It's About to Get Weird: Surreal Manga and Graphic Novels

By Amanda Pagan, Children's Librarian
July 22, 2021
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL)
The illuminated pleasures

The illuminated pleasures, Salvador Dalí, 1935. NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID: 1564983

Tired of the same old tired storylines of your usual genres? Ready to go down the rabbit hole and just get weird? Then you’re in the right place! Our librarians have scoured our collection to bring you some of the trippiest, dreamiest, weirdest surreal manga and graphic novels.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, surrealism is defined as the principles, ideals, or practice of producing fantastic or incongruous imagery or effects in art, literature, film, or theater by means of unnatural or irrational juxtapositions and combinations. The paintings of Salvador Dalí are typically the first images that pop into people’s minds when thinking about surrealism, but surrealist media is much too varied to be categorized under one distinctive approach. 

Surreal art blends fantasy and reality in a way that can be disorienting, chaotic, eye-opening, or even slightly uncomfortable. If you’re feeling a little humdrum and need a palette cleanser to refresh your mind and imagination, then it might be time to pick up something a little bizarre. Luckily we have just the booklist for you! 

Below is a selection of manga and graphic novels whose storylines blur the line between the subconscious and conscious. Some go further than others, but each of these titles will make you ask yourself, “What just happened?” at least once.

Note: These titles are intended for adults.