Graphic Novels With a Non-Fiction Hook

As anyone who reads any of my reviews on this blog knows, I read a lot of non-fiction (especially history. See my last review).  Even when I read fiction I love it when there is some kind non-fiction connection. This holds true with graphic novels, and here are a few for the non-fiction lover that are fictional but still have some historical connection. The first two are a little hard to get, but if you want them we are happy to get them from another library for you. The last two are in our collection (thank you Michelle) as well as in other libraries.

zorroZorro – Isabel Allende

This graphic novel is based on Allende’s novel of the same name. It follows the life of Diego de la Vega aka Zorro in 18th century California and Spain. The story is told from the perspective of Bernardo, Diego’s servant/friend and switches back and forth between the older Diego and Diego as a child. Allende does a great job of pulling the history into her fictional story. Much of the story deals with the conflicted relationship between the Spanish, the creole and native populations of New Spain.

secretSecret History Omnibus Volume 1 – Jean-Pierre Pecau

As the omnibus suggests this is a collection of graphic novels from the Secret History series. It traces the story of four siblings who become Arkons, nearly immortal individuals with powers based on a series of runes and icons. The story begins with them receiving their runes in prehistoric times and follows them forward in history as they wage war on each other and various segments of humanity. Much of the history it pulls in is easily recognizable: Erlin allies with Moses to defeat his brother, Dyo, and the Egyptians. However it also pulls in things that many people might not know of, like the myth of the Crecy longbowmen at the battle of Mons. It is loads of fun trying to catch them all.

manManifest Destiny Vol. 1 : Flora and Fauna – Chris Dingess

Manifest is the graphic novel retelling of the Lewis and Clark Expedition but with a twist. Besides exploring the west for possible settlement, they also fight monsters (lots of monsters). Oh, and Sacajawea is awesome and totally carries them. The artwork is beautiful in this one, with lots of really detailed scenery images. It will make you want to go back and reread the expedition journal to see where you can line up the historical events to the story.

peterPeter Panzerfaust Volume One: The Great Escape – Kurtis J. Wiebe

So, what if you took the story of Peter Pan and set it in World War II France? Well wonder no more: Peter Panzerfaust is a creative retelling of the Peter Pan story. Peter is an American kid searching for someone in France as the Germans march in. He meets up with some children from an orphanage (the lost boys), and they proceed to organize their own little resistance cell. You wouldn’t think the Peter Pan story would work in World War II but it does, really well. The best part is there are all kinds of nods to the original story. It’s the first in a series and you meet more characters in each volume. I also can’t wait to find out why Peter is nicknamed after a German anti-tank weapon.

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