Finding a voice with DC kids Graphic Novels

It is no secret that E loves to read graphic novels. I realize that some parents still have problems with the format, but I am happy as can be to see her sit down and read them with great excitement and then be able to talk to me about the characters after. I know that when we purchase them that each graphic novel will be read repeatedly, which I guess is a good thing, because we have a hard time finding ones that we like at the library. We received 7 books that I had ordered last Thursday and she read all but the 1 I really ordered for J by that evening.

One of the other really amazing things about the graphic novels that continue to come out is a tone of girl power. E’s other favorite thing to read are biographies about women who have done amazing things, especially scientists. She continues to want to be president some day, so seeing powerful role models is important. I was able to preview a new graphic novel from DC comics called Primer and then found two more on Amazon and she loved them all.

The first book is Primer, written by Jennifer Muro and Thomas Krajewski and illustrated by Gretel Lusky. Today is actually Primer‘s book birthday which means the copy I preordered should be here soon! But we got to read a digital ARC of this thanks to NetGalley and DC Entertainment. This is the origin story of Ashley, a 13 year old kid who has had a rough life. Her father is in prison and she has been bounced around from foster home to foster home. She has a bit of an attitude and needs people around her that can keep up with her. Fortunately, a very cool couple takes her in. I love the father, Kitch, who takes all of Ashley’s shenanigans and jokes right back with her. He is obviously smart enough to take her on, which is a lot of what she was looking for. Turns out that foster mom Yuka is a scientist working on a project that she is not so sure of. When Ashley accidentally finds her project and thinks it is a birthday present, she gives herself temporary super powers based on the color of the body paints she puts on herself. Of course, someone else wants those paints and it is a question of good vs evil. Ashley has to learn to believe in herself and stand up to some seriously bad people, including her father. She hasn’t had anyone truly taking care of her and definitely has some trust issues. Of course she comes out on top, but there are definitely lessons along the way. E absolutely adored Ashley and is chomping at the bit for the next book.

The second book is Anti/Hero, by Kate Karyus Quinn and Demitria Lunetta and illustrated by Maca Gil. E actually had a hard time deciding whether her favorite heroine was Ashley from Primer or Sloane from Anti/Hero. I share her challenge. In Anti/Hero, we meet Sloane and Piper, two girls from decidedly different backgrounds and personalities, both with superhero powers. They are sworn enemies at school but a powerful object has them switch bodies and they have to work together to fix it and keep a very powerful object out of the hands of the true evil villain. Understandably, walking in someone else’s shoes really allows you to see yourself and the other person differently and makes a big impact on both of the girls. Lots of perspective, trust, and growth happens in this story and is an excellent read.

The final in our DC experience was Diana: Princess of the Amazons, by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale and illustrated by Victoria Ying. I have to admit, between it being a Shannon & Dean Hale book and about Wonder Woman, I was already a fan before I opened the book. I grew up with Lynda Carter playing Wonder Woman and she has always been my favorite. This story looks at Diana at 11 years old, the only child on Themyscira. She is lonely and feels like her mother doesn’t have time for her anymore. She thinks about the story of her own birth and decides to try creating a friend of her own. She is able to create someone, but not surprisingly, that friend, Mona, is not such a nice person. She encourages Diana to do things that she knows are not right and is unkind in many ways, but Diana is desperate for a friend. Is Mona a friend or an enemy? A great way to get kids thinking about peer pressure, consequences, and what it means to be a friend. I’m looking forward to more books about young Diana.

I love that DC Comics is coming out with newer stories that are appropriate for middle grade kids and also feature strong female characters. It is nice to get away from some of the typical superhero stories and try on something different. We have definitely enjoyed these three books and look forward to more titles in the future.


  1. Primer looks great. These graphic novels look exciting for the young ones, and suitably age appropriate and uplifting for the not so young ones.

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