Alison Wilgus

Alison Wilgus is a cartoonist and writer of comics and prose, including Chronin, a graphic novel duology published by Tor Books she both wrote and illustrated. Her middle grade graphic novel Grace Needs Space, illustrated by Rii Abrego, is forthcoming from Random House Graphic.

She’s also written two works of graphic non-fiction for First Second Books: Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared, illustrated by Molly Brooks, and The Mars Challenge, illustrated by Wyeth Yates. Along with Gina Gagliano, Alison is co-host of Graphic Novel TK, a podcast about the nuts and bolts of graphic novel publishing.

Alison got her start as an animation writer for Codename: Kids Next Door, and is best known in that space for her comics writing for Avatar: The Last Airbender, including Zuko’s Story and many of the shorts in The Lost Adventures. She fills her spare time with making personal comics of varying lengths, many of which can be read on this site.

Alison graduated in 2002 from New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts, where she studied animation within the Undergraduate Film and Television program. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Find Alison on her website, or follow her on Twitter @aliwilgus.

Bibliography

  • Graphic Novel
    The Mars Challenge
    Alison Wilgus
  • Children's
    Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared
    Alison Wilgus
  • Chronin Series
    The Knife at Your Back (Volume 1)
    Alison Wilgus
  • Chronin Series
    The Sword in Your Hand (Volume 2)
    Alison Wilgus
     

Reviews

Graphic Novel

Children's

Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared
“An accessible and engaging introduction to the Wright brothers and how they ushered in the age of flight.”

Kirkus

“Two accomplished cartoonists offer a fresh take on the story of the Wright brothers.”

School Library Journal

“Not only does it make the mechanical and technical details about flight interesting to the non-scientifically minded (which would be me), it shows the Wright siblings as interesting characters in the competitive drama of early aviation on both sides of the Atlantic. Highly recommended not just to science-minded kids, but to any curious young readers who enjoy graphic novels.”

B&N Kids Blog

“FLYING MACHINES: HOW THE WRIGHT BROTHERS SOARED by Alison Wilgus, is told in the delightful voice of Katherine Wright, the younger sister of the famous brothers […] Although I know the basic story of the Wright brothers, reading this graphic novel filled in all the gaps of the evolution of our modern-day jets. ”

Geek Mom

“There’s an incredible amount of detail in this volume—aviation enthusiasts will love it […] Providing readers with a look into history and aviation technology, SCIENCE COMICS: FLYING MACHINES is a solid add to STEM collections and reinforces the fact that comic books DO belong in the classroom.”

Mom Read It

“I can really see these books being useful for science teachers or homeschool parents to build lesson plans (especially with the bibliography, glossary, and notes inclusions at the end of the texts), or as wonderful gifts for curious scientifically-minded young readers to learn independently, because of the lively dialogue and colorful illustrations. But, even as someone who isn’t particularly interested in flight, and who read the book as an adult, the strong partnership of Wilgus’ writing and Brooks’ illustrations kept me hooked until the very last page. Highly recommended!”

Limited Niche Species

Chronin Series

The Knife at Your Back (Volume 1)
“Wilgus’ artistic restraint isn’t just visually pleasing — it’s also humble. It seems to say that this Westerner isn’t trying to cannibalize or exoticize Japanese culture, but only to offer a few new angles on its well-established forms. The book’s spare lines, unassuming story and uncomplicated-yet-likable characters aren’t just self-effacing: They’re also classic. Chronin seems timeless in more ways than one — but then, cleverness often does.”

NPR

“Clever dialogue and detailed black-and-white images create an intense and moving story with plenty of heart and a mystery readers will want to solve.”

Publishers Weekly

“Wilgus’ dialogue is fresh and snappy, the story moves with purpose, the characters are deeply conflicted, and there were far more surprises than I anticipated. I definitely want to see how it all comes together in VOL 2: THE SWORD IN YOUR HAND.”

Fantasy Literature

“The story has a truly fascinating premise and plumbs impressive depths, particularly in Kuji and Mirai’s arguments over rebel factions during the period, which raises thoughtful questions about how ideology influences how we view history as well as the dangers of romanticizing rebellion. Deepening mysteries about Mirai and Kuji’s time travel program make for a compelling cliffhanger ending to this genre-blending series starter.”

Booklist

“[CHRONIN] is many things: an adventure story, a sci-fi yarn, a romance, a survey of history and social change, a study of entitlement, and a meditation on finding one’s place in the world […] it’s magical.”

Book Riot

“Wilgus executes the story in a skillful Manga art style and energy in unfolding the drama that works well together in presenting the headier themes, prefacing what is no doubt going to be an exciting Volume 2.”

Comics Beat

“CHRONIN is a tense, entertaining time travel caper, charmingly drawn and filled with endearing, complicated characters that you can’t help rooting for.”

Faith Erin Hicks, Eisner-Award winning author of The Adventures of Superhero Girl and The Nameless City trilogy

The Sword in Your Hand (Volume 2)
“A heartfelt story about the wonder of finding a community that sees you as you see yourself even when you’re very, very far from home.”

Carey Pietsch, artist and co-adapter of The Adventure Zone graphic novels

“Wilgus’ character dynamics strengthen and deepen in this second volume […] I enjoyed every page of the Chronin duology.”

Fantasy Literature

“CHRONIN is a beautiful story with fantastic action, wonderfully drawn characters, social commentary, history lessons, and a whole lot of feels.”

The Roarbots

Awards & Accolades

Graphic Novel

Children's

Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared
USA

Amazon Holiday Toy List: “2017 STEM Stars”

Chronin Series

The Sword in Your Hand (Volume 2)
USA

Rising Shadow: “Upcoming Books”