I love a good fantasy story because I’m a real sucker for great worldbuilding and interesting settings, and graphic novels can offer that in a really stunning visual format! We have been so lucky to see the release of many amazing YA graphic novels in the past few years, especially with the founding of several new graphic novel and comics imprints at Big Five publishers, and increased visibility for smaller and indie comics publishers. I’ve so enjoyed discovering new fantasy stories that run the range from sweeping to more intimate, and frankly, it can be a breath of fresh air to pick up a fantasy book that tends to be a standalone and on the shorter side — fantasy series fatigue is real, and just because I love the fantasy genre doesn’t mean I always want to read a 500-page book!
If you love YA fantasy and you’re into graphic novels, it’s a great time to enjoy original stories, original prequels to your favorite series, plus some really inventive and clever adaptations of existing YA fantasy novels! So get ready to dive into these stories about assassins and knights, magic and romance, and what it means to save the world, or just yourself.
Nimona by ND Stevenson
Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain who is perpetually looking for ways to thwart Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, so he grudgingly agrees to take on Nimona, a shapeshifter with a secret past, as his sidekick. As they wreak havoc throughout the kingdom, Lord Ballister begins to suspect there is a lot more to his young protege than meets the eye.
Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds
The best-selling YA fantasy novel gets a graphic novel adaptation by Gareth Hinds! Set in a world where certain people are born with special skills, called Graces, Katsa is the king’s pawn because of her Grace for killing. But when she gets swept up into royal politics and intrigue and meets her match, she discovers that she might have the strength to chart her own destiny.
Squire by Nadia Shammas and Sara Alfageeh
Aiza dreams of becoming a knight of the Bayt-Sajji Empire, never mind the fact that she is from a discriminated against group of people who find the path to knighthood barred to them. Nevertheless, she enlists in the squire training and hides her background, hoping to earn her place and prove her worth. But as she becomes absorbed in training, she must reckon with whether or not becoming a knight is as noble a calling as she once thought.
Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll
When Masha realizes there is no place for her at home, she sets out to search for the legendary and feared Baba Yaga and become her assistant. But finding her is the easy part — and striving her fearsome tests and keeping up with her mischievous schemes will take all of Masha’s bravery and cunning!
Coming Back by Jessi Zabarsky
Valissa and Preet are a young couple in love, in a world where there are strict rules about society and magic. When a strange shift in their magical order asks big questions, Valissa bravely volunteers to go on a journey for answers, leaving Preet behind. While she’s away, Preet finds herself making a decision that violates one of the rules of their society, and is cast out for it…can she ever find her way back to Valissa? Also look for Zabarsky’s debut, Witchlight!
The Well by Jake Wyatt and Choo
Lizzy lives a happy life on her archipelago, but when she steals a few coins from a wishing will in order to settle a debt, the well wants payment in return — and not in the form of more coins. She sets out to collect wishes, uncovering secrets that will change her world forever.
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, Leigh Dragoon, and Kit Seaton
In this adaptation of Bracken’s debut YA novel, Sydelle is a weaver whose ordinary life is interrupted by the arrival of Wayland, a magician who needs a guide to the capital and someone who can repair his magical cloaks. Sydelle agrees to help him, as he claims he has information that can stop a war, but their journey is anything but easy as magical secrets come to light.
A Thief Among Trees by Sabaa Tahir, Nicole Andelfinger, and Sonia Liao
In this prequel to An Ember in the Ashes, Elias, Helene, and Tavi are new recruits in their military academy who are sent to steal a rare poison, but soon find themselves up against unexpected enemies. If you want more prequel stories set in this world, be sure to also check out A Spark Within the Forge, a prequel story about Laia and her family!
Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo and Dani Pendergast (September 27)
If you’re a fan of the Grishaverse and wondered about the Darkling’s past, here is a prequel that tells the origin story of one of YA’s most infamous villains! Long before the start of Shadow and Bone, Eryk and his mother Lena are rare Grisha hiding from those who would use them, moving about the country to avoid detection. But despite their best efforts, no one can truly hide who they are for long.
The Marble Queen by Anna Kopp and Gabrielle Kari (June 13, 2023)
Princess Amelia knows that her kingdom of Marion needs stability and hope after pirates ravage their trade routes, and an alliance with the country of Iliad will help. She accepts a proposal, but is surprised upon arrival when she learns that her betrothed is not the prince…but the queen. As their union is formalized, they must confront their own personal demons and dark secrets in order to secure their countries’ futures, and find happiness.
Want to stay up to date on all things YA graphic novels and comics releases? Check out our latest round up of new releases!