This year is First Second’s ten year anniversary as a publisher. If you are not familiar with First Second, they focus on providing fantastic graphic novel experiences for readers of all ages. My first exposure to them as a publisher was actually the year American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang was released (which was 2006). I was working in a university library in our Transcriptions department, where we focused on providing materials in alternative formats to students with a variety of disabilities. American Born Chinese was a book that ended up on my work truck for transcription purposes. I started flipping through the book, and ended up reading the entire thing before I had even started work on it. I LOVED that book, and it was one that stayed with me over the years, and now that I work in a public library, it’s one I recommend with ease. Since that exposure, I have been a fan of First Second’s publications ever since.
For their tenth anniversary, I thought I’d share with you all five of my favourite graphic novels that they’ve published and why I think you should check them out.
The Delilah Dirk series by Tony Cliff
I love this series. It’s both laugh out loud hilarious, and it’s whimsy as all hell. Not only does it have political intrigue, but it offers one of the most ingenious heroines to ever grace comics. Delilah will make you die of laughter, but she’s also someone who is able to show compassion for others… with a little help, if you catch my drift. This is a great series for those who love action and adventure, and don’t mind a touch of humour. Also, everyone should love Selim. He never, ever catches a break.
The Zita the Spacegirl Trilogy by Ben Hatke
I was unfamiliar with Zita the Spacegirl when it released. It wasn’t until I got into watching Booktube videos, and fell in love with Misty from The Book Rat’s graphic novel recommendations. I took all three books out from the library, and then went and bought my own copies because I simply adored this series. It’s sweet, delightful, fun, and it will make you cry over a rock. Yes, you heard me, a rock. Seriously though, Ben Hatke’s art and stories are just so much fun to read. I also recommend checking out his latest release, Little Robot because it is just perfection as well.
The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
I feel like I am cheating with choice, given that this book isn’t out until April. I was able to get a digital copy of this book for review, and I was completely in love with this book from page one. Fantastic and intricate storytelling, with strong, interesting characters and gorgeous artwork, The Nameless City just has so much to offer graphic novel fans. Faith Erin Hicks is just such a fantastic writer, and she knows how to put so much emotion into both her artwork and the story that she’s sharing. I also recommend many of her other titles, including Friends With Boys, which was my first exposure to her work.
The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Liew
I loved this graphic novel. It’s an origin story for a lesser known super hero, the Green Turtle. This book is hilarious as it is full of heart and soul. I loved this one, and it gave me such an appreciation for unknown or lesser known heroes who deserve to have real origin stories writtena bout them. Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew really are a dream team.
This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
This was one of my favourite graphic novel reads back when it released in 2014, and I still have fond memories of it. It reminded me of when I was growing up and going to my cottage every summer. It’s a very interesting and thoughtful depiction of childhood and growing up, and it’s just totally worth checking out.
And there you have it! Five f my favourite First Second titles, and let me tell you, if I had the capcity, there’d be millions of other recommendations, simply because they have such a vast and fantastic catalogue of titles. These are some great titles to check out, especially if you’re new to what First Second publishes.
Congraulations, First Second! May you have many more years of awesome graphic novels! 🙂