Graphic Novel Reading Group discussion

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Non-superhero Graphic Novels > Biographies & Memoirs

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message 1: by Melissa (last edited Oct 18, 2012 08:38AM) (new)

Melissa (MrsMelissa) | 13 comments I have just finished reading The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman by Art Spiegelman Thought it was very well done :)
My absolute favourite memoir was The Photographer by Emmanuel Guibert by Didier Lefèvre Best read with a magnifying glass!


message 2: by Sérgio (new)

Sérgio | 459 comments Memoir and non-fiction in general is really a big genre nowadays in comics, there's plenty of great work.

Arguably the first memoir in comic-form is Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary. It's really good, a nice perspective on Justin Green's neuroses.

I also really like Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China and Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle. They're a very interesting way to get to know more about China and North Korea.


message 3: by LaShaun (new)

LaShaun (Major_G) | 5 comments @Sergio: Nope, the first (arguable) comic memoir was from the late Harvey Pekar with American Splendor back in the 70s/80s. In the 80s, the now late Keiji Nakazawa also made a loose autobiography of his post-WWII childhood experience in Japan called, Barefoot Gen. Both have been made into live action movies.


message 4: by Sérgio (new)

Sérgio | 459 comments Hi there LaShaun.

Binky Brown was first published in 1972 and American Splendor started in 1976, so Harvey Pekar wasn't the first even he was truly influential.


message 5: by Paul (last edited Feb 26, 2013 12:11PM) (new)

Paul | 286 comments Tim Truman's biography of Wilderness: The True Story of Simon Girty, Renegade, was very well done.

Another biography that comes to mind is Chester Brown's Louis Riel

Although not a biography, Brought to Light, does expose factual events by the CIA and other American agencies

Same Difference is somewhat auto-biographical on the authors part.

and shame on me fo forgetting yet another Tim Truman and Allan W. Eckert's biography of Tecumseh!: A Play,


message 6: by Philip (new)

Philip | 5 comments I just finished reading 7 Miles a Second last night. It's quite possibly the most intense graphic novel I've ever read, being the autobiographical account of David Wojnarowicz, his youth of prostitution on the streets of New York, and his eventual AIDS related death in 1992. Definitely not for the timid, but worth the read.


message 7: by Xandra (new)

Xandra (xandragr) | 21 comments I just finished Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City. It's Guy Delisle's fourth travelogue after the ones about Pyongyang, Shenzhen and Burma and, in my opinion, his best. The artwork is better, with more color, the self-deprecating humor is still here, he travels more and meets a lot of people. Jerusalem is a bizarre city, with many oddities that guarantee an interesting read.


message 8: by Alexandria (new)

Alexandria | 10 comments I just picked up Johnny Cash: I See a Darkness as a birthday present to myself. Cant wait to read it!
Great reccomendations for the travelouges, I will be sure to check them out :)


message 9: by Tzipora (new)

Tzipora | 2 comments Ooh the Johnny Cash book looks awesome!

I would second Guy Delise's book on Jerusalem, one of the most enjoyable graphic novels I've read in a long time.

I'm a big memoir fan in general in addition to being a big graphic novel fan. I'd guess that a huge portion of graphic novels I've read have been in the memoir/ autobiographical genre or at least a fictionalized version or such.

I think everything by Marjane Satrapi of Perseopolis fame (including Persopolis) fits the theme. Enjoyed Allison Bechdel's Fun Home and her newest book Are You My Mother? Wasnt bad but VERY dense. In fact I never got through it before having to return it to the library. My favorite Bechdel is her Dykes to Watch out for series though- kind of a semi-realistic fiction though no it doesn't really fit this discussion. Fun, fun books especially if you're into GLBT reads.

For a different take on Israel Sarah Glidden's graphic novel on her Birthright trip- How To Understand Israel in 60 days or less was an interesting read.

One of my earliest introductions to the genre of graphic novels that also has a great movie version done in a graphic novel illustration turned movie format much like Perseopolis is Waltz with Bashir. Kind of a heavy read on an Israeli soldiers experience in Israel's first Lebanon war and how he comes to terms with his experience. I'm quite fond of a lot of Israeli works or Israel themed books, but there is some really great Israeli talent out there and it's such a complicated area of the world that people's experiences there make for truly fascinating reads. And no matter where you fall on the political view spectrum of Israel and the conflict there's a graphic novel about it out there, it seems. And if you don't know much of anything about the region or conflict and even if you do, read different perspectives. There's a lot the graphic novel format has to offer there.

I've probably got another 20 or so I could add but these were the top ones that are standing out for me right now.


message 10: by Xandra (new)

Xandra (xandragr) | 21 comments @Tzipora: I too had a bit of a hard time plodding through Alison Bechdel's "Are You My Mother?". Then I decided to reread it a couple of weeks ago and I absolutely loved it. All my quibbles didn't seem important anymore, I noticed things I hadn't before and there was a nice familiarity that made the book feel less dense. Besides, the artwork is gorgeous and more creative and colorful than in "Fun Home".


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