As a child, I fell in love with Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, and Generation X comics. They opened the door to fantastical worlds where art married text and stuffed animals could talk! In highschool I happened upon my first graphic novel that didn’t include fantasy elements when I picked up Sophie Campbell’s Wet Moon Vol 1. It changed my life as a reader!
As a Black female growing up during a time when it was rare to see people who looked like me and shared similar experiences/interests represented within the media, I was delighted to see myself reflected in the multicultural alternative teen characters who were navigating their first year of art school in the fictional goth town of Wet Moon. Not only was I taken by the storyline that depicted the day to day life of an angsty group of friends, I was also exquisitely inspired by the black and white realistic-yet stylized illustrations.
Flash forward a couple decades and I have had the opportunity to dive deeply into the genre of slice of life graphic novels. Among them, The Nao of Brown by Glyn Dillion is my favorite. Worth the read for the breathtaking watercolor illustrations alone, this graphic novel explores the everyday life of Nao-a half Japanese, half white young woman as she struggles with a form of OCD that causes her to have intrusive violent thoughts, searches for love, and dreams of a career in illustration. Themes of addiction, mental health, biracial identity, and healing are beautifully intwined within this phenomenal read.
The graphic novel Here by Richard McGuire takes on an unusual direction. Scenes of a corner of a room and all the changes that occur within the space over the span of thousands of years are interwoven in this intriguing and beautifully illustrated graphic novel.
Check out the list below to see more reading recommendations of slice of life graphic novels!