2024 Summber Book Bingo Recommendations

23 Graphic Novels for the 2024 SPL Adult Book Bingo

It’s once again summertime and the Seattle Public Library book bingo is in full swing. Are you looking for more books to help you fill out that bingo card? Interested in exploring graphic novels but don’t know where to start? Want to read books with pictures in them for quicker reads? Whether you’re looking for just a few graphic novels to fill out a blackout or going exclusively for comics, here’s a suggestion for (almost) every single box on the bingo card!

All of these graphic novels are standalone (just one volume, or available in a one volume collection) and are available in store at Outsider Comics at time of publication. (Except for the one for Borrowed From the Library. That one we don’t have since it’s super out of print.) Of course, many of them are also available at your local library as well!

Without further ado, here’s a suggestion (or two) for every square except for Suggested By a Library Worker (go to the library!) and SAL Speaker (as far as I can tell none of the recent SAL speakers have done a graphic novel or comic). But wait, how are there suggestions for some of these squares where comics just don’t work? Read on and find out!

Ashes

In Translation

Ashes by Álvaro Ortiz

The debut graphic novel of Spanish cartoonist Álvaro Ortiz, Ashes takes three characters on a road trip to scatter their friend’s ashes and the reader on a funny, heartwarming, and weird journey. Originally published in 2012, Ashes was translated into English in 2023 and is Ortiz’s first work published in English.

Also works for: Friendship

Matchmaker

Queer Joy

Match Maker by Cam Marshall

Following a group of queer friends and neighbors in the early 2020s, Vancouver artist Can Marshall’s Match Maker is a hilarious and look into how queer friends find love and joy with each other even when the world is falling apart around them. One of our favorite comics and bestsellers!

Also works for: Friendship, Cozy

Maw

Something That Scares You

Maw by Jude Doyle and A.L. Kaplan

In the aftermath of a horrific assault, a monster is born. Maw is a raw, modern, take on the story of sirens and gorgons, where sisterhood joins justice and vengeance and blood. Bonus: Maw is illustrated by Seattle artist A.L. Kaplan!

TW: Sexual Assault, Body Horror

Comics for Choice

Body Liberation

Comics for Choice

Published by Silver Sprocket, Comics for Choice collects stories about abortion from over 60 creators and dives into personal stories, history, activism, and so much more.

Also works for: Short Story Collection, Something That Scares You

Mercy

Suggested by an Independent Bookseller

Mercy by Mirka Andolfo

Technically anything here works because I’m an independent bookseller, but I’m not going to not take the chance to recommend a book I really like!

Mercy is a gothic Victorian horror story set in the Pacific Northwest. A rich woman from Seattle is in a snowy village to purchase a mine, and she is very much Not Right. All her perfectly laid plans go awry when an orphan girl starts calling her Mommy…

Also works for: Something That Scares You

Tamano

Short Story Collection

Tamano the Fox Maiden and Other Asian Stories

Take a journey from Türkiye to Myanmar with a collection of folk tales told and retold by some of the indie comics scene’s best creators. One of several collections published by Iron Circus, Tamano the Fox Maiden and Other Asian Stories is a great introduction to both Asian folklore and excellent indie comic creators.

Also works for: Fantastical, Retelling

Poison Ivy The Virtuous Cycle

Environmental

Poison Ivy: The Virtuous Cycle by G. Willow Wilson and Marcio Takara

A dying Poison Ivy marches towards Seattle in order to destroy humanity and save the Earth. Originally intended as a limited series, this is one of the rare “you don’t have to read anything else to understand it” comic storylines. You just need to know that Pamela Ivey speaks for the plants and the plants say humanity must die.

Also works for: Something That Scares You

The Jellyfish

Sky Creatures

The Jellyfish by Boum

They may not be birds or planes, but the jellyfish in this graphic novel by French cartoonist Boum cover the skies in this powerful story about disability and vision loss, where phantom jellyfish start ruining a young woman’s perfect life.

Also works for: In Translation

Across a Field of Starlight

Friendship

Across a Field of Starlight by Blue Dellaquanti

Reading Blue’s science fiction work is like reading a golden age sci-fi story except updated for 2024: all the big questions and ideas without the misogyny and racism. Across a Field of Starlight is no different: it’s a story about what friendship is like in galaxy where planets are separated by space and battle lines, but when you tune into the right frequency you can still hear your friend’s voice.

Do a Powerbomb

Fantastical

Do a Powerbomb by Daniel Warren Johnson

Professional wrestling is already pretty fantastical, but when you add magic, necromancy, and Dragon Ball Z levels of destructive power into it the whole thing goes outright bonkers. This book is good silly fun, and you know, sometimes you just need that.

Fox Maidens

Retelling

The Fox Maidens by Robin Ha

What’s a 25 item list without two books about fox maidens? In this queer, feminist retelling of a Korean legend, Robin Ha paints an epic where a world not ready for a girl warrior is going to get one anyway, and she is not remotely what they expect.

Also works for: Young Adult

Bunt!

Young Adult

Bunt! by Ngozi Ukazu and Mad Rupert

I’ll be posting another list of recommendation for the YA bingo card soon, but since we’re here I’m going to use this as an excuse to recommend Bunt! It’s a chaotic fun time and provides a lovely commentary on student loans. Plus, it’s our July book club book!

Also works for: Black Art / Artists

Canto Cutie

LGBTQIA+ Poetry / Essays

藝文聚粵 Canto Cutie: The Queer Issue

You thought we don’t have recommendations for the one square that specifically disqualifies comics? We carry zines too! Canto Cutie is a zine published in Vermont and their queer issue is chock full of art, poetry, essays, and more from LGBTQIA+ members of the Cantonese diaspora.

Also works for: BIPOC Romance, Queer Joy

Call Me Iggy

BIPOC Romance

Call Me Iggy by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado

Iggy is a Columbian-American teen living in Ohio and in love with Marisol, but she doesn’t have time for him because, well, girl’s gotta engage in legal battles to get her residency papers. Enter Iggy’s abuelito: a ghost who gives terrible dating advice. This romance about two kids trying to figure out their life is funny, touching, and just a bit silly (in case ghost grandpa didn’t tip you off).

Also works for: Young Adult

Dandelion

Housing / Poverty Justice

Dandelion by Sabir Pirzada

With the invention of the Dandelion—a perpetual flying mobile home—and various other technologies the housing and economic crises are solved, right? When the poor are exiled to the clouds have their food and housing needs bet but are forbidden to set foot on land ever again, is that truly utopia?

Also works for: Short Stories, BIPOC Romance

Outer Darkness

Borrowed from a Library

Outer Darkness Vol 1+2 by John Layman and Afu Chan

Star Trek Voyager meets Constantine in a story where a starship captain accepts One Last Job and ventures into the unknown filled with demons and ghosts. We don’t stock this even though it’s one of our favorites because it’s super out of print but you can borrow it from Seattle Public Library via Hoopla—libraries preserve books and make them available even when publishers don’t deem it profitable to reprint a book and that’s just one reason why libraries are awesome!

The N Word of God

Black Art / Artists

The N Word of God by Mark Doox

This literary graphic novel is a masterpiece in Black art by an ordained iconographer. It explores Black existential wonder through religious icontry from the very beginning of Christianity—when Light and Darkness were the opposing primal images—to historic and modern US caricatures and symbolism. It’s an intense read but an entertaining and enlightening one.

TW: Racially Charged Imagery

Bitter Root

Black Art / Artists

Bitter Root by David Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene

For a more fictional but no less poignant examination of the connection between evil coming from darkness and racism against Black Americans, Bitter Root flips the assumptions. Bitter Root is the tale of a family of root workers, monster slayers, an asskickers and their fight against demons born from the truly wicked: racist cops in Harlem and klansmen in the bayou.

Also works for: Fantastical

Lucky Cap Scouts

Cozy

Lucky Cap Scouts by O. Stevens

Lucky Cap Scouts are just cute lil’ guys that come in mystery boxes… but when you open them they come alive! One of Silver Sprocket’s latest, Lucky Cap Scouts is a story about collecting cute things, friendship, chill vibes, and maybe a little bit of existential dread that Toy Story is too G rated to explore. Plus it comes with a sticker sheet for bonus cozy!

Also works for: Young Adult, Fantastical, Friendship

Low

One Big Book

Low Compendium by Rick Remender, Greg Tocchini, and Dave McCaig

In the far future, the last scientist of Earth emerges from an underwater shelter on to a scorched Earth (literally) to try to find salvation for humanity. Low clocks in at 664 pages and is definitely big, but is also a quick weekend read given how engaging it is and how you probably want to just keep reading!

Korgi

One Big Book

Korgi Complete Tales by Christian Slade

This 584 page complete collection of former Disney animator Christian Slate’s magical all ages corgi adventure has zero dialogue. No words. Just gorgeous pen-and-ink illustrations that are a joy to look at. If you’re looking for a big book that’s a little different or one you can share with your little ones, give Korgi a try!

Also works for: Cozy, Friendship

In Limbo

Refugee / Immigrant Memoir

In Limbo by Deb J.J. Lee

Having emigrated from South Korean to New Jersey, Deborah Jung-Jin Lee’s life was in limbo. Caught between racist teachers, her otherness in school and in the US, and her family, she eventually attempted suicide. This graphic memoir tells the story and leads up to that and her resiliency and recovery.

Bonus: The superintendent of her old schools found her book and invited her to come speak to her former teachers (and other teachers in the district). Check out her video about it on her Instagram!

TW: Teen Suicide

Sunflowers

Read in the Sun

Sunflowers by Keezy Young

Technically you can read any book in the sun but hey I’m gonna take this chance to tell you about an awesome book with a sun-related title. Keezy Young, local Seattle comic creator, is best known for their love story Taproots. Sunflowers is a more personal story; one that’s about how they live with bipolar disorder. It’s a quick read, but a beautiful one. (It’s also available digitally—for free!—from the publisher in honor of World Bipolar Day this year.)

TW: Description of Mental Health / Bipolar Episodes, Discussion (No Depiction) of Suicide

And there’s it! 23 suggestions for your 2024 SPL Adult Book Bingo. We’ll be posting suggestions for the Young Adult and Kids book bingo cards soon, and I’ll be posting my cards in store and online once I’m done myself; but in the meantime I hope this helps you get that coveted blackout on your card!


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