10 NSFW Graphic Novels

This is a guest post from Mya Nunnally. Having loved books since the age of four, Mya is a writer and poet who looks to explore the complexities of life through language. She attends Barnard College of Columbia University and cherishes her kitten, Ramen. When she isn’t writing or reading, she’s playing video games with strong female characters. Follow her on Twitter @literallymya.


I’ll admit, I thought comic books were just for kids during most of my life. Sure, I knew they could be a little bloody and violent when the superheroes took out the bad guys. So, when browsing my local comic book store, the title of a comic book made me double-take: Sex Criminals?! In just a second, my ideas of what comics book were, and more importantly, who they were for, dissipated. I skimmed through the first few pages of that comic. Not only was it raunchier than any comic I’d ever read before, it was fantastic!

From there, my journey into comics outside of DC and Marvel began. You see, the main publishers tend to stay within the safe zone of “All Ages” to “Teens”. It’s the same reason PG-13 movies often make more than R rated ones: a larger potential audience. But beyond the well known superheroes lies a treasure trove of comic books that tackle heavy, intense themes and topics.

These are some of the best:

Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

One sentence summary: Suzie and Jon find out that they can stop time… with their orgasms.

Rated R for: steamy scenes and illustrated, time-stopping genitals.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

One sentence summary: Bechdel recounts her life as the lesbian daughter of a closeted gay man.

Rated R for: talks of depression and mental illness; nude scenes as Bechel explores her sexuality.

Harrow County by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook

One sentence summary: Emmy is the daughter of a witch in a town where haints and ghouls roam.

Rated R for: intense horror. Don’t read this before you go to sleep.

Sunstone by Stjepan Sejic

One sentence summary: A surprisingly sweet story about two women finally meet after months of online flirting and explore their mutual interest of BDSM.

Rated R for: sex, ropes, belts, leather, whips, latex… you name it.

Palestine by Joe Sacco

One sentence summary: A reporter seeks out to illustrate Palestine’s bloody, complicated history.

Rated R for: atrocities, violence, real-life conflict.

Maus by Art Spiegelman

One sentence summary: Art explores his father’s history, which takes him through the Holocaust, which he illustrates through cartoon mice.

Rated R for: genocide, death, hatred, language.

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean

One sentence summary: Even Batman can stop being a childhood hero when he delves into his darkest legacy — the Arkham Asylum.

Rated R for: Violence, language, reference to abuse, gore, death, murder, psychological horror. Yup, this is actually a Batman comic.

Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie

One sentence summary: Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Wendy from Peter Pan, and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz recount their sexual experiences.

Rated R for: graphic depictions of sex, language, and the sound of your childhood getting ruined.

Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare by John Lees, Tyler James, and Alex Cormack

One sentence summary: What would happen if the Joker was allowed to run loose, in a Gotham without a Batman?

Rated R for: Torture, bone-chilling acts of violence, gore.

Peepland by Christa Faust and Andrea Camerini

One sentence summary: Workers at a peep show get caught up in a murder cover-up and have to fend for themselves with all they’ve got.

Rated R for: Language, nudity, and violence soaked in 1980s neon lights.

Subscribe to Book Riot Insiders for TBR-busting exclusives that hurt so good. Come check it out here, or click the image below!
VIEW COMMENTS