Reader’s Advisory: Halloween Graphic Novels

Well Club UGLers, it is getting ever closer to Halloween which means it’s time to make costumes, eat candy corn, and scare ourselves with movies, books, and haunted houses. In this week’s Reader’s Advisory, we are going to give you some graphic novel reading suggestions that up the ante on chills, thrills, and blood. The Undergraduate Library has one of the biggest graphic novel collections in the country, so stay tuned because there is bound to be something you’ll like.

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Broshol

Anya’s Ghost, by Russian-American Vera Broshol, is a creepy, yet tame, ghost story option for those who prefer not to be kept up at night. Anya is a Russian immigrant navigating high school with no friends and low self-esteem when she unexpectedly falls into a well and meets a ghost. When Anya is rescued, she also rescues the ghost, who she adopts as her new best friend. The best laid plans go awry in this ghostly graphic novel perfect for someone who gets a bit squeamish in a horror film!

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

If your favorite part of a graphic novel is the artwork, Through the Woods is sure to suit your tastes. This horror graphic novel by Canadian lesbian author Emily Carroll is composed of five spine-tingling fairy tales gone wrong. From kidnapped sisters in the cold winter to a murdered wife’s ghost, these five tales and the horrifically beautiful depictions will be just creepy enough for people who like fear without the gore.

Dark Metro by Tokyo Calen and illustrated by Yoshiken

For those who prefer manga, Dark Metro is a perfect Halloween choice. This exploration of the Tokyo underground beneath the subways. The boundaries between life and death are challenged by those who spend time here with Seiya, the guide of the land of the dead. These short stories about people preyed upon by the ghosts of the city’s terrifying underworld will please those who are a little into the dark side. This creepy manga has two volumes to keep you reading all Halloween weekend.

Batman: The Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb

If manga isn’t your thing, you could always go to the tried and true Batman for your source of Halloween entertainment. In Batman: The Long Halloween Batman must stop a serial killer called Holiday. Holiday is a crazed maniac who kills people every holiday. In this story, Batman’s greatest foe is defeating this villain while also wrestling with some of the most iconic members of his rogues gallery including Falcone, Two-Face, and the Joker. This graphic novel is sure to delight the murder-mystery fans in us all. Check this one out if you need to quench your superhero fix with a Halloween twist.

30 Days of Night by Steve Niles

Last on the list is easily the most brutal and bloody. 30 Days of Night, takes place in a small town in Alaska where the sun does not rise for 30 days. Vampires come to the town to openly kill and feed on the townspeople. How will this seemingly endless vampire rampage end? You could always check out the graphic novel! This graphic novel is definitely for fans of vampires – and those that aren’t on the squeamish side.

For more Halloween graphic novel suggestions, check out our handy chart:

Halloween Graphic Novels

Have any other suggestions for frightful graphic novels? Tweet at us (@askundergrad) or contact us on Facebook (Undergraduate Library at UIUC)! Happy reading, Club UGL!

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit

Reader’s Advisory: Graphic Novels

Rejoice dear UGLers – this blog post is sure to excite! Forget about all that humdrum required reading you had to do during the school year – it’s time for some positively pulsating tales from the house of wonder. Got summer blockbusters on the brain? All those heroes on the big screen got their start somewhere, and now’s your chance to catch up on the breathtaking back-stories behind your fabulous costumed favorites.

The following reader’s advisory is going to highlight some of the new graphic novels added to the UGL’s already impressive collection. Dive in and learn some of the scintillating secrets of this summer’s biggest stars!

Essential Astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 1

Essential Astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 1

Essential Astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 1

If you have been paying attention to the commercials on television, you may have noticed that there is a tiny movie coming out later this summer. Marvel’s Ant-Man is being released in theaters on July 17th and what better way to prepare than read some of the character’s most iconic stories. Focusing on the first Ant-Man, Hank Pym, Essential Astonishing Ant-Man Vol. 1 contains the earliest adventures of the tiny scientist including his infamous origin story.

Marvel's Fear Itself

Marvel’s Fear Itself

Marvel’s Fear Itself

If ant-sized characters aren’t really your style, the UGL recently acquired Marvel’s Fear Itself series. The Fear Itself series is an example of Marvel’s recent history with sweeping, epic story-lines that include some of their most famous characters. This series depicts the likes of Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Thor, among many others, dealing with an otherworldly threat called the Serpent. With numerous characters highlighted in various tie-ins, this series is a must read for the die-hard Marvel fan.

Hulk: Season One

Hulk: Season One

Hulk: Season One

Did you see how awesome the Hulk was in Marvel’s smash hit Avengers: Age of Ultron? Well if you can’t get enough of the green goliath you should check out Tom Fowler and Fred Van Lente’s retelling of the origin of “the other guy” in Hulk: Season One. This acclaimed story brings together classic characters and some surprising new ones, all while modernizing everyone’s favorite green rage-monster.

The New 52: Justice League

The New 52: Justice League

The New 52: Justice League
If you are getting burnt out on the Marvel extravaganza of the last few years, DC comics has a few characters that are sure to delight. The New 52 Justice League series contains some of the company’s most iconic heroes including the Flash, Cyborg, and everyone’s favorite: Batman. With Warner Bros. releasing Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice next March, its a good time to read up on the slew of DC characters coming to the big screen.

Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City

Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City

Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot in the City

Sometimes heroes can be a little boring, so maybe reading a villain-centric graphic novel will entice you. Harley Quinn: Hot in the City is an outrageous story following Harley Quinn the infamous villain and anti-hero known to most Batman fans. While this graphic novel may lack in realism, it does not lack in hilarity or extravagance. And don’t forget, Harley will finally be making her big screen debut next fall in Warner Bros. Suicide Squad. So what better way to spend you summer than to mentally prepare for that villainous flick?

These selections are just a small portion of the new and exciting graphic novels added to our collection. If you aren’t familiar with our impressive assortment of graphic novels you should swing by the lower level of the UGL to see what we have to offer. Do you have any other suggestions for the comic book fan in us all? Send us your suggestions now! Excelsior!

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit


The combination of narrative and dialogue with sequenced illustrations is generally what sets a graphic novel apart from other literary forms. Speech bubbles between characters move the plot along, and expository notes from the author help us follow the illustrated action. Some artists, however, focus exclusively on the ‘graphic’ part of graphic novels, and create works with no words at all. In the following books, there are no sentences or paragraphs, but that doesn’t mean nothing is said.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

First things first, if you haven’t already read “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan, pick it up right now. For those of you who have come a long way to attend UIUC, or who are still getting used to your new college environment, this book is a gentle, comforting tale of finding your bearings in a strange land. The illustrations are high detailed, but soft and warm. It’s the best picture book for adults, period – though children can enjoy it, too, of course.

Six Novels in Woodcuts by Lynd Ward

Before graphic novels, there were wordless novels: long series of woodcuts which, when viewed in sequence, told a story. Lynd Ward was the first prominent American artist to work in this proto-graphic-novel form, and we have all 6 of his stark works for you to enjoy. You can also read more about wordless novels in general in “Wordless Books” by David A. Beronä (lots of words in that one, though).

Mister O. by Lewis Trondheim

Mister O is a small person. Mister O is shaped like an O. Mister O would like to cross that chasm so that he can continue his walk, but everything in the world seems to conspire to prevent him from doing so – cranky birds, aliens, poorly aimed cannons… It’s very simple, but sometimes the simplest pictures are best. There’s a punchline on every page – almost instant gratification!

Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring

While “The Arrival” (above) focuses on making a new home in a new place, “Congress of the Animals” is more about what happens when you leave home and have no idea where you are. Frank, a small buck-toothed critter, escapes his safe, but stifling environment and journeys through bizarre, woodcut-esque landscapes. Stuff gets real weird, but if you’re into it, you can check out the similarly wordless “Weathercraft” by the same author, which the publisher describes as containing “32 pages of almost incomprehensible suffering.”

Greetings from Hellville by Thomas Ott

As the title implies, the short stories in this collection are hellish and disturbing; finely-textured nightmares in which nothing goes right. The artists Thomas Ott draws inspiration from early silent horror movies, so give ’em a look if you want to be seriously creeped out (and possibly scared speechless, much like the characters). You can also check out more of Ott’s work in “R.I.P: Best of 1985-2004;” just leave your nightlight on.

Sshhhh! by Jason

What an appropriate title for a book with no words. This is a collection of 10 short vignettes that follow a bird-headed man in a hat through journeys simultaneously mundane and surreal. Bird-head man explores love, jealousy, parenthood, aging, death, and isolation, in absolute contemplative silence. If you dig Jason’s style but want a little more conversation with your illustration, try another of his works, “Tell Me Something,” which (aptly enough) has some dialogue.

We think we’ve said enough about stories that thrive on a lack of words. Do you have a favorite graphic novel without words? Tell us about in the comments…or draw us a picture, if you’re really in the spirit!

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit

Study Break? Grab a comic!

We know you’re hard at work this time of year—as if you weren’t busy enough already, midterms are coming, and papers and projects are mounting up left and right. We see you studying hard in the UGL, and we’re here to support you in all your research needs. In the midst of all that academic frenzy, though, it’s important to do some fun things for yourself, and we can help you with that, too! You might already know about the movies and video games we have available for you to use—but did you know that we also have a huge collection of comics and graphic novels for you to check out? Well, it’s true!

Our librarians love you so much that we work tirelessly to bring you books that we think you’ll enjoy. Last year, this meant bringing in almost 200 new graphic novels to our collection. Not just your average, run-of-the-mill comics, either—we have works from many different countries, in many different languages, as part of our goal of diversity. Many of them are available in English as well as in their original language, be it French, Spanish, Norwegian, Japanese, Chinese, or another. Some of them are pretty rare or obscure and hard to find—but we rounded them up, just for you! Here are a few volumes we think you should have a look at:


book cover: black and white illustration of pointy-faced figurebook cover: comic illustration of figure looking isolated at a social gatheringbook cover: high-contrast illustration of figure in sailing costumebook cover: illustration of young person juxtaposed with skeletonbook cover: small illustration of seated figure in ancient warrior costumeLoco by Pedro Espinosa
This “silent” work (meaning it has no words or dialog) from Spanish artist Pedro Espinosa was originally published serially in the 1980s; now it’s all collected together in one volume. The main character, Loco, silently expresses his concerns about societal, political, and familial issues.




Conventum by Pascal Girard
The horror, the agony, the trials and tribulations of attending a class reunion, and the self-reflection it can cause—in French with simple, charming illustrations by Québécois artist Pascal Girard.




Corto Maltese: The Ballad of the Salt Sea by Hugo Pratt
Originally published in 1967-1969, this was the first story featuring the rogue sailor-adventurer character of Corto Maltese. Though the stories are fictional, the historic periods and places featured were exhaustively researched by creator Hugo Pratt, and Maltese meets fascinating characters from all over the world, real and imagined. Available in English as well as the original Italian.




7 Billion Needles by Nobuaki Tadano
This reimagining of the 1950s science fiction novel Needle tells of a teenage girl in Japan who suddenly finds her body possessed by a extra-terrestrial being, and embroiled in a manhunt for yet another extra-terrestrial being intent on destroying the human race. Exciting stuff!






Goliath by Tom Gauld
The Biblical story of David and Goliath gets retold, this time from the point of view of the giant Goliath. He may actually be more a lover than a fighter, but bureaucracy and politics conspire to push him into his fabled role of antagonist.





If you read all these and you’re still not sated—or if there’s a graphic novel or comic series you’d really love to see on our shelves—you can always suggest a purchase. We’re working on getting more new additions soon, this time focusing on the Middle East, South Asia, and Eastern Europe. If you have any suggestions for graphic novels in that realm, or even outside of it, drop a line to Chris Diaz ( We look forward to hearing from you and giving you lots of good stuff to read!

Twitter Linkedin Digg Delicious Email Tumblr Reddit