There’s something magical about the particular visual language of comics. As someone whose favorite part of books is often the conversations, comics hold a special place because I can take in the details of the world while really only reading the dialogue. But I’ve realized that a lot of people have a hard time reading graphic novels for a number of reasons.
They may want to read them but don’t where to start, or just don’t have access to a ton of quality graphic novels. Cost can be a factor when people are buying books, and a graphic novel can cost the same as a novel but takes a quarter of the time to read. Another factor is not quite knowing how to read a graphic novel. It takes some practice to figure out the correct way to read each page when they are all laid out differently. And sometimes, reading visually is just inaccessible.
It’s always a treat when I get to tell people that they make audiobook adaptations of comics. Now with your library or audiobook app, you can access a world of audiobooks! These are often done with full casts and are reworked to give a description of what’s happening on the page.
I know some people may doubt that a graphic novel can be successful as an audiobook, or that it “counts” as reading a graphic novel at all. I’m here to tell you the truth: audio versions of graphic novels are amazing and totally count as reading!
So now, here are ten of the best audiobook adaptations of graphic novels.
Black Panther: The Young Prince by Ronald L. Smith
One day, T’Challa will take on the mantle of the Black Panther, but for now, he is just the young prince. The first in a series to explore the adventures of young T’Challa, we follow him as he is sent to school in the heart of Chicago. As he struggles to understand life in America, sinister things are happening at the school. Determined to get to the bottom of it, he makes a shocking discovery.
Spider-Man Requiem By Jeff Mariotte
A newly translated grimoire has been discovered in South America, and the effects of this discovery ripple all the way to New York. The Darkhold is a terrifyingly powerful book, and there are many who want to have control over it. When a secret cabal accidentally unleashes this power, our favorite web-slinger finds himself a target. A specter begins to haunt Peter, manifesting as some of the most malicious foes Spider-Man has ever had to face.
Civil War by Stuart Moore
Iron-Man and Captain America, once teammates, find themselves the leaders on opposite sides of a war that will dictate the lives of other powered individuals for centuries. As everyone is forced to take sides, the two battle it out in a bloody and unforgiving war. Alliances will be forged, friendships will be ruined, and the threat of betrayal lurks at every turn. This is a well-loved comic story for the ages captured in audiobook form for all to enjoy.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Three seemingly unrelated stories come together in this touching modern fable.
Jin Wang just wants to fit in at school but is relentlessly bullied. Chin-Kee and his cousin Danny are always at odds with each other whenever Chin-Kee comes to visit.
The lives of these boys and that of the Monkey King, an ancient Chinese fable, all become intertwined in this story of growing up different.
Full Cast Recordings
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Narrated by a full cast, the beloved Sandman comics are brought to life. When an occultist accidentally captures Dream instead of Death during a ritual, the fate of the world is changed. After 70 years, Dream, also known as Morpheus, escapes and makes the long journey back to his realm. The journey is arduous, and he’s been gone a long time. It seems some have capitalized on his departure, and he must put his house in order.
Good Talk by Mira Jacobs
A graphic memoir that features dozens of conversations, Good Talk is totally unique. Narrated by the author and a full cast, this is a collection of people talking about seemingly everything. Good Talk offers thoughts and conversations on being an immigrant, being a parent, religion, politics and so much more. These good talks come to life in the audiobook version.
Nimona by ND Stevenson
Based on the beloved webcomic, and featuring a full cast of voice actors, Nimona is a delightful listen. It tells the story of young Nimona, a shapeshifter who has apprenticed herself to a terrifying villain, Lord Ballister Blackheart, as she helps him carry out his plot to expose the hero Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin as a fraud. But things escalate, questions are left unanswered, and Nimona may not be all that she seems.
White Bird by R.J Palacio
A beautiful work that expands on the world of Wonder, this book will tug on your heartstrings and leave you with a sense of hope. Narrated by a full cast that truly brings the work to life, White Bird is an incredible narrative of love and perseverance. We hear the story of a young Jewish woman trying to survive Nazi-occupied France, and see the stories she passes on to her grandson about her time there.
We’ve really only scratched the surface of adaptations. There are so many more out there, and so many coming out in the future. Happy listening!