocalyptic world comes alive in Skip, when two unlikely friends, Bloom and Gloopy, find themselves tossed from dimension to dimension.
Gloopy is running toward adventure, and away from their home and friends who don’t understand their creative talent. Bloom is desperately trying to return home to their lake, and avoid the terrible violence of the city. Instead, both Bloom and Gloopy find what they need in each other, and bravely return home to challenge their fears and create beauty in their own worlds.
As Bloom and Gloopy skip through dimensions and encounter weeping giants, alligator islands, and a topsy turvy 2D world, they find comfort in each other and learn that sometimes, your greatest fear reveals where your strengths lie.
Pilu Of The Woods by Mai K. Nguyen
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Summary: Willow loves the woods near her house. They’re calm and quiet, so different from her own turbulent emotions, which she keeps locked away. When her emotions get the better of her one day, she decides to run away into the woods.
There, she meets Pilu, a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way back home—which turns out to be the magnolia grove Willow’s mom used to take her to. Willow offers to help Pilu, and the two quickly become friends.
But the journey is long, and Pilu isn’t sure she’s ready to return home yet—which infuriates Willow, who’s determined to make up for her own mistakes by getting Pilu back safely. As a storm rages and Willow’s emotions bubble to the surface, they suddenly take on a physical form, putting both girls in danger… and forcing Willow to confront her inner feelings once and for all.
The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’ Neill
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Summary: Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely!
Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.
Submerged Vol. 1 by Vita Ayala, Lisa Sterle (artist), Stelladia (colors), Rachel Deering (letters), and Tim Daniel (design)
Release Date: February 12, 2019
Summary: On the night of the biggest storm in New York City history, Elysia Puente gets a call from her estranged little brother Angel, terrified, begging for help. When the call cuts out suddenly, despite the bad feelings between them, Ellie rushes into the night.
Finding his broken phone in front of a barricaded subway station, Ellie follows echoes of her brother into the sinister darkness of the underground, desperate to find him before it’s too late.
Vagrant Queen Vol. 1 by Magdalene Visaggio, Jason Smith (artist), Harry Saxon (colors), Zaak Saam (letters), and Tim Daniel (design)
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Summary: Former child queen Elida was driven from her throne at age ten and forced to wander the galaxy, evading the revolutionary forces that wanted her dead.
When an old frenemy claims to know the whereabouts of Elida’s long-lost mother, she is forced to return to her former kingdom and stage a rescue. Vagrant Queen has also been adapted as a Syfy series, coming in 2020!
She Said Destroy Vol. 1 by Joe Corallo, Liana Kangas (artist/cover artist), and Harry Saxon (colors)
Release Date: November 26, 2019
Summary: Over millennia, Brigid, Goddess of the Sun, has conquered and converted the entire solar system into worshipping her and her alone, save one space colony.
The witches of Fey are the last believers of The Morrigan, Goddess of Death, Brigid’s sister and the only other God left. As Brigid’s forces prepare for one final battle, The Morrigan prepares to do what she does best: Destroy!
Viking Books For Young Readers
Sea Sirens by Amy Chu and Janet K. Lee (artist/illustrator)
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Summary: Trot, a Vietnamese American surfer girl, and Cap’n Bill, her cranky one-eyed cat, catch too big a wave and wipe out, sucked down into a magical underwater kingdom where an ancient deep-sea battle rages. The beautiful Sea Siren mermaids are under attack from the Serpent King and his slithery minions–and Trot and her feline become dangerously entangled in this war of tails and fins.
Inspired by The Sea Fairies, L. Frank Baum’s “underwater Wizard of Oz” It weaves Vietnamese mythology, fantastical ocean creatures, and a deep-sea setting.
Thank you for checking out this 2019 graphic novels list! Which have been on your to-read list?
I also wanted to share a 2019 manga (not officially part of this list) that I recently discovered and recommend checking out:
Cats Of The Louvre by Taiyo Matsumoto
A surreal tale of the secret world of the cats of the Louvre, told by Eisner Award winner Taiyo Matsumoto.
The world-renowned Louvre museum in Paris contains more than just the most famous works of art in history. At night, within its darkened galleries, an unseen and surreal world comes alive—a world witnessed only by the small family of cats that lives in the attic. Until now…
Published by Viz Media & released September 17, 2019 ┃Book Depository ┃Goodreads