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22 May 2006 — Graphic Novels for People Who Hate Comics (47)
Note: I've cross-posted this to Four Color Comics, my comics blog.

Kristi asked yesterday about good graphic novels for book groups. In response, here's a list of comics that I think nearly any adult would find entertaining and interesting. Note the absence of superheroes.


The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale by Art Spiegelman
The most important graphic novel yet published. Maus recounts the experiences of Spiegleman's father as a Polish Jew during the Holocaust. It won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Outstanding. A+ $22.05 from Amazon.

La Perdida by Jessica Abel
La Perdida tells the story of Carla, an aimless young American woman living in Mexico City. The ending is a little Hollywood, but overall, this is a great read. B+ $12.97 from Amazon.

Blankets or Good-Bye, Chucky Rice by Craig Thompson
Thompson is a Portland-area creator. Blankets is considered his best work to date, and it's fine in a Tori Amos sort of way, but feels a little sophomoric at times. I prefer the more imaginative Good-Bye, Chunky Rice. Blankets: B $18.87 from Amazon. Good-Bye, Chunky rice: B+ $9.97 from Amazon.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis is the autobiography of a woman who grew up in Iran during the reign of the Shah, and during the Islamic Revolution. This book has been compared (favorably) to Maus, and while it's not quite up to that standard, it's excellent nonetheless. Highly recommended. A- $11.67 from Amazon.

Black Hole by Charles Burns
One of the next books on my "to-read" shelf. This highly-acclaimed graphic novel is another portrait of adolescence. It combines a sexually-transmitted plague with a series of murders. Highly-regarded. Inc. $15.72 from Amazon.

Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid in the World by Chris Ware
The story of a sad family full of sad men. I collected this in comic book form during the mid-nineties — I bought the first issue on the day my father died — but haven't read it since. Ware is the darling of the intelligentsia.B $22.05 from Amazon.

Torso by Brian Michael Bendis
Remember Eliot Ness of Untouchables fame? After he stood up to Al Capone in Chicago, he moved to Cleveland. This true-crime graphic novel tells of his other big case, the one that ruined him: a series of gruesome killings. A- out-of-print, but available used at $12.95 from Amazon.

Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships and Age of Bronze: Sacrifice by Eric Shanower
Over the course of a planned seven volumes, Shanower is writing and drawing the history of the Trojan War using primary sources as reference. He's dispensed with the gods and goddesses, but not their roles. When drawing the books, he relies on archaeological evidence to get the costumes, structures, and objects correct. This is great stuff. Age of Bronze: A Thousand Ships: A $13.57 from Amazon. Age of Bronze: Sacrifice: Inc. $12.97 from Amazon.

Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
Some of you have probably seen the film adaptation of this book. The graphic novel on which it is based is a little different, emphasizing the relationship between the two young women, and spending less time on secondary characters. This is really a series of eight short stories that hang together as a whole. Shortish. A- $9.20 from Amazon.

American Splendor by Harvey Pekar
This book contains dozens of short autobiographical bits from Pekar's early work. Some are great, others are less impressive, but on the whole American Splendor does a great job capturing adult angst. I actually prefer the recent film, which is wonderfully post-modern and often hilarious. B+ $11.53 from Amazon.

Locas by Jaime Hernandez
Though this is a classic in the field, I haven't read any of it yet. To quote Publishers Weekly: "These superb stories ... define a world of Hispanic gang warfare, '80s California, punk rock, women wrestlers and the subtle battle to stay true to oneself. Hernandez's main characters are Maggie and Hopey, two adorable lesbian rockers who start out in a somewhat vague relationship." Inc. $31.47 from Amazon.

Palomar by Gilbert Hernandez
If you enjoyed Like Water for Chocolate or One Hundred Years of Solitude, then Palomar may be for you. Publishers Weekly again: "The earliest stories in the book owe more to magical realism and Gabriel Garcia Marquez than to anything that had been done in comics before. But in later pieces ... Hernandez's style is entirely his own". Inc. $25.17 from Amazon.

Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson
Here's a graphic novel that I do not own and have not read. Box Office Poison gets rave reviews from every corner. From what I understand, it tracks the misadventures of a group of recent college grads. Inc. $18.87 from Amazon.

Did you notice how the good graphic novels plumbed teen angst and autobiography for material? Did you further notice how the great graphic novels covered bigger subjects: the Holocaust, the Islamic Revolution, the Trojan War? Coincidence? I don't think so.

One other excellent book to consider is Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics ($15.61 from Amazon). Understanding Comics is not a graphic novel, but a visual exploration of the comics medium: how it works, why it works, and so on. It's brilliant in its simplicity. I actually want to choose this sometime for our book group, and then ask each member to read a graphic novel, too.

Some of you may be wondering, "Where are the great superhero graphic novels?" The short answer is that there aren't any suitable for people who think they don't like superhero comics. If you can't buy into the genre, you're not going to like the superhero stuff, no matter how good it is.

The primary exception are the products of Alan Moore. His work is imaginative and literary; I think that most open-minded adults will find it engaging. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (volume one, volume two) is clever fun. It takes fictional Victorian heroes — such as Captain Nemo, Dr. Jekyll, and Mina Harker — and melds them into a sort of "superteam". Every character in the book is an established character from a previous work of fiction or an ancestor of a character from modern-day fiction.

Moore's V for Vendetta has no superheroes, though it trades on superhero comic tropes. It explores themes of freedom, identity, and fascism. I think the beginning is strong, but the ending is something of a chore.


Finally, Watchmen deals explicitly with superheroes (though largely C-list superheroes that nobody has ever heard of). Many, including myself, consider Watchmen the finest superhero comic ever published. To quote the wikipedia:

Watchmen is drama that incorporates moral philosophy, popular culture, history, art, and science. It is set in an alternative history 1980s America where costumed adventurers are real and the U.S. is close to a nuclear war with Russia. Public opinion towards the notion of vigilantism has soured and public demonstrations demand the police be reinstated as the de facto marshals of law. Meanwhile, members of The Minutemen, a defunct organization of costumed adventurers, are being murdered. Watchmen is the only graphic novel to have won a Hugo Award and is also the only graphic novel to appear on Time magazine's list of "100 best novels from 1923 to present."

That's a lot of information, I know, but I hope this guide proves useful to someone. Comics and graphic novels are often marginalized by the well-read, and that's too bad. I often find them just as exciting, entertaining, and educational as any other literature.

On this day at foldedspace.org

2007Contest: The Cowgirls of Trace Evidence   In which Mike Banks suggests a photo caption contest. In which I think that's a great idea.


Comments
On 22 May 2006 (01:10 PM), Tony said:

What about Time Beavers?

I have never read it but I know a certain someone who has.


On 22 May 2006 (03:07 PM), nate said:

You've covered all the A-list non-superhero graphic novels I would have, with a few I'll have to check into. And I'd say as far as true A-list superhero books, Alan Moore is pretty much the beginning and the end. But if I can pass on a few recommendations in that genre:

1602 - This series, written by Neil Gaiman (probably best known for his Sandman series) is an interesting take on the Marvel universe, transporting many of its luminaries to the titular year. The story resolves this plot contrivance in an interesting way that actually allows it to co-exist with the established mythology, which is a feat unto itself. The more knowledge of Marvel characters you bring, the more you'll get out of it.

Powers - Written by Brian Michael Bendis (who wrote Torso, which J.D. mentioned above), this takes on the superhero genre from the perspective of the mundane cops who get to deal with what the aftermath of living in a world of superpowers might really be like. This is an ongoing series, as opposed to a single book, and is currently on its ninth trade paperback compilation.

X-Force/X-Statix - This series is packaged like old school, 60's-era comics thanks to Mike Allred's art, but takes a more modern perspective on superhero groups in its writing. The central group is a stage-managed team of mutants, assembled by the same philosophy that created N-SYNC or the Backstreet Boys. Owned by a Bill Gates-esque "manager" with maximizing merchandising and licensing rights in mind, the series takes pains to skewer comic cliches while taking joy in indulging them as well.

These are all more pure entertainment-based than a Maus or Watchmen, but if you're up for some light cape action with higher-than-average intelligence, check them out.


On 22 May 2006 (03:19 PM), J.D. said:

I love Powers. It's my favorite series. (Well, that or Fables.)

Powers can be best-described as Homicide: Life on the Streets. With superheroes. Written by Aaron Sorkin.

And I generally loathe Neil Gaiman's work, but found 1602 a fun read. Can't comment on the X-Force/X-Statix stuff...


On 22 May 2006 (03:40 PM), Primate said:

Two excellent, non-superhero comics:

First... Sadly, Rob Vollmar and Pablo G. Callejo's excellnt period piece Bluesman has been widely ignored by the comics "press." Fans of O Brother, Where Art Thou? will really dig this series, about a wandering blues guitarist in the south, in the 1920s. Callejo's art is very evocative of the times. He's first and foremost a cartoonist, but uses the more "cartoony" aspects of his linework in an effective juxtaposition with the serious subject matter.

Second... My current favorite series is Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra's Y: The Last Man, a sci-fi political intrigue series that takes the plotline of many a B-level 1950s flick, and gives it a whole new spin. Essentially, in the summer of 2002, a plague hits that kills every male mammal on earth instantaneously, except for two beings: a struggling Gen X slacker escape artist, and his helper-monkey-in-training. The protagonist meets up with a CIA agent and geneticist in a cross-country "buddy comedy" to make it from NY to SF, to get to a lab that may or may not hold the answer to the plague. What sounds like an ultimate-straight-guy-fantasy-come-true quickly turns into a horror-ridden examination of gender roles, American culture, and international politics. Good pacing, with action interspersing the talking heads. Vertigo is paperbacking story arcs almost as quickly as they're completed.

Oh, and I second the mention of Fables.


On 22 May 2006 (04:07 PM), J.D. said:

My current favorite series is Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra's Y: The Last Man

This is one of my favorites, as well. There are occasional false notes, but for the most part, this is great fun. I especially like the fact that the women are portrayed as complex characters, not something a lot of comics pull off..


On 22 May 2006 (04:19 PM), Lynn said:

Any that you would recommend for YAs, ages 12 to 14?


On 22 May 2006 (04:29 PM), Primate said:

Lynn, these are my favorite series for young adult readers:

Castle Waiting, by Linda Medley
Leave it to Chance, by Robinson and Smith


On 22 May 2006 (04:49 PM), Lynn said:

Thanks, primate....


On 22 May 2006 (07:25 PM), Clackablog said:

Somehow you have overlooked a graphic novel which superbly tells the story of my favorite novel, The Probability Broach by L. Neil Smith and Scott Bieser. But, I'll forgive you.


On 22 May 2006 (08:27 PM), Steve said:

Second the recommendation for Castle Waiting. Younger readers yet might like the wonderful Bone by Jeff Smith, a sort of Tolkien-meets-Donald Duck extravaganza.

For grownups, I might swap Moore and Campbell's From Hell for either Torso or (particularly) V for Vendetta, both of which seem more "comic book"-y than some of the other names on your list. Other things I might foist on people on are Howard Cruse's Stuck Rubber Baby (the tale of a young Southern white man coming to terms with his homosexuality during the Civil Rights era) and particularly the French artist David B's brilliant Epileptic (about childhood and mental illness -- it really stretches the medium). I'm a big fan of Chester Brown's Louis Riel, as well, but I suspect that's more for history buffs (the same, perhaps, for Jason Lutes' Berlin: City of Stones?). Still, excellent list.


On 22 May 2006 (09:25 PM), J.D. said:

Lynn, I'm not sure why I didn't think of it earlier, but I agree that Bone would be excellent for a young adult. (It's just not good for an adult book group.) It has a great mixture of fun and excitement. It has a great fantasy element, too. The art is whimsical. I think I still have the first two volumes that I could loan you. Scholastic is currently publishing all nine volumes in color. Jeff Smith, Bone's creator, just revamped his web site.


On 22 May 2006 (10:52 PM), Lee said:

Wow...thanks for the list! I haven't read so many comic books/graphic novels, but it looks like the ones I have read are top-notch. (I think I've read 10 or 11, and six of them are on your list.)

I liked the Sandman series; please let me explain myself before y'all roll your eyes. For someone who isn't terribly familiar with the genre of graphic novels, the Sandman series was instructive in showing how a written story can be affected/enhanced by the illustrations. Because the narrative voice was constant, the illustrations stood out in a way that wouldn't have been as noticeable (to me) if the the series had been drawn by the same person throughout. I did get the entire series from the library and so was able to read the whole thing within a week.

I couldn't get into "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"; it seemed to satirize a genre I wasn't familiar with. From Hell, however, really gripped me. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. (No, I haven't seen the film!)


On 22 May 2006 (10:54 PM), lee said:

who writes the Fables series?


On 23 May 2006 (05:32 AM), Name said:

Here's a suggestion -- don't recommend stuff you haven't read. You're literally dealing from a position of ignorance.


On 23 May 2006 (06:21 AM), Hob Gadling said:

Missing from that list are all of Will Eisner's graphic novels. Considering that he pretty much invented graphic novels as a medium, I'm surprised by this omission.

Some of Will Eisner's finest work includes:

  • A Contract With God
  • A Life Force
  • Dropsie Avenue

Actually pretty much everything Eisner did was pure gold.


On 23 May 2006 (06:56 AM), Chris Thompson said:

Watchmen is, for me, just as described in the Wikipedia article, it's an amazing NOVEL.

But you failed to mention Neil Gaiman's "Sandman". There's little about it that's superhero-y, and it really shows how amazing a writer he really is. I read his American Gods first (a traditional novel) and am now working through the Sandman collections. Utterly amazing.


On 23 May 2006 (07:01 AM), David said:

For young adults, I'd also recommend
- Amy Unbounded: Belondweg Blossoming

For mature readers, I can't believe that you didn't mention Sandman. As well, there are a ton of manga graphic novels, some of which are very good. Which to recommend, depends on your taste. Some examples:
- in the Maus/Perseopolis strain: Barefoot Gen (the story of Hiroshima written and drawn by a survivor)
- for SF fans: 2001 Nights


On 23 May 2006 (07:37 AM), J.D. said:

Thanks for the suggestions so far. These are great.

@ Lee
Fables is written by Bill Willingham. The premise is simple: all the fairy tale characters we know from our childhoods are real. They've been kicked out of their Homeland and now live in New York. But they're not as innocent as we remember: there's murder, lust, and political revolution. It's great fun.

@ Steve and Primate
I haven't read From Hell; I'll see if I can borrow it from the library.

@ Name
Oh, please. I'm perfectly capable of making recommendations based on cursory glances through the material and based on others' reviews. Fairly non-difficult.

@ Hob Gadling
Thanks for reminding me of Eisner. I've never read him, but he's highly regarded. I have a friend (who may show up here in the comments eventually) who just recommended him to me a couple weeks ago.

@ David
Thanks for the recommendations!


On 23 May 2006 (08:20 AM), Dougal Campbell said:

For mature readers who think they might want to try a superhero series, check out Supreme Power, by J. Michael Straczynski (creator of the ground-breaking scifi series, Babylon 5). It starts out with the appearance of a spoof of the origins of Superman -- an alien spacecraft crashes to earth carrying a human-looking infant.

However, it quickly takes a dark turn, as this infant is taken in by the military, who raise the child in a controlled environment, striving to instill a sense of loyalty to the United States. As the boy (given the name Mark Milton, and code-named 'Hyperion') matures, and through his powers discovers that the world around him is basically a cage, he begins to question the authority figures and their motives.

There are other plot threads that tie in, as several other super-powered individuals appear, apparently mutations caused by the crashing spaceship. So you end up with a mysterious vigilante, a guy who can run at super speed who gets endorsements from an athletics goods company, and a super-powered psycho serial killer (to name a few) thrown into a mix of goverment conspiracies and military cover-ups.

My description isn't doing it much justice, I'm afraid. It's really a pretty good exploration of how the world would react to the introduction of a few very powerful individuals (awe, fear, distrust), and how those individuals might react to being so different from the world around them (secrecy, narcissism, superiority, vigilantism). This is definitely not one for the kids.


On 23 May 2006 (01:02 PM), tim said:

I have to second the recommndation of From Hell. Even though the conclusions are rather dated, the story and characterizations are top notch.

Also, depending on the make-up of the group, they may also like Linda Barry's work. I've only read Cruddy, which isn't a graphic novel, but I've heard that One Hundred Demons (which is a graphic novel) is supposed to be good as well.


On 23 May 2006 (01:15 PM), Pete said:

This was an excellent list.

If I may, though, I would like to include just about anything by Will Eisner. He is credited by some (including Scott McCloud) with inventing the graphic novel genre and several of his works, The Contract With God trilogy and The Building in particular, are amazing examples of story telling that had never been done (or done that successfully).

Eisner generally stays away from superhero work - that is, except for the Spirit, which is amazing in it's own right.

Most of the authors listed - including Miller - credit Eisner as an inspiration and role model.


On 23 May 2006 (01:19 PM), Pete said:

Sorry - just noticed Hob Gadling's post. He's spot on, though. Omitting Eisner from this list is like leaving out "The Godfather" from an AFI list...

I forgive you, though, because he's virtually unknown to anyone outside of industry or hard core fans.


On 23 May 2006 (01:54 PM), nate said:

I'd also like to recommend Mike Mignola's Hellboy, though it certainly falls into the more superhero-y camp. It's not quite as great as Powers is, narratively, but I find Mignola's art, pacing, and folklore sensibilities enthralling. If you're at all into superstitions and world fables (Mignola borrows from nearly every tradition; Irish, English, French, African, Indian, Chinese, Russian, Babylonian; it's a wide mix), Hellboy is a fun read.

Plus, Roger the Homunculus is maybe one my favorite characters ever. And what's not to like about a series that includes a 1920's pulp crimefighter named Lobster Johnson, who turns up in one or two books? Or a dead medium preserved only as ectoplasm within a plastic man-shaped suit? Like I said, great fun.


On 23 May 2006 (02:28 PM), Patrick said:

How about Palestine and Safe Area: Gorazde by Joe Sacco?


On 23 May 2006 (06:53 PM), jim osmer said:

watchmen and sandman are of course very good.
I also really enjoyed Cerebus up through the end of Church and State. After that it falls apart.
Gaiman is making a movie of Burns' Black Hole which I need to read.


On 24 May 2006 (08:37 AM), telly said:

What, no Jeffrey Brown?

I think I am going to cry.


On 24 May 2006 (02:32 PM), paytonrules said:

No Preacher or Sin City? Definitely not for young readers, or easily offended, and Preacher definitely falls into stereotypes at times (especially if you read Ennis's other work like his run on Hellblazer) but they are certainly not superhero and enjoyable.


On 24 May 2006 (02:52 PM), J.D. said:

Remember, folks: I'm after graphic novels for people who hate comics. Maybe Preacher fits that bill — I haven't read it yet — but Sin City does not. Sin City is very comic book-y, even if it doesn't have superheroes.


On 24 May 2006 (08:52 PM), Dave Roman said:

Barefoot Gen (published by Last Gasp)

Spiral Bound by Aaron Renier. (top Shelf)

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (oni)

Epileptic by David B (Pantheon)


On 24 May 2006 (10:32 PM), Jason said:

[admin-inserted blank space] I highly recommend The Golem's Mighty Swing by James Sturm. It's about baseball in the twenties, racism, and, well read the synopsis at Amazon. A compelling read for anyone who isn't a regular reader of graphic novels or comics or whatever. One of my favorite books to re-read, graphic or otherwise.


On 25 May 2006 (07:28 AM), david said:

"Did you notice how the good graphic novels plumbed teen angst and autobiography for material?"

Fantastic list, and you're spot on with this bit. For my 2 cents, I'm personally captivated by Jason Lutes, particularly Berlin. Another comic that I've had reasonable success with non-comic people is the Norwegian author Jason, Hey Wait... being a good start. Cerebus is also always reccomended (High Society through Church and State I and II)

For the younger audience (and oldies feeling young), Tintin needs a mention. Not superheros, yet reasonable adventure at a pace for youngsters.


On 25 May 2006 (07:30 AM), david said:

Ugh, clearly forgot the second half of your clever quote. Whoops.


On 26 May 2006 (07:44 AM), D.B said:

Although this is for comic books for people who don't like superhero comics, the following might be useful:

Animal Man
Doom Patrol
The Invisibles, all by Grant Morrison.

Obviously very well-known writer, and though they do include superheroes, they're deliberate deconstructions of the superhero genre, especially the metafictional series 'Animal Man', in which the hero actually learns to see the author. 'The Invisibles' is very heavy-going, especially if you don't know much about the Situationists or Terence McKenna's hallucinogenic experiments. But it's still pretty fun. If you want something a bit less obscure, try Morrison's 'The Filth'. It's still pretty f*cked-up, though.


On 30 May 2006 (02:30 AM), leigh walton said:

just had to chime in to counter Nate above-- sorry, bt 1602 is not only a terrible comic to give to "people who hate comics," since as you say its entertainment value is proportional to the reader's familiarity with Marvel, but it's also a terrible comic in general, featuring too many characters, too little plot and characterization, and no reason to care about the story. I hope it made a ton of money for Marvels And Miracles, because otherwise it's really got no reason to exist.


On 05 June 2006 (08:51 AM), Matt said:

Jason Lutes' Jar of Fools is an incredible story that never veers toward superhero antics. It's the story of an aging magician and his protege'.

I agree with Leigh, 1602 would be a pretty lame recommendation for anyone who turns up their nose at the lovable tights-wearing fools. And by extension, so would "deconstructions of the hero genre" like Animal Man and Doom Patrol, however beloved they may be by avowed fans. And The Invisibles is one of my favorite works of fiction ever, and I've resisted giving it to most of my friends, because they're just not on that alien-intelligence level.

I'm also a huge fan of Sam & Max. I just looked on Amazon to see that Surfin' the Highway is going for $125. This is a crime, people. Put this book back in print!

I love comics of all stripes, and normally find it difficult to place myself in the mindset of someone who can't stand superhero books. (Although I rail against the deluge of absolute crap Marvel and DC keep publishing, I find myself unable to stop reading the more artistic efforts in the genre. I just wish Bendis, Morrison and Ellis would stop taking money from the jackals and write something something original.) Tonight I'm going to go home and rifle through my collection looking again for books that lack a sheen of spandex.


On 09 June 2006 (04:11 PM), Richard Port said:

Hey Guys im getting into graphic novels, ive just finished V for Vendetta and i was wondering if Box Office Poison is worth a read, Have any of you read it ? What do you think ? or could you prefer another graphic novel you've read thats good


On 10 June 2006 (03:30 PM), Jeremy Douglass said:

Excellent list and discussion.

One nitpick - describing the Watchmen cast as "largely C-list superheroes that nobody has ever heard of" implies either that Moore's comic reuses little-known characters from other comics, or else that Moore's heroes are little-known within the story world. Yet they are Moore's original characters, all famous or infamous in their world.

Most *are* down-and-out, however....


On 03 July 2006 (08:21 AM), joey said:

Gotham Central by Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker is amazing, and while it takes place in Gotham City, its primary concern is with the lives of the homicide detectives of Gotham PD. This is police procedural that only rarely and then tangentally involves underpants perverts. Brubaker is an amazing writer, and his "Scene of the crime" comic is even more distanced from superheroes.

I second the mention of The Invisibles, above. So good. Doom Patrol I couldn't get into, but I love the Invisibles and the final two trades of Animal Man are good as well.


On 03 July 2006 (12:36 PM), Ray Coleman said:

A really good graphic novel just out now is Stagger Lee from Image Comics, by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix. It's all about how a real-life murder in the 1800s got turned into a legend in blues and folk music. It tells the true crime story, and how all sorts of political complications resutled from the murder, but also gives a history of the song itself, all mixed together with a really moving fictional narrative. It's a great read and I really recommend it.


On 23 July 2006 (01:15 PM), John R. said:
One nitpick - describing the Watchmen cast as "largely C-list superheroes that nobody has ever heard of" implies either that Moore's comic reuses little-known characters from other comics, or else that Moore's heroes are little-known within the story world. Yet they are Moore's original characters, all famous or infamous in their world.

Actually, you're both half right. The characters in Watchmen are derived from characters whom DC Comics had acquired from a failed company called Charlton Comics. Rorschach was based on a faceless detective named The Question. Nite Owl was Blue Beetle. And so on. When Moore made clear what his plans were for Watchmen, DC wanted him to change the characters' identities, as DC had plans for the originals.

What can I say? I'm a lover of fools in tights.


On 11 January 2007 (11:06 PM), Darin said:

I interest about this one great graphic novels; islamic revolution, can you give me the review, and where I can find this book? I try googling but I can't find the book.


On 27 February 2007 (05:24 AM), Stuart Houghton said:

Two more superhero comics that I recommend to non-fans -

Sleeper by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
Non-more-black ops tale of double, triple and sextuple-crossing superpowered individuals. Some wonderfully dark and memorable characters, great noirish art and (in a rare spark of humour among the grimness) probably the greatest supervillain origin story of all time - 'Fag Hag', a woman with the power to absorb the life force of gay men.

Alias by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos.
Bendis inserts a new character into the early days of the Marvel universe, then shows us why she retired, and what happened next. The Marvel-ness actually helps as you will probably be at least slightly familiar with some of the other characters from pop culture. Strong female characters, cracking one-liners and a surprisingly moving resolution.


On 21 July 2007 (01:19 AM), goonie baby said:

is there any graphic novels that suitable for teenager?could you give me a suggestion.Thanks.

Goonie
Baby First Year


On 12 August 2007 (10:56 AM), Collins said:

I loath crtics. Critisism is sudo-intellectualism at it's finest. I'll tell ya how to shop for graphic novels. Look for the thicker comics. Don't descriminate because you'll miss a lot of good stuff that way. If something catches your eye. Pick it up. Read the first few pages. If you like what you read then buy it.


On 17 January 2008 (08:02 PM), Tyson said:

I am glad to have found your list. Here's a partial of my favorites not yet mentioned...

For example, I just finished reading LAIKA, a graphic novelization of the story of the dog that the Soviets put into space on the Sputnik II. This is the first book to make my cry in quite awhile. It's historical fiction of the least-fictional kind, and it is really amazing.

Then there was FUN HOME. This story is about growing up w/ a closeted gay English teacher father, and it is really great tragedy.

And of course, another current favorite is BLANKETS, a high school coming-of-age story about a kid w/ religiously nutty parents.

Hmmm... what else? Oh! TRUE PORN 2 is an awesome book of, well... not exactly porn, but autobiographical sex stories by current graphic novelists which are so odd they have to be true.

And I shouldn't forget about THE RABBI'S CAT, the story of a cat who for a brief time is given the power of speech, and is constantly challenging his owner's religious convictions. Set in Algeria in the 1930's, a time of rising anti-semitism, it is an enthralling read (and to be honest, one hell of an accurate portrayal of your typical cat!)
Also, I just read THE PRIDE OF BAGHDAD, a story of a pride of lions that escaped the Baghdad zoo after the US carpet-bombed the city. It is a unique story, and a moving one.
The most recent I've read is called SILVERFISH, a murder mystery in great noir tradition, published by Vertigo. Good and creepy.

I am constantly looking for graphic novels of the literary and non-superhero type, and it is amazing to me that it is so hard to find information on them. I appreciate your efforts!


On 03 February 2008 (11:51 PM), James Welborn said:

Hi!

I just opened a new comic shop with the idea of "a comic shop for NPR listeners." I've looked at this page many times before, and just reviewed it to see if there were any books I'd forgotten to order.

(The shop, by the way, is Hub Comics in Somerville, Massachusetts.)

Anyway, I wanted to mention one of my favorites.

"It's A Bird" is a great story of a comics writer who is tapped to pen Superman, but this triggers the remembrance of a family secret, the examination of his life, and the attributes of the Superman character. Teddy Kristiansen's art changes for each of these single-page examinations.

... and I can second almost all of the above. :)



On 11 May 2008 (01:18 PM), Jess said:

One that just came online recently, Shake Girl is written and drawn by a group of Stanford students.