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How I Lost My Graphic Novel Virginity

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Kate Krug


Kate is a 2011 Drake University grad, where she received her BA in magazine journalism. A hopeless romantic with a cynical heart, Kate will read anything that comes with a content warning, a love triangle, and a major plot twist. Twitter: @katekrug Blog:

Confession: I am 27 years old and up until approximately 11pm last night, had never read a comic or graphic novel.

first time with graphic novels

I know.

Ok, let me backtrack just a tad. I read the odd comic strip in the Sunday newspaper as a kid, but I was more focused on the Mini Gazette, a kids version of the paper. But since starting with Book Riot over a year ago, I’ve heard nothing but rave review after rave review about graphic novels and comic books. And since I am easily swayed by public opinion, I made it one of my bookish goals for 2018: to finally obtain and read a full-length graphic novel. So, when I was sent a copy of ANIMUS by writer/illustrator Antoine Revoy, I decided to finally bite the bullet and read.

Read on for a walk-through of my first time with graphic novels. It’s going down.


So, background—Animus takes place in Kyoto, Japan, where there have been several unsolved murders/disappearances of young children. Friends Hisao and Sayuri discover that their playground has been taken over by a mysterious masked entity calling himself “Toothless,” who claims the playground is magic.

I really like how the playground has different magical properties. The swings let you go into other people’s dreams, the sandbox forces you to confront your worst fears, and the slide either adds or takes years from your life depending on which way you slide on it.

This graphic novel is entirely black and white with detailed but simple drawings. I like how sounds are spelled out, i.e. “Nnnnnnrrrrrrrrr” for a car or “T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-t” for a lawn sprinkler. Also, I already love Sayuri—her comedic timing is fantastic.


Uh oh. A friend of Hisao and Sayuri’s goes down the slide, ages rapidly, and develops dementia. Now to save him, they must discover the truth behind Toothless to save him.

I’m really interested in how Revoy would draw me as a character…also, it warms my heart to see this graphic novel based in Japan with an all-Japanese cast of characters. I also had to look this up, but Revoy’s illustrations are consistent with manga style.


I love how this dark and macabre this is for a young adult book. It’s not even graphic in its description, but the drawings add to the feel of something sinister.

And, um that ending? I loved it? I’m confused? If you pick up Animus, please hit me up. Let’s talk.

As of this moment, no regrets. No awkward “deflowering.”

Morning After

No walk of shame for me. I don’t know if I will come back for repeat experiences with graphic novels, but I very much enjoyed my first and am open to more in the future.


Looking for more on that first time with graphic novels and comics? Check out Adventures of a Comic Newbie: My First Time In A Comic Shop, 6 Gateway Comics for New Readers, and all of our comics discussions.