What happens when a young thief winds up rescuing a boy from certain doom at the hands of a demon out to eat him? Apparently, it's the start of one of several beautiful friendships in Touya Mikanagi's Karneval, a fantasy manga series with a wide cast of characters and gorgeous art that sees two main characters try to unravel multiple mysteries in their world.
The graphic novel adaptation of the late Octavia Butler's masterpiece Kindred opens with the main character, Dana, sitting in a hospital bed with her left arm missing at the elbow and the words "I lost an arm on my last trip home" printed in a narration box. It's a sharp, painful opening for a book that deals with slavery, suffering, and survival in one of the most dangerous times in history for Black people.
It's been just a few months since Amadeus Cho told nine-year-old Lunella Lafayette that she was "the smartest person in whole world" at the end of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #12. In the time since, Lunella has been condescended to by adult scientists, helped take down the Mole Man's monsters, and teamed up with two other girl geniuses --- the new and unstoppable Wasp, and Ironheart, aka Riri Williams.
Lunella's brilliance makes her one in a long line of inspiring, super-smart Black characters in comics that can be traced back decades to the Black Panther's first appearance in 1966's Fantastic Four #52, by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.
A largely light-hearted series for anyone who can't get enough of slice-of-life comics, Horimiya is the manga adaptation of the webcomic Hori-san to Miyamura-kun. On top of a sweet school romance, Horimiya has lovely art, and compelling characters with surprising depth, and it doesn't take a decade for the main characters to fall in love.
Some kids grow up idolizing superheroes. Others, however, can't get enough of fictional scientists like Doctor Doom, Lex Luthor, and Dr. Frankenstein. They're brilliant kids who are at home tinkering with tech or playing around with bugs outside, kids that get a kick out of figuring out how things tick.
If you know a kid whose response to Tony Stark and Bruce Banner creating a killer robot in Avengers: Age of Ultron was, "I could probably do a better job," or a kid who has been all about STEM innovations from before they knew what the acronym meant, this list will help you keep your junior mad scientist too busy to consider taking over the world.