Antiracist graphic novel reading list 

A list of graphic novels to help examine racism and the fight for antiracism in the United States and around the world.

Links below are primarily to Bookshop.org which supports local bookstores or directly to an online format where you can read the graphic novels from your preferred device. We also encourage you to check these out from your local library. If your library doesn’t have a copy, encourage them to include these in their collection!

Antiracist graphic novel reading list 

A list of graphic novels to help examine racism and the fight for antiracism in the United States and around the world.

Links below are primarily to Bookshop.org which supports local bookstores or directly to an online format where you can read the graphic novels from your preferred device. We also encourage you to check these out from your local library. If your library doesn’t have a copy, encourage them to include these in their collection!

I Am Alphonso Jones - Tony Medina

“Alfonso Jones can’t wait to play the role of Hamlet in his school’s hip-hop rendition of the classic Shakespearean play. He also wants to let his best friend, Danetta, know how he really feels about her. But as he is buying his first suit, an off-duty police officer mistakes a clothes hanger for a gun, and he shoots Alfonso.

When Alfonso wakes up in the afterlife, he’s on a ghost train guided by well-known victims of police shootings, who teach him what he needs to know about this subterranean spiritual world. Meanwhile, Alfonso’s family and friends struggle with their grief and seek justice for Alfonso in the streets. As they confront their new realities, both Alfonso and those he loves realize the work that lies ahead in the fight for justice.

In the first graphic novel for young readers to focus on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, as in Hamlet, the dead shall speak—and the living yield even more surprises.” leeandlow.com

Kindred- Octavia E. Butler (Graphic Novel Adaptation)

Butler’s most celebrated, critically acclaimed work tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him.” Amazon

More than 35 years after its release, Kindred continues to draw in new readers with its deep exploration of the violence and loss of humanity caused by slavery in the United States, and its complex and lasting impact on the present day. Adapted by celebrated academics and comics artists Damian Duffy and John Jennings, this graphic novel powerfully renders Butler’s mysterious and moving story, which spans racial and gender divides in the antebellum South through the 20th century.” Bookshop.org

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal (Ms. Marvel Series) - G. Willow Wilson

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City – until she is suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the all-new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! As Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to handle? Kamala has no idea either. But she’s comin’ for you, New York!” Amazon

Persepolis - Margane Satrapi

Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis is a true-life account of childhood against the backdrop of radicalizing Iran. Satrapi doesn’t shy away from depicting the brutal, stark truths of the Islamic Revolution and the ensuing Iran-Iraq War, but just as powerful are the moments of a young girl growing: the warm touches on her life by her family, her embattled relationship with the faith she’s grown up with, the terrible recklessness of asserting her identity in a fundamentalism regime. For me, this read was as impactful as Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl. In a time of outspoken Islamophobia, Persepolis is an essential read.” Recommended By Miranda G., Powells.com

Pashmina - Nidhi Chanani

Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions―the topic of India is permanently closed.

For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she’s ever dared and find the family she never knew.

In this heartwarming graphic novel debut, Nidhi Chanani weaves a tale about the hardship and self-discovery that is born from juggling two cultures and two worlds.” Amazon

Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga - A project of the Library Company of Philadelphia supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

“During the Paxton massacres of 1763, a mob of white settlers, so-called “Paxton Boys” murdered 20 unarmed Conestoga People in a genocidal campaign that reshaped Pennsylvania settlement politics. Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga reimagines this difficult history through an educational graphic novel that introduces new interpreters and new bodies of evidence to highlight the Indigenous victims and their kin.”

Truth: Red, White & Black - Robert Morales

During World War II, while the U.S. military was attempting to develop a serum that would create the world’s perfect fighter, one young African-American soldier, Truth, survived the experiments that were meant for Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. Original.

From Publishers Weekly (As found on Amazon)

In 1940, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created Captain America, a frail patriot who was transformed by a “super-soldier serum” into a physically perfect specimen to champion freedom, an American alternative to the Nazi uebermensch. Now, writer Morales pursues this idea and also draws inspiration from U.S. government experiments in the 1930s that left unwitting African-Americans infected with syphilis, leading to many deaths. Beginning his story in 1940, Morales incisively depicts the racism his various African-American characters confront both in civilian life and in the military. These black soldiers are compelled to act as test subjects for the super-soldier serum; some die, while others become deformed. Ultimately only one survives, Isaiah Bradley. Substituting for Captain America on a mission, Bradley discovers Jewish concentration camp inmates subjected to experiments. Ranging from heroic figures to pointed caricatures, artist Baker makes his varied styles gel. Drawing on copious research, Morales dramatizes how racism corrupted American history, yet verges close to asserting moral equivalency between America and Nazi Germany. Roosevelt was ultimately in charge of the super-soldier program: would he have approved these human experiments? Besides, how can one talk about “truth” regarding a fictional creation? Simon and Kirby devised a fable about an American everyman tapping his inner strength to combat genocidal fascism; Kirby helped pioneer positive depictions of blacks in comics. By adding Morales’s backstory to Captain America’s origin, Marvel has turned the character into a white superman who owes his powers to the deaths and exploitation of African-Americans.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.” Amazon

Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow by James Strum and Rich Tommaso

Baseball Hall of Famer Leroy “Satchel” Paige (1906 – 1982) changed the face of the game in a career that spanned five decades. Much has been written about this larger-than-life pitcher, but when it comes to Paige, fact does not easily separate from fiction. He made a point of writing his own history . . . and then re-writing it. A tall, lanky fireballer, he was arguably the Negro League’s hardest thrower, most entertaining storyteller and greatest gate attraction. Now the Center for Cartoon Studies turns a graphic novelist’s eye to Paige’s story. Told from the point of view of a sharecropper, this compelling narrative follows Paige from game to game as he travels throughout the segregated South.

In stark prose and powerful graphics, author and artist share the story of a sports hero, role model, consummate showman, and era-defining American.

Stuck Rubber Baby 25th Anniversary Edition - Howard Cruse

“Painstakingly researched and exquisitely illustrated, Stuck Rubber Baby is a groundbreaking graphic novel that draws on Howard Cruse’s experience coming of age and coming out in 1960s Birmingham, Alabama.

This 25th anniversary edition brings this rich and moving tale of identity and resistance is back in print–complete with an updated introduction from Alison Bechdel, rare photographs, and unpublished archival material that give a thorough, behind-the-scenes look at this graphic novel masterpiece.

As a young gay man leading a closeted life in the 1960s American South, Toland Polk tries his best to keep a low profile. He’s aware of the racial injustice all around him–the segregationist politicians, the corrupt cops, the violent Klan members–but he feels powerless to make a difference. That all changes when he crosses paths with an impassioned coed named Ginger Raines.

Ginger introduces him to a lively and diverse group of civil rights activists, folk singers, and night club performers–men and women who live authentically despite the conformist values of their hometown. Emboldened by this new community, Toland joins the local protests and even finds the courage to venture into a gay bar.

No longer content to stay on the sidelines, Toland joins his friends as they fight against bigotry. But in Clayfield, Alabama, that can be dangerous–even deadly.” Bookshop.org

Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History- Art Spiegelman

“The first installment of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker).

A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats.

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father into an astonishing retelling of one of history’s most unspeakable tragedies. It is an unforgettable story of survival and a disarming look at the legacy of trauma.” Amazon

March - John Lewis

“Before he became a respected Congressman, John Lewis was clubbed, gassed, arrested over 40 times, and nearly killed by angry mobs and state police, all while nonviolently protesting racial discrimination. He marched side-by-side with Martin Luther King as the youngest leader of the Civil Rights Movement that would change a nation forever.

Now, experience John Lewis’ incredible story first-hand, brought to life in a stunning graphic novel trilogy. With co-writer Andrew Aydin and Eisner Award-winning artist Nate Powell, John Lewis’ MARCH tells the story of how a poor sharecropper’s son helped transform America, from a segregated schoolhouse to the 1963 March on Washington and beyond.” Amazon

American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang

This book tells three unique stories:

All Jin Wang wants is to fit in. When his family moves to a new neighborhood, he suddenly finds that he’s the only Chinese American student at his school. Jocks and bullies pick on him constantly, and he has hardly any friends. Then, to make matters worse, he falls in love with an all-American girl…

Born to rule over all the monkeys in the world, the story of the Monkey King is one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables. Adored by his subjects, master of the arts of kung-fu, he is the most powerful monkey on earth. But the Monkey King doesn’t want to be a monkey. He wants to be hailed as a god…

Chin-Kee is the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, and he’s ruining his cousin Danny’s life. Danny’s a popular kid at school, but every year Chin-Kee comes to visit, and every year Danny has to transfer to a new school to escape the shame. This year, though, things quickly go from bad to worse…” Goodreads

They Called Us Enemy - George Takei

George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s–and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. In a stunning graphic memoir, Takei revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of over 100,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon–and America itself–in this gripping tale of courage, country, loyalty, and love.” Google Books

Vietnamerica - G B Tran

“A superb new graphic memoir in which an inspired artist/storyteller reveals the road that brought his family to where they are today: Vietnamerica

GB Tran is a young Vietnamese American artist who grew up distant from (and largely indifferent to) his family’s history. Born and raised in South Carolina as a son of immigrants, he knew that his parents had fled Vietnam during the fall of Saigon. But even as they struggled to adapt to life in America, they preferred to forget the past—and to focus on their children’s future. It was only in his late twenties that GB began to learn their extraordinary story. When his last surviving grandparents die within months of each other, GB visits Vietnam for the first time and begins to learn the tragic history of his family, and of the homeland they left behind.

In this family saga played out in the shadow of history, GB uncovers the root of his father’s remoteness and why his mother had remained in an often fractious marriage; why his grandfather had abandoned his own family to fight for the Viet Cong; why his grandmother had had an affair with a French soldier. GB learns that his parents had taken harrowing flight from Saigon during the final hours of the war not because they thought America was better but because they were afraid of what would happen if they stayed. They entered America—a foreign land they couldn’t even imagine—where family connections dissolved and shared history was lost within a span of a single generation.

In telling his family’s story, GB finds his own place in this saga of hardship and heroism. Vietnamerica is a visually stunning portrait of survival, escape, and reinvention—and of the gift of the American immigrants’ dream, passed on to their children. Vietnamerica is an unforgettable story of family revelation and reconnection—and a new graphic-memoir classic.” Powells Books

Undocumented: A Worker's Fight - Duncan Tonatiuh

Undocumented is the story of immigrant workers who have come to the United States without papers. Every day, these men and women join the work force and contribute positively to society. The story is told via the ancient Mixtec codex—accordion fold—format. Juan grew up in Mexico working in the fields to help provide for his family. Struggling for money, Juan crosses over into the United States and becomes an undocumented worker, living in a poor neighborhood, working hard to survive. Though he is able to get a job as a busboy at a restaurant, he is severely undercompensated—he receives less than half of the minimum wage! Risking his boss reporting him to the authorities for not having proper resident papers, Juan risks everything and stands up for himself and the rest of the community.” Amazon

Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection

MOONSHOT The Indigenous Comics Collection brings together dozens of creators from North America to contribute comic book stories showcasing the rich heritage and identity of indigenous storytelling. From traditional stories to exciting new visions of the future, this collection presents some of the finest comic book and graphic novel work on the continent. MOONSHOT is an incredible collection that will amaze, intrigue and entertain! MOONSHOT includes work by 28 writers and artists, including: Claude St-Aubin (R.E.B.E.L.S., Green Lantern, Captain Canuck), Jeffrey Veregge (G.I. Joe, Judge Dredd), Stephen Gladue (MOONSHOT cover artist), Haiwei Hou (Two Brothers), Nicholas Burns (Arctic Comics, Curse of Chucky, Super Shamou), Jon Proudstar (Tribal Force), George Freeman (Captain Canuck, Aquaman, Batman), Elizabeth LaPensee (Survivance, The Nature of Snakes, Fala), Buffy Sainte-Marie (Fire & Fleet & Candlelight, Coincidence & Likely Stories), Richard Van Camp (Path of the Warrior, Kiss Me Deadly), Fred Pashe (SpiritWolf), David Robertson (The Evolution of Alice, Stone), Michael Sheyahshe (Native Americans in Comic Books, Dark Owl), David Cutler (The Northern Guard), Menton J. Matthews III (Monocyte, Memory Collectors, Three Feathers), Jay Odjick (Kagagi: The Raven), Ian Ross (Heart of a Distant Tribe, Bereav’d of Light, An Illustrated History of the Anishinabe), Lovern Kindzierski (X-Men, Wolverine, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Spiderman), Arigon Starr (Super Indian, Indigenous Narratives Collective) and more! Comixology- Amazon Company

DEER WOMAN: AN ANTHOLOGY [DIGITAL EDITION]

“Based on our original Deer Woman comic, Deer Woman: An Anthology is now available for sale to the public!

Following a very successful Kickstarter campaign, this anthology features the work of more than a dozen Native women sharing stories of survival, empowerment, and healing. 

Edited by Elizabeth LaPensée and Weshoyot Alvitre and featuring the work of: Patty Stonefish, Allie Vasquez, Mia Casesa, Darcie Little Badger, Tara Ogaick, Kimberly Robertson, Barbara Kenmille, Maria Wolf Lopez, Tatum Bowie, Jackie Fawn, Rebecca Roanhorse, Carolyn Dunn, Nashoba Dunn-Anderson, and more, this anthology is an important addition to the current conversation about violence against women, especially Native women.” Red Planet Books

Six Days in Cincinnati: A Graphic Account of the Riots That Shook the Nation a Decade Before Black Lives Matter by Dan Méndez Moore

The graphic narrative history of the 2001 Cincinnati riots, told for the first time from the perspective of the participants.


When Timothy Thomas, a 19-year-old black man, was fatally shot by police, the city broke out into nonviolent civil disobedience that was met with further police violence. This was the first major uprising of the 21st Century, matched only by the LA riots a decade before and the protests in Ferguson over a decade later. Author and illustrator Dan Méndez Moore was 17 at the time when he participated in the six days of protests that shook the city between Thomas’s death and his funeral. Méndez Moore’s comics-journalism account sensitively captures a fiery moment in U.S. history through interviews with protestors, community leaders, bystanders, and a frustrated looter. He portrays the tension of a city boiling over, political leaders taking advantage, and an inner-city community coming together. Six Days in Cincinnati is a nonfiction graphic novel that tells an all-American story of systemic racism and the power of popular movements, more relevant in our post-Ferguson era than ever before.

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