Recently I devoured the graphic novel series Love by Frédéric Brrémaud and Federico Bertolucci. Each book tells a story entirely without narration or dialogue. The stunning illustrations speak for themselves, telling complete tales as they follow animals – including a tiger, a fox, a lion, and a dinosaur – through their lives. Reading one of these books is like watching a nature documentary. As a life-long animal lover and a fan of David Attenborough documentaries, this is my catnip.
Love got me thinking about other graphic novels with animal protagonists. If you love animals and want to protect them at all costs, these books can be difficult to read. Many of them are intense, graphic in nature, and very sad. General speaking, I’m willing to deal with painful themes for the sake of a great story. Here are a couple more of my favorites!
Laika by Nick Abadzis
This is one of my favorite graphic novels. It tells the story of three lives intertwined by the Soviet space program. Korolev is a former gulag prisoner who went on to design Sputnik. Yelena is the lab technician responsible for the research dogs. Laika is the stray mutt destined to become the first animal to orbit the Earth. Laika’s life ended tragically when Sputnik 2 overheated, so I’m afraid this story is a tearjerker. It made me “ugly cry” but it is well worth reading.
Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan
Vaughan, one of my favorite writers, wrote an incredibly moving graphic novel about lions. After an American bombing raid, a pride of lions escapes from the Baghdad Zoo. This story follows them as they struggle to survive on the streets of war-torn Iraq. It’s as tough as one might imagine, but I found the book incredibly meaningful and memorable.
I created a list with additional graphic novels about animals and I hope you will find it helpful!