Dixon, Dani. 13. Tumble Creek Press, 2013.
13 is a comic book series about a society in which children gain a superpower for one year when they reach age thirteen. Though there are no rules about how to use your superpowers, there are consequences when one’s year of power is up. The series is profoundly multicultural: the characters encompass a wide range of races, genders, and personalities, thus allowing for a far-reaching exploration of the limits of what humans would do if granted superpowers.
Magruder, Nilah. MFK. Insight Comics, 2017.
This fantastic adventure follows the story of Abbie, a young deaf girl, as she journeys across the desert to her native mountains to scatter her mother’s ashes. Though Abbie intends to retreat into a life of quiet solitude once her quest is accomplished, she is constantly waylaid by strangers who want to complain to her, tag along with her, or even cause her grievous bodily harm. This book, written for young audiences, normalizes both a range of races, genders, and ablities, as well as the desire to be socially standoffish and even reclusive. Magruder, who has also written for Marvel, draws obvious stylistic influence from superhero comics, creating lush visuals that play with basic comics concepts of space and paneling.
Hess, Micheline. Malice in Ovenland. Rosarium Publishing, 2016.
Lily Brown is a young girl of color from Queens forced to stay home during the summer and do chores. However, when cleaning her mother’s greasy oven, Lily falls into a bizarre world of grease-eating monsters. Through her metaphor of the grease-eating monsters, Hess explores the emotional significance of different cuisines, as well as their health effects, ultimately using the metaphor to advocate for a more diverse diet. Hess’ drawings are bright, quirky, and colorful, embodying the fantasy and spunk of both her setting and her main character. The text pays homage to Alice in Wonderland and other works of children’s literature, though Lily is a much stronger hero and leader than any of the classic protagonists.