Not Your Typical Hero

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Not Your Typical Hero

Graphic novels that feature non-traditional heroes

Graphic Novels are somewhat contentious in the literary sphere. Are they really books? Do they merit the same sort of acclaim as other written works?

I am, without a doubt, a member of the "Graphic Novels Are Amazing" club, and as such I believe it's my duty to share with you all some wonderful graphic novel titles.

Since graphic novels come in a number of sub-genres, I've decided to limit this list to those that deal with heroes. Heroes don't necessarily need to be caped crusaders or have super human powers, and these titles prove just that.

Whether you're new to the graphic novel scene or are a seasoned veteran, these titles are sure to leave a lasting impression. Perhaps you'll read one of these in the spirit of summer reading

Johnny Hiro: Half-Asian, All Hero by Fred Chao
Johnny Hiro is a Japanese-American guy just trying to pay the bills and make it in New York City. He adores his girlfriend, Mayumi, and generally enjoys working at a sushi restaurant. He's an average Joe, with a propensity to find himself in sticky situations. The real treat is watching him get out of a pickle. It should be noted that this book is cataloged in the Adult collection.

Ms. Marvel: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson
Kamala Khan is an ordinary teenager dealing with normal teen drama. Her parents are on her back, she’s trying to navigate high school, and she’s got superpowers! Kamala quickly discovers that with her, there is no normal. Wilson's vision of Ms. Marvel is refreshing, making her day-to-day life charmingly relatable; and the fact that she's a Muslim-American is huge for the world of comics and diversity in books. This one is a fun, quick read, and once you're done you can check out the second installment, Generation Why

Hatter M by Frank Beddor
Hatter Madigan is a Royal Bodyguard sworn to protect the Princess of Wonderland, but when an imminent coup threatens to put Princess Alyss in danger, Madigan is tasked with getting her out of the kingdom, safe and sound. He whisks her away to another realm, but during transport they get separated.

The first book in the series follows Madigan as he tries to find his way back to his princess. Don't expect fluffy rabbits and colorful panels from this series; Beddor's version of the classic tale is dark, twisted and dangerous. 

Templar by Jordan Mechner
The Knights Templar's grisly demise is chronicled in this fictional account of history. Mechner's retelling of the end of the Knights Templar through vivid illustrations and witty dialogue is superb. Martin, a Templar, must retrieve hidden treasure that could potentially save his brothers in arms from persecution. Along the way he encounters many obstacles that make his quest even more challenging. If you're a fan of history, this one is for you!

Unlike the other graphic novels on this list, this one is not necessarily a quick read: it's 400 pages and filled with text.

Peter Panzerfaust by Kurt Wiebe
These volumes chronicle the story of one brave teen, Peter, as he combats his way through enemy territory during World War II on a quest to find a woman. Along the way he picks up some lost boys, and together they form a bond that withstands the test of time. Extra points to Wiebe for using a classic piece of literature as inspiration.