In Praise of Graphic Novels (Article #1)

Posted on November 20, 2022

In Praise of Graphic Novels…For Adults
Article 1
Intro: Topics  

By William E. Beaver  

For those who enjoy both reading books and watching videos, you may find a whole new genre to explore and  experience in the form of “Graphic Novels.” And for those who take pleasure in more mature topics aimed  towards adults, we are all in luck, because the publishing world has exploded in the past 15-20 years with a  vast array of graphic novels for adults…and our local library system has a great selection of them!  

Do you like reading and/or watching non-fiction? If so, there are graphic novels about biographies, memoirs,  history, and most scientific disciplines. If you prefer fiction, you can find graphic novels of classic literature,  cutting edge fiction, mysteries, and romances.  

Graphic novels cover the whole range of themes you would find in print books and Netflix videos, including:  LGBTQ topics; pioneering women from the past who have been overlooked; Native American experiences and  answers to their current challenges; sacred text-based such as Biblical stories; mental health issues in the  world of modern medicine; persistent effects of slavery down through the generations; and all the latest  political developments such as refugees, climate change, war zones, or women’s rights.  

Foodies can read about travels abroad that focus on cuisine or growing up with a chef for a mom; arm-chair  wanderers can go all over the world and even time-travel; WWII buffs can read about the war from the points  of view of The Greatest Generation’s heroes, Holocaust survivors, Hiroshima survivors, or boomer kids of  shell-shocked warriors.  

There are even graphic novels about comics, their history, their effect on society, how to create them, and  even philosophical and academic expositions on comics/graphic novels.  

I’ve not yet mentioned men in tights or busty women. If you want those, there are graphic novels with hero  themes for the adult, too.  

Adult-oriented graphic novels are usually printed by small independent publishers who feature cutting edge  writers, artists, inkers, and letterers. Many of the creators are women, people of color, LGBTQ, and other  marginalized people. The sheer breadth of topics covered by graphic novels is as wide as any other river of  art, and the talent runs just as deep.  

Two different adult-oriented graphic novels I wish to recommend today cover topics mentioned above. Both  are available through the Eureka Springs Library. One is Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists, by Mikki  Kendall. It has clean lines, good coloring, legible lettering, and tells an incredible history of women’s advances  toward social equality through one-page biographies of women throughout history and geography. The  second is a graphic adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale written by Margaret Atwood and adapted/drawn by  Renee Nault; the art supports the theme of this classic novel. 

Now go on a scavenger hunt in your local library for the topic you want to read about…and see! 

Visit for more articles by William E. Beaver 

Browse the library’s list of Graphic Novels online.