Comics Written or Illustrated by a Person of Color: Read Harder 2018

Posted on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 by Dana S

Descender panel

In case you missed it, the library is getting into the spirit of Book Riot’s 2018 Read Harder challenge, and there’s plenty of time to join. The year-long challenge consists of 24 tasks to help you to read more broadly. I’m back with you this time to highlight another comics-specific task: #8 A comic written or illustrated by a person of color.

Best We Could Do book cover

The Best We Could Do” is an impressive debut effort for author/artist Thi Bui. In this graphic memoir, she documents her family’s experiences in war-torn Vietnam. Her parents ultimately fled in the 1970s, bringing Bui and her siblings to the United States as refugees. This moving graphic memoir is equal parts historical and personal tracing the effects of war, tragedy, parent-child relationships and the immigrant experience.

March book cover

Speaking of historical graphic memoirs, John Lewis’s March series is quite different, but equally powerful. Now a Congressman, Lewis was one of the prominent figures involved in the civil rights movement and was committed to social justice from an early age. Book one of the three-book series focuses on John’s childhood in rural Alabama, his meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his participation in sit-ins and other demonstrations Everyone's a aliebn when ur a aliebn too book coverin the early days of the civil rights movement.

Looking for something quirky and just plain adorable? Look no further than “Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too,” which is based on the enormously popular twitter account, @johnnysun. Jomny is an alien (or aliebn) sent to Earth to meet with and learn from humans. Instead he encounters many of Earth’s creatures who help him find friendship and what it means to be human. One of my favorite characters is the owl, who ponders if he wise enough to live up to his reputation:

“i can’t decide if learning things makes me happy or if knowing things makes me happy. either way, i would be sad if i knew everything and i would be sad if i knew nothing.”

From the egg struggling with thoughts of what it will hatch into, to the tree reflecting on staying put in a motion-filled world, and the bear afraid to scare away the opportunity for love, Everyone’s a Aliebn speaks to many of our insecurities as well as our hopes.

Descender book cover

Perhaps you’re interested in starting a new series? One of the best ongoing series on the market is Descender, a sci-fi comic set in space. The plot centers on robot Tim-21 who awakens on his home moon to find it barren of life. During his offline years significant conflict erupted between man and machine, leading to the intended destruction of all robots. Our cast of other characters are out to find Tim for various reasons (good, bad, and mysterious), but all Tim wants to do is reconnect with his human companion Andy. Great plot, compelling characters, plus Dustin Nguyen’s beautiful watercolor art? Sign me up!

Chew book cover

For a comedic series, try Chew. Tony Chu is an FDA agent who is also a cibopath, meaning he gets psychic impressions from anything he eats … including people! Chu uses this ability to solve crimes and along the way we meet many characters using their equally bizarre food-related abilities for both good and evil. If the main action isn’t hilarious enough, artist Rob Guillory packs tons of little running jokes into the background, so keep your eyes peeled!

American Born Chinese book cover

As for me? I think I’ll finally read the Eisner-winning “American Born Chinese” by author/illustrator Gene Luen Yang, who tells three intertwining stories of youth and Chinese-American identity.

Need more options? Check out the library’s catalog list.

Happy reading!

Author: Dana S

Library associate, PhD candidate, reading enthusiast. Currently reading: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon