14 Totally Fun Graphic Novels

Some comics I read for sheer entertainment. Ridiculous over-the-top plots! Antics, hijinks, wisecracks, and impossible events! Here are some of my favorites that hit that spot, in case you find yourself with a dull evening that needs some livening up.

The way my life is organized these days, it’s tough for me to write reviews. Some of the books below have them, some do not, but I love them all. Hope you find something new to read!

Before we jump in:

  • All comics here can be bought as graphic novels/collections, not only as single issues. Your library may own many of these!
  • Amazon links are affiliate links.
  • Any questions, corrections, recommendations? Let me know via my contact form.

Fence (Amazon / Comixology / Goodreads) By C.S. Pacat. Art by Johanna the Mad.

Highly entertaining teen drama set at a prestigious private boarding school and the world of competitive fencing, with all the rivalries, romances, and burning resentments you could ever hope for. Very diverse, very queer, and I’m loving the heck out of it. Manga-inspired and trope-filled in such a satisfying way. If you’re looking for a sports comic crossed with a teen soap opera comic, you should absolutely check this out.

Fence is an ongoing comic series, with the first few issues recently collected into the volume linked above.

Diversity Note: Pacat is bi. Johanna the Mad is Mexican.

Buzz (Amazon/Comixology / Goodreads) By Ananth Panagariya (now Hirsh). illustrated by Tessa Stone.

You didn’t know you needed an underground spelling bee comic book, did you? BUT YOU DO! High school student Webster is inadvertently drawn into a back alley, unsanctioned spelling bee and discovers his true gifts and a world rife with rivalry, intrigue, and secrets. This isn’t your grandma’s safe, polite spelling bee, oh no! Which world will he choose, the safe mainstream or the exciting yet dangerous new world? Can he really trust the Outlaw King and the Black Queen? What is his sister so afraid of? Hopefully he’ll be brave enough (and survive long enough) to find out!

It’s completely frenetic and zany, preposterous in the best way, and I got such a kick out of it. Buzz is complete in one volume.

Bubble (Amazon/Kindle / Goodreads) By Jordan Morris and Sarah Morris, art by Tony Cliff, colored by Natalie Riess.

“Built and maintained by corporate benevolence, the city of Fairhaven is a literal bubble of safety and order (and amazing coffee) in the midst of the Brush, a harsh alien wilderness ruled by monstrous Imps and rogue bands of humans. Humans like Morgan, who’s Brush-born and Bubble-raised and fully capable of fending off an Imp attack during her morning jog. She’s got a great routine going—she has a chill day job, she recreationally kills the occasional Imp, then she takes that Imp home for her roommate and BFF, Annie, to transform into drugs as a side hustle.

But cracks appear in her tidy life when one of those Imps nearly murders a delivery guy in her apartment, accidentally transforming him into a Brush-powered mutant in the process. And when Morgan’s company launches Huntr, a gig economy app for Imp extermination, she finds herself press-ganged into kicking her stabby side job up to the next level as she battles a parade of monsters and monstrously Brush-turned citizens, from a living hipster beard to a book club hive mind.”

Happy Kanako’s Killer Life (Amazon/Comixology / Goodreads) By Toshiya Wakabayashi.

“Nishino Kanako sure hates her job, and is only too happy to snag the first new gig that comes her way. She never expected that her interview would be at an agency for contract killers… or that she’d be really, really good at bumping people off! Kanako doesn’t have a ton of self-confidence, and adjusting to her new life as an assassin isn’t the easiest. Will she ever earn the respect of Sakurai, her prickly but kinda hot new coworker?”

Mystery Society (Amazon/Comixology / Goodreads) Co-created by Ashley Wood and Steve Niles. Written by Steve Niles with art by Fiona Staples. Letters by Robbie Robbins, Chris Mowry, and Shawn Lee.

Nick and Anastasia Mystery are a glamorous celebrity adventurer couple who investigate paranormal secrets. Nick is currently in jail. Doesn’t seem to bother him much. You see, Nick was caught sneaking into Area 51 to investigate a secret military project. Which he found. Which really pissed off the folks running it. With Nick in the clink, it’s up to Anastasia, twin girls saved from a laboratory, an undead crimefighter, and a robot with Jules Verne’s brain to get him out and save the day. And find Edgar Allen Poe’s stolen skull. Because that’s the kind of thing they do.

It’s eccentric without being pretentious, and I had a great time reading it.

Mystery Society has been collected three different times. The volume linked above is the last, the “definitive edition”, but it doesn’t have the extra content included in the hardcover.

Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye (Amazon/Comixology / Goodreads) Written by Colleen AF Venable and illustrated by Stephanie Yue.

We checked this out from the library thinking it was just for Boy Detective, but the adults in the house cracked up as much, if not more, than the intended seven year old audience. The main character is a bookworm guinea pig named Sasspants. Her best friend is a mouse named Hamisher who thought he was a koala but later wants to be a dragon. They live in a pet shop where the owner can’t remember what to label the cages… and there’s always a mystery afoot. The fish are all named Steve. The chinchillas have a pet mouse they carry around like a tiny dog, and they dress him up.

Trust me on this one. You won’t be sorry. Six slim volumes, every one is comedy gold.

Diversity notes: (1) Yue is Asian-American. (2) I read the pet shop owner as being neurodivergent in some way, and that is never ever a bad thing to the animals or his friends. They love and admire him exactly as he is.

Bandette (Amazon / Goodreads) By Paul Tobin. Illustrated by Colleen Coover.

I’ve always been a fan of Coover’s fun art style, and Tobin is a good storyteller. Bandette is an irrepressible Parisian teenage master thief with the proverbial heart of gold… and an affinity for first editions of good books. The police love to hate her but sometimes need her help. Her rival “Monsieur” wants to save her life, even though she’s after his reputation as the world’s greatest thief. The ballerinas and street urchins just want to help. And poor Daniel! Will his heart belong to the mysterious Bandette forever? Plus, female matador!

This book has a retro, French/Belgian adventure comics feel, like Tintin, but completely fresh. Three volumes are out so far, and this is one that we store in the “grownups” bookshelf but it gets taken out by Boy Detective routinely. Good clean fun for the whole family!

Atomic Robo (Amazon/Comixology / Goodreads) Written by Brian Clevinger, art by Scott Wegener, colors by Ronda Pattison, and letters by Jeff Powell.

Robo is a sentient nuclear-powered robot built by Nikola Tesla in the 1920s. He fought in the second World War and inherited Tesladyne, a corporation devoted to science. Weird science. And occasionally violent science, such as kicking the butt of a walking Egyptian pyramid, or repelling a vampire invasion from another dimension. It’s like a combo of pulp, monster movies, and that friend who wisecracks so much that you can’t stop laughing.

The Robo crew are in the middle of two things, I think? (1) Re-releasing Atomic Robo in un-numbered hardcovers because you really can read them in any order, and (2) Releasing and re-releasing some of their older books through a larger publisher. So it can get a bit confusing, but the upshot is: find a Robo book, read it. Maybe the one linked above first because it’s a good grounding, but after that follow your heart.

Way of the Househusband (Amazon / Goodreads) By Kousoke Oono.

A former yakuza legend leaves it all behind to become your everyday househusband. But it’s not easy to walk away from the gangster life, and what should be mundane household tasks are anything but!

He was the fiercest member of the yakuza, a man who left countless underworld legends in his wake. They called him ‘the Immortal Dragon.’ But one day he walked away from it all to travel another path—the path of the househusband! The curtain rises on this cozy yakuza comedy!”

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant (Amazon/Kindle / Goodreads) By Tony Cliff.

Ergemoglu Selim is a Turkish soldier who isn’t much good at actual soldiering, though he does brew excellent tea. In Constantinople in 1807, that’s not a recipe for career success in the military. Selim has at least one other skill, speaking English, which brings him into contact with adventurer and thief Delilah Dirk. She’s imprisoned, he’s assigned to question her… which somehow ends with his head on the chopping block, accused of abetting her escape. Spoiler alert: he gets away.

The book is named for Dirk, and she is a kick-ass woman with awesome hair that defies the laws of physics. Selim, though, is the narrator and the heart of the story. She’s the impetuous adventurer, he’s the realist. It’s not an odd couple dynamic, but a complementary pair of friends who didn’t know how much they needed each other until they met. She brings him out of his shell, and he finds his place in the world.

There are two Delilah Dirk books so far and a third has been announced, hurray!

Giant Days (Amazon/Comixology / Goodreads) By John Allison, illustrated by Lissa Treiman, colored by Whitney Cogar, and lettered by Jim Campbell.

Read all the character dialogue in a British accent. (In your head, not out loud.) It will make this series even better. Giant Days may be one of the perfect first-year-of-college comedy-dramas. Three young women with rooms next to each other become friends through a series of Dramatic! Adventures! told to us in the first volume with one panel each. And that all happened in their first three weeks.

Now they’re confronted with less dramatic but more complicated issues, such as the hot transfer student whom Susan mysteriously hates, Daisy’s burgeoning crush on her classmate Nadia, and Esther getting ranked as highly do-able by the campus bro website. I love books about female friendship where there’s zero rivalry. I love writers who can balance real emotion with banter, and Allison is one of the best. I was a little nervous about how I’d feel seeing his character Esther (one of my faves) drawn by someone else, but Treiman is a perfect fit for the goofball Allison-verse.

I cannot WAIT for the next installment. There are seven published volumes so far, with an eighth and a prose novel announced.

My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable (Amazon / Goodreads) By David Rees.

Last but not least, though it’s so old and out of print… David Rees is better known for Get Your War On, the anti-Gulf-War comic. MNFTIU uses a similar medium, which is captioned clip art. It’s completely ridiculous and over the top, even before Snoopy shows up. I can’t stop laughing at the absurdity of it all. The dialogue is probably about 30% profanity. I have a long wait before my seven year old can read it with me. I am waiting very patiently. If you can find a copy for a couple of bucks and love cussing and absurd trash talk, it’s very worth the investment.

Dodge City (Amazon / Goodreads) By Josh Trujillo, illustrated by Cara McGee, colored by Brittany Peer with help from Gonçalo Lopes and Cara McGee, lettered by Aubrey Aiese.

“Life comes at you fast, but dodgeballs come way faster! Tomás is a teenage misfit, but when he joins the Jazz Pandas dodgeball team, he’s thrown into a family of oddballs and outcasts who are willing to do whatever it takes to win the summer regional dodgeball championships. Through a season of highs, lows, and blows to the face, Tomás might finally find a place where he truly belongs, and the person inside himself he didn’t know he could be.”

Found family vibe with queer POC and disability rep YES!

Kill Them All (Amazon / Goodreads) By Kyle Starks, colored by Luigi Anderson.

“A betrayed murderess wants revenge. A hard drinking former cop wants his job back. For either to get what they want, they’re going to have to fight their way through fifteen flights of criminals, assassins, drug lords, murderers, yup, even accountants, and… KILL. THEM. ALL.” Also described as “a gonzo graphic novel love letter to 90s action movies” and that is not wrong.

Just don’t eat popcorn while you read it, you might damage the pages!

That concludes today’s roundup of super fun comics that I love and recommend!