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Graphic Novels 
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Post Graphic Novels
There is another thread which touches on the subject, but it is about five specific books, and, snob that I am, prefer them to be called graphic novels rather than "comic books" (despite Alan Moore's views on the subject).

Here is a list of graphic novels I would recommend--

The Sandman, Neil Gaiman
The Preacher, Garth Ennis
Transmetropolitan, Warren Ellis
Watchmen, Alan Moore
Maus, Art Spiegleman

The Boys, Garth Ennis
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alan Moore
Pride of Baghdad, Brian K. Vaughan
Fables, Bill Willingham
Sin City, Frank Miller
Persopolis, Marjane Satrapi
V for Vendetta, Alan Moore
The Exterminators, Simon Oliver
Orbiter, Warren Ellis
The Books of Magic, John Ney Rieber
American Splendor, Harvey Pekar
A History of Violence, John Wagner
The Losers, Andy Diggle
Lucifer, Mike Carey
The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller
The Fountain, Darren Aronofsky
Planetary, Warren Ellis
The Chronicles of Wormwood, Garth Ennis

These are all excellent, depending on taste, of course, and I recommend them all. The top five are at the top for a reason, the rest are all very good, but in no particular order. I could go on, but I think that's enough to keep anyone occupied for a while.

I like to think of graphic novels as watching a book, or reading a movie. The artwork, in most cases, is fantastic, and the writing, at least in the above titles, is great,

For those who have never read a graphic novel before, Maus or Watchmen is a great place to start, and I hope you find that it has opened a whole new world of artistic enjoyment to you.


Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:01 pm
Post Re: Graphic Novels
Pretty much all my comic reading at this point is via graphic novels or trades. I guess I just like getting a complete story when I open up a book, rather than just a small chunk of it. I’ll happily read through something like Phonogram: The Singles Club and Daytripper in single issues though, because every issue has its own story.

Asterios Polyp is a graphic novel I’ll promote whenever I get the chance. It’s one of the few comics I’ve read that’s really made me think about graphic design. I love the little touches David Mazzucchelli adds, like having every character speak with a different speech bubble and font, and characters are all drawn in a way that reflects their personality. He really knows how to drive home the emotional moments too. I flick through it at a weekly basis at this point.

Blankets is another one I really like. It’s a memoir by Craig Thompson about his early childhood and teenage years, mainly centred around his relationship with his first girlfriend. It’s such a sad, sombre look at the awkwardness of being a teenager, and it really hit home for me. I’m eager to check out his other books.

Stitches was the last one I read. It’s a memoir by David Small, who’s been illustrating picture books for decades, but it’s has only released one book for an adult audience. It’s mainly about the relationship Small had with his family, particularly his mother, and his recovery from throat cancer when he was a teenager. Again, it’s really depressing at times, but it’s a beautiful book and it’s an interesting look at life in the fifties and sixties. I really hope Small makes another mature book in the future.

At the moment I’m reading through Funny Misshapen Body by Jeffrey Brown. It’s another memoir, but it feels really different to the other two. It’s a more generalised look at his life, broken up into chapters that aren’t necessarily in chronological order. It’s talks about his life in high school and college, his experiences with drugs, his efforts in the art world and how he feels about himself as an artist. It’s really just Jeffrey Brown roughly sketching out the thoughts the come to his head, but it works.

Bone and Criminal are always my first recommendations when people ask about comics. Bone is just a fun, epic fantasy tale that’s easy to find and surprisingly cheap (you can find the massive black and white collection for under twenty bucks online). Criminal is an ongoing crime series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. Every arc has its own self contained story, so if you happen to come across one of the trades you can read it without having to pick up half way through.

I uh… hope I helped someone, somewhere get at least somewhat interested in comics. It’s a medium that I’m really only starting to get into.


Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:48 am
Post Re: Graphic Novels
I usually read trades or graphic novels as well, with the exception of Astro City. If anybody is interested in a superhero stories which are told from a different perspective (such as bystanders of superhero battles etc.), I recommend checking out Astro City, particularly the trade "The Tarnished Angel". It's about "Steeljack" (short for "The Steel-Jacketed Man"), a henchman-type crook who looks like Robert Mitchum and has just been released from prison, when he stumbles upon a conspiracy to kill former second-class supervillains.


Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:22 am
Post Re: Graphic Novels
I'm into GN's and Trades as well. I have a fairly decent collection but have never purchased any single issue comics. I guess I'm saving all my pennies to buy one of the big four, but that'll never happen. Currently i'm reading Powers by Brian Michael Bendis, which is akin to the afore mentioned Astro City. Some of my favorite titles include, Preacher, 100 Bullets, The Astonishing X Men (Whedon), Y: the Last Man, Sandman, and just because I'm a huge fan of the book series, I love The Hedge Knight by George RR Martin.


Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:28 am
Post Re: Graphic Novels
Eep. Carelessly throwing around the "G-N" word is opening up a huge can of semantic worms.

Anyway, I'll probably chime in with some favorites later, but for the time being, here's a link to the comic book thread, which--I suspect--was started by a drunken p604 in a fit of joy.

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2041


Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:21 am
Post Re: Graphic Novels
Ken wrote:
Eep. Carelessly throwing around the "G-N" word is opening up a huge can of semantic worms.

Anyway, I'll probably chime in with some favorites later, but for the time being, here's a link to the comic book thread, which--I suspect--was started by a drunken p604 in a fit of joy.

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2041


Great. Back when I posted on that thread I had read only Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns, but had intentions of starting Maus.

Now? Well, I guess I should start Maus.


Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:59 am
Post Re: Graphic Novels
I'm reading Maus right now. It's really good. Art knows how to make the story both engrossing and easy to relate to.


Tue May 11, 2010 1:13 am
Post Re: Graphic Novels
Pedro wrote:
I'm reading Maus right now. It's really good. Art knows how to make the story both engrossing and easy to relate to.


I just finished Maus. Suppose I'll write a line in the Reading thread. It made me cry...


Tue May 11, 2010 11:55 am
Post Re: Graphic Novels
It's powerful stuff. Time for a revisit, I think. Maus was the first graphic novel I ever read, and it really opened my eyes to the potential of the medium.

For a change of pace, try The Preacher. or Transmetropolitan. Eventually, you will have to read The Sandman, which is fighting for the number one position at the top of my list of best artistic experiences ever.


Tue May 11, 2010 7:04 pm
Post Re: Graphic Novels
MunichMan wrote:
It's powerful stuff. Time for a revisit, I think. Maus was the first graphic novel I ever read, and it really opened my eyes to the potential of the medium.

For a change of pace, try The Preacher. or Transmetropolitan. Eventually, you will have to read The Sandman, which is fighting for the number one position at the top of my list of best artistic experiences ever.


2/3 are already on my actual list of things to read. I keep putting them off though because they require quite an investment in time. I wouldn't be content to just read one of the trades and then resume much later.

Thanks for the Transmetropolitan tip though. I'll look that one up.


Thu May 13, 2010 12:23 pm
Post Re: Graphic Novels
I can ensure you the time investment is well worth it.

Transmetropolitan is a real treat. Think a post-apocalyptic/post-cyberpunk Hunter S. Thompson with an axe to grind against the establishment. And the Establishment is definitely worth grinding!

Here's a link-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmetropolitan

Warren Ellis is right up there with Garth Ennis and Neil Gaiman (well, not up there with Gaiman) as far as writing quality and imagination go.

If you want favorites, I would put the Sandman first, then Preacher, then Transmetropolitan, but you definitely have to read each series in one go. But I imagine once you get into them, you won't want to do it differently...


Sat May 15, 2010 5:29 pm
Post Re: Graphic Novels
Here's a story about Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud. My girlfriend is not a comics person at all. She doesn't read them, and for the most part, she thinks they're for nerds. (She might be right.) One particular day, I'd been rereading Understanding Comics, because it's a great book to revisit every once in a while. It keeps your brain in shape. Anyway, I'd left it out on the coffee table and went to work/class/whatever I was doing that day.

Imagine my surprise when I came home later to find her reading it. Not just disdainfully skimming it, either--actually reading it, from the front cover on in. Understanding Comics, of all things, which is highly cerebral and contains almost no story content. Baffling. I can only surmise that McCloud's charming artwork drew her in and had her hooked before she knew it.



Of course, Understanding Comics isn't a graphic novel, so maybe I shouldn't be talking about it here. Remember when I said that the term would cause trouble?


Sat May 15, 2010 8:46 pm
Post Re: Graphic Novels
It’s not really a problem unless someone makes it a problem. Understanding Comics is still a great read, and it’s well worth it if you’re interested in the medium, or if you want to know why other people are.


Sun May 16, 2010 11:37 am
Post Re: Graphic Novels
I always wonder why a comic about comics gets listed as one of the greatest comics. It sounds very textbook-ish. But if AJR and Ken's girlfriend approve I might as well check it out.


Mon May 17, 2010 3:34 pm
Post Re: Graphic Novels
I will definitely check it out as well.


Mon May 17, 2010 6:06 pm
Post Re: Graphic Novels
ed_metal_head wrote:
I always wonder why a comic about comics gets listed as one of the greatest comics. It sounds very textbook-ish. But if AJR and Ken's girlfriend approve I might as well check it out.
Don't think of it as a textbook. It can be used as a textbook, but it's more of a great piece of criticism.

And it's a great comic in itself. McCloud's visual imagination is in full force, and he definitely put everything he knows and believes about the medium into the book.


Mon May 17, 2010 6:22 pm
Post Re: Graphic Novels
I just picked up the first couple Arcs of Scalped and i'm hooked. It's very gritty, from the art to the story itself and contains a seemlessly unending amount of social commentary. A must read for fans of the medium.


Tue May 18, 2010 12:13 am
Post Re: Graphic Novels
Has anyone read Young Liars by David Lapham? There was brief review in last Sunday's Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/06/books ... ?ref=books

Sounds fairly interesting and the price is right ($30 for all three volumes) -- a good recommendation from someone knowledgeable would be enough to earn James Berardinelli a good $.35 through his Amazon links.


Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:15 pm
Post Re: Graphic Novels
Young Liars is fucked up.

I… I don’t know what else to say about it.


Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:30 pm
Post Re: Graphic Novels
AJR wrote:
Young Liars is fucked up.

I… I don’t know what else to say about it.


Defined "fucked up".

My definition is fairly broad but I like to think of this site (NSFA (Not Safe For Anyone) as a good jumping-off point for fucked-uptitude:

http://www.stormfront.org/forum/

EDIT: a reminder that the forum on Stormfront is NSFW to the 10th degree. Careful where you surf. There aren't photographs of any kind but there is an endless amount of outrageous hate speech that will amaze you -- I sometimes surf over just to feel a little bit better about myself when I'm having a bad day.


Thu Jun 10, 2010 10:25 pm
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