ALA’s Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) has just announced the 2022 Best Graphic Novels for Adults (BGNA) Reading List. It even came with an introductory video:

The list highlights the best graphic novels for adults published in late 2021 through 2022, aiming to increase awareness of the graphic novel medium, raise voices of diverse comics creators, and aid library staff in the development of graphic novel collections.

As we’ve noted before, this list is one of the most important accomplishments of the GNCRT, as building adult collections has been one of the weakest areas for the growth of graphic novels in libraries. Several lists exist for middle grade and YA titles, but the introduction of the BGNA gives librarians a solid core to purchase from.

That the GNCRT is carrying on its work even as reading and librarians are under attack in so many areas across the US is even more impressive. We are lucky to have these advocates for the medium. 

The 2022 BGNA Top Ten list  includes:

Days of Sand. Written by Aimee de Jongh. Art by Aimee de Jongh. Translated by Christopher Bradley. 2022. SelfMadeHero, $22.99 (9781914224041).
Down to the Bone: A Leukemia Story. Written by Catherine Piolo. Art by Catherine Piolo. Translated by J.T. Mahany. 2022. Graphic Mundi – PSU Press, $27.95 (9781637790342).
Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands. Written by Kate Beaton. Art by Kate Beaton. 2022. Drawn and Quarterly, $39.95 (9781770462892).
Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End, Vol. 1. Written by Kanehito Yamada. Art by Tsukasa Abe. 2021. Viz Media, $9.99 (9781974725762).
Hakim’s Odyssey

  • Hakim’s Odyssey Book 1: From Syria to Turkey. Written by Fabien Toulmé. Art by Fabien Toulmé. Translated by Hannah Chute. 2021. Graphic Mundi – PSU Press, $29.95 (9781637790007).
  •  Hakim’s Odyssey Book 2: From Turkey to Greece. Written by Fabien Toulmé. Art by Fabien Toulmé. Additional lettering and art reconstruction by Zen. Translated by Hannah Chute. 2022. Graphic Mundi – PSU Press, $29.95 (9781637790083).
  • Hakim’s Odyssey: Book 3: From Macedonia to France. Written by Eric Orner. Art by Fabien Toulmé. Additional lettering and art reconstruction by Zen. Translated by Hannah Chute. 2022. Graphic Mundi – PSU Press, $29.95 (9781637790311).

The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere. Written by James Spooner. Art by James Spooner. 2022. Mariner Books, $22.99 (9780358659112).
Lore Olympus:

  • Lore Olympus: Volume One. Written by Rachel Smythe. Art by Rachel Smythe. 2021. Del Rey, $26.99 (9780593160299).
  • Lore Olympus: Volume Two. Written by Rachel Smythe. Art by Rachel Smythe. 2022. Random House World, $27.99 (9780593160305).

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr. Written by Ram V. Art by Filipe Andrade. Lettering by AndWorld Design. Edited by Eric Harburn. 2022. Boom Studios, $14.99 (9781684158058).  
The Night Eaters: She Eats the Night. Written by Marjorie Liu. Art by Sana Takeda. Lettering by Chris Dickey. Edited by Charlotte Greenbaum. 2022. Abrams ComicArts, $20.99 (9781419758706).
What is Home, Mum? Written by Sabba Khan. Art by Sabba Khan. 2022. Street Noise Books, $19.99 (9781951491178).

You can see the rest of the list here, and it includes comics from an incredible array of publishers, from Marvel and DC to Ten Speed Press, Image and just about everywhere else.

Selections were made by a committee, led by chair Edward Whatley, comprised of GNCRT members with a background in graphic novel selection. According to Whatley, “The members of the 2022 Best Graphic Novels for Adults Selection Committee brought a wide range of interests and expertise to our work throughout the year. The result is a broad and varied list of titles that represent not only the best titles of 2022 but exemplify the wide range of genres and styles being published today. In this list, readers will encounter familiar creators and characters as well as new voices that deserve to be heard. The array of titles that the committee has curated for the 2022 list is expansive and diverse in terms of style and content, but the common thread is how well they all demonstrate the distinct power of comics as a storytelling medium.  Whether you prefer fiction or nonfiction, history or horror, whimsical or tragic: you’ll find titles to suit your current tastes. You’ll also find titles that will open doorways to new experiences and worldviews.”

GNCRT President Moni Barrette said of this year’s list, “Adult readers love comics, and representation matters! The committee works tirelessly to identify and recommend not only the ‘best’ mature comics from the past year but also ensure that every reader will find a graphic novel to capture their imagination: Superheroes, nostalgic favorites, nonfiction, memoirs, graphic medicine and every action packed story in between. This list has it all. Comics librarians are well-versed in what their communities want to read, and the collected expertise and dedication of the BGNA committee exemplifies their influence in this space.”

The Best Graphic Novels for Adults selection committee for 2022 is Edward Whatley (Chair), Luke Burger, Elizabeth Doherty, Rachel Gagnon, Chloe Horning, Laila Mai-Nguyen, Nancy McKay, Victoria Rahbar, Carli Spina,Micki Waldrop, and Avi Woontner.

Nominations for the 2023 Best Graphic Novel for Adults Reading List are now open:

Eligible graphic novels for the 2023 Best Graphic Novels for Adults will include all fiction and non-fiction titles published between September 1, 2022 – December 31, 2023, that appeal to adults age 19 or older. Nominations can be made by all members of the public, including committee members, library workers, educators, and comics fans through the online form on the GNCRT website.

Publishers and creators are welcome to submit copies of titles to the committee for review, though they are not eligible to nominate their own titles for consideration. For more information on how to submit review copies, please contact GNCRT staff liaison, Tina Coleman at [email protected] .