I never used to like graphic novels. I’m a word girl. Most of the time the pictures were distracting and confusing. I couldn’t interpret them properly; I would end up feeling lost, missing half the story. The style of the art often felt dark and impenetrable and I wouldn’t get far before giving up.
But over the last couple of years, more and more great graphic novels have popped up on my radar — and better yet, they all feature Spunky Misfit Girls. If you like plucky heroines doing exciting stuff with simple, straightforward graphic art, check these alternagirls out.
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Through no fault of Zita’s (ok, maaaayybee she pushed the red button), her friend Joseph is abducted by aliens. Oops. So she goes after him, of course. Meet the weird and wonderful cast of characters Zita encounters as she sets out to bring her friend home, save planets, and all that everyday superheroine stuff. Follow up with Legends of Zita the Spacegirl and The Return of Zita the Spacegirl (you like talking skeletons, right?).
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Spunky Misfit Girl alert: It’s roller derby time. Meet Astrid, who desperately wants to be a jammer, but falls on her butt every time she gets on skates. Her summer at derby camp teaches her a little something about navigating friendship, overcoming fears, and discovering who she truly is. Look for a mention of my fave real-life skate queen and Spunky Misfit Girl Suzy Hotrod.
Giants Beware! by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado
Fierce and fiery Claudette wants nothing more than to slay a giant. What’s a girl to do? Why, go on a quest, of course. She drags her bestie (a princess-in-training) and her little brother (an aspiring chef) (both rather reluctant) into the woods to find him. What could go wrong? Hilarious and adorable. Follow up with Dragons Beware.
The Clockwork Girl by Sean O’Reilly and Kevin Hanna
What happens when a clockwork girl meets an amazing mutant circus boy? It’s an age-old story of individuals from two very different worlds brought together by their innocence. Throw in a couple of mad scientists and a castle or two, and you have the recipe for a world that will leave you wanting more. Steampunks take note!
Cleopatra in Space: Target Practice by Mike Maihack
Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) accidentally transports herself into the future. There she finds out that a prophecy has decreed her to be the one to save the galaxy from a power-hungry dictator with his own race of thugs. Can she do it? Cleo’s enthusiasm bubbles up on every page. Follow up with Cleopatra in Space: The Thief and the Sword.