2012: The Year of the Graphic Novel

In looking back at the books I’ve read this year, they’ve been dominated by a genre.

Graphic novels.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who knows me well. I’ve always enjoyed a graphic novel or comic between the massive classic tome, but this year I found myself reading graphic novels almost exclusively.

It’s been awesome.

I started this summer, reading Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Art Spiegelman’s Maus. This trend continued through the autumn, where I read some fantastic books like Craig Thompson’s Blankets and Grant Morrison’s dystopian epic The Invisibles.

Wow.

The thing I love about graphic novels is the art works so well with the story, especially in books like Maus and Blankets. The books have additional levels to them, and being a bookworm and art fanatic like myself, they are wonderful.

The stories are helped by the art, rather than hindered, making them more poignant and memorable. And I love them for it.

I can’t wait to start up my own graphic novel library. I’ve decided it will have Blankets, Maus and The Invisibles to start. What else?

6 thoughts on “2012: The Year of the Graphic Novel

  1. Those are PERFECT starts to your collection. May I also recommend:

    Persepolis – Going hand in hand with Maus in the historical biocomic, Marjane Satrappi has lived a much more interesting life than most of us.

    Bone – Jeff Smith’s amazingly beautiful world is compiled into a one volume edition. It’s a gorgeous adventure in the clair-ligne style of Tintin but with a lot of heart behind it. (on that note I also recommend Herge’s Tintin comics if you like adventures! My dad being French, they were among the first books I’ve read, and reread hundreds of times since. Some of the stories are a bit archaic, but many of the books are just so enjoyable you can hopefully overlook those parts, as many of the books were written pre-WWII) I suggest you start with the original Bone adventures in black and white (there is a colour version now, but i prefer the original)

    Y: The Last Man – If you want a serial comic, in the more traditional comic sense, you can’t go wrong with Brian Vaughn. Y was published a while back issue by issue but is now collected in a series of books. It’s a well researched post apocalyptic world in which every last creature on earth with a Y chromosome has died at the same instant, except for the main character.

    Asterios Polyp – A love story told in the most beautiful graphic design styles. How the design of a comic page and the design of a book can actually help tell a story played out beautifully in this book.

    Flight (any volume) – A compilation of many different comic artist legends come together to tell stories with the simple inspiration of “flight”. Any of the volumes are great reads, and they are not really connected (one of the stories is, but most are stand alone mini-comics).

    Habibi and Goodbye Chunky Rice – If you loved Blankets, you will also love Thompson’s two other books. Habibi is totally different, but I got it for Christmas and blew through it. I’ll always love Blankets the most (as one of the main inspirations for me starting my own comic, in addition to Maus!), but the other two are great. If you like Thompson’s art style, you may also like his travel comic diary book.

    Notes for a War Story – Gipi’s art is just amazing, I love his watercolour and ink style.

    Anything by Guy Delisle – Delisle does seriously interesting travelogue comics. Totally true and hilariously matter-of-fact, he tells the stories of weird places he’s lived for his job – Pyongyang, Shenzen, and others. The North Korea book was particularly interesting, but all are great reads.

    Fables – Another serial comic series, this one is set in the “modern” world, but if fable characters crossed over into our world. Despite the fantastical premise, the politics and setting are well set up and entirely believable.

    Good luck with the graphic novel library! I can always recommend more but i think this is a good start for you!

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    1. Funny you should mention Persepolis! I read it a couple of years ago and loved it, definitely one of the books that kept me engaged and really interested in reading more graphic novels.

      I remember reading Bone when it was reprinted in Disney Adventures in the early 90s. I’ve been meaning to read the full thing for ages.

      Currently reading Y: The Last Man! I’m finishing volume III tonight and I. Can’t. Stop. Reading. It. And Pia Guerra’s art is gorgeous.

      Habibi: Another ‘currently reading’. Gorgeous art. I’ve just been informed that I’m not to read Goodbye Chunky Rice as it will make me cry. I want to write my own comic too (inspired by you, :D)

      Thank you for the other recommendations! I’m looking forward to reading Bone and the other graphic novels you recommended (and thanks for not mention Alan Moore, I like his stuff but even I find it a bit too grim).

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  2. Nae probs! And hey, if you’re thinking of making comics yourself, I highly highly recommend “Making Comics” by Scott McCloud. A very clever comic about making comics that you can find in most libraries! 😀

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  3. I barely read any comics this year, unfortunately, but I plan to get back into it this year. A couple I’m excited to return to are:

    – Chew by John Layman – Absurd and fun ongoing series that’s being released in beautiful oversized hardcover collections.

    – The Unwritten by Mike Carey – Great adventure that weaves in and out of classic literature.

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