500 Essential Graphic Novels discussion

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message 1: by Lee (new)

Lee (leekat) Hi guys,
I'd like to try some more graphic novels but have no idea where to start. I've only read the Persepolis books and I'm not really a superhero type of gal but I would welcome some suggestions from this huge list. It's a little overwhelming.


message 2: by Josh (new)

Josh (jchristie) | 4 comments Mod
Going by your shelves and profile, I have a couple suggestions.

Y The Last Man Vol. 1 Unmanned is a great story following the last man on earth after every other male (human and animal) suddenly dies. It is well drawn, and tightly written; especially the dialogue, which reads like real conversation.

We3 is a sci-fi story written by Grant Morrison, an author considered by many to be one of the best working comic writers. It concerns the use of animals as weapons of war, and follows a dog, cat and rabbit as they escape and try to find a home. The art can be a bit overwhelming at times, but it fairly short and definitely worth a shot.

True Story Swear To God Volume 1 is a sweet, romantic memoir about the author's meeting, dating and eventually marrying his sweetheart. Simply drawn and well-told, it is a perfect example of how comics aren't all just capes, cowls and superheroes.

The Complete Maus is one of the few books I'd call a must-read for anyone, be it their first graphic novel or 500th. Spiegelman's Pulitzer-winning masterpiece chronicles his father's experience as a Jewish prisoner in WWII. The depiction can be emotionally trying at times, but is ultimately a rewarding read.

Queen & Country Definitive Edition, Volume 1 by Greg Rucka is an English spy story, but much more in the vein of Flemming's original Bond novels than the ridiculous action and femme fatales of the current superspy. The stories read like smart mystery thrillers, with a current and international feel. My only problem with the book is the fact that the characters, all drawn as realistic, dark-haired Brits, can be a bit tough to tell apart if you don't pay close attention.

Powers Vol. 1 Who Killed Retro Girl? by Brian Bendis is the only book on this list that does stray into the world of superheroes, but it isn't your traditional superhero story by a long shot. Think Law and Order meets Superman. The two main characters, Walker and Pilgrim, investigate crimes in a world where superheroes exist. A gritty, real-worldish spin leaves "traditional" comics in the dust.

Whew, so hopefully that helps as a start. I'm sure that Michael has plenty of books that he can suggest as well. Let us know if you have any more questions, and enjoy! - Josh


message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) Hi Lee and welcome! Thanks for joining!

I can definitely throw my vote behind several of Josh's picks, especially Y The Last Man, Maus and Queen and Country. I'd also add

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan. I will warn you that my wife couldn't get through it because of some of the violent images, but Ann over at Books on the Nightstand liked it and so did my mother-in-law, so it's not just a "guy" book.

Blankets by Craig Thompson. Don't let the size of this one scare you off. It's a big book, but it's one of those you can just lose yourself in and it's a great look at adolescence and growing up.

Black Hole by Charles Burns is definitely not for everyone, but given that you read some sci-fi and horror, I think you'd enjoy it. It's sort of X-files meets a teenage coming-of-age story. I'm a big fan of his art style.

Let us know if you decide to try any of our recommendations!


message 4: by Lee (new)

Lee (leekat) Josh and Michael,

Wow, you guys are amazing! Thanks so much for all the great suggestions. They ALL sound interesting. I am going to check my library to see how many they carry. I'm pretty sure they have Maus because I looked a while ago.

Michael I remember you mentioning Queen and Country on a podcast and thinking it sounded good. I wrote it on a scrap of paper somewhere and lost it.
I may even get my husband interested in reading some of these. He is not a reader but does occasionally pick up an X-Men comic.

Thank you both for taking the time to write so much!

Lee


message 5: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) Lee, if your husband likes X-men, he needs to read Joss Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men. There are 4 trade paperback volumes in his run, called Gifted, Dangerous, Torn and Unstoppable.

They are fantastic! I'm not a big Marvel comics reader (mostly I read DC), but these are faves of mine!


message 6: by Lee (new)

Lee (leekat) Cool! I will pass on the recommendation.
Thanks Michael.


message 7: by Lee (new)

Lee (leekat) I read Maus I last night and loved it. I've been trying to get a hold of Queen and Country because that interests me but my library only seems to carry parts of it or other novels by Greg Rucka. I will continue the hunt. I'm noticing it's nice at times to have a relatively quick read when I can't get involved in something huge. These books are perfect for reading in one sitting.


message 8: by Scott (last edited Feb 25, 2009 03:36AM) (new)

Scott (slip81) | 4 comments Definitely get Y The Last Man, easily one of the best comics to emerge in the last decade, you might also like Box Office Poison, it's a wonderful character driven epic. Invincible is and Walking Dead are fantastic too. Invincible is a treat for anyone that misses the style of older Marvel comics, and Walking Dead is the best horror movie that never was.

Forgot a major one, the Usagi Yojimbo collections are absolutely awesome. Sakai is certainly a master of the medium. Eisner's Contract with God is also a must read, and I'm surprised no one mentioned Watchmen.


message 9: by Josh (new)

Josh (jchristie) | 4 comments Mod
Scott wrote: "Definitely get Y The Last Man, easily one of the best comics to emerge in the last decade, you might also like Box Office Poison, it's a wonderful character driven epic. Invincible is and Walking D..."

Is there a good jumping-on point for Usagi Yojimbo? I hear people mention it often, but I've never read any of the series before.


message 10: by Scott (new)

Scott (slip81) | 4 comments "Josh wrote: "Is there a good jumping-on point for Usagi Yojimbo? I hear people mention it often, but I've never read any of the series before."

If you're talking about the individual issues, not sure, since I've never read them that way, but for the TPB's you can pretty much pick any one up, as they're each a contained story. The series does have reoccurring characters and running plot lines, but they're never major. You can easily enjoy say Usagi vol. 5 without having read any other vol before, but you'll definitely get the most out of it if you start at the beginning.

Though I think it's vol. 3 that He starts with the whole book as one epic format, vols 1 & 2 are a series of shorter stories collected.




message 11: by Lee (new)

Lee (leekat) Thanks for your suggestions Scott, I will check them all out and see what appeals. I'm not into horror very much but the other ones sound interesting.


message 12: by Christian (new)

Christian McKay | 1 comments I started a comic review over at www.theincompletes.com. I stray away from tights and fights, only including what I consider to be the essentials. Let me know what you think.


message 13: by Lee (new)

Lee (leekat) Christian wrote: "I started a comic review over at www.theincompletes.com. I stray away from tights and fights, only including what I consider to be the essentials. Let me know what you think."

Thanks Christian, I will check it out.


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