Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme created by the folks over at The Broke and the Bookish. To sign up or find out more about it, visit the Top Ten Tuesday page. This week's topic is Books I'd Recommend To Someone Who Doesn't Read X. X can be any category you pick so I am choosing Comics/Graphic Novels. The terms comics and graphic novels have sort of become interchangeable over the years, even though technically I think they're a bit different. Comics generally come out in serialized form (like once a month, once very two months, etc.) whereas graphic novels are created to be consumed at once time, like a regular novel. In this case we're just going to say they're close enough since what we're really talking about is sequential art. I am not going to get too crazy with definitions but if you're ever interested in learning more about comics as a medium, I totally suggest checking out Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. On to the books!
(in no particular order)
2. Maus by Art Spiegelman - This one shows up on a lot of lists but there's a reason for it. Spiegelman's own story as well as his father's story of surviving Nazi Germany is poignant, emotional and gripping. Winner of the Pulizter Prize.
3. Fables Vol. 1: Legends In Exile by Bill Willingham & Mark Buckingham - Long before there was Once Upon A Time, there was Fables, a story about legendary characters who aren't fiction but are very real and living in modern day New York. Exiled from their homelands but an evil emperor, they are waiting for the day when they can go home again. Vol 1 isn't my favorite. It's sort of a mystery plot that isn't as interesting as the later books are. However, it does introduce you to the characters the world. Each Vol gets better and better. James Jean also does the first 100 covers to this series and each one is a work of art.
4. Kabuki: Skin Deep by David Mack - David Mack's artwork is totally unique. Collage, watercolor, photography, painting and drawing all combine in a one-of-a-kind style. Kabuki is his own creation, a former assassin with a lot of family issues who has a scarred face. In this storyline, Kabuki is institutionalized and makes friends with some of her fellow inmates and plots to escape the facility.
5. Preacher Vol 1: Gone To Texas by Garth Ennis & Steve Dillon - After a preacher who loses faith bonds with a deity and gains "The Word", he and his gun toting ex-girlfriend and an Irish vampire prone to drinking embark on a mission to find God and hold him accountable for his actions. Throw in a twisted kingpin character, strange sexual acts, crazy redneck relations and you have a demented and brilliant story. Also, the covers are fantastic. This one is definitely for mature readers.
6. Y: The Last Man Vol 1:Unmanned by Brian K Vaughn & Pia Guerra - This is the story of what would happen if all the men on Earth suddenly died of an unknown cause. Yorick and his pet monkey are the last males on the planet and they must battle extremist biker gangs, Republicans and a few assassins as Yorick tries to find his girlfriend and the answer to what happened to all the men on the planet.
7. Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons - Also on a lot of lists. This is a pretty epic volume. It reads a little bit dated today but is still an excellent read. It's pretty dense especially since it has pages of just text. But it's definitely worth reading.
8. Bone Vol 1: Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith - Bone totally reminds me of my childhood. This was probably one of the first black and white comic books I read (the newer Scholastic versions have been colorized). Fantastic and magical story about an odd little creature named Bone and his adventures with his cousin Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone. Stupid, stupid rat creatures!
9. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick - Is this considered a graphic novel or just a novel? I am really not sure. I feel like it's half pictures and half prose. Anyway - this is a beautiful and imaginative story of a boy named Hugo who becomes involved in a mystery involving an odd machine that his father left behind. Gorgeous, gorgeous book! The movie that came out this year by Martin Scorcese was also quite good.
I know I am missing one as I had to cut it short due to time. But there are many, many wonderful comics and graphic novels out there in every genre and style that you can probably imagine. Check out the graphic novels section of your local bookstore the next time you're there or, better yet, visit your local comic shop for the best selection.
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