Contrary to popular belief, cartoon books can be enjoyed by people other than nerds and children too. You don’t need to be all gawky wearing coke-bottle glasses, to have fun reading cartoon books. Infact, they are quite a pleasure to read and most of them have some really amazing plots.
Also a misconception needs to be broken here. Not all comic books are about superheroes or villains or the popular Marvel and DC club. There are pretty amazing stories apart from them waiting to be told. So if you are not quite into these stuff, there is nothing to worry about. Read on to know some of our best cartoon books recommendations.
What are the best cartoon books?
Some of the best cartoon books are graphic novels that will tell you a complete story that you will thoroughly enjoy. The main central narrative and the mini sub-plots that revolve around it are quite interesting to read. Most of the characters of these books are well developed and have their own personal journeys, which sets the tone for these books.
Graphic novels, especially, are stunning visual treats and you will find them too attractive to ignore on your bookshelf. Did you know cartoon books are great for your mind and vocabulary as well? The best cartoon books have catchy themes and great social messaging that you will love. Here are some of our suggestions.
10 Best Cartoon Books with Reviews:
- Astro City
If you are in any mood of taking a break from the same old DC or marvel, this cartoon book can be your perfect escape. The book is kind of a satire or a contradiction between two universes. Astro city is a city full of superhumans and the book tries to show us glimpses from their everyday life. The plot is forwarded through a series of short stories.
Each of these episodes have a central character around whom the plot develops. Do you know the most interesting part of this novel? The book has mentions of real life social issues like gender politics, paranoia. It also challenges how we perceive our heroes as “perfect” and makes us think if we should really idealise them.
Fun Fact: Fremantle Media, North America, which is the media house that produces the Niel Gieman adapted Starz Series, American Gods, soon intends to create a live action series adapted from this book.
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
Are you a big-time fan of all the batman vs superman series and movies? A lot of them were inspired by this one. So there is no reason why you shouldn’t be obsessed with this book. Infact, this one is the first graphic novel that had scenes of sensational fights between these two great superheroes.
Don’t you love the dark and mysterious character of batman? This was the book that first re-invented it. There are scenes of deadly violence, political sat
tire and even social commentary.The stunning graphic visuals of the book is the added bonus. You have to read this one if you see yourself as a socially enlightened comic book fan.
Fun fact: Batman’s first TV performance that became popular among the masses was the 1966 Tv show named “Batman”. It was a mind-thrilling series of a total 120 episodes and was aired for two years. In 1943, the character Batman first appeared on television.
- Batman: Arkhum Asylum
This one is one of those unnerving, edgy Batman tales that will grip your attention till the very end. The plot of this thriller revolves around the history of Arkham Asylum, one of the most infamous places of Gotham and the story of its founder.
The climax of the plot which is around an event on the April Fool’s Day where one of the scariest escapes takes place will blow away your mind. Are you reminded of a video game you often played as a child? Yes, the game has been inspired from this same book.
Fun fact: One of the members of the team that worked on the video game production based on this novel was so much involved in it that he roamed around in his city wearing the Batman’s cape for almost two years. He designed over 700 extraordinary animations and sound effects to capture the glory of the book in the best way possible.
- City of Glass
You would perhaps enjoy a little vacation from the typical super themed comics and graphics. Do you enjoy super brainy stories that keeps you guessing till the end? This book by Paul Auster is an existentialist noir mystery that will keep you thinking and confused throughout the story.
You have to really read in between the lines for this gripping plot to actually hold your attention. This one is not your super easy, weekend light read. If you are someone who likes to read layered cartoon stories with deep inner meaning, this is the one for you.
Fun Fact: This graphic novel was based on a novella by the same author and Comic Journals voted this in the top 100 for the 20th century.
Most of you have read or heard about the series, The Walking Dead. This one is a very famous and one the best cartoon books of Robert Kirkman who tries to capture a global incident of a zombie apocalypse and a young group of boys who tries to survive it. This book is the work of the same writer and he tries to create here something similar.
The writer doesn’t hold himself back in expressing his emotions. The violent scenes in this book are horrific and full of blood. Artist Ryan Ottley has co-assisted him in this book to explore even more angles of this genre. If you are someone who’s not looking for comfortable reads but something out of the box, you should totally read this one.
Fun fact: Robert Kirkman and Amazon Prime which also screened The Boys adaptation, debuted the first trailer from the upcoming series, The Invincible at New York Comic Con, which will be adapted from this book itself. This will give the fans a much needed breather from superhero comics and they are in great anticipation since it was last announced in 2018.
- The league of extraordinary gentlemen
This is yet another “extraordinary” masterpiece from the legend author Alan Moore. Are you someone who loves bold, layered, strong characters with backstories and struggles? You will love how the author’s character development game in this book is so epic. It explores a lot of vintage literary characters like Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde, the Invisible Man and the list goes on.
Are you obsessed with plots where the superhero saves the world? Well, then save your bucks for this book because you won’t find a better option . Here, not just a single but a team of these superheroes come together to protect the world from an impending disaster. If classic literature with modern storytelling is your thing, this book with iconic, vivid characters will amaze you.
Fun Fact: Volume I of this novel won the 2000 Bram Stoker Award for Best Illustrated Narrative. Volume II received the 2003 Eisner Award and the Time’s Magazine listed it as the 9th best comic of 2003.
- The Walking Dead
Was this mentioned earlier in one of the books? Yes it was. But before you come up with the excuse of having watched the series before to not read this book, you should know the book is much better. Infact, the movie or the series is not even close to the book and the plot is furthered on a different pathway altogether.
This is not some cliche, classic zombie apocalypse story that you come across every other day. Infact, it delves deeper within more unique themes of humanity and it’s face when the worst of the worst situations takes over. If you are someone who is not into simple, straight horror stories but loves a mix of few genres with it, this book is exactly what you have been looking for. It has a bunch of twists of drama, action and comedy as well.
Fun Fact: There is a Walking Dead Theory that claims Rick Grimes had dreamt all the events in this book. Perhaps his wife isn’t still dead and the Whisperers don’t even exist!
- The Complete Maus
This might come off as a cutesy, dead serious cartoon book with a gloomy vibe to most of you. But there is a reason why this beautiful work by Art Spiegelman bagged the Pulitzer prize. If you are someone with a greater taste of stories than the glitter graphics, even when it comes to cartoon books, this book will be your best possession ever. The plot of this book has been taken from the story of the writer’s own father who was a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe.
This is one of the best cartoon books that exists with a heart-wrenching tale of horror, survival and emotional struggles that will leave you in tears. The writer shows us his vulnerabilities and his complex relationship with his tortured father after the incident. If you have always been a fan of great stories be it any genre of book, you should really consider reading this one.
Fun Fact: A Polish journalist, Piotr Bikont, was so enthralled by the book that he established his own publishing house simply to publish this novel.
- Y: The Last Man
Want to go for a cartoon book that has really unique themes and an extraordinary plot? This book is certainly one of those. The story is about a man, Yorick Brown, who is the last human survivor left on the planet after a deadly plague wipes out life from the world. The interesting part is that only mammals with a Y chromosome are killed.
The book is filled with never-ending surprises and shocks that always keeps you on the edge. You will find yourself hooked to this unpredictable plot till the very end. The book also talks about socially relevant issues. But this doesn’t make it gloomy at all since there are enough comic reliefs here and there that you won’t be prepared for. If you are someone who loves sci-fi based comic books, this one is totally your thing.
Fun Fact: This book is the winner of three Eisner Awards and one of the most critically acclaimed, best selling comic books series of the last decade.
If you are totally crushing over the work of Alex Ross’ (who isn’t) but don’t really find yourself liking the DC universe, your perfect read is here. The protagonist of this book is Phil Sheldon, a newspaper photographer who documents how the superheroes of the Marvel superheroes are exploited and how they suffer in deep agony. It presents an amazingly fresh and human perspective on the world of comic book heroes.
The book is a great reminder of the fact that not all superhero stories are about the great heroes and evil villains or the antagonist and the protagonist. Some stories are very much capable of going deeper into more human issues. This book is great for anyone who prefers unconventional plots with a more human feel.
Fun Fact: In the early 1990s, Michael Jackson tried to buy Marvel Comics just so that he could play Spiderman in his own-produced movie.
Best Cartoon Books: Verdict
Many of the best cartoon books are brainy and super cool and more than just conventional superhero stories. You don’t need to be a member of the DC or the Marvel fan club to love these books. You can simply pick any of our recommendations or even more than one, for a pleasure, light weekend read. If you are more into serious-toned, dark-themed plots, there are amazing read suggestions for you as well. No matter what your mood is, you will always find a cartoon book that suits it.