Bookish Comics

Celebrate the conclusion of National Library Week (April 3-9 2022) with a roundup of some our favorite graphic novels, comics and manga featuring librarians, libraries, bookshops, and reading.

What's your favorite portrayal of a library or librarian in a graphic novel, manga or comic? Let us know in the comments!

About Libraries and Librarians

The Library Wars, book cover

The Library Wars by Kiiro Yumi

In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves--the Library Forces!

Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she's finally a recruit, she's finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her!

Archival Quality, book cover

Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir

After losing her job at the library, Cel Walden starts working at the haunting Logan Museum as an archivist. But the job may not be the second chance she was hoping for, and she finds herself confronting her mental health, her relationships, and before long, her grasp on reality as she begins to dream of a young woman she's never met, but feels strangely drawn to. Especially after she asks Cel for help…

As Cel attempts to learn more about the woman, she begins losing time, misplacing things, passing out—the job is becoming dangerous, but she can't let go of this mysterious woman. Who is she? Why is she so fixated on Cel? And does Cel have the power to save her when she's still trying to save herself?

Ascendance of a bookworm: I'll do anything to become a librarian. Part 1, If there aren't any books, book cover

Ascendance of a bookworm: I'll do anything to become a librarian. Part 1, If there aren't any books by Miya Kazuki

A certain college girl who's loved books ever since she was a little girl dies in an accident and is reborn in another world she knows nothing about. She is now Myne, the sickly five-year-old daughter of a poor soldier. To make things worse, the world she's been reborn in has a very low literacy rate and books mostly don't exist. She'd have to pay an enormous amounts of money to buy one. Myne resolves herself: If there aren't any books, she'll just have to make them! Her goal is to become a librarian. This story begins with her quest to make books so she can live surrounded by them! Dive into this biblio-fantasy written for book lovers and bookworms!

Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san, book cover

Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san by Honda

Ever wonder what it's like to sell comics at a Japanese bookstore? Honda provides a hilarious firsthand account from the front lines! Whether it's handling the store, out-of-print books, or enthusiastic manga fans, Honda takes on every challenge!

The Night Bookmobile, book cover

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

First serialized in the Guardian, The Night Bookmobile tells the story of a young woman who one night encounters a mysterious disappearing mobile library that happens to stock every book she has ever read. Seeing her history and her most intimate self in this library, she embarks on a search for the bookmobile. Over time, her search turns into an obsession as she longs to be reunited with her own collection and her memories.

Magus of the Library, book cover

Magus of the Library by Mitsu Izumi

In the small village of Amun lives a poor boy named Theo. Theo adores books, but because of his pointed ears and impoverished life, he isn't allowed to use the village library. As he endures the prejudice and hatred of the village, he dreams of going where such things don't exist: Aftzaak, City of Books. But one day, Theo chances to meet a Kafna--a librarian who works for the great library of Aftzaak--and his life changes forever.

Shhhhhh!, book cover

Shhhhhh! by Scott Lobdell

Joe and Frank find themselves on the strangest bodyguard duty ever--protecting the five children of a visiting dignitary during a field trip to the National Library of Education in Washington, D.C. It might sound easy, but before this assignment is done, they’re going to need help from the most unexpected ally of all…their mom, librarian Laura Hardy.

Complete the Quest: The Poisonous Library, book cover

Complete the Quest: The Poisonous Library by Brian McLachlan

Queen Evergreen has been poisoned! To save her, you must pick a team of heroes to travel across a series of perilous fantasy landscapes, from a witch’s desert tomb to a giant’s palace in the sky. YOU get to choose how they win they day, using the greatest heroic power of all: your imagination.

On your journey, you’ll meet new heroes, battle a dungeon that’s also a dragon, and discover that the poisoned book that attacked Queen Evergreen was just the first part of an evil plot that threatens the entire realm.

About Readers and Reading

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf, book cover

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider

It’s no secret, but we are judged by our bookshelves. We learn to read at an early age, and as we grow older we shed our beloved books for new ones. But some of us surround ourselves with books. We collect them, decorate with them, are inspired by them, and treat our books as sacred objects. In this lighthearted collection of one- and two-page comics, writer-artist Grant Snider explores bookishness in all its forms, and the love of writing and reading, building on the beloved literary comics featured on his website, Incidental Comics.

Read or Die, book cover

Read or Die by Hideyuki Kurata

As if comics aficionados, or readers in general, don't have enough trouble being stereotyped as obsessive nerds, this manga's heroine is the poster child for incurable geekiness. Bespectacled Yomiko Readman loves books more than anything else, literally. She reads a book with her eyes, she smells it, she presses it against her skin, and "sometimes she uses her mouth." Yomiko is an agent for "the Library of England," which appears to be a cross between the British Library and a Bondian spy agency. She is also a "paper master" with the superpower to turn paper into weapons. Yomiko is determined to get an autograph from her favorite author, teenage girl Nenene Sumiregawa. Nemene might think Yomiko is the most annoying fan she had ever met were it not for the story's villain, an even more obsessed man intent on capturing and raping her. Despite the story's silliness and some confusing storytelling, amusing in-jokes, as when Yomiko dresses as various manga heroines like Sailor Moon or like references to Stephen King's Misery, are worth the wait. Based on a popular anime, this book should please otaku while remaining tough going for the casual reader. (Publisher's Weekly)

Petty Theft, book cover

Petty Theft by Pascal Girard

Pascal is in a bad place. He’s out of work, he and his longtime girlfriend have just broken up, and when he goes out for a run to ease his frazzled nerves, he falls and injures his back so badly that he’s strictly forbidden from running. What’s an endorphin-loving cartoonist to do? In a bid to distract himself, Pascal throws himself into his other pleasure: reading. And while at the bookstore one day, he spies a young woman picking up his own book. But then she darts out of the shop without paying. Bemused, he decides to figure out why she did it.

The Savior's Book Cafe Story in Another World, book cover

The Savior's Book Cafe Story in Another World by Oumiya

When a god tells Tsukina that she is to be transported to another world to become its savior, Tsukina isn't interested. As a bookish thirty-something, she has zero desire to go on some big when she arrives in the strange new land, she decides to use her magical powers to create a cozy little book cafe instead. But when a fellow savior starts causing trouble, Tsukina might just have to play the hero, after all!

Book Love, book cover

Book Love by Debbie Tung

Book Love is a gift book of comics tailor-made for tea-sipping, spine-sniffing, book-hoarding bibliophiles. Debbie Tung's comics are humorous and instantly recognizable-making readers laugh while precisely conveying the thoughts and habits of book nerds. Book Love is the ideal gift to let a book lover know they're understood and appreciated.

The Whale Library, book cover

The Whale Library by Zidrou

Out on the high seas lives a whale unlike any other, who spends her days reading stories to all who will listen, taken from the vast library hidden in her belly. When the whale bumps into a sea postman’s boat one fateful night, it’s the beginning of an extraordinary friendship. But not every story can have a happy ending…