Five Books About…

Grimoire Noir, and Five Stories With Magical Books

We’re excited to share some images from Grimoire Noir, a graphic novel from author Vera Greentea and artist Yana Bogatch, coming in 2018 from First Second!

Bucky Orson is a bit angsty, but who isn’t at fifteen? His best friend left him to hang out with way cooler friends, his cop dad is always in his business, and in a world where boys are forbidden to read—and only girls, with their inherent magical powers, get access to books—he feels left behind. When his little sister goes missing, Bucky has to get out of his own head and investigate the small town that gave him so much grief, only to discover a conspiracy that will change his mind and the lives of the inhabitants forever.

Check out the first three pages of Grimoire Noir below. Plus, author Vera Greentea lists five other tales with magical books at their centers—join in the comments to add your own!

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As a bookworm kid with a fairly normal life of school, lessons, and chores, I frequently dreamt of finding the book that would blast my social studies textbooks to Bulgaria and outfit me with a wand instead. While prowling libraries and bookstores searching for my personal guidebook into a world of enchantment, I also jealously followed the accounts of those lucky kids who did find their way into pages of adventure. Here are some favorites that fueled my optimism:

 

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Having an imagination may not help you make friends at school or pass gym class, but it can transport you into a crumbling magical country that needs your help – if you so like. All you have to do is open this captivating classic and notice when the Childlike Empress calls out your name, follow her instructions and hope to all things holy that you are able to saddle up a magical dragon without falling off.

 

The Unwritten by Mike Carey, art by Peter Gross

Surprisingly, not all kids dream of being sword-wielding heroes of a magical series—but sometimes they don’t have a choice. If you grew up to become a jaded adult, making your D-list appearances at literary conventions because your father wrote 13 best-selling books using your likeness as the hero, maybe that’s not completely your fault. The Unwritten is an excellent fantasy comic series about someone who had written off his own life in favor of his likeness’ literary legacy, only to find that taking control of his real life can be a much better adventure.

 

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

Being a kid guided by the whims of adults can be rather unpleasant, especially if what the adults want to do is get stupid divorces and move to rotting old houses. Even for the cleverest of kids, getting a degree of control over your own life can be difficult—unless you happen to find a field guide to the magical fairy world. Suddenly, your life becomes all about having your hair tied to bedposts or getting kidnapped—wait, did I say fairies would give you more control over your life?

 

Blackwood’s Guide to Dangerous Fairies by Christopher Golden and Guillermo del Toro

Perhaps instead of hoping to find a magical guide by chance, it might be more prudent to write your own. Fewer quests are more ambitious than spending your whole life searching for the Hidden People and writing down your scholarly thoughts in a moleskin diary. However, be ever vigilant, for if your findings prove perilous, no one will come to your aid when they believe you’re a mad person with an overcooked imagination.

 

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Of course, what is better than a single book of spells, but a fully stocked library of magical literature? If you are lucky enough to find your way to the glorious shelves of one Mr. Norrell, you can drop the mic on theoretical magic. Once you have centuries of studies and the stuffy demeanor of an elderly troll, you too can change the course of pivotal events in history. And at that point, no one will ever make you clean your room again. Fulfilling endgame, yes or yes?

 

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All art by Yana Bogatch

Vera Greentea grew up in the libraries of Brooklyn, NY and New Jersey. Her comic work includes the spooky miniseries Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits, a collection of dark fantasy stories in Papa, and her ongoing Victorian-punk series Recipes for the Dead. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and a klutzy cat who definitely needs some customized headgear.

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