Holiday Gift Guide – Graphic Novels for Kids

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Hello, Faithful Spoilerites!

The month of December holds many holidays and end of the year celebrations. Religious or secular, it’s a blast to celebrate with geekery and we are here to offer a series of helpful suggestions on GRAPHIC NOVEL options:

These are in no ranked order, but they come recommended from years working in comic book retail, what was popular in the last year, and what will set you apart from every other gift giver in a person’s life who knows they like Teen Titans, GO! and thinks a pencil case with Raven on it counts as a thoughtful present.

Please consume this list knowing that comic books are for everyone and can be appreciated across age and gender lines. My suggestions have been tailored based on current trends and what my experience has taught me works for a specific audience.

Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man Collection Book 1

Price: $34.99
Get it on Amazon
Spider-Man is more than Peter Parker! In light of the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie I cannot return to recommending the original set of Miles Morales story enough. Like when Dick Grayson first took over as Batman, it was amazing (HA!), to meet Miles Morales and watch him carve out a superhero identity all his own when there has been room for little more than Peter Parker and a couple rogue clones over the decades. This volume is where it all starts. Miles blows open the notion of what kind of person can wear the Spidey mask, he’s a good kid who loves his parents, he’s a curious boy who’s into science, and he gets several abilities that had never been seen before and are uniquely his own. Much of this volume deals with becoming a young adult and Spider-Man at the same time and figuring out what his place in the world is going to be. A younger reader probably wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider, but Miles handles his situation with grace and jokes I think we would all have been so lucky to be possessed of. Plus, something that relates to other popular media is always cool!

Black AF America’s Sweetheart

Price: $9.99
Get it on Amazon
If you’ve been checking out my entire series here on Major Spoilers you might remember that I recommended Black in my list For Him and I am back again with Black AF America’s Sweetheart. I definitely think both volumes could be appreciated by readers from a range of ages, although this volume is a softer introduction to Kwanza Osajyefo’s universe where only African-Americans have super powers and the resulting drama surrounding that fact. Black AF America’s Sweetheart focuses on Eli, a young African-American girl adopted by a Caucasian family. It unpacks huge societal issues that force the reader to confront about our contemporary world, while dressing it up in superheroics. I think this volume succeeds in its objective and Eli is a deeply charming character. This graphic novel is a fascinating way to open up such complicated ideas to young(er), readers who might already be in on the comic book genre. What is also fantastic about Black AF America’s Sweetheart is that by gifting it to a young(er), reader in your life you are also opening the door to a dialogue about larger, more complicated issues in a safe space. There aren’t too many other graphic novels you can say this about.

Runaways: the Complete Collection volume 1

Price: $34.99
Get it on Amazon
Runaways has been one of my go-to recommendations for preteens and teens for years now. The fact that there’s now a direct tie to the rockin’ Marvel’s Runaways show streaming on Hulu is just a bonus as far as I’m concerned. It’s an especially good recommendation to readers who are prone to identifying as an outsider or who perceive their relationship with their parents as difficult (regardless of the truth of the matter). It exists with one foot inside and one foot outside the regular Marvel Comics Universe. The good thing about this? The person you are buying for doesn’t have to be familiar with the Marvel Comics franchises in order to get everything they possibly can from Runaways. The bad thing about this? If

Tiny Titans volume 1: Welcome to the Treehouse

Price: $12.99
Get it on Amazon
If there is a young nerdy person in your life I have to imagine that they are a fan of Teen Titans, GO! in all of its hilarious incarnations. With the movie coming out and now available for home purchase I want to recommend a wonderful companion series that doesn’t just lift the style and sensibilities of the show and is a touch more deeply rooted in DC Comic Book continuity. Tiny Titans features The New Teen Titans line up (the same team I recommended a volume of on our list For Her), with additional characters who will crop up here and there depending on the plot. There is minimal continuity, but legendary creator team Art and Franco manage to tell story after story of solid superhero adventures, with jokes that will resonate with a young reader or whoever might be reading the story to them. There’s a Darkseid New Gods joke in one of the early issues which is not only genuinely funny, but evolves into a relevant plot point as the volume goes along. I can’t recommend Tiny Titans Titans enough as a true blue funny book with real artistic merit. Seriously – look at the art!

Venom Space Knight volume 1: Agent of the Cosmos

Price: $17.99
Get it on Amazon
The main audience Venom seems to have resonated with this year was young people. Having not seen the movie, I can’t speak to some sort of deep connection between Eddie Brock and his Symbiote and the youth of today, but I can offer you a Venom story that is very fun AND elevates the character to a whole new level. This recommendation will be equally good for Guardians of the Galaxy stan. Now, Venom Space Knight stars Flash Thompson and not Eddie Brock, but if you ask me, Flash is a much better character and a much more interesting host for sentient evil black space goo. Per current Marvel Comics continuity Flash is a war veteran who does his level best to use this new power set to affect positive change. In this story he literally leaves Spider-Man behind him, goes into space, and joins … (drum roll, please) … The Guardians of the Galaxy! Remember when I mentioned them earlier? Who better to team up Flash/Venom with (who struggles with is morality versus the morality of the Symbiote), than an entirely team of morally grey character? Venom Space Knight is replete with bad jokes (in the best way possible), and big adventure. I would even recommend it for readers that are generally non-Venom fans.

Jupiter Jet volume 1

Price: $14.99
Get it on Amazon
I’m going to be honest with you, reader, I co-created and co-wrote this comic book. Is it a completely self-servicing act to recommend it? Maybe. Our reviews aren’t lower than 7.5/10, so I’m hoping you’ll indulge me and read what I have to say. Jupiter Jet is Kim Possible meets The Rocketeer. It stars a 16-year-old girl who inherits a jetpack with a mysterious power source from her father and does what anyone from a poor community would do – steal from the rich and give to the poor! A bad guy with glowing eyes and ray guns comes after her until Jupiter Jet volume 1 ends with a science fiction twist! Retailers tell me it’s the book they offer to young female readers who don’t want superheroes. It’s also something I’m incredibly proud of. If you are diehard Spoilerite, you’ve probably heard and seen me speaking about Jupiter Jet for a couple years now. I’m hoping you might let Jupiter Jet and I into your home for this holiday season.

Transformers: Spotlight volume 1

Price: $11.99
Get it on Amazon
Transformers has numerous very awesome comic book series. You are spoiled for choice if you’re looking for something with the Transformers in particular or anything with giant fighting monsters if you’re looking at it more broadly. Spotlight does exactly what the subtitle implies. It shines focus on a different Transformer for each story. The nice thing about this series is that it ran for long enough it got into some of the weirder, more off-the-beaten-track characters. Shockwave, for example, has my favourite story in the collection. From a macro pop culture lens, Spotlight has an especially good Bumblebee story with adorable art that feels more timely this year than in shopping seasons passed. The storytelling style (like Star Wars Adventures), strikes a good balance at not being too obviously gendered. I’d recommend it to boys or girls, whoever might be on your list. If the giftee gets really into the series you can graduate them to More Than Meets the Eye or one of the more narrative-driven Transformers series when you have to get them something next year.

Super Sons volume 1: When I Grow Up

Price: $12.99
Get it on Amazon
This was the DC: Rebirth title I was the most excited for at the announcement of the new continuity. It’s one of the series I’ve most enjoyed that has come out of the aforementioned continuity to date. It stars Damien Wayne as Robin paired with the new Superboy – Jonathan Kent. Damian is the biological son of Bruce Wayne and Talia Al Ghul while Jon is the biological son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Both boys are playing at living up to their parents’ legacies. They do it in wonderfully mature ways by extravagant acts like traveling all over the country to help those in need and in petty, juvenile ways by arguing about who has the better dad, who is smarter, who is taller. Unlike the Teen Titans story line that ran parallel, I think Super Sons strikes a truer balance to the point of view of preteen heroes. This adherence to their youth makes the title astonishingly charming and Jorge Jimenez’s art is some of the best in the business. It’s a completely stunning story and a solid choice for someone who might not be a big reader, but would be happy to sit examining the visuals.

The Unstoppable Wasp volume 1: Unstoppable!

Price: $12.99
Get it on Amazon
If we’ve learned anything from the Ant-Man franchise of movies it’s that The Wasp is the best, most capable character. New Wasp introduces readers to Nadia Pym (a secret daughter of Hank, because this is comic books and why not?), who joins the ranks of whip smart young lady scientists and the ranks of super capable ladies who have worn the mantle of The Wasp. She’s pretty isolated compared to some of the other characters being introduced into the Marvel Comics Universe at the same time. I like this choice because it accurately echoes the feelings of isolation that are so inherently tied into being a teenager. In this first volume she immigrates to America, constructs herself a costume, and does a bunch of cool super science! It’s not like any Ant-Man or Wasp adventure that has come before and can hopefully serve double duty by encouraging a new generation they really do want to pursue a career in S.T.E.M. after all. Good news, reader, Nadia is enjoying and ongoing series RIGHT NOW, so there are more stories of her if this gift becomes an especial favourite.

The Prince and the Dressmaker

Price: $16.99
Get it on Amazon
You can probably imagine the set up for The Prince and the Dressmaker. Prince Sebastian is sixteen and he has to get married. Have no fear, his parents are on it with the arrangements already well underway. Prince Sebastian has a good friend named Frances who gets the rush order to make a dress for a special event – post haste! – and it just might be a wedding dress. The relationship that develops over the course of The Prince and the Dressmaker is less a traditional fairytale/period romance and more one of devotion and trust until they are comfortable enough with each other to share some of their deepest secrets. Y’see, Prince Sebastian is very interested in Frances’ work on this dress because, well, he likes to wear dresses. Hereafter follows and exploration of identity, growth, and identity. The Prince and the Dressmaker establishes the importance of safe spaces and the people in our lives who can most see us for who we are. This graphic novel engages in some very temporary storytelling for such a classic, well-trod set up. It might just open a young reader’s mind – which is never a bad thing – and definitely encourages a level of understanding we could use more of in the world.

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About Author

Ashley Victoria Robinson is a Canadian girl by day and Robin by night. She lives in Los Angeles now and stars as Ensign Williams in THE RED SHIRT DIARIES, co-hosts the GEEK HISTORY LESSON podcast and writes for Top Cow.

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