Comics About Taking a Different Life Path

Eileen’s primary literary love is comic books, but she’s always on the lookout for her next literary adventure no matter what form it takes. She has a Bachelor’s in media studies, a Master’s in digital communication, a smattering of published short stories, and a seriously cute dog. Follow her on Bluesky.

VIZ Media

With a carefree outlook on life, Hiroto knows better than anyone that slowing down is sometimes the best way to move forward. At 29 years old, carefree Hiroto Ikuta doesn’t have a girlfriend, a full-time job, or a plan for the future — and he couldn’t be happier. Hiroto’s breezy attitude isn’t easy for everyone to understand, though. In a world filled with anxiety, confusion, and grief, Hiroto and the people who surround him are all just doing their best to figure out this thing called life.

This has almost certainly happened to you: you find a routine that you like and are comfortable with, and you settle into it for what you hope is the long haul. Then, when you’re minding your own business, WHAM. Life decides to throw a curve right into your face, and you’ve got to find a new routine all over again — one that will undoubtedly get upended in due course.

Dealing with unexpected and unwanted changes — whether caused by health issues, familial expectations, societal norms, or personal goals — is just a part of life. It can be very stressful, but it can be exciting as well! Walking new paths allows you to learn more about yourself and the world. While it is frustrating if such a change prevents you from achieving a longed-for ambition, you can never tell when you might find a new dream to pursue or even a different path toward the original dream you thought you had to abandon.

From memoirs by real people who faced sudden challenges to stories that teach younger readers about the importance of forging their own identity, these eight comics offer heartfelt explorations of what it means to find your true purpose in life, even — and especially — when it is not the purpose you envisioned for yourself.

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Art Club by Rashad Doucet

Dale loves art so much that he wants to make it his career. But, his parents and his vice principal all view art as a distracting hobby at best and urge him to spend his time on more serious subjects. Undeterred, Dale sets out to create a school art club and prove that his passion is worthy of respect, support, and nurturing — and makes some great new friends along the way, too.

Chef's Kiss Comic CoverChef's Kiss Comic Cover

Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez and Danica Brine

Ben really wants to be a writer. Perhaps more importantly, Ben’s parents want him to be one, too. But writing jobs are scarce, so he takes a temporary position as an assistant chef at a restaurant where the success of each dish is determined by the palate of the resident gourmand pig. Weird? Yes, but Ben soon finds himself feeling very at home there, especially thanks to his mentor, the handsome Liam. He might even stay on permanently…if he can face his parents’ disapproval, that is. A deluxe edition of this cute romance is available now!

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Gaytheist: Coming Out of My Orthodox Childhood by Lonnie Mann and Ryan Gatts

If you had a choice between your family, religion, and everything you’ve ever known versus leaving it all behind to be yourself, what would you pick? That is the question Lonnie faced when he realized he was gay — and that the world was broader and more accepting than he could have ever imagined while growing up in a conservative Orthodox Jewish community.

I Don't Want to Be a Mom coverI Don't Want to Be a Mom cover

I Don’t Want to Be a Mom by Irene Olmo

Like many girls, Irene grew up assuming that she would have children one day. But the older she got, the clearer it became: she had no interest in motherhood. Reaching that conclusion was just the first step in a journey that forced her to reckon with not just her own feelings but the intrusive opinions of a society that thinks it’s their right to tell women what to do and what to want.

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Onion Skin by Edgar Camacho

Rolando hated his job designing online ads, but when he gets fired after breaking his arm, he doesn’t have another plan to fall back on. When his concerned roommates drag him out to a concert, he meets Nera, a free spirit who is also on the hunt for a more fulfilling career. Together, they decide to open a food truck and find themselves on the adventure of a lifetime!

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Parenthesis by Élodie Durand

As a young adult, Judith began having seizures thanks to a tumor in her brain. Even after it is all over, the effect on her memory, her personality, and her life remains, leading her towards different experiences — for better and for worse — than she would have had otherwise. This award-winning graphic memoir shows how our reliance on our good health plays such a pivotal role in life and how the sudden loss of it affects us forever.

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Spinning by Tillie Walden

Tillie spent most of her childhood training to become a competitive figure skater. Skating was almost literally her entire world — until a move to a new school showed her all of the other worthwhile things there are to pursue, including art and young love. But how do you give up something that has dominated your life for so long, even when that something has become an albatross around your neck?

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Twin Cities by Jose Pimienta

The days of Fernando and Teresa doing everything together come to an end when the twins reach middle school. At that point, Teresa decides to attend school over the border in the United States, while Fernando prefers to stay in Mexico. As each sibling faces daunting new challenges, they come to realize that they can still rely on each other, even as their paths in life diverge.

Feel ready to take on the world yet? These gentle self-help books can guide you on your way!

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