No matter where you are in your search for the best comic audiobooks, there’s one thing pretty much everyone can agree on: they've come a long way. The idea that visual mediums like comics and graphic novels can't be translated for audio has been disproven time and again with some of the most exciting and immersive listening experiences you can find in any genre. Between the innovations of creators and performers and the active engagement of fans, there’s a lot more competition to be among the very best comic audiobooks and graphic audio experiences to listen to now.
Here, we’ve narrowed down the contenders for this list of immersive adaptations, clever reimaginings, and nonfiction accounts from the industry. Engage with the worlds, stories, and creators you love, and discover new ones you might have missed. Who knows? You might come back with a newfound appreciation for some of your favorites.
Explore the legendary Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) from its 1939 founding as the comic book publisher Timely Books, which launched Captain America in 1941, and later became Marvel, the company that helped usher in the Silver Age of comics in the 1960s and a boon in popularity for superhero stories. From X-Men and Avengers to creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the MCU has a rich presence in audio; these are some of our favorites.
0 Stan Lee's Alliances: A Trick of Light
Editor Nicole says, 'As a longtime fan of Stan Lee and all comics Marvel, I was utterly devastated when his passing was announced. So you can imagine I was thrilled beyond belief to learn one of his last projects was an Audible Original. Without dishing out any spoilers,
Stan Lee’s Alliances: A Trick of Light was one of the funniest and most delightful listens I’ve experienced. Given the chance at internet fame, Cameron is caught up in the eye of a serious situation that gives him supernatural abilities. This leads him to form an unlikely bond with Nia, who has some interesting powers of her own. It’s all brought beautifully to life by narrator Yara Shahidi.' Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours
Spidey fans and Dresden fans collide in their love for this Jim Butcher-penned story of
Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours. This one is more of a traditional audiobook based on comic book characters (in this case, Spider-Man Marvel Comics characters) versus a direct comic-book adaptation, so if you like single-narrator pieces you will especially appreciate Jack Meloche’s clear, engaging performance throughout. The story centers on a post-marriage Peter Parker, who becomes embroiled in a battle with the Rhino, an old enemy on a rampage in Times Square. Written with the same humor as his Dresden Files, Butcher’s prose brings the comics, movies, and old ’90s cartoons to life in this fun, nostalgic, action-packed listen. Astonishing X-Men: Gifted
Adapted from Joss Whedon and John Cassady’s graphic novel, this Richard Rohan-led full cast performance is one of several stellar new adaptations of Marvel comics. This one is centered around a scheme to “astonish the world” from Cyclops and Emma Frost, and as the X-Men go head to head against the enigmatic Ord, it’s lots of fun to hear your favorite characters interpreted by talented voice actors, and special sound effects rounding out the experience.
For the first time, Marvel Comics reveals the outsized personalities behind the scenes, including Martin Goodman, the self-made publisher who forayed into comics after a get-rich-quick tip in 1939; Stan Lee, the energetic editor who would shepherd the company through thick and thin for decades; and Jack Kirby, the World War II veteran who'd co-created Captain America in 1940 and, 20 years later, developed with Lee the bulk of the company's marquee characters in a three-year frenzy of creativity that would be the grounds for future legal battles and endless debates. Drawing on more than 100 original interviews with Marvel insiders then and now,
Marvel Comics is a story of fertile imaginations, lifelong friendships, action-packed fistfights, reformed criminals, unlikely alliances, and third-act betrayals—a narrative of one of the most extraordinary, beloved, and beleaguered pop-cultural entities in America's history. DC Comics Audiobooks
This legendary comic company created some of the most recognizable and beloved entertainment characters of all time. Evolved from a pulp publisher called National Allied Publications, the nascent Detective Comics, Inc. first published the first stories of Superman (1939), Batman (1939), and Wonder Woman (1941), which helped usher in both the Golden Age of comics and the success of the costumed superhero genre overall.
0 The Sandman
You don’t need to be a fantasy superfan or Comic-Con regular to be wowed by this epic multicast production of Neil Gaiman’s DC comic book,
The Sandman. But if you are, so much the better. The pioneering original, one of the first graphic novels to hit the New York Times best seller list, had long cried out for an audio adaptation, but assembling the right team, talent, and tone was imperative. Directed by audio auteur Dirk Maggs, this adaptation of the first three Sandman novels is a thoroughly persuasive synergy of high-tech sound design, a dynamic score, and compelling performances from stars James McAvoy, Kat Dennings, and Michael Sheen, among others. As perspective hops from Shakespearean times to the present day, the multiple subplots hum nimbly, and the overarching theme—the duty to do what’s right—is equally satisfying. Wonder Woman: Warbringer
Another audio adaptation of a novel based on comic book characters, this is a thrilling example of both creative and vocal talent upping the ante on a legendary franchise. No. 1 fantasy author Leigh Bardugo wrote this first, Wonder Woman-centered installment of the DC Icons series, which also follows Superman, Batman, Catwoman, and more. At the intersection of YA, fantasy, women’s empowerment, the Grishaverse, and the greatest superhero of all time sits this lively, family-friendly listen starring Iranian-American actress Mozhan Marnò.
Justice League and Smallville fans. The saga that began with Warbringer continues in the second installment of the DC Icons series, Superman: Dawnbreaker. Best-selling author Matt de la Peña wrote this incredible new tale from Clark Kent’s origins in Smallville, where as a burgeoning young superhero he discovers a crying young girl…and a dark secret buried in the heart of his beloved hometown. With narration from Andrew Eiden, this teen-targeted listen reimagines Superman as the quintessential American 'alien'—a bold, big-hearted take that will win new fans of the franchise. Immersive Audiodramas
The best audio adaptations of graphic novels and comic books tend to be audiodramas, which create a rich, immersive storytelling environment using a full cast of talent, sound effects, and music. Their playful nostalgia factor matches the inherent charm of comics and graphic novels.
0 Locke & Key
Locke & Key’s first iteration as a best-selling graphic novel series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez and its popular Netflix screen adaptation lies this captivating audio production: a fully dramatized, highly immersive sonic experience that captures the pulse-pounding imagination of the original story. When a brutal tragedy drives the Locke family to their ancestral home in Lovecraft, Mass., they encounter an old house with magical keys and doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. With Haley Joel Osment, Tatiana Maslany, and Kate Mulgrew headlining a cast of more than 50 voice actors, this Audie-nominated production harnesses rich sound design and a powerful score to hook in fans of the original series, and convert new, audio-first ones. Red Rising: Sons Of Ares Volume 1 [Dramatized Adaptation]
Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series has been huge in audio for years—but its six-issue comic-book prequel,
Sons of Ares, didn’t have an audio adaptation until 2021. That said, it was worth the wait. Narrated by a full cast and with pitch-perfect sound effects and design, this ultra-compelling adaptation is further proof that the full-cast audiodrama treatment feels inherently authentic to the comic book experience. Perfect for fans of Red Rising looking for their next listen. White Sand: Volume One [Dramatized Adaptation]
Brandon Sanderson fans were thrilled to get this first-ever audio adaptation of his White Sand fantasy graphic novel series (and part of the author’s Cosmere arc) in December 2020. Produced with a full cast of actors, immersive sound design, and a dramatic score,
White Sand was designed to feel like a comic book movie in your mind. The plot swirls around the elite “Sand Masters” of a desert planet who use ancient powers to manipulate sand. When they suffer a deadly attack, a survivor must forge an unlikely partnership to escape. A true graphic novel in audio (it’s shorter than the average novel-length audiobook) this is an immersive, action-packed listen perfect for both new Brandon Sanderson fans and those who want to explore a new world from him or learn more about Cosmere. Illuminae
YA and sci-fi fans were the first to fall for The Illuminae Files, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s epic three-novel space opera, presented as a dossier of digital documents, transcripts, videos, photos, and comic book illustrations, and featuring a zombie-like virus, alien snakes, and a murderous but somehow loveable AI, all brought together to create a jaw-dropping, twist-filled, high-body-count, totally engrossing tale. The physical book, described as 'almost a graphic novel, but not quite,' presented unique challenges, but the adaptation team’s elegant and intricate solution—a multicast, interactive performance—made the Illuminae trilogy a must-listen experience for the ages.
The Boys: Volume 1 [Dramatized Adaptation]
Famed comic book artists Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson co-created
The Boys, a bloody, gritty, brutal take on the superhero genre received with critical acclaim. Set in a world where celebrity superheroes often engage in reckless behavior, the story follows the elite CIA squad known as The Boys—Billy Butcher, Mother's Milk, the Frenchman, the Female, and new addition 'Wee' Hughie Campbell—tasked with monitoring the superheroes: a risky and often gruesome gig. The book was adapted by Amazon Studios into a television series that premiered in 2019. The audiobook is a powerful, full-cast adaptation that brings the action to blistering life. Dracula [Audible Edition]
If you love Marvel’s Dracula and all things goth and spooky, do not miss this multiple Audie Award-winning production of Bram Stoker’s classic novel. It’s an epistolary novel, so it’s told in letters between Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters, making it a natural fit in audio and read by a chef’s kiss cast that remains one of the best audio casting coups ever: Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, John Lee, and more. Fans of horror, vampire, or supernatural comics should give this cinematic and luscious listen a try.
Comic Audiobooks for Kids
These family-friendly listens bring the message and appeal of graphic novels, comic books, manga, and anime into engaging experiences for kids, teens, and parents.
0 New Kid
Sometimes the biggest innovations are humble in their ingenuity. This marvelously listenable, multi-cast adaptation of Jerry Craft’s heartfelt, humorous, and wise
New Kid—which itself made history as the first graphic novel to win the Newbery Medal—pulls listeners into the story of Jordan, a 12 year old from Washington Heights who starts commuting to a fancy Riverside private school where he is one of few students of color. Kids of all races can find something to relate to in this funny, thought-provoking, and authentic slice-of-life tale that captures the graphic novel’s charming realism in audio. Nimona
One of the earliest—and still one of the best—comic-to-audio phenomenons, the fantasy comic
Nimona was created by college senior Noelle Stevenson, whose whimsical story about a supervillain’s shape-shifting sidekick gained a devoted following as a Tumblr webcomic and then got a book deal. The graphic novel hit shelves in 2015, becoming a New York Times best seller, a National Book Award finalist, and, most important, an audiobook. At the time, turning a visual story into an auditory one was rare, and Nimona struck new territory for audio dramas, a medium that had captivated millions of listeners before television. The result—faithful to the book, but with a narrator for guidance and a full cast of characters with unique performers for each—gave the world of Nimona its own audio signature, including a custom soundscape and original music by composer Loren Toolajian. Black Panther
Timed to coincide with the release of instant-classic superhero film
Black Panther, this thoughtful novelization follows T'Challa while he is still a young prince and not yet ruler of Wakanda. Sent with his best friend M'Baku to America—specifically, to a middle school on Chicago's South Side—T'Challa must uncover the source of some strange happenings around the school. With life lessons teens can relate to, this audiobook also features a star performance from A-list narrator Dion Graham, whose tour-de-force performance will reassure even those who miss T'Challa's beating heart, the late Chadwick Boseman. Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Shadow of Kyoshi
Part of a thrilling YA series that expands on the mega-popular Avatar universe, this second installment of the Kyoshi novels is available for streaming in Audible Plus. In this prequel to
Avatar: The Last Airbender, Kyoshi voyages across the Four Nations, struggling to keep the peace as she continues her journey from humble origins to merciless pursuer of justice. Narrated beautifully by Nancy Wu, this action-packed story also explore the anime franchise's best romance, that of Kyoshi and her firebending master Rangi. Good Talk
Adapted from Mira Jacob’s hilarious and poignant graphic memoir,
Good Talk centers on her attempts to navigate tough topics (like American identity and interracial families) with her abundantly inquisitive six-year-old son, Z. Jacob’s narration affectionately captures the range of emotions involved in everyday conversations between a mother and child. We get to experience her exasperation as she tries to convince Z that being Indian is cool; we feel her dejected demeanor as she tries to explain the shooting of Michael Brown to him. The full cast rounds out Jacob’s world as we hear her husband’s attempts to help navigate Z’s many questions and listen in on the news that sparks some of these queries. BAKEMONOGATARI, Part 1
Fans of the Bakemonogatari manga and anime series will be delighted to discover another entrypoint into the world of Monogatari and its surreal world of ghosts, vampires, and various beasts in a high school setting. Voiced by multiple narrators, this witty supernatural tale introduces Senjogahara and Hachikuji alongside returning favorites and brims with witty, hilarious dialogue. Supernatural hijinks and mysterious maladies ensue as a strange, pretty girl who is always ill sparks rumors about her real condition.
History and Behind-the-Scenes
Real comic fans know that there's a lot more to this medium than cool graphics and flashy characters. Get to know the outsize personalities behind the franchises, or dive into the history and psychology of some of the most legendary comic book characters of all time.
0 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Editor and ACX Marketing Manager Scott says,
I love this Pulitzer Prize-winning book. The sprawling story visits 1930s Prague, New York City during WWII, and the Arctic tundra of northern Canada. Our heroes escape the Holocaust, stake their claim in the burgeoning comic book industry, and encounter the censorship panic of the 1950s. David Colacci’s narration impressively embodies the variety accents and dialects native to long-ago Europe and New York. This 26-hour epic is well worth a credit and the time spent listening. The Ten-Cent Plague
In the years between World War II and the emergence of television as a mass medium, American popular culture as we know it was first created in the bold, pulpy pages of comic books. David Hajdu reveals how comics, years before the rock-and-roll revolution, brought on a clash between postwar children and their prewar parents. Created by outsiders from the tenements, garish, shameless, and often shocking, comics became the targets of a raging generational culture divide. They were burned in public bonfires, outlawed in certain cities, and nearly destroyed by a series of televised Congressional hearings. Yet their creativity, irreverence, and suspicion of authority would have a lasting influence.
Batman and Psychology
Batman is one of the most compelling and enduring characters to come from the Golden Age of Comics, and interest in his story has only increased through countless incarnations since his first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. Why does this superhero without superpowers fascinate us? What does that fascination say about us?
Batman and Psychology explores these and other intriguing questions about the masked vigilante, including: Does Batman have PTSD? Why does he fight crime? Why as a vigilante? Why the mask, the bat, and the underage partner? Why are his most intimate relationships with bad girls he ought to lock up? And why won't he kill that homicidal, green-haired clown? The Secret History of Wonder Woman
Harvard historian and
New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has uncovered an astonishing trove of documents, including the never-before-seen private papers of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman's creator. Marston, internationally known as an expert on truth—he invented the lie detector test—lived a life of secrets, only to spill them on the pages of Wonder Woman. A tour de force of intellectual and cultural history.