Short stories and graphic novels may not look like they have much in common, but their roots as serialized stories and comics share much of the same struggles and successes. Both have a limited amount of space on a page or in a frame and time to convey the atmosphere and build a believable world for their readers. They both also tend to have a tight focus on characters or specific situations. So together, the short story structure can provide a way for graphic novels to explore more serious topics or issues without having to commit to a whole book, while the graphic novel takes a step back from blocks of text and can transform scenes into more potent, wordless images.
I believe that the graphic story collection is a great starting point for both readers of traditional novels and graphic novels or comics alike because of the flexibility of its hybrid nature. The art is still breathtaking, but there are usually bigger or fewer panels and sometimes even less text—allowing the reader a chance to interpret the emotion and context of the image. The stories are no less thought-provoking, but the ability to play with length means that writers have more opportunities to experiment with different styles of writing that might not have been possible in a novel.
Here are nine graphic story collections that I think do the best job of implementing and highlighting techniques from both the short story and graphic novel worlds, and have incredible narratives and artwork to boot.