10 Must-Have Teen Comics for the Library (Marvel Edition)

Marvel Comics for Teen Readers

My home library has had a scanty selection of superhero graphic novels for years.  I have suggested before that this could be due to a lack of funding, but also to the difficulty involved in figuring out which comics to buy.  So here are my suggestions for where libraries can start building their comics section for teen readers!

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel Alpha Flight

Captain Marvel may not be a teenage hero, but her recent movie has given her additional popularity–as if she needed it.  Carol Danvers is sure to appeal to readers with her bold, no-nonsense attitude, as well as her commitment to helping others, no matter the cost.

Den of Geek has an excellent guide to the reading order for Captain Marvel.  The easiest way to read seems to be to the Earth’s Mightiest Hero volumes.  However, if you have to choose a run, I highly recommend Kelly Sue Deconnick’s 2014 series, which includes Higher, Further, Faster, More (Vol. 1); Stay Fly (Vol. 2), and Alis Volat Propriis (Vol. 3).

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Fifteen-year-old Riri Williams is an engineering student who makes her own iron armor to become a superhero.  With Tony Stark now existing as an A.I., it’s up to her to stop crime!  She’s a bold, confident heroine sure to inspire teen readers.

Riri Williams first appeared in Invincible Iron Man: Ironheart, Volume 1: Riri Williams, followed by Invincible Ironman: Ironheart, Volume 2: Choices.  But if you want to read her solo comic, volume 1: Those with Courage was released in July 2019, while volume 2 is scheduled for a December 2019 release.

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Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

At nine years old, Luna Lafayette is the smartest character in the current Marvel universe.  And, thanks to the terrigen gas, she’s about to get super powers.  Even cooler, however, is her teammate–a dinosaur!  Everyone loves dinosaurs, so clearly this is a great purchase for any comics collection!

Start with Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Vol. 1: BFF.

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Ms. Marvel

Sixteen-year-old Kamala Khan loves superheroes, but she never expected to become one herself. Now that she has the ability to change appearance, however, will she find herself trapped in others’ expectations or will she find the strength to be herself?  Kamala’s story is particularly powerful precisely because of who she is. Muslim, and dark-skinned, she finds it difficult to fit in at school, even when others are not consciously drawing attention to her “otherness”–her clothes, her religion, her parents’ rules. She doesn’t want to give up her faith and she loves her family, but she has that desire common to us all–the desire to belong.  But she finds strength in religion, in her family, and in her beliefs–and that makes her truly inspirational.

Start with Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson, et al.

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Runaways Rowell

Rainbow Rowell’s Runaways is perfect for readers new to comics as it provides all the information necessary for readers to jump right in.  Plus, the colors are bright and bold, the humor is fresh, and the  young characters are sympathetic.  There’s really nothing not to love about Rowell’s take on the comic started by Brian K. Vaughn and Adrian Alphona!

Start with Rowell’s Runaways, Vol. 1: Find Your Way Home or find the collected versions of Vaughan’s run.

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Spider-Gwen is secretly college student Gwen Stacy in an alternate universe.  In her reality, Peter Parker died and she became the masked hero known as Spider-Woman.  Gwen’s a little angsty, but young readers may relate to Gwen’s feelings that she has to do it all, but trying is making her fall apart.

There are six collected volumes of Spider-Gwen.  And now there seems to be a new series called Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider.

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Spider-man: Miles Morales

Miles Morales 1

Miles Morales is a relatable teen protagonist concerned with friends, family, and school–but also, of course, with fighting evil.  His adventures will appeal to readers eager to see more diversity in comics and to readers ready for a new, young Spider-Man facing contemporary issues.

Start with Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis, et al.

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With Thor Odinson unworthy to wield the hammer, a new (female) Thor steps into the role!  The identity of the new Thor is a mystery, but she is certainly up to the challenge!  This is a fresh new take on Thor, sure to appeal to readers open to expanding the possibilities of what it means to be a hero.

You can begin with Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder and Volume 2: Who Holds the Hammer?  Continue with volumes 1-5 of The Mighty Thor by Jason Aaron, et al.

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

Doreen Green is a computer science student, but also secretly the superhero known as the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  Her unfailing belief in the goodness of people is her true secret weapon, however; she prefers to rehabilitate villains when possible, instead of simply punching them.  Her comics have a quirky humor sure to win over readers.

Begin with Volume 1: Squirrel Power.  Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s comics provide all the background information readers need to start with this series and this hero.

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The Unstoppable Wasp

Unstoppable Wasp

Nadia has escaped the Red Room and is eager to meet the father who never knew she existed–Hank Pym.  Unfortunately, Hank is dead.  Still, Nadia wants to live up to his legacy and save the world; she’s recreated his technology and become the Unstoppable Wasp for just that purpose.  But the Red Room is not ready to let her go.  Nadia’s upbeat personality and desire to see the good in everyone makes him a charming protagonist.  Perfect for fans of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.

Available in two volumes (Unstoppable! and Agents of G.I.R.L).  Or simply buy The Unstopabble Wasp: G. I. R. L. Power, which includes the comics from both those previous volumes.

What Marvel comics do you think the library should stock for teen readers?

8 thoughts on “10 Must-Have Teen Comics for the Library (Marvel Edition)

  1. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall says:

    Thank you so much for this list, love! I’ve truly been wanting to try out a few Marvel comics, but haven’t had a clue where to begin! I’ll definitely look up this post next time I’m browsing through the graphic novel section of my library! ❤


  2. Michael J. Miller says:

    This was super helpful! I’ve been thinking about talking to our school library about adding more current comics to our shelves (just as we built a Star Wars section when we taught our Star Wars class) but I’ve been struggling a bit. I know! That sounds weird, given how many comics I read and all I write about them. Yet I sort of found myself thinking of THE TOTALITY of Marvel’s publishing history and freezing. Where do I begin?? But I love this! So basically this is a long way of my saying thank you for doing my work for me ;). Its appreciated!

    Also, Eve Ewing’s solo Ironheart series is AMAZING. Honestly, it was the best comic debut by a new author I’ve read in ages. It takes Riri’s story in such an authentic, heartfelt, and exciting direction. I’ll be excited to hear your thoughts when you get the chance to read it,.

    Also, also, ‘Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider’ (becoming just ‘Ghost Spider’ this month) is pretty good. Seanan McGuire, the new author, dials back some of the angst yet it works. At its heart it’s still the story of a young woman trying to do more than she can. But she lets Gwen enjoy her spider-powers more, adding some lighthearted fun in around some of the darker moments.


    • Krysta says:

      Wow! You definitely would have been my first thought if I needed someone to make a teen comic section! But I see your dilemma! How do you narrow it down? What do you leave out?

      I’m sad because my library still doesn’t have Ironheart! I may have to go back to ILL for some of my comics!

      Someday I may go back to Spider-Gwen. I’m sure she’s only going to gain in popularity, too, with the Into the Spiderverse films!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael J. Miller says:

        I bet you’re right. I bet Spider-Gwen’s at the beginning of a pretty meteoric rise. I know she’ll be in ‘Into the Spider-Verse 2’ AND they’re doing an all female-spider spin-off film with her, Spider-Woman, and Silk. I enjoy all those characters so it’ll be fun.

        I’m sad your library is still lacking in Ironheart :/. But at least you’ve inspired and led them to the light with Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel and titles like that! Good luck on your comic hunting. I’ll be eagerly awaiting your thoughts once you find it too.


        • Krysta says:

          I’ve been hearing from multiple sources that the new Spider-Gwen series is less angsty, so I might be willing to give it another try! And I definitely want to watch Into the Spider-Verse 2! But what is this about a female-spider spin-off?? I don’t know many of the spider characters, but I would love to watch that!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Michael J. Miller says:

            I know! I am soooo excited! I don’t know how they’ll do it in the film but Cindy Moon/Silk was revealed to be bitten by the same spider that bit Peter Parker (in the main Marvel Universe (or Earth 616 if we want to be super nerdy/specific about it)) but was kept in a bunker to be observed. When she escaped, she became Silk and fought alongside Peter and had her own adventures/title too. Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman has been an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., a Hydra agent, a double agent, a triple agent, an Avenger, and is presently a single mother and a private eye (also in Earth 616). When she was young, she became poisoned by her father’s lab experiments and, to save her, he injected her with the serum that gave her her powers. She’s a really fun character and I LOVE her most recent series where she’s trying to be a single mom and a detective with reporter Ben Urich and reformed criminal the Porcupine along for the ride. It’s sooooo fun and has so many sweet moments too. She also became a sort of mentor to Gwen, Cindy, and the other younger female Spider heroes.

            ANYWAY, that was probably more knowledge than you needed XD. But I got excited! I love these characters and can’t want to see them with Gwen on the big screen!


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