Janice Liu’s Top 10 Go-to Comic Books and Graphic Novels

True North Country Comics presents Janice Liu’s top 10 go-to comic books and graphic novels.

Janice is a children’s comic creator and instructor who current resides in Burnaby, British Columbia. She is the artist of the bilingual comic Chicken Soup & Goji Berries 中药鸡汤 (Cloudscape Comics). Janice’s solo comic shorts have appeared in Wayward Sisters: An Anthology of Monstrous Women, Augur magazine, and Living Hyphen magazine. Her work is often about exploring her Chinese diasporic identity, and the relationship between the inner and outer world, through fantasy. She is also a creative writing and comics instructor at Place des Arts.

Here’s the top 10 comic books and graphic novels from Janice Liu:

1. Mushishi (manga series) by Yuki Urushibara
“I love this anime and manga so much, and it’s inspired me a lot in my own work. It examines our relationship to nature and living beings in such an interesting way. It’s one of those works where you really see the creator’s deeper philosophies and observations of human nature shine through.”

2. Hilda (series) by Luke Pearson
“Hilda is my favourite children’s comic, hands-down. It has such witty dialogue and charming artwork, it’s fun, it’s cute, it has monsters and myths, and I love the characters so much.”

3. Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang
“Gene Luen Yang is better known for his earlier book, American Born Chinese, but this pair of books is my favourite work of his. It’s a fabulist retelling of the events of the Boxer Rebellion in China, and it set a new standard for me for what fantastical historical fiction could look like.”

4. The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neil
“Gentle art, lush nature scenes, LGBTQ rep, and wholesome characters are some of the reasons I love Katie O’Neill’s work. This one has a dragon that can switch back and forth between his human and dragon form, and the 12-year-old Animorphs fan in me is so, so in love with him.”

5. Lissa: A Story about Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution by Sherine Hamdy, Coleman Nye, Sarula Bao and Caroline Brewer
“This is a super underrated comic from the University of Toronto, part of a series called ethnoGRAPHIC. This one follows two girls in Cairo, and touches on social, medical, and political issues based on research from the authors, who are scholars of medical ethnography.”

6. Cuisine Chinoise: Five Tales of Food and Life by Zao Dao
“A collection of short stories from Chinese illustrator Zao Dao. Zao Dao’s textural artwork is accompanied by a goofy, sometimes gross sense of humour. Food, snot, wrinkly old ladies with rotting teeth, and bug-eyed demons & monsters are some of the things featured in the stories. I think she has a really unique perspective.”

7. Castle Waiting by Linda Medley
“Reminds me of Jeff Smith’s Bone, but for slightly older readers and with a feminist slant. Super charming characters, and an art style that grows on you.”

8. Space Boy (webtoon) by Stephen McCranie
“This is the first webtoon I’ve really gotten into. Stephen McCranie has this really wholesome way of telling stories that give you the warm fuzzies and make you appreciate the little things in life.

9. A Girl in the Himalayas by David Jesus Vignolli
“I love this middle-grade read – it’s so lovely and atmospheric, looks very different from most commercial children’s comics on the market, and has some messages that remind me of Buddhist philosophies embedded in its storyline.”

10. The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya by Reimena Yee
“This book is visually stunning. Look up some of the interior spreads of the book – so much time, love, and craft has gone into the painstakingly drawn patterns and colours. This book really elevated what craft in comics looks like to me, and how beautiful a finished book can look.”

You can discover more about Janice on Twitter and Instagram at @flutterdoodle and online at janiceliu.com

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