I happen to think that every season is reading season, but there’s something about reading in the fall — when the weather is just cool enough to snuggle into a sweater and look out at the leaves changing colors every time you flip the page — that really sparks the imagination.
Comics are uniquely suited to fall reading: they make it easy to visualize locations and color palettes that are uniquely autumnal. They can wrap you in the sights and sensations of fall like a worn but beloved quilt. And yet, unlike summer, autumn itself does not seem to be the most inspiring of seasons for comic book creators. They may set a story in the fall, since that’s when school and big-time holidays like Halloween begin. But the season itself doesn’t generally play a starring role, which I think is a shame for the reasons already stated.
Some of these graphic novels explicitly take place in the fall, while others deal with fall-like themes, such as change or growing older. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy them as you sip your hot beverage of choice, give your pet a little pat, and wait with patience or with dread as winter slips ever nearer.
Apple Crush by Lucy Knisley
Jen is a newly-minted sixth-grader who just wants to hang out with her cats and her friends. But her stepsister Andy seems less interested in spending time with Jen and more interested in finding cute boys. Is that really all there is to growing up?
The second book in the “Peapod Farm” series, Apple Crush takes place on a farm in the fall. I can almost taste those apples now! Which would be bad, because I’m allergic to apples! But you know what I mean!
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge, and Joy San
When they were young, Mari and Hazel fell in love — and were brutally ripped apart by their homophobic families. Decades later, in the autumn of their lives, they unexpectedly meet again. Are they finally ready to take the risk and find happiness with each other?
This cover is from the original publication, but there is now a special Jackpot edition with bonus content!
Blackwater by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham
Tony and Eli have nothing in common except a pompous professor they both dislike, but they manage to become friends (and maybe more?) anyway. They eventually take it upon themselves to investigate the strange, supernatural events plaguing their Maine hometown in a sweet yet creepy adventure that is just perfect for Halloween and the ever-longer nights that fall brings.
A Girl Called Echo Vol. 1: Pemmican Wars by Katherena Vermette, Scott B. Henderson, and Donovan Yaciuk
This imaginative book, the first in a series, is a great way to commemorate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Echo, a Métis teenager, is struggling through her personal problems when she starts uncontrollably moving back and forth through time. Through these trips, she is able to see and experience her ancestors’ way of life, and to gain a more in-depth understanding of how colonization changed everything.
Batman: Li’l Gotham: Calendar Daze by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs
Even during the holidays, the Dynamic Duo can’t catch a break! Can Batman keep the Penguin from ruining everyone’s Thanksgiving? More importantly, can he keep Robin from beating up a bunch of trick-or-treating children? (Hey, is it his fault they all want to dress up like villains?) Find the answers and plenty of laughs in the adorable Bat-adventure, “Halloween and Thanksgiving.”
Hollow by Shannon Watters, Brandon Boyer-White, and Berenice Nelle
Is there any more Halloween-y story than The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? (Probably, but hush.) In this modern take on the classic tale, Izzy, a die-hard ghost skeptic, moves to Sleepy Hollow. There, she is swiftly confronted by a curse plaguing the lovely Vicky, whom Izzy develops an inconvenient crush on. Can Izzy, Vicky, and local troublemaker Croc get to the bottom of things by Halloween?
Look Back by Tatsuki Fujimoto
Lots of people “look back” as fall approaches. This comic takes that concept in a rather different direction.
Fujino is the best artist in the fourth grade — until Kyomoto, who never even bothers to come to class, upstages her. Fujino is determined to be the best once again, but is there more to this one-sided rivalry — and her mysterious classmate — than she realizes?
Tangles: A Story about Alzheimer’s, My Mother, and Me by Sarah Leavitt
Midge was always a proud, brave, outspoken woman. When she develops Alzheimer’s in her early ’50s, her family must learn how to take care of her, and to find a new sort of contentment with the person she is becoming. It’s a poignant story about how to wrench happiness from even the most heartbreaking of changes.